Diary Of A Busker Day 473 Friday November 15th 2013 Winchester (Opposite Oxfam, Time: 1:47-2:55pm).
A cold and windy day, despite the sun. Then again, it’s now the middle of November. I have a brief chat with Big Issue Monica. I’ve stopped buying from her, as she’s got a home in Portsmouth! She moans about stuff even more than I do. Today, it’s the left side of her face – she’s got to have three teeth out next week…and the cold, of course – fair enough.
A bit further down and another brief chat, with Mandolin John, who’s stopped playing and is having a drink from a silver flask, which he says he says he uses in his flat, as well. He also says he used to be homeless – ‘I see a lot of the other (Drongos) about. Some of them are alright, some aren’t…’, and he has no friends and doesn’t see anyone, apart from when he comes out here. On that point, our paths converge, I say, which isn’t quite true, but maybe it will make him feel not so alone(?) – who knows, and who ever will…
John says he set up at Vodafone but there’s a van making a lot of noise around the corner, so he’s moved up here. I then start up, down the road…and his van’s still there so I keep walking, down to Oxfam, where the noise is just as bad. There’s some drilling next to the shop next to TINC, and they’re STILL drilling down at the Guildhall!…all the noise puts me in a bad mood…and then the cold. I get no less than five people coming up, saying ‘You’re hands must be pretty cold’, or variations on that. My reply – the standard ‘They ARE. I’m going home in a minute’ – no variation on that, apart from the ‘minute’ dragging on to 45 minutes.
One guy comes up and says ‘You should try the Christmas market’, and I must have looked like he’d insulted me because he then said in quite a hurt way ‘I’m just trying to give some ideas’, so I thanked him. Then he says ‘And the old buses’. I don’t know what he means so I say ‘What?’ He says ‘Yeah the old buses, on January 1st’, so I say again ‘What?’ So he says ‘Yeah, on January the 1st, they bring the old buses out, don’t they?’ Right, now I know what he’s talking about. They do it every few months – get the old buses out so people can ride around town. I don’t know what the connection with busking is, though, apart from the first three letters!
A young guy comes up and says he might start busking again with his saxophone (NO!!!) because, and I quote – ‘It’s not a bad way. I mean, you make more than a full-time job, yeah?’ I said – and I seem to say this word alot today – ‘What?!’ and he says it again, so I say ‘The thing is, I’m lucky if I make ten pounds an hour, and that’s playing straight through, and I’m telling you, when it gets cold, it’s hell’. I reckon this guy could never have played out in the winter, or he wouldn’t have said that.
‘Maurice’ turns up. Actually, I can hear him well before he turns up. He bellows ‘HELLO, MY BOY!’, from half a mile away. He gets to me just after I’ve started a song, holds out his hand to shake mine, but I’m damned if I’m going to stop playing to do that, because that’s the kind of (anti-social) guy I am today. Anyway, when I don’t offer my hand, he’s OK about it and says ‘I’d give you some money but I gave my last to the Philippines typhoon fund, you know’, and then it’s the usual ‘…now, you’ll be coming round for some dinner, with your good lady?’ I say I will. I don’t know…I might, but not with the ‘good lady’, though. The ‘good lady’ can’t bloody stand him.