Diary Of A Busker Day 653 Tuesday October 21st 2014 Winchester (Opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:13-2:50pm).
And once again, I don’t know why I bother…after 4 songs, a Chinese girl fiddles with her purse and looks in the bucket. All that’s there is my camera in its case, to give the bucket some weight or it would blow away – a very windy day. There’s no money in it. Maybe she thinks it’s for something else because she then does a rather sweet bow with hands clasped together, then walks into the shop on the left. I suppose I could have said ‘You can put money in it’, but I didn’t.
A few minutes later, she comes out, walks past and down to the right…a minute later and she’s back so I grab the opportunity. I say hello, she looks in the bucket and says something about a CD. So I explain the whole CD situation: ‘Sorry, no £5 ones left, but these others have 20 songs, you can have one for £8’, and let her look at the CD. I then say she doesn’t have to buy one – she can just put a pound in, and I make sure I say a POUND. I don’t want the usual oriental donation of a penny! Well, she doesn’t want the CD, although she really likes the song I’m playing – La Vie En Rose, and it’s on it. She says ‘I like what you play, I like it’, and puts a £2 coin VERY gently on the top of the camera case, then she goes off. Now, for another £6 she could have had that song and 19 other songs. Still, I was grateful.
Then, nothing for a couple more songs…then Ron turns up and stands beside me on my left. He does a little swaying but doesn’t seem to be in the mood for the full thing today. I don’t blame him: it’s sunny but very windy (as noted) and quite cold…and then it starts to rain…then it stops after 5 minutes. Ron notices the absence of contributors – no one gives anything for 10 minutes. Ron says I should call him when I’m out here next. I say I don’t know his number. He says ‘I’m here everyday (I damn well know he is)…I only live down there, been there 15 years, since I retired. I’m 87, you know’. I’m sure awhile back he told me he was 75. I say ‘Eighty-seven? I thought you were 75, Ron. I’m sure you told me you were’. ‘No, 87, born before the war…the second one’, he says. ‘That’s amazing’, I say. He does look pretty good for it. And there he was, fighting that other bloke the other day, wrestling the shopping trolley off him. And he doesn’t need a walking stick or anything like that. Bloody amazing. I said ‘Maybe it’s the dancing, Ron’. He said maybe it was.
Nick, the guy I wrote about years ago in the Chronicle, turned up and said his usual – ‘It worked – you brought the sun out’, for which I thanked him. He must have noticed I was pretty down. He started talking about it getting cold – ‘I used to work at the post office and every winter my knuckles would start bleeding, they’d get cut…’ I think he’s told me that before.
I soldiered on a bit longer but the hands were getting fed up. I messed up Siboney, then did the Gnossienne – still no donation. Ron – for he is still here – must have felt sorry, as he donated a pound. He patted me on the shoulder and said ‘I don’t think it’s working today. It sounds good, though’. Not bloody good enough, obviously. At 2:40 he says ‘I’m going to go up the road…good luck’, so I say I’m going up there in a minute. Five minutes later, I’ve had enough – I’ve had one more donation, so that makes three donations for more than half an hour. I started packing up as Ron returned, to tell me I was the only one playing in the street. That girl singer/songwriter who was at The Butter Cross must have packed up too, then.
Again, Ron and I said goodbye, and I rode down Market Street and up The Square, thinking I might set up at Pavilion. But it was pretty desolate, very windy and I couldn’t bring myself to take the plunge, as it were. I thought ‘What for? A pound? Two? None?!’ I ain’t doing it. In 5 days it’ll be the 4th anniversary of me starting this busking thing. I think that’s long enough.