Diary Of A Busker Day 586 Sunday July 6th 2014 Basingstoke (1. Location 2: The Malls, Central Square, by red planter, Time: 1-2pm, 2. Location 3: Outside Halifax, Wote Street, Time: 3-4pm).
Day 2 of the Basingstoke Busking Festival. On the way to the first spot, I came across one-man band Ian Kimber, playing just inside the entrance to Festival Place: Location 1, in other words. In fact, he was just finishing. I asked how he’d done and he said ‘really well’. He held up a big black plastic bucket, and said he’d got about £35! I had a quick look and I could see a £5 note in there. I asked how he’d done yesterday: not very well, he said. He was playing outside a Greek hairdresser and the guy came out and gave him a(nother) fiver, so Ian said, ‘Is that for me to stop playing?’
I noticed he played a 12-string guitar so I said they were my specialty. He then told me about a friend who has loads of really expensive guitars: Gibsons, Gretsches, Fenders, an old Framus – ‘He’s a professional musician, you know…really good’. I had to think quick! – ‘Does he have a Rickenbacker 12-string?’ He was sure he didn’t. Bingo! ‘That’s something I’ve got that he hasn’t, then’, I said in a smug obnoxious way!
Where Ian was, you could easily hear the act in Location 2, in the big open place, which was where I was headed. It was the Sing For The Community Choir, and I think they were getting on Ian’s nerves a bit. After I said goodbye, and got another (better) photo of him, I donated a pound, and went on my way. When I got there, the choir was finishing their last song, and it’s a song all choirs consisting of mainly middle-aged women do. Namely Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen.
While I was setting up, one of the organisers came up. The same woman who I talked to yesterday about maybe swapping this spot with someone else. She said they hadn’t seen the guy yet, so I said it was OK: I’d face the benches and see how it went. Well, two minutes later, she comes up with the bloke who says he doesn’t mind if I want to switch with him! And I’m just about to start playing, so my brain’s geared up for doing that. Anyway, first I said OK, then I thought ‘Oh, I don’t know’. In short, I couldn’t decide. In the end I said I might as well stay where I was, which must have puzzled them a bit.
So I did the hour and it was better than yesterday: I got about £9. Now, knowing I had an hour to kill before set 2, I had an idea. I thought I’d walk to the other end of the mall, to the Old Town – where I’d played yesterday, and walk up Wote Street and film it, because I thought it would be a good video for Blue World, which, after almost 15 years, I suddenly thought should have a video! I don’t know why it occurred to me to have a video for that one but who knows why these things come to us…
Anyway, I get there, switch on the camera and start walking up Wote Street, which was pretty dead and I was thinking, ‘Oh dear, this is a bit boring’. Then, I felt a spray on the side of my face, so I turned and there was a yellow bin moving about! A joke bin, spraying people with water and making silly honking noises, and I thought, ‘I’ve got it – I’m going to film that, instead!’ So I stood at the side of the street and that’s what I did. I filmed it 3 times, for 4 minutes each time, as that’s about how long the song is. Near me, there was a man wearing a hat, and at one point I said to him, ‘Is there a bloke in there, or is it remote control?’, and he said ‘Well, what do YOU think?’, which I thought was a bit odd.
After I’d done the filming, I started walking back to the mall…Ian was playing in the place where I did my first spot, yesterday, and this is where I was due at 3 o’clock. But first I had to get my guitar from the first place – there was a vacant shop where people could leave their things – then come back here. Anyway, this bloke in the hat comes running after me, and it was he who was operating the bin! He had a remote control he was operating behind his back! (I was wondering about that) Anyway, I told him I thought it would be perfect for this really old song of mine. One sequence in particular, had a boy and girl running around the bin, being sprayed, laughing and generally having a good time. And what was great was, near the end, the bin disappears up the street with the two kids following it. Perfect for the end of the song.
The guy said he’d been doing it for 16 years, and he’d got the most fun from the reactions of the people who were annoyed by it: being sprayed, I reckon, and he especially liked watching the people who were enjoying watching the people who were annoyed by it. I said when it was done, I’d send him a link to the video.
By the time I’d got my stuff and come back, it was 10 to 3, so I stood near Jess who was sitting on the concrete steps ‘policing’ the pitch, as she said. At the end of his set, Ian dragged his stuff to one side while I set up. Of course, during the break, all the people who’d been watching him, disappeared! And it didn’t get much better. In fact, at one point, at about the half-time mark, it was only Jess there! I made sure I captured this desolate image on film: vacant concrete steps with her on the far right. She came over and said, ‘I’m sorry there’s not more people’. I said it wasn’t her fault. Actually, money-wise, I’d made about the same as the first place, with all those hundreds of peoploids walking by. So it just goes to show. Unfortunately, after the train fare, the profit was £10.69p. But I got a great video out of it. A real stroke of luck, that was.
Earnings: £19.59p – £8.90p = £10.69p (profit)
The video for Blue World: https://youtu.be/r9Fx1NfM0UI