Diary Of A Busker Day 685 Tuesday January 27th 2015 Winchester (1. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 12:44-1:54pm, 2. Opposite Bellis, Time: 2:05-2:35pm).
Temperature: 7 degrees. A really slow start, the first donation being fifteen minutes in, from scouser Chris, whose name, as usual, I couldn’t remember at the time. I knew it wasn’t what I’d been calling for ages, though: Mick. Halfway through our chat about Glen Campbell, I said ‘It’s not Mick, is it?’ No, it wasn’t. Chris asked if I knew Wichita Lineman and Galveston, which was weird as I listened to Wichita Lineman last night, going through my 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Cop It book, that Doll got me for Christmas. I started at the start, at 1955, and I’m now up to 1968.
I said to Chris ‘I think he’s going’, meaning Glen’s dying, and Chris said ‘No, he’s gone, he’s dead’, and he was pretty sure of it, but I’m pretty sure he’s not, not yet, anyway. I would have heard of it, I mean, I heard Demi Roussos went the other day, as I’ve got the BBC News Channel on all the time. And if I heard that, I would definitely have heard if Glen Campbell died. Anyway, Chris went across to sit on the bench while I played his Wonderful Land. After, he came over to say how annoying it was when a bus went by, as it completely blocked off the sound. I said I agreed with him and I was thinking of getting a petition up, to get the buses redirected while I’m playing here.
After Chris left, it didn’t pick up much, then an Italian bloke – young, about 20 – wanted to buy a CD. This was after The Third Man, which he’d been filming, which annoyed me a bit as he hadn’t donated or said anything. Then when he opened his wallet, he only had a £5 note and a bit of change, but I noticed he had some euro notes so I said he could have the CD for his 10 euro note, which he did. He seemed a nice chap – Simon (unusual name for an Italian!), he didn’t know much English but shook my hand and took my card as he wanted to know my name. Anyway, I can get the note changed at the bank – I’m sure I can get around £8 out of it.
I packed up after an hour and a bit and headed up the road…there was that big brown UPS van parked up at Pavilion and it didn’t look like it was going anywhere, so I walked the bike through the alley and came across Delia who’d just come out of the church where she’d been listening to an organist. I chatted with her for a couple of minutes then went through to The Butter Cross. A bit colder there but there was no one playing so I set up. I couldn’t do more than half an hour, anyway, as some Gas Care bloke was coming to the house at 3 o’clock, or rather, sometime between 3 and 5 to look at the boiler…and I’ve got to go to the bank and get that 120 euro sorted out! The half hour went OK, in fact I must have got at least £10, which is double the usual!
At 2:35, I packed up and went to the bank up the road. While I was in the queue, Sue Kerrigan – who sorted out the business when all my money was stolen – came up and asked how I was. I showed her the euro note and said I hoped to get £10 out of it. She said I should, as the rate of exchange is really good right now. There was an old guy in front of me who’d been listening, who turned round and said I should get TEN quid out of it. I said I didn’t think so, to which he replied that I was probably right ,as the bank here was ‘rubbish’. He then started on about his accounts in France, Italy, Germany – ‘When I was on the coaches…oh yeah, with all the tips I got, I ‘ad to, to keep the money, and they were much better than the ones over ‘ere (he then told me the exact interest rates)…I’ve still got the ones in France, and every year, because I’m a customer, they send me an invite to a dinner and piss-up, you know. You don’t get nothin’ from this one!’
I asked if he was retired. ‘I am now, well into my eighties’. ‘Really?’ I said. ‘Yeah, but I was still on the coaches up till 2006. Yeah, did a trip to Moscow, and at Berlin, went through Checkpoint Charlie, you know. We ‘ad a Russian woman get on and sit at the front the whole way from Berlin to Moscow’. ‘The whole way?’ I said. ‘Yeah, sat next to me, and when we got to Moscow they put screens on all the windows so the people couldn’t see outside…what was goin’ on, in the streets. And at the hotel, you couldn’t go out. Well, me and someone else walked out and about a hundred feet away, two men in black leather jackets came up and pointed and said “You back to hotel”. Oh yeah, worse than the Gestapo, they were’. Now, I didn’t bother to ask about his experiences with the Gestapo, but I said ‘Really?…wow, you should write this down, you know’ (or someone else will!). He laughed at that. Don’t laugh, it’s true!
Then he started on another story, about a man flashing as they were going across a bridge, and then he was called to the counter, and a minute later I was there, and what did they offer me for the 10 euro note? £6.81p. Terrible! But the cashier said I could try a currency exchange place in Jewry Street, opposite the library, so I said I’d do that. And just outside the bank door was the old guy. He’d been waiting for me to find out how much I’d got for the note! So I told him and then HE told me to go to the place in Jewry Street. So I did, and how much did THEY offer me? £6.87p. That’s right, 6p more than the bank. I took it! Simon, you got a good deal: a 21 song CD for less than 7 quid.
Earnings: £25.06p (Including 1 new but coverless CD)