Diary of A Busker Day 601 Friday August 1st 2014 Winchester (1. Corner of Monsoon, Market Street, Time: 1:20-3pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 3:43-4:25pm, 3. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 4:33-5:32pm).
A good session around the corner from the ice-cream man. I’v put Horizons back in the set, and was rewarded with a pound from a man who said, ‘That’s my favourite’. This spot’s OK as long as I get away before 4:30. Also, psychologically, it’s better, as the percentage of people ignoring me is less than around the corner in the High Street, because I made about £20 in an hour and 40 minutes, and I bet I wouldn’t have made that a few feet away with all those millions of people walking by.
AA Dave came to say hello on his way back from Greggs, with a baguette, which reminded me – I brought a ham roll along, which I told him about. He said, ‘How many days has it been there, though?’
Ian dropped by, so I wished him a happy (belated) birthday and told him I’d been carrying around a CD of The Other Chet Atkins to give to him, but I never saw him so I’d taken it out of the guitar case! I said, ‘I’ve been carrying around a present for you’, and he said, ‘Well, to hear you is a present, you know’. What a nice chap! Anyway, he went and stood across the road – only 10 feet away! – and I played Tzena. After, he came over and said, ‘I like that bit – da da, da da, da da’, and I thought, ‘I bet that’s the bit I’ve been working on – the difficult bit, so I said, ‘You mean this bit (played the D, F#7, B minor)’, and he says, ‘Yes, that’s it!’ I said, ‘Oh good, I’ve been working on that – it sounds easy but it’s not’. (I played the song another 2 times later on and it wasn’t nearly as good).
After the toilet break, I cycled around…the spot where I play, near Pavilion, was taken by those two old guys (two old guys! – they’re the same age as me!) who are usually on the bench opposite The Butter Cross, so I bombed down the arse-end. When I was setting up, I could hear a tinny sound, like someone listening to music on a Walkman (do people still use those?!) I reckon it was the market bloke opposite, who was sitting down, side on from me as he had something in his ear. But I thought I’d carry on, I mean, if he’s listening to something going right in his ear – it’s probably loud and he won’t be bothered by me! After 10 minutes, the tinny sound stopped.
That kid from yesterday, with the hat, walked by – this time with his dad(?) He kept looking back at me in a rather cheeky way but didn’t break into that manic jumping about. Not so confident when you’re out with the old man, eh?!
The spot’s rubbish: I didn’t even get £3 in 45 minutes, so I decided to pack up after Albatross, which brings forth some humming from the market bloke across the way. He then says something, so I lean forward…he says, ‘Did you hear me earlier? – I had my radio on.’ (So it was a radio, not a Walkman). I said, ‘Um…no, I didn’t think that was…’, and sort of trail off! ‘I had my transistor radio on…when you arrived, did you not hear it?’ , he says. I feign deafness and he sort of laughs, just a bit. Oh dear, I AM a naughty boy…and a liar.
3rd set. I was offended (it’s MY turn now) by a man, walking with his wife or whatever she was. The man stopped to off-load some shrapnel, in fact, I even heard the word ‘shrapnel’ as he was talking to his wife or girlfriend or whatever she was. He stopped for quite a while, while he dug around in his wallet, and I thought, ‘This is what you do when you stop in front of a bin and think, “I’ll just have a root around and get rid of all that rubbish I’ve got in my pocket” – crisp wrappers and stuff’.
Just before packing up – I was doing Moulin Rouge, and a bloke who’d been outside The Eclipse came down and stood in front of me. I’d noticed him everytime I’d cycled past, and he’d been there the whole afternoon, so I reckon he was a bit out of it, I mean, his eyes were well-glazed. Anyway, he just stood there and I thought, ‘What’s going on here?’, because he wasn’t smiling and I thought he was going to hit me or something, I mean, I’d rather be confronted with a smiling drunk than an unsmiling one. Then, after what seemed ages, he gets a coin from his trouser pocket, says, ‘Nice music’, and puts the coin in the bucket, which was one hell of a relief, is all I can say.