Diary Of A Busker Day 630 Sunday September 4th 2014 Winchester (1. Corner of Monsoon, Time: 1:08-1:28pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 1:34-3:48pm, 3. Opposite Gieves & Hawkes, Time: 4:06-4:47pm, 4. Opposite Pavilion, Time: 4:56-5:47pm).
After the bonanza – there’s no other word for it – of yesterday’s Hythe debut – I was a ‘hit’, there’s no doubt about it – it’s back to reality. First off, I was grossly offended by doing 20 minutes on the corner and not getting a single donation. TWENTY minutes, and all the hits, too: La Vie En Rose, Here Comes The Sun, Harry Lime, nothing. Apart from right at the end when I said in a loud voice to no one and everyone, ‘Bloody rubbish!’, and a woman who’d just walked by with her husband, came back and gave a pound, and I was pretty sure that was because she heard me. Sympathy money.
Next up, Oxfam, where, after a verse of the first one, Blowin’ In The Wind, I was interrupted by a bunch of stroke charity people in purple T-shirts, singing and playing with assorted instrumentation, the Elton John song, Your Song. I stopped playing, held my arms up, much to the amusement of a woman sitting opposite. I couldn’t get too annoyed though, as it was for a good cause, etc.
I saw that little girl, Ariadne, for the first time in ages. I don’t think she recognised me. She had a favourite song, too…well, one that used to make her smile, but I forgot what it was! Soon after, Sally Gray and a friend turned up on the bench and listened for awhile…then a man asked if I had a new CD and that he hoped it was better than the last one! He said, ‘It was awful, there was so much noise, you couldn’t hear the music’. At first I thought he was joking or it wasn’t me, but he wasn’t. It was definitely the old Busking In Winchester CD – the one I’ve run out of. Well, I didn’t think it was that bad. Anyway, he ended up buying the new CD, which, as he moaned about the other one, I was going to let him have at a discount, but he produced a £10 note, so I thought ‘sod it’!
Sally came over just then and I said, ‘This man says there’s lots of noise on that CD, the one your father liked. I thought it was alright’. She didn’t get it, either. Maybe the bloke was one of those who just likes to moan about something. It’s a ‘live from the streets of Winchester’ recording, anyway. What does he expect!? The guy left and Sally asked if I knew Windmills Of Your Mind. The answer, of course, was, ‘No, but I’ll look into it’.
Then that really short guy turned up. He’s so short he must be borderline midget. This time, I asked him his name: it’s Ron. Then another guy turned up, who knows Ron, and this guy was really tall! I bet that looked funny: me playing the guitar with a really tall and a really short guy next to me. Mr. Tall says he saw Bert Weedon play years ago, and when I go into The Third Man, he mentions Eddie Cochran’s version, The Fourth Man, that he did with acoustic guitars. It took me back to the days of my youth when I did a very primitive overdubbed copy of it in my bedroom circa 1978, doing three or four guitar tracks, using two cassette recorders. Now, the background noise on that really WAS louder than the music. That bloke who moaned earlier should think himself lucky!
Anyway, Mr. Tall went off and Ron stayed on, occasionally moving out onto the pavement to do a little (no joke intended) dance. After a bit, he seemed to get brave and tried to get passing old ladies to join him. One did, briefly, but he was happy enough on his own, I reckon.
Posh BrYan walked by and smiled. I said, ‘This is Ron, he’s doing a bit of terpsichore’. BrYan, of course, corrected my pronunciation – ‘Ah, oh yes…some terps-ikory, yes’. Ron was dancing for the most part of an hour and a half! I said, ‘You’re very fit, Ron’. He said, proudly, ‘I’m 75, you know’. People thought it was funny, and I reckon a few of them must have thought it was part of the act. One person thought he was my dad! At the end, when he said he had to go – he’d looked at his watch a few times in the hour and a half, I said, ‘I think alot of that money is probably because of you’, because there was definitely more than the usual, probably about £30. Before Ron went off, I told him about my photo album, got him to pose – he insisted on holding the guitar, so I’ve got a photo showing his smallness. But he’s a nice old guy.
After the toilet break, I went up the other end and was offended for the second time. While I was was setting up, there were a handful of cyclists a few feet away on my left, at the entrance to the cathedral grounds. They were resting/inspecting their bikes, all racing bikes. They were all men in their late 50’s, early 60’s, and decked out in all the gear: Lycra, helmets. Anyway, I started up La Vie En Rose and after a minute one comes over with his bike, stands in front of me and says, ‘I saw a great busker in Reading. He was playing French music from the 20’s – he was marvellous. In Reading’.
Well, firstly, to talk to me while I’m in the middle of a song – I can’t handle that (unless I can see a five or ten pound note, indicating a potential CD sale), but then, to start going on about how great someone else is, well, I’m not having it. So I stopped and said, ‘Are you trying to make me feel bad?’ He mumbled something – probably ‘miserable twat’ – and went back to his mates. I started up again with La Vie, he comes back, I ignored him and he went off again and they all moved down the path and set up near the cathedral.
Apart from that, it was a good set, and I was about to go home after. In fact, I was on the bike waiting to cross Jewry Street when I looked at the watch – it wasn’t even 5 – and decided to go back and do another set at Pavilion, which I’d just gone past on the way up from the last place. So that’s what I did, and a good job too, as I got about £20 for it. In fact, I had to put all of that coinage into the camera case, as the blue one was full! – a very rare occurrence.
I had another request during the set. The guy who likes Horizons came up from outside the pub and said one of the women at the table wanted a Simon & Garfunkel song. I don’t know any, and I never will, so I had to disappoint. Paul Simon gets on my nerves, the short-arsed twit.
Earnings: £78.37p (Including 1 CD)