Day 2372

Diary Of A Busker Day 2372 Wednesday May 15th 2024 Southampton.
Looks like I picked the wrong day to go to Southampton…because every other bloody busker picked the same day. There’s father and son Harry and Harry with their endless Beatles renditions near the top of the street, Rob and his skeleton drummer down opposite the mall entrance and some young bloke down near the bottom. Well, I had half a mind to go back to the station and come and play in Winchester, I mean the train fare was only £4.15 but I thought ‘fuck it, I’m here. I might as well try and do something’ but that meant I’ve got no choice than to set up just up from Poppins at the other side of the Bargate. No Man’s Land or No Busker’s Land. 
And it’s grim, with no coinage for ages but I do have an avid listener in one of the construction blokes, working on the building site opposite, or rather he’s outside on the pavement looking up at the other blokes. Maybe he’s the foreman or whatever they’re called, who oversee stuff. Anyway, he’s tapping his foot and smiling at me and giving me the thumbs-up every now and again. 
Meanwhile, a young Chinese woman comes up and donates – my first…but it’s a bunch of euro coins…and man walks by during The Third Man and says ‘I though Angie was better’. Well, you’re not paying for either so I don’t give a fuck, mate.
After 40 minutes, the foreman bloke comes over to thank me ‘for keeping us entertained’ so I explain that I’m only there because the main drag is full up. He then tells me that they’re doing maintenance work on the art deco front and they’ll be there for three years. Then, two of his mates come over. One about my age the other about 30. 
The older one says ‘I’ve been shouting the names of the songs to the others – the younger ones, they don’t know…here, I’ve worked on John Lennon’s house, the white one at Tittenhurst, Ringo’s house and George ‘arrison’s and Ian Gillan’s.’
‘George Harrison’s, really? That big castle thing, Friar Park?’
‘Yeah…and I’ve got to tell ya George ‘arrison was the rudest man I ever met. He didn’t say a word to me the whole time I was there and once ‘ee was there and ‘is wife was there – she was very beautiful, very olive skin, Olivia, an’ she was outside and he ‘ad his brother Harry working there as well, anyway, I was lookin’ at her and the next thing I knew, ‘arrison said to the foreman “Get rid of ‘im” and that was that. 
But I did some work in ‘is bedroom an’ ‘ee ‘ad all ‘is guitars on the wall, one pointing up and the next one pointing down, and all like that along the wall, you know? ‘An ‘ee ‘ad pictures of The Beatles on the walls.’
…and Ian Gillan, when I got there, there were eight dobermans ‘an I said to the caretaker “I’m not goin’ in there with them dogs, an’ the caretaker said “Oh, don’t worry about them, they’re alright” ‘an I said ‘I’m not workin’ in there.’
‘Whose Ian Gillan?’ says the younger chap.
‘Singer, lead singer with um…Deep Purple.’
I ask their names; the younger one is Seb, the first one who came over is Warren (McCarthy – it’s on his hardhat) and the one who’s done all the rock stars is Andy, who’s about my age so he must have been in his thirties when he met Harrison. No wonder he got him booted off the job, a bloke 20 years younger ogling his wife!
They were all friendly blokes and donated a couple of quid before they went to have a snack outside Poppins, before moving to a table further out which was in the sun. After a bit, they were joined by two others from the site and one came over with a packet of Bon Gelati ice creams and offered me one, which I took and put in the shade behind the case. 
I stayed there for just over an hour and only because the construction blokes were enjoying the music but near the end, they went back across to the site and I was getting cold, being in the shade with the wind and needed the toilet so it was time to pack up. 
I almost forgot, just after they went back over, some nutter woman appeared and was dancing and shouting up at them in a foreign language. Then she got bored, looked about and saw me. There was fuck all I could do; she came over, sat down, got up, sat down, shouted god knows what before she got bored with me after a couple of minutes. 
Anyway, I packed up and went over to Warren to give him a couple of my business cards ‘In case you or your mates want me to play at any parties.’ ‘Well, he lives in Reading and he lives in Windsor.’ 
‘That’s OK, I travel anywhere.’
I asked if I could take a photo and Warren shouts “Andy, photo!” so Andy comes over, I get the photo then we’re off; Warren and Andy back to work, me to the toilets in the mall. Not the permanently temporarily out of use ones, but the ones on level 4, half a mile away.
After that, I sat at one of the tables and had my ice cream and not a moment too soon as it was warming up in the mall. 
I wasn’t sure what to do after that; head home or do another set. The young bloke who was at the bottom of the street had left so I decided to set up in the middle of the street, near the road and facing up towards the mall. At the half hour mark I’d made not one penny so I packed up and came home. 
After the train fare was taken out, I’d made less than a fiver (plus 5 euros) but if I ever want to play for some appreciative builders over the next three years, I know where to go.

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