Diary Of A Busker Day 612 Friday August 15th 2014 Romsey Market (Time: 10:17am-12:23pm), Winchester (1. Opposite Bellis, Time: 4:18-5:29pm, 2. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 5:43-6:53pm).
Back to Romsey to see my old mate Bertie. An unusually slow start by Romsey standards: FOUR songs before I get any coinage, so that was nothing for Blowin’ In The Wind, Here Comes The Sun, La Vie En Rose, and the 1st. Gnossienne – all big crowd favourites, usually.
Then it was Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (I think I’ll just call it Tzena from now on) and a woman in a mobility scooter comes up. She’s really excited and says, ‘That made my day, when I heard that – Tzena! We sang that in the choir! I was saying to the man in the market, “He’s playing the one we sang!” Oh, you won’t believe it, I was so happy, it really made my day!’ She really was thrilled. I had to say it – ‘Well, your saying that’s made my day, too’.
And after that, it was really good. A man named Len bought a CD after Ne Me Quitte Pas. He was about 65, very polite and complimentary. Looking at the CD, he said, ‘And you arranged that one – you’re a star, it’s a pleasure to meet you…’. In fact, I sell no less than THREE CDs: another after Yellow Bird and the 3rd one after something I can’t remember. But that lady was so happy about hearing Tzena, that, for once, the criteria for Song Of The Day worthiness will bypass monetary considerations and be awarded to a non-CD sale song.
Speaking of Ne Me Quitte Pas, a woman pushing her husband in a wheelchair said, ‘You played a Dusty Springfield one – If You Go Away’. I said, ‘Right, yes, she did it, and also Scott Walker, Frank Sinatra, Jacques Brel – it’s a Jacques Brel song, you know’. ‘Brings back the old days’, she said, ignoring my information. I supply some more, I said it was from 1959. ‘We’ve been married for all that time’, she says. Indeed, and now she’s pushing him along in a wheelchair. That’s some sort of devotion for you.
A funny moment. I looked over at Bertie and he’s got a picture of Cliff Richard’s head, not quite life-size, from a newspaper. The police have raided his house as he’s been accused of assaulting some boy, years ago. Bertie’s got Ciff’s face stuck on the top of a cardboard stick, and he’s pulled his hood up so he looks really odd! It cracks me up. I can’t resist it – I do the intro to Move It. Of course, later I did The Sweeney Theme for him (Bertie, not Cliff) as he was the reason I learnt it.
So, a good day: 3 CDs and a fair bit of coinage. After packing up, I get some shots of Bertie with his Cliff mask. He says, ‘You gonna put that in your diary? Say “Cliff Richard’s out hiding in the market in Romsey!”‘.
Earnings: £45.07p (Including 3 CDs)
Back home (a double-header!)…I got to The Butter Cross as two young guys were packing up…and then just as I was about to start playing, I heard that bloody awful Karma Cameleon coming out of a shop – the O2 shop opposite, I think. I thought,’They’ve seen me and they’ve started up their jukebox, the bastards!’ But then I thought, ‘Sod it, I’ll carry on’. There were four of them – all young blokes, in the shop, and they were throwing what looked like plastic frisbee-like discs about, trying to hit each other with them. There were no customers the whole time they were still open, about an hour. That’s all they were doing – mucking about with the frisbees.
I sold a CD, and for the full £9, too! A woman came up who’d seen me a few times. She saw the CD sign: £5 and £9, and asked what the difference between the CDs was. I said there were a couple of differences: the £5 one’s about 25 minutes long and the £9 one’s an hour long. But the biggest difference – if it is a difference – is I haven’t got any £5 ones left. I almost said the usual: she could have it for £8 but she didn’t seem to object to the full price.
A woman who I’ve often seen sitting outside The Eclipse with a bunch of people, comes up – on her way to the revered watering hole, I’m assuming – and says, ‘What’s your name? – ’cause we were talking about you – not in a bad way’. So I tell her and she says, ‘Marvin, right’, and walks off. (I thought everyone here knew my name – that’s what the woman in the craft shop said!)
After an hour and 10 minutes, I do a rough count: about £18, I reckon, and that’s including the CD. After a toilet break, I head back up…and there she is with her bunch of people, outside The Eclipse. I then hear several ‘Marvin’s’ as I ride by! I reckon I can do an hour here, at Pavilion, which’ll bring the total up to just over four hours. I reckon I can easily do four hours as long as there’s a break – a big one – inbetween. My thumb’s alright and I haven’t gone mad, like I would, doing three hours straight through, so I reckon I can do it.
A few minutes in, a couple of people from outside the pub come up to donate. They’re pretending they’re on horses, like the Monty Python Knights from Ni. And they’re not young – in their 40s. What alcohol does! A bit later, a couple more come up, including the woman and another woman, who asks my name, so I say, ‘Marvin. She (I say, looking at the other woman) asked me that half an hour ago’.
I got two requests: both requesters appearing at the same time. One – The Rain Song (aye aye, someone’s heard me before) from a bloke outside the restaurant on my right, and another – Brown-Eyed Girl – from a woman sitting with two others outside The Slug & Lettuce. Well, Brown-Eyed Girl’s a song I will NEVER play, so I say – yes, I know the song but I don’t play it, but do a feeble attempt at some of the double-string runs. The woman has a look at my songbook and asks if I can do California Girls. Of course, I prefer the pluraled Californian variety to the singular Brown-Eyed variety, so I say I will, although I did it 15 minutes ago. This woman forgets to donate but the man does.
I tune everything down for The Rain Song, do it…then gradually tune up, stopping off at Yellow Bird and Wheels, then California Girls…and there’s absolutely NO acknowledgement from the woman requester and her silly girlfriend. At the end, I did a quick count-up and I must have taken around £25 in that 70 minutes.
Earnings: £49.52p (Including 1 CD)
Total earnings after bus fare (£6.80p) = £94.59p (Including 4 CDs)