Diary Of A Busker Day 212

Diary Of A Busker Day 212 Monday March 19th 2012 Winchester High Street 1. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 1:35-3:24pm, 2. Opposite O2, Time: 3:30-3:57pm
Not many buskers come out on a Monday – I know Frank never does, so I’m thinking I might get the street to myself. About halfway through my almost two hour set, I’m questioned by two young Chinese ladies who want to know about busking on the London Underground – do they need permits? I tell them all I know; yes, you certainly do need a permit and you also have to audition in front of a panel of three – I had to, anyway. You also have to get a CRB police check. But I tell them it’s not worth the effort. They’d be much better off standing in Trafalgar Square or on the Hungerford Bridge and taking their chances there, like I did. Of course you’re not supposed to – not without applying to the council, etc., and some guy in a uniform might come along and ask yo to leave, but they won’t put you in jail like they probably would in China. The girls thank me for dispensing my hard-earned knowledge…and walk off without contributing to my hard-earned earnings which annoys me somewhat as I’ve taken 3 1/2 minutes off to talk to counsel them.
Almost two hours of solid playing (discounting the counselling interlude) is pretty tiring and I want to go home, so I pack up, but approaching The Buttercross, I decide to do a short session – it can’t be long as I have to be back home to do a guitar lesson soon. I set up, do a couple of tunes then see a policeman coming towards me from the street diagonally across from my spot, and it’s a REAL policeman, not a CPSO – not this guy. I don’t know him – I’ve never seen him before, but I know he’s going to tell me off; he walks with – and his face has an expression of – purpose. He’s upon me, ‘Are you familiar with the Busker’s Code?’ he says…purposefully. Here we go, I think. ‘Well, yeah…I am, but you’re going to tell me the one thing I DON’T know about it, right?’ ‘You’re not allowed to use any amplification.’ ‘What?’ ‘The Busker’s Code says you’re not allowed to use an amplifier.’ ‘I’m sure it doesn’t say that. I’ve been playing here for a year and a half (I lied, it’s a year and a quarter)…and no one’s ever said that to me.’ ‘Well if you go down to Colebrook Street, you can read the code there, in the council building – d’you know where it is?’ ‘Yeah, I know where it is.’ ‘You can familiarise yourself with it.’ ‘I know you’re supposed to turn down if someone complains…has someone complained about me?’ ‘No – I’m just telling you, familiarise yourself with the Busker’s Code. It says no excessive volume and you’re not supposed to play more than half an hour…'(here I interrupt) ‘I’ve only been here ten minutes.’ ‘Well, you’re supposed to move somewhere else after half an hour.’ He’s wrong – it’s after an hour. ‘I’m not that loud, am I? ‘Well, I could hear you all the way down that street (points to road he came from), I’ll let you turn down a notch but just be aware of the Code,  down at Colebrook Street.’ I tell him I’ll turn down and “adjust” my volume control… then he goes off, to waste someone else’s time, I expect. Anyway, it turned out to be a good idea – this extra session, despite the police intervention, as a couple of minutes afterwards I get a brand spanking crisp new £5 note from a nice old gentleman. So there, power crazed copper.
Earnings: £23.05 (+ four Spanish Euro cents).

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