Diary Of A Busker Day 441 Saturday August 31st 2013 (1. The Butter Cross, Time: 2:55-3:30pm, 2. Next to The Slug & Lettuce, Time: 3:40-5:25pm, 3. The Butter Cross, Time: 5:35-6:25pm).
A really busy Saturday afternoon and The Butter Cross is free! I take the plunge…and it goes pretty well…I get a manic two year old boy dancing along, so I keep to the fast ones (Chinatown, The Third Man – fast version, and Music To Watch Girls Or Silly Two Year Olds By), so he keeps dancing, because people like that sort of thing. Then the stroke lady from a little while back appears, but this time she’s being pushed by someone else – her other daughter as it turns out. They stop in front during yesterday’s Song Of The Day – Wouldn’t It Be Nice, so at the end I go into Chinatown again, just for the old lady, as I know she really likes that one. It’s the least I can do, I suppose.
During Albatross, a man starts telling me he saw Peter Green on stage not long ago. He said that when he was getting up he looked pretty bad – really ill and old, but when he started playing, he was brilliant. So there you go, there’s hope for us all.
After half an hour, I can hear some sort of music down the street which is too loud to play over. As I stop playing and stand up to look about in confusion (and annoyance, of course), I ask a young bloke – dark hair, shades – who’s come from that way, if he knows who’s down there. He says he doesn’t – ‘but whoever it is, they’re breaking the busker’s code, you don’t play in earshot of someone else. I busk, myself’, which I suspected. Hmm…he must be the dark-haired, shade-wearing strummer guy I see about.
I’m going to have to investigate so I pack up and do a count-up: about £9. Good for half an hour – very good. I walk down the road a bit and see who it is – they’re not far away – in front of Boots, which is only about 50 feet away! It’s two young blokes wearing hats and shades. They’ve stopped playing and are talking to Christine – Mr. Hayward’s ex. She goes off so I go up and say ‘Did you not hear me up there?’ One says ‘No mate’ (‘mate’ – I hate ‘mate’). I say ‘I’ve been playing there, at The Butter Cross, for half an hour’. He says ‘Well we’ve been here all day, mate’. (argghh!!) Me: ‘All day?’ Him: ‘Yeah, for a few hours. We’ve just been on a break’. What? So that means I must have started right when they left.
They’ve got big amps and PA speakers, so they must have just left them there, but you can’t see all that from up where I was, as they’re hidden by the pillars in The Pentice. But apart from all that, I don’t like these two – with their ‘mate’, and I start to feel my blood heating up, so I shake my head and go back to where I was. I’ve never seen them before – and I don’t think they’ve seen me BECAUSE IF THEY HAD, THEY’D SHOW SOME BLOODY RESPECT (for an elder statesman). And I don’t like what they play: a kind of crap rockabilly. And they’re way too loud. I should have just asked them to turn down but my brain wasn’t thinking, it was just starting to overheat and I can’t think straight when that happens – I never could, thinking about it. I didn’t even get their name. Oh well, sod it!
I wanted to do an hour at The Slug & Lettuce but the usual happens and I end up doing an hour and three quarters. And wouldn’t you know it, halfway through the 5th Gnossienne, Jeremy walks by as I make yet another mistake. At least he contributes – for once, then goes to sit down at one of the tables.
After that, it’s back to The Butter Cross, and the crap rockabilly duo have gone so I can set up, although I still manage to be offended. This time by two women walking by during Albatross. One says ‘I don’t recognise it’. Now, I suppose that can mean one of two things: 1. She (truthfully) really doesn’t recognise it – then why say it? And 2. She knows what it is but it doesn’t sound ‘right’. Either way, why say it?
Near the end, weird Purple God Woman Wendy turns up. I was playing Tommy Emmanuel’s Lady Madonna, which is coming along a bit better these days, although it doesn’t impress Wendy – ‘That’s not your usual sunny sound’. I ignore her…she says it again, I ignore her again, finish and start The Moulin Rouge Theme as she walks off…she turns around and smiles. Does that mean I’ve returned to my ‘sunny’ sound? Who knows. I don’t. But Moulin Rouge is a damn sight easier than that Tommy Emmanuel’s Lady Madonna, that’s for sure. That’s a dog, that one.
Note: I’m not selling enough CDs – I haven’t sold one all week, and I’m thinking the £10 price might be putting people off so I’m experimenting with a different tactic. I’ve replaced the ‘CDs: £10 FOR 20 SONGS’ sign with ‘CDs: £5/£8’ – thereby lowering the 20 song CDs by £2, and if that’s still too much for the tightwads, they can have the old 7 song CD for a fiver. Now, I reckon no one’s going to complain about paying a mere fiver for a 7 song CD, but when I then draw their attention to the fact they can get the hour-long/20 song one for only £3 more than the 25 minute 7 song one, I reckon a few – more than a few – will go for it.