Diary Of A Busker Day 527 Saturday March 20th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Pavillion, The Square, Time: 2:22-3:42pm, 2. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 4:37-5:49pm).
A cold day…but then March is usually pretty cold, I suppose. Just after I start, a woman leaves her two kids in a buggy facing me, while she goes in the craft shop. She says to them ‘I’ll be about two minutes’. She comes out after fifteen minutes. They were smiling at me, but only if I smiled first. I was wondering what was going to happen if one of them ran off – one did get out and walk around the buggy.
Old Brian, without his bike, came up and said ‘Ah, you’ve got a new machine’, meaning the guitar, which isn’t new at all. I said ‘No, same one’. He said ‘Oh, is it? It’s very shiny’. I explain why – ‘That’s probably because I’m facing the sun, here, although it’s gone in, but it’ll make it look shinier, I suppose, from where I usually am’ – because when I think of it, all the other places I play, I’m in the shadows/shade. I think Brian agrees – ‘Yes, maybe that’s it, because I’ve never seen you here before…and you’ve got your picture in the paper!’ (Indeed, Charlotte’s bit with me made the final cut – one of four interviewees for ‘Your Say’ in the ‘Chron’!) So I say to Brian – ‘Oh, you saw that, did you?’ He says ‘Yes, I never read what people say, I only look at the picture – “Oh, I know him, I know her!”‘ A cheery chap, is Brian. Why do old men’s earlobes get huge?
I was going to play an hour, then that came and went, and I was going to do an hour and a half but stopped 10 minutes short when it started raining, although I needed to stop, anyway: cold hands, toilet – the usual. Break at Waterstones, where I read the introduction by Will Self to a book of Nick Cave lyrics. Then I looked through one of those 1001 Things To Do books – this one – 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die.
Back out, at Vodafone…I get through an hour and 10 minutes, as that makes a total of 2 1/2 hours – long enough. Song Of The Day is While My Guitar Gently Weeps, as it secured a £10 – yes TEN POUND CD sale – the man didn’t want the pound back. He was very nice and complimentary, too. He loved the arrangement and said ‘You bring alot of pleasure to people’. Tell the palace…get me an MBE, or OBE!, you nice man.
On the way up the road, I buy a Big Issue from Northern/Big Issue Simon, still on his crutches, and he tells me again about his recent hospital experience: in agony for two weeks/morphine didn’t work until a different doctor gave him a non-opiate pain killer which worked. He didn’t think much of some of the doctors – ‘They’d come in with some nurses, who were great – I’ve got nothin’ against them, and just looked at the notes about me and not ask me anything, though. And I was tryin’ to find out things and it was like they didn’t want me to ask questions’. He also says he ‘got the impression that because it had “this guy’s been an alcoholic”, and he’s, you know, registered as homeless, it was like “you shouldn’t live like that, or this and that will happen”, although I hadn’t had a drink since October (he went in hospital in January), you know, they just saw the words ALCOHOLIC and HOMELESS’.
I ask him how the thing with his hip happened (hip-happened – ha!) and he didn’t know! But apparently the muscle surrounding the bones had gone and the bones were rubbing against each other – that’s what was causing the agony. He said it was like, when there’s the pain from a tooth, when a nerve is touched. It was like that, but it was all the time, and for weeks. They put him in a room with a bunch of 90 year olds and they were all screaming. I don’t blame them, Simon’s a frightening looking bloke! He’s worried about his left hand, too. He says he could barely play his guitar. He thinks it might be the pressure of the crutch on his palm. I say he’ll have to give it a few more tries and see. He’s really worried about it as, before, when he’s had a break from playing, then gone back, he’s had no problem playing, but now it’s different.
He talks about the ‘night shift’, which of course he hasn’t done for ages. It’s a good laugh as he can get a good sing-song going, if there’s a bunch just come from the pub. He talks about the bloke who lives down at the crossroads (I didn’t think anyone lived there!) who called up, as Simon says – ‘a law from the 11th century – sommit like that, that says you can’t make noise or whistle after 10 o’clock’. Anyway, Simon was supposed to have had a call from the hospital about a check-up, but it hasn’t come. I said he needed to sort that out. And they said they were going to send his papers, too, and he hasn’t got those, either, so he needs to sort that out, too.
Earnings: £42.95p (Including 1 CD)