When Ben Met Eliza… Sort Of

by Ben

Today I went to town. I know, shocking isn’t it. But on the way to town – I rode the number 7 bus if you’re interested – I saw on Twitter that Eliza Doolittle (a singer) was going to be ‘busking’ in Birmingham City Centre at 2pm today. “Ooh.” I thought. I did, I sat there and thought “Ooh.” So I decided that if I was still in town at 2pm I’d drop by and have a gander.

So at 2pm I walked by the Starbucks by New St, where she was to be playing. Was she there? Nope. I had to go to Tesco to by some tissues (nothing to do with her being there) and by 2:15pm she still wasn’t there, so I decided to forget about it and go.

This annoyed me, not so much that I didn’t see her, but the fact that it was another ‘celebrity’ who turns up late. No consideration for the fans standing out in the nice warm weather. There were a small group of about 7 girls and boys all pointing and getting excited at any passing vehicle. But if I were going to do something at 2pm, I’d make sure I leave with enough time to be there for 1:45pm and then be on time for 2pm. I don’t know whether they do it to screw with the fans or whether their whole team just isn’t organised. Whatever the reason, it’s not good enough.

I met up with Mother about 2:20pm and she had to go to Tesco (how convenient). On the way I saw Eliza Doolittle and her comrades outside Pret A Manger. They’d apparently moved and I know why. Cos the sax cat man was in the spot where they’d planned to busk. If you’re not aware of the sax cat man, he’s a cool guy who plays the saxophone and has a little dancing toy cat, with which he interacts between songs thanks to pre-recorded dialogue. I’ve seen him around Birmingham for years, usually outside Starbucks. So it made me smile at the thought that she tried to get him to move and he said “Nah love, this is my turf.” And to be fair, he is considerably more entertaining than her.

birmingham busker

But anyway, I stayed for a while. My phone battery died. “Noooooo!” That’s how I said it, with 6 Os. So after a while I turned it on again and had enough power to take a couple of photos. I don’t understand why there’s two guys in big winter coats and then she’s there with a top that doesn’t even cover her whole torso. And she really doesn’t know how to wear that coat does she.

eliza doolittle birmingham

She was alright. She wasn’t as good looking as her publicity shots make out, but to be honest I think that was mainly down to the straight hair and the hideous Dame Edna glasses she was wearing. She can sing though, which is reassuring, cos quite a few people sound lovely on CD but are crap live. She also had her band, which a nearby sign named them as Diverted Traffic. Good name for a band. Although, I say band. One guy had a guitar and sung, one guy had some drum sticks which he tapped on a nearby plantpot, another guy also had drumsticks which he did very little with and one guy just stood there wearing his coat. It’s a good job they moved spot, cos he would’ve had to play the drums on the bin, which would’ve let me use the pun that he was rubbish. Here’s the full line up of Diverted Traffic:

eliza doolittle birmingham

The group of 7 were there, and about 5 or 6 others and me. So not a huge turnout. Imagine 14 people in an audience at the NIA. A few were taking photos, which made me wish me that I’d brought my DSLR.

I stayed for 2 and a half songs. Waste of Time, Pack Up and In Your Hands. I’m not keen on the last one and I was pushed for time, so I didn’t stay.¬†One thing I wish I’d have done but didn’t, I wish I’d had a hat to put down and chuck some money in. That might have gotten a laugh. May have been a bit awkward after saying “Excuse me, exc… shut up a minute! I need my hat back. Do you need the money? Cos if not I need it for bus fare.”

So yeah, all in all it was a nice little addition to the day.

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