Diary Of A Busker Day 693 Friday February 20th 2015 Winchester (1. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:02-3:32pm, 2. Opposite Bellis, Time: 4:05-5:38pm).
I’m standing with the bike outside Monsoon, looking about, and suddenly there she is – Delia – practically in front of me. Of course, she insists on giving me a pound, even though I’m not actually playing. She’s only got two pound coins, and one of those flattened joke pennies, in her old tin. She asks how the son is, so I told her I took him up to the piano recital the other day – Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, some Ravel, and after the interval, the four Chopin Ballades. It must have knackered the bloke as he only did one encore and a really short one at that. Not like Abbey Simon – who I was telling Delia about – who’s 95, and he did three encores after an entire recital of Chopin.
I said to her ‘he’s been playing 90 years ’cause all these concert people start when they’re four, you know. So he’s been playing longer than you’ve been alive, Delia, ’cause I know you’re not 90′. I think she thought I was trying to get her to tell me her age because she said ‘I’ll never tell you how old I am’. At the end, I said I might see her next Tuesday. She said maybe, but she comes in on Wednesdays, sometimes now, if the buses aren’t running right on Tuesdays.
Next up, Eric and Shirley. I was thinking Eric might have died but he hasn’t. He’s in a wheelchair being pushed by Shirley. ‘It’s been two years’, she says, ‘since it happened, but he’s getting a bit better. Can’t walk up the road here, it’s too far’. She then started on about how there’s nowhere to park near the High Street. In fact an old lady said the same thing to me on Wednesday. Shirley then made a joke about putting Eric in the bin next to me – to park him there for a while! They were on the way to the opticians. Eric sees double when he looks at music, apparently.
I had a compliment after Moon River – almost without mistakes for once. A woman said ‘That’s absolutely lovely’, and it got two donations, so that’s ‘in’. After an hour and a half, I took a break. The hands were OK – I took the opportunity to warm them in the pockets while I had Eric and Shirley with me. Temperature 5 degrees, and there’s a tiny breeze but not too bad as 5 degrees is under the line of permittance, normally. After the toilet, I went to Waterstones – first time in months – and looked at the photos in a new book on Churchill called Finest Years by Max Hastings. That bloke seems to have a book on the war out every year!
Set two (at The Pentice) occurs because I’m £50 down this week – as it’s half-term and all the guitar lessons are cancelled. And I’m very happy to see Phillip, who I was getting worried about. He was wearing a flat cap and was a bit doddery on his feet, but his hair seems to have grown back. He looked pretty well considering he’s got, or is getting rid of the cancer. He sees the stuff the birds were chucking down from the guttering on Wednesday, and says ‘Watch out for the dog shit, look, it’s all over’. I tell him about the birds and he says ‘Don’t let them hit the guitar with it’. He loves my guitar (he doesn’t think he’ll ever play again), so I said ‘If they do, I’ll be up there, bloody sorting them out’.
Phillip said how cold it was. I said I was OK – the feet were the main problem. They seem to take longer to warm up than the hands. Twenty minutes in the bookshop doesn’t help the feet hardly at all. Phillip mentioned thermal socks. I said they don’t do alot and neither does wearing two pairs of socks. He said ‘What you need is a couple of spaniels on your shoes’.
A minor incident of offence occurred when a rather large Malaysian(?) bloke interrupted a song to ask if I knew a song he started humming – ‘I will be right here waiting for you’, whatever that is. A bloody boring 80’s ballad, I think. He mentioned Billy Ocean. I said I knew what he was getting at but I didn’t do the song. He said ‘You should, as you’d get 2,000 people giving money’. No I wouldn’t, mate. Anyway, I’d stopped playing to talk to this guy but after his 2,000 people comment, I couldn’t be bothered so I started up again – The Third Man, to which he commented ‘Oh yeah, I know the kind of thing you do. I’ve heard you some other times, now, what you COULD do…’, then he starts going on about something else – ‘…you know, a mechanical…’, and I had no idea what he was going on about so I ignored him and he went off. And then three teenagers shout ‘Hey, can you play Nine Inch Nails’, but they shouted it so loud that I ignored them!
3 hours (and 3 minutes): haven’t done one that long for ages. No one else about (playing) today. 5 degrees – no wonder!
Earnings: £39.81p + two euro cent coins.