Diary Of A Busker Day 412 Saturday July 20th Winchester (1. Opposite Bellis/O2, Time: 3:18-4:23pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 4:35-5:40pm).
The 5th song of the day – Girl, is, ahem…Song Of The Day(!), as it secured a CD sale – certainly welcome, as before that, I had only one contribution. The lucky buyer? – a foreign man in his 50s, who says he liked the ‘bright, cheerful sound’ – possibly because the capo was on the 8th fret(?), so it all sounds very mandolin-y(?)…and Greek(?) Anyway, that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it! And the song before – Here Comes The Sun, which he must have heard, is almost the same: capo 7th fret. But it was definitely Girl that got the sale. I thanked him – profusely of course, adding the now regular postscript ‘…if you’re not happy, I’ll gladly refund the price’. I actually thanked him three times, and after the third he said ‘No, thank YOU. Where would we be without the music man?’ Isn’t that nice, I thought: The Music Man.
Jeremy walks by, and I’ve got news for him: I’ve been working on his song suggestion – Gymnopedie No. 1. In fact, earlier I played the bit everyone knows – the opening chords. He says he’d like to hear me do it when he comes back this way. The thing about that piece is the place needs to be not too noisy, or no one will hear it. And what’s happened is that three Drongos – a middle-aged woman and two younger men, have sat down on the bench diagonally across the way, and are shouting, growling and grunting (and that’s just her), and it’s very off-putting, especially when one’s attempting the execution of a sensitive piece of expressionistic music, madam! They don’t care…and they carry on, so I decide to pack up. I’ve done over an hour, so it’s OK.
At Oxfam I secure a 2nd CD sale. Unbelievable. two CDs is the limit – and very rare. I’ve never sold more than two in one day. It’s to a lady out with her young son and the song that did it was Here Comes The Sun, which now means it’s got to be Joint Song Of The Day. Then she said ‘You should sign these’, meaning the CDs, so I said ‘Oh…why?’, and she said ‘Well, you’re famous in Winchester’. I laughed and said ‘Am I?’ She said ‘Yes, everyone knows you, we all like you’. (Really? Even those that shout, growl and grunt through my celebrated performances?) I say ‘Really?’ She says ‘Oh yes’, so I say ‘Well, some people have a funny way of showing it’.
Jeremy turns up again – ‘Right, let’s hear it’, he says impatiently, referring to the Gymnopedie. But it’s the way he says it – like I’m at school and it’s some late homework or something, which instantly puts me off from playing it. And then, because I hesitate, he says ‘Ah, you’re frightened’, which really does wind me up. So then I have to explain (and waste valuable playing time, to boot). I say ‘Frightened? No, I’m not frightened. I played it up the road – the beginning bit, but there were some Drongos shouting, so I left’. ‘Ah, so that’s why you’re irritable’, he says. (No, I’m irritable because of patronising, condescending people coming up to me). I say ‘No, I’m not irritable, not now. I was going to leave, anyway. It’s just quite noisy for that sort of song. I WILL play it though’. ‘Oh good’, he says, ‘well, I’ll look forward to hearing it. Mind you – play it right. I’ll be listening very carefully’ – he slows down the last two words – ‘verryyy carrrefullyyy’. Patronising idiot. Actually, I ought to thank him, as that Gymnopedie is a really famous piece, and rather suits the guitar. I reckon it’s worthwhile doing it out here. And it hasn’t taken that long to learn – a day, although I’ll need the music on the ground for awhile yet. It’s actually behind the gigbag at the moment.
…15 minutes later, the patronising man pops up again, this time with Phillip, who says he’s heard a great version of ‘The Stone’s’ Angie, for solo guitar, so I ask if he’d like to demonstrate it, but he still doesn’t want to sit down with the guitar. So now I play the first bit of the Gymnopedie – not the rest, as I need the book for that, and it’s still stuck behind the case…anyway, they give their approval. Phillip mentions Satie’s Gnossienne No 5 – ‘it has the most beautiful melody’, so I say I’ll check it out. I DO feel a certain connection with Monsieur Satie, as I’ve discovered we share the same birthday, apart from it’s being 96 years apart: he was born in 1962 and I was born in 1866, or is it the other way around…
As they’re leaving, Phillip looks back and grimaces, and I know why this is. I remember when I first met them – almost 3 years ago when I started out here, I used to get their names mixed up, and once I called Phillip ‘Jeremy’, and he really didn’t like it – ‘Oh, don’t get me mixed up with HIM!’, he said. It was obvious he was severely offended. So they must have known each other before that. And I’ve noticed, I’ve never seen them together until now. Now, I know Jeremy does some sort of work up at the hospital and I’m thinking he might have been assigned(?) to look after Phillip, as I know he’s been up there for his chemotherapy. Maybe Jeremy annoys Phillip the same way he annoys me.
Earnings: £52.46p (Including 1 CD)