Diary Of A Busker Day 442 Monday September 2nd 2013 Winchester (1. The Butter Cross, Time: 2:30-4pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 4:25-5:10pm, 3. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 5:17-6:02pm).
I’m getting really brave these days: when I come in and see The Butter Cross free, I don’t bother about going somewhere less conspicuous to warm up anymore…I set up! Actually, there area couple of blokes up the road, sitting in front of the JJB Sports shop – one guitar between them, but they’re not playing. In fact I think I saw one of them the other day, walking about with the guitar and a big sign saying MONEY NEEDED FOR NIGHT SHELTER, so one of them must be a homeless busker…or just homeless. But – and wouldn’t you know it – right after I start, one of THEM starts strumming away. I can’t be bothered packing up – I’m sure they’ll let me know if offence has been taken…
…after an hour a young guy comes up and says ‘Did you see those two with a guitar, up there?’ When I look up to where they were, they’re gone, so I said I’d seen them earlier. Then he asks if I saw which way they went. No. Then he says ‘That’s a stolen guitar they’ve got’, so I don’t know what all that’s about…apart from this guy saying they had a stolen guitar!
2nd set: I’m down the arse end, where I haven’t been for over a week, maybe two…and I’m definitely not used to the noise of the buses which starts to grate soon enough…but fortunately, my attention is diverted by an ambulance turning up. Three medical blokes get out and attend to a lady at one of the tables opposite. They seem to ask a lot of questions, then very slowly lead her to the ambulance…to the sound of Chet Atkins’ fingerstyle arrangement of La Vie En Rose. When they first appeared, I was wondering if I should stop playing, out of some sort of respect, but then I thought, no – she might like some light elevator/background music. It might help to relax her. Anyway, they weren’t removing a corpse…not that the corpse would mind some light elevator/background music. I mean, they play stuff during cremations, don’t they?
After all the excitement of the ambulance, the buses gradually start to annoy me again and after 45 minutes I’ve had enough. I wanted to do an hour but I couldn’t take another 15 minutes! Maybe I’ve got a mental problem with these buses…or it’s old age, or I’ve got no tolerance, or something.
3rd set: at Vodafone. A mother and daughter walk past, stop, come back and hand me a bag of 2p coins, saying ‘Sorry, there’s a pound in there’ – at home I discovered they’d short-changed me by 2p – there was ONLY 98p in the bag – bloody tightwads! Then, during Here Comes The Sun, another mother and daughter stop. The mother: ‘We did that at a karaoke in (she says the name of a foreign sounding place which I’ve forgotten)…we were awful!’ Then she starts talking about George Harrison – ‘…and he played things – they were instantly recognisable’, and I interrupt with ‘Yep, and they weren’t too difficult to play, like Here Comes The Sun, as long as this thing (the capo)’s up here (7th fret), the sound is there almost straight away (I play a bar)…’.
The mother: ‘Oh, I don’t know anything about music…but, like the beginning of A Hard Day’s Night, it’s SO recognisable’. So of course on this prompting, I play the aforementioned famous chord. Mother: ‘Yes! and that, straight away when you hear it, you know what it is, then “It’s been a”, you know! Me: ‘That’s right (and now I can’t resist it)…of course, it’s an odd chord, you know, and there’s quite a few things going on there, not just George Harrison’s twelve-string guitar. There’s also…’ And so I go on for another two minutes with the famous chord lecture, and at the end ‘…and there’s a snare drum hit, too, so it’s a combination of all those things, not just the one guitar…’ Mother (laughing): ‘Oh well, I don’t know anything about music!’ Me: ‘Well, you know all about that chord!’
…speaking of which, on the walk home, I was behind another mother and daughter, and their three-legged dog, who, if I’m not mistaken, was named Ringo. I heard the mother call out to it as it hobbled along just ahead of them.
Earnings: £37.48p + 1 USA dime (5 cents) and a silver coin – 150 Kuras(?)