Diary Of A Busker Day 578 Tuesday June 24th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 1:35-2:27pm, 2. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:33-3:21pm).
Young Sam, who I haven’t seen for ages, has set up camp at – in fact on – The Butter Cross. As usual he’s on a break! Down at the crossroads, there’s a long-haired (actually meduim-haired) youth, playing some blues (actually hard-rock) solo over a backing track. He’s not too loud, so I can set up down the road on Market Street near Gieves & Hawkes. I nod to Glen, who I can see looking out at me from the bowels of the esteemed gentleman’s outfitters… and that’s about as cheerful as it gets, despite the sun being out, because for almost an hour’s playing, I get £4.50p. People are mean. There’s no excuse for it. How depressing. I couldn’t make the hour – I’d bloody well had enough.
I strapped the amp to my lovely new 1982 Raleigh – its second time out here, and moved down the road. The hard-rock guitar guy packed up 10 minutes before I did, so the ice-cream bloke and the market people’ll be getting a right earful today. First the hard-rock guy, now…me! – a diverse mixture (or coupling?) though, they’ll have to admit.
Unbelievably, it’s 20 minutes before any coinage. Oh dear, it’s awful. I get that terrible DOOM mental state – wouldn’t anyone? Literally hundreds of people pass and not one contribution. I never get used to it, never. It does my head in. Actually, it’s 21 minutes (I wrote it down) before the first coin, which was at 2:54pm. In fact, there were two more donations for the same song, Here Comes The Sun. I was so thrilled – and relieved, I named it Song Of The Day.
The last donor was a woman: quite tall, sunglasses, American as it turns out. I can’t remember what she said to me but a few minutes after she went, I noticed her up the road and across the way, and I think she was filming me. She had her iPhone – or whatever everyone except me has now – pointed at me, anyway. I didn’t mind too much – she’d contributed, after all, and remembering what that awful sodomist Wilde said – ‘There’s only one thing worse than being filmed, and that’s NOT being filmed’ – ha!
So anyway, she came back over and started asking if I wrote any of my own songs. Well, I somewhat hesitantly produced my single copy of the new album and wow – she bought it! For £8! I said it was for sale for £10 on my website but SHE could have it knocked down a bit. That’s a first for out here: an original music CD sale. Her name: Valery Docherty ‘from Pennsylvania State’, which of course led me into my ‘I lived in London, Ontario for 20 years’ part of my Hard Luck Story. I then gave her my PR bit about some of my songs being taken on by some sync music companies, and all that.
I did warn Valery that my own stuff is nothing like what I do out here, but it didn’t seem to put her off. The poor misguided fool. In fact, I said it three times, just to prepare her. I wonder what she’ll make of it. I might find out*: I gave her my card and she’s here with her husband – a guitarist – until Sunday. Typical – the only time I sell an original CD, and it’s to a ‘foreigner’. But then, she’s been the only one to ASK if I did my own music. It’s the foreigners who take the chances! So, most of the 100 minutes was pretty crap and depressing, until Here Comes The Sun and Valery, who I forgot to say was polite, very complimentary, and even shook my hand.
Earnings: £15.55p (Breakdown: Coinage £9.90p + £8 for original CD. 100 CDs were £235, so £2.35p each means a profit of £5.65p)
*I never did.