Diary Of A Busker Day 161 Monday September 26th Winchester High Street (1. opposite Phase Eight, Time: 1:50-4:37pm, 2. opposite Vodafone, Time: 5:20-6:30pm).
My budding 72 year old guitarist, Anthony and Mick, the ex-cruise musician drop by at the same moment. Anthony says he has a bone to pick with me -apparently I’ve given him some wrong information concerning some guitar thing. “You’ve told me something wrong – Middle C isn’t where you say it is, on the guitar…” Well, it is, and I spend ten minutes convincing him – it’s the 1st fret, 2nd string. He really cannot get his head around the difference between the piano – which he plays, and the guitar – which is all new to him. He then proves he knows all the notes up to the 5th fret by putting his fingers on every one, starting on the 1st string, 1st fret -F, then the 2nd fret – F#, 3rd – G, and so on, then to the 2nd string – B,C,C#,D,Eb then the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th strings, pointing and naming every note.
Just after I begin at my 2nd location, a woman runs out of the Vodafone shop, comes over to me, holds out her phone to me and says, “My child in Kenya wants to listen to a busker!” It takes me by surprise and I just look at her – with a mixture of amusement…and confusion, or a slight smile but worried/confused in the eye region. A few seconds later and she runs back into the shop.
Later…I employ a bit of blatant opportunism – which backfires. I start playing Albatross and a couple in their 30s stop to listen, then a girl walks past them, wearing a Beatles T-shirt so I abruptly stop Albatross and (abruptly) start When I’m Sixty-Four, a very well-known Beatles song. The couple – who were enjoying Albatross – look nonplussed and hold their hands up, look at each other, then at me, not knowing what’s going on. This Beatles girl just walks by and doesn’t even look at me. I play through the Beatles song then go back to Albatross – my couple love it. I reckon I’m lucky they’re still here. They come over. They look a bit “biker-ish”, with black leather jackets. They are Sharon and Martin – not from Winchester but “Hampshire born an’ bred, strong in the arm, thick in the ‘ead.” says Martin. “And is he?” say I to her. “Yeah!” They have a look at me song list – can I play Apache? Sure, although lately I’m a bit rusty on this, but I’ll give it a go…after I tell them about Jet Harris’s girlfriend – the reason I learnt it. Here it is then – Apache. It’s an odd one to do out here with just one guitar – there are big spaces between the melody lines, but with the reverb boosted a bit and the vibrato going, you’re halfway there. As long as the “sound” is right – that’s the thing people recognise, I reckon. It also helps having a near-deserted street.
I spend the final twenty minutes watching people – couples, those with buggies, people on their own – dodging around, or not, in the case of the unobservant – seven lumps of dog droppings, lying in the middle of the pavement.
Earnings: £40.15p (and one US nickel – 5 cents)