Diary Of A Busker Day 197

Diary Of A Busker Day 197 Friday February 17th Winchester High Street (opposite O2, Time: 4:40-6:20pm).
I head down to my favourite spot these days – the crossroads, but see there’s already someone there. It’s a young lady singer, who is barely audible. In fact I thought it was just someone standing waiting to meet someone until I ws about 15 feet away, then she started singing, no backing tapes or microphone or anything. I quickly head back up the road to get the place down from The Buttercross – just in case there’s anybody else about, looking to set up.
After I start, seven Chinese people take up residence on the bench opposite. They’re there for awhile and seem to enjoy what I’m playing. After twenty minutes they get up and come over – all smiling at me. They all drop some coins in the bucket and because they’re my first “customers”, I can easily see how much they’ve put in – all I do is take off the £4 I put in when I started. And the grand total for my seven Chinese fans is…80 pence. I have to say I’ve noticed this seemingly stingy characteristic of my other Chinese “clients”, although I don’t think they mean to be mean, as it were. Odd though, they really seem to like the music – in fact the more they like it, the less they seem to give.
Today I’m lucky enough to sell a cd of original music – to a young guy who saw me at an open-mic night at the nearby Forte Tea Rooms (althought there’s just the one room), a couple of weeks ago. We discuss the evening, which was not without some drama – I walked off in the middle of a song when someone threw a wet rolled up tissue at me. I lost my “rag”, stopped playing, gave a short lecture over the mic along the lines of it being “extremely disrespectful to throw something at someone while they’re playing…I’m very upset…”, demanded to know who threw it and when, after demanding several times, someone put their hand up, threw the offending wet object (full pelt) back at them and hit the person next to them by mistake. “For once, I lost my cool – I’ve never done anything like that before but I’ve never had anything thrown at me before (apart from a large hunting knife, at a gig in an Indian reservation in the wilds of Canada some 30 years ago, another story…)”. “I don’t blame you, I thought it was digusting. I left after that”, said my cd purchaser, a nice chap.
A guy pulls up on his bike – I recognise him from a few months ago. He’s an opera singer, I remember him telling me about walking in on Cleo Laine while she was in a severe state of undress. “Hello” he says, “nice to see you again.” “Hello…(I can’t remember his name – it’s William Kendall), you alright? You’re a singer, aren’t you?” “Oh, yes!” He talks a bit then mentions Cleo Laine. “Yeah, I remember you said you worked with Cleo Laine.” “Oh yes, marvellous! And one time I was quite embarrassed… (I know what’s coming next but let him tell the story again)…I went down to her dressing room, you know, and there she was, with nothing on! Well, I must have gone very red, she just laughed and said “What’s the matter, haven’t you seen a naked woman before?”, you know.”
At 6 o’clock there’s hardly anyone about – although, as I’ve noted many times before, the money comes in (or doesn’t) at the same rate as when it’s alot busier. A local “drongo” comes up – a young guy with no front teeth. “There’s a guy at The Buttercross who wants to know when you’re finishing – he’s got a guitar.” “Oh right – does he want to play?” “Yeah, I suppose – he asked me to ask you.” “He asked YOU to ask ME?” Strange. “Well, you can tell him I’ll be finished soo, just after this song.” “Oh no, it’s no big thing, he just wants to know when you’ll be finishing.” “Ok well, like I said, after this song – I was going home, anyway.” I was – it’s cold. “Ok, I’ll tell him.” And off he goes. However, two minutes later I’ve packed up and on walking past The Buttercross, can see just one bloke – another drongo sitting down against the pasty shop ten feet away from the monument. I enquire as to the whereabouts of the busker-in-waiting – “Some guy said there was someone else who wanted to play, waiting here.” The drongo looks at me. “Really?” “Yeah, have you seen someone here while I was down there?” “No.” Bizarre.
Earnings: £18.75p.

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