Diary Of A Busker Day 210

Diary Of A Busker Day 210 Wednesday March 14th 2012 Winchester High Street 1. Opposite Card factory Time: 1:38-2:59pm, 2. Opposite O2, Time: 3:18-4:42pm
As the Buttercross spot is taken – by Rob (still getting louder) and the middle spot at the crossroads by Frank, I’ve again got the raw end of the deal – down at Debenhams. As I’m setting up, a tall man walking by says, ‘I haven’t got any change – I’ll give you some later, okay?’ ‘Yeah, okay.’ Actually, I think he’s drunk – he’s more staggering than walking. Sure enough, he returns – with can of Strongbow cider and a cigarette. He sits down on the pavement, right opposite me on the other side of the street, in front of the alley way which leads to the back of the shops. He listens…and gets up now and then to 1. walk about, and 2. talk/shout at anyone passing. He then gets a chair from behind the big bin which is just inside the alleyway, puts it down on the pavement and sits. I reckon I’m guaranteed an audience of one, at least, for the duration. I play When I’m Sixty-Four and he joins in on the “birthday greetings, bottle of wine” bit, which occurs in ONE of the song’s verses – but in this guy’s version, it occurs in ALL of the verses, somewhat appropriately, perhaps. Then – ‘Hey! d’ya know Greensleeves?!’ Well, I have the music in my book and could probably fake it (or busk it), but I’m growing weary of him and in fact, slowly starting to hate him – he’s making my time go slow and the money’s not coming in, either. ‘No!’ I shout across. ‘What about bluesleeves?!’ he shouts back. ‘NO!’ He gives up, gets up – still with can of cider and fag and now he wants to dance with the women, mainly old, who are walking by. Some humour him and oblige with a brief – a very brief twirl, some are definitely not amused. He even wants to dance with some of the men and gets quite aggressive if someone – anyone – doesn’t want to play his game.
He’s now joined by a local down and out who goes and pulls out another chair from behind the bin (these guy’s have been here before, surely), draws it up next to the first guy’s chair and sits down. The first guy sits down and so now my audience has doubled. Now guy ONE is shouting something at me, but it’s hard to understand – his voice is just a kind of low growl, like an animal that’s getting wound up. Next thing I know, he’s run across the street, tripped on something a few feet from me and is flat out on the pavement, right next to me, and to finish the job, my bucket’s been knocked over and all the money, which I admit isn’t much, is everywhere. His mate runs across and helps him up. I say, ‘I think you better stay over the other side,’ which is rather on the polite side considering how annoyed I am, and anyway, what was he going to do to me if he hadn’t tripped? He certainly wasn’t coming to shake my hand. I may just have a loose paving stone to thank for my safe exit/continued existence…or maybe I just see the worst in people.
His mate says ‘Sorry about your bucket’ and I reply ‘It’s okay, it’s not your fault,’ and he helps him back over to the other side. By this time I’ve had enough and decide to do two more songs then leave – that’ll take my time here to an hour and a quarter. I play Duck Baker’s arrangement of Georgia On My Mind; slow, a bit jazzy, a bit late-night. Behind the music, I can hear the drunk growling, now and then almost imperceptible, then, all of a sudden loud, then a murmur – any words there may be are undecipherable. All I can think of is that this sounds exactly like a Tom Waits song, with this maniac growling. I start to crack up. I’m laughing, with my head down so my chin’s touching the top of my guitar. It’s EXACTLY like a Tom Waits song –  my guitar could easily be a piano. It’s so funny, I think ‘there must be some money in this!’ It really does crack me up.
In my break I chat to Frank, up the road. He got here late, he says – ‘I was up all night looking for her… (pats his dog, Kazoo – asleep in her basket on top of his cart)…she went missing, from two till four o’clock. I couldn’t find her anywhere – even phoned the police. Then I found her – you know where she was? At the pub – ’cause that’s the place she knew where I’d be going.’
Earnings: £22.45

  4 comments for “Diary Of A Busker Day 210

  1. Oli
    26/03/2012 at 10:13 AM

    Hi there, great blog 🙂 I’m 15 and I’m thinking about doing a saturday busking in Guildford. It would be my first time- any tips/good spots? Thanks a lot.

    • 26/03/2012 at 10:33 AM

      Hello Oli, I’ve never been busking in Guildford, so I’m not familiar with the terrain, as it were, however, try to: 1. Keep the volume “at a reasonable level”, 2. Play for just half an hour to start with – here in Winchester, the council “suggests” not more than an hour – but I know loads of buskers who play for a lot longer than that – including me! Still, if you’re starting out – best keep it short, 3. If anyone (shop people/police/cpso people) ask you to turn down, don’t get into an argument, just do it! 4. Don’t set up near any other buskers or Big Issue sellers – ask them how long they’ll be there if you want to play there. 5. Keep close to a building and not in the way of people/dogs.
      I’d be interested to know what instrument you play.

  2. Charlotte
    02/04/2012 at 8:00 PM

    Hi Marvin,

    I’ve seen you in Winchester a few times but I’m always in a bit of a hurry so I haven’t had time to stop and really listen to what you play. I’ve just discovered your youtube videos and this blog, I recognised you straight away and I cannot stop listening to your music. I just wanted to say thank you really, for being such an amazing guitar player, and for spending so much time and effort on not only busking, but this blog. I’ve always had a passion for singing… When I sing, it makes me extremely happy, but, I’ve never had the confidence to do anything with it. Thank you for sharing your talent, I’ll be sure to drop by next time I’m in Winchester 🙂

    • 03/04/2012 at 2:01 AM

      Hello Charlotte,
      I appreciate your taking the time to let me know this. It sort of makes up for a lot of times when it seems like EVERYONE ignores you (or any busker!), and that there seems little point in being out there, which I do feel sometimes. In fact, the reason I started the diary was due to this – when I started busking (in Southampton) a year and a half ago, I had such a bad, depressing time, I thought “I’m going to try and get something out of this, if it’s the last thing I do!” Let me know if there’s a “favourite” song – of one of the videos and I’ll brush up on it, when you’re next around and again, thank you. It means a lot!

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