Diary Of A Busker Day 662 Friday October 31st 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 1:20-3:32pm, 2. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 3:40-4:30pm).
Ten minutes after I started (on a warm day!), that bloody European van pulled up in front of me again. I couldn’t be bothered to pack up so I stayed there…and one song later – Albatross – I sold a CD to a man of Turkish appearance, about 40 years old, and he didn’t want any change from a £10 note. Well, after the nightmare of yesterday, I found this enormously cheering.
Then the van left, only for a Neptune Homes van to immediately take its place. What can you do? Anyway, a man put in a £1 coin, saying ‘That’ll buy you a drink tonight’. A drink of what? Tap water? I mean, what drink can you get in a pub for a pound?
The usually-top-hatted street cleaner bloke was today wearing a bowler. He was about halfway between The Eclipse and the road in front of me when he saw someone or something, and left his cart to go over. His cart started rolling off, someone shouted ‘Your cart!’ He ran back and stopped it just before it piled into a full table outside the pub. Ha!
A blast from the past. A young couple come up, the woman – who looked familiar, says ‘Do you do requests?’ I say ‘Sure, if I know the song’. She says Bare Necessities?’, and then I knew. I played that and also – and this must be in the top 10 of weirdest song pairings of all time – Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, on their wedding morning! – in the garden of their parents’ really posh house, a few minutes up the road from where we live. I thought it was a couple of years ago but apparently it was three. He’s American and they now live in New York City. Anyway, I’d completely forgotten Bare Necessities. I remember I learnt it, and Hallelujah, just for their thing and I’ve never played them since. And singing them, too! Certainly one of the most unusual paid engagements I’ve ever done in my 5,000 years of ‘professional’ playing.
Ron dropped by, wearing a smart pale blue waistcoat. Apart from a light shuffle for a minute or two, he didn’t bother with the dancing. I’ve never seen him up here before – maybe he doesn’t feel at home here. The girl singer/songwriter stopped on her way home – on her bike/cart, so I told her about what happened yesterday: she was pretty shocked. She says she often gets drunk people singing along but never anything like that. I said that before it happened, when I was coming into town, that I was actually thinking ‘I’ve had it OK, really, considering I’ve just passed the four year mark’, and then that happened. She said (Young) Sam told her he had some guy take a £5 note from his hat and he had to literally shout to the people walking by – ‘Hey, that guy’s just taken my money!’
I had to change the batteries after an hour and a half, and it was around then that my hands started getting quite clammy and a bit cold, oddly enough. Sort of like when the fretboard gets drops of water on and the hands stick to the neck and the fingers get stuck on the fretboard. And it was like that till the end and all through the last set.
I gave a CD to the adults who were looking after a disabled boy with saliva dripping from his mouth. He seemed to like the music, and I thought ‘Poor kid…I’m going to give him a CD’, as I felt bloody sorry for him. There but for the grace of god, etc…
Earnings: £35.46p (Including 1 CD)