Diary Of A Busker Day 391 Monday June 24th Winchester High Street (Opposite Bellis, Time: 2:23-3:23pm).
I bump into street cleaner Alan, out and about with his McDonalds cart. His jacket, with the silly McDonalds slogan ‘I’m lovin’ it’, never fails to crack me up, no matter how I’m feeling. I say I’m only going to play an hour as I have two lessons to do at home. He says ‘Still that’ll be fifty quid, eh?’ I tell him he must be joking, but he’s welcome to come and strum a few chords to give me a breather halfway through. He says ‘I’ve got a job playing with meself, let alone a tune!’ Funny guy. I tell him I knew he would say something that would make me laugh, or at least chuckle a bit.
There’s a man who I’ve often seen on a bike. Mid-sixties, white hair, straw hat. One of the town weirdos. He comes up and rattles my bucket with his walking stick which really annoys me. Then he says ‘Do you do requests?’ I say ‘Maybe, do you have one?’ ‘Do any Cat Stevens?’ ‘No, sorry’. ‘Any Lonnie Donnegan?’ ‘No’. I don’t bother with the ‘sorry’ this time. He says ‘Do you have a list I can see?’ I’m not going to put the guitar down and pick up the list. I begin to say something – ‘Well’, but he interrupts – ‘What DO you play?’ ‘It’s fingerstyle guitar. Stuff from the fifties and sixties mainly’. He walks off and sits down on the bench across the way, near WH Smiths, and starts boring a woman, who gets up and leaves a minute later. Then he produces a small ball, one of those really bouncy ones – a superball?, spaceball?, and starts rolling and bouncing it around. When it occasionally rolls off to the other side of the road, he’ll shout to someone to give it back to him. One time he throws it, and it bounces twice then bounces off my right knee. I think he probably aimed it at me. This annoys me. Then he shouts across ‘You know any Bob Marley? Any Caribbean music?’ I shout back ‘Yellow Bird’, which is the only Caribbean sounding thing I do, and strangely enough, what I was tuning down to play – well, it’s usually Wheels I start off with but I’ll switch them around for the ball-bouncing weirdo/Drongo.
While I’m playing, whenever someone passes him, he holds out the ball and says ‘Would you like to play ball with me?’ He engages/ensnares a schoolgirl, in conversation. I think she humours him – she declines his invitation to play with his ball, though. I decide to get a photo of this guy for the album, so after I finish the song, I pick up the camera and get one, but it’s too far off and he looks really small when I see it, so I zoom in and get another one, which he sees me do and he really shouts ‘DON’T SNAP AT ME!’ Ha! Too bad, weirdo – he shouldn’t have rattled my bucket and knocked me with his stupid bouncing ball. I shout back ‘I WILL!’, and do! Then I put the camera down and carry on with Wheels…
Afterwards, an old guy comes from behind and puts a pound in and I get a ‘It’s good to hear decent music!’ comment. Then he looks in the bucket and says ‘That speaks volumes’, which I’m not sure how to take – there’s not that much in there! Anyway, I thank him and wish him a nice afternoon. He says ‘I won’t be coming here again – too expensive!’, to which I reply ‘I don’t blame you – it’s an expensive place!’ He smiles, makes to turn around to walk off, takes a step and bashes into the Reeves bakery sign, which falls over – as HE almost does. I’m about to rush over but he’s regained his balance. Ha!