Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Busking In Berlin Part 2

Play the markets!  Google what markets are happening and go and ask the Market Meister if you can spiel.  I usually say "Halloooo, kanne ich spiel hier fur ein uhr bitte?"  There are lovely markets in Berlin especially in Schoneberg, Neukoln, Kreuzberg and virtually everywhere.  Even if you play just outside the market there is a lovely atmosphere.

Ubahns.  This is great if you are an acoustic player, but you can get away with using your amp aswell as long as it's low.  You don't have to have a permit to play in some places and the BVG hardly ever go to Blissestrasse, Budesplatz, Gleisdreik, Westphalweg, Platz de Luftbrucke, Tier Park.  But if they do, just greet them with smiles and the best German you can and alles will be klaar.  See the previous guide to get a permit.

There is a big pedestrian area in Wilmersdorfer Strasse and is great for busking.  Also there is a big walk way with lots of tourists just outside of Zoologische Garten.  If you fancy a little trip just outside of Berlin then take the S1 to Potsdam and it is a lovely place to play.  I wouldn't bother with Warschauer Strasse anymore, it is such a dark atmosphere there now.  Schleisches the same.  There are lots of nice spots in and around Prenzlauer Berg and usually just outside Eberswalder Str can be a good place, especially on Sunday.

If you are playing Mauer without a great big PA system like the other buskers seem to use, then go to the back of the park.  It is much quieter and still lots of people.  All the buskers think they have to play as close to the front as possible, but that is not the case.  It is much better to play at the back, at least then you can hear yourself without 4 drum kits playing over you.  You can also try inside the market.

If you enjoy playing in the trains then the S1 line seems to be the most popular.  Get on, play a few songs and jump to the next carriage.  I never felt the desire to busk this way, but lots of people do and make a good hat from it.  A guy who does it told me he averages 40 an hour with  his friend.  I prefer to find an Ubahn and play for a few hours myself.  Nice sounds in the Ubahns.

Hackesher Market in and around is much better than the cold Alexanderplatz.  Go out of the market towards the lake and there is a great busking spot.  Also on the bridge is a great spot, but usually there are 2 or 3 accordions within spitting rage holding that bridge for hours.  But lots of places around here are good as its mostly commercial area and museums so there are no neighbours to annoy.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

What a ride

It's been 5 years  and fifteen days on this adventure so far and I have gone through so many ups and downs, highs and lows, to's and fro's that it is time for a pause and a re-think.  “What am I doing with my life?” is a question I am asking myself a lot lately.  Perhaps its age and those young dreams that are fading further as the years pass.  I was 35 over a month ago and feel like I have entered the next stage of my life.  I feel I am not a young kid anymore with all that energy and determination I used to have.  I think back to how I was sure I would change the world and leave my mark.  I wanted to tour the world playing music, make a beautiful studio in the Swiss mountains, but most importantly; never have to worry about money.

Well, I travel the world and play to thousands of people a week.  Albeit on the Megabus and U bahns and not the tour bus and stadiums I dreamed.  I don’t really worry about money in a way.  I drink the best beers and whiskeys in Berlin, eat out almost every day, smoke the best tobacco, and don’t want for much ‘cept a little rest now and then.  Berlin is starting to take it out of me though, I feel it.   I need to have control over the lifestyle here.  In the past 2 months, there have been 2 days where I haven’t drunk a beer.  It’s so easy to drink here, there are 3 fridges full of beers from all over Deutschland to suit your mood and time of day, it really creeps into your habits.

I am smoking way more that I used to at any point.  Must be about 20-30 a day.  I tried to count in my journal every time I would smoke a ciggie/joint and drink a beer, but it didn’t look good so it was better to stop...logging it.  I feel great most of the time, don’t get me wrong.  But you just can’t help it when a bad day creeps up on you.  There is no guard against it, it is coming for you.  I accept it as part of the ride and just know there are better days around the corner; Days when you feel on top of the world and a great singer and musician.  But there are always dark days lurking; days when you question your life, when you look in the mirror and hate what you see, days when you feel you are a shit singer and a lousy musician.

I look back at the last 5 years and it has always been that way.  In many aspects you go from high to low and back again.  I remember when I was stuck on the motorway hitching from Amsterdam to Berlin and as darkness descended I would scream in despair, then a few minutes later be filled with bright and sure positivity and strength to get through.    The last 2 months without Niz here has been just the same.  Some days I am lonely and downhearted and some days I am so happy to be starting again and doing what I do. 

I just wish I didn’t HAVE to make money in this life.  I wish I could just do what I love to do without the burden of wandering how I’m going to eat that night.  I would love my own studio where I could just record music day and night with many different people.  I would love to play music and do it purely for myself. Not for an audience who wants to me play sing-along songs.  I wish I could do things just for the love of doing them and not for money at the end.  Sometimes I go busking but I don’t put my hat out.  I just play for the love.  But people still come and give me money.  Which feels good, but it feels better to not be asking for it.

Zappas Vibrations

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