Diary Of A Busker Day 208

Diary Of A Busker Day 208 Friday March 9th Winchester High Street (1. opposite O2, Time: 1:10-2:20, 2. opposite Bellis, Time: 2:28-3pm).
Rob is in Winchester, again rockin’ the High Street but today he’s not in his usual spot – in front of The Buttercross. He’s down at the crossroads and I’m assuming this is because he’s been asked to move because of his volume. I quickly get The Buttercross spot (actually a few yards down from where Rob plays – I’m not brave enough to stand out in the open like he does) and straight away two young men put some coins in the bucket, but they’re sniggering as they walk off. A minute later I finish the song and lean over to have a look – there are five pound coins and two 1p coins. The £5 is what I put in when I start so they’ve contributed a penny each. I’d maybe forgive them if they were Chinese. Of course, people – usually young men and sometimes children – only exibit this behaviour when in groups or packs of two or more.
It’s Friday and Delia’s about and we go through the same “act” – she opens her small tin where she keeps a couple of pound coins, I say “Don’t give me anything, you haven’t got much…you don’t have to give me something everytime…”, she ignores me, thrusts the coin in my hand, I protest again, she ignores me, I say “I give change, you know”. Only this time, after the “I give change” bit, she takes me up on it – a £2 coin and so she gets a pound back…
Just after Delia, it’s local, ex-army Otto, pretty much off his face again. I forget that this area is his main haunt. At first he doesn’t bother me – he just takes off his shoes and sits against the pillar a few feet to my right. Then he comes to life – he gets up, sort of slides over and it’s “Pley…(he’s thinking)…Apache.” Now although I’m a bit rusty on it, I do know it but it’s a bit early in the day to be taking requests from drunks and I don’t want to do it, or anything else he might suggest. I try and be polite – “No, sorry Otto – I’ve got to play my usual stuff”, which seems to do the trick and he slides back to the pillar…but not for long – he slides back – “Hey, pley Apache!” – he’s much more aggresive and I lose it – “No Otto! Just let me play my stuff, right? You’ve just got to leave me alone!” “Hey – but I pley harmonica, y’know!” Now a man comes over – he’s been listening on the bench across the street for awhile – “Hey! I’M a musician and I wouldn’t like someone like YOU hassling me – now leave this man alone and CLEAR OFF!”, he shouts, which, although I’m able to deal with an Otto situation on my own, I’m quite relieved by. Otto does what he’s told, I thank this (Irish) man for stepping in, he goes back to the bench and I carry on with my set…then hear a faint sound nearby…it’s Otto, playing along to Albatross – and by George, he’s in the right key! I allow him to accompany me – it’s not too intrusive but at the end I tune down to do something in a different key – Yellow Bird…and again, it’s the distant harmonica of Otto – again in the right key – the sod, he must have a chromatic one! Then I hear no more – he must have drifted off. Then, awhile later, almost a whisper – a sound in my left ear – “Pley Chuck Berry.”
Earnings: £27.96p

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