Diary Of A Busker Day 538 Saturday April 5th 2014 Winchester (Opposite Bellis, Time: 3:39-4:50pm).
It’s been drizzling all day, but what the hell: if I can get the spot in The Pentice, I can do it… but I don’t want to overdo it as I did three hours yesterday and three the day before, actually more than three in Chichester…and the thumb’s hurting a bit…and…Bingo: there’s no one at The Butter Cross end of The Pentice, which is weird as it’s Saturday afternoon. Then again, the drizzle’ll put people off.
Today’s when I try out an idea I’ve been thinking about for a couple of days. I want to use my camera to record some of the stuff I do, and if the sound quality’s OK, I might put them on youtube with the intention (possibly) of putting them on a CD. I think the ones I’ve done at home are OK, but I’m sometimes a bit self-conscious and, as a consequence, I think I sometimes hold back a bit. Out here, there’s loads of distractions: people walking by, dogs, loud noises – so I can forget what I’m doing and relax…I think. Also, I’ve been selling the £5 CD that John Knutson recorded, and all he did was stick a mic in front of the amp, so why not try it myself? An experiment, anyway.
So…I give myself half an hour to warm-up, then switch on the camera and put it on the ground, a few inches behind my foot. First recording is Ol’ Man River, which I get through OK. The shot – the visual – which, of course, never moves, is my right foot tapping – a huge foot! Beyond that, you can see people walking by, but the lens is wet so it’s all blurred. Next up: My Way, and almost the same camera position, but the huge foot stays still. Next: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, with the camera pointing directly across the road and into the jewellers. This take was aborted halfway through due to a fire alarm going off.
Next: Borsalino, with the same shot as While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Apart from the shop doorway, there’s my left foot (there’s a film there) and mainly the lower halves of people, but whole animals: dogs/pigeons, and very small children. Last one: The Moulin Rouge Theme, with the camera on the other side of me – the view mainly of the strap on my bag that the amp’s on! After that, I put the camera away – I want to see how they turn out before I do any more. It could be a total waste of time.
Back to what’s going on. There’s a guy(?) walking around – he was doing it yesterday – dressed as Darth Vader. It could be a tall woman, of course. I don’t know what it’s in aid of, but he/she/it’s walking up from the right while I’m doing Wheels – a very un-Vader-like song, for sure. Suddenly two teenage girls say ‘Can you play the Star Wars theme while Darth Vader’s walking up the street?’ I have to disappoint them – ‘Sorry, I don’t know it’. Fools.
I pack up as I’ve got to watch my thumb, and also, it’s no fun playing in the rain. It’s not pouring down but it’s that annoying kind of drizzle (what other kind is there? – I think to meself) that gets everywhere, even though you think you’re undercover. It bends into where I am and covers my lovely guitar. There’s no escape.
Anyway, there’s someone who wants to take over from me: a girl of 14 or 15. As I finish packing up, she says she’s here to busk for the first time, with her flute. I think she’s a bit nervous, so I say she shouldn’t be, and tell her about when I started out in Southampton – ‘I was really self-conscious (I still am!)…I didn’t want to set up, and when I did, I thought everyone was looking at me, but they weren’t. Maybe for a second, some people might, then they carry on doing what they were doing…’ I tell her she’ll be alright and not to worry and to enjoy it. What? – I’m a fine one to talk about enjoying it! I ask her name – it’s Eleanor. I say ‘Good luck, you’ll be alright’. And she will, because people love young girls playing anything out here.