Diary Of A Busker Day 303 Wednesday November 7th Winchester High Street (1. opposite Vodafone, Time: 1:15-2:35pm, 2. opposite Oxfam, Time: 2:57-4:25pm).
A man I recognise from a couple of weeks ago asks me if I’ve learnt his request yet. As I’ve obviously forgotten, I’ve got no idea what he’s talking about! He reminds me, ‘You said you’d learn Duelling Banjos.’ Oh dear, I apologise…but I can redeem myself! He’s heard me do Yellow Bird and he loves that, so while I’m tuning down for it, he explains – ‘It reminds me of my dad – he was in Hawaii when they attacked Pearl Harbour.’ ‘Wow, really?’ ‘Yeah, and Yellow Bird’s a Hawaiian song. He used to love it.’ At this point I let my natural pedantic instinct get the better of me – ‘Um, yes well, I think it was more of a Jamaican tune, but it was a poem a long time before there was any music to it.’ I can tell he’s not convinced. But I can start playing it now…after my pedantic explanation, of course – ‘I do a Chet Atkins arrangement, mid-sixties, I’m pretty sure. Sorry I can’t be more precise!’ Anyway, he loves it – ‘That’s made my day!’
Down at Oxfam, an old guy listening on the bench across the road comes over after The Theme From Dr. Zhivago. ‘I used to live in Vienna, you know.’ ‘Oh did you?’, I say, thinking what’s that got to do with Dr. Zhivago. ‘Yes’, he says, ‘you just played The Third Man’. No, I haven’t played it yet – incredible as it may be, as I’ve been here for an hour! This is clearly a case of mistaken identity, although I can’t see how – they sound completely different and they’re not even in the same time signature for goodness sake!! I’m afraid I’m going to have to correct him – this poor deluded fool, but say that I will now (in fact) play The Third Man, as he goes back to his seat. At the end, he gets up and waves and starts walking off, but wait – I motion (by way of frantic arm movements) that if he gives me a minute, I will tune down and perform the zither-like version…which I begin, in due course. However, I’ve tuned down too quickly and it’s pretty much out of tune, even so, I do it all the way through…but he’s not interested – he carries on up the road.
My Pickwickian, snobbish, pipe-wielding, frequent passer-by and acknowledging (though seldom contributing) posh bloke Bryan (with a Y) walks by during While My Guitar Gently Weeps. ‘You’re in fine form today, aren’t you?’, says BrYan. ‘Thank you…Bryan’, I say as he disappears down towards the King Alfred statue. Obviously my form – however fine, isn’t fine enough for BrYan to dip into his posh pockets (of poshness)…