Diary Of A Busker Day 528 Sunday March 23rd 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Pavillion, The Square, Time: 1:48-2:20pm, 2. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:44-2:58pm, 3. Opposite Pavillion, Time: 3:00-3:37pm).
Coming in, I said hello to Rick, who’s facing The Butter Cross, and is, as usual, playing so quietly, I can’t ever make out what song he’s doing! We discuss the recent weather, ie: the hail, which I observed from inside the living room, and which he observed from out here an hour ago. He says he’s just doing a bit of playing while his wife’s ‘around the shops’. ‘It’s getting to be a bit of a habit, that, Rick’, I say…or observe.
I hadn’t changed back from the G-tuning since yesterday, so I started with Yellow Bird which collected a pound from someone, and then a light-coloured long hair from the head of a woman walking by with two friends, and that’s all she contributed. I have another memorable meeting: an old guy standing to my right waits till the end of a song, then says how much he likes my guitar sound, then informs me that he ‘used to play in Long John Baldry’s band, in 1962. I used to have a Fender…’ So, first I meet a bloke who was a friend of George Harrison and now a bloke who was in L.J.B’s group in 1962!, and I meet both at the same place!
I do OK here, the coinage being above the usual average…then it starts raining, or rather, almost hailing. So I go to move the stuff under the canopy of the craft shop, then notice they haven’t extended it because the place is closed down due to stocktaking or something. Hmmph – they could have told me! So I pack up and head to the bookshop and look through a few music books…
Back out, I had planned to set up at the other end of the Pavillion street, but they’re really banging out the cathedral bells and that spot’s where you hear them loudest, apart from if you’re ringing the bloody things. There’s no way I can play over the racket, so I set up at Vodafone – only 20 seconds walk away but the bells aren’t nearly as loud – but then leave in disgust after 13 minutes and ONE donation, and loads of people walking by. I’m increasingly favouring the off-the-High Street locations these days – it’s far less depressing. There’s nothing worse than playing stuff that takes ages to learn, and being ignored by more or less every man, woman, child, student, businessman/woman, the clergy, etc.
So back up to Pavillion…which I don’t mind as I was only there for half an hour the first time, and I won’t be here that long now, as I want to get back for The Spy Who Loved Me at 4 o’clock! At 3:30, a guy in his 20s comes up from The Eclipse and says he really likes the sound and starts going on about my guitar – ‘Is it a 335? etc.’ – something loads of people say, so I do my usual – ‘No, loads of people say that: same shape. It’s an Epiphone Casino – a lot cheaper, Korean’. When I say I’ll be finishing soon, he says ‘Oh, that’s a shame. I was trying to get three of my friends to come outside to hear you. Oh well, I’ll have to tell them to hurry up!’ And with that, he goes back…and returns 5 minutes later to offend me with – ‘Bit cheeky, I know, but d’you mind if I have a go?’ (Note: Remember to amend bucket sign with AND IF YOU’RE ANOTHER GUITARIST, NO, I WON’T LET YOU “HAVE A GO”, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE JUST COME FROM THE PUB). Anyway, I say ‘Sorry, no, I’m only doing a couple more songs and I have to make some money’, which is a damn sight more polite than what I wanted to say.