Diary Of A Busker Day 673 Friday December 5th 2014 Winchester (Opposite Bellis, Time: 1:57-4:17pm).
I don’t know…sometimes I wonder what’s going to happen next. I came into town in the morning and found all my money had been taken out of the account and spent at an Argos shop. £308, although I only had £238 in it. Maybe they used the overdraft facility. So the bank had to cancel my cash machine card which means I won’t have one to go away with, to Istanbul again…on the Norwegian Jade (again). The good thing is the bank will reimburse me the money, which I should be able to get on Monday at the latest. But I’ll need to get out anything I need – in euros, as I won’t be able to use any cash machines.
It was only later on when I realised how it might have happened. That bed & breakfast in Coventry – The Hylands Hotel where I stayed earlier in the year. I remember reading some reviews and more than one person who stayed there said their cards had been done. And I gave them the long number on it and also the security number when I was booking the room on the computer. But I’d stayed there before that, sometime last year. I bet it was them.
Anyway, I got paranoid about not being able to get any money out, and what if it’s not in the account on Monday? I don’t want to borrow (off Doll, it would have to be). So I decided to come in and play. In fact, I was thinking of coming in, anyway: I haven’t played in Winchester for THREE weeks! But it’s cold: 6 degrees – right on the line, below which is impossible to play more than 10 minutes without a 5 minute break. Anyway, I thought with whatever I make, and maybe with tomorrow’s too, I can get all that changed into euros and that’ll be what I’ll take on the trip.
So it’s pretty cold but at least no wind. I see some familiar faces: Ian, who was very polite and complimentary, of course…Faye, who’s dyed her hair blonde…and Delia, who I hadn’t seen for alot longer than 3 weeks. I asked how she was – ‘Oh, not too good…it’s age’. She’s read about the assault – ‘I heard about that man in the Daily Mail (Daily Mail? It didn’t go national, I’m sure)…you need to…’ Everyone’s got their opinion about what should happen to that bloke. I said it wasn’t up to me, anymore. I reported him and charged him. Some people might not have done that. And he pleaded guilty. He had to – there were photos of him, I took one myself! Apparently, he’s supposed to pay me £100 and do 6 hours ‘alcohol Rehabilitation’, and that’s his punishment, and there’s nothing more I can do about that.
Delia said ‘Well, you need to get that money off him’. I said there was nothing more I could do. He’s been ordered to pay it…when he has it. He never will, I know. Delia got the old sweet tin out and put in her pound. We said goodbye, she walked off and I carried on playing whatever it was, then I remembered her favourite – Dr. Zhivago, so I stopped whatever it was and went into that. Of course, she turns around and waves.
Phillip came by, a bit unsteady on his feet but his face looked fine, and he was hatless for the first time in ages: his hair is growing back, although pretty much all white now. He fiddled with some change – ‘I think there’s a pound, a bit more maybe’. I asked how he was. ‘Not good today’, he said. I said he was looking well. He said ‘Today’s a bad day…I have good ones and bad ones’. He didn’t hang around. It was depressing and then I thought about the money that was taken from my account and thought ‘Who cares about a couple of hundred quid, really. I mean, that poor bloke – such a nice guy and he could be dying’.
I noticed George nearby. He’d stopped next to one of the pillars, to listen. I ignored him – I didn’t feel like stopping for 5 minutes to talk to him, actually. Then he came and put a £5 note in the bucket. Cheers, George. That weird, tall, white-bearded nutter came up and donated – cheers, weird nutter – then leaned in and said ‘Russell’s quiet’ – he’s talking about Russell Loveland – the guy who assaulted me! I said ‘What? – do you know him?’ and he says ‘He’s very quiet’, so I say ‘Well, he wasn’t quiet awhile back when I met him’. Weird guy – ‘He’s quiet now, has an alcohol…damaged him, mentally’, then he does his usual – suddenly stops talking and walks off. Weird people…’damaged mentally’ – he can talk!
It was a long set and it really was getting cold – for the first time this year, the feet were really cold. In fact, for the last hour or so, all of me was really cold. I repeated a couple of songs, including the opener – Albatross, and during this, a couple who were listening behind me came forward (reveal thyselves, hiding listeners – I know thouest are there!) to donate. She was about my age, he – a bit older. She said ‘That made me cry, that did’, so I said ‘Oh dear, I wasn’t playing it THAT bad, was ?!’ ‘No no, that has memories, when it came out…’ – she trailed off and I could see she was quite affected. Then I thought ‘She must be alot older than she looks’, in fact, I even said ‘But you’re not old enough’. But she said it again, about the memories, and turned away as she was welling up. Then she turned back towards me and she really was getting emotional. Wow, that doesn’t usually happen, but it’s obviously not the music as much as the association. Anyway, they thanked me again – which was a bit weird, as I sort of caused her to cry, I thanked them(!), and they went off.
I was just reading some recent reviews about The Hylands Hotel. Some said their credit cards had been ‘cloned’. One bloke said someone had had a £1,400 spending spree on his. I bet it WAS them.
At dinner, I was saying I wonder what will happen next, as things happen in threes, they say. First, I was assaulted, then this money thing. What next? Plane crash? Bummed by a couple of filthy, bored taxi drivers in Istanbul? Istanbummed?