Diary Of A Busker Day 363 Monday May 6th Winchester High Street (1. opposite Oxfam, Time: 12-1:45pm, 2. opposite Bellis, Time: 2:10-2:35pm).
It’s pretty full up today, with the usual suspects: Demelza – at The Butter Cross, Rob (today without his cowboy hat) – at Vodafone, and Tony – at Marks & Spencer, who I have a chat with. He obviously hasn’t forgotten my letter that they put in The Chronicle, as he hopes he’s ‘not too loud. Tell me if I am, really’. I say I couldn’t hear him where Rob is, which isn’t that far away, and he’s facing that way, so I reckon I won’t hear him if I set up down the other way, outside C & H. That’s what I reckon…but when I get down there and set up, I can hear him! In fact he’s a lot louder than he was when I was walking past Rob, and that’s a shorter distance AND he was facing me! He’s now got his back to me and his amp’s facing the opposite end of the street to where I am. So why is he so much louder? I bet he’s turned up, the so-and-so.
Lily, who gave me the £5 note a couple of days ago, crosses the road to avoid me – ha! (They don’t know I see everything – EVERYTHING: When people are getting near me and also if they cross the road). But she really doesn’t have to do that. I don’t expect money off her, or any of my other ‘regulars’, every time I see them.
Posh BrYan walks by – ‘I’m sorry, I haven’t got any change to give you. I spent it on a bottle of beer just now’. ‘Well I hope it was a good one’, I say. I bet he’s loaded – and with more than beer.
I try out a new tune – Bert Weedon’s arrangement of Malaguena, which I’ve augmented with part of Chet Atkins’s arrangement. It’s OK but I need to do it a lot more.
A man comes up and lists all the guitar players he likes: Django Reinhardt, Mark Knopfler, and his favourite – George Benson. Not being Mr. Benson’s biggest admirer, I deploy my diplomatic response – ‘Yeah, he’s certainly distinctive’. Then, an old woman who was squinting on the bench opposite comes over and says ‘I’ve got some lasers in my eyes’, and not knowing what else to say, I said ‘Oh’. She then said ‘And it really bloody hurts!’, so I said ‘Oh, I’m sorry to hear that’. And that was that.
After an hour and 45 minutes, I move on up to The Butter Cross, where Demelza is on a break while a bunch of young drummers all play the same thing on a bunch of bongos they’ve got strapped to them. I don’t ‘get’ this drumming nonsense – what’s the point? – so they can all stop and start at the same place? So what – big deal. I reckon you’ve got to be a bit BONGO to do that. In fact, I reckon they should call themselves BUNCH OF BONGOS. In fact, some of the local down and outs should get together and do this – then they’d be DRONGOS ON BONGOS. Anyway, The Bongos have been accommodating towards Demelza and have allowed her to do her 20 minutes every hour bit. Even so, I say to her ‘is this the chorus or the verse?’ She says, somewhat tiresomely, ‘I don’t know, I’ve stopped listening’. Actually, we have quite a long chat at The Butter Cross but with the drumming racket and my deafness, I can hardly make out anything she says! While we’re standing there, an old guy who I’ve seen around on a bike, stops in front of us, looks at my guitar then looks at Demelza and says ‘Do you like him?’ She says ‘Yeah, he’s really good’. I think that’s what she said, anyway. Then he says ‘No, but do you LIKE him?’ What a weird thing to say. Dodgy old man.
Anyway, Bunch Of Bongos stop at 2:10 and Demelza suggests I play until she starts up at 2:30 (Chinese dentist) as her ‘next performance’ sign says on her table. In fact I was able to get in 25 minutes, as, at 2:30, when I looked to my left, Demelza, being detained by yet another chatty admirer, beckoned me to do another one, so I went out with a bang and ended with Bond.