Diary Of A Busker Day 625 Thursday September 4th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 3:40-5pm, 2. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 5:18-6:03pm).
A fairly uneventful hour and twenty minutes up the arse-end, as it were, as everywhere else was full: At Vodafone, Weird John with his show tunes, and some young strummers at The Butter Cross.
There was no CD sale but I still managed to make about £17 – slightly above the average. After that, I cycled up to Pavilion, but there was a black guy sitting in the doorway just to the left of where I usually set up. He had a baseball cap on the ground which had written in it ‘Noughts and crosses, you play with me’, and he had some small postit-like pads around the cap, with games already played.
I went up and asked him what it was all about. He said if you play a game and he wins, you have to give him some money. I forgot to ask what happens if he loses. I don’t think he’d had alot of trade and he seemed a bit fed up. I’ve never seen a bloke like him before – like something out of the Depression in the 30’s. Anyway, I didn’t give him a game!
Down the road, two blokes come up: one young, the other about my age. The older one knew my name from the open-mic days at The Railway, it turns out, and he’d bought my Billy Balloon album. After some discussion of dates, we worked out he’d bought it early 2011. When these two heard me from around the corner, they thought the music was coming from the pub – The William Walker – across the road. This prompted me to tell them about when I went in there to see about playing and they said, ‘Yeah, OK…for free’.
This lead to a discussion about pub owners doing open-mic night as a way to get free entertainment, which is outrageous. One of my visitors said, ‘And the performers get all their friends along so the bar makes alot of money’. I said it was no wonder there’s loads of buskers these days. You make more out on the street than you do trying to get a pub gig. Outrageous (again). Anyway, I don’t want to play in pubs, there bloody horrible!
Another guy came up. He thought some of my stuff sounded French and asked if I knew any film stuff by a Jacques Tati. I said I’d never heard of him but I’d look him up
I packed up after 45 minutes as there was hardly anyone about. Still, I made about £7. The noughts and crosses guy was still sitting up the road, and looking a bit more dejected. I suggested he try the High Street but I think he thought I was trying to get him to move so I could set up! He waved his arm in the direction of the High Street then asked me the time. I think he’d had enough. Never seen him before. I should have given him a game, I felt sorry for him. Too late now.