Friday, March 14, 2014

The Thursday That Was Yesterday

Inauspicious Start
After posting to this blog at the library, having already spent the 30 dollars down
to 22, on my way to spending it down to about 17; I walked Royal Street, encountering a guy playing and singing the blues near the police station along the way.
He was singing the "I haven't made a dollar; this is my own money.." blues.
I recognized him as someone named "Dick" and cannot remember his last name now; but remember him being referred to as "the legendary Dick (something)" in the label on a picture of him which I had come across by Googling "New Orleans Street Musicians."
It was discouraging to see a legend not getting any tips; but...that is Royal Street for you; where "just a guy with a guitar" had better be just Chet Atkins with a guitar; or at least have a little more "going on" (see below).
I couldn't find that particular picture of Dick but, lo and behold, found this gem above, taken by Fred Miranda (about 40 years ago on Kodak black and white film) a pretty good photographer in my opinion with a nose for finding interesting subjects LOL!
Matt (from "Yes, Ma'am" or "The Hokum Highrollers" -depending upon who else is present) seemed to be doing better across from Rouses Market.
Or, The Slick Skillet Serenaders, depending upon who else shows up...

He was hitting a suitcase with a bass drum mallet with one foot and alternating between a supine tambourine and a bell of the kind that people ring for service in various places where the cashiers leave the area of the counter; with the other foot, while strumming a resonator guitar and singing loud (but not "barking" like some of the old timey blues singers do, or "howling" like some others).
He had what looked like a 100 dollar afternoon/evening in the making.
He was replacing a broken string with another from the 5 dollar per set type which are sold at the French Market. "Oh, I know; they suck; but they're only 5 bucks," he told me.
This illustrates the principle that, were I to be pulling in 100 dollars on a typical day; I would be using the finest strings and Marine Band harmonicas.
Poor Matt (with the black guitar above) probably has rent to pay and has to cut corners somewhere...
 45 Dollar Thursday
I went to the Lilly spot, where I slowly set up my stuff, while slowly sipping malt liquor, and was actually happy to have made 1 dollar and a handful of change in the first half hour.
I took a break, then returned and played longer. The tourists did seem to be "cheap" but more notably seemed to be involved in their own conversations and oblivious to music.
I packed up and moved closer to the lamp post in the "forbidden zone" by the lawyers condo after my spotlight dimmed, myself being out of batteries after having gone through 48 or them in the past couple months. 2 more dollars were soon mine.
Then, a group of three guys came along a little after 11 p.m.
"You're not playing?" asked one of them.
I explained that I had just been allowing the cops to go through on their nightly (lately) curfew check. "They overdo it, but if they are going to do it, they're a bit overdue."
They were able to entice me to take the guitar out by saying something like "We've got some money if you feel like playing," or some other sentence with the word "money" in it...
I don't remember exactly what I played, because I had gone into the "late night vodka haze," but I remember that they liked it and one of them handed me a fistful of money. It was literally crushed into a wad in his hand and I had to spread my fingers like they were in a catchers mitt in order to take it.
His manner either sent the message of "We've got money by the fistful! Here, have some..." or it sent the message: "This is all the money I've got on me; I just snatched it all out of my pocket.." or it made some statement about how he felt about U.S. currency, perhaps.
I stuffed it in my back pocket in reverse of the way he had pulled it out of his and didn't discover that it had been 42 dollars until I was under the dock by the fire counting it by the light of a candle which I had stolen from out of Lafitts Blacksmith Shop Tavern; during one of my restroom runs. I'm now a thief.
Before I left, one of the gold painted men came along and sat down and asked me to play, which I did.
I had just put the guitar back in the case when the same cop who Lilly had spoken to came by; pointed at the gold painted man with a "get going" gesture; but only gave me a brief wave then drove off.
"Well, I'm not going to argue with that," said the gold man.
I soon followed suit, and was walking away just as Lilly and her 2 daughters were approaching.
"You saved my life the other night," I said.
"It's alright, Goodnight, I'm so tired, see you later, I love you" and scurry through the gate and out of sight they all three did...
I thought about how good a spot the Lilly spot actually is, especially for just a guy with a guitar -with a harmonica also, add 50% -and how lucky I was to have found it; and yet I am careful not to brag about it to people such as the legendary bluesman (except online here where 11 billion people can see it LOL!).
The Chip
I still have the 5 dollar chip from Harrahs Casino, and will put it on black one of these days....

I now go to either get an sd micro chip reader, so that I can post pictures here, like of the actual chip in my hand and not the stock photo above; or to get a new harmonica.
I put $1.40 into the "3%" jar, breaking a 3 day slump of minimum deposits; and I have only spent 2 dollars so far on this Friday that I decided to not start my day with vodka and juice, but rather a 2 dollar cup of coffee here at The Royal Blend, where I blog..
On The Horizon
I ponder more seriously than ever going on the road and traveling north to Massachusetts to see some people "good for the soul" who will take turns hosting me until each tires of it; it could take me all the way through the summer. And, of course busking along the way will be good for this blog...
A 45 dollar tip during such a slow season is a stroke of luck and should be looked at as a means of getting away from here, at least until things pick up, and not as a way to lay back and live off of it until the next big tip comes along. It will likely be gone long before then...
This Just In
I am at the library with 2 minutes of time on the computer; I have just printed out the sheet for "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant," by Billy Joel and my uncanny intuition tells me that this could become one of my real show ,er, tourist stoppers in the future.
I can imagine getting a kazoo for the sax solo in the middle; Clarence Clemens rolling in his grave notwithstanding....

1 comment:

alex carter said...

My comment (long one got disappeared, so fuck this.