Diary Of A Busker Day 256

Diary Of A Busker Day 256 Saturday July 7th 2012 Winchester High Street 1. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 3:29-3:31pm, 2. Fire Exit – Debenhams, Time: 3:42-4:47pm, 3. Opposite Bellis, Time: 5:07-5:21pm
It’s the first day of two, of the annual Winchester event, the Hat Fair, the (so-called) “celebration” of street theatre,” so there are a lot of people about, a lot of buskers, and a lot of rain, although it’s not too bad as I walk down the high street. There’s the Healing people set up just up from The Buttercross. I’ve seen them before, the first time was in Weymouth a couple of years ago. I remember there was a man sitting down and two of the healers were kneeling down in front of him, holding his hands. I thought about trying it myself, to see if they could heal my Focal Dystonia, and I’m thinking that, if I see them again, and if the acupuncture doesn’t work – which it isn’t, then I might give them a go. What have I got to lose? Because of the rain, the covered bit – the Pentice, as I’ve just noticed it’s called – is full up with buskers and puppet people, so I reckon I’ll end up down in the fire exit or in the Gospel Hall doorway, which is OK if the rain comes straight down but if it’s angled towards me, it’ll definitely be the fire exit. On the way down I chat to Frank, the “silverman” who paints his face (silver) and has all his clothes and flat cap painted (silver) and stands very still on a (yes, a silver) painted box. He tells me he had a profitable day down in Cornwall, being silver at some festival. He saved money on transport by getting a £18 coach ticket from London which took about a day. He tells me about another festival down that way; I should go there, he says. It’s called The Beggars’ Festival. Sorry, no way. No way am I playing at something called that. I try out the Gospel Hall doorway…and barely get through one song, La Vie En Rose, before a folkish “tweedle-de-de,” as Frank would say, (Frank who plays the accordion, not Frank who paints himself silver) disturbs me. This is coming from a covered stage which, amazingly, I didn’t see, about a hundred feet to my right. I have to stop playing but I at least got £2.50 for the, albeit interrupted, song, which marks it as a contender for Song Of The Day. I pack up and take shelter in the fire exit a bit further down…where Alan, the street cleaner, is also doing the same as it’s really pouring down now. I say I’m pleased to see him out and about on his feet. He says he’s doing a full day today, just this once. He’s a funny guy – ‘There’s a sign in my kitchen I’ve never worked out – YOU KEEP WORKING, I’ll KEEP SPENDING,’ he laughs, referring to his wife. ‘I’m all right, as long as I keep taking the pills!’ ‘Really? You’ll have to give ME some of those pills, Alan.’ ‘Ha! You need a girlfriend for the pills I take!’ Funny guy.
After Alan goes, I set up where we were, in the fire exit. It’s a bit of a weird place, like being in a raised box because there’s a six-inch step. Just so I don’t feel so enclosed, I keep my left foot and guitar headstock a few inches outside the box. The other weird thing is the sound. With all the reverberation, the guitar sounds completely different;  it really does sound like I’m in a box, so it takes a bit of getting used to. I do OK, though – I manage to sell a CD to a guy who was listening to Albatross from across the road, who must play himself – ‘I was wondering how you were going to do the F# bit.’ Another guy comes up – ‘I don’t have any change but you can have this lunar calendar.’ ‘Right, OK…ta.’ ‘It’s the solstice, y’see.’ He puts a rolled up paper with a bit of string round it next to me. When I opened it later, at the top it said, Gwydion’s 2012-2013 Midsummer to Midsummer Moon Calender, and there’s a little cartoon of the well known, well-endowed/aroused Cerne Abbas Giant (the face, which on the real thing has a straight line for the mouth, has been given the faintest of grins, I notice. Understandable, perhaps!) Under him, it says, Meet Cerne – One of Gwydion’s familiars, invoked to be your guide and itinerant incubus! (he says) “You are part of the web of life of the Earth. Natural spirituality recognises this reality.” In a speech blurb elsewhere, he continues – “Our pagan heritage is an adaptive and holistic spiritual cosmology. It is founded on the reality (and responsibilities) of our role as part of living nature. It is NOT a religion dependent on ‘faith’ in a ‘set of beliefs.'” Right on, big guy. Another man pays me a big compliment and one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said. He thanks me for playing, not just today but over the whole year (I’ve been here more than a year and a half, actually). Very nice.
After an hour, the racket from the covered stage suddenly gets twice as loud – some rock act, and I can’t carry on. They’ve beaten me! During my time here, my bucket’s been outside the box, collecting more rain than money, it seems. In fact I can see the coinage is completely covered, like a really shallow wishing well. There’s actually an inch of water on top of the coins! I fancy going home, so I pack up and walk up the road…and find that where it was once busker-full, it’s now busker-empty. I can’t resist and it’s relatively dry under The Pentice. It was a good decision – another good decision was to play Here Comes The Sun, especially as it started to really chuck it down,  as Northern/Yorkshire people and those in the South who occasionally adopt Northern/Yorkshire expressions, are wont to say. I had no less than five persons contribute, each and every one including the word ‘optimistic’ in their brief comments – in reference to my, somewhat clever, I thought, song choice. So La Vie En Rose was de-throned and Here Comes The Sun um…crowned with the Song Of The Day title. After fifteen minutes the rain started to angle in on me. ‘I think that’s me done,’ I say to a man sheltering near me. ‘Yeah, I should think so,’ says he. I arrived at my home drenched, and wiped dry each coin individually and wondered how much was sympathy money; a few pounds, for sure.
Earnings: £20.74 + one lunar calendar + 1 CD

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