Banjo Nick illegally busking in Walker’s Court, Soho, photo by Jorge Pablo, a student of photography, who happened to be passing by and agreed that, accoustically, this must be one of best busking spots in London – and particularly good for some old school banjo-pickin’ blues. I spent most of the winter playing slide on my open F sharp (banjo-tuned) Tanglewood guitar and without really meaning to I’ve been finding ways of banjo-picking some of the material I worked up by strumming and sliding on the guitar (like Dylan’s ‘Dirt Road Blues’ and the Sonny Terry/Brownie McGee version of ‘Key to the Highway’)
… it kind of works but needs a place like this to be tested and repeated. If a distinction was made between amplified and non-amplified busking then places like this would come alive. Westminster City Council have no sense of this kind of thing – and I have known the police to be aggressive in enforcing their troubadour-unfriendly world-view.
This is Michael who plays an African single-stringed precurser of the banjo – and he plays tough locations like the South Bank without an amp – great to meet you, Michael – a wonderful sound which carries.
Here’s an earlier blog recording a run-in with the police the last time I played Walker’s Court:
Freeing up accoustic non-amplified busking in Westminster is the kind of issue Ken Livingston could run rings around Boris Johnson on – it would certainly be a relief to change the subject from the planet-destroying Boris Island Airport fantasy and both candidates’ slighly dodgy (and very boring) tax affairs, in my view. Or could this be one for the formidably likable and cyclist-friendly Green mayoral candidate, Jenny Jones?