Diary Of A Busker Day 198

Diary Of A Busker Day 198 Monday February 20th Winchester High Street (opposite Vodafone, Time: 1:35-2:45pm).

Walking through the Westgate, I can hear the unmistakable thunp, thump/fiddle-de-de sound that can only be from Guy and his folk franchise. And a two minutes later I pass him, at The Buttercross (we nod to each other) and I carry on down to the crossroads. More from him later. It’s a bit cold today and the crossroads is in an exposed area, where the High Street widens, but it’ll do for a bit.
Not long in, two young ladies stop to say how much they like my Elvis Can’t Help Falling In Love With You. They’re German – from Berlin, and in England for two weeks. I ask them how they like it here, it’s cold, isn’t it? Not as cold as in Germany, where it’s minus twenty and people are dying. “You mean old people?” “No, people on the street”, says Jasmin. And what do they like about Winchester, I ask. The buildings – they’re very old-fashioned. have they seen the two things everyone sees when they visit – the King Alfred statue and the round table? “You mean the one with the names on it?” Yes. “Oh ya, ve hev.” Tomorrow they’re off to Torquay. They want to know what it’s like, “Is it very beautiful? Vat is it like?” Oh dear. I ask if they’ve been to Brighton – they have. I tell them it’s a bit like that – an English sea-side town. They look confused, or concerned. They’re joined by a few more of their group and soon they have to meet two more groups at the cathedral – the other place where evryone goes when in Winchester. But before that they want to do some more shopping (they love the shops, too). I get them to write their names on my pad: Jasmin, Josi, Anne, Keara, Mirenda, Annabelle, Maxi, Sophia and Karo – and a more un-German bunch of names I’ve never seen. They disappear into the Laura Ashley shop across the way.
I’ve been playing just under an hour and my fingers are getting cold – I’m thinking of stopping soon and having a break, maybe even going home, when a CPSO (Community police support officer – a not-quite-a-proper-police-officer-person) comes up with a young lady in civillian clothes. He bends his knees, lowers himself down to my level, hands clasped. He says, I’m sorry but we’ve had a couple of complaints about the volume, from shops up there (points up the street towards The Buttercross) and I’m going to have to ask you to pack up and leave.” I’m quite surprised – complaints? From up there? “Complaints? About me?” “Yes, well, no. About the people up there (Guy and his lot)…I’ve asked them to move on, so I have to ask you to, as well.” “But no one’s complained about ME?” “No – do you know the code on buskers?” “Go on.” “Well, if we move one person on we have to move everyone on, to be fair on everyone.” “What! So if someone up there is too loud, I have to move as well?” “Yeah, don’t get me wrong, I personally really like what you play (ta, copper)but that’s the rule. I’ll give you ten, fifteen minutes to finish up – you can move further down the road, you just have to move from here.” “Right, OK.” I still can’t believe it – “But no one’s complained about ME?” “No, it’s them up there.” “But that’s crazy”, I say again. I feel a bit sorry for him and he looks a bit embarrassed. I say I’ll pack up in a few minutes and they both goe off, him with this girl, maybe she’s a “rookie”. Maybe he’s showing her the ropes. I wonder if she’s impressed. Still, I was about to go, anyway. I carry on with Yellow Bird, Wheels and Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring…then the culprit(s) walk by – Guy and his too-loud-faux-folk criminals. He looks over at me, somewhat sheepishly I thought – as well you might, sir – I’ve been asked to move because of you – I wonder if the copper told him that. I could have got angry, especially if he’d come up to me just after I started playing, but, such is life (as the French say), live and let live, or whatever. I can’t wait to tell Frank about this – what a stupid “rule” – I have to leave because someone else is too loud.

  5 comments for “Diary Of A Busker Day 198

  1. 26/02/2012 at 2:12 PM

    Thanks for a really entertaining blog – I clicked a Nick Tann Facebook link (I’m a podcaster like him). You must have thought about making this into a book? I’ve linked to you from ‘Natural Light’ one of my photo blogs (if you ever come up to Liverpool to play I’ll photo document your busk!) – http://DarkhorseLiverpool.blogspot.com

    • Marvin B Naylor
      26/02/2012 at 7:41 PM

      Hello Alan,
      Thank you for your kind comment. In fact I’ve been sending this out to literary agents in the hope of getting it represented…it’s been turned down by about 20 so far, although Mr. Tann and I are presently working on a form of book to be sold on the website and locally. I’ve been to Liverpool a few times over the years (I played The Royal Court in ’87!), a great place! I’d definately let you know if I ever get to busk there. “All the best”, Marvin.

  2. 27/02/2012 at 10:49 AM

    I would have stood your ground Marvin. He had no right to move you on, no right at all. As long as you stay relaxed and polite ( as I know you are) they have no right to move you on.

    • Marvin B Naylor
      27/02/2012 at 12:33 PM

      Well, I should have – but if someone in a police uniform says “the busker’s code says…” whatever it says, beiing a naive, believing sort of chap, I believe them, HOWEVER, you are indeed correct. I have just phoned Hampshire Council, (after looking at this Busker’s Code on their website, and seeing nothing about someone having to move on if there’s a complaint about someone ELSE), and the woman I spoke to has verified that the police are not allowed to move anyone one who has not had a complaint made against them. She has advised me to contact the police to update their policy.

  3. 28/02/2012 at 12:31 AM

    Any rule that stated that all buskers have to be moved on because one busker is too loud would be contrary to natural justice.

    Well done getting the facts on this, and good luck with re-educating the CPSO.


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