Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Cambridge, 2011 : Rubbish Guitarist...

Camera : Leica M4      Lens : Summaron 35mm f3.5    Film : Ilford FP4+     Developer : Ilford ID11

Anyway, there I am wandering the streets of Cambridge on my first-time visit to the city.  As is the norm for the streetwise street photographer, I'm trying to look casual, all the while on the alert for photo opportunities that might be lurking around the next corner - or the last one (which is more usual) - at which point the trigger on my finely honed cat-like reflexes will be pulled.   Then I notice the singing.  It's definitely live music, yet it has a muffled quality, coupled with a bit of a strange echo to it.  There's a guitar, too, although it's got an odd tone that I can't quite put my musical finger on.  It's a bit like one of those buskers that stands in a shop doorway which helps to focus or amplify the sound - but it doesn't have the same clarity.

Photography forgotten for the moment, I look around for the source of the melodious racket. Natural expectations mean that I'm looking for someone standing with an instrument - or seated maybe. It didn't sound like it was in my immediate vicinity, so I widen the search area a bit.  I retrace my steps towards a litter bin I'd passed a few moments previously, which now appears to have grown an arm and has a guitar neck sticking out of it. A second or two passes as I take in the new scene, then a voice emanates from the interior of the receptacle - which is a bit of a relief, since it means that the arm is attached to something and hasn't been discarded or lost by someone.

I watch for a while as the hand moves around in various chord shapes on the guitar neck and I listen until the song is finished. The singer, still unseen and possibly unseeing, thanks his audience for the applause (although I am the only one in the immediate area and I haven't clapped, since I'm holding a camera in one hand and scratching my head with the other). He announces his next number and launches into it without much hesitation but with much gusto.

I didn't wait for the end of the second song, but, on the basis that he was actually pretty good (given his somewhat cramped studio space) I did make a modest contribution to his white-cloth coin collection facility before taking a photograph and walking on, once again in wonder at the ways people find to make a living.