Diary Of A Busker Day 423 Friday August 2nd Winchester (1. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 1:38-3:38pm, 2. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 4:07-6:07pm).
I have one of my twice-weekly meetings with Delia, and what is now becoming a tradition: after she goes off to get her bus, I wait about 30 seconds, then start up her favourite – Dr. Zhivago, then she stops, turns around and waves. I know one day that’ll be the last image I have of her…and I keep thinking, what’s happened to Mick? My last image of him was when he went off after I said I couldn’t stop playing to talk to him.
A CD sale! And the song that secured it? The Third Man – authentic zither-style version, so instant SOTD status is conferred…and the lucky purchaser? A man sitting on the bench opposite, waiting for his wife to come out of a shop. It turns out he’s a Bert Weedon fan, so I say, as his wife’s still shopping, I’ll play my Bert Weedon numbers, although I have to point out I learned them too late to put them on the CD.
Just after the first one – Twelve-String Shuffle, a woman at one of the tables comes over and contributes. I tell her the name of the song and she says ‘Oh, I don’t know about all that. I was one of those who weren’t allowed to listen to music’. I say ‘Oh, right. I suppose that’s a long story?’ ‘Hmm, yes’, she says, and I don’t press her further, so I’m left to wonder about that. How weird the world and its peoples are.
Speaking of weird people, as I’m packing up, Purple God Woman Wendy turns up with a bandaged hand. ‘I fell down’, she says. I ask if she’s in pain. ‘Oh, all the time. No compensation – that’s the council. Anyway, I’ve come to annoy you, but you’re packing up’, she says. ‘Yep, it’ll have to be some other time. I’m going up the road’, I say. (People must think I’m some sort of cowboy when I say ‘yep’, I reckon). ‘Well, you’ve got my photo with my face in the window’, she says. I don’t know what she means. I’ve got her wiggling her backside at me, no face though, so I ask what she means and she says ‘You’ve got my face and the reflection in the shop window, you know? The shop on the other side of you, that I was facing’, so I get my camera out and show her the photo. No reflection. Weird people(s) of the world…
Up the road, I have a brief chat with Chris the RAC man. He says ‘I bet you still haven’t listened to those new bands I told you about’, and I say he’s right – I tend to like old stuff. ‘So you don’t like new music? Lady Gaga?’ No, certainly not. Then I give the usual ‘as I play solo instrumental stuff, I have to rely on the melody being really memorable, etc…’ Dave suggests I visit Bognor, as it’s packed with tourists now. In the winter ‘it’s just one man and his dog’, he says. Well, Bognor’s near Chichester, so this brings to mind my encounter with PCSO Sean Trebble, which I then tell RAC Chris of. I also tell him I’ve signed up for a West Sussex Busking Permit – something I need for Chichester, and also Bognor, if I ever wanted to try my luck there, which is something I don’t really want to do. The very name puts me off for a start. Which reminds me, they still haven’t sent me the permit and it was a while ago, now.
I set up down from RAC Tony. During the zither style Third Man, an old lady and her grand daughter(?) stop, contributes (thanks) and says ‘Do you know Sweet Caroline?’ ‘No’, I say (and I never will). ‘That’s the name of my daughter, here she comes’, she says, and I look to my left, and there she is – the middle one, approaching and waving away.
Just after 5 o’clock, Tony RAC finishes and as he’s walking by, I ask if I can take his photo for my photo album, because that’s one of the many things I do in my rich and varied life out here, on the mean streets of this one-horse town. I’m a documenter. I’ve got pictures of loads of people, and this is waht I tell him. His response is: ‘You need to get a life’. This really offends me, so I say ‘Ahh, Tony – that’s really upset me – “I need to get a life”. How can you say that? I’m really hurt.’ ‘Well’, he says, ‘What do you want to do that for?’ ‘So I’ve got some record of what happens out here: photographs, you know, or else what’ll there be when I’m gone?’ He must be intrigued – ‘Photographs? Who for?’ ‘For my relatives. For my son. History books have photographs, or we wouldn’t know how people lived’. (the printing press helped, I suppose). He ponders this…, then says ‘Well, I like to live for the here and now’. What – standing in the same spot for 7 hours, wearing a crap High Visibility Jacket (HVJ) and a silly peaked cap, and holding a laminated RAC card, and waiting for someone to stop – which they rarely do – so he can try and flog some car insurance…for SEVEN HOURS?! Is that living for the here and now? He told me himself once – he’d had ONE person speak to him, and he’d been there SIX HOURS. Anyway, I don’t see any papers queueing up to do a feature on HIM, or any short film animators doing a film of HIM. And how many people does he get saying he’s brightened their day, after signing up for RAC cover? AND…has someone given HIM an envelope with £100 in…and have two girls come up and handed HIM a playing card that says YOU’RE INCREDIBLE on it? And furthermore, has HE had to battle with a hand condition making it really difficult to play lots of things that he used to play with ease?…and has HE had to learn all different kinds of music, so people who see HIM every day don’t get bored?! The answer to all those questions is NO…or rather, not that I’m aware of… So who should ‘get a life’?! I really had to stop myself from telling him to get stuffed, but I thought “If I get a photo, I can put – TONY THE RAC TWAT, WHO SAID I SHOULD GET A LIFE” under it. So I asked him again, if he’ll pose, and he says OK. Ha! The fool.
Earnings: £55.39 (Including 1 CD)