Diary Of A Busker Day 319 Sunday January 27th 2013 Winchester High Street 1. Opposite Oxfam. Time: 2:26-2:56pm 2. Opposite Vodafone. Time: 3:10-4:45pm
The temperature has warmed up a bit since Friday and thank goodness for that. So they’ve all come out, including Frank, up at his traditional Buttercross spot…and Colin and his trumpet down at the middle spot who, as I’m passing, stops playing and beckons me over to say he’ll be gone at 3 o’clock if I want to take over there. Quite a rare thing for a busker to inconvenience themselves by stopping mid-flow to assist another! I take him up on it and say I’ll be back at 3. Before then, I go down the road for half an hour and get about £8 – slightly more than the average. At five minutes to 3, I pack up and get there as Colin’s almost ready to go, good man. He’s talking to a young guy who turns out to be a bagpiper. The evil tool of his trade is in his black case. He seems a nice bloke but he’s just had some trouble down at the place where I’ve just been; he was there before me. A guy who works in the Tinc shop, where Reflex used to be, was rather unpleasant, it appears. The piper says ‘He came out of his shop, shouted something and when I looked at him he mouthed “Go on, fuck off.”‘ So I was right. I tell the piper my suspicions; how I was sure someone in the shop was turning the music up whenever I started playing, although oddly enough it hasn’t occurred lately. Maybe I’ve been lucky to have played when there’s someone else working in the shop; there can’t be just the one man. I feel sorry for this young piper bloke because you can’t turn the confounded things down! He said he was playing for 45 minutes which isn’t an unreasonable length of time. Another contender for Key Busker-Hater Of Winchester. I suggest he tries up the road, past where Frank is, at Barclays – that’s where another piper was a while back. I say it should be OK as he’ll be far enough from Frank, not to hear him. (Probably not the other way around, though – ha!) Anyway, I tell him if someone moans about it, he can come back here as I’ll just be an hour or so.
A guy who loves my arrangement of While My Guitar Gently Weeps – a song I played about 15 minutes ago, turns up and requests it, and so, because he really does love it, I don’t mind doing it again. He also reminds me he’s bought one of my CDs, so I’m beholding to him ever so slightly but he seems a nice enough bloke.
However, it’s the old thing; it only takes one person to ruin the day. A few minutes after my adoring fan leaves, there’s a lot of shouting to my right, down the road a bit and when I look, it’s the same scumbag who shouted at me a few months ago, saying I was on his pitch and I was “a millionaire” who lived “on that big house on the hill.” Now, all I can make out is ‘PLAY SOMETHING ELSE!’ mixed in with a lot of swearing and whatnot, just a noise. I see he’s accompanied by two big, vicious looking dogs (what else?) both wearing heavy duty muzzles. They’ve got caged heads, more or less. Nice, really nice. He stops and begins to shout at one of the charity workers, then, after a minute, he’s off round the corner. A few minutes later, he returns and this time he’s with Homeless Brian who, being without his white, omnipresent drongo dog, I almost don’t recognise. His dog’s probably been eaten by these two monsters. So the scumbag, his hellhounds and Homeless, dogless Brian are standing in front of me. Scumbag shouts ‘YOU’RE ALWAYS PLAYING THE SAME SONG!’ ‘No I’m not, don’t talk to me!’ He keeps at it, I try to ignore him, which is difficult while playing the reflective, sedate and hymnal Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring by the venerable Mr. J.S. Bach – I bet HE didn’t have to put up with this. Scumbag keeps at it with his ‘PLAY SOMETHING ELSE!’ routine. Ughh – he’s disgusting; dirty, black teeth…an awful, aggressive being with no appreciation for the finer points of fingerstyle guitar. It’s also like what they say about people looking like their dogs. I start getting annoyed, really annoyed, and can’t play anymore, so I stop and say – almost shout ‘How dare you come up and talk to me in that manner. How dare you tell me what to do.’ Scumbag shouts ‘I’M NOT TELLING YOU…YOU’RE ALWAYS PLAYING THE SAME SONG!’ (I suspect his brain’s so riddled with crap, everything sounds the same to him). I interrupt ‘No I’m not and anyway how dare you speak to me.’ He rants away again then Brian says something to him, then he rants a few seconds more then they walk off, Scumbag shouting ‘WE ARE THE HOMELESS!’ with clenched fist thrust towards the sky. Yeah, no wonder you’re homeless – who would want YOU in their home? What a jerk. Possibly on a par with that other one; the official JERK, who harassed me at the same place awhile back.
As they walk off, I see the two shop girls from the jewellery shop next to Vodafone, standing at the door, shaking their heads. Anyway, I regain my composure and resume Jesu, because the proverbial show must go on. A minute into it, two CPSOs come by; Helen and a man I don’t know. They’ve come from the direction Scumbag and his scumbag dogs have been, so they must have passed them, and if he was shouting, which he probably was, they no doubt would have had a word with him. I think I was right, as Helen asks if I’ve been hassled. Indeed I have and I told her all about it, all noted down in her little black book. She then said any information would help, as they’re trying to get an ASBO for this guy, to stop him walking around the city centre. I said I’d be happy to sign any petition to help their cause so she took down my name, rank and serial number and told me hers – which I said I knew, as Frank told me ages ago, and Frank knows everyone and everything. And Helen said she liked what I play. So there, soon to be ASBO’ed Scumbag. The funny thing was, during the five minutes Helen was with me, two blokes walked by, a couple of minutes apart, and both said the same thing – ‘Ah, leave him alone, he’s only playin’ his guitar!’