Diary Of A Busker Day 220

Diary Of A Busker Day 220 Friday April 6th Winchester High Street (1. opposite Vodafone, Time: 12:55-2pm, 2. opposite Phase Eight, Time: 3:45-5:45pm).
This is the first day of the Easter holiday and there certainly are alot (of people) about. “Rockin'” Rob is just across from The Buttercross, talking to Frank…so it’s down the street I go, and I can hear her already – the opera singer, down at the crossroads…I carry on… down to Debenhams, then turn back, walk up – she’s stopped singing and is taking a break. I go to her, tell her she sounds great…and ask when she’s back “on” – not for at least an hour, she says as she needs to give her throat a rest – she’s having problems with it today. This is Demelza Stafford, who I’ve heard (from a distance) a number of times but never met until now. I know she’s very popular – lots of people rave about her here. She’s a very nice lady, quite a bit younger than me, and does a good trade whenever she’s here – about once a month. She performs in the middle of the street – the pedestrian bit, and has a little table set up where she has her cds (£10 each) and a cd player with her backing tracks. I notice when she performs she puts on a different pair of shoes – a high-heeled pair, and she’s tall without them. With them, she’s taller than me. We agree for me to play while she’s on her break so I do an hour, which is enough for one session, really. Then she takes the “stage” and plays her intro tune, which she tells me later is The Drinking Song from Verdi’s La Traviatta – “every Verdi opera has a drinking song!” she says. Then she introduces herself – “Ladies and gentlemen! My name is Demelza Stafford! I’ve just started on my opera career and I hope you enjoy my show, this first song…” She’s very good and gets an arc of people watching. After her show which is always twenty minutes long, she does alright with her cds and signs autographs – alot of them for young girls. During her next break (during which I play again), she talks about her voice problem which I say I don’t notice – and I bet no one else does. She says she’s singing flat. “Really? – I can’t tell”, I say. “But there’s always one who can”, she says. “A man came up to me and I said I was having voice problems and he said ‘yeah, you’re flat’, and I thought…you know, it just takes one to make it a downer.” I know, I say.
After my second, shorter set, I’ve packed up my stuff – my bag’s slung over my shoulder and I’m listening to her, when BANG – I hear a knock and my bag is jolted, followed seconds later by the slow build up to earth-shattering scream – common to all small children (in this case – a 4 year old girl), when they’re in pain. She must have hit her forehead where the corner of my amp is – oh dear. It really must have hurt – to make a sound I could hear above Demelza and everything else going on. The girl and her mother are a few seconds away from me now and for a split second I think of running up and apologising but decide not too, thinking “what’s the point”!, but it must have really hurt.
My last session is down from The Buttercross outside Boots – a place I’ve neglected of late. I make up for it, though – a two hour spot. I make the aquaintance of three American girls (young ladies, actually), who love my music. They all shake my hand, for which I apologise for being somewhat cold. I get them to write their names down – Rachel Holloway, Bonnie Murray and Caroline something or other – I can’t read it. “You make our day”, they put afterwards. I also meet Brandon, who has, with a few others, been “working the street” for The Red Cross. he says they’re all put up in a house for a week and visit a different nearby town every day. So what’s it like – trying to get passers-by to sign up? he loves it but now and again he gets the “odd one” – “I’ve had people push me about – I had one person spit on me.” “Really? Where was that?” “Southampton.” I’m not surprised, I say – and tell him about my experiences busking there in 2010, when I’d play for hours and get practically nothing.
Earnings: £52.74p.

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