Diary Of A Busker Day ~ 119

Diary Of A Busker Day 119 Tuesday June 21st Winchester High Street (1. opposite The Body Shop, Time: 12:30-3:01pm, 2. corner of Marks And Spencer, Time: 3:13-5:30pm.)

      It’s 20 minutes until my first “customer” – Delia, comes along. I get up to speak to her, “Oh, you don’t have to stand up for me.” “Yes I do, I need to stretch! My back aches.” She says I need to improve my posture as the way I’m sitting – with my bottom lower than my knees, is bad. A lot of musicians have a bad posture, I tell her, they spend their lives hunched over guitars and pianos. I could do with my stool being a couple of inches higher though, or put it on a small stage or platform maybe.

      Delia tells me she’s upset about a neighbour, a young woman, very pretty, who has to have an operation on one side of her face. I tell her about Alan, the 75 year old who’s just retired from his street cleaning job. I haven’t seen him since the day before he was to go in for a big operation to remove a tumour behind his eye. Delia gets out a very old looking sweet tin and opens it, she’s got about 3 pounds in there. I tell her I don’t want her to give me money everytime she sees me. “Don’t be STUPID – take it!” I always protest, and she always then gets quite aggresive, with her “Don’t be STUPID!”, and I always say “Well, I don’t want an argument so I’ll take it” and take whatever it is she wants me to have – always more than a pound.

      This session goes slow – I look at my watch every 5 minutes, then, after 2 1/2 hours I pack up and go to the toilet, partly to wash the metallic odour off my fingers. As I’m at the sink, out of the blue, a man at the urinal, with his back to me (obviously) says, “You’ve made your fortune and now you’re leaving us.” I’m not sure what he means, does he say this to any busker, or is it something to do with the newspaper feature. “Well, £16 (what I’ve just made)isn’t much of a fortune, but I’m going to do another bit at the corner – an hour or so, so maybe see what happens.” I say.

       The usual thing occurs – the hour turns into 2 1/2 hours. Ex cruise musician Mick, he of the cheeky grin, turns up and gives his verdict on the best value burgers in town – “Go to Sainsbury’s. Eight for £3.50, and – AND (here he pauses several seconds to emphasize the  importance of his next point), NINETY-FIVE PERCENT BEEF.” I tell him about Honest Glen who Mick doesn’t know. “Honest Glen – he has a van he parks just ’round the corner – 8 burgers for £3.00, and they’re good quality meat – the best in town, on Thursdays, I think.”

      Near the end of my “shift”, Frank walks by. I’d seen him up at The Buttercross when I came into town – I can tell it’s him from miles away from his big white umbrella he has attached to his accordion cart. It’s like when you see a group of foreign visitors or a school class – they always have someone leading them who is holding up a flag so everyone knows where they are. “How’s it been, Frank?” “Well, I’ll be lucky if I’ve made £10.” Oh dear. I haven’t had a great day – well under £10 an hour, and that’s playing pretty well solidly for almost 5 hours, but it’s not nearly as bad as Frank’s. “I should have stayed home – could have done my garden.” he says.

Earnings: £37.43p.

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