Diary Of A Busker Day 549 Thursday April 24th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:21-3:06pm, 2. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 3:10-4:20pm, 3. Opposite Pavillion, Time: 4:48-5:10pm, 4. Opposite Bellis, Time: 5:15-6:05pm).
Started off with 45 minutes on the High Street, resulting in less than £4. I left in a hurry and in disgust! People are so mean, etc… Set up around the corner and was playing less than 5 minutes later and had a good session – about £20, and met some nice people. A woman asked if I’d like to play at something she’s organising in Ringwood: Fanfare For Spring. They’ve got about 35 people – or acts, playing around the town, and she thought I’d go down well. The only thing is, I can’t remember when! There’s no money, though, so I’d be going there to busk, basically. And I’d have to ask Doll to drive me, as I don’t think there’s a train station.
At the end, when I was packing up, two women came up: one about my age, the other about 80. The young(er!) one was holding a piece of music. To cut a long story short, the old one was Joyce, and it was her 84th birthday (I was near), and the younger one was her daughter, Alison. The music was La Vie En Rose, and the reason they had it was they were singing it while they were in the cathedral grounds. They weren’t singing it loud or part of a group. They were going over it because Alison was part of a group who’d done it in a production recently.
Well, right after they were going over it (the music had the English and French words – Take Me To Your Heart Again), they were amazed because they then heard ME playing it! – which must have been a weird thing: a coincidence in the truest sense. (Under the title, someone had written “this song is about being in love with life” – I thought it was a love song from a woman to a man. The credits were: English Lyric by Frank Eyton. Music by Louiguy. French words by Edith Piaf).
Alison is a translator – French/German, and they told me about their stay in Frieberg, which I remembered was where Uncle Colin used to mention. I think he went there with his parents in the Sixties…or it was where a woman he liked lived, then she married someone else…anyway, Joyce and Alison went there in 1985, when Joyce’s husband was alive – he died 21 years ago. Apparently, Alison had to have her appendix out while they were there. The people she was staying with sorted her out really well: German efficiency.
The temperature’s fine: the hands aren’t cold and the thumb’s OK, so instead of a break, I head up the road. I have no fear of the UPS van, as it drove past me while I was at the spot I just left. I’d seen it parked and kept an eye on it’s movements. Of course, no sooner had I set up – in fact, halfway through Albatross – when just as big a van as the UPS one turns up. This is a TNT one. I couldn’t believe it! The bloke got out, took a parcel to a restaurant to my right…came out with someone else, stood at the back looking at a bunch of forms, went back in the restaurant, came out, stood at the back of the van…
…after 20 minutes, I’d had enough of staring at the van, and packed up. I did get a few donations, though. I think some people walking on the other side of the van couldn’t work out where the music was from, although I had a few peering around the back to see. Ha!
Next stop: through the alleyway, turn the corner, and the usual ‘resident’ there – the homeless bloke who plays the whistle, has just got up to go somewhere else. There’s not many folks about – I forgot how late it was: after 5…but who cares! California Girls gets its FOURTH!! airing of the day. Yep, I did it at every spot. The intros still a bit tricky, the rest’s allright, though.
I was offended near the end. Two (homeless?) blokes, definitely drunk, come staggering up. One puts a hand in the bucket. His mate, who’s quite old, walks on. I grab the hand and say ‘Whoa, what’s all this?’ and make sure he hasn’t got anything. He says ‘I was just havin’ some fun’. I say ‘What – just having some fun? What – stealing my money?’ He goes off to join his mate, who laughs and grimaces at me. Twats!
I pack up after 45 minutes, meanwhile a girl (20s) who’s been sitting across the way with an older lady, comes over and says ‘I just want to say – I won’t hold it against you – that I lost the fiver when you didn’t play Here Comes The Sun’. It’s the one from a couple of weeks ago around the corner at Pavillion! – the older lady is her mother. It turns out she’s a waitress at Le Monde – the restaurant, diagonally opposite from where I play. She’s a big fan of mine!, and says I’m very popular with the staff. I say it’s really nice of her to tell me as so many people walk by and you just don’t know what anyone’s thinking – it’s one of the weird things about this ‘job’.
She says ‘It’s important that people should tell you how much they like you – they really do, you know. If you ever moved out of Winchester, you’d be sorely missed’. – ‘sorely missed’! Well, it was really nice she said all that, because people DON’T – even if they like you, most won’t come up and say it. Human nature. Anyway, this nice person is Ione – half Scottish, half Greek, she says. Iona – for the Scottish island. So that was a nice end to the day.
Earnings: £40.98p (+ one very shiny silver UAE coin)
P.S. The 5th Gnossienne’s getting a bit better, too – played it 3 times today.