Dan Hough

Busking Report – Piccadilly Circus

Published 24 November 2017 in London, UK

In order to deal with the high demand that some stations have with buskers, restrictions are in place on how often each licensed individual can book a pitch. For example, Southwark station can be booked once per day because it doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic and thus it isn’t hugely popular with most buskers.

On the other hand, Piccadilly Circus is the 12th busiest station on the Underground network, with 41.29 million entries and exits in 2016. So, the rule is that you can only book it once every five days!

Before today, I hadn’t played a session there because it’s usually fully booked by the time I get a chance to make a booking. I had high expectations and Piccadilly Circus did not disappoint. I made £47.37 (not including the €2 I also received) in just over two hours.

The pitch.
The pitch.

Some notable moments

The first tip

I received first tip again during the first song: Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A man in a smart suit with a briefcase gave me a €2 coin! Not immediately useful, but I’ll be able to spend it when I’m next in Paris (next month!), so thanks, Mr. Presumably European Man!

The biggest tips

I’ve been trying to improve my rendition of Torn, and even though my first performance of it today was, in my opinion, not my best, it was pretty popular. I played it again a little later, and it was even more popular. Then again, and at one point six different people tipped me for it, I don’t know exactly how much I got - every time I played it, I got a lot of tippers!

However, it wasn’t my biggest tip. That belongs to Why Does It Always Rain On Me? I was playing, it was pretty busy and my performance wasn’t bad - I got a couple of tips at around £1.50 altogether, but suddenly someone came up, started fiddling around with their wallet, and took out a £5 note! She dropped it into my guitar bag and I was so distracted by her generosity that I forgot the lyrics. I said thank you, she smiled and looked a little embarrassed then walked off.

Whoever you were, mystery tipper - thank you for helping me to pay for some new, badly needed socks.

The best performance

Sad as I am to admit it, I wasn’t at my best this afternoon. However, I think my first performance of The Lazy Song was pretty great. Good tempo, quite smooth, I didn’t forget any lyrics and a lot of people played along.

How to improve

After a couple of weeks off (I was at a wedding last weekend) I was definitely a little rusty. I need to keep practicing even when I’m not performing.

Heckle me on Twitter @basicallydan.