Diary Of A Busker Day 651 Saturday October 18th 2014 Hythe (Opposite Harvey’s Sandwich Bar, Time: 12:26-2:47pm).
I left a lot later than usual, waiting for the rain to stop, and as a consequence the train to Southampton was pretty full up, and with a few drunken football supporters, to boot. I was standing near the doors and a football bloke, seeing the gigbag, said ‘What’s in there – golf clubs?’ I said it was a guitar. He said ‘You any good?’ I said ‘I don’t know. Good enough to make a living with it, just about’. He says ‘Yeah? What you play?’ Me – ‘Fingerstyle guitar’. He – ‘What’s that?’ Me – ‘Instrumental stuff. You play the bass and melody at the same time’. He – ‘Yeah? Ooh do you like?’ Me – ‘Chet Atkins’. He – ‘Ooh?’ Me – ‘Chet Atkins’. He – ‘Ooh the fuck’s that?’ Me – ‘A bloke from the 50’s and 60’s’. He – ‘Yeah? Never ‘eard of ‘im. Ooh the fuck’s that?’ Enough said. So, the first OFFENDER.
The second one was the cantankerous old guy who gives change for the ticket machine for the ferry. I put in £5.60p but it rejected the 10p coin, so I went to the guy, showed him the coin and he says ‘It won’t take the new 10p’s’. I say ‘Oh right. There should be a sign up, then’. He says ‘How many signs do I ‘ave to put on it?’, then gives me an old 10p for my new one, so I go back, put it in the machine but the other money’s come out. I go back an inform the bloke. He says ‘Yeah, if you leave it, it’ll reject it, if you walk away from it’, so I say ‘You need to put a sign saying that, too “If you walk away, it’ll reject it”‘. He mumbles something then comes out to the machine with me, starts sorting it out, then starts slagging off everything – ‘These machines…they need some new ones, so you can put a card in…the whole place needs doing up. They built and demolished a pier just over there before anyone ever used it, the council…blah, blah…!!’
I think he’d forgotten he’d met me a few weeks ago, but I remembered him alright. Typical, miserable English bloke, about 65. Someone who shouldn’t be dealing with the innocent general public. Anyway, back to Hythe…I got the 12 o’clock ferry – and I had to laugh, looking at the ferry’s name on the life-saver on the wall in front of me – Great Expectations!
At Hythe, Bosnian John was there again. ‘Big Issue’, he said as I said hello to him. I said ‘Maybe later, I’ll see how it goes, OK?’ The bloke didn’t understand a word. I set up, started up and got very worried I’d have to stop after four songs when it started lightly raining, but it eased up after a few songs. Our old friend Guy Pinder was suddenly standing in front of me. He said ‘Marvin, what are you doing here?’, so I said ‘I’m playing the guitar, Guy. What are YOU doing here?’ He said Jenny has a chiropractor here, and he has a pint, watches the boats, goes to the shops. He looked rough, unshaven.
Another busker came up: hatted, bearded, wearing tight pink trousers – far too old for all that! He donated 50p, then said rather drunkenly ‘Yeah…I was just down there’, and looked towards the street to the pier. I asked if he could hear me and he said ‘Yeah…well, yeah…but it’s OK. You get the money from the people coming this way, ‘an I get it from the ones coming the other way…yeah, so…’ I said ‘OK, oh well, it’s a two-way street then, eh?’ He said ‘Yeah (and chuckles)…well, yeah…OK, good luck to ya…’, and he was off. I think he was the same one that was around the corner the first time I came here.
An old guy comes up and asks for Greensleeves. I apologise (I might have attempted it if I hadn’t been in G-tuning), then he gives me his Greensleeves story – ‘I was out in a boat in a lake and there was a piano player there. Well, I asked if he knew Greensleeves and he said he could play it if he had the music, so I said “I’ve got the music, I’ll go and get it” – it was only 20 minutes away, so I went and got it (did he swim ashore?!) and came back and he played it and…oh, it was marvellous, you know. At the end, he was giving me back the music and I said “No, keep it”, you know’. ‘Really?’ I said. So there you go – an old man’s Greensleeves story.
And that was it, apart from it clearing up and the sun coming out in the last 15 minutes…and another old guy comes over and donates. Now this one had been sitting a safe distance away sketching me, but when he comes over, he doesn’t really show me the sketch – only half-reveals it. So I ask if I can take a photo of it and he tears it from the pad and gives it to me – a very unfinished drawing. He didn’t even sign it until I insisted. His name was Mal.
I forgot – another 10 minute rendition of Sukiyaki.
Earnings: £43.10p (gross) – £6.70p (train), £5.60p (ferry) = £30.80p (profit)