Diary Of A Busker Day 254

Diary Of A Busker Day 254 Thursday June 28th 2012 Winchester High Street 1. Opposite Bellis, Time: 1:40-3:10pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 3:41-5:50pm
I’ve been at my first spot for almost an hour when some guy starts shouting near The Buttercross, just up from me. I remember seeing him there yesterday when I was walking down the street. He’s got a big board that says WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE WORLD and he shouts a lot about a lot of things, then he shouts about Jesus. At the moment he’s shouting about mobile phones. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with the world, pal;  YOU shouting over ME. I can hear him over my playing and I’m right next to my amp so I turn up a notch and play the loudest thing I do, The James Bond Theme. Good, I get a fiver. This qualifies it for my Song Of The Day. This bloke’s shouting gets on many people’s nerves; a man walks by me and says, ‘Play louder – piss him off!’ and a lady says, ‘He was outside my office window earlier.’ How long, I ask. ‘About twenty minutes.’ She has a request; ‘Play something with DEVIL in it!’ ‘Hm, yeah…or Black Sabbath?’ I’m sure I can conjure up some old riff of their’s. But then I have a better idea. I can play one of the great chords of evil, the opening to Purple Haze. Yeah, I’ll play it loud (surely the ONLY way) and at different places up the neck, for a bit of variation. It’s clearly not evil enough though, as the bloke’s still going on. Twenty minutes later and he finally stops, and the big guy from the Gospel Hall who asked if I wanted a cup of tea yesterday suddenly appears and helps take down the board that says WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE WORLD. I should have guessed, all these people know each other – they’re in cahoots! Then, a couple of minutes later, this guy comes up and says I can get a cup of tea today, down at the hall. Well, I might do that today. Thank you, friendly Jesus man.
A man in his sixties comes up and admires my guitar and says he used to play but he stopped trying to learn as he didn’t think he ‘had it’ – ‘…’course, back then, all we ‘ad was a Bert Weedon book to learn from. These days, the kids ‘ave got everything, You tube…’ I say, ‘I know, you can go on there and there’s some guy – in fact there’s loads of blokes – showing you how to play every Led Zeppelin riff and every solo! I remember, I had to slow down albums from 33 to 16 speed to work out anything fast, because it slowed everything down an octave.’ This conversation reminds me of the Four Yorkshiremen Monty Pythom sketch with them all attempting to outdo each other in the poverty stakes; ‘Bert Weedon book? LUXURY!’
After my break, down at the other end, I do well – another £5 note and I sell two CDs; one to an Australian couple which they even ask me to sign – my first signing! They were in Bath the other day and bought a CD from a guy there who was doing James Taylor-ish stuff. They like the idea of buying CDs from buskers; it reminds them of their holiday when they’re back home, they say.
At 4:30 the religious bloke comes out of the Gospel Hall and asks me if I have sugar in my tea. No, thank you. He goes back in…and comes out with the tea and a plate with four assorted biscuits – great! Yes, thank you! ‘That’s to compensate for yesterday,’ he says, and goes back inside. I take a sip of the tea…and it’s bloody awful – maybe they’re trying to poison me and I’ll wake up strapped to a table surrounded by people in hoods with music from The Omen playing. The biscuits are fine, though.
Near the end – and it’s a long session, I play my new set addition, Bron-Y-Aur. At the end, two drongos who were standing a few feet away at the corner of the road come by – ‘D’ya play…any Jimi Hendrix?…Led Zeppelin?’ says a very inebriated one. I inform him I just finished playing a Led Zeppelin tune; didn’t he hear it? – he was just over there. ‘Uh…yeah…uh…I dunno, we was talkin’…uh…my brother was shaggin’ Jimmy Page’s daughter.’ Well, this cracks me up. What a thing to come out with! I’ve heard some good lines this week. First there was, ‘Marianne Faithful’s mother taught me ballet’ and now this – ‘My brother was shaggin’ Jimmy Page’s daughter.’ I reflect on how much better my life is, particularly after hearing the last one. ‘Right, er, that’s nice…so, er…what was she like?’ ‘Yeah, she was nice – not all stuck up and spoilt like, y’know…yeah.’ ‘Right, so (because I can’t think of anything else to add…because there isn’t anything else to add)…is he still shaggin’ her?’ ‘Uh, well no…well they meet at parties, y’know, when they’re talkin’, whatever, y’know uh, yeah, y’know…’ He noseys around my bucket – ‘Yeah, so you done well today? – looks like you done well.’ ‘Yeah, not bad. I’ve been out for awhile though.’ They wander off and I give it a few more songs then I’ve had enough; my bottom’s hurting due to being on this stool for hours. I couldn’t drink more than a bit of the revolting tea so I poured it down the drain behind me. I think it’s brewer deserves an eternity of damnation, actually. However, the biscuits were heavenly. On my way up the High Street I pass Clinton Cards, which isn’t Clinton Cards anymore. It’s now a Clearance Centre selling suitcases. They’ve got music from the late 50s and pre-Beatles early 60s playing, but not the hard stuff; no Little Richard or Chuck Berry or Jerry Lee or my main man, Eddie Cochran. It’s all teen idol stuff drenched in reverb. They have the doors open so you can hear it all around this section of the street so it’s impossible for anyone to busk, which will please the guy in Timpsons! But now he’s got Bobby Vee and The Night Has A Thousand Eyes and all that to listen to all day.
Earnings: £43.29 + 1 US dime (10 cents) and 2 CDs

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