Diary Of A Busker Day 446 Tuesday September 10th 2013 (1. The Butter Cross, Time: 1:45-1:49pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 2-3pm, 3. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 3:08-4:18pm).
On the way down the High Street – there he is: Chris ‘I think you should get a life’ RAC man. He asks me how it went in Chichester last week. I say it went terrible, which is why, being a sucker for punishment, I’m going back on Thursday. He again suggests I try Bognor, or maybe Farnborough, where Kai goes, because Chris – twattish RAC man, knows him, too. He does tell me one interesting fact, though. In Newbury, the buskers have to sign a form saying they won’t play anything political. Which makes me think: is there someone standing nearby, writing down everything someone plays – or sings, rather? As I suppose you could do an instrumental version of a “political” song, whatever that is. Are they going to arrest you for doing a political song with no words? And, as Chris (the twat) says – ‘When you think of it (which I never do), every song is political, being an exchange of ideas…’ Yeah, yeah, we all know all that. Smart arse.
After him, I set up at The Butter Cross, but from the first second, I keep my head down as I seem to have become painfully self-conscious from being out in the open. And then, if that wasn’t bad enough, just after starting the second song, Mandolin John appears and says ‘Could you turn down a bit, mate. You’re really loud, you’re drowning me out!’ Well, blow me – I never knew he was around! I apologise, saying I never saw him and ask him where he is. ‘Down there, outside Vision Express, hiding behind a pillar – probably why you didn’t see me’. So I think that was the shortest set ever. (‘Too loud’ – I’d even turned down due to my self-consciousness!)
So it’s down the road I go…past the young strummers at Vodafone…down to Oxfam…where it’s pretty slow, which depresses me somewhat, which makes me think of packing it in. And then the guy from TINC appears at the doorway, staring at me. Sod it. I reckon I’ll keep it to one hour. Half an hour in, a lady about 70 who’s been sitting on the bench across the road with her husband(?), comes over to ask if I know Streets Of London. I don’t, but try to remember that Ralph McTell instrumental – Dry Bone Rag, I was doing a while back, at home. Very fast, it was. So I play a few bars of that as she goes back to the bench…
…after I finish, she shouts ‘Cavatina!’ God, no – not that! I shake my head and think ‘what to do, what to do…’ during which she comes over again and starts telling me about when she saw some brilliant guitarist – it might have been John Williams she thinks (wouldn’t you REMEMBER if you saw the legend that is himself?) who played that, or ‘something like that’. Anyway, I do the next best thing – my Spanish medley: Lagrima, the Study (Estudio, even!) In E Minor, and Romance de Espana. After I finish, she comes over yet again and says ‘Ah – THAT was the one he played!’, meaning the Romance de Espana, then she kisses me! She backs off into the road (they really need a curb here) and she’s still looking at me when a bus just misses her. I shout ‘LOOK OUT!’, which is when she sees it. She starts laughing, comes back, and I say ‘That would have been terrible – I could have been the last person to speak to you!’ ‘You could have been the last person I kissed’, she says, then ‘Oh, there’s my husband, over there!’ and is off…finally. Fun and games.
During the set at Vodafone, Mandolin John walks past and almost too profusely, apologises for coming up to me earlier. I said there was no need to apologise – it was my fault. Then he said – ‘No, I don’t want to offend YOU’, emphasising YOU. He was really aggressive about it, too. I don’t know what it is but I think there’s something weird about him.