Diary Of A Busker Day 530 Thursday March 27th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Bellis/O2, Time: 2:40-3:20pm, 2. Opposite Pavillion, Time: 3:25-4:35pm).
One of my old lady regulars drops by and say she thought I’d died (makes a change from me thinking THEY’VE died), as she hadn’t seen me – ‘So you’re still in the land of the living’. I say I’ve been around, I just haven’t been around here, in this spot. Then she says ‘Then I saw your picture in the paper, and I said to my friend “Audrey, look – there he is!”‘ Well, I hope Audrey was relieved, too. She looks in the bucket – there’s one solitary donation, so she gets a coin out, which prompts me – ‘You don’t have to give me anything, just ’cause there’s not much in there – there’s no obligation, you know’, which she ignores, fortunately.
I spend only half an hour here – it’s pretty dead and I run out of patience: half an hour – long enough to be ignored! I should have gone around the corner. £4.05p is what I got: a pound below the average.
In fact, I DO go around the corner…and if I thought the first place was bad, this is…badder! The Bitch shuts the door 10 minutes after I start, so I promise myself to open it when I leave, and shout ‘You can keep it open now!’, but we never do what we say we will. It really is dead. There’s hardly anyone sitting down outside the restaurants and hardly anyone walking by, although I got more donations than on the High Street, so there you go.
An old couple who were sitting down, come by, and the man – who was in a wheelchair, reaches to put a coin in – I have to lift the bucket near him, after which he says – having noticed the dearth of coinage – ‘Not having much luck here?’ I say ‘It’s OK – better than the High Street’. He says ‘Know any Charlie Kunz?’ ‘Charlie Kunz?’, I say. ‘Yeah, you won’t have heard of him’ (why say it then?!). Anyway, he’s wrong: I know him through all those 30s dance band records father Naylor had, so I say ‘I certainly HAVE heard of him. All that stuff’s from the 1930s – late 30s. I’ve seen his picture on my dad’s old records – he had loads of them. Charlie Kunz – bald, played the piano’ (There ain’t no flies on me). He says ‘Yes, your father will know of him’. I said ‘Yeah, and that’s how I do – I’ve definitely heard of Charlie Kunz, definitely’.
The couple end up listening to most of my set, as the cab they ordered takes ages to get here. The man must have been about 90 – he couldn’t walk. It’ll be fun getting old, bloody hell.
One of the school dads walks past. I think he’s a reporter but I don’t know his name. He says ‘Got a quiet corner, eh?’ I say ‘Yeah, it’s OK’. He laughs then says ‘Bit of sun, too?’ Me – ‘Yeah, it’s allright (it’s actually very cold)…better than the High Street’. ‘Really?’ he says – he must be like most people – they think the High Street’s the only place to be. Me – ‘Yeah, everyone ignores you there. The money’s better here’. ‘Is it really?’ ‘Yeah. The woman who works in there (I nod to Pavillion) doesn’t like me, though’. ‘No?’ ‘No, she shuts the door when I start’. ‘Friendly Winchester, eh?’, he says. I laugh – ‘Yeah’. He says ‘There’s a man at The Butter Cross who’s just standing and shouting’. ‘Oh, is he?’ ‘Yeah’.
I ended up doing 70 minutes. I was going to take a break as I didn’t take one earlier as I’d done just the half hour. But I got a bit lazy and didn’t want to stay out in the cold any longer…and I would have had to go to the bookshop for at least 20 minutes. I just couldn’t be bothered with it all today.