Diary Of A Busker Day 550 Saturday April 26th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 1:55-2:55pm, 2. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 3:05-5:25pm).
Some bloke’s banging out Layla at The Butter Cross, there’s a load of Morris so-called ‘dancers’ outside the cathedral grounds entrance near Pavilion, so it’s down the road I go…and it’s really slow, which is unusual: folks are usually quite generous down there.
I mess up my new beginning to California Girls. It’s more of a melodic banjo style, which sounds pretty good but it’s also pretty difficult. I do Wonderful Land but still haven’t played it to Mick…then half an hour later, there he is. This was during Borsalino, so I stopped and went into Wonderful Land…and messed it up!, although I’ve played it mistake-less about 10 times since learning it. That’s nerves for you.
I’m not sure if he was too impressed – even when I corrected the mistakes, all he said was ‘Yeah, there’s a lot going on’. Bloody hell, I did my best. I said it wasn’t too bad, as the melody notes seem to fit in quite easily with the chord positions, and that a lot of people have donated and that I was pleased I learnt it, for which I thanked him. I also told him what I found out about it: that it was the best selling single of the Sixties and was number one for 10 weeks, apparently that’s longer than any other record, including any Beatles single. Mick contributed – he had to, didn’t he! But still, I don’t think he was impressed. There’s no pleasing some. After an hour, I left with £4.52p – less than half the normal rate. People are mean, etc…
After walking about for 5 minutes, I set up at Vodafone (the Morris lot were still up the road), and got nothing until the third song – Here Comes The Sun, and then got 5 donations, so Song Of The Day, it became. But wait…awhile later, a CD sale – and a £9 one, at that, so the new Song Of The Day: Albatross. Actually, I had another CD sale. A bunch of young Chinese bought the last £5 one, despite my efforts to get them to buy the £9 one. But no, all they said was ‘Five pound’.
During Wheels , a young guy who looked like he’d had a few, requests – of all things, a Metallica song – Nothing Really Matters. How anyone can think – after hearing Wheels, that I might know a Metallica song, well, it’s well beyond the scope of my imagination! Weirdly enough, once upon a time, I learned that Metallica one, for someone I was going to give a lesson to, but it never happened. It’s a sort of miserable ballad, as I remember.
Anyway, when I said I didn’t do it, he asked if there was any place he could get a bass guitar from!, so I directed him to CY Music, up in Jewry Street. Then I played California Girls again – the intro, marginally better than before. Just before I stopped, an old couple paid me a compliment – ‘You make Winchester’. I replied ‘It’s not that bad, is it?’ – not a very grateful sounding reply when I think of it. I ‘make’ Winchester – no way!
A long set. I originally wanted to do an hour but carried on, as the outdoor thing I was going to do the next day was cancelled as it was supposed to rain, so I was £80 down. Then, after I got to an hour and a half, I went on to 2 hours and 20, making the total 3 hours and 20. And that’s straight through, apart from a 10 minute break after the first hour. I gotta watch it or the thumb’ll go again!
On the way back, I bought a Big Issue from Simon, who was ‘with’ crutches. He now thinks his hip problem has affected his hand – ‘I can’t seem to play anything fast, like the flamenco’. Flamenco? – he can barely string 2 notes together at the best of times! Flamenco, my arse. Then he said ‘If it doesn’t get better, I don’t know what I’m going to do…music is my life…playing’. Music is his life? Give me a break! I can’t remember the last time I saw him with a guitar out here! So, after hearing about HIS hand problem, I reminded him of MINE. And I DO spend my whole life (slight exaggeration) playing the guitar…apart from when I’m writing down this rubbish…which takes about as long.
A bit further up, there’s the bloke with the sand sculpture of the lying down dog. Now, there’s funny thing about that. I never seem to see the dog in any other stage of creation, apart from the finished state. And the guy only ever seems to be lightly brushing the surface around the base. I’m wondering if it’s a scam: that the sculpture’s really a plastic mould with a bit of sand glued on.
Earnings: £54.57p (Including 2 CDs)