He’s done for the day, but Llewellyn Jones very kindly agrees to perform one more number so that I can take his picture this evening on Hosier Lane in Melbourne.
“I’ll do a cover of a cover,” he says into his microphone to his audience of one. With that he begins to play Jack Johnson’s version of the classic 70’s song “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”, by singer Rupert Holmes. It’s a chilled-out song, perfect for a relaxed evening amid the chaotic colors of this famous and ever-changing city laneway.
Originally from Sydney, Adam performs under his middle and last names after his Welsh grandfather. He’s been busking for about a year or so, and just renewed his Melbourne city busking permit for another twelve months. “I made that money back within a couple of hours,” he tells me as he puts the money he’s collected in his guitar case into a glass jar with a screw-top lid.
“I kind of like coming down here because it’s like a nice surprise for people I think. I feel like when people are here they’re walking along looking at the art and stuff so they’re maybe a little more accepting of me,” he says as people slowly walk by, their cameras and phones in their hands snapping shots of the spayed walls.
Sitting amidst the graffiti, tags, stencils, and scrawls, Adam is often the focus of a photograph. I offer to send him the picture I take but then comment that he must be inundated with similar offers from the hundreds of people who must have taken his picture.
“You’d be surprised, I get like hardly anyone offers to do that,” he tells me. “Sometimes it’s like people must take hundreds of photos of me every day, like really close too, then nothing, not a penny, not even a thank you.”
I joke that if he had a dollar for every picture someone took he might make more money. The thing is that’s probably true.
“I bight my tongue everyday man,” he says. “I’ve come this close to making a sign that says ‘donation for a photo’ but that’s not what I want to be, you know?”
A keen snowboarder, Adam can be found working the chairlifts in the winter months at Thredbo, a ski resort town in the mountains of New South Wales.
“No matter whatever, you’ll always find me there in June, July, August, and September,” he says. “I make decent money there for four months, then I spend a time doing whatever I want.”
He’ll be playing Hosier Lane for a little while longer for sure, but winter is just around the corner, and so pretty soon Adam will be swapping his guitar for his snowboard which sounds like a pretty good life to me.
Watch a video of Adam performing on Hosier Lane.
Stand where this picture was taken using Google Street View.