Diary Of A Busker Day 143 Tuesday August 16th Winchester High Street (opposite Card Factory, Time: 3:10-6:42pm).
One of my “younger” old regulars, 72 year old Anthony, pays me a visit. He’s “still struggling” with the guitar but today has a more pressing concern on his mind. He has arranged for three Russian ladies to visit him in Winchester. He’s met them all on an internet dating site, “talked” to them online and has arranged for them all to come over to decide which one he would like to marry. He’s been married once, now separated from his wife, and says he “liked being married first time around, so why not second time around, that’s my motto.”
And what are these ladies like? To quote what Anthony wrote in the “requirements” form, “they must be beautiful, must be under 25 and must have intelligence – in moderation of course.” So they must be smart, but not smarter than him. And they are all desparate to get out of Russia – at any cost. The problem is they all work and can only take a brief holiday, which for all of them, falls in the same two weeks in August. I believe they are each coming here for a week. A basic understanding of mathematics reveals that twice 7 is 14 – a tight squeeze but enough to accomodate a visit from two potential wives without them meeting one another – this is to be avoided at all costs. But 3 times 7 is 21 and a completely different situation. I wish him luck.
As requested by Janet, girlfriend of the late Jet Harris, he of Shadows fame, I’ve learnt Apache and have played it a few times, but never to her as I’ve not seen her since our initial meeting a few weeks ago. However, all is not in vain. A few minutes after playing it today, one of the local “Drongos”, a swarthy complexioned chap runs up and puts 35p in my bucket. I say he doesn’t have to give me money. “Yeah! You played Apache a minute ago – that’s my favourite song. I heard it up there (points up the High Street)…I got the cd, I play it all the time!” You learn something everyday out here. Well, many thanks to you – Shadow loving Drongo of Winchester.
My “song of the day” is definately Yellow Bird. It’s made me about £8 in five minutes when I played it about an hour in. A freak occurance. This song was also the catalyst to my meeting Brenda and Keith, an elderly couple who recognised the tune as they are walking along on the other side of the road. They come over. “That’s lovely – better than all this, what I call “crash bang” noise I ‘ere ’em play up there (prodding her finger up the street). Now, do you play, oh…what is it…um…Albatross! That’s it! You know, now I love that one!” “Oh, Fleetwood Mac, hm…from 1969, isn’t it? No I don’t. I know how it goes, in my head but not to play. I’ll have a look on the computer tonight.” “Oh yes, I DO love that. We’ll be back ‘ere on the 26th – a Frydee, will you be ‘ere?” “A Friday? Um, yeah, OK. I’ll write that down – the 26th and I’ll see if I can learn it.” “Yeah, cos that’s when we ‘ave to come back to the ‘ospital for ‘im (looks at Keith). Today was ‘is eyes, y’see. ‘Es ‘ad to get some glasses.” “Yeah”, says Keith, “I ‘ave to wear these special glasses with the prism lens in one eye, see. Or else I see double – and I don’t wanna see two of ‘er, y’know.” I must have looked a bit shocked. Brenda says “Oh, it’s owlright, we don’t care – we been togever since we were sixteen, y’know. I ‘ad to ask ‘IM, in the end.”
There are five Oriental girls standing at the nearby corner of Marks And Spencer. They all smile at me. I smile back – how can one not? (I try and smile, or look happy at most everyone when I’m busking). Two of the girls come over. “Can I take picture?” says one. Sure. So she takes a photo of me playing with the other one standing behind me. I ask their names. They are Dai Lee and Hannah(?) Jeong and they’re from Korea. Dai is in a band called Acupuncture – not a bad name for an Oriental group. They speak English quite well but have that inability, common in those from their part of the world, of pronouncing an “L”. (I speak no Korean). My music is “ruvely”, they have been to “Rondon” and are going to spend a week in a cottage in “Riskeard” in “Cornwa”. I tell them about Chet Atkins – they’ve never heard of him. They’ve been to Sainsbury’s and are going to Marks And Spencer in a minute. “That’s expensive in there”, I warn them, but they’ve thought about that, “We go after five o’crock, when the food is cheaper.”
The Oriental theme continues when, soon after the girls, a young Chinaman gives me a £5 note. He doesn’t know it but, as I find out later after the counting, he’s jacked the total up to the often hoped for but rarely achieved £50 mark. A rare thing indeed.