Tuesday, 27 November 2012

My day at Baker Street

It is now 00:36 on 28th November and I'm back in my hotel at Paddington. 19 hours ago, I was leaving to get to Baker Street, in order to spend a whole day at a station to see what it's like to do this challenge fully for a day.

I have to say that was some of the most fun I've had since doing the challenge. In the sapce of 18 hours I....

- Met 75 musicians
- Had help from really friendly TFL staff (big shout out to station attendant Daniel who not only took great interest in the challenge but started to stop musicians and call me over!!)
- Met every instrument in an orchestra, with the exception of...you guessed it...oboe!
- Had my brother join me, dressed as Sherlock Holmes, and he proceeded to skulk around in the back of camera shots for a laugh
- Met musicians I'd previously already met, and remembered their full names and the stations I met them at
- Ended the day with the 75th musician being a Euphonium player who worked for TFL!

So, thank you Baker Street. You provided me with some great memories and I look forward to reliving them when I edit the footage shortly.

So, it was a long day. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tired. It has been really tough, and I don't mind that. It's what I expected and no grumbling from me, because I did it with love, and when you enjoy something and do it with love, it's never a chore.

But, I couldn't make it all the way through stuck at Baker Street, as planned. I had to admit defeat at some point in the day and take a break. Around 6pm, after being there for 12 hours, I realised it wasn't healthy to work relentlessly for 18 hours without a break. And my plan of staying in the station and resting was failed multiple times by seeing musicians with instruments and having to run after them. There was no peace. Even on a break I couldn't turn it off! I even tried to turn my back to the passing crowds, and look at a shop front, only for a Clarinet and French Horn to make their way into my line of sight.

That was the clincher. I'd be on my feet for 12 hours, and when I saw them, I reluctantly got up and made my way to approach them. You know. Follow my rules. And also, I'd hate to have people miss out on something just because I was tired. So, I explained very briefly what I was doing. THe same pitch I'd given today 57 times before. But, instead of the different responses I'd had before, I was met with a arrogant roll of the eyes. The girl with the French Horn looked at me like I was some kind of pest. I tried to explain that, because I'd seen them I HAD to go speak to them, but it didn't matter to her. I was someone she clearly didn't want to associate herself with. "I'm busy on that day" she quickly said, without even taking in the date.

So, that made up my mind. I was getting out of there! People like that suck the energy out of you, and I was saddened by their lack of enthusiasm for something unconventional.

Now, I have to explain. I've had lots of rejections up until then (26 to be precise), including a few rude people. You'll get that. The "sorry, not interested" response. I don't mind that. I'm inconveniencing someone and they're in a rush. That's going to happen. And today I've had plenty of "I'm busy that day" with geniune sincerity. It's normally preceeded by people looking in the top corner of the eyes as they recall the date and then inform me they're busy. That's cool too. And so are the people that tell me that they're not free or interested but wish me luck. I even had one guy tell me it wasn't his thing but really liked what I was doing and handed me a £1 coin. Not really sure what to make of that!

What I'm trying to say is I wasn't just throwing the toys out the pram because she said no. I totally expect rejections and am completely fine with them.

But this girl's response was the type that crushes me every time, and one I'd not had that day so far. It's the very quick dimissive comment that may say "I'm busy" but it's accompanied with the "I've listened to what you're saying, seen the way you look, and you and this silly challenge are beneath me" look. It's horrible.

I walked away, with no enthusiasm for what I was doing. If more people were like her, I'd never
do this challenge. I don't mind people having no enthusiasm for what I do, but don't take my enthusiasm. That does no good in this world! I felt rubbish. 12 hours non-stop, tired and emotional, I decided I needed a break.

My brother (who had joined me as cameraman) pointed out I was contravening EU workplace legislation. So now I realised I had to take a break. You know, it's the EU innit.

So, that explains why I didn't complete 18 hours non-stop at Baker Street. I went back to the hotel for a break at 6pm and looked to resume at 8pm. Which turned into 9pm because I fell asleep...

Sorry for talking so much about the negative there. But what I have actually tried to do was make you empathise with me and what I go through, before nonchalantly explaining that I got a little lazy and dozed.
Can't have it all I guess......

Thanks to all who helped me today, and took the time to stop and be kind to a stranger. More to follow in the video blog.

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