Diary Of A Busker Day 417 Thursday July 25th Winchester (1. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 1:25-3:25pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 3:57-6pm).
I’m still not getting Danny Boy/Londonderry Air right. I completely messed up the end of the ‘C’ section. The first bit was OK, though. After the next song – Ol’ Man River (I messed up a bit of that one, too) – a man comes up – ‘I heard you play Ol’ Man River. I had to sing that in front of four hundred people the other night’. ‘Really? How’d you get on?’, I said. ‘It was terrifying’. Not as terrifying as it is out here sometimes, pal.
More rampaging foreign students: a bunch interrupt by standing very close in front of me, saying ‘Hello? Hello?’ until I stop playing and say ‘What is it?’ ‘Did you see a bunch of students here?’ ‘When?’ ‘Just then’. ‘Look, there are hundreds of bunches of students everywhere!’, which was true.
…I don’t know what it is, but during this set I sink into quite a bad depressive state which lasts for most of the two hours in here…I’ll work it out one day.
During the break, I go to the toilet – I now know how the hand basin conglomeration works!
Set two – down at Oxfam…and it’s finally happened. At about 5 o’clock, the youngish, shortish blind guy I see most days (who doesn’t see me) kicks the bucket over, during Dr Zhivago. There was nothing I could do: I saw him approaching from the right, and heading straight for the bucket so I shouted out ‘WHOA, WHOA!’ Too late. His foot makes contact, the bucket goes over and the coinage is everywhere. ‘Sorry’, he says and carries on. That’s alright, don’t stop and help pick up the coins…oh, of course – that would be pointless. Silly me. Actually, it was quite funny. He couldn’t have picked a more peaceful sounding tune to crash into me, and just after he did it, when I buried my head in my hands, a couple of ladies on the bench opposite started laughing. Some people walking behind the blind guy stop to pick the money up, anyway. In a weird way, it sort of knocked me out of the depression, which was good.
Shortly afterwards, I relate the incident to one of my old lady regulars: ‘You know that blind guy? He just came by and kicked my bucket!’ ‘Oh, we all kick the bucket in the end’, she said. Then I told her about the people who helped pick the money up, and she said ‘Well, that’s Winchester. If you were somewhere else, they’d run off with it’. I must get a photo of the blind guy…I suppose I don’t need to ask him.
Local opera singer and the man lucky enough to walk into Cleo Laine’s dressing room while in a state of undress (her, not him!) – Mr. W. Kendall, drops by. I like him, partly because we both favour the old 1950s Raleighs, and partly because of his great Cleo Laine anecdote which I’m convinced I will always remember. Actually, although I remember the story, I’d forgotten his name! All I could think of was it was something Kendall, so I was searching my mind – ‘…so, it’s…Kenneth?’ ‘No, William’. ‘Ah, I was thinking Kenneth – Kenneth Kendall…word relation, that sort of thing…sorry – William’, I apologised. I really was embarrassed about that. Kenneth Kendall – he was a newsreader from the 70s! I forgot to say that the reason he stopped was that he’d heard me play The Third Man (who hasn’t, in these parts?) somewhere, and wanted to know who did it. Well, he asked the right man, me being the local authority on such things, so I furnished him with all the relevant and probably a few unrelevant details. He says he’ll try to remember the name Karas – I spell it out for him, and he would like me to play my – actually Mr. Oshio’s – authentic, zither-style arrangement. Unfortunately, the hour’s late, my brain is shutting down, and I mess up pretty well most of it, for which I apologise…again.
Earnings: £47.01 + 6 euro cents