Diary Of A Busker Day 609 Tuesday August 12th 2014 Chichester (1. Opposite Next, East Street, Time: 12-2pm, 2:38-4pm).
Song Of The Session (not Day): California Girls, as it secured 4 donations. A man I recognised from last week, stood by me. In fact he’d bought a CD – ‘I listened to some of your CD’, he said, and didn’t say much else, just stood there for ages, like he did last week. There’s nothing I can do about it if someone wants to stand there, and some of them -always the men, never the women – want to do that. Anyway, as he’d bought a CD, I feel I can tolerate it…for a bit.
I tuned down for Wheels/Yellow Bird, and said to the bloke, ‘You’ll recognise this, it’s on the CD’, and at the end, after it had got no donations, I said, ‘People usually like that one!’, to which my man replied, ‘You should be here tomorrow, that’s when the market’s here’. I said, ‘Is it every Wednesday?’ He said, ‘Yeah, and Saturday’, so I said I might see about that, although not tomorrow but maybe next Wednesday…unless the council’s banning busking on market day, which they no doubt are. My man eventually drifted off – I said I’d see him again, next week.
The set wasn’t as lucrative as the first one was, last week, so I went two hours straight through then did a rough count-up, and after the £13 train fare deduction there was around £18. Then the usual: toilet break followed by the packed lunch in the cathedral grounds. A milder day, not as sunny…and people don’t like me quite as much as last week: no bloke coming up, complimenting the playing, as I’m having the packed lunch…no old dancing lady, although I’ve got a feeling she passed me on the way from the station.
The second set, a few feet away from the first, got off to a good start: Here Comes The Sun got FIVE donations: Song Of The Day! Then, a man about 60 asked if I knew any Jerry Reed. I said, ‘Unfortunately not – ‘he’s too fast, it’s too difficult!’. But I said I did a few Chet Atkins things, like La Vie En Rose, which was what I was playing – my man said he guessed that was one of his arrangements. Then he said, ‘Merle Travis?’, so I said I sometimes do Cannonball Rag, but I’d just sat down and I need to warm up for that one! Even so, I attempted the start…and messed it up…well, I didn’t mess it up, I just couldn’t get beyond the first verse. I couldn’t remember the rest!
So I apologised, saying I was rough and he said, ‘Well if that’s rough, I’d like to hear it when you’ve practised!’ – a big compliment, of course, but it really was bad. I think the poor bloke was deaf. I tried it again, and again I couldn’t get past the first verse, which I then blamed on just having had my lunch! Then two really old people came up who I think were this guy’s parents, and they were heaping compliments on me. They then said that he (the son?) used to play, and he butted in – ‘Yeah, I used to play’, then he showed me his hand: he had no forefinger beyond the first knuckle. ‘I used to play alot better. I’ve had to modify it!’, he said. I didn’t know what to say so I just shook my head and grinned incredulously (how do you do that?!)
I stopped at 4 o’clock on the dot, so that was an hour and 22 minutes, on top of the two hours. While I was packing up, a(nother nutter) bloke comes up. He’s got food around his mouth, big cross around his neck, very quiet Scots accent. I said I had to pack up and get the train to Winchester. He said, ‘Ave been te Winchester…the cathedral’. Me – ‘Have you?’ ‘Yeah, am goin’ te the art gallery’. Me – ‘In Winchester?’ ‘Noo, here’. ‘Right, you mean the one over there?’, I say, pointing to the one down the alleyway opposite, where Kirsten White had her show a couple of weeks ago. ‘Noo, down there’, he points toward to clock tower. ‘Me – ‘Oh, there’s one down there, is there?’ ‘Yeah’, he says. Me, being friendly – ‘Right…well I might see you next week, if you’re here’. ‘If yer lookin’ for me, ahl be in the gallery’, he said.
So, no CD sales, no dancing lady, no Early Learning Centre bubble machine…but still worth the hassle.
Earnings: £57.28p (gross) – £13 (train fare) = £44.28p (profit)