Diary Of A Busker Day 434 Wednesday August 21st Chichester (1. In front of HSBC, Time: 1:35-3:35pm, 2. Opposite Lloyds TSB, East Street, Time: 4:25-5:30pm).
My first day of playing in Chichester in an official capacity, as I have now received my beautiful laminated PERMISSION TO BUSK permit. How long it’s taken – I can’t remember, due to the incompetence of West Sussex County Council. I set up the same place Rob was, near the clock tower, which, unlike all the clocks in Winchester, actually has the right time! And I hope it’s worth it: cost: £13, total journey time: THREE hours.
A man donates during the first song – Albatross, and at the end of the next one – La Vie En Rose, another bloke questions me about my amp, so I give him the basics: six AA batteries last 15 hours, and the amp’s still the same price it was years ago – about £85. ‘I can’t recommend them enough’. Then I reckon he must be a guitar player who sings because he starts going on about a microphone, so I say there’s only one input, so you can have one or the other, not both. Then he says ‘it should be alright as me and some other guys are in the Christian Fellowship. We stand outside and speak’. Oh no! He’s NOT a guitar player who sings! He’s a God bloke, like those three in Winchester who take turns outside the entrance to the cathedral grounds just after I start playing, nearby. I’ve just aided the Christian Fellowship in spreading the word – and told them how they can be alot louder!
Two people comment after While My Guitar Gently Weeps. A man says ‘I think George would have been quite proud of that’ – something I’ll never know so I’ll have to give the bloke the benefit of the doubt. Then, a lady says ‘Nice, cool sound’. Nice lady.
There’s a green balloon from McDonalds which seems content (as balloons do) in blowing around my general area, specifically, in-between the bucket and amp. The balloon has LET’S MAKE THE MOST OF SUMMER written on it, which amuses me (but only a tiny bit) as I’m sitting here with a bucket in front of me. Hmm… Also in front of me are a crescent of mobile vendors, four to be exact. One’s selling mobile phone covers – KEEP CALM AND CALL BATMAN, etc. Another’s selling hats and another’s selling hot dogs and another’s selling…something else. The man on the one nearest to me – almost right in front, selling the phone covers, asks me if I have some change of a £5 note, which I do. I think he’s Polish, and I think he might have got a bit fed up with me, as, after an hour and a half, he moves a fare distance away, to my right. He’s been wearing headphones the whole time!
After two hours, my brain’s going, so I stop. I left my packed lunch in the fridge so I have to get something, and I need to find a toilet – for now and for future reference. After half an hour I find one – or I find one I can use, I should say, because initially I went into a council office, thinking there’ll be one there – and there was, although there was a sign saying they weren’t for use by the public (I tried anyway – the door was locked). But the receptionist told me where they were: through an alleyway, across a street and around the back of a big Marks & Spencer. And there they were – loads of them. Communal urinals (no thanks) and also private booths, sealed off from the ones next door, not like in Winchester, where there’s a space at the top and bottom. These are completely private, and very spacious, too. And they don’t stink, either.
After, I buy a Melton Mobray pie and a packet of crisps from Marks & Spencer, eat them outside, then set up opposite Lloyds bank, down a bit from the place I was before. An old guy likes my Third Man and asks if I know a song he says no one else seems to know, called One Love Forever. And he’s right – I’ve never heard of it! He says he used to hear it all the time on a programme called Dinner Hour, when he was 7 or 8, which I reckon must be about 55 years ago. I might investigate that. At the end of Wouldn’t It Be Nice, a young guy on a bike says ‘Brian Wilson – my hero!’
One woman in her 60s really likes me, and I forget what I was playing – possibly La Vie En Rose, and she shouts ‘Oh, it’s beautiful!’ and starts swaying around, and even goes up to someone walking past and says it again – ‘Oh, it’s beautiful! Listen to him!’ Not beautiful enough to buy a CD, though. In fact, thinking about it, I’m not sure if she even gave a basic contribution.
I got here half an hour late – my allocated slot was supposed to be 1-5 o’clock. That’s what they told me on Monday when I phoned up to book it, and it was up to me how long I wanted to play for. But because I started late, I thought I might as well carry on till 5:30 – if no one stopped me – which would make it a neat four hours (almost), and I could get away in time for the train at 5:47. So that’s what I did, and a good job too, as when I came to pack up, a young guy, who I think was Burmese, came up and bought a CD, after I assured him it would play alright on his newly-acquired BOSE system. He said he’d bought a CD from someone else and it wouldn’t play. I wonder who that was.
So, was it worth coming here? Well, it was a hassle with the train – I have to change a Fareham, and I spent an hour making back the £13 fare, something I was very aware of during the first set, so I had to play at least three hours for it to be worth it. On the plus side, the takings turned out OK, I sold a CD of course, I met some nice people. One bloke even said he hoped to see me again, and it was a change of scenery – probably good for my mental state. And I like the toilets. So maybe I’ll be back, maybe once a week.
Earnings: £39.53 (profit)