Inside the mind of a Leamington busker

WHEN I meet Tim Coski on a warm afternoon in Leamington, he tells me that he has been busking all morning to earn enough money for a trip to London.

Wednesday, 11th May 2011, 12:17 pm

He has just finished creating a solo album called 8 Songs, Leaves, Years, Hours, but if you listen to the tracks on the album and then go and hear him play live, you may not recognise the lyrics because he never performs a song with the same lyrics twice.

Tim says of the album: “I’ve gone more from rock ‘n’ roll band to introspective song writing.”

He has been playing the guitarand piano and busking from a very young age. He went on to create a band called the Salad Dodgers with a friend from school co-writing the songs. They recorded two CDs which they persuaded an independent music shop in Norwich, Tim’s home town, to sell. The group disbanded in 2007, when Tim went to study at Warwick University. He has been a solo artist ever since.

Tim likes busking because his “audience has no expectations, no preconceptions” and he can “play whatever I like, at whatever volume, whatever tempo - you have complete freedom”.

The art is often misunderstood - there is a very thin line in England between busking and begging. When Tim first busked in the street, a lot of elderly ladies bought him sandwiches and asked him how long he had been on the street.

He says of his own street-playing that he doesn’t like making a massive concert - he is just providing nice music for the street and if people like it and want to give money, then they can.

Describing Norwich as a “melting pot of music”, Tim informed me that it “is a really good music scene because it is mainly pedestrianised, so there is no traffic interfering with the sound.” He said it is “like stepping back into the middle ages, there are harpists and double bassists”. But he finds it easier busking in Leamington because there is less competition and it does not have ‘the same sort of established scene’ as Norwich.

Tim is hoping to perform soon at Cox’s Yard in Stratford.

Judith Ratcliffe