Saturday, 17 February 2018


Today was my first busking session in Bath.  I've busked many times in Honfleur - but in my home town it's a different thing - this was a big day!

I arrived at 10 for the daily meeting outside the Abbey.  It's really important: Bath's buskers organise what goes on in the City, ensuring that noise from music never interrupts the Abbey's business, and that the performers themselves don't engage in unseemly competition for spots.  I was introduced to Dave, the co-ordinator - who offered each of us a stick to pull from his hand with a hidden number on it.  Imagine me - standing next to the legendary Bath busker Jerri Hart - waiting to see what number I would pull, and clueless what it would mean.  I pulled number 1.  This meant I had first choice of which spot - any spot - even the prestigious Pump Room.  So, without thinking strategically at all, I put my name down for the first spot at the Pump Room, and then the Abbey square next to it.  I was oblivious to the fact that the crowds don't pick up until lunchtime.

I put my concertina case, marked with my name 'Professor Thom' down in the middle of the space and started playing.  Queues started forming to get into the Pump Room.  This is exciting.  Coins came in, and when I finished a good tune with a flourish, applause was heard.

Dave took over from me after the allotted 45 minutes, and I moved round the corner for my second spot.  Only really talented people play here ... and here was me, with just my concertina, only just learned the tunes - and I'm up with them.  Great day!

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