Diary Of A Busker Day 554 Friday May 2nd 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 12-12:45pm, 2. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 12:57-2:42pm).
A grey day – or at least that’s how it started – and I wasn’t in a very good mood, which was why I got into a bit of a fix just after I started at the first place. Plus, about five buses went past and drowned me out the minute I started, which didn’t help things.
Anyway…there was an old guy listening from the bench opposite. He was there about 10 minutes…then that idiot who’s always asking for Batman (for me to play it, that is, not ‘Have you seen Batman?’!), he turns up, wearing a Batman T-shirt with the big yellow logo, and also a big Batman belt buckle, which he points to with both forefingers! Oh dear, I’m just not in the mood for it. I don’t like him, anyway – he’s ‘Dangerous’ Dave’s brother. He’s an idiot.
So he puts a 50p coin in the bucket and says ‘Yeah?…you know…Batman!’ I can’t handle it. I pick the coin out, hand it back to him and say ‘I don’t want your money, and I’m not playing Batman’, and I say it three times! The idiot’s confused – he says ‘Wha…what? – you don’t…’ I say it again ‘I don’t want your money’. Meanwhile, the old guy comes over and he’s heard me say to this Batman guy that I don’t want his money, and he’s now standing in front of me and next to Batman, and he now puts two 50p coins on my music book on the ground. But, of course, I can’t take his money because Batman will wonder what’s going on – if I take the old guy’s money but not his. So I refuse the old guy’s money!, which really confuses him. He says ‘What? – but why are you out here playing?! – you don’t want money?’ Oh dear, it’s a weird one, this!
After a few seconds of them both looking at each other, then at me, like – ‘What’s all this about?’, I say to the old guy ‘Do you want to give me some money?’ He says ‘Yeah!’ I say ‘OK, right’, and I hold my hand out and he gives me the 50p’s. I mean, there’s nothing else to do, is there?! Batman then says ‘Well, can you play some Beatles?’, so I say ‘Yeah’, and go into When I’m Sixty-Four, as they go back to the bench and carry on talking – probably along the lines of ‘What the hell was all that about? – he must be going a bit nuts!’
I reckon what I’ll do is wait till Batman leaves, then call the old guy over and tell him why I did all that weird behaviour. After the song, I go into Girl, and at the end they both get up and walk off together! So I can’t tell the old guy about it, so then I feel really stupid. Ha! – the old guy couldn’t work it out – ‘What d’you mean, you don’t want money? – why do you play?!’
I did 45 minutes there, for almost £8, which is OK – more than I thought I’d got. I really need the toilet, so that’s where I headed…passing the flower-seller, I suddenly thought about George and why I haven’t seen him selling his flowers there. Maybe he’s died – he did have cancer. And it really has been a long time since I’ve seen him. I suppose I could ask the bloke who’s there but I don’t know him, and in truth, I think I’m frightened of what he might say – ‘George? – he died’, so I don’t bother. But I might ask the young guy (Bertie’s mate) when I see him next.
Up at Pavilion, Posh BrYan’s in a very talkative mood. He was enjoying his usual – red wine and a pipe(bowl)ful at his usual place, outside the posh Le Monde place, for an hour, then he came over. Firstly, he heaped loads of compliments on me, which is unusual, then he starts telling me about his day – ‘Yes, I’ve had a very unusual day. I first had to go to the hospital, then I went to the Discovery Centre (what was wrong with LIBRARY? Someone must have decided it was too boring…) because someone came up to me the other day and said I was in a picture that somebody took*. I was sitting out there (points to his usual place). Then I listened to a Bob Dylan CD – a double one, that I bought the other day. Marvellous’.
Being a fan, I asked His Poshness what was on it. ‘Oh, The Times They Are A Changing’ says (Posh) BrYan. I say ‘Oh, so it goes back to all the early stuff – 1963, 64?’ ‘Yes…and a friend of mine, Philip Norman…(well, blow me! I recognise the name – I’ve got Shout! – that he wrote about The Beatles! I’ve had it for years! Philip Norman’s a friend of Posh BrYan?! – no way!…WAY!)…he told me he went to see him at the Isle Of Wight. I think he was going to interview him, and he said while he was walking around, he saw about twenty other Bob Dylans’. Me – ‘Twenty other Bob Dylans?’ Posh BrYan – ‘Yes, in front of every caravan, there was a young man…harmonica holder, you know, strumming a guitar’. Now me, probing for information – ‘Ah, I see…I’ve heard of Philip Norman. He’s your friend?’
BrYan – ‘Well, I used to share a flat with him in London. I haven’t seen him for awhile. He’s a writer’. Me – ‘Yes, I know’. Posh BrYan – ‘Wrote a book on The Beatles – Shout!’ Me – ‘Yeah, I know, I’ve got it – I’ve had it for years. I think they keep releasing it with different covers’. His Poshness then starts complimenting me again – ‘You really ARE a fantastic player…there’s only one thing you should be doing…(here we go, I brace myself)…you need to be more forceful – put yourself about more, like over there (nods towards the High Street)’. So I have to explain – ‘The thing is, if there’s someone already playing, I can’t go up and ask them to leave, and I’m not going to stand around, waiting for them to leave. That’s why I come here, and also down the road, and anyway, this place here’s as good as anywhere else. In fact, better sometimes. Also, no one else ever plays here, apart from the other guy, Rick – very quiet, wears a hat…you know?’
Posh BrYan – ‘Oh yes, he’s alright’. Me – ‘Yeah, and he does some of the things I do (I play a bit of Windy & Warm)…’ Posh BrYan – ‘Yes, but he’s not really a guitarist. You are – you’re MAGNIFICENT, my boy…you really ARE! I came here at one, had my glass of wine…that was an hour, and it was heaven, with the music wafting over…’ Steady on, BrYan – this sort of thing embarrasses me, especially from someone like him, who doesn’t usually say stuff like that.
Anyway, I thank him again and he says ‘No, don’t thank me – the truth must be told, you know!’ So I say ‘Well, thank you for coming up and telling me – alot of people don’t’. BrYan – ‘Well, if I thought you were crap, I’d ignore you’, and off he goes. So sometimes he thinks I’m crap! Because there’s many a time he DOES ignore me!
15 minutes after Posh BrYan, I sell a CD to a Frenchman of about 60, who’s been at one of the tables. In fact, he already put a pound in but he wouldn’t accept any change from his £10 note, so I made a profit of £8.50p on that one – salut! He told me he knew Paul Young – the singer, and his wife Stacy. I’m not sure how he came to mention that – I’ve been trying to remember, but I can’t. He was now on his way to the cathedral, so I played La Vie En Rose as he went off. He said he’d look forward to hearing me when he came back, but I packed up soon after that!
Earnings: £46.81p (Including 1 CD)
- I saw the photo a few days later: A profile shot of His Poshness of BrYan, pipe protruding from posh mouth, glass of red on table, umbrella hooked on the other chair. The name of the photo? – Watching The World Go By. I bet BrYan was listening to me when the guy took the photo! I forgot to write down the photographer’s name but I voted for it – you write down the exhibit number on a slip of paper and put it in the ballot box.