Diary Of A Busker Day 537 Friday April 4th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Pavillion, Time: 1:30-2:06pm, 2:13-3:15pm, 2. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 4:07-5:30pm).
I set up opposite Pavillion, which I can’t see because there’s that big brown UPS delivery van parked in front of me. I see this van all the time, and the guy who drives it who has a moustache. He nods to me whenever he goes by. I don’t know where he is now, though, but I know the van’s never parked for too long, so I reckon he’ll turn up and it’ll be off.
So I start playing, with the side of the van four feet in front of me. There aren’t many people sitting outside today – it’s a bit chilly, overcast – but they must wonder where the sound’s coming from as they can’t see me! After some minutes, the driver turns up but instead of driving off and thereby revealing me to my adoring public, he gets a load of boxes out and trolleys them off to the photographic shop a few doors down. Then he comes back, gets some more boxes and goes off again…then he’s back again to carry a couple of lighter parcels off but this time he disappears through the alleyway towards The Butter Cross, and that’s it – he’s gone, he doesn’t come back!
I get rather fed up with this big dark van in front – it’s a bit oppressive, actually – so I decide to get out. But then I think – ‘I bet the minute I walk off, the bloody driver’ll turn up and the van’ll move off – it will definitely happen!’ This is why I’ve stuck it for over half an hour, because I KNOW it will happen. But in the end, I’ve had enough. I’ve had a couple of donations and one woman kicked the bucket by mistake, trying to get passed me: there’s not much space between me and the van. But most people are walking round the other side of it – bloody van!
I pack up and walk down The Square – I only found out the name today and I’ve been down it hundreds of times – and turn left at the bottom towards the High Street, and head for Vodafone…but wait, there’s that violinist that plays in Guy’s Threepenny Bit bunch. Hmm…I wonder…I turn back and just as I’m getting to The Square, I hear the sound of a van about to turn the corner…and yes, it’s the bloody UPS van! What I thought – no, KNEW – would happen, did…give or take a couple of minutes. The van turns the corner, the driver sees me as I mouth the words ‘For f**** sake’ – ha! So, back up the road. I now have full view of Pavillion when, after a few minutes, someone (not The Bitch) shuts the door tight – it was wide open. Cheers, you lovely people!
A man requests Anji – Bert Jansch, so I do the usual – ‘I used to play it but it’s really difficult because of this problem I’ve got with my hand…’, and then I play it, or try to. In fact it’s not too bad, maybe because I was teaching it to Ollie not long ago. Anyway, the man donates and it even gets another donation, so I’m going to name it Song Of The Day, and it’s not even in my official repertoire…maybe I should put it back in. After an hour, I’ve had enough and I bet the women in Pavillion have, too, and there’s hardly anyone about: four at a table, that’s it.
I walk about…Mandolin John’s strumming and singing some rubbish at Vodafone. What the hell, I’ll go down to Oxfam – I haven’t been there for awhile…but it’s slow..one amusing incident: That old guy from Southampton who loves Blackbird, appeared across the road during The Third Man, so afterwards I did his favourite, then go into Girl. He crosses the road and he’s standing next to me and at the end he says ‘Do you know any Guns ‘n’ Roses?’ Well, this cracks me up: he’s got to be 70, moustachioed, wears a nice suit, even has a small carnation in his buttonhole today. Not your usual Guns ‘n’ Roses fan, you might be forgiven for saying.
In fact, I even say ‘You just don’t look like the sort of person who’d like Guns ‘n’ Roses’, which I think he gets – he laughs a bit, anyway. Then when I say I don’t know any Guns ‘n’ Roses, he says ‘Any Bob Dylan?’, so he gets Blowin’ In The Wind. Art the end he wishes me a happy Easter and does a peace sign – the two fingers, which throws me a bit, so I say ‘Sorry?’, and he says it again – ‘Have a happy Easter’, and does the sign again, and then it clicks: he’s doing a rabbit sign!
Apart from that, it was pretty dead. A young guy from one of the market stalls comes across to donate – he liked the music, he says. Then, after I packed up and was about to walk off, a couple come across. The man says ‘We’ve been enjoying a cup of tea (he’s Irish), listening to you…there you go’, and hands me a coin. So, what’s it worth? – listening to me while having a cup of tea? 50p.
I was hoping to have a bit more success – of a Friday, especially since it’s been an expensive week, what with paying for the bloody album. I worked out how much the whole thing cost: £2,966 – that’s the recording, train fares to London (and back, of course!), mastering, and this week, the manufacture of 100 CDs and artwork, so that was about £340. The train fares were over £700 – half of what it cost to record the ten songs! And on top of that, because it’s half-term, all the guitar lessons are cancelled until the 22nd or 23rd.
I almost forgot, during the last few days, there’s been a big thing about sand from the Sahara mixing with the air pollution in England. I took a photo of a few grains which had settled on the guitar. BIG NEWS!