Diary Of A Busker Day 132 Monday July 18th Winchester High Street (1. opposite Clinton Cards, Time: 2:05-2:55pm, 2. opposite Whittard, Time: 3:10-4pm).
Another temperamental day of grey sky with sudden bursts of rain. I open my set with a new (and appropriate) tune – The Rain Song by Led Zeppelin. I’ve been wanting to learn this for years, and finally did the other evening, thanks to a youtube instructional video by a Mr. Crisp. The opening guitar, in an unusual tuning, works well as a solo instrumental piece – unlike many Led Zeppelin songs – there’s only so many times you can play a guitar riff, unaccompanied. Once. The instrumental from the first album, Black Mountain Side, I’m working on and the only other Jimmy Page guitar instrumental, Bron-y-Aur, is somewhat dull.
I manage to play just about undercover, in the “covered” stretch of the High Street for 50 minutes before it pours down. I drag my set-up further in and count my money – I know it’s not much, and find I’ve got £3.16p – terrible for almost an hour but, as I know, rain stops pay. Like all the other people, I stand and wait for it to stop, which it does after 20 minutes. I carry on. A man who’s been sitting at a table a few feet away gets up. He says he likes what I’ve been playing but doesn’t have any money to give.
I decide to drag my stuff to a spot about 20 feet away as there is a lot of dirt and sludge that has fallen from the guttering just above me. I play for a bit and a group of French students stop to listen. “Where are you from?” “Paris” they say. I think of the only French song I know, “I know La Vie En Rose, do you know it?” “Ah…La Vie En Rose, oui.” I play it, and although they’re young, most of them sing along. How do they know this 60 year old song? They happen to save my day, all of them putting something in my bucket (English money, not the dreaded Euros) which amounts to about £10, I reckon. I’m grateful – “Merci…Merci beaucoup! Merci!…and um…au revoir!….” I attempt to say, as they depart.
A lady with her son in a buggy stop. They come over. The little boy’s name is Jules, “his dad’s French…”. Jules likes to watch me but doesn’t want to put a coin in the bucket, he just holds it out to me, the same as all very small children do. Then he gets bored and walks across the road and into the chocolate shop opposite.