Diary Of A Busker Day 623

Diary Of A Busker Day 623 Tuesday September 2nd 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 1:53-3:54pm, 2. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 4:11-5:11pm, 3. Opposite Bellis, Time: 5:20-5:55pm).

After When I’m Sixty-Four an old guy comes up, leans in real close and says, ‘You’re the only proper guitar player I’ve seen today’, for which I’m most humbled, and for which I thank him. Then he says, ‘I mean John and Paul, they couldn’t play like that, could they?’ I say, ‘No, they couldn’t but what they did was different. They didn’t really do the fingerstyle guitar. Their main thing was the songs, wasn’t it?’ He says, ‘Well, She Loves You, yeah, yeah, yeah – that’s not a song!’ I don’t want to have an argument, so I agree with him! In fact, I almost DO agree with him! I say, ‘I know what you mean. It’s disposable pop music, really’.

He goes on, ‘I’ve seen them all, over the years…Tommy Steele, I mean their left hand’s not even moving!’ Again, I know what he means! I say, ‘No, they just stand there and strum. They’re strummers, they’re pop people…pop stars’. He says, ‘Well, I was down in Cornwall and there were two violin players, like a duet, you know, just improvising. Then I was watching the young musicians on the telly and there was a cello player and they were hitting the notes exactly right, and they’ve got no bars (frets, I think he means)…how do they do that? – all up and down the neck…and get it perfectly right every time? And then with the notes going… (vibrato, I think he means)’. I say, ‘Well, they play alot. Like me out here. It’s their life’s work, it’s their…vocation’.

I put the capo on, he went off and I did Can’t Help Falling In Love…at the end he comes over and says, ‘Does that raise it an octave?’ I say, ‘No, just a couple of semitones’. He says, ‘Oh, so the strings are tighter’. ‘Well, no. It just raises the key’, I say. Anyway, he complimented me some more then went across the road and sat on the bench while I did Deve Ser Amor, then his wife turned up and they both sat there a bit longer, then he came over again and said, ‘God bless you’, and they went off. He never donated anything, though, after all that!

Three youths walk past. They’re all giggling and one chucked something in that wasn’t a coin, so I stopped playing and had a look. It was a ring with a skull on it, which really annoyed me. In fact, I was so angry, I couldn’t speak! Chucking crap like that in the bucket like it was a bin. Pricks. Anyway, a long set – 2 hours, but it yielded about £30, including a CD sale. And again, they wanted a £5 one, but I did the old, ‘I’ve only got the £9 ones. I keep meaning to change the sign on the bucket (I’ve got no intention of changing it), but anyway I’m offering them for £8’. It works every time!

Up at Pavilion, it was all a bit slow…but the hour was saved by a £5 note I found in the bucket at the end, and I’ve got no idea who left it. I had a request! A girl who I’ve seen before – early 20’s, who was outside The Slug & Lettuce, came up and asked for The Third Man Theme! After that, I was going to head home, but stood awhile in front of the bakery trying to decide if I should do a short set. As I was there, Brendan came up and I told him I was thinking of going home, to which he replied, ‘Come on up the road. I’ll buy you a pint’. But I declined. I never fraternise with the natives. I should have, though, as the set was more or less a waste of time.

Song Of The Day: Norwegian Mountain Song by my late mate Claes Neeb. I’ve only worked out the main riff. There’s a really difficult bit later on…but it got a donation in the last set, from one of a group of three women. I just kept the main riff going for a minute or so.

Earnings: £44.83p (Including 1 CD)

  2 comments for “Diary Of A Busker Day 623

  1. alex in San Jose
    04/11/2016 at 8:09 PM

    Aw come on, I’d not get so angry about a silly ring with a skull on it … just give it to a little kid later. As for frets or the lack thereof, once long ago, I was at a local place called Starving Musician, and they had a Moog theremin kit they’d had forever so they’d marked it down by quite a bit. I bought it and built it, and was playing around on it, well, those old analog kits had a lot of “drift” so imagine playing an invisible fretboard with no frets that keeps changing in size! In fact, most people can’t even get music as such out of a theremin, and just use it for wow-wow sound effects. I realized that if I can play this thing, what about the instrument *everyone* just knows is the most difficult, the violin. No frets, but at least it’s physical and doesn’t change in size!

    So I rent a fiddle and get fixed up for lessons because I don’t want to be lazy and just play by ear, but read music like a real musician. And, it turns out the violin’s not hard at all! No frets means no frets to mix you up! It’s a very intuitive instrument. The only reason I don’t play one is, they’re delicate, being wood and hair and so on, so not as durable as trumpet for busking – or as nice and loud so people can hear you far enough off to make up their mind about dropping a donation. But for ease of playing, it’s hard to beat the thing.

  2. alex in San Jose
    07/11/2016 at 4:16 AM

    I believe John Lennon himself described his playing as “Cinema verite’ playing” so he knew well his musical limitations.

    I think with a pop group, it’s a lot more important to supply enthusiasm, determination, imagination, etc which is what Lennon did, over virtuosity.

    But the public, yeah, if you’re not going to show up with 3 other guys and croon in harmony and provide rhythm and counterpoint; as a single musician, you have to be pretty good!

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