Diary Of A Busker Day 355 Friday April 12th Winchester High Street (1. corner of Monsoon, Time: 1:45-3:15pm, 2. opposite Oxfam, Time: 4:17-5:47pm).
A couple of young foreign guys contribute during The Third Man. I inform them the details of the arrangement (Chet Atkins, 1960) and of the origin – they’ve never heard the original but know it from a bloke called Mattias Eklundles(?), and of course, they can let me hear it on their phone thingy, for this is modern technology: you can hear something anytime, anywhere, whether you want to or not. I have a listen…it’s not a fingerstyle version. It’s a very fast, single-note thing with a band behind the guy. Interesting, though. I’m always amazed at how all these completely different people have done their own thing with the melody – and it’s just three notes next to one another! But I keep saying to these guys – ‘You must hear the original, on the zither’. ‘What’s that?'(!) ‘A zither, Z-I-T-H-E-R’, I have to spell it out – they’ve never heard of it!
The Christian (God-woman) regular turns up, contributes, compliments me – which I ALWAYS appreciate, of course, regardless of religiosity. And then it’s ‘God loves you – you know that, don’t you?’ Here we go. I ‘umm’ a bit – why don’t I just say ‘YES, I KNOW HE DOES’. She then reiterates ‘He DOES’, and then says ‘Did you have a nice father?’ Jesus (oops- d’oh!) – how old do I look! I say ‘Well, I still do – he’s still alive’. What a weird question. I forgot to ask about her husband who she put in a nursing home. She goes off, saying she’ll be back soon. I suppose I can ask her then…if I remember.
I take a break and visit my ‘new’ toilet – the one near the Brooks Centre and just next to the steps to the bookshop. I’ve started to go to this one as I’m bored with the one near the cathedral as Mr ‘John’ works there, who now completely ignores me and I can’t be bothered with all that. Anyway, as I’m about to go to the bookshop, I bump into Barbara The Racist, who, for once, doesn’t go on about foreigners. Today’s topic: Mrs. Thatcher, who’s just died. We talk – actually, it’s mainly Barbara – of how much we hate her, then I’m up the steps to…look at a new book about Dandyism through the ages: Beau Brummell, Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward…
…Back on the street, I survey the area: there are some strummers near The Butter Cross and the same lot just around from where I was earlier – they’ve been there ages, they were there before I started. In fact I thought they might have come round to complain to me – I could hear them and they must have heard me, but they didn’t. We were obviously able to…now what was it the CPSO said to me awhile back…oh, that’s right: ‘co-exist’. I remember he said that when I complained about some other buskers being really (ridiculously) loud, with a P.A and everything.
On my 2nd session, I reckon a couple of the market people like me: A man comes over from a stall and asks if I would like any paella. I say yes – thank you, and he brings me over some in a plastic carton with a plastic fork. I take a few sips then decide to carry on playing – I can’t take 10 minutes off to sit and eat and not play the guitar – I think it might look a bit ‘tramp-ish’. But it’s really nice! My solution is to do a song and have a (crafty) forkful – no more, then do another song, have another forkful, etc. Anyway, for the record – for the album, I took a photo of my paella meal before I started on it. Then, about 20 minutes later and just after I’d finished it, the young lady from the Greek food stall almost opposite me, and two stalls down from Paella Man, comes over with a can of Coke! – and the promise of some Greek food if I’m here tomorrow!
I almost forgot – I was watched by the tall, baseball-capped old guy for most of this session. In fact he was hanging around earlier, near where I was, up the road. I’m learning to ignore him.