Diary Of A Busker Day 546 Thursday April 17th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 11:53-12:38pm, 2. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 12:50-2:20pm, 3. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 2:47-3:53pm).
There’s a guy about my age (too old for a pony-tail, anyway) who’s been at The Butter Cross for hours. He was there this morning at 9:30…and there’s the two young strummers, down at Vodafone, so I decide to visit the arse-end as it’s been awhile!
…and no donations till the fourth song, Here Comes The Sun, and then five!, which makes it Song Of The Day. I debut Scouser Mick’s favourite, Wonderful Land, and it goes pretty well, with no major errors. It’s one of my combination chords/melody jobs – a bit awkward but at least the melody stays on the three highest strings, so I can do the chord stuff on the lower ones. I’m not clever enough to put in a bass part: he can’t have everything. But I think it works better than Apache, which is mainly just me doing the lead guitar line. I pack up after half an hour, with £5 – better than I thought.
Up the road at Gieves, where I’ve got my eye on that big brown UPS van parked up the road, a woman with her father(?) stops at a safe distance from me and says ‘That looks like a Gretsch’, to which I reply ‘It isn’t’. ‘You wish’, she says, which I thought was a bit cheeky so I don’t reply. After some more seconds, she says ‘I’ve got a VOX’. ‘What?’, I say. ‘I’ve got a VOX pre-amp’, she says, as if she’s got a Picasso. All I can think of saying is ‘Excellent’, because a VOX pre-amp means nothing to me.
I do Wonderful Land again because I’m so thrilled I’ve got a new song in the set!, and it earns a donation from a woman who says ‘Wonderful Land – my favourite Shadows song, takes me back to the Sixties’. Looks like I played it at the right time. I even say how I learnt it yesterday, to play for a guy who keeps asking for it.
I sell a CD to an Australian couple, but only a £5 one. In fact I was kicking myself, as the man produced a £10 note, like he was going for the £9 CD until I showed him the cheaper one. I’m an idiot! Song Of The Day has to be revised – to Wheels, as it secured the sale. A long set here: one and a half hours, and it was only near the end when the UPS van came down and went passed me.
So, a toilet break and a wander up the road…and there are lots out today. The order of play, as it were: at The Butter Cross – two blokes with dreadlocks and electric guitars doing Michael Jackson – The Way You Make Me Feel. Down a bit – a middle-aged bloke (older than me) on a ukelele, doing Give Me Sunshine, because he’s advertising the Eric Morcambe play at the theatre. At Vodafone – two young strummers (TYS, I should start calling them, as it’s a common occurrence). Even old Frank’s about – I haven’t seen him in ages. And going back up the side street, I see two big vans up at the other end where the UPS one was. What is this – delivery day?
So I decide to head back down to Oxfam. But before I do, as I was hanging around the corner, that tall, white-bearded nutter comes up to me, and only God knows what he was going on about. It’s like a stream of consciousness thing – ‘Do you like Scottish bank notes?’ Me -‘Umm…’, then he interrupts – ‘Like them better than English ones?’ Me – ‘Well, the shops don’t take them but’ – he interrupts again – ‘If you had the choice – English, Scottish’. Me – ‘Umm…’. ‘Now, if I wanted to learn the guitar, you’d be the man, eh?’ Me – ‘Well, if you wanted’ – he interrupts – ‘Professional? – you’ve been in groups, I know’, and then he’ll just suddenly stop and walk off. I see he’s carrying a prescription package from the pharmacy.
Down the road (again) I play Wonderful Land for the third time! And this time it’s BrYan who donates, and I think just for that, as it’s such a rare event, Song Of The Day really needs to be Wonderful Land! BrYan does a short Shadows dance, too (the one the short Shadow did!?) The twit. I hold out for just over an hour – a bit too long, as the noise and especially the buses, really starts to grate. I’m not used to it, here.
The last song, or what I thought was the last song, While My Guitar Gently Weeps – I’m nearing the end when that tall old-lady-regular turns up with a tall, lanky, long-haired youth – her grandson? Anyway, she says ‘Oh, come on, play something more cheerful!’ – the cheek! I stop and say, with mock incredulity ‘Madam, this is my ART!’ Actually, not so mock – ha! But it’s the end, so I don’t mind. She says she wants something Jamaican, so I offer Yellow Bird, the only vaguely Caribbean-sounding thing I do, and proceed to tune down the two strings. The things I do…
Earnings: £34.53p (Including two CDs)