Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I Am In Algiers!

I took the ferry over here to Algiers, Lousiana, so that I could, among other things, save a couple bucks on doing my laundry.
I had decided that eradicating the smell of spilled mackerel "juice" from jeans; and the Eau de musty mildew fragrance from my hat, for example was worth the investment of coming over here, where the washers are still $1.75 and the dryers give you like 8 minutes for a quarter.
I Am Invited To Travel
Last night, I was by Rouses Market and it was early.
It felt early, in the same sense that it also felt like a Tuesday, which it was.
I was just not nearly in the mood to bust out the guitar and play. Maybe some Evan Williams Straight Kentucky Bourbon would doctor that situation, I thought.
A tall, medium built guy with reddish hair in a crew cut and holding a mandolin accosted me as I stepped out of the store with a pint of Evan Williams Straight Kentucky Bourbon.
Of course, I had my guard up against a skeeze of my whiskey.

He instead asked me if we could busk together, claiming that he could follow anything that I might play and really "tear up" the mandolin.
He invited me to sit with he and what turned out to be a little dog and a young lady and another dark-skinned guy who looked about 17 and looked like he might have Cajun blood in him.
Well, Zack, as that was his name, told me that I should travel with he and his companions and play music; stating that he wanted to travel and busk with someone who had "talent," and said that, in his experience, the money made in that arrangement far exceeded what seems to be the status quo here in NOLA.
"When you're travelling, you get blessed," said Zack, and then told the following story:
"A guy just came up to me this morning and handed me 100 bucks. I didn't even spange* him .
*A contraction of the words "spare" and "change" and just another attempt by skeezers at large to DE stigmatize what they do by giving it a cool sounding moniker
"He pitied the dog. I have this little dog that has a bad limp and he saw it limping and gave me a hundred dollar bill," the story ended.
"I'm just lucky,' said Zack.
Well, as I contemplated busking with Zack, I wondered about a lot of things.
I wondered why he seemed to be assuming that I was someone who had "talent" and who would make an ideal travelling and busking partner.
I wondered if he might be trying to insinuate himself into the Lilly spot by getting me to take him there; myself wanting to see just how much he tore up the mandolin on anything that I might play.
Then, that all became a mute point as the social dynamic of that particular corner changed and it turned into a party to celebrate the 100 dollar bill which Zack had gotten out of pity of his dog.
A gallon of whiskey came out of Rouses Market, and like a magnet it soon attracted a couple other nondescript street types; at least one of which told Zack that he loved him before hugging him, after Zack offered him the bottle.
I knew that I just had to bide a little bit of time before Zack forgot all about busking with me.
He didn't need the money and wouldn't for at least a few hours.
And, when he spoke to me of his affinity for Punk Music, and added that, as far as being a singer that he was more of a "yeller" or a "screamer" who favored the "raspy voice," I began to harbor second thoughts about bringing him to the Lilly spot, and so I excused myself under the pretense of going to buy a pack of cigarettes; and I went and actually bought a pack of cigarettes, but then didn't return to the corner by Rouses Market.
I ran into Lilly and her daughters as I started to make my way towards their stoop.
We walked there together, Lilly complaining of having a cold at intervals.
As soon as we arrived there, they went inside just as the skies opened up into a pretty heavy downpour which I endured for about an hour before it let up a bit and I went to Sydneys for one good beer, and then retired.
The temperatures dropped during the night and it is once again pretty cold.


Alex said...

The term "spange" is one I first hear in the mid-90s in Colorado Springs, where rich kids from Colorado College would hang out in their $200 jeans and do it.

You're coming up in the skeezetastic world, what you've run into here is the higher class of skeezers and they have spotted you as one of their own. Your skeezing can rise to a whole new level - they will teach you the value of having a limping puppy (when it gets older and learns to chew out the burr they put between the "toes" of its paw, they find it a home and get another) and having and adoring girlfriend (young girls are easily "strung out" on today's cheap and prevalent heroin; when she gets disobedient, send her back to her folks and get another) and at least the "power" of playing in groups is somewhat legit.

Meanwhile, a trumpet player plays tunes "right out of the book" and makes more than a techie does out here in "Silicon Valley". Hmmm...

I think you do have talent, in that most of what people call "talent" is "the ability to play well" and while most of your recordings sound like shit, there are a few where you weren't too drunk or otherwise wasted and something does come through. Plus you've got the stench, apparently, of a pro skeezer and the man knows how to spot a fella with endurance.

Anonymous said...

Your stories are always great Daniel.