Diary Of A Busker Day 710 Wednesday March 25th 2015 (Opposite Oxfam, Time: not noted, approx. 1:15-2:45pm)
It’s another cold day (temperature 7 degrees) and there’s no way I’m going in to play three hours in one go, so I’m going to split it up and come home in between. There’s a young strummer in a top hat and with loads of effects/tapes at The Butter Cross…and two big vans around the corner at Pavilion…and Big Issue bloke at Vodafone. So it’s down to the arse-end…and four songs before the first donation: a woman who was very complimentary, then asked ‘Does it take long to learn a song?’ I said ‘Yes, it does. It takes a long time to learn every song’.
Jeremy, who’d been sitting across the road at one of the Mont Blanc tables, comes over and says he liked the Gymnopedie I just played. I have to inform him that it wasn’t the Gymnopedie, it was the 5th Gnossienne. He says ‘Ah, yes…well I’ve just been to a friend’s funeral (he didn’t look too smart, though. Unshaven, old clothes. Jeremy, not the dead bloke)…I think I would have preferred the Gymnopedie…more light-hearted’. Well, excuse me, maybe you should have come over and told me that when I got here, you pompous twat. I can’t stand him. Don’t ever pass judgement on people who play in the street, you know. The ‘job’ is hard enough, sometimes. Weirdly, on the way in, I was cycling next to a hearse. I wonder if the occupant was his friend…
Another offender. A man stands next to me while I finish a song, then says ‘I read some of your blog (ughh, I hate that word) last week. Very interesting’. I asked how he’d come across it and he said ‘From Winchester Pics, the Facebook page’. He then praised my endurance and I said I didn’t have much choice in the matter: I HAVE to do this. He asked if I did anything else so I said I did lessons and other things to do with guitar stuff. He then says he teaches guitar at primary school and goes on about that.
Anyway, he’s there for about five minutes, during which time I’ve stopped playing to talk to him, and he just walks off, no contribution! I couldn’t believe it, I mean you’d think that if he’s read anything of mine he’d know the one thing I cannot abide is someone engaging in conversation – especially a few minutes – then buggering off without leaving any coinage. His name is Andy. Well, Andy, you should know better. Shame on you.
My councillor walked by. He doesn’t look nearly as happy (or generous) as during the week he donated £60! It doesn’t matter, he’s donated well above the call of duty…probably more than anyone else, in fact.
The nanny who used to come by with little Adriana, came by this time with another baby, asleep in a pram, and the father, who I’d never seen before. Apparently Adriana’s walking now. When they first pulled up, I saw the pram and said ‘Oh, it’s Adriana’, then realised if it was her, she’d regressed back to a baby! Anyway, the father said ‘We didn’t see you in the winter, did you have a break?’ I said I hadn’t, that we must have kept missing each other. But I’d never seen this man before, only the nanny and the little girl. I said to say hello to her from me, then thought ‘What an idiot, a year and a half year old isn’t going to remember me!’
I did an hour and a half for 2/3rds of the usual rate. Very disappointing…it better be better later on…
…but I never went back. This is what happened. At 4:20, just as I was about to leave, I saw there was a message on the phone. It was from Chris O’Neill – ‘I need you to be in Barcelona tomorrow, I’ve been let down by someone’. I phoned him back and he was actually on a plane about to take off! That’s illegal, isn’t it? Anyway, he said he was desperate to get a replacement dep for a cruise and would sort me out money-wise for whatever I had to cancel, so I said I’d do it. He gave me his wife Gill’s number – she would be sorting out the arrangements. I phoned, left a message then looked at the train and coach times to Heathrow and packed a case. I thought, I’ll have to stay here, do all this, and also have to stay here until Gill phones, who I’ve never met.
I didn’t hear from anyone for two and a half hours, then got a message from Chris saying he’d made a mistake – he’d got his ‘wires crossed’, and that was that! Oh well…if I’d done it, I would have bumped the missed guitar lessons up from £50 to £100…and what about the money I lost out on because I stayed in to wait for the call? We’re talking fifteen quid or so. Serious money there.