Diary Of A Busker Day 588 Thursday July 10th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 2:15-2:49pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 3:02-3:42pm, 3. Opposite Bellis, Time: 5:52-6:07pm, 4. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 6:15-6:55pm).
Unbelievable – the door of Pavilion stayed wide open for 26 minutes! – until California Girls, when The Bitch had obviously had enough. And then, as if in cahoots, a bloke pulls up and parks a van that had Yodel written on it, right in front of me. So that was that. Also, all I made was £2 – terrible, so I packed up and rode off. Such a nice day, too. What a shame people are so mean…in this one-horse town.
I pulled up (in my trusty steed – the ‘new’ old Raleigh) at the Vodafone corner, and spotted Frank a bit further up, near The Pentice, with his dogs and cart. So I went up to find out what he was doing. He said he was playing there but then someone in the phone shop behind him had come out and moaned to him. I said he could set up at Vodafone if he wanted, but he said he’d been there two hours in the morning. Poor Frank. Poor Vodafone people.
Anyway, I said I was going to have a look up at The Butter Cross. There were a couple of young blokes there an hour ago, but if they weren’t there, I’d set up, and if they were there, I’d head down the arse-end, to Oxfam. Well, they were there, so I headed down to Oxfam via the back street, which took about 20 seconds on the bike!
Things were slow there, as well, but I did meet Harry The Dutchman again. He was smiling but he said, ‘It’s getting more difficult’. I wasn’t sure what he meant: life I suppose. I said, ‘You made it back from Holland, then’, and he said, ‘Yes, a week I was there’. Then he notices my jacket and says he wants to get one like it. He’s got a beige one that zips up but he says it’s not quite warm enough. I say I got mine (originally from Moss, according to the label) across the road at Oxfam, about a year ago. But there are always a few light linen jackets around the charity shops. I said he was looking well and he said, ‘Well, all that glitters…you know, isn’t…what do they say?’ ‘All that glitters isn’t gold’, I said.
Harry said he’d been trying to find a place that sells prunes (I knew what he was saying, this time!), so I said they should have some in Sainsbury’s, round the corner, or Marks & Spencer…but then again, they might not: they’re not big shops. Harry said he thought they had some in a covered market somewhere around here. After a bit, he got out two 50p coins but he couldn’t bend down to put them in the bucket. I said he didn’t have to give me anything and he leaned in close – ‘It might encourage people to do the same’, he said. I said, ‘I wouldn’t bank on that!’ Then he said he had to go back up the road, and leaned in again – ‘My…best half’ – he’s going to meet his wife!
Then, after shaking my hand and saying he hoped to see me again soon – I said, ‘Of course you will. I’ll probably pass you on my bike. I’m leaving in a minute, he was off. I started The Third Man, looked after Harry – I knew he’d turn around – then he carried on, stepping in time to the music…slowly, very slowly disappearing…then he turned again and waved his cane so I held my guitar up – which I never do, still playing The Third Man. What a guy.
Intermission: I had to be at home at 4 o’clock to hear a repeat of The Flash radio show that played The Photograph on Sunday, which I missed as I was coming back from Basingstoke when it was on.
Back in town, I returned (to the scenes of my earlier crimes) and set up near The Butter Cross. Not many about…got through three songs and then that horrible Drongo (ex-prostitute?) woman turned up and sat on the bench opposite. I tried to ignore her but she’s just bloody horrible: shouting, being generally obnoxious, then I’d had enough and packed up.
During the last song, Big Issue Simon was down at the bin, picking stuff out and throwing it to the pigeon nearby. While I was packing up, he comes up and, referring to the Drongo woman, who’d now been joined by a man, said, ‘I don’t know why they want to be like that: sitting in front of you while you’re trying to do your work. They just buy a bottle of wine and mess it up for everyone – hassle everyone’. I said, ‘You’re not with them, are you?’, and he was really offended – ‘Me? No! Didn’t you see me come up the road? I’m diggin’ around the bins for the pigeon’. I said, ‘Sorry. I’m glad you’re not with them, she’s awful – I can’t handle it. I’m going right down the other end now’.
Simon then starts talking about the pigeons – by this time there were three – who were still feeding off whatever it was he’d got out of the bin. The conversation: Simon says (there’s a rhyme there!), ‘Those two big ones – I call them Mr. and Mrs. Pidgewick’. ‘Mr. and Mrs. Pidgewick?’, I say. He says, ‘See that little one?’ ‘Yeah’. ‘I know where that one was born’. ‘You know where it was born?’ ‘Yeah, round the corner. I was actually there when it was being born. His name’s Earl – well that’s what I call him’. ‘Earl, right’. ‘Yeah, and see the one with the white tail?’ ‘Yeah’. ‘That’s his mother’. (The bloke even knows where the pigeon’s were born!)
Then he says, ‘Did you hear about Bible John?’ ‘No’, I say. ‘Do you know him?’ he says. ‘No’. ‘Oh well, it won’t mean nothin”. ‘Right…no I don’t know him…why?’ ‘He died. Yeah, that’s what we called him – Bible John’. ‘Oh right’.
I didn’t go down to Oxfam, I went round the corner to Pavilion, which was closed by then. So the door was shut, but not on me! It was pretty slow and I got quite depressed, but I managed 40 minutes and did get one nice compliment: from a couple who were sitting outside The Eclipse, down the road. They gave £1.85p, and the man said, ‘You were very good – we appreciate it. The night needed it!’
Earnings: First half: £6.82p + Second half: £8.80p (+ one 5 cent euro coin) = £15.62p.