Diary Of A Busker Day 613 Saturday August 16th 2014 Winchester (1. Opposite Bellis, Time: 1:51-3pm, 2. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 3:33-4:20pm, 3. Corner Of Monsoon, Time: 4:29-5:29pm).
My old mate Pierre the balloon man’s in town. I see him as I’m coming into the High Street and have a chat with him. I remember he was having a bad day about a year ago and he said he’d hang himself if he could afford the rope!, so I ask if it’d got any better. He says, ‘Yeah, now I can afford the rope!’
Down the road a bit, on a bench, there are two blokes. One’s singing and playing the guitar – I think the song’s called Crazy Love. Pierre says he’s a nice bloke – from New Zealand, where, according to Pierre – ‘They only have ship (sheep) to play to’. Pierre’s about to take his lunch break on the bench opposite to where I set up. A man comes up to me while I’m settling down and asks if I play any jazz. I say I don’t. He says he used to play in groups in the 60’s. He looks about 70 so I believe him. He sits down on Pierre’s bench and after a few numbers he comes over, donates and says, ‘Beautiful – I guarantee you’ll have a hit before you’re 21!’
After an hour, the New Zealand guy and his accomplice come by during While My Guitar Gently Weeps. They really like it, and sing along. (I allow this sort of intrusion now and again, as long as it doesn’t detract or conflict with MY performance). At the end, they donate and introduce themselves as Nick – the player, and Michael, and they are indeed both very nice people. As I’ve been here an hour, I offer my place to them – they take the offer up.
Apparently, this is the first time Nick’s played in England – a shame: he could have picked a more generous place! I suggest he/they visit Chichester, which is certainly a more friendly and generous place, although they come down pretty hard on anyone without a permit, I have to say. Still, they should just turn up and play, I say. I mean, they’re not going to get chucked in jail. Same with Reading. It’s big world out there!
While Nick sets up, I chat to his mate – who sounds English – and let him into the great secret in the world of battery-powered amplifiers. Namely Procell. I explain you can’t get them in the shops – only on eBay, and they last 24 hours: that’s TWICE AS LONG as any other Duracell, and they cost HALF THE PRICE. I even take one out of the amp to show him exactly what they look like. I’ve NEVER been this helpful (and sociable) in my dealings with other musicians! I tell them they’ve got to get some.
Nick’s a likeable performer. He’s selling his debut album. He’s got a good voice and it goes well with his playing which is more or less your basic strumming. But it all sounds good. I put in a pound, possibly the same one he gave me, and ask if I can get a photo for my diary. Nick immediately gets up off his stool, comes over and puts an arm round me, thinking I must want to be in the photo. No way. I just want one of him. Good luck to him. A nice bloke.
Earnings: £52.20p (Including 1 CD)