Wednesday 10th April, Oamaru
So, I don't usually do things just because the French do. But this time, it seemed like an excellent plan. I'm wwoofing in a hostel in Oamaru, an ace little east coast Victorian town (I can't work out if it's a joke or I have indeed gone back in time). And a lovely French girl tells me of her day busking. She doesn't know any songs, so just sings about passers by in French. While I don't have this capability, I do know some songs.
Thursday 11th April, Oamaru
Day 1. Head to Countdown. Sing some songs. Make $89 in an hour and a half. WOW! Turns out they don't have much music in Oamaru (as one lady points out to her daughter, 'that's music'). Wonderful. I think I might do this again.
Friday 12th April, Oamaru
As yesterday went so well, and my hostel has paints, I decide that busking is how I will get around NZ, and as such paint a sign on the back of my guitar case. Yesterday's sign was made of paper, and therefore blew away.
Saturday 13th April, Oamaru
Today is the turn of New World, Oamaru. And boy, what a supermarket! A lot of people say thank you, which is rather lovely, but has thrice lead to a rather awkward jinx! moment as I too, thank them for their money. In my head, a shouting it louder competition ensues, like when you're in France and they don't understand you.
Wednesday 17th April, Oamaru
It's my last day working at the hostel in Oamaru. I celebrate with a little sing at Countdown. A man gave me money before I even started. That was nice, and a bit weird. I made a small child cry. A drunk man gave me money twice, on his way in and his way out. He probably didn't have a very good memory.
Thursday 17th - Sunday 21st April, Christchurch
Wow. So I didn't actually go busking in the 4 days I was here. But what a city! Amazing to see the rebuild after the earthquakes, and the Canterbury spirit was awe inspiring. The new shopping centre is built out of shipping containers, as the centre is still shut off. I also found a piano in the street. I tried to spend most of my busking funds here, in a vague attempt to help in my own silly little way.
Tuesday 23rd April, Greymouth
Helloooo Greymouth! Managed an hour of very uneventful busking outside Countdown. Put myself in the best awkward spot I could find (in the way of everything). FUN.
Wednesday 24th April, Fox Glacier
Today I would have gone busking but I had important cycling and looking at lakes and glaciers type things to do. And it was raining.
Thursday 25th April, Hokitika
Today one man asked me why I wasn't playing the saxophone. A nice lady asked why I wasn't on the X factor. Another man sang white cliffs of Dover over one of my songs. It was lovely so I joined in too. I bloody love New Zealand :)
Friday 26th April, the bus
Today I spend 7 hours on a bus. In the absence of any busking news, here is a picture of my badges to date. I have four. I feel like the eight year old me that made a badge out of the Redditch Advertiser logo. Lisa suggested getting a badge from each busking spot, and I think it's a very good idea.
Saturday 27th April, Nelson
Went busking in Nelson, initially by a hot dog stand. There's tough competition from a selection of children break dancing, tap dancing and playing Green Day songs. On my way back to the hostel, I end up busking with a very clumsy French juggler. I have to leave because he keeps dropping his juggly sticks / landing them on passers by.
Sunday 28th, Picton
Today I meet two men on the run from their wives, whilst busking at Picton harbour.
Tuesday 30th April, Wellington
Hark at what I got today. Snazzy. A man with a mullet told me I should get one, so I did.
Wednesday 1st May, Wellington
Despite the busking permit, today I got moved along, albeit just a few feet. There was public outrage. The train station was fun, and very full of reverb. Cuba street was fun and very full of Von Trapp families. New World was fun and full of a man who kept trying to make me eat fluffy peanut butter, another man who relentlessly invited me to dinner, and a small chav who got confused and did a curtsy.
Thursday 2nd May, Palmerston North
I must be looking more and more busky (homeless?!!) by the day. Today I stopped off in Palmerston North on my way to Napier, where a man stopped me as I walked down the street and as 'a random act of kindness', gave me $20. Now this has happened a couple of times when I've actually been playing (Kiwis are generally very generous) but this time, my guitar was on my back, and if I was singing, it would have certainly been one of those idle humming moments, with no discernible tune, and thus worthy of a maximum of a smile and a nod, or a tip of the hat..... I think this has to be the strangest thing that has ever happened.
I go busking anyway, and make less money than I apparently make just wandering around. I'm not sure this is a good thing.
Saturday 4th May, Napier
A Maori lady set up opposite me with full pa system in the lovely art deco land of Napier. I stopped playing and ate a banana.
Sunday 5th May, Gisborne
Did a spot of busking for captain cook, in the absence of anyone else to play to.
Tuesday 7th May - Wednesday 15th May, Hahei
This week has been spent wwoofing at the rather wonderful Purangi Winery in Hahei. Essentially I've been making pizza, drinking wine, picking fejoas, fishing, accidentally killing a possum, saving a wasp, convincing the Chinese that I'm also Chinese, losing my clothes at hot water beach and playing an impromptu gig for the locals. It's been a good week.
Thursday 16th May, Whitianga
New World told me that buskers aren't allowed to play outside New World. I know this to be a lie, but was cheered up by a man who cried out - 'what is the world coming to?' Sensible chap.
Friday 17th May, Thames
Went to a jam night in a music shop. It was brilliant, we got to play on ALL the instruments. I broke a string for the first time ever, and realised that I've had my guitar tuned two notes too high, which may explain my previous 'getting paid for not playing' incident. I returned to my hostel and continued singing songs with the Germans and the Swedes. I also told my best cheese jokes.
Sunday 19th May, Rotorua
Spent the morning in a geothermal Maori wonderland, and the afternoon busking outside Countdown with a nice American lady I coerced into playing ukulele. Fairly uneventful busk, although trolleygate is back with a vengeance.
Monday 20th May, Rotorua
*NON BUSKING NEWS* Today I milked a cow!! And met these guys. Wonderful.
Friday 24th May, Whangarei
Today's busking was on Quality Street, which made me very happy indeed. Another busker gave me money, and this time 'I should go on New Zealand's Got Talent'. A crowd of young kids watched all afternoon and didn't beat me up or steal my things. They did a round of applause at the end; I am cross with myself for my terrible judgement of the youth of today.
Sunday 25th May, 90 Mile Beach
Today, THIS HAPPENED.
Monday 26th May, Paihia
Paihia is BEAUTIFUL. I celebrate with a busk of joy. The sun is shining, the people are friendly (thank you's are abundant!) and I make up some songs as I go.
Tuesday 27th May, Russell
A man tries to give me lots of money for Wonderwall. The Golden Guinea would be so proud.
Wednesday 28th May, Paihia
Today's busking involved bumping into the girl who made the French girl go busking, who in turn convinced me of it's merits over fruit picking. The DON if you like. Haven't seen her since Oamaru. What a treat.
Saturday 1st June, Raglan
I saw RACHEL DAWICK! It was the last night of her Boundary Riders tour, and her and Jon Sanders were EPIC. Genuinely the best show I've seen in a really long time - stunning, emotional and hilarious in equal measure. We haven't seen each other for over 2 years, and I spend the night feeling famous by association.
Monday 3rd June, Auckland
Today the busking tour comes to an end; it's time to head back to the UK as my lovely, lovely Grandma has sadly passed away. I do one last busk on Queen Street, and have to deny lots of money as I've got no room in my bag for change. My guitar is going on a new adventure with Rachel Dawick's lovely friends.
I've had THE BEST trip, loved every minute of playing in this beautiful country. I hope Grandma is proud.
Sunday 9th June (almost forgot...)