Diary Of A Busker Day 562 Saturday May 17th 2014 Ringwood (1. Opposite Tansy’s cafe, Time: 3:30-4pm, 2. Outside Sainsbury’s, Time: 4:10-4:45pm).
An out of town appearance: a rare event in my old age, being 52 today. This is The Fanfare For Spring that that woman came up to me about awhile back, when I was at Gieves & Hawkes. In between then and now, I’d confirmed then cancelled it, as it’s such a hassle getting to Ringwood. There’s no train station, so Doll has to drive me, get to a parking place and hang around while I play. Anyway, I felt bad about cancelling , so I got myself reinstated: uncancelled it, as it were.
We got there in time, I left my stuff in the car, checked in at HQ – the old Stead & Simpson shoe place at The Furlong Centre, then wandered about trying to find the first spot, Tansy’s, which I did, on a small courtyard off the High Street. But on arrival, they’d got me down for playing at 3 o’clock, not 3:30 like they told me and like what was on the form at HQ. So I rushed back to the car where Doll was, got my stuff, rushed back…where the folk band that was playing when I got there was still playing, by which time the lady stewards decided that 3:30 was the right time!
So, I stood for a few minutes watching the folk lot, who the stewards thought were called Marvin Naylor because of the confusion with the listings! While I was waiting, another spectator – a ginger-haired woman, came up and asked if I’d been playing in Winchester a couple of weeks ago. It turned out she came up to me after the 1st Gnossienne and was going on about it being used in the Au Chocolat film.
Anyway, when the folk bunch finished, I set up, putting the bucket quite a way in front of me, but unfortunately (for me) there was also a big charity bucket in the centre of the courtyard. I started up with Albatross, The Third Man, La Vie En Rose – after that one there was a bit of clapping from a table outside the cafe, and some of the people to the right, where I’d been waiting. Then I thought I might as well do the Satie number, which would give me a good excuse to announce it was both our birthdays: mine and Monsieur Satie’s – ‘The next one’s by Erik Satie, whose birthday it actually is today, May 17th…in fact, it’s also mine (here there were a few muted “happy birthday’s” from the crowd of seven)…although his was in 1866. Mine was …96 years later!’
The whole thing was a bit nerve-wracking, as, although there were only a handful there, they weren’t walking past, they were STILL/STATIONARY, which, of course, terrifies me! At 4 o’clock, while I was playing, one of the stewards came up, told me the time and said I had to be at the next place, up the road, so I stopped. The takings were – wait for it: 17 pence. Broken down as such: three 5 pence coins, and a 2 pence coin. Even less than I expected.
Up the road, outside Sainsbury’s, the folk bunch were playing, so I left my stuff with a steward while I went to the toilet in a pub. By the time I returned, the folk lot were finished, so I set up and started, keeping it pretty ‘up’, as Chinatown, My Chinatown went down well with the four people sitting nearby. Doll was also sitting nearby for the whole set…with a bad toe. She’d almost ripped the nail off, earlier.
I must have done about 35 minutes, then at 4:45, the two stewards came up and said they had to go. One said I could do some more songs but there’d be no one there – no ‘security'(!), but the other guy didn’t really want me to go on. They would have had to pay the police, apparently, if they had wanted to extend the so-called ‘security’. But there was no one there, anyway! Only a couple of people sitting down (not including Doll) and some people coming out of Sainsbury’s. So I stopped. I mean what’s the point?!
The takings were a distinct improvement on the 1st set: £6.28p. Actually, it was a shame I had to stop – after solid hour’s playing, I was just getting warmed up. Oh well, it made a change from the usual place, namely Winchester…and Doll said she liked it more than she thought she would.