Diary Of A Busker Day 390 Saturday June 22nd Winchester High Street (1. The Butter Cross, Time: 2:10-3:20pm, 2. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 4-5:54pm).
Another landmark day. I am brave enough to set up IN FRONT OF THE BUTTER CROSS, thereby following in the footsteps of such illustrious performers as: Demelza Stafford, Rockin’ Rob, Young Sam, not to mention Winchester legend Frank Williams. Yes, a truly momentous and humbling experience. And I’m rather surprised not to feel too self-conscious. The only time I do is when someone or a bunch of people take a picture of the monument behind me. I’m aware of them tilting the camera up, to get the whole thing in, along with some of me – my head at least. I’ll probably be in more photos than in my whole life up till now, which freaks me out a bit. Still, an occupational hazard, I suppose: if you park yourself in front of a popular, historic monument for over an hour.
The only other thing that concerns me – another occupational hazard, I fear – is a bunch of kids amassing on the steps right behind me. There’s always loads of them running, sitting, falling about here. I think they might start throwing things or dropping things on my head, but this doesn’t happen as hardly anyone sits there today, apart from three girls who sat there after contributing, but they behaved.
I tried out my new one, Londonderry Air, or popularly known as Danny Boy. I’ve only got the 1st verse and bridge worked out…not quite worked out. I abandoned it after a few wrong notes. I even apologised to a couple of people nearby – ‘I need to sort that out a bit, sorry!’
But, a bit later, I ‘earned’ a £5 note from a lady – the 1st of two such items today. The 2nd was from a couple of ladies, as I was setting up for the 2nd set down the road. ‘We were up there (The Butter Cross) and we looked around and you were gone’. I was gone because it had started to rain. Also, I explained it takes me less than a minute to pack up, so if someone takes more than 40 seconds to ‘look around’, I’ll be gone. In fact, there are still some drops of water on the guitar, which they notice. I say ‘It can take a bit of water…like me’.
A couple of mild annoyances: Mick drops by as I’m doing Jesu, and he’s clearly scrutinizing something – he leans in and narrows his eyes. He does this a lot. Anyway, before he says anything, I tell him it’s Leo Kottke’s arrangement. He says he’s never heard of him, then he says ‘Well, it’s wrong’, which really REALLY p***** me right off, which must have registered because he then says ‘Or maybe I shouldn’t have said that’. I say ‘No you shouldn’t, Mick’. I must have been annoyed or I wouldn’t have said that! Bloody cheeky, polo-necked jumpered, 70 year old, ex-cruise musician. Here I go again, thinking about amending my bucket sign: MUSICIANS – ESPECIALLY POLO NECK JUMPERED, OLD EX-CRUISE MUSICIANS, PLEASE NO SMART-ARSE COMMENTS ABOUT ANY ARRANGEMENTS. ESPECIALLY JESU, JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING. TALK TO LEO KOTTKE
The other annoying moment was when three young blokes stand in front and then two of them move around me, dancing for a couple of minutes. I want to tell them to get lost but humour them instead, then they just walk off, not one contribution. That sort of thing makes my blood boil…I think I might have to see the doctor about it.
I finish by making a CD sale, to Matt, a bearded art student, albeit at an end-of-the-day reduced price of £8, as he can’t afford the tenner. He tells me about his degree show which is on tomorrow at the college, not far from here. I say maybe I’ll come along, if I’m out here in the afternoon.
A good day – double the usual hourly amount, possibly due to having the whole street to myself, apart from early on when Boring Jazz Girl was around, near the coffee shops, of which there are now two. There’s a new one where Clinton Cards used to be. Sign of the times, I reckon.