Diary Of A Busker Day 542 Saturday April 12th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Pavillion, Time: 1:30-2:30pm, 2. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 2:40-3:05pm, 3. Opposite Pavillion, Time: 3:15-4:50pm).
Andrew Rutter came up to say the folks at the Laura Ashley shop, which is in some of the drawings he showed me, were so pleased about one of them, they want to hang them in the head office.
Two bunches of people at two different times stop me from playing, both, weirdly enough, going on about me playing at their daughter’s weddings! One bunch think they’re going to be let down by a keyboard player. They’re in the New Forest so I got all the pointless directions about roundabouts before I could say ‘I don’t drive’. The other wedding – the father wants half an hour of music when they emerge from the St. Lawrence Church, nearby in the alleyway. He’ll pay me £25, but then he starts going on about me sending a set list and maybe some songs ‘she’ would like to hear. In other words, songs not on the list – songs I’d have to learn. I said that would cost more. Why don’t these people just get a jukebox, or iPad?, or whatever they all have now. I’m not learning a load of stuff I hate just for a stupid wedding.
A cab slowly reverses until the driver’s door’s in front of me. It’s Maurice. He holds out a coin, but no – it’s not a coin. It’s one of those pound coin-like things you put in shopping trolleys so you can unlock the trolley, and then you get your pound back at the end. ‘I found it at Morrison’s – you can have it, I haven’t got any money’. This annoys me, probably because the money’s a bit slow and I’m getting a bit depressed, so I say ‘What good is that to me?’ Maurice says ‘Well, you can use it so you don’t have to use a pound’. He’s right, of course! If I was in a better mood, I would have laughed, but I just sort of grit my teeth and thank him.
Half an hour in, Rick Tarrant turns up so I apologised for being in ‘his’ spot, but he was alright about it. He said he’d go to the restuarant or pub and maybe take over when I stopped. When he asked how long I’d been playing, I said half an hour and that I could finish in half an hour, but he said ‘Oh no, you want longer than that – one and a half hours, you know’, so I thanked him – he’s a nice bloke. He went off for a bit, came back 15 minutes later, sat at a table for 15 minutes then, seeing I was still playing, got up and wandered off through the alley! I should have called him back, I suppose. I stopped just after that, packed up and went to find him…
…he was playing in the sun, facing The Butter Cross. He did a bit of Black Mountain Rag – I did that while he was sitting down, and Windy & Warm (hey, he’s stealing my act!)…he’s pretty good! Anyway, he said he was happy where he was.
Down the road from the 1st spot, there’s a guy working on the electrics box right near where I play, so I have to shift over 10 feet, so I’m right on the bend in the road, which is a bit weird as the cars look like they’re heading straight for me! And then I stabbed myself. When I went to reach in my pocket for my pad to write down when I started, the pencil, which was still sharp, went right in my palm. I pulled my hand out and it was there, hanging from it. The whole of the lead bit was in the skin at an angle, about an inch from the little finger. I pulled it out – I was amazed there was hardly any blood – and tried to suck the poison out, but the opening closed up pretty quickly. It didn’t hurt too much so I was able to carry on.
That homeless guy Brian came up with a Drongo mate. He wanted some money, as if I’ve got anything. (I suppose I’ve got more than him). ‘They’ve stopped us from begging and busking (I like how he puts the two together) in the High Street and I’ve just had a thing with me liver’, he says. He did look rough, and also like he was missing another tooth, but I wasn’t in the mood for it, although I gave him 50p – just to get rid of the bugger.
At 3:05, I was drowned out by the bloody church bells, which are twice as loud here as up the road, so I had to stop. I packed up, walked around a bit then went back up the road and started up there again. The bells didn’t stop till I was 20 minutes in. A couple with a little boy with autism distracted me for a while. He kept trying to pick the bucket up and empty it, during which I was telling the couple about Chet Atkins, who they’ve not heard of because they’re 35 – my thoughts, not their words.
Just before I finished, a rough-looking woman with peroxide blonde hair comes up, puts a £5 note and a few coins in – ‘We had a pool around, sittin’ outside the pub’. I reckon there was £10 in total. I thanked them all – there were four of them – a few minutes later as I walked by the pub, and she said ‘Oh, we would’ve given you more if you kept playing’
Earnings: £47.09p (Including 1 CD – £5)