Diary Of A Busker Day 436 Saturday August 24th Winchester (1. Opposite Bellis, Time: 3:28-4:28, 2. In front of The Butter Cross, Time: 4:33-6pm).
On the way to the High Street, I popped into the Royal Hotel to check out where I have to play for someone’s 60th birthday party tomorrow. The man at the reception, who showed me where it will be, said he’d seen me before. I said ‘Really?’ He said ‘Yeah, you play James Bond, don’t you? – and do the bass and other things’ – the chap’s referring to the Travis style, of course – the ‘other things’ being the chordal stuff and melody – yep, quite a handful at times, I have to say! So I said ‘Yep, that’s me, and he said ‘Yeah, I’ve seen you on the High Street (indeed sir, that’s my second home)…you’re part of the establishment’. This made me laugh somewhat, however, I was soon to be offended in the highest degree…
I set up at the usual place: at the end of The Pentice, and today, as often happens, there is a table outside Reeves, with rolls, cakes, buns – all that bakery stuff. The table is about 15 feet to my right, and today it’s being manned – womanned, actually – by one of the workers. I’ve played La Vie En Rose, then a new one – Tzena Tzena Tzena (I heard you the first time), and I’m about to do another one when this Reeves woman comes over and says, and I quote – ‘Do you think you could play some different songs – learn some newer songs?’ ‘Sorry?’, I say. ‘Could you learn some new songs? – you just play the same songs all the time. You’re here everyday. I just hear the same songs – James Bond’. (How dare she) So I said ‘I play a two hour set. I don’t repeat anything unless someone asks for something’, not as if it’s any business of hers. ‘Well maybe it’s you just play the same set’, she says. So I say ‘Yeah, two hours. I don’t repeat anything, and I’m not here everyday (not as if it’s any business of hers!), and I haven’t been here for over a week, in fact’, not as if it’s etc…
Well, I couldn’t believe it. What a bitch. Does she talk to all the other buskers like that? So I ask her – ‘There’s loads of people who play here, for hours on end sometimes. Do you ever go up to them? – they must repeat stuff’. ‘Well, no, they don’t (rubbish)…you must just play the same set, I mean, you’re talented but’, and then, seeing some people at her table, she walks off.
Well, this whole thing made me rather angry, actually a lot more than angry, I mean, how can anyone come up and say that? – ‘can you learn some more songs to play?’ Like I can click my fingers and suddenly know a lot more songs, like she’s actually paying me, like I’m not playing for anyone else out here! And she’s wrong – I have played a new one – Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (I keep saying, I heard you the first time). I didn’t see the name on her badge – probably Bitch at Reeves. I think I was so furious, I was almost blind. And actually, I think, under the circumstances, I kept my cool pretty well – I should have told her to get stuffed, or words to that effect.
Anyway, I played for an hour with her at her stupid bun table. At one point, a woman complimented me so I said in a loud voice – ‘Tell HER that!’, pointing at the offender – ‘SHE THINKS I PLAY THE SAME STUFF ALL THE TIME’. When I said that, the offender looked across, but she didn’t come over again.
After an hour, I dragged my stuff over to The Butter Cross, which, because there was hardly anyone sitting on it, I was able to set up without fear of some idiot dropping something on my head. Just after I started, Mick turned up, looking quite dapper in a beige (sand?) suit, just like the one I got from Primark a couple of years ago, but I didn’t say that. To Mick, I recounted my encounter with the Reeves woman – he couldn’t believe it either and asked if she was joking. I said I was sure she wasn’t. He said ‘You should say to her “Can you make some more rolls? – I’m fed up with seeing those ones all the time”‘, and he said the same thing I thought: that I should have told her to get stuffed. Or words to that effect. I think he’s right. We chatted for a couple of minutes…Mick was on his way to get a cup of coffee, then to the bargain food counter at Sainsbury’s, of course. When we said goodbye, he said ‘And learn some new songs, Marv!’ Marv – I hate that. But I kept thinking about what that bun bitch said. I was even thinking about it hours later, in the evening. Even Doll did. I told her about it when I got in, and hours later she said ‘The more I think about what she said to you, the more I want to kill her’.