Diary Of A Busker Day 646 Friday October 10th 2014 Hythe (Opposite Harvey’s Sandwich Bar/in front of Waitrose, Time: 10:55-1:10pm).
1st time with the bike, and the ride from the train station to Town Quay was pretty effortless – mainly along the cycle track. At the quay, I locked it up alongside a load of other bikes, then went in to get a ticket. I noticed a few bikes locked up near the ticket machine so I asked the man who handles the change for the machine – not the same guy who entertained me so well a few weeks ago – if it was OK to park my bike there instead, as it looked a bit safer. He didn’t know (of course) but said I should ask at the office down the corridor. The woman there didn’t know, either (of course), but gave me a form about renting a space in a container: £60 for 6 months! – no thanks. So I asked if it was safe to leave it where it was. She said it probably was, but because it’s a known cycle parking area, they’ve had the odd theft. Well, that did it. The bike’s coming with me on the ferry!
So, bringing along the super-heavy D-lock was a waste of time. I’m sure it would have been OK, I mean, that’s why I spent so much on the bloody lock! But anyway…the cost of getting to Hythe: train/ferry and to take the bike on the ferry (£1.40p) comes to £13.70p. Oh well, the bike will enjoy it’s 1st ferry ride. £1.40 isn’t bad for a round trip, I suppose. I got the 10:30 ferry and halfway across it looked bad. The sky we were leaving was blue but the one we were heading for was grey. In fact, I almost didn’t make it today because it started raining when I left the house.
Onwards and upwards, as they say. There was a Big Issue bloke sitting down near where I was setting up, saying ‘Big Issue’ every 10 seconds, and he kept looking at me and saying it again and again. I went over and said I might buy one later but I’d have to see how it goes. Then he starts pointing down the road, like he wants me to set up away from him, but all he can say is ‘Big Issue’ because he’s not from these shores. Anyway, I said, ‘No, I’m booked to play here. I’ve got permission from the council, this is where I play’. He points down the road again so I go through it all again but I don’t think he understood a word I said! But I kept on – ‘Look, I’m booked to play here. Anyway, if someone wants to buy a Big Issue, they will, and if they want to give ME money, then they will, OK?’ Pointless – the bloke doesn’t understand a bloody word, apart from Big Issue – he just kept saying ‘Big Issue, Big Issue’.
Anyway, I set up and started. The temperature: fine, not cold. Besides, I’ve got the 70’s tank top on!…and the sky cleared up a bit, just for me. There wasn’t nearly as many people as on Saturday, though, but I wanted to see what a Friday was like. I had a few come up with some nice compliments (what compliments AREN’T nice?) One man said he wanted me to come here every day! And a man after Blowin’ In The Wind, said, ‘Just what I wanted to listen to, after a row with the wife!’, which did make me laugh. A northern bloke during the Chet Akins Third Man said, ‘Ah, like that one – Harry Lime. Brings back memories, ah was in Germany in the Cold War, y’know’. Well, I didn’t but I do now.
One woman – ‘Is it my imagination or do you sometimes play in Clapham?’ My reply – ‘It’s your imagination’. After the ‘authentic’ Third Man, an old lady says, ‘I took my mother to see that’. I said, ‘Oh, did you? The music’s good, isn’t it?’ ‘Oh, yes’, she said. I said, ‘I do two arrangements of this. This is the authentic zither-style one’. Old lady says, ‘Oh yes, zither’. Me – ‘Yes, it’s the most difficult instrument in the world’. Old lady, ‘Oh, is it?’ Me – ‘Yeah. Anton Karas was the guy who played it. The expert, the best. Top man’. ‘Happy memories’, she said, and walked off.
So I got through the two hours plus, and it didn’t rain – not even a light shower, not even once. I packed up, did a rough count-up – about £43, and decided to buy a magazine from my foreign friend who was there, 20 feet away from me the whole time, and forced to listen to me. I felt sorry for him, actually! So I bought the magazine for £2.50 and asked his name: Shon, which I’m assuming is non other than John, where he was from: Bosnia, and how long he’s been here: three months. No wonder all he knows is ‘Big Issue’ and ‘Thank you’. I then told him about my diary and asked if I could take a photo – he said OK. No he didn’t say OK but he gave me to thinking it was OK. So I took the picture and showed it to him and he seemed pleased.
And that was that. So no CDs today, but at least no rain…and the bike got to go on the ferry again…after I went to the toilet near the pier and left the bike with a bloke outside who’d just missed his bus. What happened was I stopped outside the toilet and was thinking that I had to get the ‘D’ lock out of the gigbag on my back and lock it up and there’s no railings around…and the bloke can see me wondering what to do so he says ‘I’ll look after it if you want’. So I say ‘Oh, will you? – yeah, that would be good of you’. He says he’s just missed his bus and I say I’ve got to get the ferry, then ‘…you won’t ride off, will you?’ which is a bit cheeky but I’m so paranoid about that bike.
Anyway, he said he wouldn’t ride off, so I went to the toilet and was out in about a minute, didn’t even wash the ol’ hands – that’s how paranoid I am! But he was there when I came out. So I walked the bike down the pier. I’d ridden it earlier – I never saw the NO CYCLES signs.
Earnings: £44.76p (gross), – Train fare: £6.70p + Ferry: £7 = £31.70p (profit)
…after a few hours recuperation, I ventured forth into Winchester, and I don’t know why I bothered. Coinage was slow…a young guy started talking about a guitar he’d made from a kit: mahogany, so it was a bit bottom-heavy, and for a second I was going to start on about the psychedelic double-neck monster – ‘you won’t top that, mate!’ But then I thought, no, I’ll be 20 minutes going on about that and I’ll have to stop playing, and I’m getting in a bad mood because this town is so mean: it was FIVE SONGS before any coinage…and I can’t be bothered!
Total earnings: £52.64p (gross), £39.58 (profit)