Friday, June 8, 2012

Cheetos For Busfare: Appended

Howard has played a hand in my current
obsession with Lauren Bacall, by reading her
biography, prompting me to want to download pictures
of her to show to him, so he would say "Oh, Wow!"
And, like a fool, I fell in love with her.
(and Humphrey has been out of "the picture"
since 1956, by the way...)
Without further ado, and before the INTERNET boots me off:
Here is one song short of the three that I promised myself I would finish by today.
I have no control over certain things like the weather and the guy who showed up at our spot last night...

Norwegian Wood
Dancing Days

They will be moved to the "20 Top Busking Songs" sidebar, soon.
I will give them both a grade of C, as they are approaching what I sound like on the street.

I am at the Scotlandville library, either preparing to walk the 8 miles downtown, toting my backpack with the laptop and enough other stuff for a few days of "survival" in New Orleans weighing it down; or to take the bus if Howard can give me one dollar to go with the 75 cents that I have in my pocket.
I played in front of the Chevron for about an hour last night and got $2.50.
The Guy Who Takes Our Cans
That's plenty enough for the bus, plus 75 cents left over, you might say. "What happened to most of it?" you might think.
It began to rain before I went to busk, but not before Howard and I had a visitor.
It was the guy who comes and takes all of our discarded aluminum cans, and who probably took the can of Arizona Energy that I had left unwatched for about an hour a while ago.
He is an older Black man.
We never told him that he could take our aluminum, in fact, I had spent about 15 minutes crushing about a months worth of them and filling a box; the box that he walked off with. It probably held 3 dollars worth of metal; but, why does he "deserve" the 3 bucks, instead of us?
Did he really think that I was crushing cans just to save space in the trash box, or to minimized the frequency of the trips to empty it?
He has also walked up in the morning and woken me up out of a sound sleep to say "Give me a cigarette," the first time, when I had none. On that occasion he looked at me doubtfully as if sure that I had a cigarette but was just refusing to give it to him; questioning my integrity, basically.
On the third such morning, after I had decided that to ever give him a cigarette might be to invite being woken up every morning; I had my pack laying next to me, when he walked up and said something diversionary, I think offering me one of his chicken fingers or whatever restaurant leftovers he was eating; and then bent down, reaching for my pack of smokes while saying "Let me get one of these."
I'm Being Petty, But...
The world is petty on its fringes.
Tthe principal of the matter is that the guy is laying a foundation for just taking stuff from us, basically.
On this rainy night, he first arrived and told Howard and I that we "really should have some quilts" to lay on, instead of the marble surface covered in cardboard (which suits us fine; us both liking very firm mattresses).
He disappeared, then returned carrying a bag full of quilts.
He offered one to Howard, who refused it.
I didn't want to lay on any mystery quilt from the guy who takes our aluminum cans, either.
The rain then intensified, and  in a smooth kind of motion, and before either of us realized what was happening, he began to spread out one of the quilts, as if to demonstrate how nice of a quilt is was, or how it could be used.
Then, he lied down on it, and covered himself with another one, leaving barely enough room for a third (myself) person.
As it was pouring outside our little enclosure, we said nothing, as I continued mixing music on my studio and Howard went to sleep.
It stopped raining around 8 p.m.
"It stopped raining," I said to the guy who takes our empty cans, who mumbled something back but continued to lay there.
I went to busk for an hour at the Chevron and then spent a buck and a half on a beer and a quarter for one cigarette off someone.
I planned upon recording music in the little studio -singing, playing the guitar, banging on the 5 gallon bucket with a stick, if I wanted to- nobody invited him to show up at our sleeping spot and just lay down.
I got back with my beer and my one cigarette which was lit.
"Oh, you got cigarettes?" said the guy, who was awake now.
"I bought one cigarette off a guy," I said.
"Thank you," he said, reaching his hand towards me, apparently taking for granted that I was going to share it with him, rather than put it out three or four times after tearing the filter off; to make it last a couple hours.
I told him that the reason that I was there (at the boarded up building) was to work on my music; all night if need be. Howard usually goes around the back of the building when my playing disturbs his sleep.
The guy said something like "Go on, do your thing."
I managed to get something done, but I was distracted by his presence. Enough so that I fell short of my goal of finishing three songs. The two at the top of the page (and soon to be moved to the "Top 20 Busking Songs" sidebar) were from a set of five. 
They are kind of self explanatory; that is the 5 gallon bucket on "Dancing Days" and they were done using my new technique of sitting in front of the recorder, like I am on the street and just playing and singing the songs like I have done a hundred times; then using that as a guide track to "double" everything on other tracks, and then erase the guide track which will sound kind of "tinny" and out of balance.
The technique seems to be kind of another small breakthrough, and hopefully soon I will have all 20 Top Busking Songs posted!

Kind of hard to stare at me
while listening to "Do You Remember,"
by Neil Sedaka with him around, isn't it?
The other three are not far behind, missing backup vocals and/or lead guitar.
I would have gotten a lot more done, but eventually joined Howard in the back of the building, as a form of protest and a precursor to the morning message given to him that this was our sleeping spot and we weren't comfortable with someone that we hardly know just showing up and sleeping next to us (especially one who seems to just grab things at will; what if I fall asleep while listening to music on this laptop through headphones; would I wake up in the middle of the night to find the headphones plugged into nothing?

And, what a nuisance to have to pull two cigarettes out of your pack every time you light up, or to feel guilty about rudely smoking in front of someone "less fortunate" than you.
In a rationalization which I'm sure Alcoholics Anonymous people have a cute term for -I'm sure that if I had had more than just one beer then the guy would be lucky that the 5 gallon bucket was the only thing that I was hitting with a stick until sunup.
In the morning, he had bagged up his quilts and left them sitting right about on the spot where he had slept, and gone off somewhere, to scavenge, probably.
I took the bag and set it out by the road, where one would leave their trash, then I swept the marble off and threw all the trash, including the box that he raids for our cans, in the dumpster across the street.
I told him when he returned that it was our sleeping spot, and that we had permission from the owner of the building to "camp" there.
He claimed to know the lady, also. Well, we were here first, dude...
Retired Air Force Colonel Howard
I am leaving for New Orleans for a few days, and he won't be my problem until I come back, should I find him making himself at home there.
I stopped short of telling him something like "Howard, here, is a retired Air Force Colonel, and he's not comfortable with you sleeping right next to him; he might slit your throat in the middle of the night, I'm totally serious!"
I could have said it with Howard sitting right there, whose total indifference (because he wouldn't hear it) would have sent chills down the guy's spine, as if throat slitting was as simple a matter as breathing for Howard, who might even look back at the guy emotionless, as the guy sized him up.
I don't think he would be sleeping there any more, after that... 
Now, I am off to try to get a dollar from Howard, so I don't have to walk 8.3 miles, carrying all my stuff.
I might have to trade Cheetoz or Pepsi for it... 
8:33 p.m.
And I am in downtown Baton Rouge where it is, in the words of the hot dog cart guy, "pretty slow; I think it's gonna be dead all night..." 
I had been waiting at the Chevron to ambush Howard at around 6:15, to offer to put his Cheetoz on my food card in exchange for the dollar I needed to come down here, when a black lady handed me a dollar "out of nowhere" and said, "Here, you go."
And, there I went.
She said that The Lord had told her to do it, and that I should thank Him and not her.
I'm too early for the horn players to come and vie for the spot that I like, and too early for anyone else to have arrived, it seems.
I'm glad I don't have to busk on 3rd. Street
during the era shown;
what would they think of The Carcass Song?
I really should be playing instead of blogging using the Community Coffee wireless connection, because sometimes those stragglers can be lucrative; them realizing that they are your only hope of getting the 5 bucks that you could use at 4:30 in the morning to hop the first LA Swift bus to New Orleans; so that you could see Sue.
I miss Sue, the Cambodian lady (formerly Sue, the Colombian lady...though, I think the "Cambodian lady" is a Colombian lady, pulling my leg...)
Something about what happened on Bourbon Street, when I thought that she was embarrassed to be seen with me, but she was just making a beeline through the throngs of people; eyes forward, and in a hurry to just get out of there, and how she seemed to be touched by the fact that I cared whether or not she walked next to me; said that my "disappearance" bothered her the whole next day; kind of put a soft spot in my heart for her.
In fact, the song that I have on the back burner has a Spanish verse in it. I hope the Cambodian lady likes it...
I would like to make enough money there to be able to try to talk Sue into coming to Baton Rouge with me, if only for the 4 days that I have been spending here, working on music.
I need to see the next $150 weekend as "Here's your chance to travel," rather than "Wow, it's pretty good here."
I guess following it up with a 50 dollar weekend (if that) has taught me that lesson.
I got off the bus with 6 cents a couple hours ago; the exact amount that I had exactly two weeks ago, when I got off the bus in New Orleans...mere coincidence, or is my 6 cents trying to tell me something??


Alex said...


I think the proper thing to do with Mr Moocher is to tie him down while he's sleeping and then light him on fire, recording the festive sounds he makes to incorporate into your next recording, which I should mention would not make it sound *much* worse.

2nd place honors for either putting something really nastily poisonous into a cig he mooches, I'm thinking some organic mercury compound which is probably hard to obtain, or simply feeding him something like a lot of methanol (HEET in the yellow bottle) which is sort of like spraying for cockroaches; Yes they''re fascinating to study and will probably be around when we're gone but in the meantime are annoying as hell and are in the ranks of Killable Things.

Now on to your recordings. The Internet won't let me hear the 2nd one and just as a reminder: Live life assuming The Internet will shut off in the next 5 minutes. The first one is good because ... I know the song! And can sing along in my rathernotsobad bass-ish tenor over the nasal whine of the homeless guy who's wandered in. I understand that the actor they got to act in the movie about Johnny Cash, after a time of immersing themselves in The Great One's music, actually gained a lower octave, or half-octave, and were actually able to sing His exalted music in time for the actual filming. I think it was a matter of both exercising the vocal muscles and relaxation.

Sadly, your singing seems to be a story of tightening up.

You yourself told me that singing is a matter of using the diaphragm to "blow" air across the vocal cords, and I'm working on it with that approach. Relax, resonate, and blow. I feel just a relaxation away from the great Cash's lowest.

But Cash never had to sing on the street for his breakfast beer. And that's a huge difference. Homeless "musicians" tend to be uptight and nasal because they need their b'fast beer MANNNN..... Oh the Bobcat Goldthwaite nasal screech...!

I suspect those able to relax and sing for the music, do not enter the ranks of the career homeless.

Alex said...

The thing about traveling is, if you hitch it, which I think by far is your best chance, your "rides" *will* help you out with food and some "traveling money" once you are actually "on the road" and "going somewhere" and not just bumming it. People like someone who is actually going somewhere. Entertain them with a few songs, play the harmonica or the orinoco, ockaroony, er, ocarina, etc., and use your charm.

The $150 weekends seem to be few and far between, and when you get one, you seem to (understandably) lay back and take it easy on the money rather than use it to move. This is why I'm trying to say; moving by hitch-hike and having money are almost independent of each other.

Dazar Gaidin said...

I like dancing days, it was pretty good :) It had that live performance feel, like when you hear a live track on an album, but not a 'recorded on shitty laptop in the back of a building' sound at all. Nice!

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