Diary Of A Busker Day 164 Tuesday October 4th Winchester High Street (opposite O2, Time: 1:30-3:30pm, 4:22-6pm).
At The Buttercross, I chat to five girls advertising the Health Lottery, in white suits, each with a different coloured Afro wig and each with a matching coloured balloon. They say I should play at The Buttercross – where Frank and others sometimes play, but I’m too shy for that, I tell them – it’s a quite exposed place. I’ll set up a few feet away, opposite Smiths.
During La Paloma can just make out a figure standing to the left of me, trying to hide behind the pillar. At the end, the figure emerges. Remarkably, it’s Ian, my Spanish music lover – a big fan of my La Paloma renditions. He says he’s just been to a piano recital by Roger Owens, in the cathedral. I used to take lessons from Roger years ago. He was a nice bloke. I even got to the stage of writing a Chopin-esque Nocturne which Roger liked so much he said he might play at one of his recitals. I said “no on will know it, though.” He said, “It doesn’t matter – most people wouldn’t know that. They don’t know what they’re listening to half the time – most of them!” I don’t know if he ever did, probably not! I ask Ian what he played. “Listz – he got around a bit – spread his seed, didn’t he? Then he was an Abbe, or something, a priest, wasn’t he?” “I believe he was.” “See, if you play your cards right, you could become a Cardinal.”
A very short man, about 70, in a suit and tie, listens at the bench across the pavement then comes over and donates. “I like what you play. Thought I’d stay and listen for awhile to get my money’s worth! Do you do requests?” I show him my song list, “If it’s on here…” “Can’t Help Falling In Love – you do that one?” “No. Marlene Deitrich?” “Elvis.” “Ah…no. I know how it goes (I try and play it…), something like that.” “Yes, that’s it.” “I tell you what – I’ll look it up when I get home and I’ll learn it – it’s a good one, isn’t it?” “OK, when you learn it, I’ll sing it!”, he says. “Um, yeah…OK. I might even learn it for tomorrow.” “Yes, that’s your homework.” I reckon it’s a good one to put in the set as so many people must know it…and it’s easy…I’ll keep it simple.
Three men walk by. One, wearing the white England football shirt, stops. “Hey, d’you know Batman? – I know you do James Bond.” “Batman ? The 60s one?” “Yeah.” “No, but I think that’s a good one – I’ll look into it!” Batman – I never would have thought of that, but again, loads of people know it, and it’s done on a guitar.
A (male – but more of that later) puppy runs up and sticks his head in my bucket and almost knocks it over. It’s owner calls to it, then stands near me, while a few other people come over to fawn at the dog, saying things like, “Ah, how old is he”, “Isn’t he cute?”, “He’s so sweet!” “Ahhh, you’re just a baby, aren’t you?” while the dog’s jumping up, revealing a fully grown (and erect) penis, and they’re still going on – “Ah, he wants a cuddle!” says a lady, while the dog trys to “cuddle” her leg.
I get an unusual “commision” during the day’s busking. A young American guy wants to surprise his soon-to-be bride by having me play three songs to her before her wedding on Saturday. The songs are: Bare Neccessities, La Vie En Rose and Hallelujah – he plays me a recording of Jeff Buckley’s version on his phone…