Diary Of A Busker Day 180 Tuesday November 15th Winchester High Street (opposite Bellis, Time: 1:25-3:47pm).
A sunny day – not too warm, though – although it is the middle of November. I do my pre-busk reconnoitring of the High Street. There’s no one else about apart from Guy with two of his folk conglomerate franchise, down at the crossroads. He’s got a sign which says HALF PRICE BUSKING TODAY. I stop and chat to him for a minute – “How’s it going?” “Alright – for a Tuesday.” I point out his sign – I tell him I might do a “quarter price busking today.” Guy suggests I go up to The Buttercross – it’s either there or down at Debenhams. I go up to The Buttercross, where I’m just about out of range of him and his two “accomplices” – on accordion and violin, or fiddle, as they like to say.
An old lady likes my authentic, Zither-like Third Man arrangement: “That Third Man gives me the tingles…(It’s a common phenomenon in the over 70s female population, upon hearing my Third Man rendition), …I’m showing my age”, she says. I explain about my two versions: this one and the 1960 Chet Atkins one. “Stick to the old – keeps the tingles going!” So I do – I need the practice – it’s alot more difficult than the C. Atkins version. While I’m playing it, a man – younger than me, stands a few feet away on my right. I look at him, he says “No, carry on – I’ll ask you something at the end.” …at the end he says he’s a guitar player and wants to know if I give lessons and could I teach him how to play it. Now, I’ve had some people ask about lessons, but never has anyone expressed a desire to learn The Third Man – therefor , I’ll name it Song Of The Day.
My Down’s Syndrome pal, Thomas comes and stands by me – I’m playing James Bond, which he likes. “Do you know this one?” “Goldeneye”, he says. “Close – it’s The James Bond Theme.” He does a half-walk/dance across the street and into WH Smiths, comes out a few minutes later, laughs at something in a TV/gossip magazine that he’s just bought, gets a penny from his pocket, comes over, shows it to me and puts it in my bucket. Always consistent with his donations, is Thomas.
I’ve been able to play more or less non-stop for over two hours, despite it being somewhat on the chilly side, and the money’s been OK – just a bit above the hourly average.