Diary Of A Busker Day 455 Wednesday September 25th 2013 Chichester (1. In front of HSBC bank, The Cross, Time: 11:45-1:45pm, 2:20-3:35pm, 2. Opposite Lloyds Bank, Time: 3:40-4:21pm).
Back in Chichester, and the so-called Indian Summer continues, which is good for my fingers and my mental state. And an earlier start, too, even though I’m not officially booked until 12:30. (I want to get home at 6, not 7)
A man a bit younger than me stops to talk about my guitar which he thinks is an American one. I correct him – ‘It’s Korea, not Kalamazoo’. He asks if the B-string goes out – his always did – ‘I always made sure I sharpened it a bit’ (Then it will always be out-of-tune?!) I ask a stupid question – ‘So you’re a guitar player?’ Well, he WAS. He doesn’t play anymore – he had a stroke 20 years ago when he was 25. This makes me feel really guilty about all the times I moan about stuff. Oh dear. I still tell him about my hand problem, though! He says ‘You just have to carry on – keep playing, don’t you?’
Next, an old guy comes up after Jesu, contributes and says ‘The Lord Jesus is my friend’. All I can think of saying is ‘Great’. He says ‘That’s what you’re playing – Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring’. I can’t argue with that. I say ‘That’s right, sir’ (I’ve got to stop this medieval ‘sir’ business – it’s starting to feel silly). He goes off, comes back and puts a flyer in the bucket, saying ‘I found two bits of paper in my pocket, there’. I say ‘Thanks’. I can see it’s a religious thing – it’s got The Passion Of The Christ written in red at the top.
I manage to sell two CDs – a £5 one and an £8 one. The great moment occurs during Ne Me Quite Pas (Song Of The Day). A short woman stands in front clutching a £5 note – reason enough to stop playing an attend to a potential ‘order’, in my book. Yes, she would like a CD, but after my hard-sell, she decides to buy one of each, so that’s £13. She gives me a £20 note, so I give her a fiver and two pound coins from the bucket which, after telling me she’s going to give the CDs to a 68 year old relative – ‘Oh good, he’ll know all the songs on it’, I say – she puts the two coins back in the bucket! So she’s given me £15!
In fact that’s most of the money I made because after two hours I stop and do a count-up. The result: apart from her money, it’s less than £12. So £15 from one person, £12 from everyone else. My saviour!
I have a 35 minute break. First, to eat what’s left of the lunch, seeing as I had half of it before I started. Then up the road, down the alley, down the other road…to the toilet, then set up again at the same place.
There’s a familiar figure in the form of PCSO Sean Trebble, who’s adopting the usual standing-still copper/CPSO pose: legs wide apart, thumbs in upper jacket. He’s looked over at me a couple of times but I don’t think he remembers me. Anyway, at precisely 2:35, he leaves his post and walks past me to investigate a fire alarm that’s gone off. Good man.
Next up: Three Japanese: one man, two young women, who stop after the 3rd Gnossienne. None of them can speak any English and my Japanese is a bit rusty of late, but one of the women fumbles around in her purse which makes me think she might want a CD, so I say ‘Hello, do you want to buy a CD?’, but they don’t understand – ‘See-dee’, I say, and they still don’t understand, so thinking they might understand if I say it louder (they’re not deaf, you idiot, they just don’t understand English!), I say it really loud – ‘SEE-DEE’. No. She starts up her phone and shows it to me – it’s all Japanese writing and I think they are trying to find a shop, so I point to CPSO Trebble who’s back at his post at the clock tower – good man, thinking they’ll go over to him. They don’t understand me. I don’t understand them. Is it any wonder the world’s the way it is?
Then she holds the phone to my head. It’s the theme from Love Story! That must be what they wanted – the bloody theme from Love Story! It’s a request! ‘Sorry, no, the theme from Love Story – no, I don’t do that’ (and never will). I think they get it, eventually. She then presses some more buttons and holds the phone to my head again, and this time it’s that bloody awful thing that that Radio 1 DJ Simon Bates (I think) used to play at the beginning of that bloody awful Our Tune thing, years ago! So again I have to say – and very VERY emphatically this time – ‘No, sorry, I don’t do that one either’ (and definitely never will – I’ll do Love Story before I do Our bloody Tune). Our Tune – you must be joking.
A potential gig! An old couple ask if I can play at the RAF club in Bognor on a Saturday night. They have lots of different acts, from groups – ‘We had an Irish group last week – they were very loud!’, to people ‘alone’ – solo acts, I’m presuming. Anyway, as the lady says, it’s better if an act comes recommended by a member – so this should stand me in good stead, I reckon. The only thing is, as I’d finish at 11 o’clock, I’d have to sort out a cheap B&B, so I said I could do it as long as I could clear £100, which seemed OK by them. I gave them a card, anyway.*
The Dancing Lady turned up, though there was no dancing today. But she did donate a small amount – ‘I haven’t got much today’. Then I met a bloke about 65 who’s got Parkinson’s. One of his hands was shaking and it’s affected his speech, as well. It took me awhile to work out what he was saying – he was requesting Malaguena, and then he corrected my pronunciation – ‘It’s MalaGAYna, not MalaGWAYNa’. His wife(?) said ‘He’ll be telling you how to play it next!’ In fact it was good he came by as I haven’t done that one for awhile. ‘I only knew Bert Weedon’s version’, I said – almost an apology, which is silly – Bert Weedon’s version is really good!
After being here for another hour and a quarter – that’s a total of 3 and a quarter hours, I’m fed up with the scenery…and vice versa, I’m sure, so I pack up…and finish off doing 40 minutes down East Street, opposite Lloyds.
On the way back, my aim is to get a photo of Sean Trebble for the album. He’s at the same place, same inside jacket positioning of thumbs, and there’s another CPSO with him, who looks vaguely familiar. So I go up and say ‘I know you. You’re Sean Trebble’. He’s impressed – ‘You know my name?’ I explain – ‘Yeah, I’ve met you before, up the road (I point up North Street)…when I was permit-less’. ‘Permit-less’, he laughs, good man. ‘Yeah, but now I have my permit – I’m permitted’. Now the other guy pipes in – ‘You’re the guy with the yellow orange bucket, aren’t you?’ ‘Yeah’. Other guy – ‘Yeah, I was here when that old guy was hassling you – the drunk’, and now I know why he’s familiar. He’s the one who came over and dragged off Mr. Brazil when I was here before. I ask if Mr. Brazil really was his name. ‘Yes, his family are well-known ’round here’. Anyway, back to my mission…and they are pleased to pose, and the other guy’s name is Kev (short for Kevin, I’m assuming) Reeves. I get a good shot with CPSO Trebble holding my gigbag in front of him. ‘Don’t ask me to play it’, he says, the fool.
Earnings: £43.81p, Expenses: £13 (train fare), Profit: £30.81p (Including 2 CDs = £15)
* I never heard back.