It was on again last night! The busking stars under a full moon. There were 20 people there at 8.00 and it had not yet begun. Maestro was setting up the accompanying music as a young lad opened his music sheet, the losange man from last night was lurking without a losange in sight. It was time. The maestro pointed to the lad, who, seeming a little anxious, began quietly, soon to be joined by the older ‘cured throat’ and it was on.

Corrie and I were able to secure the circle seats, 4 steps from the bottom and began to warm our ‘bravos’ up. The maestro soon had the lad singing more confidently by baritoning a few lines for him. The man with a poor memory was there, sang a few lines and left. At this stage we were yearning for the old man from last night who couldn’t walk, but sang like Pavaroti.

At about song 3, a tall lad wandered through the crowd wearing a baseball cap, his tattered coat knotted round his waist, twirling his water bottle and doing a bit of a rap dance. He double shook hands with another old guy sitting next to me, hugged the maestro, shadow hugged the young lad and high-fived the ‘cured throat’.

The maestro, looking for new energy, put his hand forward, like, but a bit further out than, Queen Liz, towards the rapper. Out he came, showing all the signs of an itinerant street kid, with a red cape and his water bottle. He gingerly placed the bottle on the tar, while drawing the red cape to his right. As he did this he pointed to us and said ‘ole’ (I was hoping he was from Portugal where they don’t hurt the bull). His beautiful, and it was full, tenor voice broke into ‘Toreador’ as we ‘ole’d to the swing of his cape. I could see a little ‘rap’ accompany the waist movement at each swing.

I could have gone home satisfied with my 50p worth but it was early. There was a bit of a ‘huff and walk’ as the older guy was ignored, joined by a downward wave of the hand. The others smiled, one took up ‘his’ part with the young fellow now earning ‘bravos’ as he began to be fired up by a solomio performance by the rapper. They played operatic roles moving and changing their parts and taking over from tired voices.

Tosca now, and everyone looked to the audience as a sweet soprano sound echoed forth, but it was him, the rapper, with his back to us. He did the whole thing. He was the strong voice of the male tenor – he was the gentle tones of the sweet soprano as he squeezed his full breasts, made feminine gestures with his hands and pranced around like the baby deer in Pamplona. All of this was done between swigs from the water bottle. The ever changing audience would have stood if they weren’t already. We probably weren’t obeying the etiquette of opera applause but he got the message as he backed away, hands pirouetting gracefully about in the air, and grinning, as the cheering could have been from a thousand.

The older man was back in full song, the now non-anxious young lad was ending his songs with those ear piercing sounds that get audiences so worked up, while the maestro stood back in humble appreciation. It was good – very good – sublime, and ridiculous. We really did miss the old guy with a heavy limp, but the young guy with his bottle of water was the perfect replacement.

And, we certainly topped up the 50p.