Diary Of A Busker Day 259 Tuesday July 17th 2012 Broad Street, Reading 1. Outside John Lewis, Time: 10:20-10:30am, 2. Opposite Handbag & Mobile Phone Shop, Time: 10:33-11:05am, 3. Opposite Anne Summers, Time: 1:42-2:28pm
Today’s my fourth and final acupuncture appointment. Apart from the fact that I only signed up for four, I can’t afford to come up for more as, due to the school summer holidays, I’ve had two of my three weekly guitar lessons cancelled. But the nice people at the clinic are going to see if there’s a place I can visit in Winchester.
I had quite a good time last week in front of the big John Lewis store so I reckon I’ll squeeze in a pre-appointment busk there today. So…first Albatross, then The Third Man…La Vie En Rose; all the old favourites. I get halfway through La Vie En Rose when a man in a suit comes out of the shop. ‘I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave. We’ve had a couple of complaints.’ Complaints? About me? ‘Er, yeah. From customers. About, er, you – playing in the entrance.’ I’m stunned. And confused. Firstly, I’m not set up in the entrance. I’m in front of the wall at the SIDE of the building, in between John Lewis and the shop next to it. The John Lewis entrance is a few feet to my left. Secondly, I don’t believe he’s had customers complaining. What I believe is he’s had a word from his superior and it’s HE who doesn’t like me being here. Not the shoppers of Reading – they love me! …surely?! But anyway, I suppose he has to do as he’s told. Also, he doesn’t look me in the eye and there’s lots of ‘umm’-ing and ‘err’-ing. I reckon he knows I know he’s not telling the whole story but still, like him, I have to do as I’m told! I pack up and go over the road to Marks & Spencer where I’ve been a few times before, next to the staff entrance; they have to punch in a code and the door opens.
…after my appointment I return to Marks & Spencer, but there’s someone else busking nearby, in the middle of the street in the benched area. I wouldn’t have the guts to set up slap bang in the centre like that. So…it’s down to Anne Summers, the site of my Reading debut, when I came to meet the great Duck Baker. Here, I get some nice compliments (they’re all nice), including one from a lady who says, ‘I could spend the whole day listening to you!’ Not in front of John Lewis, you couldn’t. After three quarters of an hour I head to the train station, to get home in time for a guitar lesson…which I find has been cancelled due to the young chap feeling ‘a bit peaky.’