Diary Of A Busker Day 699 Sunday March 1st 2015 Winchester (1. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 1:37-2:58pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 3:35-4:08pm).
The first donation was from an Indian bloke who told me he was a guitarist and used to play all over the world, playing Santana and other stuff like that, until he had a heart attack and couldn’t play any more. I suppose it must have affected his brain/hand coordination. I felt sorry for him. Mind, that’s what playing Santana does.
At 2 o’clock a bloke with a black dog plonked a cup of coffee down next to me and said ‘There you are, I mean, I HAVE been listening long enough’. I didn’t know that. Then he went and stood outside the Vodafone place, opposite. He must have been standing somewhere else before.
Henry, from the days of The Railway open-mic (he only ever did that one song – a bluesy thing), stopped by in all his marathon Lycra gear, and wearing shades. I haven’t seen him for ages and I remembered his name just in time – ‘Oh, hello…Henry’. This was in the middle of the Gymnopedie, which I was able to carry on playing – some of it, anyway – while talking to him. He’s a pleasant bloke so I didn’t get annoyed! Anyway, he told me about a Gary Numan version of the Gymnopedie and said he’d send me a link (he did and I was very impressed).
Right after Henry left, Scouse Chris turned up. After a bit of chat, he brought up Telstar (again), and again I had to say I still haven’t got it together. I played him Wonderful Land though, and quite an energetic rendition it was, and confident, too. Possibly because I’d done it half an hour before. When Chris turned up, I had resumed the Gymnopedie and he was saying how versatile the guitar is, as an instrument, as the Satie stuff is written for the piano. This reminded me of something I was thinking about the other day: which is the most versatile – the guitar or piano? I think, as I was saying to Chris, the piano is the more versatile one, because although you can play pretty much all the styles of music on the guitar as you can on the piano, with the guitar you have to change the tone. I mean, you can’t play Spanish guitar stuff with a heavy distortion. But with the piano, you can play pretty much all of it: blues, classical, jazz, ragtime, on any piano. That’s my theory and I’m sticking with it!
For the last half hour, that Big Issue bloke, Nibs, as Simon calls him, was hanging about the crossroads with another bloke. I’ve often seen him selling his magazine here and I was wondering if I was stopping him setting up camp. I think I was because the minute I started packing up, he set up opposite, outside Vodafone. He could have asked me – I would have moved, I wouldn’t have minded, but he’s never spoken to me, nor I to him!
I had a toilet break, brought on by the coffee, no doubt. The toilets were disgusting: piss all over the floor (I shouldn’t be so messy!), empty wine bottles, no toilet seat. I had to stand up and crouch down, like I was in bloody Istanbul.
Down at Oxfam, the stroke woman came by with her son and his wife, or her daughter and her husband. It’s got to be one of those, I suppose. So I finished whatever I was playing and went into Chinatown. After, the man came over and said he’d like to buy a £5 CD, as she’d like to hear me play. I got out the CDs and said he could have one for free, but he had the fiver in his hand and I got the impression he’d rather pay, so I let him!
After half an hour it started to rain – quite lightly, but I’m not playing in the rain so I packed up, which annoyed me as I wanted to stay a bit longer. The main reason being, in the morning I gave a pikey at the car boot fare £25 for an Elvis signature. It was in a small frame and had “TCB” 1972 under the signature. But the story was quite convincing. He said he’d got it from a 78 year old woman who saw Elvis in Las Vegas in 1972. She was in the third row from the front. Apparently, she also had some photos but didn’t want to part with them, or even let the bloke take photos of them, allegedly. He said she used to collect autographs and had some of Rod Stewart, Kylie Minogue and others, all of which she gave to this bloke. He said he was amazed to find this Elvis one amongst them and thought maybe she didn’t know it was there.
But she wasn’t bothered about the autographs, it was the photos she really wanted to keep. I don’t know, it could be a fake but the thing I find convincing is it looks like a rushed job, like it just might be authentic. And also, it doesn’t look like any of the authentic ones. I mean, a forger would make it look authentic, surely. And the ‘y’ at the end of Presley looks very rough, like it was done really quickly. Doll was really mad at me, though. I borrowed £20 off her, as the cash machine at the petrol station across the road was broken. She didn’t believe the bloke and walked off when he was telling the story.
Anyway, there’s no way of proving if it’s real without spending 50 quid getting it analysed by an ‘expert’, something the pikey bloke said he wouldn’t be prepared to do. Like he said, ‘If it’s a fake and you get it analysed, you’ve just blown 50 quid’. The bit of paper it’s on was glued on some cardboard and put in a small frame. It looks quite nice. Who knows, it might be the real thing. When I got home, I went on the computer and found Elvis’s Las Vegas dates for 1972 and he was definitely there in February and August. I reckon it’s the real thing…I know it is and I’m keeping it! I’ve got it in the front room, on the window ledge in front of the piano.
Earnings: £26.06p (including 2 CDs)