Diary Of A Busker Day 484 Friday December 27th 2013 Winchester (opposite Vodafone, Time: 3:10-4:34pm).
After The Third Man, an old lady says – ‘And you’re not using synthesizers! (she looks at the amp)…what have you got, just that?’ (Of course! I’m the real deal, lady!) I say ‘Yeah, it’s just a battery-powered amp’. She says ‘Yes, there’s a bloke where I live. He uses synthesizers and you can tell he’s not playing it’. I – because I’m the ‘real deal’ – say ‘Right, that’s no good. I always think it’s a bit like cheating’, because it is. ‘Yes’, she agrees. Good.
I keep forgetting I’ve got a moustache! It gets some notice today. A man stands to my right, waiting for me to finish a song. I’ve got my head down so I don’t really see him, but when I look up, blow me, if it isn’t Bertie The Flowerman – late of Winchester, now of Romsey. He sees the growth – ‘What’s that? – you growin’ a moustache?’ I say ‘Yeah, a couple of weeks now’. He says ‘With a nose that size, why d’ya want to underline it?’, which is obviously what he says to everyone with a moustache, as I haven’t got a big nose.
Comment number two is from Jeremy, at the end of the set. He says ‘Ah, you’ve got a moustache…(studies it for a few seconds)…you know it completely transforms the way you look’. So I say the natural thing – ‘Does it? Do you think it suits me?’ Jeremy says ‘Yes, I think it does (which means ‘no, it doesn’t’, I reckon), but you don’t want it too long. You’ll look like, who is it…Fu Manchu…or the Seventies’. Yeah, that’s what I want! He’s talking about how far it goes down at the sides. The thing is, some people (Doll) have said it should be a bit longer than usual, in keeping with my – to her – eccentric character, because if I have it normal length, I look like a Sergeant. So it’s got to be in between Fu Manchu and bloody Sergeant Pepper. In actual fact, it’s already got the thumbs-up from the man who works in Boots, which is good enough for me. Apart from the moustache, Jeremy asks about my Christmas presents, so I give him the list: Five John Steinbeck books from the son and heir. I read the first one – Of Mice And Men, in one sitting – first time I’ve done that.
Song Of The Day: Erik Satie’s 1st Gnossienne. Unusually, not because it made any money, but because a couple of people came up and said they really liked it. One man in particularly, greatly enthused, for which I thanked him most profusely. I told him I thought the piece worked well on the guitar, apart from the bit with the low B flat, which you can’t get on the guitar…unless you lowered the low string down an enormous amount, which is totally impractical out here. Hmm…during these moments of contemplation, I always think what Les Paul said when he was having problems making his guitar – ‘The world is a compromise, and the guitar is part of it’.
The takings: Far below what they were the other day for almost the same time, but still above the hourly average.