Diary Of A Busker Day 2309 Saturday February 10th 2024 Winchester High Street.
There’s a strummer man down The Pentice and harpist Meeta at her usual crossroads residence…nothing much happening in The Square so I’m back up near Jewry Street…and after an hour and a half nothing much happening there apart from a woman who took a photo of my bike.
After a break back home, the strummer’s gone so I set up camp at The Buttercross. A couple sit high up on the steps behind me and after a bit the man comes down and wants to pay me £5 on the card reader, which he’s able to do after a few minutes after I get the stupid thing to work – ‘People told me after the pandemic that I’d have to get one of these as no one would be carrying any cash. Well, they’re great when they work. But anyway, people are still carrying around cash.’
His name is Calvin and he asks how long I’ve been playing; I know what he means – he means how many years but I give him the usual ‘Oh around twenty minutes.’ Then it’s ‘what is your favourite song?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know…I have lots, I suppose. They’re all different. Do you play the guitar?’
‘No, but I’d like to get a guitar or a piano.’
‘Well, a guitar’s a bit easier to carry around.’
I haven’t stopped playing during this exchange but I feel I should stop for a minute, and donate some advice as he’s donated a fiver.
‘If you get a guitar, get a Spanish one…easier on the fingers, and make sure the action – that’s how high the strings are from the fretboard, is nice and low. Try and practise every day, even for just five minutes but do it every day. It’s not much and you might not notice any difference but there WILL be a difference. Just keep at it, etc…
Calvin lifts his girlfriend off the steps and they walk off down The Pentice.
A bit later, as I’m doing Jesu (and concentrating on it because I haven’t done it in awhile) a bloke with patterned trousers comes up – ‘Can I sit down here?’
‘You can sit down where you want.’
‘OH THE ANGELS!’ he starts singing, which throws me off and I have to stop playing and collect my thoughts.
‘Sorry’ he says. I carry on where I left off…he stars up again ‘HARK THE HERALD!’ so I again stop.
‘Sorry…I’m a busker myself’ he says.
‘Then you’ll know that being interrupted is really off-putting!’
No apology this time. I resume playing and he drifts off.
‘I’m a busker myself’ – no you’re not, you’re a wanker.