Tuesday, June 19, 2012

...Can't Trust That Day

I extended my whirlwind tour of The Big Easy one more day, as Sunday had been break-even kind of affair.
Yes, I made $25.53 and I spent 70 cents more than that.
I should have reported waking up Monday morning with $24.83, but was ashamed and embarrassed by my recklessness...although I DID have almost a full pack of smokes an energy drink and enough medicinal herbs for three days...
There have been times that I went back out and played an additional set, knowing that I would be holding myself "accountable" on this blog, and feeling that what I had made so far was unacceptable.
I went my regular route, still snatching ducks off the sidewalk to store like a squirrel for the upcoming times in butt-on-the-ground-less Scotlandville.
I am sure that I have avoided mugging attempts because of that habit ...sheet, he ain't even got fighallas (five dollars) for a pack o' squares (cigarettes)! It keeps my $24.83 safe and me humble and reminds me that I shouldn't care what people think; a lot of them are going to find a reason to hate you no matter what you do.
Then, as if reading the mind of Alex in California who would comment that I must have to urinate quite frequently, like some esoteric Asian warrior, I bought a half pint of Italian brandy for $4.35 and proceeded to walk and gulp my way down Royal Street.
Go Make That 11 Dollars, Now
It being a Monday, there were fewer buskers out, and the ones that I walked past seemed to have very few one dollar bills in their cases. It is my belief that Royal Street is "for" traditional New Orleans Jazz type instruments, (bring your clarinet) but I'm not foolish enough to tell the guitarists that have three dollars in their case after their first hour that there are better spots to play an acoustic guitar at. I like those spots to be vacant when I go to them.
I was keeping an eye out for Sue, who is half of the reason that I stayed an extra day. If I don't see her today, I might never see her again.
I went through Jackson Square and along Decatur Street and didn't see her.
She wasn't at Sydney's either, buying a 12 oz. Pabst Blue Ribbon for a dollar, to chase down Italian Brandy.
And the rest of the day is kind of a blur.
I blacked out at some point, but must have played alright.
At one point a young guy came by and gave me 10 bucks for what I had left of the 10 dollar sack of medicinal herbs that I had bought the previous day (about 2 bucks worth; he was that desperate)
I woke up this (Tuesday) morning with 32 dollars and no change on me. I had an energy drink and two cigarettes.
Apart from the herb transaction, it was a minus 3 dollar day; and, let's see I probably spent about 11 bucks on brandy and beer (9 bucks is usually the blackout "threshold" unless I'm drinking swill and can accomplish it for 6) and $2.70 on a pack of smokes (50 cents off Pall Malls at Sydneys; offer good while they last) and, I gave a bum a dollar after he offered me a piece of the chicken he was eating...so, I guess I made around 11 dollars busking.
Back To Red Stick
I will stay today, just long enough to look for Sue and to busk until right before the last LA Swift leaves for Baton Rouge (red stick) at 6 p.m.
I will arrive there with traveling money in my pocket.
Then To Shreveport
Howard and I WILL, probably Thursday night; take the last #10 Scotlandville bus to the stop at Choctah Road, where we will get off. It could quite literally be the last #10 bus that we ever ride on. *dramatic music plays*
Howard may or may not go into the Burger King and get something to eat. The food might send his body into shock because the time will be around 9:50 p.m., not 6:08 a.m., not 11:35 a.m., not 5:35 p.m.
We will then walk a half mile to the rail yard and conceal ourselves in one of the hanger type buildings and wait.
At midnight we will issue forth and stealthily make our way to a spot in between the fourth and fifth tracks, counting from the St. Mary Street side, and station ourselves about 200 yards back from the little white building, in between the rows of cars, some of which will be waiting to be pulled to Shreveport and then into Texas.
Sometime within the next hour or so, a train will pull into the yard. The conductor will get out at the little white building. The train will pull through the yard and stop with its hindmost car at or around the little white building. A switchman will then throw a switch so that, when the train starts to back up, it will be routed onto the forth or fifth track, counting from the St. Mary Street side.
The train will start to back up.
As it begins to sidetrack, it will become obvious from our vantage point which track it is on, the fourth or the fifth. Howard will probably ask "Is that the train?"
Having spent our idle moments in waiting searching the rows of cars on each track for ridable ones, Howard and I will have about 45 seconds to throw our stuff onto the car and climb aboard.
After doing so, we will soon be on our way directly to Shreveport, Louisiana, Do not pass Go; do not collect 200 dollars.
This was all laid out for me by the knowledgeable train rider whom I met in front of the Greyhound station in Baton Rouge.
A Generous City
Once in Shreveport, I was further informed, I would be in a place that is "great for busking." 
The train riding kid said that he "made" $200 standing at an intersection holding a sign in that generous city. While he was doing so, his girlfriend (the one that broke his guitar in a previous post about our first meeting at the rail yard -the time Howard and I were unsuccessful in hopping out) was making another $250 holding another sign at another spot.
$450 in one afternoon, not bad. They DO have a dog to feed, though...


Alex said...

Haha good idea picking up those snipes, I see people who look like something out of the 1930s picking 'em up around here and no one would assume they have two nickels to rub together.

Eye-talian brandy = E&J as in Ernest and Julio Gallo? Decent stuff though. You keep drinkin' our grapes and we'll keep growin' 'em. (In fact, I have grape vines growing around my place that will hopefully provide decent shade in another year, and we've got grapes growing all over this place. Some are quite tasty but don't ever try a green grape, it's awful.

Yes, I will reiterate, I think people go to NOLA to see something that originated there. You could gain great points by playing slide though.

Haha pot-desperate hippies. I get given pot at times in Santa Cruz, and I just pass it on, generally find someone who looks like they really need it. Fun.

Blacking out is not a good sign. A friend of mine who was a terrible alcoholic did that. He'd do stuff, and seem normal (for him) but have no memory of what he did or how he acted.

Good luck on your hobo-hop to Shreveport. I hope it's as good as the kid says.

Alex said...

I just saw the 2 or 3 comments you left in response to my commenting on all the Torpedo IPAs and other beers you drink etc.

First, Mark Knopfler can play the guitar and doesn't sound like shit.

His singing voice is *not* a good one, but he makes it work.

Hell I can bend notes on my Little Martin and it doesn't fuck up the tuning. And even Knopfler's playing doesn't have that many bends in it. And a lot of the time you can play the part that uses a bend, with just a half-step and it comes out acceptable. For instance, you didn't absolutely need to put those few stand-out bends in Mrs. Robinson, you could have put half-steps in there, or a couple of cool chords, but instead the blangalang just kept going without even a nod towards their existence. Kinda like biting into one of those cherry-filled chocolates and ... no cherry.

But what do I know, I"m still in Mel Bay Book 1! At least I got some picks yesterday. Better'n'my thumb, it turns out. I think what Mel Bay teaches is the old archtop-jazz type guitar playing. The stuff that was being played just before amplification came in. These guys tried for a very, very clean sound, and were the ones who were disgusted when the rock guys wanted to "fuzz" it up by having their amps purposely distort the sound.

Daniel McKenna said...

Mel was also about "elevating" the guitar to the stature of other instruments; by making you a musician first and a guitarist second; funny, the guitar still needs to be "elevated" in a lot of instances...like on Royal Street! Yeah, I think Mel Bay had a few Wes Montgomery and Chet Atkins records laying around....

Alex said...

Oh yeah Chet Atkins is da bomb. I first actually heard someone play his music in Arizona, in a thrift store run by people I'd call "good white trash".

I think the deal with Mel was, in his time, which was maybe the early 1920s when he was learning, there were not good guitar method books like you'd find for say, clarinet. You can pick up any clarinet book and here's where to put your fingers, here's a note, here's another note... you start playing melodies, reading off of the conventional staff. It's not something we think about now, but maybe back in the 1920s the geetar books were all about chords to this'n'that song without a lot of underlying theory, and maybe they even had such abominations as TAB back then too.

For every good and "elevated" geeter I've heard on the street, and they're less than 10, I've heard plenty that are just not good. And I'll always throw down for some actual music being played, jazz chords get me every time, anything good, play Johnny Cash, play Don Ho, play Bobby Vinton I don't care, play it well and you got me.

It got disappeared when I baleeted all but the title of my piano blog, but I spent a day in Santa Cruz giving out my Amazing Jar O Quarters An' Dimes to street performers up and down Pacific Avenue. And had some *really* good sushi, among other things.

TL:DR - I think Mel predated Chet and Wes.

Daniel McKenna said...

What does TL:DR mean, btw...
Though, Lastly (though I) Didn't Research (it)?
I made two 5 dollar tips recently and they both came when I was trying to play a "perfect" rendition of I Feel Fine, by the Beatles; focusing on nailing the riff in strict time and having every note of each chord sound uniformly with the unwanted notes deadened; basically trying to present a "museum-piece" as if someone had asked me :What (exactly) is that chord they played?
So, I agree if you're trying to do some Willy Nelson and Itsak Perlman, the violinist who doesn't spell his name that way walks by; he might not consider Willy in the same "class" as Igor Stravinski, but a perfectly played Willy song is just as "valid" as a perfectly played Romance for violin and orchestra in A flat...and Itsak might peel you off a 20 spot...
which reminds me of an anecdote, which I will put in the blog, I think; about Tanya