Diary Of A Busker Day 691 Tuesday February 17th 2015 Winchester (Opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:46-4:47pm).
I’d only been playing a few minutes when someone I haven’t seen in ages, Kai, walks by with his violin case and one of those tablet things that take photos, and he took one of me. He didn’t stop. I should have asked if he was OK with me playing here, as it’s quite near the spot he usually uses, near Timpsons. I reckon he’ll set up a bit further up the road, maybe at the Butter Cross, as there wasn’t anyone there. Apart from me and Kai, there’s no one else about, which is weird, as it’s sunny and no chance of rain today (but cold: 8 degrees).
I do Moon River and mess it up again, so I do it again straight away, which was a bit better. Ian, last week’s Donor Of The Week due to the £40 he gave, walks by but doesn’t donate, which is fine…but then, fifteen minutes later he’s back and he does it again. A £20 note tightly folded in the bucket. What’s going on?! I even tell him it’s too much! He just says ‘Here Comes The Sun’, and goes to stand opposite. So I finish La Vie En Rose – there was another minute and a half – and go into it. I’ve got this stubborn thing about finishing a song at the proper time, even when presented with a request for a particular song, accompanied by a £20 note!
Then, during Here Comes The Sun, Ron turned up, so I told him about the £20 and nodded to Ian so Ron knew where it came from. Ron said ‘Is that your brother?’ Ha! But I shouldn’t have started chatting to Ron while I was playing, especially Ian’s favourite, because I started making mistakes. I’m going to have to buy him – Ian, not Ron – a present, like a pack of those small Italian cigars. I found out what they were called (Toscanello) and where Ian got them from – Tom’s Italian Deli, on the other street. I had a feeling he got them from there because I know he goes there for coffee and a snack…and I was right. Tom didn’t have any but is getting a shipment in today or tomorrow.
Anyway, Ron said he’d seen Kai, or ‘the man from China’ as he put it, playing up the road. Apparently, Ron had been filmed dancing to Kai’s playing recently. I know he’d got on the TV but I didn’t know it was with Kai.
An old guy donated then asked if I’d seen George. I wasn’t sure who he meant. He said he played guitar so I thought he must be a busker, but no, he doesn’t play out here. The he said his last name: Wilkinson, and I knew it was George who loves Chet! I said I hadn’t seen him in a while and my man said ‘No, neither have I. I hope he’s alright’.
And then I started thinking about some other people I haven’t seen for awhile: Philip, Janet, and Big Issue Simon…then, fifteen minutes later, coming down the road, there he is: Simon! He went into a shop just up from me, then came out and up to me. We shook hands and said we must have kept missing each other, as we’ve both been around. He said ‘Take care, my friend’ and off he went. He looked OK, bedraggled of course, but I’ve seen him look alot worse.
Another old guy, with a walking frame and his wife, donated as I started Ne Me Quitte Pas. He said ‘I like that one you’re playing – If You Go Away’, so I asked if he had a favourite version. He didn’t so that put the kibosh on that potential chat. I hadn’t played it for a bit and thought I was going to mess it up, especially as the bloke was right in front of me, but it was OK, thankfully. He noticed the bike – ‘I like that bike – that’s the real McCoy’. I said ‘Thank you – a 1982 model’. He said ‘Yeah, they don’t make ’em like that – the real thing’. Someone else I hadn’t seen – the laughing woman. She comes up, donates and says ‘Happy!’, and that was it, off she went!
Two hours – long enough. My feet were freezing at the end. As I was cycling past Tom’s Deli – he was putting the bin out – I slowed down, he saw me and said ‘They’re not here yet’, meaning the cigars, so I said I’d come in tomorrow.