Diary Of A Busker Day 553 Wednesday April 30th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 1:25-2:42pm, 2. Opposite Bellis, Time: 2:54-5pm).
Rob’s back in town, at The Butter Cross, and the homeless bloke with the whistle’s down at Vodafone – what’s going on here, he’s taking all my spots! Half an hour in, Rob and his missus come down the road with all the gear and start loading it into their car, which is parked a bit further down. After, Rob comes up to say hello. I was doing Wouldn’t It Be Nice – he said it sounded good, and asked if I’d been to Oxford. I said no. He said you don’t have to sign a form, but you have to queue up and wait for whoever it is to finish, and then you get an hour. Sod that! I’m not going up all that way, what with the train fare and everything, and then queue up just to play for an hour. What if there’s a load of people before me? Rob says Chris, the guy who plays all the fast tapping stuff, goes up to Oxford and it takes him THREE HOURS each way, on the bus. He must be off his head!
Bertie the Flowerman’s back in town, too. He drives by in his van and waves…
…Now, I reckon it’s about time I met one of the biggest cunts in the world, and he’s right here in Winchester. He’s a bloke about 70, short, a bit tubby, wearing a cap, walking stick, with his wife. I’m playing Dr. Zhivago, and as they walk past, he says something about Hank Marvin. I say ‘Sorry?’, and he repeats what he said, which was ‘You’re not exactly Hank Marvin’. Yes, he really said that. I couldn’t believe it. I should have said ‘Yeah? – well you’re not exactly Brad Pitt’, but we never think of these things. Not me, anyway.
But what I do is stop Dr. Zhivago and start Wonderful Land, incorporating both the chords and the lead bit – come on, not even Mr. Marvin did that! But the cunt doesn’t even turn around – what a cunt. I bet he didn’t even know Wonderful Land. I bet he just knows there’s an expression – ‘You’re not exactly Hank Marvin’ (is there an expression?). I packed up 10 minutes later – I was making a load of mistakes, I was so furious. I mean, I was getting more and more angry, the more I thought about what he said. I should have stopped thinking about it!
After the toilet break, walking through the alleyway, I came across Bertie and the young flower bloke. I tell Bertie about The Cunt. He says ‘There’s always fucking cunts about’. I say I’ll have to visit him in Romsey (Bertie, that is), soon. He says ‘Yeah, a Friday, with the nice weather, now’, and he asks if I’m still writing. I say I am, and I’ll have to mention I’ve seen him. He says ‘Yeah, say you’ve seen The Legend That Is Bertie Le’ Mint is back’. I say ‘What? – is that your name?’ He says ‘Yeah, L – E, apostrophe, M – I – N – T. Le’ Mint. The Legend That Is Bertie Le’ Mint is back’. So I say I will!
Apart from the short chat with Bertie, I don’t really have a break before the second set, up at The Butter Cross. Then two good things happen. In fact, one was amazing! The good thing is I sell a £9 CD, to two Brazilian blokes – well, they got it for £8.50p. It took them awhile to work out the pound coins and 50p’s, so in the end, seeing they only had a few coins, I gave them 50p off.
Then the amazing thing. There’s a girl – early 20s, sitting with an older man on the bench opposite. I don’t know if they know each other – they don’t seem to be talking. Anyway, I do Albatross, then Windy & Warm, then they both get up, come over, and the man puts some change in and says ‘That’s for Albatross’, and the girl puts in a £20 note! She never said anything, and in fact, I was too amazed to even say ‘thanks’. All I could do was look at her as she walked off, slightly ahead of the man. Then she turned round and smiled and that was it. A crisp note, as well.
I carried on playing Windy & Warm while looking at the note, thinking ‘I’d better take that out of there soon and put it in my pocket’. Just then, as I’m picking up the note, Jeremy turns up and says ‘Did someone just give that to you?’ I said ‘Yeah, a girl who was sitting over there’. He says ‘She’s your groupie!’ I said ‘I’d rather have this’, holding the note up! Unbelievable – a £20 note. That’s like selling THREE CDs…almost. Wow – something like that can save the day. Well, after the setback earlier, my ego has been revived/restored. Yin and yang!
I finished the set with Dr. Zhivago, which I’m renaming as Not Exactly Hank Marvin (NEHM). A long stint: 3 hours and 20 minutes, almost straight through.
Earnings: £60.58p (+ 1 South Carolina quarter – 25 cents)