Diary Of A Busker Day 480 Thursday November 28th 2013 Winchester (1. Corner of Monsoon, Market Street, Time: 2:55-3:50pm, 2. Opposite Bellis, Time: 4:35-5:47pm).
For a change of scenery – for me and also the bloke in the Vodafone shop – I set up just around the corner…and get lucky: Before I’ve even set up, a young guy out with his girfriend gives a 50p coin. I say ‘I haven’t played anything yet’, and he says ‘I’ve seen you lots of times before’. Nice one.
A few minutes after I start, one of the Big Issue sellers arrives and makes himself at home right across from me. This is the one who Simon calls Nibbs or Dibbs. He’s always scrounging around the ashtrays on the tops of the big bins for fag ends, and he never speaks to me – nor I to him, for that matter. I think what might have happened is that this is his pitch and he’s gone off somewhere on a break and I’ve come along and set up. I wouldn’t normally set up anywhere near a Big Issue seller. But sod it – he can come over and let me know if he’s annoyed about it! I bet he won’t though, seeing as he never speaks to me.
At 3:30, some of the market stall people are packing up and one guy pulls up his white van a few feet in front of me, which makes a very crowded thoroughfare – like a bottleneck, and the money seems to taper off because everyone’s in a rush to get through to the other side, so I’m going to move when the hour’s up.
Breaktime: in the usual – Waterstones, where, to my dismay, they’ve removed those nice cards of Winchester – ‘blank inside for your message’ – to make room for the Xmas cards, now displayed in their over-abundance: there are millions. This annoys me as I wanted to send a nice Winchester card for Uncle Maurice’s 89th. I raise the point with a ponytailed male worker chap, and, after a bit of persuasion, he’s happy to go to the back room and bring a box of the old stock for my perusal. What a nice helpful (ponytailed) chap, I thought. I know some who wouldn’t have bothered. They’d be all ‘Sorry, it’s just the Christmas cards, now’.
Back out, I head up the road and set up opposite the Bellis entrance. A man contributes after Horizons, saying he really likes it and didn’t know I played it, which leads naturally into my ‘How I Came To Play Horizons’ story: about young Ollie, who lives down the road, who has his lesson on Fridays, etc. I ask my man if there are any other Steve Hackett things he thinks I could play. He doesn’t know, however, there’s a Yes one (from Fragile, I think he said), called The Clap, which he says is good. I say I’ll look into it.
An mildy amusing moment: On the bench to the right of the Bellis doorway, there’s a baby girl in a big pink snowsuit. All I can see is her face. She’s being bounced on a lap and being made to look at me. I wave at her then I notice two of the girls working in Bellis waving at me, but I’m not used to people in shops waving at me so I look behind me, thinking they’re waving at someone else, but there’s no one there. So…firstly THEY mistook ME for waving at THEM, then I mistook THEM for waving at…NO ONE. Ha!
Near the end, ‘Maurice’ turns up, who I naturally heard bellowing on approach. He doesn’t stop, though. He merely says/shouts I CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING TODAY! I say it’s OK. Then, a few minutes later, he emerges from the chocolate shop (chocolatiers?), holds out his hand containing five big pieces (I take one, have a bite – very nice), then says ‘You do know you’re going to get run over in a minute’. I ask what he means. He says ‘There’s a parade’. I say ‘A parade?’ He says ‘Yes, well a lantern parade, any minute’. I did wonder why there more than the usual amount of people, and looking up, there’s a definite stationary line forming on both sides of the street. ‘Oh, f*** that, I was going anyway’, I said. ‘Yes, I said a similar thing myself, just now’, says ‘Maurice’.
Temperature: like yesterday – moderate, no wind.