Diary of A Busker Day 644 Tuesday October 7th 2014 Winchester (Opposite Oxfam, Time: 12:53-2:56pm).
I’d just started setting up when an offender (thankfully, the day’s only one) turns up. It’s that old bugger who said maybe I was playing the wrong stuff, when I told him I didn’t make any money on the underground. He never contributes, either…which is just as offensive, even more. He says, ‘Before you set up, I wonder if I could ask a question (he doesn’t wait for me to say if he could)…do you use those stomper boxes?’ Me – ‘Sorry, what?’ Old guy – ‘Those stomper things, that keep the beat. Some people use them. It brings out the beat more’. Me – ‘No’. Old guy – ‘Have you ever thought of getting one?’ Me – ‘No, that’s just more stuff to carry around. What I’ve got here, it’s enough’. Old guy – ‘I suppose you’d have to keep up with it, wouldn’t you?…if it went too fast’. Me – ‘No, that’s not the problem. I could keep up with it, I just don’t need one. I do my own beat’. Then he said, ‘Well, I’ll leave you to it’, and he started off, looking in the bucket – ‘That’ll blow away if you don’t get some money in it’, he said, so I held my arm out to the bucket and said, ‘Well, you’re welcome’. He said, ‘I haven’t got any…only a plastic pound’. Yeah, I bet. Anyway, I said, ‘There you go, then’, as he walked off. Tosser. I don’t want money from him, anyway!
After the 1st number, Windy & Warm, Phillip and his carer emerged from the Oxfam shop across the road, and came across. He really liked it and wanted to see how I did it so I did a bit, then he asked if I knew something called Sweet Sunday Morning Skiffle – he wasn’t sure about the name but I said I’d look it up. Then he asked if I could play ‘something she’d like…Chinatown’. Well, I can’t refuse Phillip – he’s such a nice bloke, although I usually leave that one for at least half an hour in. So I did it, got through the 1st verse, stumbled on the 2nd, stopped and said, ‘I usually have to warm up before I do that one’. I asked him if he’d like to have a go on the guitar. He looked at his hands and said, ‘Oh no…I couldn’t’. I noticed his fingernails have grown back, though.
I sold a CD after Horizons, although it took a bit of persuasion. I even augmented the ’20 songs in one hour’ with ‘actually, it’s much better value than the £5 one. With that, you’ve got 7 songs for £5. With this, you get 20 songs for not even twice the money’. The man relented and I said, ‘A wise choice, sir’. And then I sold another one! To a couple a bit older than me, who came across and said they heard this really nice music (I can’t remember what I was playing) and they hadn’t had a very good day and ‘it cheered us up!’ I thanked them for bothering to come and tell me, and they bought the CD. She gave me a £10 note and didn’t want the change, although I DID try. I held out the £2 coin but she wouldn’t have it.
An amusing moment during Albatross. Two men around 65 come up, contribute, and start talking (I carried on playing throughout). ‘Didn’t you used to be in a band?’, says one man. Me – ‘Yeah, not for a long time, though’. Man – ‘I thought you was…The Troggs?’ This cracked me up. I said, ‘I’m not THAT old!’ Man – ‘Well, you was playin’ The Shadows, earlier’. Me – ‘Yeah, I wasn’t in them, either!’ Jesus, I know I’ve aged in the 4 years I’ve been out here, but I don’t look 70…do I?!
After an hour and a half, a woman came over with a little girl in a wheelchair. She said she was paraplegic and also had some trouble speaking – ‘She’s been enjoying listening to you’, so I said to the girl, ‘So, you like what I was just playing?’, and she said, ‘I like all of it’, and that she had a friend with a ukelele, so I said, ‘I had one of those when I was young, but now I’ve got this. It’s shinier…and a bit more expensive’. She said, ‘You mean you went from a ukelele to that?’ Then she said she’s got a drum: a small one with a handle with 3 things attached.
Then the woman asked if I’d be here tomorrow. I said I wasn’t sure – maybe. She said she’d be here with a whole bunch of children, ‘and this one’ – she didn’t say her name – would like to play her drum with me. Well, I can’t refuse that, can I? I asked what time they’d be here. She said 10:30, for a few hours around this same time, so I said I’d be here: maybe not 10:30 but possibly 11. I don’t suppose that’s too early. Anyway, I’ve seen Rob Berry and that young singer/songwriter girl set up at The Butter Cross as early as 9 o’clock. Anyway, my presence has been requested. I can’t refuse!
I got soaked on the way home. It started raining just after I rode off and stopped the very minute I got home, naturally. But, a good day for once.
Earnings: £40.05p (Including 2 CDs)
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