Diary Of A Busker Day 353 Wednesday April 10th 2013 Winchester High Street 1. Opposite Bellis/O2. Time: 4:05-4:55pm, 5:25-5:53pm
I get through four songs before I get any money; 50p from someone, then, amazingly, a £5 note from an old lady. I’m so thrilled, I say she can have a CD which she wasn’t even going to ask for, because I’m a terrible businessman.
Just before 5 o’clock a woman comes over but instead of making a donation, she wants me to stop playing for a bit while she and her team film something up the road – ‘If you stop for a few minutes, we’ll give you something.’ I ask how long they’ll be – I want specifics; ‘a few minutes’ isn’t good enough. She says she’s not sure, maybe ten minutes. I ‘Hmm…’ for a bit then she says ‘how about if you carry on, as we’re not quite ready yet, and I’ll wave my arms when we’re about to start.’ ‘OK, I probably would take a break soon, anyway. I’ll wait until you wave your arms.’ Fair enough. I do two more songs, occasionally glancing to my left towards her team of two men, one holding a camera, her and another woman who keeps flicking her hair (her own, not the hair of the one who spoke to me) as it’s windy. I think this other one; the hair-flicker, is the reporter. Then the arms wave, my signal! I stop. After a minute I get bored because I really hate standing around, not playing. I can’t do it – I never do it! – so I decide to pack up, take a break, and by the time I come back, they’ll probably be gone.
As I’m about to wander off, one of the men – a young guy, comes down to me. He apologises and plonks two £2 coins in the bucket, for which I thank him most profusely. I ask what they’re doing; ‘We’re filming a piece about medieval births, marriages and deaths. It’s for BBC 4.’ ‘Oh, right.’ ‘It won’t be on for awhile, though – probably not ’til September, but thanks for not playing.’ ‘That’s OK…you can’t really do a thing on medieval stuff with some busker playing James Bond in the background, can you?’ ‘Haha, no!’ That’s alright, though – £4 for not playing.
Fortunately, as the temperature’s about 8 degrees, my hands are fine apart from my ailment (my ever-present, annoying little friend), but then it starts to rain a bit so I retire to Waterstones and look at one of the books on Winchester, on the Winchester Table; the table with all the books on Winchester on it, obviously, and find out a bit of interesting information; the fountain at Oram’s Arbour which I walk past on the way in, used to be on the road outside the Westgate pub. There’s now one of those silly mini roundabouts there. Anyway, there’s a photo of this fountain from a hundred years ago when it was in its original place. I’ve always wondered about that because the edge of the Arbour does seem a strange place for it, and now I know! There’s an inscription on it; it was made, or paid for, by someone called Lancelot Littlewaite, in memory of his mother. One hell of a name, that is!
Back on the street, it’s stopped raining and I was going to set up at Vodafone but there are two young strummers near there so I head back to where I was…and the BBC lot are now gone so I set up and get through almost half an hour, during which it gradually gets wetter…and wetter, and pretty much deserted although I still manage to get eight quid.
Earnings: £22 – actually £20.25, as I gave that woman a CD, so I gave her £1.75 back from her £5 note.