Diary Of A Busker Day 525 Wednesday March 19th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Pavillion, Time: 2:25-3:12pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 3:26-4:15pm).
As I was walking about trying to work out where to set up, I bumped into Mr. Lacy, who’s 60th I played at a couple of years ago (by expert deduction, I reckon he’s around 62 now), and he was in a very talkative mood, going on about seeing Celine Dion in Las Vegas recently. After raving on about her ‘amazing stage presence’ – what about the nose? – and saying she’s taken on the role Barbra Streisand used to hold in American cabaret, he wants to know what I’m going to open with, today: Everly Brothers? Marty Robbins?! Well, I don’t know what to say…’probably my trio of Satie tunes’. Erik Satie? – Mr. Lacy’s never heard of him! Then he asks where I’m going to set up. I say not here as there’s a bloke in one of the market stalls with a radio on and he might get mad if I start up, so I’ll probably go on that little street that runs parallel to the High Street. He says ‘Won’t it be a bit slow? – anywhere off the High Street?’ I say that’s often better, as the people listen a bit more, as there’s no great rush forward…
…and just to prove the point, after 50 minutes, I’ve taken £9.20p up at Pavillion – a smidgen above the average. I only stop when Guitar guy Chris turns up, although I was going to stop soon, anyway. Chris says it took him FOUR AND A HALF HOURS to get from Salisbury – where he lives – to here, the other day, with all the rail replacement buses and all that mess. He was going on about a dog that was tied up and barking the whole time he was busking at a spot in Oxford.
I forgot, a few songs in, Delia waved to me from her son’s car as it was going round the corner. She gave me a sign, warning that she’d see me later. I watched them park down the road, her son helped her out with her buggy she puts her shopping in, she went across and into Boots…and I never saw her come out!
I don’t bother with a proper break, apart from a toilet one. I set up at Oxfam…where I’m visited by one of my nameless old lady regulars, who’s concerned about the weight of all the stuff I carry. I said ‘It’s funny you should say that, as I’ve been lately getting fed up with carrying it all around’. ‘That’s just age’, she said. I say ‘The guitar on its own isn’t too bad, though’, and she grabs the neck and lifts it up, and agrees it’s not. She thinks it’s a ‘very beautiful thing – very shiny and colourful’. Indeed it is, madam. Indeed it is.
A man buys a £5 CD to give to his mate who he says ‘listens to you all day in his office’, nearby (why would he want a CD then? – hasn’t he heard enough?!) I say ‘All day? – I’m not here all day…maybe it seems like it!’ This guy even asks me to sign it – “to John”, which I do with his black marker, but then smudge it all up when I put the CD back in the plastic cover, which I felt a bit bad about.
A woman about 60 donates after Dixie McGuire, which pleased me, as I don’t usually get anything for that one. I can play it a bit faster now – a bit more like T.E., but too fast, and it tends to disintegrate at the middle bit. The piece isn’t too fast, it’s just, at the moment, too fast for ME! Anyway, I tell her who wrote it – she’s never heard of Tommy Emmanuel. So I’m going to go on his Facebook page and tell him he’s got a new fan! She thought it was quite ‘jazzy’ and then asked how long I’d been playing for – ‘I don’t mean out here, just now’, so I gave the usual – ‘Quite a long time, although not too long playing this sort of stuff’ – I stopped just short of the ‘had to stop playing in groups because of my hearing’ part of the Hard Luck Story.
Earnings: £19.30p (Including one CD)