Diary Of A Busker Day 658 Sunday October 26th 2014 Winchester (Opposite Pavilion, Time: 2:30-4:40pm).
A landmark day: the 4th anniversary of the start of all this busking business…and of this diary, of course. Oh yes, I remember it well: Southampton in the cold, and I was so embarrassed to set up, I delayed it as long as I could. And now? Now, I don’t give a damn! I could set up anywhere. What have I got out of it? A lot of fresh air, a fair bit of grief, met some nice people, some arseholes. It’s kept me alive for 4 years and I’ve got a 1,000 (at least) page book out of it.
Anyway, enough of all that…another very reasonable day for this time of year: no wind, and the sun’s even out. First song, Albatross, and two blokes stand nearby, then into La Vie En Rose and one comes over and buys a CD. But first, he asks me how much they are so I give him the usual: no £5 ones left but the £9 ones are now £8. But he never saw the sign that said CDs £5/£9, so he didn’t know what I was going on about! He gave a £10 note and said not to bother with the change. Wow! So Song Of The Day’s La Vie En Rose, as it secured the sale, although Albatross certainly helped.
This guy was curious about my amp set-up, so I did the usual – ‘Six double-A batteries, Procell – the best, last 24 hours, can’t get them in the shops, get them on eBay…Micro-Cube amp: can’t recommend them enough…’ In fact, I gave the ‘product’ speech no less than THREE times today. Another time was to a couple at one of the restaurants: the man white, she black. He loved the fingerstyle so I told him about Chet Atkins and Tommy Emmanuel, who he’d heard of. After a few minutes chatting they left…no contribution!
A couple, just married, walked past during Siboney. Now, I’d seen them a minute before, coming down the path in the cathedral grounds and I thought, ‘Should I do the wedding march, or finish Siboney first?’ I decided to finish Siboney, so I was playing that as they went by, however, 15 seconds later, it was done so I did the wedding march – just the main melody, as that’s what I’ve been teaching (trying to) Neve, aged 8, for the past 20 years. They must have heard it, but no response/acknowledgement.
A young couple with a toddler – a boy definitely not more than two – walked by, then stopped as the kid observed my foot tapping and then imitated it by stamping his down, to the amusement of a few people at the tables. People like all that, don’t they? It’s all, ‘Ahh’s, isn’t it? But he was doing it for a long time and when they eventually dragged him away, one of them came back and put a £5 note in the bucket. That little boy, Ethan, with autism came by with his parents for a strum. He was quite tiered today – he’d been swimming, apparently.
I flicked the pages to get to the Gymnopedie, started playing it and seemed to get along without looking at the music…until the very end, so I had a look down and realised I’d opened the book to the 5th Gnossienne! No help at all, so I messed up the last few chords. Still, the rest seems to be more or less memorised.
Above average coinage for once…in this one-horse town…on this landmark day…of the FOURTH anniversary…of this busking business…