Diary Of A Busker Day 320 Wednesday January 30th Winchester High Street (1. opposite Bellis, Time: 1:30-2pm, 2. opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:24-3:43pm).
I needed to go into town for a couple of hours this morning and on the way out bumped into one of the PCSOs (the young one) who, the other day, I related my unfortunate experience with the scumbag to. He asked if I’d been bothered by him since. I said I hadn’t seen him – and hoped I never would again. PCSO said they were trying to get an exclusion order out for him but it can take a long time (of course), 2 to 5 years sometimes. I feigned disbelief. He went on, ‘Yeah, but it shouldn’t take that long. The more things we’ve got against him, the better, and we’ve got quite a list now.’ I said ‘Does he live here? – I bet he does.’ PCSO – ‘Well, he doesn’t live anywhere, but he’s here right now as he’s been chucked out of everywhere else, but he knows he can be here for awhile – Winchester’s the only place that’ll have him. But if he troubles you again, ring 101 – easy to remember. That’ll get you to the police. Say “there’s a bloke kickin’ off in town”, and we’ll look on the CCTV cameras and get someone out.’ Yeah, after he’s beaten me up. Anyway, I thank him for his concern, we say goodbye and part – he on his Smith & Wesson cop bike, I on my 1951 Raleigh Superbe.
A few hours later, a familiar (talented) warble greets me as I emerge from the Westgate. It’s Demelza, but it’s not the weekend – why today? I get to the Butter Cross and wait until she’s finished, a couple of minutes later…then wait until she finishes talking to some fans…and after she sells 4 CDs – that’s £40! Not bad, if she can sell 3 or 4 after every performance, that’s hm… £120. More than what I make in a WHOLE WEEK. After her adoring fans disperse, I’m next in line. She says she’s out today because she needs the money. (She also reminds me of her Madame Butterfly performance, next month in Woking). She’s not sure how many sets she can do today, though – she thinks her voice isn’t quite up to it, for some reason. She says she’ll see how it goes. Anyway, I can play for a bit (a short set – just the ‘hits’) until just before 2 o’clock, when she does her next performance.
After a couple of songs, I notice my usually friendly (and complimentary) Ian, talking to Demelza and occasionally looking towards me – a position and attitude he maintains throughout my set. Oh, I get it – he’s a Demelza groupie now. The turn-coat. The traitor! And now he’s guarding her CDs while she goes off for a few minutes and he’s STILL not acknowledging me. The Jezebel! No, I’ll not forgive him for this. During my break, I chat to one of the charity workers – a girl, early 20s, white platinum(?) hair. I remark that she must get pretty cold out here – the temperature’s OK – about 9c, but it’s very windy. I ask how often her breaks are – every 2 hours, she says.
Down at Vodafone, my 65 year old regular – Colin, turns up. ‘Let me know when you have another CD out’, he says. I’ve got a few CDs – I need to find out which one he’s got as I can’t remember. ‘Oh, there’s one called, what is it…I’m Not Deranged, I’m Just A Bit Funny’ What?! I’ve got no idea what he’s on about. I repeat back to him – ‘I’m not deranged, I’m just a bit funny?’ He says, ‘Yeah, something like that, anyway, let’s get back to the original question – what’s it called?’ I think about this…then I know what he means – my busking CD has got Daft Not Stupid in big writing on it. It’s the name of John Knutson’s website. I say ‘Ah, you mean Daft, Not Stupid.’ ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ I’m Not Deranged, I’m Just A Bit Funny – pure genius, as they say.
I’m briefly amused by a small boy who stands in front of me, quizzically expressioned/frowning. He then runs about, comes back to look at me, runs about some more. His mother manages to drag him off but he runs back, stands in front again and holds his finger to his temple in (Detective) Columbo fashion – “Oh, there’s just one thing…”, before disappearing again.
I seem to make a lot of mistakes during this set – I’m sure it’s some kind of dementia setting in, which really frustrates me, although I do manage to stumble through a ‘new’ tune – Come Fly With Me, written for Frank Sinatra in 1958. I’ve got to be on the ball though, with this one, as it’s a somewhat jazzy arrangement I learnt off a youtube video, with the chords changing every second – in fact with every melody note! – which seems to be the norm for these jazz things. It reminds me of when I went to see Duck Baker – when I played him my arrangement of All My Loving, where there’s a bar-long E major chord at the end of the verses. He said ‘Isn’t there another chord there?’ He didn’t believe me when I said there wasn’t, so he listened to the original and when he heard the long chord, he said ‘Now, a jazz player wouldn’t have done that. They would have at least another chord change, probably two or three.’ Too right, Duck – but those Beatle boys weren’t jazz players.
Another case for my approaching senility: on my return home, I emptied the contents of my bucket, containing scant coinage, tuner, cloth and guitar lead, but no capo. No G7 capo – cost £25. I look everywhere for it but it’s always – ALWAYS in the bucket. But not now. I must have left it on the ground in front of Monsoon – what an idiot I am, especially as I also seem to have lost my tuner the day before (I had to borrow Jude’s for today). I bomb back into town on my bike and go to where I was. Nothing. I ask the girls who work in Monsoon and Accesorize, which I thought were two shops but when you go inside they’ve got a door-shaped space in the wall which connects them, like in The Beatle’s film Help!, when they all go into adjoining terraced houses but inside it’s one big house. Of course, being a gentleman of middle-age, I have no cause to visit young females’ clothes shops or shops selling teenagers’ trinkets and other rubbish, all seemingly coloured in endless shades of pink/purple. Anyway, the girls know of nothing concerning this strange device I have mislaid. I return home quite despondent – I’d had that little, helpful friend with me for 7 years. SEVEN YEARS. I know I’ve got other ones…still, how careless. Half an hour later, I take my guitar out and there it is – lodged in the 2nd fret position, where it was for my last number – Henry Gray’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow. And then I found my tuner, after ordering another one last night.