Diary Of A Busker Day 626 Friday September 5th 2014 Romsey (1. Romsey Market, Time: 10:15-12:00, 2. Old bank doorway, Time: 12:25-12:43pm), Winchester (1. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 4:35-5:40pm, 2. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 5:55-6:45pm).
It started off OK, although a bit slow. An old guy commented on my attire – ‘You don’t look like you’re bejeans (it sounded like that, anyway)’. I said, ‘Sorry?’, and he said it again so I asked him what it meant. He said, ‘Well it doesn’t look like you’re down to your last few pence’. Ah, so it means broke, pennyless. I informed him all my clothes were from Primark, apart from the denim shirt, then added, ‘I doesn’t cost a lot to look like you’ve made an effort’. Anyway, I was wearing jeans and they’re not smart, are they? Smart/casual, I suppose. Is that what it means?
The drama occurred at midday. Some guy in a suit and tie comes out from the alleyway behind me and says, ‘Move up a bit’, and he didn’t even stop, he just slowed down a bit, and he didn’t say who he was, or anything. So he disappears across the market before I could say anything. I thought maybe he was something to do with the council. I was rather annoyed but I stopped playing and moved up a foot.
Ten minutes later, he’s back, this time with a bald-headed bloke in a suit (no tie). The first guy walks on but the bald one stops and says, ‘Sorry, can I ask you to move on?’, so I say, ‘Just let me finish this song and I’ll talk to you’, as I was doing Dixie McGuire and was only about 10 seconds til the end…which I then messed up in the 10 seconds, as I was getting more annoyed. Anyway, when I stop, the bloke says the other guy is the manager of Bradbeers, the big place behind me, and he doesn’t want me there. Bald guy says ‘Mr. Bradbeers is in charge of the space the market people are on, and they’re all there because of him and he doesn’t know who you and he wants you out!’
I couldn’t believe it. I said I’d been here quite a few times and some people like me, like the people who come to the market, and also some of the stall holders. In fact I was only here because of Bertie. Bald guy said he’d been here three months and he’d never seen me before. I said I’d been here three weeks ago and a month before that, and right on cue, a woman comes up, donates, and says, ‘I remember you were here before’. So this guy, hearing this, says, ‘Oh right, well yeah, now I’ve just heard someone say that…I’ll tell you what, if you move right back (against the wall), I’ll have a word with him and say about that woman and see if that’s alright’. Then he apologised and said he was ‘only doing his job’ – what a crap job: telling people to move – and this other bloke, Mr. Big, pays his wages.
Fair enough. So I dragged the stuff back and started up again. Five minutes later, he’s back (Paul’s his name) and he says, ‘Sorry, he really doesn’t like you. There’s nothing I could do, I DID try’. And that was that. We’ll, I really was quite upset, I mean, I come here for a peaceful time! I mean, who is this big shot/shit? This guy who gets his underlings to do his dirty work?
He’s Greg Davies, manager of Bradbeers. This I know because one of the market guys tells me. This is the guy they all have to deal with: a bully, basically. ‘Greg Davies – fucking prick’, the market guy said. I forget, Paul said there were a couple of other places I could play: the sunny doorway of the shut down wine shop on the other side of the road, which I told the market guy and he looked over, and there’s a load of rubbish there. He said, ‘What, over there? Like you’re a Big Issue or something? No!’ He had a look around and there was an old bricked up bank entrance a couple of doors down from the wine shop which he said might be OK. So although I was pissed off and ready to go home, I thought I’d give it a go. This was around 12:20, so there was half an hour before the bus, anyway. Also, I’d only cleared around £20, which isn’t good enough for Romsey.
So I set up and it was alright in the end. It was a bit too near the road and there was no curb and alot of big trucks going by, about 5 feet in front of me, but I managed to sell a CD, and got another £6 in the bucket, so that was £13 or £14 – not bad for 20 minutes. Maybe the prick did me a favour!
At the end, I went over to say goodbye to Bertie, who’d been having a cup of tea during the earlier drama with Paul. Bertie said, ‘He (the manager) told me, if you’d been better, he would have let you stay!’, and I fell for it. I said, ‘What, the playing?’, and Bertie starts laughing! On the way to the bus station, one of the other market guys, Bertie’s mate Darren, walked a bit of the way with me and said all the rights of the area revert back to the council in May, so this bloke could do nothing about it if I come back then. Darren also pointed out the dick’s office, on the second floor of a building opposite the bus station. In fact, he was sitting at his desk.
He said, ‘He doesn’t own any of this bit. You should set up here and play. He’d hate that, he wouldn’t be able to do anything about it!’ I said it was a good idea and maybe I should do it next week…for 8 hours! I won’t, though. What’s the point? But what a prick – I hate bullies! And he’s a coward as well, getting poor Paul to get rid of me. Greg Davies, manager of Bradbeers in Romsey, and an absolute dickhead.
Back in Winchester…I did an hour and a bit at Vodafone, where I haven’t been for awhile as I’m usually around the corner in these latter days. But I was too late, as all the vans turn up after 4. Afterwards, I went up the road and perchanced(?) upon Mr. William Kendal, enjoying his usual glass of white wine outside The Slug & Lettuce. He said there was a famous conductor, Harry Christophers, in the bar, and he got his phone number, which he was quite chuffed about. I said I hoped that would help him, as Mr. Kendal seems such a nice man, not like that prick in Romsey! He’s very trusting, too. He never locks his bike: it was some distance away, in front of the craft shop. Anyway, apparently this Mr. Christophers is doing a concert in the cathedral tonight. (I bet he walked past me – he must have, but did he contribute? I don’t believe so).
I set up opposite Pavilion, which was shut, so they can save themselves the effort of shutting the door on me. It’s already done! I started just before 6 and was only going to do half an hour, but ended up doing a bit more, as a bloke came up from outside The Eclipse and asked for Apache. This was after I’d put my guitar away but everything else was still set up. He said he used to have Jet Harris come into his shop or snack bar, and he used to make him a baguette or something (the guy talking to me, not Jet Harris!) just before he got cancer (Jet Harris, not the guy talking to me).
He said he thought he never got the recognition he deserved (Jet Harris!) as a guitarist. I didn’t know he played the guitar, actually. I said I knew his girlfriend, Janet (who’s still alive).
I forgot, earlier, four drunken blokes wearing King Alfred Round Table shirts turned up. At least two were French, or they were putting on good accents! Anyway, they come up and start going on about French songs, so I whipped out La Vie En Rose, which caused them to dance in pairs and take photos of each other, doing so.
Right, that’s enough excitement for one day…and a couple eating outside the pizza place donated a £5 note. Definitely enough excitement, now.
Earnings: Romsey: £29.32p (profit after deducting £6.60p bus fare) Winchester: £40.30p Total: £69.62p (Including 2 CDs)