Diary Of A Busker Day 516 Wednesday March 5th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:12-3:27pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 4:09-5:09pm).
I open with Blowin’ In The Wind…twenty minutes later, who do I find standing in front of me? Tony – the very same Tony who provided the entertainment yesterday, along with half the takings. And what is his request? Blowin’ In The Wind. I say I’ll play it, but I refuse any money. When I start it, he starts waving his arms about! – his form of dancing. As good as any other, I suppose. I mean, dancing’s silly, any way you do it. He dances for a minute, then goes off. Now, during his dance, quite a few people walk by giving me ‘knowing’ glances, and not one of these people donate anything – unlike Tony, so what do I care what they think? It’s always the same: those that do(nate), are the ones who haven’t got much. The ones that don’t? – the rich and, oddly enough, the clergy.
A man – a regular but nameless contributor, with a lot of teeth missing comes up during Ne Me Quitte Pas. He tells me he saw Led Zeppelin ‘in…oh, ’74 at Earls Court’. ‘Wow’, I say. ‘Yeah, Jimmy Page had the (does violin-bow action) bow, you know, and he was (shakes head in disbelief and adoration of memory) you know’. Me – ‘Yeah, I bet’. Him – ‘Yeah, the night after, I saw The Alex Harvey Band, you know – The SENSATIONAL Alex Harvey Band’. ‘Wow’, I say, although I’m not really up on my Alex Harvey, although curiously enough, they did a suitably demented version of Next, written by the same guy who wrote Ne Me Quitte Pas. Maybe there’s something in that(?)
Then he says ‘Anyway, I hear you alot – you’ve got it’, to which I reply – rather wittily, I thought – ‘Thanks, I wish I had more of it!’ He says ‘I wish I had more money’ and I say it’s OK. What a nice bloke – see, that’s what I mean. I stop after an hour and fifteen minutes and do a quick count-up: about £10 – under the usual average and certainly nothing to write home about, as they say.
Break at Waterstones, where I remain standing while looking through Hollywood In Kodachrome, which ends up depressing me somewhat, as everyone in it is dead. Everyone apart from Lizabeth Scott and Kirk Douglas who, weirdly enough, are both in one shot. Actually, the depression was relieved somewhat by the photo at the end of the book – the nude Marilyn Monroe calender photo. I mean, I know she’s also also dead, but it was by far the best photo.
Back out, I wanted to play somewhere near The Butter Cross but Mandolin John’s there, strumming and singing Fame – not the Bowie one but the crap 1980s one. John’s rubbish – hell, he doesn’t mind saying what he thinks – I don’t mind writing what I think. There’s an old guy standing right in front of him, writing something down in a pad as John’s singing. Maybe that’s what’s putting him off a bit.
I was considering setting up near Pavillion but when I walked by, I noticed The Bitch was working – that’s a joke: she stands round doing bugger all most of the time. Anyway, I chickened out – I’m embarrassed to admit. So it’s down the arse-end for the second day running…and who should be working in the TINC place but the light-haired bloke who I’m sure doesn’t like me, although I’m not sure now, because he comes out and appears to acknowledge me in a not totally negative way. I think business is slow today, and I’m not sure how I sense that, but he does a sort of pathetic look and looks about him, as if to say ‘Where is everyone?’ Whatever it is, I don’t feel it’s threatening to ME, so my response is to acknowledge his (supposed) communication/acknowledgement to me, by laughing!, which I suppose is better than…frowning(?)
Some people are born without brains, I’m sure. A Westgate schoolgirl approaches from the right, looking at me. There’s also a bus approaching from the same direction. When she gets to where I am, she starts to cross the road, still looking at me. Thinking she’s going to get hit, I stop playing and wildly gesticulate/point with my right arm, to the bus behind her. She sees it just in time and steps back. She never thanked me, though. It makes me shake my head and laugh (again) because it’s unbelievable – and she didn’t even have headphones on. Stupid girl.
Actually, the buses – and there seems to be one going by every minute – are getting on my nerves! I stuck it for an hour, then packed up. On the way up the road, another of the nameless regulars, an old lady, says ‘Have you made your fortune for today?’ I say ‘Well, I’ve made…something’.
Note: I’m getting a lot of aches/pains these days in my left shoulder (there’s a film there). I think it’s how I’m carrying the amp bag: I sling it over my shoulder and I think it’s pulling the shoulder into my neck, so I’m now carrying the bag and putting the guitar on my back, like a rucksack. The other pain is the palm/fingers of my left hand (there’s another film there), something new. I felt it in the second hour of playing today.