Diary Of A Busker Day 602

Diary Of A Busker Day 602 Saturday August 2nd 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Bellis, Time: 2:49-4:56pm, 2. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 5:19-6:21pm).

I had a quick wander about…Sid, the bloke who breathes into his flute, was at Vodafone…and up from him, towards The Butter Cross, there were some annoying people banging on boxes. In fact, The Butter Cross was strangely buskerless – unusual for a Saturday afternoon, so I grabbed it, as it’s been awhile since I’ve been there.

Two songs in, during La Vie En Rose, that poor old woman with Alzheimer’s appeared with her son and his wife…or her daughter and her husband! So at the end of the song, I went straight into her favourite – Chinatown, and she was smiling and trying to say something to her son/daughter. After that, I did Tzena, then Twelve-String Shuffle – I don’t think she liked that one as much! Maybe the sudden stops were confusing. Maybe the whole bloody thing was confusing.

Also, there was someone sitting on the bench with a dog that barked at every other dog that went by, and I think that was confusing, or annoying her. It was annoying ME, I know that! After 15 minutes, the son/son-in-law came up and said, ‘Your hands must be tired now’, as I’d just done a load of fast stuff. I said they were OK. He put a £2 coin in, although I said he didn’t have to as he’d put something in a few minutes after they got there – it could have been some shrapnel, I suppose – but he said, ‘No, no – it means a lot’ (to the old lady). I felt sorry for her – what can you do? To play a song that she likes – it’s the least some idiot like me can do, I reckon. In fact, I did Chinatown twice for her: once at the start, then 10 minutes later.

I must have been in a more-than-usual cheerful frame of mind(!), as I even stopped to talk to some Italian boys who contributed. I even stopped playing! – to tell them about Chet Atkins, but I had to write the name – Chet Atkins, American guitarist – on my pad as they couldn’t understand me. I said, ‘If you like this (what I play), you look him up, yes?…what’s Italian for goodbye?’ ‘Arrivederci’. ‘OK, arrivederci…bye!’

Philip came by to say hello. He was holding a woman’s hand…the woman was attached, of course! He introduced her – Sarah. Philip looked well, all things considered, but they were slow, walking off. He hasn’t mentioned his cancer to me for a long time. He’s still in that Yellow Submarine T-shirt! It turned out to be a long set, just over two hours – well, I haven’t been here for ages. But the money was good for once. I did a quick count-up at the end – there was over £30.

After the toilet break, I took a photo of my new CD cover: Kirstin White’s Chichester painting of me. Doll made it into a CD cover. It looks great! – much better than what I had: a guitar on a white background. Now it’s custom-made: an actual PAINTING of me ‘out on the street’. I was definitely in the right place at the right time, then.

At Pavilion, I started with La Vie En Rose and The Bitch did a little dance then shut the door! In record time, too: not more than 10 seconds after I started – ha! Money was steady. The key contributors were a bunch of men in their 40’s, drinking outside The Eclipse. One came up and asked for When The Saints Go Marching In. I’m using my incredible powers of deduction and assuming they were supporters of Southampton Saints Football Club. Anyway, I said I didn’t do it but would see if I could work it out…which I did in about a minute, as there are only 3 chords in it. Key of C.

I played it, made a few mistakes, and not one of the blokes acknowledged me! I played a couple of other things, then Albatross, whereupon one of them gave me the thumbs-up. At the end, he came up and said, ‘When The Saints – can you play that?’, to which I replied I’d played the very same 10 minutes ago, to which he replied, ‘Play it again’, and takes out a load of pound coins and drops them one by one into the bucket: ‘There…one, two, free (three)…foah…(up to), nine…yeah, play When The Saints – we’re old school, y’see’. OK, £9 is good enough for me to turn the volume off, take another minute and rehearse it. Then I play it and…NO RESPONSE!! So I played it two more times…and I think one of the football heathens gave a sign of recognition at the end of the last time. Give me strength. I packed up then, as I’d just brushed the three hour danger mark.

Earnings: £63.30p

  1 comment for “Diary Of A Busker Day 602

  1. alex in San Jose
    02/08/2016 at 9:08 PM

    People love ’em some La Vie En Rose, and Autumn Leaves too.

    The thing with “Saints” is, it’s such a simple tune, and seems so hackneyed, yet it *can* be jazzed up … it’s almost a test to see if you can keep something fresh to play that old thing in a fresh way.

    Around here, among the buskers, it seems a sort of “acid test” of a busker is, Can they play a good “Amazing Grace”? I’ve actually seen a busker challenge another to play this tune, listen carefully, then warmly welcome the challenged party as a colleague because they performed it to a high enough standard.

    “St. James Infirmary” and “Simple Gifts” (a Quaker song that’s famous for being part of one of our better symphonies) are other “standards” a busker seems to be required to know around here.

    We don’t do much “Danny Boy/Londonderry Air” or “Cockles and Mussels” around these parts.

    I looked up “Tzena tzena tzena” and I’m afraid in my hands it would become “Dreidel dreidel dreidel” in no time.

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