Diary Of A Busker Day 558 Friday May 9th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 12:13-1:14pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 1:37-2:42pm).
…and there he is again – Marcus!, near The Butter Cross. I can see he’s got his First World War uniform, but today he’s got his matching khaki cap. He must have read my mind because the first thing he does is ask if I can take a photo of him! – but without the cap…and not now, in a few minutes, as he doesn’t want to take it off just yet(?!) I say I’ve got to find a place to play, anyway. I can’t set up here, as those two old guys (late 50’s) who play their electric guitars on the bench opposite, well, they’re here again.
I tell Marcus I’ll probably go around the corner, so when he wants me to take his photo, he can come and find me there. He tells me a few other things, like he had to get up at 7:30, then he was an hour getting here, that his boss is coming today…
Around the corner, a van pulls up just as I’m about to plonk my stuff down. Typical. So I have to abandon that one and decide to try Vodafone…but there he is again – the homeless guy, sitting down, breathing into his flute or whistle – he’s not playing it, that’s for sure. Sid, that’s his name. I suppose I better call him by his name from now on. Sid, The Flute Breather.
So it looks like it’s back to Gieves & Hawkes…where it’s a bit slow. Nothing till the fourth song, then…the first donation was from a kid, followed immediately by three adults. My theory: people are more inclined to donate if they see a kid do it. It’s a good theory and I’m sticking with it!
Big Issue Simon turns up, walks in the William Walker pub opposite, comes out, sees me and shouts ‘I know you like to go off the beaten track!’ Why not, I think, it’s as good as anywhere else. I got £10 here the other day, for half an hour, and that’s better than most days in the High Street. I reckon most busker people are narrow-minded, in that they won’t stray from the High Street. All they think of is: lots of people=money. They don’t think of the other side: lots of people=too much happening, including lots of other buskers=being ignored.
I revive Deve Ser Amor – the samba which I’m pretty sure I haven’t done since last summer…and I’m pleased with myself because I did it mistake-less, and without the music on the ground.
Near the end, Marcus turns up. He’s been looking for me as I wasn’t where I said I was going to be. He even asked some people, and someone told him where I was! (a strange thing, local celebrity). So, back to the photo…he removes his cap and poses with some trees behind him, at the entrance to the cathedral grounds. The picture’s great. He’s standing to attention like he’s in a drill about to be inspected! I say I’ll get the photo developed and make sure he gets a copy before I head home. He says he’s at The Butter Cross until 5 o’clock.
After Marcus left, I did a couple more songs then packed up and went to the toilet. Then I got two copies of the photo (it’s handy that Boots is right near The Butter Cross), found Marcus and gave him one of them. He loved it. We said goodbye and I walked down the High Street thinking ‘I’ll set up at Vodafone’, and wouldn’t you know it, just before I got there – I could see it was empty – Sid turns up, sits down and gets his flute out.
I went up to him…
ME – ‘So you’re here again, eh?’
Sid – ‘Yeah, I just been to the toilet’
Me – ‘Right…so you going to play some more?’
Sid – ‘Yeah, he he’ (he does a sort of laugh)
Me – ‘Right. You’re here a lot aren’t you?’
Sid – ‘He, he’ (again, a kind of laugh)
Me – ‘Mmm’ And I went off. I mean, what am I going to say to him? – ‘bugger off, you’re here all the time’? It’s a good job I’m not too bothered about being on the High Street, now I can go round the corner. So, down to the arse-end…and Song Of The Day is Borsalino. Not because it got a lot of money, but because it got a ‘What’s the name of that?’ from a man who donated, and then two more donations, which was high praise by today’s standards, this spot being especially unrewarding.
Posh BrYan walked by, or he was going to. I made him stop, by saying I’d seen his photo in the library. He said ‘Oh, that wasn’t the best one. They had another one. Black and white, you know. That was the best one’. I said ‘Oh, I didn’t know. I just saw the coloured one. Anyway, I voted for you’.
After my earlier triumph with Deve Ser Amor, I tried it again and completely messed up the intro, and instead of stopping and getting the music out, which was what I should have done, I carried on messing it up. It sounded bloody awful.