Diary Of A Busker Day 439

Diary Of A Busker Day 439 Thursday August 29th 2013 Chichester (1. Opposite Marks & Spencer, North Street, Time: 12:43-1:43pm, 2. Opposite Marks & Spencer, East Street, Time: 1:52-2:55pm, 3. In front of HSBC bank, The Cross, Time: 3:30-5:30pm).

My 2nd time here and would you believe it – Rob’s here! – blasting away, but wait…I phoned up on Tuesday morning (Monday was a bank holiday), 9 o’clock (am) sharp, and booked this spot: The Cross, from 12:30-5:30 – five hours, but the lady didn’t seem to object. I mean, she could have said ‘That’s a bit greedy, don’t you think? Why not have three hours?’ But, my goodness – could Rob be hear ILLEGALLY?! I’m pretty sure he’s got a permit, so (surely) he would have gone the usual route and phoned up to book a place, and they would have said ‘Sorry, that place is taken…’

He’s in the middle of a song so I’ll go and set up somewhere down East Street…but just beyond the Lloyds bank where I set up last week, just out of earshot of Rob, there’s a duo – a boy and a girl. Oh dear, I’ll have to go back up to where Rob is and turn right, on North Street, where I had my memorable pre-permit encounter with CPSO Sean Treble. But the area just out of Rob earshot is in front of the other Marks & Spencer place. A place that, according to the bit of paper I got with the permit, I’m not supposed to play in front of “due to the close proximity of traders, etc…” But sod it! I can’t avoid it, so I set up, in the exact same place as on the pre-permit day…

…and it’s a slow start: six songs before the first donation, and then pretty slow after that…a bloke stops to chat about guitars. He’s got three he wants to sell but can’t get the prices he wants – ‘Trouble is, these days everyone knows the value of everything’, he says.  Then he starts on about the groups he likes and mentions one I’ve never heard of – Alabama, or maybe I’ve heard of them, or is it Sweet Home Alabama I’m thinking of?…or am I thinking of that because it’s in Rob’s set…?!

Two mothers with pushchairs stop for five minutes. One, bending down, desperately tries to get her miserable looking kid to smile. I say to him ‘Do you like the guitar?’ No response or change of expression. She stands up and says ‘Oh well, maybe he didn’t think you were that good’, then she laughs, and walks off with the friend. You know what? Maybe I felt like smashing your dumb kid’s moronic face with my guitar. But I wouldn’t do it because a basic sense of civility and politeness prevents me. For the time being.

After one hour I pack up and do a count-up – about £8.50p, then head down the road…Rob’s still there, blasting away. I’m going to see if that duo are still about, and if they are, I’m going to have to ask them if they’ve booked it…they’re gone – good, I can set up. After tuning up, I look up, and, blow me – I’m opposite another Marks & Spencer place! How many are there here?! I do another (uneventful) hour: hardly anyone speaks to me, but the coinage is reasonable. The trouble with coming here is I spend at least an hour – longer today – making back the train fare, and that is very, VERY frustrating. The good thing is: Rob’s gone. But I need a break…I have the long-looked-forward-to packed lunch in the cathedral grounds, right near the clock tower (Chichester’s Butter Cross!), take a photo, then off to the toilets I discovered last week. Now, I DID bring my toothbrush (I definitely AM getting old), but the sink is in one of those wall enclosures and you can’t get your head over the plughole so I ditch that idea.

Back on the street, I have a chat with the Polish(?) phone cover mobile vendor bloke, and find out some Rob info. He turned up (first physically, then literally) at 10 o’clock, started playing at 11, finished at 2, and tomorrow he’s in Winchester. I thank my Polish(?) informer.

A few songs into the third and final set ( a long one: I reckon I’ll go straight through to 5:30), a man turns up: rough looking, red and ruddy face – not young, dirty suit. He stands near me for some minutes, until I finish the song, when he comes over and starts Irish shouting ‘C’MON! GIVE THIS GUY A BOB! LISTEN TO HIM, C’MON!’. Then, in my ear – ‘Look at them, they’re all so MEAN!’ He turns to the street – ‘Yeah, yer all MEAN! Give him a bob or two, a BOB!’ Then again to me – ‘Aren’t they STINGY?’ He’s bloody right, too: there are hundreds about and I reckon I get an average of 15 contributors an hour. I say ‘I know what you mean, it’s like that sometimes’. Sometimes? It’s like that pretty much all the time, come off it! Who am I kidding!

This bloke’s harmless enough and at least he’s on my side. He clearly been on the pop, of course. I don’t mind, as long as he doesn’t hang around too long…and he doesn’t because fate intervenes, in the shape of a CPSO who says  ‘Hello Mr. Brazil’ and takes him to one side for a chat. Mr. Brazil! I should have got a photo. He was your classic Irish drunk. Maybe I can get a picture some other time, as he’s obviously a local ‘character’. After the chat with Mr. Brazil, during which the CPSO points to the bucket, Mr. Brazil wanders off, the ‘cop’ wanders off, then Mr. Brazil returns, to ruffle my hair for a few seconds, and in a rather vigorous fashion, too, like you would with a dog. Oh yes, it’s all quite amusing…

…next up, I meet someone else I’ve met before from the hometown (I forgot to say: the bloke who is trying to sell his three guitars said he’d seen me in Winchester), this time it’s a girl in a black Blacks shirt, who says ‘You get around as much as I do’, as she’s walking by, so I say ‘How so?’, and she says ‘I see you all the time in Winchester’, to which I reply ‘Small world’, to which she replies ‘Chichester’s nicer than Winchester – it’s official’.

The final encounter occurs just after I launch into Bond. One of the three mobile vendors near me is a blonde lady selling ankle bracelets and the like. She looks over, really excited it seems, and comes across – ‘My dad played on that!’ (what!) ‘What? James Bond?’, I say. ‘Yeah, he played the cello, and he played on Last Of The Summer Wine and…’, here she mentions a couple of other things that I can’t remember, but I’ve got a funny feeling one of them was Jaws – what, the famous two-note thing heralding the appearance of the shark? – no way! She goes on – ‘Yeah, he played on lots of things…and I’M a PEDDLAR!’ Well, I have to ask her what her dad’s name is – ‘Chris Green’, she says. I’ll have to look that up…

…She goes back to her stall, I carry on with Bond, she looks over and smiles now and again. At one point, I look across and she’s on her phone and when she sees me, she points to her phone. Does that mean she’s talking to her dad, telling him I’m playing Bond? Hey, wait a minute! I wonder if he knows the guy who came up to me that time in Winchester who said he played percussion on all the Bond films except one. He must do. I would have rushed over there and then, while she was still on the phone and told her about that but I couldn’t remember the percussion bloke’s name!  Small world indeed…

Earnings: £46.75p. Profit (after taking off the £13 train fare) £33.75p


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