Diary Of A Busker Day 293 Saturday October 6th 2012 Winchester High Street 1. Opposite Bellis, Time: 2:08-3:43pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 4:05-5:35pm
A few songs in and I look to my left and it’s Henry Gray, smiling away in his electric buggy. I finish the song, La Vie En Rose, and go into Henry’s favourite, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, with his suggestion of the waltz-time, coming in half-way. At the end, he comes and hands me a £10 note! ‘Henry, that’s a lot of money!’ ‘You take it,’ he says. He tells me that lots of people like the photo I framed and put through his door a few weeks ago. I say I’m pleased and that I showed it to a few people and they all thought it was good and they couldn’t believe he was a hundred. ‘Well, I’ll be a hundred and one, soon. I’ve just got the all-clear from the hospital again. I hope to make a hundred and two. I had an aunt, she lived to be a hundred and six.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘It’s incredible. Must be in the genes.’ ‘Or luck, and yes – genes.’ Henry tells me to carry on playing; he’ll listen to a few more songs. I play some of the older ones; Moulin Rouge, Mr. Sandman, while he listens behind me, then he says, ‘Good luck to you, all the best,’ and he’s off. What a guy. I feel old sometimes but he’s twice as old as me…and ten times more cheerful!
Rick Tarrant, who I’ve only ever seen busk around the corner near The Slug And Lettuce, turns up. Apparently he’s been blasted away by some Morris dancers. ‘Stupid idiots,’ I say. My set’s an hour and a half, then a break, partly to warm my hands under the drier in the toilet. This is especially necessary as I find the water from all the taps; both cold AND hot, is COLD. So, when it was summer, the HOT taps had HOT water – plentiful, it was. But it wasn’t that necessary, being warm anyway. But now, when you DO want the hot water…it’s COLD. Typical.
During set number two, a posh old woman says, ‘You’re the only gentleman I like.’ ‘Well, I haven’t heard THAT for awhile, I can tell you!’ I tell her, which causes her some embarrassment. She says, ‘Oh, I don’t mean that…you know…the music you play, it’s nice,’ and after some more compliments and then telling me about some young pianist she heard playing a Beethoven concerto on the TV; ‘I was transfixed – all these notes!’ she says goodbye and leaves…without contributing! Compliments are nice but they don’y buy food, posh lady.
I make the acquaintance of two Norwegian men in their sixties who were sitting at one of the outside Maison Blanc tables. They really like the fingerstyle stuff, we chat about guitar things and Chet Atkins and one of the men buys a CD. His friend actually makes guitars and one of HIS friends is the great Tommy Emmanuel. Wow! And now the other guy wants a CD, which is great. A double sale! But back to Tommy Emmanuel…they have another friend, Claes Neeb, who has actually played onstage with Tommy in Oslo. By this time, I know their names; Bjorn and Tore. ‘Wow,’ I say. ‘Next time you meet him, put in a good word for me, will you?’ They say they think I’m good and they will. We say goodbye and as they walk off, I start up The Third Man…and they come back and want to video me! Of course they can, and they can put it up on the internet, if they want. There’s already one of me doing TTM but the more the merrier…and maybe I can get the last note right this time…and I do! Then they’re off again…but now they’re coming back again…this time with another friend (The Third Man?!)to show me a video from his phone, of their friend Claes, onstage with Tommy at the Oslo gig. They look tiny and the sound is very tinny but it’s great; a big proper stage! I get a photo for my album. Nice blokes, they were.
Earnings: £42.23 + 2CDs