Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This morning I woke up with one dollar in my pocket. Someone had given Karrie 5 bucks last night, and she told me that she wasn't going to buy me cigarettes with it. This was the first instance of her not offering me the money that she gets, as is the custom in her culture, her being a Mexican from Dalton, Georgia.
Open Mic, Right...
Before that, we were at Annie O' Malley's Pub, where they were ostensibly having an "open mic night." At the hour of 8pm. and with the temperatures dropping into the 30's, I thought that I could solve the problem of being broke and unable to play, due to the temperature, by playing at the open mic, which would be a warm haven and would lead to at least one person offering to buy a pint of ale, or to throw a couple of bucks our way.
I opened my guitar case enough to pluck a string, in order to see if I was in "concert pitch," ie. in tune with the person playing, who would have used an electronic tuner to achieve "A 440," the recognized standard in tuning. I can do it by ear, but, these are weekend wannabe musicians, who think that they can work their 9 to 5 jobs, and then become Jimi Hendrix on the weekend, as an "outlet," to ease the tensions which they are fraught with, due to the stress of trying to make 6 figures. They have the finest guitars and equipment, and, electronic tuners. Of course they have electronic tuners. I can do it by ear, because if I don't, then I don't eat. I have the stress inherent in trying to make 6 dollars...
What Have You Done For Us Lately
The bartender approached me and told me "No playing along." This reminded me of a time when I "played along" with a musician who was doing an open mic at Rendezvous, up the street. The musician was amplified, and I could only be heard by myself and Larry, 4 feet away. The bartender there had told me that it was extremely rude, or words to that effect. "Can't you see that there is someone performing?!?" I think that the same bartender now works at O' Malley's.
I told him that I was just getting a pitch. He asked Karrie and I if we wanted to buy a drink. I told him that we did not. He then basically ran us out of the pub- a pub where Dave and I frequented during Dave's visit, and where Dave spent a good chunk of cash, on sandwiches and Dogfish Lager. That was a year ago. What have I done for us lately?
It Becomes Personal
I then walked out and stood on the sidewalk in front of the establishment, Karrie in tow. The
bartender soon appeared a foot in front of my face and asked me if there was anything that he could "help me with."
I was not even on their property, at that point, but I was talking to a couple of customers about being run off. I said that I could play music and that people generally like it, and that they might buy us drinks, and the money would go into the coffers of O' Malleys just as if I had bought them myself. I said that the way to break into the business and get gigs in clubs is to start with open mic nights.
"Not tonight," said the bartender. He then told me that my chances of ever playing in O' Malleys were diminishing (at least he used a musical term). I said that all I was doing was listening to the performers in order to get an idea of what kind of music goes over with the crowd. He walked back inside, augmenting my joy.
I have concluded that it is the same group (click) of musicians there for the open mic night, who are having sort of a private party and are not there to hear anything except themselves. There isn't any room for a new musician, because their egos already encroach upon every corner of the place. And, God forbid, a musician come along and play so well as to make them think "I thought I was pretty good, but, now I'm not so sure."
To which I would reply: "Doesn't your $2,500.00 guitar play well for you automatically??"
That's Just "Life."
Now it is getting late again. I have chosen to update this blog, instead of playing again. I might see if the nice Amy is working at O' Malley's (she wasn't there last night.) She was the one serving up the Dogfish and crafting sandwiches a year ago. I'm going to ask her why they wouldn't welcome a street musician, who plays hours every day, to entertain and keep the Dogfish flowing. Maybe she will be able to tell me what is really going on. It might just be "homeless envy," by those who think "it must be nice" to not have to work; and, where do we get off not paying rent; we should somehow be forced to, that is just "life."

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