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Charlotte Campbell, busker
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a London busker

By Hayley Spencer

…according to Charlotte Campbell, 26.

Southwark has the happiest commuters

‘I used to busk at Piccadilly Circus in the mornings and I assumed the commuters were just moody because it was rush hour. When I moved to Southwark, everyone was much more smiley. Maybe there’s something in the water, but they love their morning music.’

Londoners are a bit tight

‘I have to play in tourist spots or I wouldn’t make my rent because Londoners are stingy – except in Southwark! German, Austrian and Swiss tourists are the most generous. I do get quite a lot of phone numbers left in my case by Londoners though, whereas tourists often give me fruit – I hope I don’t look malnourished.’

No one knows the weather forecast better than buskers

‘I rely on good conditions for my livelihood, so I have four weather apps and I know the forecast about two weeks in advance. I can’t busk if it’s stormy or windy, so if a friend asks when my next day off is I just consult my apps.’

Public loos are very hard to come by

‘There aren’t really any convenient loos in London, so buskers share a lot of toilet trivia. Because of all the gear we have to carry around, it’s always such a panic when you need to go. If I’m desperate I ask a friendly-looking Londoner to take care of my stuff: usually mums with toddlers, as they already have extra baggage.’

…and ‘Wonderwall’ is seriously divisive

‘I have a love-hate relationship with that song. I feel like it’s massively overdone, but when Friday or Saturday night comes around I’ll always be asked to sing it. Then every time I do, someone rolls their eyes as if to say “Not again!”’

Now find out what happens when celebrities ruin busking.


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