Diary Of A Busker Day 704 Tuesday March 10th 2015 Winchester (1. Opposite Vodafone, Time: 2-4pm, 2. Opposite Oxfam, Time: 4:40-5:20pm).
A slow start: FOUR songs before any coinage (two donations for Here Comes The Sun), but a perfectly acceptable temperature: 12 degrees. A mildly offensive incident occurs as a bunch of foreign students march by. A boy leans in and shouts ‘Yeah!’ then walks off, laughing. No donation. I mean, if you’re going to shout ‘Yeah!’, leave a bloody donation. And then a man didn’t completely stub his fag out in the ashtray on top of the bin on my left. It fell on the pavement and smouldered a good three minutes before it finally expired…oh, then a man donated, but a penny fell outside the bucket. He said ‘Oh, you can get it later’…oh, and then it happened again with another man. Only this time he never even said anything, he just kept walking.
Oh, and then another man, about 60. The conversation:
Man – ‘Takes some doing, being out here, eh?’
Me – ‘Well…sometimes, I suppose’.
Man – ‘I mean, memory…all those songs’.
Me – ‘Well, I get alot of practice, you know’.
Man – ‘Hmm…well, I’ve got a guitar, but…’
Me – ‘Well, you’re welcome to come out here. You don’t need a licence’.
Man – ‘Here? Oh no, I live in Surrey’.
Me – ‘Oh well, if you’re here and you want to kill half an hour while your wife’s shopping and you’ve got your guitar’.
Man – ‘Oh no, she’d be embarrassed’.
One good thing. I got through The Rain Song, which I hadn’t done in ages, and made no mistakes! It was a two hour set. Very long, and I was going to go home…but decided to resume playing after a break at Waterstones, where I browsed through a small book left on a table: Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards. Quite interesting. The death knell tolled for facial hair during The First World War when it was discovered the seals on gas masks wouldn’t work on hairy faces.
Back out, it was getting colder and I really didn’t fancy setting up again but I had to or the last 40 minutes would have been a total waste, apart from learning that fascinating fact concerning hairiness in the First World War. But in that 40 minutes, I could have gone home for 20 minutes! Anyway, it was again a few songs in before the first donation, from one of my old lady regulars (OLR). She requested Yellow Bird, which I was only too happy to do once I’d sorted out the tuning. I explained the process to her: I have to lower the pitch of two strings, tune it all up, wait for the neck to settle as the tension’s all changed, tune it all up again. It all went over her head – ‘Oh, I don’t know anything about music’ (but you know what you like, lady, right?)
…and then, just as I was about to start, the legend that is Frank Williams comes by with his two dogs and proceeds to tell his story about trying to fix his accordion – ‘…and it needed a bit of plasticine behind the reed for the note, so I went to The Toy Cupboard but they didn’t have any. She said “We’ve only got Play Dough”. Well, that won’t work (one of the dogs makes a sound)…well, mustn’t stand around talking…the pub calls’. For once, Frank wasn’t wearing that filthy hat, and he also didn’t smell nearly as bad as he usually does. Maybe it was the hat.
After Frank left, I finally started Yellow Bird, and the woman promptly walks off! Then there were no donations for ages and I got quite distressed. I think I should have gone home after the first session, which was, after all, two hours straight through. That, or I needed more than a 40 minute break. As it was, I stuck it out for another 40 minutes and earned another tenner.