By Geoff Vause
“I’ll have to tell the judge I don’t recognise this court at all,” Jimmy McGuiness said outside Masterton District Court yesterday.
“I think it’s been redecorated since I was here last.”
The wiry 70-year-old busker brought his Irish humour back to town from Timaru for the appearance of the man who allegedly robbed him of his hat and around $40 in takings when he was playing his accordion on Queen Street on August 13.
Mr McGuinness had pursued the man but failed to catch him because his “new shoes weren’t for running” and he had run out of breath.
Soon after, he said, a girl on a bike had handed him a plastic bag containing the hat and a few remaining silver coins.
He said the frightening experience, the only such incident in almost a decade of busking, had not put him off playing in Masterton’s streets.
He had spent some time busking on Friday and Saturday last week.
“My takings have been a bit down because everyone wants to talk to me,” he said.
“I feel like a pop star. People here are so nice. They all come up and say they saw Hayley’s [reporter Hayley Gastmeier’s] story in the Times-Age.
“The manager of Farmers came out and shook my hand.
“He said he thought they might have scared me away.
“The girls in Ten-O’clock Cookie brought me out some savouries and a cup of tea while I was playing. I’ve spent more time talking than busking.
“It’s nice to be made so welcome. The robbery didn’t put me off coming back to Masterton at all.”
Mr McGuinness, from Louth, “Ireland’s smallest county”, mixes his Irish jigs and reels with what he calls “continental melodies” and some of his own compositions.
“I’m often asked if I’ve made a CD. I have quite a repertoire. I’ve been playing accordion since I was eight.
“I’ve played on TV in Australia and did a live appearance on the Holmes Show. I’m getting quite well known.”
An 18-year-old Masterton male was yesterday remanded without plea to October 10 on charges of wilful damage arising from a broken window at WINZ, shoplifting at a Masterton clothing store, and theft.