Diary Of A Busker Day 606 Saturday August 9th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 1:33-3:14pm, 2. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 3:29-5:31pm, 3. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 5:55-6:25pm).
The whole place is full up with these bloody buskers. There’s even a bloke at the Pavilion spot – I forgot to see if they’d shut the door on him…with Rick Tarrant sitting forlornly outside The Eclipse, as I cycled by, because that’s his spot!
Up from Vodafone, there are a couple of kids break-dancing, I believe it’s called….and down a bit, across from where I sometimes play at Monsoon, there’s a bloke with some equipment and a guitar case. I ask if he’s coming or going. He says he was doing alright ’till those kids started up there’. I suggest he sets up opposite from where he is. That way he’ll hear them less and he’ll be blasting down from them. He usually makes £70 in 3 hours, apparently.
Anyway, there’s too much going on, so…down the arse-end for me! …I get nothing for 4 songs, and then, BAM! – Albatross, and I sell TWO CDs! Song Of The Day unequivocally, if that’s the right word. There’s a funny thing about Albatross. After I play it, a few people have asked for a Shadows number, or they ask if it IS a Shadows number. I reckon it’s the reverb, but also, I know Hank Marvin did it. It happens today. Some bloke says ‘Wonderland’, which at first throws me – what’s Wonderland? Then I think: Albatross, Shadows…Wonderful Land! Which is what he means, of course.
Actually, it’s a bit annoying. He doesn’t come up and say, ‘Hello, sorry for bothering you my good man, but I wonder if you’d be so good as to play (whatever song)’. But no, he just comes up and says, ‘Wonderland’, the dick. Anyway, I say, ‘Wonderful Land, you mean?’, and he flicks a pound coin in…rather rudely, I thought.
A bloke donates and admires the bike, and when I say it’s a replacement for a stolen one, he tells me a story. His two friends went to France and while they were waiting overnight at the ferry place, their electric bikes were stolen. They were locked up – chained – to the back of their camper, and they had a couple of dogs guarding while they were sleeping (the blokes, not the dogs). When they woke, the bikes were gone and there was a sticker on the camper saying ‘Bonjour’.
Next stop, after a 15 minute break, Gieves & Hawkes and a long session: two hours. I see Phillip on a bike – never seen him on one before. He says he’s got some good news – his cancer of the pelvis isn’t spreading (this is the first time he’s said where it is), and his fingernails have grown back.
I play Je Te Veux, and do the octave bit a bit better (bit a bit better!) than the other day. Someone donates a £5 note during this session – great, but I have an even bigger surprise at the end. When I’m inspecting the bucket, prior to transferring the contents to the camera case, I find a very screwed up £10 note! So that’s £15 PLUS TWO MORE CDs! – which makes FOUR CDs: a record, I believe (not a ‘record’, like as in vinyl – a CD), and a load more coinage. In short, a bloody good day. A hell of a lot of playing, though: the 2nd session was more than THREE AND A HALF HOURS, so I think about going home…then decide to do a short one up the road, after a toilet break and some water refreshment.
Rick Tarrant’s STILL outside The Eclipse! I stop and he says I should play a bit – ‘you might pick up a fiver, and anyway, it’s going to be raining all day tomorrow’. So I take him up on it, do half an hour and pick up £5.50p, so he’s almost bang on. Rick was there for most of it. I started with his favourite – Windy & Warm, but when I looked up at the end (of the set, not the song), he’d gone.
On the way back, I bought a customarily soggy Big Issue off Simon. I only ever see him with Big Issues that look like they’ve been trampled on, or are in various stages of drying. Then, a female Drongo standing nearby comes up and says to me, ‘Did you used to have a beard?’ In fact, she asked me the same thing a few months ago. I said I used to but it wasn’t a big beard – it wasn’t very long. She says, ‘Yeah, but you’ve got a plastic pumpkin, ‘aven’t you?’ I say that I do indeed have such an article about my person – a trademark, in fact. ‘Yep’, she says, ‘there’s a painting of you up at the ‘ospital, yeah, I thought it was you, with the pumpkin’. ‘Really?’ I say. Yes, she’s pretty sure it’s me. She says it’s in the corridor down from the entrance, and it’s for sale for £50, and it’s called Rockin’ At The Buttercross. ‘You want to get some money out of that’, she says. Well, I’m not bothered about that, but the painting – I’ve got to see that.
First a watercolour, now a painting for £50, in semi-permanent display in a hospital corridor. I’m going to have to go up tomorrow and have a look.
Earnings: £95.30p (Including 4 CDs)
An observation: Parents who give their children 1 and 2p coins (shrapnel) to give to me, never make eye contact.