Diary Of A Busker Day 628 Friday September 12th 2014 Chichester (1. Opposite Marks & Spencer, North Street, Time: 11:44-11:54am, 2. Opposite Toni & Guy, Time: 11:57am-1:17pm, 3. Opposite Marks & Spencer, Time: 1:58-4:05pm).
On arrival I walk by two young guys at The Cross. One’s strumming a guitar and kicking a bass drum, the other’s on a couple of steel drums. They’re almost out of earshot from where I set up. Four hours on North Street, today, as I’m giving East Street – and that annoying weird kid – a rest.
I only get through two songs: Albatross – no, Albert Ross! as it’s Chichester (or Chidester, as the train guard said), and La Vie En Rose…and no donations for either, when a woman in a suit appears next to me. She’s come from the council building behind me, so I’m pretty sure I know what it’s about…and I’m right! Apparently there’s wedding in a minute, until just after 1 o’clock. Lousy timing or what?! So I pack up and set up a bit further down…and it’s another three songs before the first donation (don’t they like me here, anymore?), which is for Here Comes The Sun, and it’s from a guy who also donates a nice compliment – ‘Fantastic, really sounds good’.
I think there’s an airshow on today, as there are four First World War-looking bi-planes buzzing around, quite high up. And I can say with some conviction that their engines are tuned to G. I know this because they did a fly past during Yellow Bird and the engines were perfectly in tune with the root note, exactly one octave lower than the 5th string!
A few minutes later, I sold a CD to a woman sitting nearby on my right, and she gave me a £10 note and didn’t want the change! Result! She was with some others, including a couple of men, all in their sixties. She’d come from Petworth. This was when all the wedding bunch had come out of the building and they were all dispersing. I happened to be playing Jesu, Joy Of Man’s, etc, a somewhat wedding-ey sort of piece, anyway. In fact, it got a couple of donations from the party as they walked past – I wonder if they thought I was playing it for them(?), and one was a £2 coin. People tend to stock up on the old cash when they go to weddings, I reckon. Anyway, the CD woman said she liked looking at weddings – ‘to see all the outfits’.
Heading for the cathedral grounds after the toilet break, I walked by the guitar/steel drum duo at The Cross, who, according to the bass drum head, are known as STEEL STRUM, which pretty much sums it up. Lunch was: ham and tomato sandwich, crisps, an orange and a lime cordial drink. At the end, STEEL STRUM were doing that old Supertramp ‘Don’t you look at my girlfriend’ thing.
It wasn’t long into the second set when the batteries died. No matter! I was expecting it, so I brought some more. They died really quickly. It was during the last verse of Moulin Rouge. They started to go at the start and by the end, there was no sound at all!
After the battery change, the airshow – for it was still going on – got louder, and faster: jets, now, but I couldn’t see them anywhere. I could hear them alright! They were so loud, a few times I stopped playing, stood up and wandered a few feet to the right where there were some other people trying to see, down an alleyway where you could see the sky. I still didn’t see anything, though. After one particularly voluminous moment, a middle-aged couple came by, and I said, ‘I can hear them but I can never see them, what are they?’ The man said, ‘A Canberra and two Hunters’. He had to say it twice, as the first time, it was so deafening, I couldn’t hear him. Anyway, a Canberra and two Hunters – that’s a pretty precise identification! And he was right (because I know my postwar aircraft) because five minutes later, they came by again and I saw them this time. They were about a mile away, in the direction of The Cross.
Maybe it’s a 1950’s thing, which would explain the couple who I saw at Fareham station earlier, dressed in old gear. I finished with Edelweiss, and a woman said, ‘I like the old show tunes’, so I said most of the stuff I do is from the 50’s and 60’s. She said, ‘I’m old enough to have been there’, so of course I give her the old, ‘Surely not!’ rubbish, to which she replies, ‘I was in it’, so I say, somewhat stupidly, ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it’, like the lottery people say. Why?!
So there definitely must have been a 50’s thing going on, because there were a few people on the station platform with all the gear on: 50’s suits, long dresses, wicker hampers. Thinking about it, that would explain the couple I saw at Fareham station when I was getting here, earlier: they had all the gear on. It was pretty convincing, if you ignored some of the women’s modern hair highlights, and that most obvious modern giveaway: the tattooed ankle. Oh dear.
Earnings: £55.21p (gross) £42. 21p (profit), after £13 train fare.