Diary Of A Busker Day 418 Friday July 25th Winchester (1. Next to The Slug & Lettuce, Time: 1:45-3:17pm, 2. Opposite Bellis/O2, Time: 3:54-6:30pm).
I’m back at the new place, as the High Street’s full up. In fact, even Oxfam’s taken: by, of all people – full-time Big Issue seller/extremely part-time busker, Simon. That’s my secret place – how dare he?! Things are quiet until about 2 o’clock, when that weird woman – Purple God Woman Wendy turns up with her buck-toothed friend. She starts shouting, firstly about an enormous pigeon dropping on the path. She warns everyone passing by – ‘Oh, now watch out there!’ and points to it. Then she goes into the Little London shop, comes out with a napkin and cleans it up. Very public spirited, which is OK. But she then gets a strawberry out of her shopping cart, comes over to me and tries to put it in my mouth, while leaning in so her face is almost touching mine, while wiggling her bottom about. I find this very embarrassing! Having failed with the strawberry, she goes to the cart and returns with a radish, takes a bite and tries to put THAT in my mouth. And all this while I’m doing a song. So, having failed (a weird seduction?) with the radish, she goes to the man standing against the Little London wall, near where the bird crap was, and attempts to dance with him, and she’s got no chance with that, either.
She returns to me – ‘Oh, what’s that song…Yellow something, I like?’ Like an idiot, I say ‘Yellow Bird?’, so of course, now I have to play it, forgetting that she’s got a thing about singing along very loudly and quite badly…as she does. Then to the next one – Dr. Zhivago, and some more hollering. I don’t get any money, but I get a lot of funny looks and plenty of chuckling from all the people sitting outside eating.
Purple God Woman Wendy is here doing her thing for about half an hour. At the end, she says ‘Goodbye ladies and gentlemen’, and bows, like an actor would at the end of a performance. She leaves with her friend, who never said a word, just smiled every now and then at Wendy’s antics, and who, at one point, took a photo of me. Maybe she’s her carer. Oh well, it killed a half hour, which was something, as money-wise it was a disappointing set: well below the hourly average.
Apart from Purple God Woman Wendy’s ‘turn’, there was only one other incident of note. Near the end of La Vie En Rose, a woman who works in the Creative Crafts shop just to the right of my spot, comes out and stands next to me, and I think ‘Here we go, she’s going to ask me to leave’. But no, it’s only to say that she and another lady in the shop were wondering what the song I was playing’s called! So there I go again – always the dark side…
After the toilet/book shop break – a glance through a book on Marianne Faithful today (in the book shop, not the toilet), I’m back near the first spot. An hour in, a voice at my shoulder – ‘Can I ask a favour?’ I turn my head to see the face attached to the voice – that of a slight, be-spectacled High Street Drongo, his breath reeking of fags. I ask what the favour is and he replies ‘Can I have 25p off you?’ I wait a few seconds then ask what it’s for. ‘To get some baccy’, he says. ‘No’, I say. At least he’s honest. If he’d said ‘To get some food’, I might have said OK. Probably not, though!
The last half hour, there’s not many about and I’m playing mainly to a bag lady on the bench across the way, but a polite soul she is, clapping after nearly every song. And I resurrected Duck Baker’s Georgia On My Mind, which I haven’t done in ages.
Earnings: £43.01 + a 50 cent euro coin.