Monday, October 31, 2016

Another Bite On The Couch

As my Craigs List ad nears its expiration date, 45 days after I posted it, I have gotten another call. This time, from a Ukranian girl named, Olya.
Maybe a Ukranian will not balk, as the previous 5 Americans have, at the fact that this is a roommate situation and not their own private room, containing a couch and all the amenities that they will have their own key to and can lock behind them.
If I renew the ad, I am going to emphasize the fact that the apartment is to be shared with myself.
I suppose my lack of concern over having anything of value to steal out of the place is conversely their great concern about leaving luggage, camera, laptop, hair dryer etc behind where I could get at them.
Thievery is a knife that cuts both ways; still, it would be easier for someone to flee to the Ukraine with my VHS copy of Pulp Fiction, than it would be for me to abandon my apartment and live in hiding in order to abscond with their tablet.
 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Like A Charm

  • Louise Hoodoo Strikes
  • Like A Charm

Burning music onto CD's works like a charm.

The blank discs are $6 for a box of ten = .65¢ a piece, including tax. They hold 80 minutes of music.
So, it is basically ¾ of a penny per minute of music.

I have burned a lot of music that I had laying around from old recordings, made on the laptop, when it worked. I plan upon cringing while listening to it out of my CD player slash radio; and then being glad that I sound so much better now that the older stuff will be cringe-provoking.

Louise The Tarot Card Reader


Louise has struck again.

I saw her headed towards the Unique Store, after having had my 54 dollar Friday night, at about 3:30 AM. She had a cat and a dog, along with her cartload of stuff.

I happened to mention the big bag of food that Harold won't eat, which was given to me by my neighbor, Wayne, because his cat wouldn't eat it, either. It is a 3 pound bag.

"Sure," Louise would love to have that 3 pound bag of food for her cat; she will be out all weekend (because it is Voodoo Fest); and her cat will definitely eat it, out of hunger, eventually.

So, for the past 2 nights, I have had the extra weight of the bag of cat food in my pack, and have not seen Louise.

I have taken Royal Street, against the flow of traffic and adding an extra quarter mile at least to my journey, hoping to see Louise and to dump off the bag of cat food.

In the 2 days that I have not seen her, I have delayed my arrival at the Lilly Pad by maybe 20 minutes (costing me, what, about 7 dollars?) and have burned extra calories toting the bag. I am pretty sure that, the day I leave the bag at home, I will run into Louise immediately upon getting into the Quarter, and she will immediately ask me if I have ir. Now, I almost have to keep carrying it, just to avoid that scenario.

Power2Go

  • $54.00 Friday
  • $22.50 Saturday
  • Cheap Music

I have had a brainstorm, and an idea has come up, and it is this:

I will go to a Wal-Mart type store, or maybe even scour the dollar stores, and buy blank CD's that can have music burned onto them, and then I will insert them into these computers in the computer room at Sacred Heart Apartments, and, hopefully be able to burn hours and hours of music onto them from stuff I can download.

The program that is installed on this computer (right) seems to have the capability to even take just the audio off of video clips and burn them onto CD's.

I don't know why I hadn't thought of this sooner, or at least as soon as I had bought the radio slash CD player.

Voodoo Fest

Friday night, I went out and played on my 3rd night of not smoking weed.

Voodoo Fest is going on. I'm not really sure what Voodoo Fest is, exactly.

There were a lot of people from Seattle, which is where the team that is coming in to square off against the Saints in the Superdome, is from.

I had some good listeners, and was thrown a 20 dollar tip Friday night, and a 10 dollar one on Saturday night.
 
It was easy to play for 3 hours before taking a break. I was using both of my harmonicas, and found that the changing of the keys is enough of a change of pace to keep me interested for, probably twice as long.
I played for 4 hours, probably a record session. 54 bucks was made, which is $13.50 per hour, and a vast improvement upon the summer months, but I hope only a transition into making closer to 20 bucks an hour in the future. And, if I can maintain the stamina for 4 hour nights, I might be able to get ahead.

It is Sunday, and I kind of want to watch football.

VCR Reclaimed By Ed And Rose

Wednesday night, after I had taken 3 nights off, feeling listless, probably from having ingested a lot of sugar, I got a call from Rose, who wanted to borrow money for cigarettes.

I had hardly any cash laying around, and told her so.

About an hour later, Ed knocked on my door, asking for the VCR back, which I was borrowing to go along with the TV that I bought from them. Ed said that he had found someone who would pay 20 bucks for it. Rose really needed cigarettes, he added.

I will have to think about whether or not I want to get another VCR. The movies are only 57 cents each at the Goodwill, but, I imagine the selection in the type of movies I like will get a little thin.

If I were to get a DVD player instead, I might not have to pay much more for it than for a VCR, and I would imagine the selection of movies to be much more extensive, and of course much more recent, than the stuff on the VHS rack. There must have come a year when they just plain stopped putting new releases in the VHS format; maybe around 2004 A.D.

Then, of course, if I alternatively invest in the 30 dollar "digital converter box," then future movies and, in fact, 22 or so channels, in all, of mostly garbage, would become available to me for free. I wouldn't have the luxury of choosing the programming, but, if  a movie sucks, I can just change the channel and I haven't wasted 57 cents.

A lot of economics seem to involve spending a lump sum in order to save money over the long run. Rechargeable batteries and a charger for 20 dollars, rather than $1.75 for batteries every 3 or 4 days comes to mind in that category.

I am pretty excited about the idea of burning music onto CD's to listen to in my room; and I think I might go now to check the dollar store for blank discs.
...light bulbs, socks, underwear, bath salts...blank CD's...

I need light bulbs, and could use some underwear and socks and bath salts.

I got confirmation that I will be getting food money in less than 6 days. There had been some doubt, as I had to go to the "Job1" place and tell them that I busked for at least 30 hours per week, and that, by virtue of such, I am "employed," and do not need to register for assistance in finding employment and actively look for it and meticulously document my job search in order to continue receiving food stamp money.
The last time I was prompted to register with them, I had had to get a notarized letter stating that I busked for at least 30 hours per week.
This time, the young black lady working behind the computer recognized me from the Lilly Pad, saying that she has seen me there more than once; and this saved me a 10 dollar notarization fee. Hallelujah.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Thank You. No, I Mean It!

$16.50 Friday

Friday night, I got to the Lilly Pad relatively early, maybe 10:30 PM.

There was a guy with a guitar and a girl with a banjo and singing on the corner right across from the bar, and barely audible over its din.

I was pretty sure that they were there because, apart from being right across from the bar, it was about the best lit spot, with the light of a street lamp a half block away hitting them. Lafitt's, in its attempt to preserve the late 18th century look, and reinforce its "oldest bar in North America" image, is lighted only by candles inside and gas lamps out front.

Maybe after I had walked past the pair and down the street a ways and had hung my spotlight in the vine, creating a circle of light around me, they had thought: Why didn't we think of that?

I made the above amount in probably a little over 2 hours, but would have played longer had my latest (Folkmaster) harmonica not shown its first signs of wearing out, with one of the draw holes sounding only with difficulty. The fact that it sounds at all could mean that I just need to rinse, oh I don't know, maybe brown sugar? off of that particular reed with warm water, and maybe that will fix it.
It's good to know that I can order another one for about 18 bucks, through MusiciansFriend.com, and have it here in about 4 days.

"Thank You"

I really need to come up with a mechanism for, and this may sound pretentious, dealing with people who are effusive in their praise of my musicianship. All of the better buskers have them, I've noticed; yet haven't taken enough notes on them.

A young lady last night had told me something to the effect of wanting me to know that she had really enjoyed the song that I had played, and that I had talent and that I should never stop playing nor give up on my dreams, etc. 

Modesty keeps me from elaborating upon the encomiums that she heaped upon me.

I think that she was genuinely (pretty drunk and) trying to encourage me. 

Perhaps she was recalling a time in her life when she had self doubts, insecurities, and was struggling with issues of self esteem when someone came along; maybe her diving coach; and, holding her by the arms, looked her in the eyes and gave her such a pep talk that, bolstered by that encouragement, the young lady was able to nail a triple Louganis (or something) and take home the Nebraska State Finals trophy.

I hadn't felt like I had gone completely into my "zone" in a performance during which I was hindered by the one plugged note on the harmonica and plus, I was playing my second consecutive night without the aid(?) of marijuana and things seemed mundane and I didn't feel like I had just played anything really special. (290 days without drinking; 2 days without pot, for the record).

A certain apathy towards what she was saying must have been legible in my expression, or maybe she sensed a world-weariness about me because, at one point, as she was staring into my eyes, and in the middle of saying something like: "You've got it in you; the sky's the limit; reach for the stars; there's nothing you can't overcome if you just..." she suddenly stopped, frowned, and then kind of dejectedly said: "Whatever," and walked away.

She did leave me 5 bucks, though.

Back to the point, though, I need to develop some kind of ready response to people who are profuse in their praise.

I Wish I Had That Problem


Saying "thank you" is only half of the battle; it is all in the tone with which it is said.

I haven't paid close enough attention to how the real professionals handle it, outside of studying Tanya Huang, who is informed that she is any variant of "amazing" on such frequent occasions that she has developed a pat response to it.

For her, this is a smile while saying "thank you." 

The smile is like one that she might offer if someone walked up with a camera and asked: "Do you mind if I get a picture of you?" after she replied "No, go right ahead."

There was a guy who dressed like a leprechaun in St. Augustine, Florida and sang (Irish, I guess) songs in a tenor voice. When people threw tips in his hat, he too, would say "thank you." But, he would say it with a tone of great surprise, as in: "Oh, gosh, almighty, I wasn't expecting that at all! Why thank you!" with just the "thank you" part, of course.

I have tried that, and like it as well as any other. Changing the very next word coming up in the song to "thank you" is what I do when I am in the middle of playing. "Jeremiah was a thank you; was a good friend of mine..." type of thing.

I think Brian Hudson has a good "thank you," I believe he works "I appreciate that," into it, said in a tone that implies: If you only knew how many hours I spent on getting that song right, kind of like he appreciates the fact that at least one person is praising him for it.

Of course the big acts that get tipped hundreds of times during a performance abbreviate their thank you's to a nod of the head or a slight compression of the lips, maybe a quarter smile.

Christina Friis (above with Brian Hudson) has a very sincere "thank you" that I'm not sure I could pull off. She is from Denmark, where people are basically more sincere, I think.

But it is the tourists who walk up and say things like: "I just want you to know that my wife and I have been listening to you for the past half hour from the balcony up there as we were eating our meal and we have just totally enjoyed it and we think you are one of the best....etc...etc" that can quite simply embarrass a guy.

And, again, if this sounds pretentious ("oh, I wish I had that problem: how to deal with people telling you how great you are") I will point out that, given the wide variety of musical tastes in people, there will be someone to tell almost every musician that they are great; even the guy who plays the 3 note intro of "Smoke On The Water," by Deep Purple on a distorted electric guitar will have some drunk dude come along and say: "Man, you rock! That sounds awesome! I hate all this horn and violin and acoustic guitar crap! Give me Richie Blackmore any day!"

Granted, the latter guy might not be as hard pressed to come up with a way to deflect praise and remain humble, as it may be few and far between, but I seem to fall somewhere in the middle and garner maybe one or two per week who befuddle me.

You can say: "Thank you, that means a lot to me," but if it isn't said in the right way, then you might get a "whatever," and a girl walking away.
I have tried: "Thank you for appreciating it," -thanking them right back; but am not really sold on that one, either. 



Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's The Sugar

It is a bit past 8 PM, Thursday night.

I went out last night and probably made 8 dollars.

This was at least something, as I had gotten to the Lilly Pad late and didn't start to play until midnight.

A tourist couple had sat down on the stoop as I was locking my bike across from the bar.

By the time I had gotten over there and was setting up my spotlight, a skeezer, an older black guy who works the block, had invited himself to sit besides the apparently drunk couple.

Being gregariously intoxicated, and in a "sure, why not?" mood in general, the couple slid over a few inches to allow the guy to join them.

To his credit, he fascinated them with whatever tales he was telling them (I have seen the guy in action, and he will adjust his skeeze to whatever tourists he is working. He has been to college, if that helps; is a Jack of all trades and used to work in the same industry as them, if that helps; has a brother in whatever U.S. city they might be from or from the nearest better known city if that helps; and if the tourists happen to be something like underwater welders, or arachnid breeders, then he has another cousin who will take a temporary (a few minutes) job in that field; a cousin whose line of work the skeezer has always been interested in and wanted to learn more about.

By the time I had set up my stuff, and before I could play my first note, the rest of the couples group had come along and whisked them away, but not before the skeezer closed his sale with the guy handing him a bill with the body language that said: "How, 'bout that, is that enough for ya?"
Then, as the skeezer continued to sit there by himself, and I harbored a low level disdain over the fact that, once again, tourists had eschewed a guy who was obviously out there on a dead Wednesday night trying to make money, and even had a tip jar, in favor of a skeezer who should have been obvious (to them) in his trying to make money, and whom they should have doubted has a brother who manufactures propane tanks for fishing vessels just like them.

I suppose I credit the guy for taking advantage of the situation and working his skeeze in a way that had him "in and out of there" in about 10 minutes with probably 20 bucks; and I will not judge him harshly for taking advantage of the inebriated, lest I start handing back tips from people who slur "Keep rockin', dude" as they put a 20 in my jar. "Let me give you 15 back in change, you're probably feeling pretty good tonight and I think you went a little overboard with that tip..."

And, to his enduring credit, after I turned to the skeezer, and asked: "You good?" (meaning; did you get what you wanted and now have no reason to continue sitting there, now that your bones have been rested?) trying to keep the indignation out of my voice, he asked back:

"Am I bashing your hustle?"

To which, I replied: "Yeah, as soon as I start playing, I'd rather be sitting here alone; it's just business.."

"No problem," said the guy and walked off. This convinced me that the tourist had indeed given him a 20 or maybe a 50, and he was giddy with the anticipation of spending it and brimming with love for his Fellow Man.

I suppose, had I gotten there 5 minutes sooner, I may have been in on the bonanza.

It's The Sugar

Getting here to the computer room, where I have technically run past the allotted time period, required me sitting up in bed at about 7 PM, amazed at how darned tired I was, even though I had "slept" for about 8 hours.

The feeling was similar to when I used to drink and would start to nod off and would just want to lay down somewhere; anywhere (that grassy area behind that dumpster is good; I just want to sleep) with the tiredness seeming to be settled in the lower abdomen area.

A Recurrence of The Dream

I had slept fitfully; not wanting to get up, at one point, to snap the overhead light off because its output would soon pale in the light coming in the windows from the coming day.

I had the dream where I lose my guitar and backpack. In this one, I had set the pack down and leaned the guitar on a mailbox or something, turned to look at something across the street "for just a second" and then looked back to see an empty sidewalk where my stuff had been. In the dream, it was the Takamine guitar that was missing, indicating that the recurrent nightmare has been revised and updated.

The guy that I was with in the dream was an older gentleman whom I last saw in 1991, though, who assured me, enigmatically: "You owe more than that," after telling me that he would replace my stuff.
The good news, is that I have isolated sugar as the cause of a list of maladies with listlessness being on the list.

I have had problems with concentration; being able to feel like I had gotten an hour's worth of stuff done in the time it took the clock's hands to rotate once, and time management, in general.

The fatigue which has caused me to sleep longer and to wake from it with very low ambition the past few days has also run concurrent with my first ever purchase of a bag of sugar (after reading a book called "Sugar Blues," by William T. Dufty when I was about 20, I literally went the next 30 years or so on a sugar free diet. I was getting an inordinate amount of "high fructose corn syrup," which, it could be argued was merely a substitute for sucrose. I would have the occasional 29 cent piece of caramel to go with a cup of coffee, but certainly had never purchased a 3 pound bag of sugar in my life -I would have blushed when I put it on the register).

A few days ago, I bought a 3 pound bag of brown sugar, partly because it was on sale for $1.99.
It has made my oatmeal with walnuts and cinnamon pretty delicious, as well as my coffee, the past few days. But, in the past few days, along has come the laundry list of physical complaints.

"I haven't gone out and played the past few nights, I've been depressed," I told Rose Wednesday morning after she called wanting to borrow 5 bucks.

I couldn't isolate sugar as the cause of the problem at first because, I had delved into eating the dozen of eggs that had come in a food bank box and which had sat in my refrigerator until they were the only thing sitting in there, a few days ago.

The feeling of waking up feeling as if I had been kicked and beaten in my sleep, and of not liking the tone of my skin color when passing by mirrors, had its onset at the same time.

The eggs ran out the day before. It's the sugar that is the culprit. And, to think some people get heaps of it every day, in following the "American Diet," which is full of it, along with fat (but not as much salt in recent decades) and other suspicious foods. How many "chronic fatigue" patients would have an epiphany, and a blessing of health if they tried crossing the 3 pound bag of sugar off their grocery list...?

I'm now drinking straight black coffee again, and will dump out the last of the brown sugar and try to get back to the life I once knew, when I at least woke up with plenty of energy to squander or not, after 8 hours of sleep.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Phone Home

The matter of returning the phone to its owner was actually a problem that, had I been on the other end of the stick, I probably could have solved much sooner. I was pussyfooting around the matter; especially after discovering that the thing had wi-fi available.



Maybe the situation with the phone sheds light upon how I am behind the curve in an increasingly connected-through-technology, society.

If it were my phone that were lost, I would hope that whomever found it would basically call back the numbers of the most recent "missed calls," as I had.

These would be the people who were trying to call the guy that night, as his phone lay on the concrete.
They were at least that recently in his life, which makes it likely that they also see him in person, at least the ones with local phone numbers; because friendships conducted entirely over the phone between people who are in close proximity would seem anomalies. Looking at the picture of the owner on the front of the phone, I could even picture him saying: "I'll talk to you when I get there," before disconnecting the call and then missing his pocket with the phone (right as a trolley was passing, masking the sound of it hitting the pavement).

If anyone was calling him for a reason that they deemed important, then they would certainly explore other avenues to find him, even if just to learn why he hasn't been answering their calls. Plus, the man appears, in his phone pic, to be in his early to mid 70's; and, when you are that age and stop answering your phone suddenly; people wonder. People listed as beneficiaries in his life insurance policy wonder.

I thus have to admit that I was pussyfooting around the matter of getting the phone back to the guy, because I liked to be able to surf the web on it from my room and record videos (only one of which came out alright) of myself performing songs.

When I finally brought the matter to the attention of one of the security ladies, whom is almost always doing something with her own phone when I see her, and who is young enough so that she probably texts with her thumbs faster and better than she writes in cursive (if she even knows how to) the matter was settled in less than an hour.

Through a quick survey of the phone, she determined that its service had been cut off, probably by the owner, and this gave her a pretty good idea, even, of what type of service contract the guy had.
All's Well That Ends Well

She suggested that I take the phone into the office of Tim, my caseworker, who dialed a number from it, using his own phone, which had nationwide service.

Blood Thicker Than Water

The number was listed in Georgia, but was filed in the contacts under the heading of "home."

I had seen this myself, but envisioned it as being connected to some little cottage out in rural Georgia where, perhaps, some of his family still live, and which is a place that he will always call "home."

It didn't seem to me that the people "1,000 miles away" in Georgia would be in a better position to assist in the returning of the phone, than the ones right here in the neighborhood, but, illustrating that blood is thicker than water, the guy's ex-wife ("we're still close, though") answered, and was immediately able to grasp the situation, make a call to the guy's son, who was here at Sacred Heart within the hour, brimming over with relief, gratitude and other things that aren't reward money,* as the phone was returned to the hands of it's rightful owner, having sustained no more damage than having had a 2 minute video of myself playing and singing "Howard's Morning Routine," an original of mine, added to its memory.

*I am joking about the reward money; in fact I turned to phone over entirely to the care of Tim, my caseworker, who took all the credit and blessings in my stead.
Again, would you accept reward money from this guy (above)?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday Morning Conscious

  • The Phone
  • Studio Time
  • To Busk Or Not

Obviously, I'm not going to keep the phone that I found, since finding the guy who lost it would be so easy.

Could you steal this guy's (above) phone?

I think I will call in a while to see if I can set up a place to meet him; quickly and effortlessly.

I kind of wanted to shoot a video of myself playing and then be able to, I guess, somehow take it off the phone, and use it on the blog, or something. But, the thing that concerns me, of course, would be the sound quality, and that might involve placing the phone on some kind of tripod and recording in a room with decent acoustics, and then, of course figuring out how position it so that the vocals can be heard over the guitar, but so that the harmonica isn't too loud, etc.

I should probably Google "How to record a demo on a mobile phone," along with looking up the specific phone, perhaps. And, all of that would take time; time that the guy will spend thinking about his phone, and I wouldn't want to be put through that, myself.

If I want to record video on a phone like that, I will just have to buy one of my own.

Ok, I just looked up the phone and it is a $130 phone, brand new, and $89.99 for the used one that I saw.

Not exactly chump change, and I guess that explains why I was able to surf the web from the comfort of my room; something that I wasn't even able to do with my now defunct laptop.

I guess mobile phones have achieved almost world-wide Internet access by now -anywhere you can get a signal, type of thing- I had better give the phone back before I get to like it too much...

Tomorrow, Jim the artist is scheduled to be in the studio at Tipitina's. I plan to drop in, unannounced, and see if he want's to collaborate on a song or jam or something.

I still need to find the guys who live "behind Louis Armstrong Park," who shot that video of me at the Lilly Pad. Maybe that will answer the question of what kind of quality can you get by just pointing and shooting a mobile phone.

People would probably tell you that it depends upon the phone, and I imagine that when you Google Tanya and Dorise and get a video of them that you can actually crank up through your sound system and it sounds just like being there (right down to the motorcycle sounds), that it was probably shot by someone using the latest phone to have hit the market, one that they had stood in line outside the Apple store for 3 hours in order to buy.

I shot a short little video and tried to mail it to myself using the Alcatel One Touch "Conquest" phone, but was thwarted after I was unable to find the "underscore" symbol anywhere in the typing application.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday Evening Post

  • Another 14 Bucks Saturday Night
  • Phone Found

I found a phone laying up against one of the rails of the trolley track, and it is a nicer phone than the one I have, and I am wondering if I should shoot a quick music video on it, before tracking down its owner.
It's owner, if that's him on the front wallpaper, is an older black man who sits in a car and smiles; that's about all I know of him.
I called one of the "missed calls" numbers on it; from "Eric" -it doesn't seem to be locked in any way- and a lady answered.

She said that, yes, their friend had lost his phone, but then added that he had been calling them and asking them if they'd seen it.

So, why wasn't the guy just calling his own damned phone to see if whomever answers it has seen his phone...?

So, I balked at meeting Eric on Canal street, where she was going to be watching a parade, she said; in order to hand over the pretty cool phone that isn't locked; so she can give it back to their friend. "He lives on Canal Street," she had said.

The smart way to return it is to give it to one of the security guards here at Sacred Heart Apartments, who, since they spend a lot of time on their own phones, would probably be pretty expert at navigating the menus of the phone and maybe even leaving him a voice mail about where he can come and pick up the phone, which would be there at the front desk.

If he lives on Canal, then there is a small chance that he even lives here. I can't tell from his wallpaper likeness on the phone because he's wearing shades in it.

Economics

The discovery of cheap guitar strings online, is going to save me about 20 bucks a month.

I have purchased an AC powered radio slash CD player, so that I no longer sink a few bucks a week into AAA batteries.

If I spend another 20 bucks on a battery charger, along with some rechargeable batteries, then I can start saving another few bucks a week on AA batteries for the spotlight.

This would move me forward into the upcoming "season" when it will be a time to reap.

And, to think of how burned out I was last Mardi Gras, so that I had only played limited hours, even though some of them had been 30 dollar hours. Will have to monitor complacency more closely.
It's now Sunday night; and I could go out and play just on the principle of it; or I could just tell myself that the quality and not the quantity of my busking is what really matters, and stay in and practice and read and listen to music.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Rebel Skeezers

  • Up At Sundown
  • $14 Friday
  • Hoodie Out Of Mothballs 

After finding that the 3 packs of strings had arrived in yesterday's (Friday's) mail, I lay down to take a nap at around 3 PM after having set my phone alarm to 8:48 PM. There was a chance that I would be up and at 'em, after just under 6 hours of sleep, given the positive energy boosting effect of having new strings and new batteries for my spotlight.

My peace of mind was disturbed by knowing that I would have to set aside 15 minutes for putting the new strings on the guitar and tuning it up, and then a few more minutes to put the new batteries in the spotlight, plus lace up them boots that I'm gonna wear.... It was enough to keep me tossing and turning for a while.

After 5 hours, I often feel that I am just getting into the all important R.E.M. cycle, and after being woken out of that state, I often go back and sleep until past the 8 hour point, which means I would have been better off setting the alarm for say 7 and a half ahead, and actually getting up at that time, rather than sleeping through the one 5 hours ahead. I lay awake thinking about that for a while.

My goal was to be at the Lilly Pad at 9:50 PM, a full hour earlier than I had been getting there.
I wanted to establish a presence at the spot, by occupying it more; kind of like my own Syrian-like war, between myself and rebel skeezers.

I got there at about 11:45 PM, after having slept through the alarm, if it had ever gone off at 8:48, and woken on my own, a bit after 10 PM.

A couple of hours and 14 bucks later, I rode back home, stayed up for half the day, and now am looking at being at the Lilly Pad an hour and a half from now, around 9:30 PM.

I have a chance to put some money aside, so that I can take some time off next week, when Jim the artist is in the studio at Tipitina's; to see if I can basically skeeze some recording time, or at least be given a demonstration of the Garage Band, or other, audio program that they use.

I could at least come out of that situation with recordings of Jim's stuff with myself playing on it, or vice versa.

I would at least like to record a few things with just myself on guitar, vocals and harmonica, and then be able to listen to it critically back at the apartment, and play along with it to see if I would add to it by adding to it, or if it should stay sounding like a Bob Dylan "Bootleg" album selection.

The black "New Orleans" hoodie that I hadn't touched since early April was put into use last night. I busked with it on, meaning that the temperature was in the low 60's. With November fast approaching....

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Huge Deal

  • Strings Arrive
They really sent it!

I took a big chance.

I was down on the riverwalk; the wind was howling. 45 miles per hour, I would estimate. It sure was going to be hell to ride against it, especially with my guitar on.

And then, to have to retrace my journey to get strings, should the strings from the Musician's Friend website not arrive in the day's mail was an incredibly daunting thought.

I hadn't slept yet. Friday night was upon me with its potential of up to 80 dollars, especially for a guy with bright new strings...

But, to buy a set for $5, when I had only paid $4.50 for 3! sets, would feel like a moral defeat.

I had ridden all the way down there to meet Jerry, the cook.

Keypad Lock Off

River Walk (wharf I once lived under, background right)
My phone had dialed his number while in my right front pocket, somehow having had the right buttons pressed, to access "menu," and then "calls" and then "dialed calls" and to have then entered the last number which I had dialed, which I am pretty sure was Jerry's.

Either that, or his entire 7 digit phone number just happened to be dialed as a result of the phone bumping against the mp3 player that was in the same pocket.

All, I know is, I heard Jerry saying "Hello?" from my pocket, and I wound up meeting him at the river walk for to meet a couple of his friends, one of whom was a female tarot card reader who was in her early twenties and appeared to perhaps have some blood from between India and Greece.

And the French Market was right across the street from where we were, where the guy sells strings for $5.

But, I gambled. I fought the stiff breeze all the way back to the apartment.

One Less Bell To Answer

Good news! They have NOT fixed the back gate to the parking lot here at Sacred Heart Apartments.
When I came out, late this morning, after having wrestled my bike out of the room and through a door and down 4 stairs and out another door; I saw a heartbreaking sight.
The back gate was closed and a guy who looked like a gate worker was working on it.

I had to wrestle my bike through another door, a lobby and then out the next door which opens upon a gate just close enough to the door to make getting a bike out a pain in the ass; and, I thought that I would have to do this from now on, until the end of my time here.

But, upon returning from the riverwalk, I discovered the gate to once again be wide open in a "broken" position, and to have been freshly painted a sticky green color.

And, then, I went to the mailbox, with my heart pounding. I didn't want to have to ride another almost 5 miles, half of it against a 40 mph wind.

The Strings were in there. Whew! Now I need to sleep and to see about busking, if the wind dies down...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

To Pay 7 Times As Much??

Strings Not Here Yet

The strings that I ordered online from Musician's Friend dot com, haven't arrived yet.

They sent me a "your order has been shipped" e-mail; and it is supposed to take about 4 days; but, they should come tomorrow.

It being Thursday, I could go and pay 10 bucks for a set of strings (Musician's Friend had them on sale for $1.50 per pack, outrageously enough...) and probably make enough to cover them.
Plus, I don't want to take too many nights off because skeezers seem to be getting comfortable at the Lilly Pad when I'm not there, and given its proximity to the bar, that's understandable.

The problem is, when I show up, they don't want to relinquish the spot, even though I'm right there trying to play music....

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

E-Mails Vs. Females

Correction...
  • I Go To Tipitina's
  • Terrible CD Exchanged
  • Wednesday Night Off; Strings Haven't Arrived Yet
 I was on my bike, headed out, on this late Wednesday afternoon.

I had woken in the early afternoon with the sun bright and much of the day still ahead of me, but found that I felt like laying there and sleeping longer; no doubt because I had eaten a lot the night before, and especially because I had eaten a couple of eggs.

Chicken eggs.

It really had been probably something like 9 months since I had eaten any egg of chicken.

...The Itching Or The Egg?


I had had an immediate negative reaction to the eggs, a couple of jolts of itching sensations along what I am sure are the "meridians" that acupuncturists work with, this on around the cheek; I didn't like the hue of my skin color in the morning, either.

I had gotten up to have "midnight snacks" at all hours of the morning.

I was on a mission to go to the Goodwill and exchange a CD which I had unwittingly paid $2.17 for, the previous day, because it was just that bad.

I bought it, thinking (it was entitled "Dance Explosion, 1998" by the way) that I could lift songs off of it and convert them to my style, so they could function as foils to what people might expect to hear out of me on the street; kind of like: Was that white Bob Dylan type dude doing Notorious B. I. G.?!? type of thing...

I guess I wasn't thinking.

I don't think I have ever in my life brought back a CD, hoping to exchange it; knowing that I am never, ever going to listen to it again.

The music on this disc reminded me of how I hated it, back then. I could almost recall times and places and, I think there was like one time when I had flipped my car's radio to it, listened for about 10 seconds with an incredulous look on my face, and then said "Dur!!" out loud as I poked at the station change button.

And it surely reminded me of say, delivering a pizza to a house wherein lived a bunch of wanna-be thugs, and they've got the stuff cranked, and I have to stand there waiting for them to go get the money that they should have had ready; and wanting to just get the hell out of there and away from the Chinese water torture of the repeated phrase in the song.

This was pretty much in the genre of "House Music," as it was called in 1990.

A Disc For A Disc
   
Today, the Goodwill Manager was willing to let me put the Dance Explosion back on the rack; I even had opened the case and showed him that the disc was still in excellent condition and that all the most pathetic sounds that I have ever heard in my life played fine without skipping, etc; and let me select another disc.

Any other disc in the world, I thought. I even felt a sense of liberation.

I could take a chance and grab something that looks interesting and might be good, but might also kind of suck, but could never out-suck the Dance Explosion disc. I was going to improve my plight. 

I could grab the Madonna CD that I have never heard of; I have nothing to lose, I thought. She usually has excellent material, written by fine composers. I like her voice. 

I'm not very informed about the realities of any negative effects that Madonna might have had on our culture. 

I have heard it said that she was instrumental in turning "a whole generation of 15 year old girls into sluts," and that this has been a plague upon us.

It could be that they were headed towards being sluts anyways, and just chose Madonna as someone to identify with.

But, whatever the case, I would argue that, In order to turn a whole generation of 15 year old girls into sluts, you have to have some bitchin' music; that's just part of the package.

I was ready to grab "Ray of Light," which I've never heard of, by Madonna, off of the 2 dollar CD rack at the Goodwill to replace the Dance Explosion, 1998 CD, but saw the disc pictured above, and realized that it had indeed been what I should have grabbed, had it been there the day before.

It contains the kind of music that I am looking for, with Disco being pretty fertile ground for doing re-makes of. This is the kind of music which was only "sampled" and then placed as the background, in an unflattering light, to the dance songs on the "explosion" disc.

Tonight's Presidential Debate Between Trump And Clinton Forecast

Tonight's transcript:

Trump: "E-mails!!!!"
Clinton: "Females!!"
Trump: "E-mails!!!"
Clinton: "Females!!"
etc.
"Turn whose mic off? His??"

Tipitina's Studio: The Catch

I went to Tipitina's and checked the place out and talked to the guys. The "catch" is that the place is pretty booked up. The next available studio time, I was told, was November 15th, on a Tuesday, and then 2 days later.

As I talked to the guy, I noticed that the studio was not in use, and mentioned it to him. I thought that a studio that is booked up so far in advance would have musicians trying to utilize every second of time. The guy told me that the time had been booked by the two 20 something, Caribbean looking skinny dreadlocked guys that I had seen sitting on a curb outside.

"They're taking a break," he said.

If I had my guitar, and had been up to speed on the equipment, I would have asked him if I could go in there and record some kind of track while they were out. They were out the whole 45 minutes or so that I was touring the place and talking to the guy.

Tipitina's Studio: The Solution

The next available time at the studio is a month away, but...

A lot of the time in the near future has been booked by none other than Jim, the artist.

Jim loves to collaborate with other musicians, and so, if I were to show up on a day when Jim has the place to himself for most of the day (like next Wednesday) it is highly likely that he would play on one of my songs, while I basically recorded it, intending it to go on a future CD, in such a way that Jim's musical part could be edited out, if necessary, and I would be totally up for playing on one of his Frank Zappa inspired sounding songs...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tuesday, Shower

  • 13 Dollar Monday

The movie I grabbed; because I've heard of it...
The post title is both today's weather forecast, and an admonition to myself to do my laundry, and take a lavender Epsom salt bath. I have stacked the 5 quarters on my coffee table for the washing machine.

I went to the Sacred Heart Chorus practice earlier this evening. Yes, there is a Sacred Heart Chorus, and I have been seeing notifications about its gathering at 6 PM every Tuesday, first affixed to doors in public view, and more recently have been getting a flyer announcing the practice time slid under my door.

I have, throughout that time period, from the christening of and maiden voyage of the good ship Sacred Heart Chorus until just this evening been either in the process of preparing to go out and busk each Tuesday evening, out of financial want as evidenced by my going out on the second slowest night of the week; or have been more interested in whatever I had planned upon doing in lieu of going out to busk, to have made it to the 6 PM meeting, rehearsal, practice, whatever.

Frankly, I envisioned skeezers crooning away, sending a volatile cloud of alcohol into the air, and, as I kind of searched my mind for any residents of Sacred Heart Apartments whose vocal timbre I had ever been impressed with in hearing them ask me for a cigarette.

But, this evening, it seemed like I had run out of excuses for not joining the Sacred Heart Chorus.
"We've only got a few months to get ready to do the Super Bowl halftime show," I joked to Valerie, who had called me on the in house phone from her office.

Valerie works in some capacity in one of the offices here at Sacred Heart Apartments. She asked me if I was interested in joining the chorus, or could she stop putting flyers under my door. It was then that I suspected that the chorus members had increased their efforts to try to get me to join. That might sound pretentious but, being a "professional" musician, as I am, and one of only a few in the building, I imagine that I was being actively recruited when the public notices turned into the flyers under my door, and then the personal phone call from the director of recreation or whatever Valerie's title is here....

So, I went towards the multi purpose room after having returned home from shopping for bananas, mangoes, cigarettes, a nickel of weed, and cat food for Harold; 2 dollars worth of cat food for Harold, as a matter of fact.

There was a pile of clothing on the ping pong table, which meant that someone had donated them and that they were there for our taking, and so I wound up with a pretty nice nylon jacket, and the shirt shown. It is a "New Orleans" type shirt and probably has Illuminati symbols on it which I will have to vet before I wear the thing in public...


Miraculous Monday

I had had a 12 dollar Monday night, on a Monday night when, after maybe an hour and a half, I had nothing in my tip jar, and was planning upon going only another 15 minutes or so, thinking how disconcerting the thought of having a 58 dollar night, followed by a goose egg.

I was thinking this when I actually heard the strains of what sounded like a resonator guitar, and sure enough, there was a dude sitting katy corner to to Lafitt's so that given that I am at 3 o' clock to the bar, he would have been at 10:30.

I strained myself, to see if I recognized the dude. The thought crossed my mind that he might be one of the guys whom I have encountered busking at the Lilly Pad and whom I have had run off by the namesake of that particular spot, impelled by her insistence that I be the neighborhood busker and make all the money that I can there, and that she would have it no other way.

The resonator was loud and tinny, as per its nature, but the guy's singing voice was on the gruff side.
My biggest concern was basically that he was trying to move in on me. The distance away from me where he sat was a respectable 75 yards or so, and I was sure that people within 20 yards of me heard mostly me.

I thought that it might have been a blessed time (to me) for him to have chosen to test the market around the bar, on a night when I, myself, hadn't made a cent.

He was also about half the distance to the bar as I was and, on a normal night, the music emanating from the place would make life hard for him at that distance. Also, there is a tarot card reader who sets her table up on the exact spot where the dude was playing. Both the bar's music and the tarot card lady had become casualties of the dead night.

I recognized, at one point that the guy was playing "Let Her Cry," by Hootie And The Blowfish, a song which I had once played a bit, and so I jumped into my own version of it, singing it in a less croaky way.

A guy came out of Lafitt's and listened to me for a while. He was wearing an Izod golf type shirt.
He offered to buy me a drink and went off to get me a Red Bull out of Lafitt's.

Sometime while I was talking to the guy or playing him a song, the other dude disappeared from 75 yards away.

There was really almost no foot traffic, and to make matters worse for the guy, almost everyone leaving Lafitt's goes one way or the other on Bourbon Street, but very few go in the direction to walk past where he was. The tarot card lady does alright because she visually attracts people out of the cluster of them standing outside the bar on a busier night; but those people wouldn't be able to hear her over the bar's music if she were playing an acoustic guitar.

The guy with the Izod shirt returned and gave me a Red Bull drink and then sat down.

With a sense of timing similar to a mosquito, a skeezer arrived and basically spoke up to the guy over the song that I was in the middle of playing which was one of my originals, and which the guy had been listening to, judging by his reactions to certain lyrics, etc.

I was happy to hear the guy tell the skeezer that he had no money to give him, even if this meant that he had no money to tip me, either.

Then, another young black guy, rather effeminate looking came and sat on the side of the guy opposite me. This was after the first skeezer, after having gotten a cigarette (and a light) off the Izod guy, had walked off. He hadn't gone far, though.

I recognized the young guy as someone who had sat and listened to me play before, had not tipped me anything, but had not tried to skeeze me.

I couldn't hear what was exchanged between the two, but soon, the Izod shirt guy had stood up and, as he took a few steps towards the bar asked: "Jim Beam on the rocks?" to the effeminate young black guy. ...just like a gay guy to have expensive tastes, I couldn't help thinking.

Then, after I had declined a second Red Bull, and before the Izod guy had gone any further, the first skeezer re-materialized out of nowhere.

He must have been monitoring the situation, perhaps waiting for the Izod guy to produce some cash, belying what he had said to him; whereupon he could swoop in and make an issue of it, trying to claim some cash by virtue of him having caught him in a lie...aren't you ashamed of yourself? now give me 5 dollars or in a case such as it was, where the guy had no cash but could buy drinks off his card, could swoop in just exactly as he did.

I then had to feel disgusted as I listened to him basically ask: "Can I have a drink, too?" and a little pissed off because a guy listening to a busker had turned into what felt like a mob skeezing scene. "You've opened up the floodgates," I couldn't help muttering to the Izod guy.

Then, after the guy returned and sat down, I continued to play for him, along with the effeminate connoisseur of liquor and the skeezer, both of whom were puffing away at cigarettes that they had gotten from the Izod guy, in between sips off the drinks that he had just bought them. What pissed me off also, was the skeezer's repeatedly making remarks about what a good musician I was, and his making them right over the top of whatever music I was doing.

The implication is that I shouldn't mind him hanging around and skeezing my audience because he was actually helping me by pointing out that I was good to them. I could imagine him saying to a tourist something like, "give him a good tip, his music is worth it, and, if you don't mind I'm kind of hungry right now, and...."

I wound up getting no cash from the guy; just a Red Bull. That's cool, because it gave me wings.

As It Turned Out, He Was Rich

Then another guy who turned out to be named Rich came along and despite being hustled by the skeezer to stop and listen to me play, was able to perform the miracle of stopping to hear me play AND get rid of the skeezer and the effeminate guy, both of whom must have sensed that they weren't going to be able to skeeze him (maybe it's something they can smell on a person).

He wound up tipping me all 15 dollars that I would make on that whack Monday night.

Lemonade Out Of Lemons

These skeezers think that they have just as much "right" to the tourists as I do, and even take advantage of the fact that they are being held still for them by myself and my music. The solution, I have determined, is that I must keep my eye out for them and alert the tourists with a quick "Here comes a bum, he bothers my audiences all the time," just loud enough for them to hear.
I might add something like: "He lies about being hungry. I've offered him food before but he rejected it rudely." Maybe in that way I can turn something that really irks me into pleasurable entertainment as I watch the tourists, armed with this information, send them on their way. "Have a good one!" I can add sarcastically, as they walk off. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons, type of thing....

It is Tuesday night, and I have just returned from the Goodwill after having plunked down less than 4 bucks on a CD, a movie, and a guitar method type of book that looks like it might have potential, containing examples which looked pretty "musical" to me, upon a quick flip through it.

I have spent almost 20 bucks today, but I have basically everything I need except toilet paper, which I forgot to pick up at the dollar store.

The skeezer basically apologized for having interrupted and stepped back a couple paces, but didn't leave.    

Monday, October 17, 2016

I See Elvis Leave The Building

  • $58.50 Saturday
  • Sunday Visit To Howard

Saturday afternoon, I awoke feeling mysteriously energized, as if my plans to busk outside the Elvis Costello show, had been fomenting in my subconscious and gathering force.

I hadn't crammed any new songs of his into my repertoire during the almost month that I had to do so, after learning that Elvis was going to play on this date, but I had brushed up on the ones that I did know, playing them each at the Lilly Pad. This had been a good thing because I encountered trouble spots that I was able to smooth out, such as a certain chord in "Watching The Detectives," when the bass guitar plays an odd root note, which I had worked into my own arrangement, so that I was no longer "screwing up that part" of the song.

I jumped up and, able to think clearly, packed up my gear and was soon riding towards the Saenger theater, later than I had wanted to be, but resigning myself to the fact that I just haven't yet broken the habit of being late. It's something I plan to work on, later, when I get a chance.... "I can always get them when they're coming out, and chalk it up as a lesson learned if I'm too late..." I thought as I pedaled.

I had wanted to get there a couple hours before the show in order to scope out the scene, basically to decide how I was going to to manage to have my guitar out of the case and around my neck with a tip bucket hanging from it, the case stuffed in my backpack, and the harmonica in place, and to decide which tune I should be playing when I encroached upon Saenger Theater property.

I was envisioning perhaps being there long enough to grab the attention of a small group of people who might enrich my jar, before I had grabbed the attention of the security people, with whom I would have to interact with.

They might tell me that I can move a few feet to where I was off the Saenger property and continue to play, or might repel me further, to at least a block away.

This was kind of the reason that I hadn't expended enormous energy into learning a lot of new Elvis Songs, I was most likely only going to have a short time of it, and would be in the "Hey, pretty cool -playing Elvis songs with a tip bucket hanging from your guitar out in front of the theater where he's playing- I think I can encourage the guy with 10 bucks" business.

The "block away" scenario is frustrating because people arrive at the theater from 3 different directions to coagulate, basically in front of it, though the side entrances do admit people. Being in front, one would be playing for the majority of the concert goers, while, moving off to a block away, one would be theoretically dividing that number by 3.

I had stopped for a Monster Energy drink (zero calories, no corn syrup) which I sipped from across Rampart Street, at the corner of Canal, as I looked across across, getting the feeling that most of the people had already arrived, and had gone inside. It was just a little after 7 PM, almost an hour before the show.

The "Ya Heard Me?" Nation

There were a couple of teen aged black boys at the corner, with their backs to me, apparently preparing to cross to the other side of Canal Street, as I as sat behind them and an older white couple, who crossed over towards the theater when they had the light.

The teens were wearing the uniform of the "ya heard me??" set.

This is what I call their culture which is, in short, a manifestation of how the failure of an educational system which distributes funds to schools commensurate with the amount of tax dollars collected in that schools district, effectively giving the poorest, predominately black, kids the short end of the stick -i.e. the lowest paid teachers, crappiest facilities, scoreboards that indicates the home team losing 7 to 1 when the game is actually tied at 7, because there are a couple bulbs burned out, etc., These are also casualties of the seemingly rampant breakdown of the "traditional" family, which has devolved in such a way as to have to them, along with their half-siblings, being raised by, instead of their biological parents, their mother and a variety of men who all refer to her as: "baby momma."
This dynamic creates inherently half-wanted children who are only half likely to even attend those crappy schools, where they at least would be baby-sat.

They are marked by their, as if hard wired into their brains, excessive use of the interrogative: "Ya heard me??," which intersperses their conversation, uttered after almost every full stop.
The teens in front of me had been "ya heard me??"-ing up a storm, before one of them turned his head towards me and spotted me.

Something was exchanged between them, whereupon they apparently relinquished their effort to cross the street, and instead came closer to me, with one of them, even smaller and skinnier than the first, sitting on a railing a yard behind me, and staring at me, while his brother in "ya heard me?" stood a yard to my left, staring also.

It was probably the "let's see if we can make a white boy nervous" game that seemed fit for their mental capacities which they were playing; or they actually were assessing their chances of knocking me out and taking my bike and my guitar and my backpack.

I wasn't flinching; I knew that, with the concert going on across the street and thousands of people who had paid at least $49.50 per ticket making their way to the venue, that the whole block was being watched by cops.

I started to move, just to distance myself from them, so I could plot my strategy for busking, when the one on the railing grunted: "Hey!," or something, and then repeated it more loudly after I had continued to move away.

I looked at him. "You got another cigarette?"

I looked at him more closely. He was a no older than 16 year old kid asking me for a cigarette.
I was disgusted to think that they, who had been ready to cross the street in pursuit of whatever adventure, had spotted me and made me their mark, hoping to get whatever they could from me, and were settling on the consolation of a cigarette, after having tested me for nervousness.

"What the hell happened to you guys crossing the street?!? I exclaimed. "You were standing there, waiting for the light to change, and then you saw me and came back over here by me. You think people don't notice s*** like that?!? You need to have a mind before you can strengthen it!! I don't give my cigarettes away," I added, and then moved to a spot just around the corner from them, which was in the shadows and kind of out of view, in between some construction equipment and parked cars, but from where I could still see the theater.

The 2 "Ya heard me?"s left. 

A nervous white boy would have headed toward the lights and the parked cop cars of the middle of Canal Street. A crazy vigilante type one who loves to shoot punks and get away with it, would have slunk off into a shadow and out of view (they might think, though I was still very much on camera) hoping they would follow. This "reverse psychology" stratagem got rid of them.

I took a ride past the front entrance, where I heard what sounded like a conversation between a ticket scalper and a couple potential buyers. "...We haven't seen him since Jazzfest two years ago...we're dying to get in..."
I decided to set up a block away on Canal Street, across from the Joy Theater, thinking that there might be a rush of people between 7:20 PM, all the way up to within a few minutes before the start of the show at 8 PM, with the last stragglers going by at a fast pace.

I'm pretty sure that, if I had a ticket myself, I would get there about 12 minutes before showtime, as it can't take more than a couple minutes to find a seat after having stopped for a full 20 seconds to have the ticket stamped or whatever and a metal detector run across your body, or whatever.

It became evident that I had indeed gotten there too late. The "rush" of people never materialized, with most of those passing by easy to profile as not being Elvis Costello fans, but probably those who had been trying to skeeze, sell drugs or scalped tickets to the incoming people.

I was sounding good and, after I had gotten a dollar from a couple non Elvis related tourists, I decided to try to set up near one of the exits, out of which people would have to emerge to smoke cigarettes.

This is something that I had done, with mixed results, when Neil Young had played the Saenger Theater in Mobile, Alabama.

Then, I found one group of people who had stepped out because they weren't enjoying the concert, and who soon were conversing with kindred spirits, first about how Neil seemed "tired," and then about things not remotely related to music, like real estate deals, etc.

These people were proof against any attempts that I had made to busk and to sound not tired.
I had made a few good tips, though, off people who had stepped out just because they were dying for a cigarette.

It was a very similar scene, after I had managed to be able to set my milk crate just off the curb at the edge of the road and set up my tiposaurus and sign, with the marquee of the theater replacing my spotlight adequately and was able to play, without having to stand up, even.

One guy was hanging around who had some negative vibe about him "I don't give a f*** about Elvis Costello, I don't even know who he is," said the guy, who then flipped off someone in a car that had passed, with someone having yelled something out of one of the windows. He went on and on "Come back here and say that....blah blah blah." He was in the middle of telling me "the way things are done" in New Orleans, after having prefaced it with the mantra: "This is New Orleans, dude.." something involving murder.

It often happens that someone like he will start to spin this fabulous yarn about the city, after assuming that I am from out of town (just here to see Elvis Costello -hoping he would autograph my guitar, perhaps) and how much it seems to annoy him after I have given him a while to vent before I say: "I've been here 5 years, I live off Jefferson Davis Boulevard..."

"This is the Saenger, they aren't going to let you play here, are you kidding me?" was his little pep talk to me after I had gone to the other side of the exit, the side where he wasn't and was setting up my stuff.

I made about 8 bucks off of about 5 enthusiastic people; the rest of the people all seemed to be there so that they could say that they had seen Elvis Costello. There used to be people at the Grateful Dead concerts for the same reason. "They're such a big part of 60's culture that I just wanted to witness the scene," said one such.

I was playing "What's So Funny (About Peace, Love And Understanding)" in a pretty heavy rotation.
More than one person, upon stepping outside said: "That's what I came here for," in reference to the fact that I was doing one of the "rocking" songs from Elvis' early career. That just about told me that he was inside doing his jazz ballads, accompanied only by a piano, perhaps, or unplugged versions of almost every flavor of music except rocking flavor, that he could think of, bless his heart.

It seems like Elvis follows a formula something like: 25% of the audience should be hearing something that they aren't ready to accept, 50% starting to like his new style, and 25% loving it so much they don't even tear themselves away to go smoke a cigarette outside.

That was the downside. I am learning that the Saenger Theater, both here and in Mobile, can be like a musical museum, where people go to see musical curiosities, for posterity, perhaps. Kenny Rogers had played the previous week, add that to your list of accomplishments -seen one of the most commercially successful musicians of all time -check!

Then, after the place had emptied enough so that they closed the particular gate that I was almost in front of, I played a little longer, thinking that the people who were still hanging around might be the truest fans, too excited to go home, wanting to hang out and share their impressions with other like minded fans.

No, they were waiting for Elvis to come out the side door, hoping he would autograph something or pose for a picture, either of which they could have posted for sale on E-Bay, right next to the ones of Kenny Rogers, within minutes.

I had pedaled a few blocks away, when something made me spin around and go back.
There was a bus idling in front of a certain door where no more than a dozen people stood around.
A door opened and Elvis Costello came out.

With quick, jerky motions he waved and thanked, gave a few quick nervous laughs, signed I think at least one autograph. He was wearing the very same brown hat that I could find through Google and post, and basically the same outfit. His face looked smaller than I would have expected. He is kind of short and small. He put me in the mind of Rick Astley, the singer/songwriter who was on top of the world for about a half a year back in whatever year that was; and who had a deep booming voice and about whom people said things like: "I couldn't believe how short he was; he was a little runt; you wouldn't expect that kind of booming voice to come out of him; he must have an abnormally large chest cavity."

Then, I had kind of like a little head rush, from seeing something that looked so familiar that I had never actually seen before. I was trying to connect the guy whose voice I had listened to for half of my life, at times hanging on every nuance, with this nervous, frail looking guy who seemed totally uncomfortable, and who, after having been cajoled by a particularly large security guy to pose for a picture with a particular young lady; perhaps with the words "This young lady said that she has every one of your albums," and after having place his head a mere foot from hers and put a smile on its face for at least the 1/60th of a second that the shutter was open on the camera; sprung onto the bus, which pulled away less than a minute later.

He is a guy who could make a whole song about just posing for that picture, one which paints a clear "picture" of just what it means, in the grand scheme of things, to be able to hang a picture in your house and say: "Here I am with Elvis Costello" It would be multi faceted and through they eyes of everyone involved, including the guy sitting 25 feet away on a bike with the guitar on his back.
He could do it in his hotel room that same night, and have it recorded a week later.

There is no way that that guy is going to feel comfortable around strangers, vying for his attention and saying "you sounded great tonight" (especially if he had thought the sound had been a bit off that night) and I believe that, after a long career in music, he has determined that coming out the door and hopping on the bus as fast as he can is his best coarse of action.

How can the guy who wrote the line "I was just a boy, when men were men" (about how men were depicted in the black and white movies he saw as a kid [from: "Black And White World," off the album "Get Happy" album]) and hundreds of others; not feel uncomfortable around those superficial enough to want to have a picture of herself with him; or who probably desire the autograph for its material value?

That is why I gave Elvis a pass, for not having mingled with the dozen of so of us who were standing by his bus...
I am thinking about trying to e-mail him; perhaps polishing the above account into some kind of story that actually something and sending him a link to it.
 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I'm Late, Etc...


Costello Tonight -have made my tip jar hang from guitar neck using heavy wool boot lace.

I have to get there;

Below is an answer to a comment and a post all in one...

This "crap" actually came out in 1996, and I believe that Brian was just starting to walk again after having had some chemical abuse or substance dependency issues; and the Wiki page say's that, due to the "failure" of the disc in question; Bri was unable to land a recording deal for his next album to never come out.

From listening to their out-takes from the studio ("Ok, take 38; one-two-three-four...") I can guess that the harmonies on the original versions (@alex which were unique and the result of a lot of skill being utilized) had been worked on intensely, right down "why don't you swell more under the: '...in me tonight' part?" 

And that kind of brings up my complaint the Beach Boys should have budged a bit in the direction of the guest singer and the band that he brought with him, and at least altered the already intensely worked on, by 30 years younger than them, men to have made them bend or twang; they should have did them in a "country style" and that way the result wouldn't be like, you walk into a honky tonk and there is a good country singer, crooning away on stage, playing an acoustic guitar, which is cool, but, they left the jukebox on and you can still hear that excellent Beach Boys song in the background..type of thing