Diary Of A Busker Day 452 Saturday September 21st 2013 Winchester (Opposite Bellis/O2, Time: 3:55-5:57pm).
I decided to come in because I need to get the piano tuned so I can record the old Ballad In E Major for the next album. I start off feeling quite cheerful but then no one gives any money until the 6th song – Here Comes The Sun, and that person was a two year old with a 50p coin. He seemed mesmerised by the sound – most two year olds are: they can’t work it out! In fact, ALL the donations up until 4:23 – the first half hour – were from kids, yet again confirming my theory that people in general…are mean! Here, anyway. A disgusting state of affairs.
A young guy who’s been watching from the bench, comes across to say he likes my Satie Gymnopedie (it was a Gnossienne – I correct him), and it takes me awhile to notice it’s Chris, aka LCD – Last Child Dancing, who I used to know from the old open-mic days at The Railway. I remember he was one of the few people I thought was any good, and a nice bloke, too, and I’m really embarrassed I didn’t recognise him – I apologise profusely! He says it’s OK, he’s got a really bad hangover – he probably doesn’t look himself. I say he looks well (it’s OK being young and with a hangover: it doesn’t show).
While we’re talking, I notice there’s a £5 note in the bucket so I ask if Chris saw who put it there. He says ‘Yeah, I did. It was a tall bloke – blonde beard, quite a posh looking bloke and as he stopped and as he was going in his pockets, there were a group of ladies near and I was watching them and they were looking at him and you could tell what they were thinking, you know – “I bet he won’t give him much”, then he brings out a fiver and puts it in. They were like, quite surprised, shocked’.
Chris asks me if I do any weddings and things like that. I say I’ve done a few over the years – he says I could go out for £300. I say that I’m aware that you can get that much – being a function guitarist, or pianist, or whatever – but a lot of people out here visibly recoil if I quote half that – £150! Chris is a good bloke – he knows what it’s all about. He points out that what they don’t realise is they’re also paying for all the years it’s taken to learn to play, and how you sacrifice so many things – everything in fact. True! People don’t realise. I don’t think they care, either. Anyway, he says he knows someone getting married next year so he’ll tell them about me.
As he’s leaving, an old lady comes up to ask if I’ve seen the French lady Marie-Therese, and I wish I could say I had. In fact, I’ve thought about that a lot recently, as I haven’t seen her in months. I know she wasn’t well, which is what I say to the lady. She says ‘No, well she was never well. I used to see her around the corner, sitting down with her glass of wine, saying “I can’t afford it, but…”‘. I say I know – I used to see her, but not for ages – I think she might have died. I say I’ve known a few old people here, and then one day you realise you haven’t seen them for awhile, and then someone comes along and says “I don’t know if you know but so-and-so’s died”, and that’s it. It’s terrible but what can you do?
My lady says ‘Well, I’m 90. I just celebrated my birthday at (she mentions a community centre, the name I can’t remember)’, and I say the usual – that I’m amazed she’s 90 – ‘You look…72, 73’. She looked about 80 but what the hell! ‘Well, I have bad days sometimes, but good days too…’ But about Marie-Therese – I bet she’s died. I wonder who I could ask…