Diary Of A Busker Day 650

Diary Of A Busker Day 650 Friday October 17th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 2:54-4:01pm, 2. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 4:15-5:35pm).

I’d been practising Sukiyaki so much, I decided to debut it: 3rd song in, so I must have been pretty confident. Of course, I know I can always rely on the bloody buses to cover up any bum notes, which they did. In fact, I played it for around 10 minutes, going back and forth between the key change from C to E. Nothing like practising in public! No one cares.

Fellow Chet Atkins lover George walks by. I haven’t seen him in ages. He’s with a rather attractive girl in her 20’s. He doesn’t stop (I don’t blame him), but he says, ‘Marvellous, as usual’. Someone else from way back, Barry, who I will forever remember for falling down dead drunk and bleeding on the pavement near The Butter Cross – he turns up and donates £2. Amazing. He’s sort of avoided socialising with me since that day.

I spot Delia across the road – it’s Friday, after all. She stops a man with his son, says something to them (I bet I know what it is), and they come across. The man puts a pound in the bucket and says, ‘Delia says she has to get the bus, she’ll see you next week’. Ha! She got a stranger to come across with her traditional donation and a message.

George came by again. This time he was on his own and he stopped and stood by while I played Je Te Veux. Afterwards we talked about the usual (Chet Atkins), and then I enquired after his companion of earlier, was she his daughter? He said, ‘No, I wish. That was Alexandria. She’s an actress from Estonia’. ‘Very nice’, I said. As George went off, I then started another 10 minute Sukiyaki.

In between sets, I had a chat with Mick who was sitting outside one of the coffee places on The Pentice. I said, ‘Here you are, Mick, in your usual habitat’, because whenever I see him, it seems he’s always on his way to have his coffee. He asks if I’ve learnt the chords for God Only Knows yet. I say I haven’t but I know Wouldn’t It Be Nice and California Girls. He dismissed Wouldn’t It Be Nice, saying it’s a three chord wonder. I said it wasn’t as easy as that, and there’s a complicated – by mid-60’s pop music standards – middle section, and a key change.

He said, ‘There’s 7 or 8 key changes in Penny Lane’, which I disagreed with so we had an argument. Mick – ‘Yeah, it starts in C, then E minor down to…’ Me – ‘C? It’s in A, then goes to B’. Mick – ‘Well, I used to play it in C…I always knew you were a barbarian’. And he called me a barbarian again, a few minutes later, and I was starting to get a bit annoyed so I made my excuses and left. I did notice his head shaking a bit, though – right from the start (before the argument), like he had Parkinson’s, which was something I hadn’t noticed before.

A few seconds after, an old lady stopped me and said, ‘Can I just say how nice it is to hear you play in the High Street…’, which was very nice after my argument with Mick. So I thanked her and gave her a bit of a history lesson – my ‘I had to stop playing in loud rock bands…going deaf…’ part of the Hard Luck Story. I think I bored her! She interrupted me and said, ‘Well, anyway, thank you’, and left!

A bit further down, a dad and his little boy. The boy, who’s not more than 2, is fascinated by me. He stands in front, right up close, his shoe almost touching mine. He’s there for a couple of songs and it gets alot of people looking – usually old ladies, who stop, point and smile. I reckon it could just as easily be a dog in front of me. They’d still stop and smile, I bet. They think it’s really cute. The dad gives the kid 20p to put in the bucket (20p – generous), but the kid hasn’t got a clue what to do with it. And then he tries to kick the bucket over. Yeah, really cute. In fact, the bucket does indeed topple over. The dad puts it right but doesn’t apologise.

Then a young guy comes up. He says he’s heard me for the last 3 years, but it won’t be for much longer as he’s graduating this week. He says, ‘Yeah, your playing…really smooth. It must be good to come and chill out in the street’, as if I do this for recreation purposes. This amuses me greatly. Speaking of graduation, there’s been loads of them, walking about with all that graduation garb on. Quite alot of short skirts. A lot of mutton dressed as lamb, I have to say. And some of the women are just as bad…

Earnings: £25.02p

  3 comments for “Diary Of A Busker Day 650

  1. alex in San Jose
    27/02/2017 at 12:53 AM

    Nothing like being paid to practice! I had a lady give me a couple of dollars because I was standing there, doing chromatic scales fast, warming up. “I’m just warming up,” I protested. “It sounds good” she said.

    Then there’s supposedly a saxophone player in a busy area in New York City who supposedly just sets up and breaks down, sets up and breaks down. People assume they’re too early to hear him but he’s probably good so they drop tips, and then they assume they just missed him and he must be good, so they drop tips.

  2. 04/03/2017 at 9:35 AM

    All he does is set up and tear down? That’s mental!

  3. alex in San Jose
    04/03/2017 at 11:28 PM

    By all accounts, New York City is mental.

    But just as an example of what both the majority of people, and the police, shop-owners, etc value, buskers never make as much as beggars do in my area, and while buskers are often told to move on, beggars are allowed to beg, both with signs and by calling out to people, right under “NO LOITERING” signs right in front of markets etc.

    Needless to say, both with my being in the USA and being in one of the most affluent parts of the USA, we have TONS of beggars and destitute people. In fact I’ve learned to keep mum about my having employment, even though it only pays me $250 a week and allows me to live in a warehouse with no running water, because people will get this look of desperation in their eyes and ask if “they” need anyone else, they can work, etc. etc.

    Of course now with Cheeto Benito in charge, it’s only going to get worse.

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