Diary Of A Busker Day 617 Wednesday August 20th 2014 Chichester (1. Opposite Marks & Spencer, North Street, Time: 11:40-1:35pm, 2. Opposite Toni & Guy’s, North Street, Time: 2:20-4:02pm).
Back in Chichester – my favourite place these days, as the populace appear to like me. And back on North Street, where I was booted off the last time I was here. I couldn’t get a spot on East Street – all booked up.
A memorable 1st set, if only because I meet a man – Stuart, who met Chet Atkins. He came up to me with a friend – Dennis, because he recognised my arrangement of La Vie En Rose as a Chet one. He then produced from his jacket pocket a list of all of Chet’s albums! Some were marked with a yellow marker – I forgot to ask him why. He said he actually brought Chet over to do a show in 1994 and said he was playing till 2 in the morning ‘…and he did his party piece – two songs in one “to save time”, he said’. That would have been Yankee Doodle Dixie, which I could have played if I’d practised it a bit…if I’d only known I was going to meet this guy!
Stuart said Chet was a very nice man – ‘like yourself’, he added (how does he know?) Anyway, the most important thing is he bought a CD. I said I hoped he liked it and he said ‘I hope so too!’ I asked if he’d heard of Claes Neeb. He said he had so I started to tell him about when Claes’s two Norwegian friends had seen me, then asked if these two knew the song that Claes wrote – Norwegian Mountain Song, that Chet did a version of. (I was trying to learn it last night but it’s quite difficult, especially with this bloody hand problem. There’s a great video of Claes playing it for Chet). I told them Claes died last year. ‘That’s the problem’, Stuart said, ‘they’re all dead. I said, ‘I know, but Claes was only about 62’. Stuart said Chet died of prostate cancer, which I didn’t know, although I knew it was cancer.
I forgot to say, before we started talking about Chet, Stuart said he knew Big Jim Sullivan, who I don’t know much about, so when I got home I had a look and found out he was a top session guy. He played on loads of hits, including Dave Berry’s The Crying Game – he played the wah-wah guitar, which I always thought was Jimmy Page. But apparently they were known as Big Jim (Sullivan) and Little Jim (Page)…so which one was it?
Anyway, you never know who you’ll meet out here. I mean, if I hadn’t have been playing the guitar, they would have been a couple of old guys walking around and I’d never have known one of them had brought Chet Atkins over to play. Bizarre. But if I hadn’t been playing the guitar, I wouldn’t be here! Again, bizarre.
I pack in after almost 2 hours and head off to the toilet, and as I’m walking past a bench, a couple of old ladies – one in a wheelchair – compliment me, and I suddenly remember them being there when I started, so I say ‘You were here two hours ago, weren’t you?’ They – because old ladies speak collectively! – say ‘We’ve been here since 10 o’clock!’ – that’s 3 1/2 hours! I tell them I’m going off for my lunch but I’ll be back, so we might meet again. ‘Oh, we’re going at two’, they say. I should have asked why they’ve been out here for FOUR hours.
After the toilet, I walk down to East Street to see what’s going on, and before I even get there, I can hear her: Boring Jazz Girl! Actually, I’m going to stop calling her that, as I feel guilty about it, so it’s going to be just plain (boring) Jazz Girl from now on. Also, where is this market that’s supposed to be going on today? That’s what that bloke said last week – ‘You should be here Wednesday, for the market’. Well, there’s no bloody market. I reckon he was a nutter…he bought my CD, after all!
After the lunch near the cathedral – it’s distinctively colder than usual (the temperature, not the lunch), I head back up North Street and set up a bit further down, near the T junction…and am briefly annoyed by someone playing a saxophone near where I was earlier. Have they booked? If so, why have they – the council – got two people playing on the same street? I think they haven’t booked as 15 minutes later, they pack up and go. An unaccompanied saxophone, it certainly bloody well carries!
Yes, a distinctly cooler day. It’s sunny now and then, when it breaks through, but mainly cloudy and quite chilly, certainly for most of the 1st set, anyway. The hands aren’t used to that, especially the right.
Earnings: £58.48p – £12.90p (train fare) = £45.58p profit (Including 2 CDs)