Diary Of A Busker Day 353 Wednesday April 10th Winchester High Street (1. opposite Bellis/O2, Time: 4:05-4:55pm, 5:25-5:53pm).
I get through four songs before I get any money: 50p from someone, then, amazingly, a £5 note from an old lady. I’m so thrilled I say she can have a CD, which she wasn’t even going to ask for!
At about 10 to 5, a woman comes over but instead of making a donation, she wants me to stop playing for a bit while she and some others film something up the road. She says ‘If you stop for a few minutes, we’ll give you something’, so I ask how long they’ll be – I want specifics – ‘a few minutes’ isn’t good enough. She says she’s not sure, maybe 10 minutes. I sort of ‘um’ and ‘ah’ about this for a bit…then she says ‘how about if you carry on, as we’re not quite ready yet, and I’ll wave my arms when we’re about to start’, so I say ‘OK – I probably would take a break soon, anyway. I’ll wait ’til you wave your arms’. Fair enough. I do two more songs, occasionally glancing to my left towards her team: two men, one holding a camera, her and another woman who keeps flicking her hair (her own, not the hair of the one who spoke to me) – it’s windy. I think this other one – the hair-flicker – is the reporter. Then the arms wave – my signal! I stop. After a minute I get bored – I really hate standing around, not playing, I can’t do it – I never do it! – so I decide to pack up, take a break, and by the time I come back, they’ll probably be gone.
As I’m about to wander off, one of the men – a young guy – has come down to me. He apologises and plonks two £2 coins in the bucket, for which I thank him ‘most profusely’, as they say. I ask what they’re doing. ‘We’re filming a piece about medieval births, marriages and deaths. It’s for BBC 4’. Interesting – ‘Oh, right’, I say. ‘It won’t be on for awhile, though – probably not ’til September, but thanks for not playing’, he says. ‘That’s OK’, I say, ‘You can’t really do a thing on medieval stuff with some busker playing James Bond in the background, can you?!’ He laughs, ‘Ha, no!’ It IS pretty funny. That’s alright, though – £4 for not playing.
Fortunately, as the temperature’s about 8 degrees, my hands are fine – apart from my ailment (my ever-present, annoying little ‘friend’), but then it starts to rain a bit…so I retire to Waterstones and look at one of the books on Winchester, on the Winchester Table – the table with all the books on Winchester on it…and find out a bit of interesting information: the fountain at the Arbour which I walk past on the way in, used to be on the road outside the Westgate pub. There’s now one of those silly mini roundabouts there. Anyway, there’s a photo of this fountain from a hundred years ago, when it was in it’s original place. I’ve always wondered about that – the edge of the Arbour does seem a strange place for it, and now I know! There’s an inscription on it – it was made, or paid for, by someone called Lancelot Littlewaite, in memory of his mother. One hell of a name, I reckon.
Back on the street, it’s stopped raining. I was going to set up at Vodafone but there’s two young blokes strumming near there so I head back to where I was…and the BBC lot are now gone so I set up and get through almost half an hour, during which it gradually gets wetter…and wetter, and pretty much deserted. I still manage to get 7 or 8 pounds, though.
Earnings: £22 – actually £20.25p, as I gave that woman a CD, so I gave her £1.75 back from her £5 note.