Diary Of A Busker Day 681 Saturday January 10th 2015 Winchester (1. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 2:10-3:40pm, 2. Opposite Jigsaw, Market Street, Time: 3:55-5:15pm).
A rather depressed state of mind today, with a light headache…which is what happens when you have a few rum and cokes followed with half bottle of red. I need to lay off the sauce, especially the night before a session.
Quite cold: 7-8 degrees, but no wind so I was able to do an hour and a half straight through at the first spot. A couple in their 60’s donated during Albatross. She said it was ‘lovely’ and she wished she could play it, so I stopped to demonstrate the basics and gave the standard Albatross Lecture: as long as you can keep the low note going, you can do all the other stuff on top. She asked if I gave lessons. I said I did, gave her my card and that was that. She’ll never phone! If she did, she’d definitely be the oldest (potential) student.
After I packed up, I cycled – or rather, cruised – down to the middle area where the toilets are. I say cruised because I went the whole way without pedalling or even stopping. So, down the road to where Gieves & Hawkes is, turn left along that short bit, turn right around the other corner and down a bit more and onto the pavement and lock the bike up. Didn’t pedal once! In the toilets, the water was hot and the hand drier was cold.
At the crossroads, that flute-blowing Syd was at it again – he’s there all the time now, so I decided to set up around the corner where I haven’t been in months. Didn’t get any donations until 15 minutes, when a man listening on the other side of Market Street was joined by his wife(?) and came over. He said ‘Hello Marvin’ and I couldn’t remember who he was. But then he said he’d bought The Last Flight Of Billy Balloon a few years ago at an open-mic night at The Railway. I still couldn’t remember his name and didn’t want to ask. After a chat during which I mentioned I’d done two more albums since then (an interest in purchasing said albums wasn’t forthcoming) they started walking off, then she came back to make a donation. I forgot to say that the man didn’t donate when he came over but I’ll forgive him because of the album purchase.
I was thinking of packing up – because it was too cold for my chemically induced depression, and add to that the fact I was pretty much ignored by the thousands on the High Street a few yards away – when I got a load of donations for the 1st Gnossienne, so I thought again. I didn’t fancy packing up and going somewhere else so I stayed on.
And then, at precisely 4:34, just after starting up Twelve-String Shuffle, I broke a string. I think that’s the first time that’s happened. So Twelve-String Shuffle became Five-String Shuffle (on a six-string guitar)…although it didn’t, as, since the tune’s main melody string – the high E – is the one that broke, I had to abandon it. I’d only been there 40 minutes so I decided not to go home but to change the string, which took awhile as the little round brass thing slipped off the anchoring pin on the tailpiece as I was tightening the bloody string. I didn’t have my specially adapted wine bottle cork piece that fits in between the tailpiece tension bar with the peg, and the body of the guitar, and stops the string slipping off. Bloody good, that cork is.
And then it slipped off again! I got it on the third time, tightened the string up…but then noticed I’d got the string over the tension bar instead of under it. Idiot! Well, I couldn’t be bothered going through the whole: taking the string off, putting it on routine again, so I left it how it was. I’ll sort it out at home. The string tightened up fine, anyway, so I did another half hour or so.
At the end when I was packing up, that young woman – Chrissy, I think – in the wheelchair who phoned the police when that bloke was giving me all that aggro, came by (without wheelchair) with her boyfriend and said ‘You know that man who assaulted you? Well, he’s gone to prison’. She’d got it wrong, so I told her he hadn’t gone to prison. He’s got to do six hours of alcohol rehabilitation (I might do a couple of hours myself) and he’s supposed to pay me £100 (I’ll never get it). She was sure he’d gone to prison. They then invited me down to the pub for a pint of Guinness with them. Now, although Guinness is the only beer I’m quite partial to, I declined the invite. I said I was going home, but maybe another time, and I told them that Guinness was my favourite beer. Chrissy said ‘Yeah, it’s nice…and good for you, too. Nutritious. In moderation’.
So, almost THREE hours. Like the old days.
Earnings: £34.80p (+ a one Euro coin)