Dan Hough

Busking Report – Green Park (Pitch 1)

Published 24 November 2017 in London, UK

Well, after a four-hour break following a session at Piccadilly Circus earlier on, I headed to Green Park Station to play on Pitch 2. Green Park Station, in case you don’t know, is near Westminster (a popular place for tourists), at the end of Oxford Street (a popular place for shoppers), and Hyde Park (another popular tourist hotspot, especially when Winter Wonderland is on - which it is).

I was going to go at 6 pm, rush hour! On a Friday! It had all the ingredients of a successful busking session waiting to happen. I might meet some early-drunk office workers, happy to sing along and tip generously.

But I didn’t anticipate a simultaneous security alert at Oxford Circus and faulty train on the Jubilee Line. At around 17:30, Oxford Circus and Bond Street (on the same lines as Green Park and nearby) were evacuated due to what we now know was a false alarm, and around the same time a train on the Jubilee Line had to be taken off the lines. Green Park was completely chaotic when I arrived.

About 20 minutes after I was turned away!
About 20 minutes after I was turned away!

I went to the window of the station supervisor’s office and he gave me the universal “nope” symbol in sign language, so I went out into the cold to find something else to do. After all, my home was now over an hour away instead of the usual 20 minutes. And I wanted to do some busking! I came all this way!

I then spent the next 2 hours trying to find somewhere warm to wait around until Green Park quietened down, so the nice people at Joe & The Juice Mayfair let me sit around nursing a single americano in that time. At 8 pm, I headed back to Green Park station and the supervisor let me go down to pitch 2 instead of pitch 1, since the person who booked Pitch 1 at 8 was now on it. Oh well!

The pitch.
The pitch.

I managed to get onto the pitch at around 20:20 Sadly, it wasn’t super busy at pitch 1 - people came in waves, but mostly it was quiet. I wrapped up at 21:40 because by then, I was exhausted and was actually beginning to develop blisters on my fingers. In total I took in £11.21, a £8.01 hourly salary. Not a terrible result and I made back my train fare and the coffee at Joe & the Juice.

Some notable moments

The first tip and the Biggest Tip

It took three songs before I got a tip! But, surprise surprise, it was Torn! Just like earlier that day, the people of London were really lapping up the ol’ Natalie Imbruglia. I got £2.50 between two people. This was, incidentally, the biggest tip.

The view from the pitch.
The view from the pitch.

The best performance

My first rendition of Get Back was very energetic indeed, and two people stopped to film! I wonder if I’ll ever see the videos appear online…

How to improve

Well, I think the key takeaway from this one is to either get places super, super early for a typically busy time. I also may have overdone it with two performances but given all the standing in the cold and waiting around. I’ll give it another go sometime soon, maybe with 6 hours in between instead.

Heckle me on Twitter @basicallydan.