Diary Of A Busker Day 2295 Farmer’s Market, East Street, Chichester.
I wish I’d never signed up for it. I mean it’s not as if they were paying me for it; “they” being West Sussex County Council, and “it” being the Farmer’s Market. But a contract is a bloody contract and I said I’d be up for it, weeks ago…when it was warm.
It’s from 9 till 2 so I had to get a train an hour earlier than I normally would have. The trouble is, it was a solitary 1 degree when I got to Chichester and my gloved hands were pretty cold even before I’d got to East Street.
I found Frances – the council connection, she showed me where to set up – there was a gazebo opposite Lloyds Bank , and next to it was a gazebo woman-ed by Della and Vicky who were selling some stuff in small boxes – I can’t remember more than that.
I got set up super quick and was Albatrossing it by 10:50. It was so cold and my fingers had slowed down, that by the time I’d got to the Theme From Tales Of The Unexpected, I could barely negotiate the triplets. And that was only the second song! By 11:45 I was in pain, and because I’d had my breakfast an hour earlier than usual, I was starving so I got the packed lunch out – a peanut butter sandwich, a sandwich spread sandwich, three cherries, two olives and a fig, and started on that, having a bite of sandwich after every song. By 12:05 I’d scoffed the lot, which was unfortunate because thinking of the next bite was keeping my mind off the cold and once the grub had gone, it was back to I’M SO FUCKING COLD!!!
At 12:45 I had to stop. I packed the guitar up, chucked the rest in the case and asked Della and Vicky if they could look after the stuff while I went to a warm place for a cup of coffee for a few minutes. They said I should go to Greggs – it was a couple of doors up, so I did but there was a queue of about 10 – no way…I looked across the road and saw the M&S shop and there was a cafe upstairs so I went there and got my hands round a warm cup for 20 minutes. That helped a lot but my fingertips were still tingling by the time I left; but I couldn’t stay any longer or Frances would be about and wonder what had happened to me, even though, as I said, I wasn’t getting paid for it.
So back out and wouldn’t you know it, Frances is there, gabbing to the two women. I’m setting up and she’s going “How’s Marvin?” to the women. “He’s really good”, I’m relieved to say they said, and then Frances – “Yeah, he’s alright…when he plays!” as if I’m skiving off!
Ten minutes in, while I’m checking the tuning, a man comes up with sunglasses – “You, uh…you have to book a place here? You know, to play?” “No, well I used to but I don’t do that anymore. I can’t be bothered. But I’m here now because it’s a council thing. The council asked me to do it so I wouldn’t have booked it, anyway…but I don’t bother with phoning up on Monday, to book a spot, anyway. Not anymore.” “No…no, I don’t think I’ll do it…anyway, keep goin’, bro.” Well…BRO, I certainly did, and made it through and it wasn’t nearly as tortuous as the first set. But then, it had warmed up to FIVE degrees by then. Bloody tropical, it was.
An older man came up – “I used to have one like that – a Gretsch. A red one with a roller bridge.What model is that? ’bout £2,000 aren’t they?” “Yeah, well, American ones are. This is Korean – it’s an Electromatic and only a few hundred quid…and it sounds pretty good, sounds as good as any American one.” It sounded alright on While My Guitar not-so-gently Fucking Freezes, anyway. I stopped at five past two, which made a grand total of 2 1/2 hours and an even grander total of £11.38 – that’s the profit after the £13.95 train fare was taken off.