Diary Of A Busker Day 400 Monday July 8th Winchester High Street (Opposite Oxfam, Time: 2:04-3:03pm).
Another landmark day – another hundredth, and for once on a hundredth day I’m in Winchester. I’ve almost finished setting up – I’m sitting down and tuning up, when I hear a whining sound – a violin, I think. I look around but can’t see anything. It carries on. I look again. It’s a girl – 18/19 years old(?), playing about 30 feet away. I was sure there was no one else here when I started to set up, which means she must have arrived as I was in the process of setting up. But she would have seen me…surely. Maybe not. I give her the benefit of the doubt, pack up and leave! I should have gone up and told her she needs to check around to see if there’s anyone else playing – or setting up – before she starts up, but I wasn’t in the right mood for it. Anyway I might have frightened her!
I set up down the road, opposite the ice-cream vendor bloke, who’s here every day, now that it’s warm. A few minutes after I start up – with Danny Boy – Colin and his flight case with his trumpet and millions of backing tracks, turn up. Rather annoyingly, he starts talking – and he talks really fast – while I’m playing, and I’m playing something new that I really need to concentrate on! Anyway, Colin reckons I should try Chichester, and I may do that, maybe even this week. He also mentions a young girl guitarist who he says is ‘as good as you, or almost as good’ – I like how he ends it diplomatically. I think I know who he means. I ask if she has long, light-ish hair. She does. I ask if she plays sort of jazz-like. She does. I ask if when she plays jazz-like, does she play very fast runs but nothing that resembles a song. She does. Of course she does, because it’s Boring Jazz Girl!
Colin asks if I can look after his stuff while he goes off for a few minutes. Of course I can! He goes off. I take a look at the stickers on his flight case. There’s one that says Baby On Board. I hope not – I reckon it can get pretty hot in there for a baby.
Colin’s ‘few minutes’ are in fact 30, before he returns, and then he asks if I can look after his stuff a bit longer! – which, of course, I agree to do, because there are no left-luggage places in England anymore: there is only me. However, I have to point out to him that I’ve only got an hour here as I’ve got to teach young Tom how to play the rest of Brown Sugar at 4 o’clock.
…I play Music To Watch Girls By, and an old man, walking just behind a bunch of foreign students – most of them girls, says ‘Are you watching the girls go by?’ – the dirty old sod!
Eventually, Colin returns, and not before time – just before I have to pack up, in fact. As I leave, I thank the ice-cream bloke for the free one he gave me yesterday.
A good hour: almost double the usual average.