Diary Of A Busker Day 448 Saturday September 14th 2013 Winchester (Opposite Bellis/O2, Time: 5:07-6:13pm).
I would have set up in front of the The Butter Cross but they’ve got it fenced off. I wonder if they’re going to do a Stonehenge, and we’ll never again be able to climb all over it – I wouldn’t be surprised. In fact, I think it’s amazing they’ve let it go this long, with little kids and teenagers running up and down and around the steps, and it being a so-called listed building. I think it is, anyway. I’d like to see Sam do his act on it today! Actually, he could climb over the railings and pretend he was a rock god at some crap festival like Glastonbury, with the fence there to protect him from his adoring fans. Ha! I toyed with the idea of setting up in front of the fence but it’s just a bit too far into the street – too ‘in your face’ – not my image at all, so I decided against it.
It’s not until the 4th song I get any coinage – ignored by the populace, ignored by Henry Gray’s daughter, even by Mick, who I spied passing behind me. Oh my, things are bad when even the hardened regulars don’t stop. It’s a cold day, too. The first cold day of the year. My fingers are brittle. I play like a DOG! And although it gets a bit better, I never really get warmed up, musically AND physically.
The headband-wearing Drongo, Stefan, stops after While My Guitar Gently Weeps. The conversation: He: ‘You play some great music, man’. Me: ‘Thank you’. He: ‘Yeah, a lot of people don’t know what you play’. Me: ‘Well, I don’t know…I suppose if you like The Beatles, you’ll know THAT one’. He: ‘You know any Doors? – Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name…?’ Me: ‘No. I mean, I know that one – I don’t play it, but it’s a lot like (I play the riff to The Kinks’ All Day And All Of The Night)…a lot like that – The Kinks, isn’t it?’ Stefan, not wanting to get away from Jim Morrison: ‘Yeah…I went to Jim Morrison’s grave’. Me: ‘Oh yeah’. Stefan: ‘In Paris’. Me: ‘Yeah, I went there, well, not to see his grave, but I saw it’. Stefan: ‘Yeah, there’s always people there, so you can find it’. Me: ‘Well, when I saw it, there was no one else there, in fact, I stumbled on it by accident, and you could hardly make out what it said, it was overgrown – the headstone’. Stefan: ‘Yeah…well…(mumbles something, then produces a folded up bank note)…I’ll come back in a few minutes’.
He then takes a few paces, and then a CPSO appears and starts talking to him so I go into a song…two minutes later, their conversation over, Stefan walks up towards The Westgate and the CPSO comes over – ‘He didn’t want some change, did he?’ Me: ‘No’. CPSO: It’s just, there are a lot of fake twenty pound notes around, just to warn you, if he wanted some change’. Me: ‘Right, OK’, I then nod toward the bucket which has about £3.50 in it – ‘I wouldn’t be able to give him much, anyway’.
Down the road – an incredible sight: Simon, the Big Issue seller and (very, VERY) occasional busker, and he’s got a guitar slung over his back! – something I haven’t seen for years. This is from about 5:30 on, so he must be in preparation for the ‘night shift’. Hmm, I wonder if he’ll be featuring his arrangement of The Third Man: his arrangement for one finger. I’m not hanging around to find out…
…On the way back, walking across the Arbor, a man whose face I recognise, passes and says ‘Hello, how are you?’ I say ‘OK, a bit cold’. ‘Winter’s coming!’ he says. Thanks, pal.