Category Archives: London

Doing What Needs to Be Done!

Monday August 29th 2016

It took another 2 hours to get from Sutton to London Blackfriars. Even though we knew we’d have to take the bus, it was still hard. Too much for not enough reward. I was also frustrated about two things I wasn’t getting a response about and it was driving me nuts. There was a guitarist playing at the spot who we’d never seen before. He kept playing and playing until Thoth went over and said we were queuing. He didn’t say when he’d be finished. We both assumed he wouldn’t follow the hour and a half play rule as he’d probably already been playing there for hours beforehand.

After an hour and a half passed. I motioned to him to see if he was done. He kind of mocked my motion as if he wasn’t done. He got out a cigarette and came over to us. I told him it’s normal for people to play an hour and a half, then switch off with someone who is waiting. “Do I look like a normal person?” he said stupidly. I wanted to say, “Yes. I’ve seen your act everywhere in the world.” but instead I said, “It’s just nice to let others play.” For some reason, he did let us play but called us an “American Freak Show.” Who the f*** knows why. I muttered how I didn’t like being called a freak show. What a jerk.

This girl who sings opera came over to watch us. She loves our music. She met Thoth when I’d gone to see James last week. She told us she had arguments with guitarist man. “He plays and plays so he doesn’t have to talk to people and he never wants to share.” she said. So we were right about him. We played less than an hour. Our voices and bodies were too tired. We had crowds for the first half, but they died down after an hour. Oh well. We finished with “Scottish Song” to a crowd of maybe one person, who clapped. I didn’t care because I was happy we did it. “We did it.” I said when we finished, kissing Thoth. We did what we needed to do. We even sold two CDs. We immediately went into the train station to go home, knowing it would take another 2 hours to get back to Sutton. We need to live closer to, or better yet, in Central London when we visit next August. We’ll never play at Blackfriars again, but it did get us through this our first try in London.

We went to a delicious Indian restaurant near home. It was a satisfying ending to a very hard, but very successful day. When we got home, I got two emails with exciting things. I can’t wait to tell you about them.

Sunday August 28th 2016

We decided not to go into the city to play at Blackfriars today. It was cold and rainy and the trains still weren’t running from Sutton, making it a two hour, very boring and seemingly pointless trip. Instead we hung out in the house until 2pm and then went for food and drinks at a pub with Kaja and Emil. I tried not to get upset about not going to play. It was 5pm by the time we were done. The day got away with us. I’m glad. I never enjoy days when we’re not playing and I know we should. We’ll go play tomorrow, even though the trains still won’t be running. Ugh. It’ll be the last time we’ll have to take that trip.

Saturday August 27th 2016

We got out of the house by 2pm. Decent timing, or so we thought. The train from Sutton wasn’t running, again. It didn’t run last Sunday and it took for f***ing ever to get to London Blackfriars. I was pissed off knowing we’d have to take the shaky, vomit-inducing bus instead. I practically threw my violin on the floor I was so mad. I do get upset when things don’t go as planned, and that happens a lot in my life.

We got to Blackfriars at 2pm. It took 2 hours to get there. Ridiculous! We most definitely will be staying nearer to London next time. That kind of long transit makes us miserable. We had to wait another 2 hours to play because the bassist was playing. I was really frustrated. We played an hour and a half. It was ok, but the space isn’t that great for us we’ve found. At least we know now where we need to live and where we shouldn’t play. Next year we’ll audition to play at Covent Garden. That could be the place for us. James and I saw an opera singer there last week and he had a huge crowd. We would blow everyone away.

We walked to Waterloo station to have sushi at Wasabi and then took another 2 hour trip home. That one wasn’t as bad because I took something to keep me from getting motion sick. What would I do without my little Bunny? We can make our way through any problem. We just do what needs to be done!

What Synchronicity!

Friday August 26th 2016

I didn’t want to go out today. Nor did Thoth. Yesterday’s play at Blackfriars didn’t seem worth it. It was just money spent to get there and back and a lot of work to play. We just wanted to stay in bed. Of course we didn’t. We got ourselves up and out the door at 2pm. On the train platform I accidentally slammed my face, right under my nose, on the bar of my rolling backpack. I cried and was so tired and shaky on the train. I hadn’t eaten anything, so that didn’t help, either. By the time we got to Blackfrairs, I had to sit down because I thought I would faint.

I didn’t even know if I could play. There was no one else there, so we set up slowly. We’d play an hour, then immediately go home. We were too tired and hungry. Just Joseph came around and asked sweetly how long we’d play. He’s a cool guy. The other buskers in London are super nice.

Just as we were setting up, I saw someone I recognized. Laurence and his wife Lesley! He’s a fan from Edinburgh! I couldn’t believe I was seeing him. My mouth dropped. They’d come to see our last show in Lisbon last year to hear the new opera. I was amazed. “We have to plan our holidays around where you play.” he said. AMAZING. I didn’t understand how he knew we’d be there. “Your blog.” he said. That makes writing it %100 worth it!

We played and it was still hard on my body and voice, but Kaja showed up to give us a kiss and hug. A man named Daniel who invited us to visit him in Venice stumbled upon us, too. Astonishing. What synchronicity!!! A friend of our friend Eric from NYC stumbled upon us also, and when we finished a woman recognized Thoth from NYC. Laurence and his wife left halfway through the performance. Kaja came back at the end to say goodbye. She won’t be back home until Sunday morning. We felt the entire day had been worth it. We took the train back to Sutton at 4:30pm and got fish and chips for din din.

Overcoming the Noise

Friday August 26th 2016

We left Sutton for Blackfriars at 1pm. Kaja, Emil and their friends would arrive later. We got there at 3pm and there was a saw player playing. Thoth spoke to him. He’d play for another hour and a half, so we could begin at 4:30pm.  Kaja and Emil arrived with their friends. We waited and I listened to my Ipod so I didn’t have to hear the saw. It gets old after a minute or two. “Saw is a great walk-by act. People are intrigued by the sound at first, but it diminishes in interest after a few minutes. What we do is instantly curious and intriguing at first, too, but it gets better the longer people listen.” Thoth said. A very loud pile driver started banging away several times while we played. Unbelievable!

Turns out, the saw player was Polish. Kaja and Emil talked to him once he finished and we set up. We played for an hour and a half and Kaja and friends sat and watched. The pile driver started up for 10 minutes during our third song. Annoying. We got through it, but stopped and waited for it to stop. Thoth did an improvisation to it and then went into stillness while I sat and waited. Kaja and friends clapped for the “Gypsy Dance” and “Interlude” and two girls started dancing. People love us. When we finished, our intake was pretty disappointing, but I counted my blessings. It’s still not the best spot for us. We have to find a spot where people’s generosity somewhat matches what we’re giving. Kaja was very moved with today’s prayformance.

We walked with everyone over the bridge to a bar in a train station. We were both feeling very happy, even though we didn’t do well financially. We’re doing the best we can. Eating when we haven’t eaten since last night is so amazing. We took the tube back to Victoria station and took the train home. Long day. I want us to be able to come to London next year and be doing well enough to stay here for a few months. It took years for the space in Lisbon to work out for us. It might take that long here, too to find the right space. I’m grateful for what we have, of course.

I GOT TO SEE MICHAEL CRAWFORD

Wednesday August 24th 2016

When I woke up, Thoth asked me, “Do you want to see the show today?” “Yes!” I said. “You want to see the matinee?” I asked. “Sure.” he said. I couldn’t really believe it. I was going to SEE and HEAR Michael Crawford with my own ears and eyes for the first time in my entire life! I couldn’t really believe it. A man I’ve idolized since I was 10 years old. For 18 years, I was going to f**king SEE him. OMG!

We got to the theater with an hour to spare. I was nervous there wouldn’t be any tickets available or they’d be really expensive, but low and behold, they had 25 pound a piece tickets in row E in the orchestra! I was shocked, relieved and happy! We had a quick bite of sushi next door before going into the theater. I was queasy I was so excited. What an incredible moment! I knew I would never forget it. I am so glad I made the choice to go see this show!

We went into the theater a half hour before the show started. It was a simple set. A grand piano in the corner and about 8 chairs with some grass sticking out of the floor. Very moody lighting and a little smoke. Michael was the first to come on stage. He was bent and frail, as all 73 year olds are. The cast of about 8 came around him in white Victorian costumes. He turned on a light above his head and the cast began singing in a Capella. My mouth dropped to the floor. It was so simply and lovingly beautiful. Michael was on stage the entire 2 and 1/2 hours singing in parts and watching the action. His character was the older version of the little boy Leo. It was beautiful. There was a song called “Butterfly” I think, that he sang that almost made me tear up. His low voice was still powerfully moving and his higher voice more frail, but used to great emotional effect. I turned to Thoth many times. He was smiling and laughing along with me. At the intermission he said how much he loved the show. At the end of the second act, Michael was crying and used a handkerchief to wipe his eyes. He was trembling. Not sure if that’s from age or just the character or the emotion he was feeling. Michael is a very emotional person. He cried during “Barnum” and in “Phantom” every night. He has a beautiful voice even now. We both stood up and cheered when he came out to bow. So did lots of others. A man behind me called out to him, “A living legend!”

We left the theater and stood at the stage door for a bit. I was hoping to meet him, but the ticket takers said he doesn’t come out for matinees. Oh well. I had hoped. I did get to speak to another actor I loved. He had a fake scar covering one of his eyes in the show and had a beautiful voice and stage presence. I talked to him, complimenting his singing. He thanked me for cheering and laughing. I couldn’t believe it. When Thoth and I like something, we cheer and laugh loudly! I did that when I was a kid, too. 🙂

We walked around Soho a bit and then went home. I was in heaven.

I Love The Life I Live!

Tuesday August 23rd 2016

We took the train into London Victoria today. It was our first day exploring without any bags or violins. It was amazing. London is a very special city. One of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. It’s amazing we can come here for weeks at a time. When I was 16 we were only here for 5 days, and we had to rush around like maniacs doing all these pre-planned activities. Though I did like living in a nice hotel in the center of town and eating at fancy restaurants and not having to worry about money back then, this way of traveling is so unique and special. We live like locals, just like I wanted to when I was a kid. No one else in the world lives and travels like we do. Sometimes it is so overwhelming and scary I can’t handle it, but at times like these it is all worth it. The torturous agony of flying and the fear of the future, the frustrations, the depressions… it’s all clear now. Just last week in Amsterdam I was so f**king freaked out about finding us a place to stay in NYC I didn’t know what to do. Now I am actually excited to be in NYC because we’ll be living with artists. I’m not scared, I’m curious what will happen. I know that no matter what happens, we will be OK!

We spent many hours wandering around the city. We had lunch at a cute little place. I treated us. We went to the theater district and got donugts for dessert. We passed through many resonant spaces, which we may try to play in this week. I believe our play spot is in the theater district. There are so many beautiful buildings and resonant walkways there. We stopped by Her Majesty’s Theater where I saw Phantom when I was 16. It was eerie to be back in a place I was at over 10 years ago. My life was immensely different then, and I was a completely different person. We came upon a billboard with MICHAEL CRAWFORD’s face on it. I freaked out. He’s in a new musical called “The Go-Between”. Michael played the original Phantom, my favorite character of all time. That’s who I “act” as sometimes. I want badly to go see it. Maybe we will! We took the bus back to London Victoria station and took the train back home to Sutton. It was a truly lovely day for us. I am so happy to be a grown up and to be independent and free to do as I wish, within reason and with responsibility and forethought. I am so grateful to be able to be here in this city.

Monday August 22nd 2016

We took a walk in Sutton. Went into the supermarket and then found a place to have a big English Breakfast. We went home and stayed in our room for the rest of the day. In the night we went outside to the picnic bench where Kaja and Emil were playing a video of us for their friends. Grandma had made dinner for us, which I helped him bring outside. Thoth went back inside to work more and I stayed with Kaja and Emil and talked for a long time. We are so blessed. So, so blessed.