Diary Of A Busker Day 148 Sunday August 28th Winchester High Street (1. opposite Reflex, Time: 1:40-2:50pm, 2. opposite Winchester Bus Station, Time: 3-3:50pm).
I’m lucky enough to get a pound coin from an American lady with her young son – before I start. I see them alot when I’m out here but don’t know their names yet although I’m sure I’ve asked her son’s – and she would have told me. Not long after I start, 73 year old Anthony turns up to question me further about playing the guitar, then a couple of minutes later Purple God Woman Wendy – my Sunday regular turns up. I stop Anthony prodding my guitar fretboard (“so that’s E, that’s F, that’s F#…) and introduce them to each other. Anthony lets her know his house number, and they have a conversation standing right in front of me. I say I really have to start playing again – I’m not out here for my health…after half an hour I hear a sound – interupting MY sound, coming from up the road. It’s part time Sainsbury’s worker Tony – and his loud saxophone and backing tracks. I can’t compete with this, especially when we’re playing in keys a semitone apart – it makes me feel ill. What about everyone else? People walk by and say tings like; “You’ve got competition!” and “You need a bigger amp!” I can’t believe he hasn’t seen or heard me. He’s way too loud and after a few minutes I give up and pack up. I walk past him – he’s not saxophoning as he’s talking to someone, but he’s left his backing track tape on – it’s SO loud.
…however, one good thing is that it’s made me go even further down the road, to a place I’ve never busked at before – outside the Tourist Information office, across the road from the bus station and Coral betting “shop”. I can still hear Tony (blasting out The Hollies dirge He ‘Aint Heavy, He’s My Brother or He ‘Aint Quiet, He’s Tony The Loudest Busker In Town), but he’s a minor annoyance here. I set up, start playing and a cab driver sitting in his car – I’ve realised I’m right next to a Taxi rank – winds his window up! What a friendly welcome – I didn’t actually want to come down here, pal.
A man gives me a pound then goes across the road and into the betting shop. A few minutes later he comes out, walks across the road and flashes some notes at me. “Wow, did you win something? It looks about fifty pounds “, I say. “Yeah – forty six pounds. Sebastion (someone or other) just won the Grand Prix!” he says, clearly over the moon.
It seems like a long time since any notes fell in my bucket – but my wait is over. Two punkish looking girls – they’ve got a variety of metal on their faces – hand me a £5 note. Of course I thank them, ask if they want change – £5 is alot of money. “No, we found it in the street and thought we’d give it to someone who needed it”, one says. “Well thanks, that’s made my day!” say I, most truthfully.
I need to be away by 4 o’clock as I have a half hour set of original music to play at The Railway at 6, so after less than an hour I pack up. Just before I do, another cab pulls up and the driver stares at me for a minute. I’m waiting for HIS window to go up but he keeps it open. Maybe he’s deaf (a deaf cab driver?), or maybe he’s just a bit more polite than the other guy.