Diary Of A Busker Day 413 Sunday July 21st Winchester (Opposite Oxfam, Time: 2:49-5:12pm).
That short-haired, French (I think) accented lady in her mid-sixties (I reckon) who I see around, gives me a £10 note – amazing! Of course I do the usual ‘That’s a lot of money, do you want change? – I give change, you know’ thing. She doesn’t. She says, ‘Well, it’s a special day’. ‘A special day?’, I say back. ‘Yes, it’s Sunday’, she says. (here we go, there’s going to be something about some religion/god, and I’m going to have to listen and be polite because she’s just given me a £10 note…but no) – ‘it’s sunny, you’re here, keeping us entertained’ – ahh, how nice! Speaking of French ladies, I haven’t seen Marie-Therese for ages. A few months, it must be. Oh dear, she was never very well, but always, ALWAYS very generous, and I’ve known her ever since I’ve been out here. C’est la vie.
A man about 70 stands to my right, wearing a tweed jacket, tie, and a very small flower in his buttonhole. He’s bald-headed and moustachioed – very Colonel Bogey. He’s here for a few songs, then, at the end of one he says ‘Can you play Bob Dylan?’ I say ‘No, sorry’, then he says ‘Can you play Paul McCartney? – Blackbird?’, and he’s in luck – I knew that would come in handy one day! I play it and at the end I say ‘It works well as an instrumental piece, doesn’t it?’ He agrees, and as he liked it, I tell him all the other Beatle songs I do. He wants to hear When I’m Sixty-Four so, although I did it just before he turned up, I do it again, informing him beforehand that it’s my own Chet-inspired arrangement. Credit where it’s due, and all that. He claps at the end, then says ‘Do you know any Van Morrison?’ (Some people are never satisfied…). I say ‘No, sorry’, then he says ‘OK, how about some more Chet Atkins?’ Right, OK, I can do a lot more of that, so I do Music To Watch Girls By, Chinatown, then tune down for Yellow Bird, during which he puts some shrapnel in the bucket – a total of 7 pence to be exact. And this is after I’ve done five songs for him! I see among the 1 and 2p’s, there’s an Irish coin, so I take it out and hand it back, saying ‘they won’t take that at the bank, sorry’. I then start Yellow Bird, which he listens to all the way through, and at the end he says ‘Very good, keep it up’ and then walks off, only to stop a bit further on, listen to a couple more songs, before walking off for good. I don’t know…he looked well-off: certainly well-dressed, but what does that prove? I did sense a distinct military bearing, though, or maybe that was just the tie combined with the moustache. Who knows. Anyway, a bit of shrapnel for all that!
Song of The Day – Albatross, as it secures a CD sale. In fact, I sold another one, earlier, to a foreign lady and her daughter, but I can’t remember what I was playing. But the story behind the Albatross sale: a foreign family sit across the way. I know they’re foreign because, after a bit, the son is sent over to buy a CD, and he sounds foreign! I say he’s welcome to take it over to show his dad, before he buys it, as I reckoned it was for him, but he just handed me the £10 note. Now, that’s the kind of sale I like: no discussion/haggling and more money than the price tag!
Ragtime Phillip comes by, to check on the two opening chords of the first Gymnopedie: the A major 7th, E major 7th bit. He’s looking OK today, and he says he feels a bit better. He’s unaccompanied – he’s not being helped by anyone, anyway. He requests Chinatown, which I’m very happy to do, as he’s a good bloke…and half an hour later, oddly enough as I’m doing the Gymnopedie again, Phillip’s arch-enemy Jeremy turns up. He tells me how thrilled Phillip was the other day when, as they were walking off, I played the opening chords of the Gymnopedie. ‘He’s not well, you know’, he said. ‘I know’, I said.
Earnings: £47.78p (Including 2 CDs)