Diary Of A Busker Day 204

Diary Of A Busker Day 204 Friday March 2nd 2012 Winchester High Street 1. Opposite Card Factory, Time: 1:35-2:35pm, 2. Opposite Bellis, Time: 2:45-3:22pm
Rockin’ Rob is in front of The Buttercross and I reckon he’s slowly turning the volume back up these last few weeks…and we’ve got the Korean violinist whose name I think is Kai, or something that sounds like that, according to one of my regulars. I’m quite impressed with Kai, as apart from being a good player, he always turns up in his evening tails – that special jacket conductors and blokes in orchestras wear on posh nights. Kai is down at the crossroads, almost out of Rob’s cone/sphere of influence/volume. As I walk past I hear an unmistakable boom of a voice – ‘YOU’VE MISSED ME, HAVEN’T YOU?!’ I turn and see it’s Maurice, who I saw the other day, back from his eight month absence and roaming about the High Street. He’s got Kai by the hand, he hasn’t seen me… I’m down at the arse-end, in front of Debenhams, and the money’s slow. In fact it’s so slow, it’s almost stopped. I’ll give it an hour…one of my older regulars, with baseball cap and walking cane drops by and keeps me company…for half an hour. This is the man who’s always saying I should put on a homburg whenever I play The Third Man, so I look like Orson Welles, and a fedora for As Time Goes By, a la Bogart. He reminisces about Casablanca, in fact we both do – I think it’s both our favourite film. ‘I know all the words he says, funny isn’t it – what you remember – “Go on, play it! No boss, I don’t know what you mean!'” I do the next bit -“‘Go on, you played it for her, you can play it for me. If she can stand it, so can I – PLAY IT!” Me again – doing Dooley Wilson then Bogart – “Oh, I’m a little rusty, I can’t remember…Go on, PLAY IT!'” And so it goes on, song after song, my old guy whistling along to some of them – ‘Hey, maybe people think I’m part of your act, eh?’ he says. ‘Yeah, they probably do by now.’ He looks in the bucket and says, ‘Oh, is that all?’ I say it is, and five pounds of that I put in when I started. ‘So do you have another job, another source of income?’ ‘No, just this.’ ‘Hmm…but what did you do before – what about a pension?’ ‘A pension? I’ve only ever been a musician. Pension?’ ‘What about the Musician’s Union?’ ‘Musician’s Union? – they’re rubbish!’ By this time I’m getting a bit frustrated; there’s no money coming in and the hour’s almost up. My man puts some pennies in the bucket then gives me a sweet…then I get another sweet from another old guy who’s crossed the road. The hour’s up, my man’s still here. He’s off to get a bus in a minute but before he goes he tells me how a woman mistook him for her husband in a shop – ‘I heard this voice “Oh there you are – how did you get there?” I had my back to her and when I turned round she said “Oh, I thought you were my husband – I left him over there a second ago and wondered how he got over here!” She was a bit, you know…hoity-toity, though.’ ‘Yeah, there are a few of them around here. What did she look like?’ ‘Oh, alright, you know.’ We say goodbye, he goes to get his bus, I go off up the road – I’ve got £3.70p.
On the way to The Buttercross – it’s silent, my rockin’ friend’s gone…I have a short chat with a small Romanian woman, one of the regular Big Issue sellers. I passed her on the way down, earlier and said I’d buy a magazine if I did okay in my session. I now tell her she’s going to have to wait. Whenever we meet, the conversation is always identical – I say, ‘Hello, how have you been?’ She says, ‘Is no good – no one buy. Look, I got twenty, no one buy. I here two hours, no one buy – is no good, you know?’ Every time exactly the same, poor woman. A bit further up I set up and ten minutes after I stopped playing at Debenhams, I’m doing Yellow Bird – always a favourite…apart from today. Even Albatross fails to weave it’s usual magic spell, although I do get a £2 coin from a lady, bringing the total for both sessions to just under £9; embarrassing in it’s meagre-ness, and a frankly appalling display of public miserly-ness…and miserableness.
Earnings: £8.69

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