Dairy Of A Busker Day 416 Wednesday July 24th Winchester (1. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 4:25-6:05pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 6:15-6:44pm).
I do really well with the first song – Albatross. It even gets a £5 note, although there might have been some guilt attached: as a bunch of foreign boys walk by, one glances in the bucket (something that really bothers me – I want to put a sign on that says DON’T LOOK IN THIS, PUT MONEY IN IT), then, seeing my extreme facial anger, and after a couple of more steps, they return to put in the fiver, which placates me straight away, of course. They tell me they’re from Israel – good lads, in the end.
A man who I must have met before, and talked about giving lessons to, and have completely forgotten since(!), stops and asks if I’m still giving lessons, to which I reply ‘Yes’. He says ‘Still at £10?’ Now, that’s really cheap and I can’t recall ever saying that to anyone. I ask if it was a long time ago ‘when we last spoke’, and he says ‘No, a month maybe’. Well, he’s either lying or he has a totally warped sense of time. Anyway, when I say it’s £20, he seems a bit put out…fast forward about half an hour, and my fellow Chet Atkins admirer George drops by. He too asks about a lesson – he wants some help with one particular bar in La Vie En Rose – and he says he’d gladly hand over £30 for a half hour of my time! When I protest – because I’m never going to make a decent businessman – that £30 is way too much, he still insists. So, an interesting contrast…or juxtaposition, as it were.
Another bunch of foreign boys (five) appear, and stand in front of me during Deve Ser Amor, and at the end the tallest one says he would like to buy a CD. (Deve Ser Amor – Song Of The Day – first time!) I ask where they’re from. Paris, they say. I apologise for Dever Ser Amor not being on the CD, but I point out that it does have La Vie En Rose, or, giving it my best accent la Francais(!?) – ‘Laveeahrose’. They don’t understand so I say it again. They still don’t understand so I show them the name on the CD. They understand – they say ‘Ah, Laveeahrose’, exactly how I just said it! Anyway, trying to impress them, I say ‘Ca va?’, and I think one of them said ‘Oui’, then, as they’re moving off, I say ‘Uh…bonsoir’, and then ‘enchante’, which I think is something a man says when greeting a lady. The tall one says ‘Your French is very good’. (that’s Holiday French at the Adult Learning Centre for you). As my parting gesture, I impress them further with ‘Merci’, followed by ‘Au revoir’, which I say no less than three times.
I move on after an hour and a half, as the bloke packs up his machine across the way (no free ice-cream today)…I go down to Oxfam, where it all seems to be winding down. There are a couple of tables opposite, but they leave after the second song and no one comes over… A middle aged bloke walks past with a much younger Chinese woman, and a few steps on, obviously wanting to contribute, she stops and looks in her purse. The bloke looks really impatient, though. She comes back and gives me a penny (what is it with the Chinese and pennies?!) before returning to the bloke who, I suspect, bought her.
One of the young waitresses comes out to pile up the chairs. She sees me and says something – ‘We missed you earlier’, or ‘You missed it earlier’, or ‘It was busy, earlier. You missed it’. Something like that – I couldn’t tell! In fact, I only came out this late as an experiment, as Doll and Jude have gone off on their annual camping holiday, and left me to my own devices. I probably won’t do it again, though. The first set was good but this last half hour – apart from giving me the opportunity of going through the Gymnopedie a couple of times, was a total waste of time – the place is deserted!
Earnings: £31.00 (Including 1 CD)