Diary Of A Busker Day ~ 104

Diary Of A Busker Day 104 Wednesday May 25th Winchester High Street (opposite Clinton Cards, Time: 2:05-5:27pm.)

                        An old lady (a potential “regular”?) gives me a pound and says she doesn’t like the  music of today, neither do I, I say, but then we’re not 20, either of us, are we? She goes away, comes back 5 minutes later, “I’ve bought you a sandwich, I thought you’d like one.” I accept this graciously, but am hoping that, if I do see her again, this doesn’t become a habit. I prefer hard cash – always. She comes back a bit later and gives me half a dozen eggs in a carton, “They’re fresh – just been layed today, all fresh!” Again, I accept the eggs (very) graciously. Eggs, I’ve never had that before.

…a young guy in his 20s puts a £10 note in the bucket. I say the usual “That’s alot, you know – would you like some change, I give change?!” “No, I always give that amount.” Then I think, is this the same guy from the other day, who also gave Frank £10? “You look familiar, did you do this a few days ago?” “Yeah, I always give that amount.” “That’s what I usually get in an hour, you know – £10. Well, thanks!” Speaking of which, my suited gent who also gave £10 the other day turns up, this time with a friend – a lady who designs “art for the environment”. She likes what I play but she hasn’t any money, she says (although I thought I saw a 50p coin in her hand for a fraction of a second but maybe it was something else, a foreign coin…hm.), but I can have a 4 leaf clover instead. But two of the leaves are broken off. She still puts it in my bucket, followed a minute later by 2 small wooden (lightly fragranced) balls, then a small elastic band and it’s at this point where I say “No more weird things in the bucket, please.” She ignores me and puts 3 first class stamps in (I suppose I can use these), then 6 air mail stickers (these too). My suited man, who I’ve found out works for the council reckons I should set up in the Square nearby. I’d make alot of money, he says. He also knows a lady who runs a restaurant there. I don’t mind going there, but I’d rather he put in a “good word” for me beforehand.

       A portly man in a suit stops, he wants to know if I’d like to join his band, they’re looking for a new lead guitarist – their old one had “some personal problems” (there’s always one). I have to decline. I give him my hard luck story – 30 years playing loud music…ears destroyed, tinnitus…pitching problems…loud cymbals… He should put an ad in the CY Music website, £8 for a year, not bad, although I’ve had a guitar tuition ad on it for a few months and no one’s phoned…

       A man walking his bike past me stops to listen. He’s at least 70 and wearing a cowboy hat. He puts the kickstand down and parks his bike in the middle of the street – lengthways. He does a sort of semi-dance and throws his arms wide then kind of half blocks the paths of women walking by, not quite harrassing, just mildly annoying, I suppose. They just walk on looking bemused, or amused. After a bit of this, which was almost amusing for me for about 30 seconds, he comes over, pulls up a chair from the table (for the customers of the Costa restaurant just behind me) and sits down next to me. He’s not going to get too comfortable, I hope. No, he gets up and does his arm-stretching/minor annoyance to women routine again – not amusing to me at all now. It looks really weird, maybe because you don’t often see men this old behaving like this. He’s definately over 70. After a few more minutes of this he comes back and sits down again. Oh well.  I’m playing La Vie En Rose and by coincidence see my kind old French lady Marie-Therese walking down the street. She comes over, opens her purse and gives me a £10 note! I protest, “No, No! It’s too much – you haven’t got much…” It’s no use, she wants me to have it. I want to give her some change, even a £5 note. No, she won’t have it. “I like your playing – I have this money, but anothere day – I might have only… a 2 pee, you know.” “You don’t have to give me anything, Marie.” Once again, it’s the poor who are often the most generous. I feel guilty though…so I give my carton of eggs to her. It’s the least I can do, “They’re fresh, just layed today…”.  As I’m talking to her this man is still sitting next to me, now he gets up and takes her hand and kisses it and I can tell she doesn’t like it. Then he tries to kiss her face, she doesn’t like that at all and recoils. “Are you from Winches-tair?” she says to him. “No, I flew here” he says. He sounds Irish. “I think he’s still flying!” I say to Marie. He leans over and gobs on the street grill next to me, it’s disgusting. Marie looks like she’s going to be sick.

     I debut a “new” song today – (Somewhere) Over The Rainbow from The Wizard Of Oz film from 1938. It’s been in the back of my mind for a week or so, ever since my soon-to-be-one hundred  regular Henry requested it. I investigated (checked out) quite a few versions on youtube and of course listened to the original, sung by Judy Garland in the key of A. There’s alot of “jazzing” up in most of the arrangements – many have rather complicated chord changes, and chords – jazz chords, even Chet Atkins’ version didn’t appeal to me. I decided to strip down to the basic major and minor chords, as used in the original and keep it simple. By the end of this day I’ve played it a few times and it’s definately much more fluid than it was at the start – although I haven’t had anyone come up and remark on it yet. I do, however, get two young mothers with two children (each) in those double prams you can get now, pulling up and listening – one child has just been crying, the poor thing – I hope he doesn’t start up again…

  3 comments for “Diary Of A Busker Day ~ 104

  1. Hugh
    27/05/2011 at 11:13 PM

    Somewhere Over the Rainbow… all the “modern” interpretations eg Eva Cassidy, the cast of Glee, and others, seem to omit the octave leap between the first and second notes. I cannot accept this: it seems to me to be the essential defining opening. But I accept that the song is so well-known that a de-construction, if that’s the right word, ie a confounding of audience expectation, is valid. I’m not keen on Judy Garland’s stereotypical Hollywood-coached singing style anyway, ie hit the note, start wobbling….
    It’s a nice composition and tolerates many harmonic treatments. I hope you can coinfirm that the octave leap is still there in your arrangement? Otherwise I’ll come down to Winchester and take money out of your bucket!

    • Marvin B Naylor
      28/05/2011 at 12:28 AM

      Indeed Hugh, I can confirm that I do the octave leep. Also, thanks for mentioning the Eva Cassidy version – I’d never heard it until 10 minutes ago and I have to say I think it’s appalling – not just the omission of the octave leap (I agree, It’s essential, how can anyone not do this?) but the whole thing – ignoring most of the main melody and improvising/ “jazzing” up the beautiful “someday I’ll wish upon a star…” bridge bit. Singers on cruise ships get away with this shit… I took alot of my arrangement from a guy (about 50 years old) on youtube who does a very simple version (singing it- capo 5th fret), and no jazzed up chords. I put my capo on the 2nd fret, so you can play it in G and it’s in the right key of the original – Garland’s key in the film. Please let me know of any versions you think are worth hearing – the Eric Clapton one is unspeakably vile…

  2. Hugh
    30/05/2011 at 10:06 AM

    Well, I’ve just found that Spotify has around 60 versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, so I’m not intending to explore them! I’ve got a deadline approaching for transcribing and learning some French Folk dances, I’m afraid, and must attend to that task.

    I quite like playing the basic original tune with its original majors, minors and sevenths. To my mind, it’s just a decent old song that everyone knows, to be trotted out occasionally as the rain clears during one of my outdoor performances. Along with things like “Raindrops keep falling on my head”, “The sun has got his hat on” or “Here Comes the Sun”.

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