Diary Of A Busker Day 278 Saturday September 1st Winchester High Street (1. opposite Oxfam, Time: 3:25-4:29pm, 2. opposite Bellis, Time: 4:44-6:10pm).
Today marks the worldwide debut of my psychedelic-painted double-neck guitar kit – the two-headed monster. It’s so heavy that by the time I’ve got into the high street, my arms are an inch longer, and it’s taken me half a mile to turn corners. I hope it’s worth it…at my first spot it attracts the attention of an annoying man – “Can you tune the twelve-string? – is it in tune?” “Yeah.” “Go on, play it!” he demands, while I’m in the middle of Yellow Bird on the six-string neck, which I’ve just altered the tuning for! “Sorry, I’ve just tuned down for these few songs.” “Go on!” “No! I need to finish this song!” He walks off. Good. Actually, during the set I barely touch the twelve-string neck – I think I need to ease myself into it, I’m scared I’ll mess something up while attempting a clever mid-song neck switch, and look like an idiot. The other thing is, although Im getting alot of looks, I’m not getting much money. This makes me paranoid – maybe the sound isn’t as good as my Epiphone. Certain aspects are definately different – the low strings are alot brighter, like an electric bass, while the low strings on the Epiphone are more mellow, like a string bass. I don’t know, it’s just different…maybe I need to get used to it.
After an hour, I count the money – barely £8. Not good at all. I’ll go somewhere else – the top of the high street, and if that’s no good, I’m going to ditch this monster thing.
…its alot better here, thank goodness. I’ve also got used to the two necks and after a few minutes here, can move between them without banging my thumb, trying to get to the right position. Some more comments on the psychedelic paint-job – one man says “I’d pay a pound just to SEE that!” A girl asks if she can take a photo – sure, if she can take one for me with my camera, for my photo album.
For the last half hour, the street’s pretty well deserted and I’m entertaining a bench load of the local Drongos, sitting opposite. There’s Stefan with the scarf tied around his forehead, who I remember from over a year ago, going on about the blues when I was playing La Vie En Rose. Now it’s “Play Sweet Child o’ Mine!” “Sorry, no – I don’t know that one” – and never will. Then it’s “Play Stairway Ta Heaven!”, which I was expecting at some point. Ok, fair enough, I don’t mind doing a bit of that, so I do the bit where the twelve-string comes in. The Drongos love it. I recognise someone else on the bench – the woman from the other day down at Oxfam, who was sitting, drenched in the rain with the glass of wine next to her. In fact I think she’s the one I saw with Maurice – the “she-cat” he later said had moved in with him and had used up all his phone credit. In fact I think she might be a prostitute – at least that’s what Doll says when I showed her the picture I took, rather cheekily, from the Oxfam doorway. Doll knew who I meant – “Does she wear a short black leather skirt?” “Yeah.” “Yeah, that’s the one.”