Diary Of A Busker Day 257

Diary Of A Busker Day 257 Tuesday July 10th 2012 Reading, Broad Street 1. Opposite Mobile Phone and Handbag Store, Time: 10:25-10:31am, 2. Opposite Anne Summers, Time: 10:40-11:05am, 1:45-3:13pm, 3. Outside John Lewis, Time: 4-5:25pm
Back in Reading for my penultimate acupuncture appointment, my day gets off to an annoying start. As I’ve got my guitar on my lap for a pre-session dust-off, a seagull dumps on it, then, after I’ve cleaned it again, it starts to rain during my second song. I head off to the Union Street entrance where I can shelter under the overhang, first asking the Big Issue bloke standing on the other side of the street if it’s alright as I don’t want to invade his patch or pitch. I’m a stranger here, so better safe than sorry. ‘Yeah, you carry on, mate.’ Good. I do well there, getting just under a tenner in less than half an hour. Two blokes even clap at the end of Albatross. Winchester High Street – you can go and stick it! After my appointment at the College Of Integrated Chinese Medicine I come back to the same place and manage an hour and a half before my amp splutters and dies. I was warned, though – it had started to go during the last set and I was saying to myself, ‘I must remember to get some batteries after I leave the doctors, I must remember…’ and I forgot. I’m hungry too, so I go to the big Sainsbury’s down the road and get a big pack of double A batteries; that’s 24 in a pack – works out at 56.7p a battery, and fill up a medium salad bowl (that’s all you can cram in, for £1.99p) and sit outside in the benched area. After I fed my amp (with the batteries), I get to work on myself. Two boiled eggs, four small cherry tomatoes, pasta salad, potato salad, what looks like shredded beetroot, peas – in pods and rolling around separate, and corn niblets. In other words, I stuffed an extra large into a medium, like some of the women around here. I’m here for about fifteen minutes, letting my food go down. Meanwhile I observe a bald-headed man selling long, colourful fluffy things called “wiggly worms” nearby. He says it loudly – ‘Wiggly wiggly worms!’ He says it every few seconds. Sometimes it’s ‘wiggly, wiggly, WIGGLY worms!’ and once he even said ‘wiggly, wiggly, wiggly, WIGGLY worms!’ So I’m reckoning he has worms in various grades of wiggliness – probably many wiggly, wiggly ones but just one or two of the wiggly, wiggly, wiggly WIGGLY variety. Maybe even just one. I think I’m going nuts! Like him!
I want to do one more longish session before I head off to the station. I’m right near the big John Lewis shop (everything’s bigger here than in Winchester – the street, the shops, the street cleaner machines – it’s all manual in Winchester – just a guy pushing a cart) – and I think it was Colin, the trumpet busker who said it was good there so I’ll try it out. It’s got an overhang, too, which is pretty much a required thing. It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that, over the last few weeks, it starts and stops raining a hundred times a day. Anyway, I’m definitely naming Albatross – Song Of The Day. Three blokes contribute, separately, and they all say more or less the same thing – ‘Anyone who plays Peter Green’s alright by me,’ ‘Can’t beat a bit of Peter Green,’ ‘Yeah, Peter Green!’ Weirdly enough, all three of these guys actually look like Peter Green. Or maybe they’re all (including Peter Green) about the same age. Men start to look similar around that age. Maybe one of them IS Peter Green. Why not? – Duck Baker lives here. I’ve been to his house! And there’s a small art gallery nearby that has some signed prints by Rolling Stone Ron Wood. Speaking of which, I wonder if rock-chick casualty Anita found her front teeth when she got home the other week. I don’t know, maybe Reading is a final (almost) resting place for ageing guitarists…like me, haha! A couple of other men of similar age correctly identify my Chet Atkins arrangements and one even saw him play ‘In Slough, of all places.’ I’m impressed – ‘Wow, when was that?’ ‘Oh, must have been thirty years ago…before the children came along.’
Time has gone by pretty quickly here – sometimes it doesn’t, and I’ve done alright money-wise. I even sold two more CDs which, with one I sold earlier, brings the total to THREE. WOW! And although I have no interest in the Olympic games, I owe at least one contribution to them; a man gives me a coin and says he really likes my authentic zither-like Third Man arrangement. I thank him and say people are generous here and that I’ve come up from Winchester, and I presume he lives here? ‘No, I’m not from here. I only came up to see the torch relay, down the next street, parallel to this so it’s just by chance I’ve heard you.’
Just before I leave, I get a photo of one of the very noisy Johnson cleaners; a one-manned dustcart. These beasts roam the street and with their two circular spinning green brushes, devour all the rubbish people chuck down. They come around every twenty minutes and I can hear them five minutes before I can see them on their approach, and five minutes after they’ve disappeared. They are the loudest thing invented by man. They are louder than the Saturn V rocket. They are even louder than my mate Rockin’ Rob and his rockin’ backing tracks, back home in Winchester at The Buttercross. Hmm…maybe not THAT loud.
Earnings: £37.84 + 3 CDs

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