Diary Of A Busker Day 227 Tuesday April 24th 2012 Winchester High Street 1. Opposite Vodafone. Time: 11:43-1:25pm 2. Opposite WH Smiths. Time: 2:15-5:15pm
It starts drizzling just as I start to play, but it’s not too bad and stops after three songs. A couple in their early 60s stop, listen, pay a compliment (verbal not coinage), walk off, have a discussion nearby then come back. He says, ‘It’s stupid to compliment you and not give you something!’ I say, ‘I wish everyone who complimented me gave something – I’d be a lot better off.’ He asks if I know that Bert Weedon has died. No I didn’t. This man happens to be a friend of Bert Weedon’s bank manager. He tells me an interesting story – ‘Apache was actually written for Bert Weedon, and he recorded it, but he wanted to wait until the summer holidays were over before he released it. In the mean time, The Shadows did it and released it and beat him to it.’ I wonder if Janet knows that. I must remember to ask her. In fact, I wonder if Jet Harris knew that! Back to Bert’s bank manager’s friend, ‘…yeah, he was ninety-two, I think. Had a few bob, though – that’s what my friend says.’ I suddenly remember something – a couple of months ago, I bought a signed Bert Weedon album from a charity shop in Eastleigh, for £1.99. I tell my man, who says, ‘Well, it should be worth a bit more now, I expect.’ Even if it says “To Collette” on it?
One minute after they leave, someone old bloke comes up – ‘Hey, d’you hear about Bert Weedon?’ ‘Yeah, there was a guy here a minute ago, his friend was his bank manager, apparently Apache was written for him…had a few quid…I got a signed album…’ Then, a minute after HE goes, one of the local nutters comes up. I see this guy around the high street – always wears dark glasses, leather jacket, sort of slithers around, always grinning and muttering something, like now, ‘…(muttering)…Bert Weedon…(more muttering)…’ ‘Not you, too!’ I say, ‘he’s just died, I know.’ ‘What?’ he says. ‘Bert Weedon’s dead, right? You were going to say that, weren’t you?’ ‘Is he?’ ‘Yeah, you were saying something about Bert Weedon just then!’ ‘Yeah, that thing you were playing, a bit like Bert Weedon.’ ‘Oh right…so you didn’t know he was dead?’ ‘Wha? No.’ However, I have to correct him – what I play should be sounding like Chet Atkins and with all due respect to the recently deceased and his famous 1,2,3, Step guitar tuition books, if what I’m playing sounds like Bert Weedon, there’s something wrong. Bert Weedon, indeed. Later on, two young guys walk by, chomping on hamburgers. One shouts ‘Sandman! Play it!’ They don’t even stop walking…or chomping. They just demand it, so I certainly will NOT play it. I take a break, warm my hands in the toilet (sink), have a snack, half a bowl of KBC in my pipe, and walk back to the high street and there are still no other buskers out today which reminds me – I haven’t seen Frank for awhile and I must get a photo of him for my album. I should also have got a photo of the shade-wearing nutter…I set up right opposite the entrance to WH Smiths and start up. Alan makes to pick up my bucket with his litter picker-upper stick with the claw-like thing at the end. Funny guy. Then, because it’s Tuesday, it’s Delia, who tries to creep up behind me while I’m playing Tammy, but I know it’s her because I can see the wheel of her trolley out the corner of my eye. ‘I know you’re there, Delia. I know it’s you!’ I turn to her. ‘I didn’t want to disturb you – playing the song, you know.’ I always know if someone’s there. A shape suddenly stops moving. Delia’s been to the dentist, done some shopping – bought a load of evaporated milk cans (they’ve got a nerve, selling tins of air, I always think), bought some Dahlias for her garden – ‘it keeps me fit.’ She explains to me again, how she has a different job to do in her house everyday – dusting on Sundays – ‘I always use a damp cloth, you know. I’m allergic to dust blowing all around the place’…washing the lino on Mondays… She tells me about her record collection – ‘I have that one, Tammy, on a 45 single. Debbie Reynolds sang it.’ ‘Yes, she did – in the film, when she’s sitting near a window, although a bunch of blokes sang it at the beginning, some harmony group…so do you have a record player?’ ‘Oh yes – a Monarch. All in one box, you know. I don’t like CDs – there’s no depth, you know. I don’t care what you say, there’s no depth in them!’ I’m impressed – a discerning listener. ‘I agree! And all those old records – they were meant to be played on those record players, you know. I couldn’t agree more.’ ‘Yes, and CDs skip and you can’t fix them.’ Ex-cruise musician Mick stops by, very smart in the usual black roll-neck and navy blue blazer. And I’m amazed to find out he’s sixty-nine. I chat with Mick for quite awhile, which I don’t mind as I’m here three hours and need to get up and stretch myself. He enthuses about an incredible musician who plays a piano concerto on a guitar ‘…and if he can’t play a bit, which, on a guitar, some things you can’t, he HINTS at it, so you know what it is he’s trying to play…’ I have to ask, ‘Did you hear about Bert Weedon, Mick?’ No, he hadn’t and he doesn’t really rate him much – ‘Didn’t he do Raunchy, or something, you know, that three note thing?’ ‘I don’t know, was that (I play the three note Raunchy riff)… I know he was really popular, wasn’t he – in the 50s and 60s. More of a Hank Marvin style, though…or Hank Marvin copied HIM!’ A short woman stops in front of us, ‘Didn’t you say you had a CD of your playing? – you remember me, don’t you?’ ‘Um…yeah, from last year, right?’ ‘Yes, do you have a CD, with you playing?’ ‘I do but it’s my own music, not what I play out here.’ ‘No, but it’s YOU playing, is it?’ ‘Oh yes, doing everything, but it’s my own stuff, not what you hear me doing out here.’ ‘Can I buy a CD – do you have one?’ ‘Yeah, I do (I get one from my guitar case)…here it is.’ ‘How much do you want for it?’ ‘Seven pounds, is that alright?’ In the background, I hear Mick mutter something about how rubbish my abilities as a salesman are. ‘Yeah, that’s alright – I’ll have to get some money though. I haven’t got any, Okay?’ ‘Okay.’ One hour later, I’m about to leave and she still hasn’t come back. I bet I’ll see her in a year and we’ll go through the same thing.