Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Meet Louise The Tarot Card Reader

  • Catch 22
  • Rick Goes Away Mad
  • 9 Dollar Monday

I'm stressing over money as I sit here not making a cent; and blog instead; about stressing over money because I am sitting here not making a cent as I blog about not making a cent because I am not making a cent blogging about not making a cent because I am blogging about it instead of being out there trying to make a cent.
Sometimes I think this blog gives me another mechanism by which to procrastinate; like being paralyzed by fear of going out and not making a cent.
It's a Catch-22.
Drinking alcohol is a factor.
I don't really think that God, as I understand Her, is withdrawing all of the blessings of the past sober month, which I was quick to attribute to Her, because, if that were true, then she is punishing all of the other buskers citywide, as well as the skeezers...that's an awful lot of power to be wielding by cracking open a Hurricane.
It is possible that my song choices have been more poorly decided; and, instead of feeling more in control and more facile as the night wears on and I gain a mental advantage over the intoxicated audience; I begin to fade right along with them; and once they reach the point where any sloppy little ditty will fascinate them; that is just about what they are getting out of me...with a capital "s."
As far as the money spent on booze, it has just been shifted over from the Energy Drink Account and The Endowment For American Spirit Cigarettes and its ilk; so I'm not hurting myself there...
As far as bathroom runs and the time taken to break down for which and then set back up after which; that is about even, too as I had been pounding a gallon of water at my spot.
A Double-Whammy
As far as waking up progressively more depressed in the mornings, there is a biochemical connection to the consumption of 48 to 64 ounces of a "depressant" each evening; but there is also a connection to the economy which, the last time I checked, is pretty much mirroring last years performance at this time.
A year ago, my friend Ted, wired me 50 bucks from Boston, after a phone conversation that we had during which "It's been pretty dead here, lately," was probably uttered on my end.
I picked a rough time to spend 160 bucks on a laptop, 30 on an mp3 player, 20 on a charger for that; while trying to keep myself in food (with the card cut off) and water and candles and instant coffee and briquets and guitar strings and new harmonicas and clean clothes and 64 ounces of a depressant each day; and then to start spending 4 or 5 hours each morning on the things; instead of putting "extra" time into busking, to combat the effects of the slow economy now...
It's a "double-whammy."
And it's the little things which bother the most; such as not having water and instant coffee and candles and a newspaper each morning; nor briquettes to cook a lot of free food which I have had to throw to the aquatic life in the river.
Early this morning, I spent myself down to under a dollar with the purchase of a gallon of spring water, but then decided not to start a driftwood fire because the sky was already lightening by the time I got to under the dock and nothing reveals smoke like the first orange-yellow rays of the rising sun glimmering off the river.
The End Of Us...
I could have had fresh pasta with real butter and a huge salad on the side with olive oil and vinegar and then boiled some ground coffee and filtered to so it would be ready when I woke up. Except, I was out of olive oil.
I instead, saved the butter and the rest went to waste. I had some sushi and went to sleep.
The food stamp lady called and did our 10 minute phone interview which I waited 15 days for; and then gave me a website where I am required to register on, so that job opportunities will be e-mailed to me.
Then, I need to call the customer service number and inform them that I am indeed registered there; and they will e-mail my caseworker that she can go ahead and turn my account back on; maybe tomorrow.
Rick From Austin
Rick showed up at the Lilly spot at around 10 p.m., and basically wanted to "borrow" 3 of the 7 dollars which were between the sharks.
He showed me some kind of  "Green Dot" card which he had purchased so that he could load money to use for the cheapest Megabus fare (plastic only) but then showed me that, somehow the numbers had already been scratched off the card (something he inexplicably didn't notice when he bought it) and he had some kind of problem which sounded more and more convoluted as he went on; It almost would have been better had he just asked for it; minus the story. He needed the money in order to get at the 29 dollars which he had already put on the card; was what I gathered..
At one point he said that he could pay me back, because he was going to go to the Walgreens on Canal Street which "is open all night," (which it isn't) and when I suggested that he break his guitar out and we would play for an hour or so and maybe make the 3 bucks that he needed; he said "I don't feel like playing at all right now!"
The End Of Us
When I suggested that "when the going gets tough, the buskers get busking" he looked up and down the street and complained that that would be useless "because it's dead."
This started me thinking.
Then, why, after not having been able to make 3 bucks on Royal Street, would he come to the Lilly spot, see how "dead" it was but still expect that I would have made enough to have 3 bucks to spare?
"Can you at least smoke me up?" I asked.
"I don't have any weed at all! Not even a bud!!" he said, in a tone that suggested that that may have been his biggest problem of all.
He got pissed off, and said "F*** it; I'll go and busk and make 3 bucks, one way or another!" and stormed off. Now he wanted to play. It just didn't seem logical; and I wondered if he had done a hit of crack and was now jonesing for a 5 dollar sack of weed. "This is the end of us!" he added.
Coming Soon: I meet Louise the tarot card reader...


alex carter said...

I guess it's been something like 10 years now bud. This is going to be long so I may chop it up into a few posts.

When I first started reading your blog, I was quite entranced with the idea of being a busker, and getting out of Gilroy. Your life seemed a lot better than mine, not least in the lack of daily chores.

I kept advising you to come out here to California but after a while realized that not only do you lack the volition to travel that far, but that New Orleans has a lot going for it; it's cheap and there's lots of free food and nice people (among the crazy people, etc.)

I even got the idea that I might in a way *become* you, in that I'd get my skills up, work on the logistics of moving to New Orleans myself, and the essential greatness of a brass instrument would ensure I'd make at least what you do, and I'd channel what you spend on cigs and weed into a room or maybe a small apartment.

I'd better post this and on, to part #2.

alex carter said...

The guy I work for has pointed out many times in conversations, regarding what it takes to becomes a top flight scientist or engineer, that "if you aren't doing it by age 14, you're not going to make it". He heard *that* at a lecture by an even more astute fellow.

Over this last weekend, I kinda put things together. My scientist/engineer friend had his parents batting for him all the way when he was growing up, and I felt I'd missed out by not having this support from my parents.

Well, I realized that this is not in fact true. My parents were not as good (by which is meant rich) as yours, or as warm and loving as his, but they really did back me up in something that I was almost an old hand at by age 14 - art. Name a technique, I'd done it by the time I was out of HS. I had stuff in galleries, I sold stuff fairly regularly - of course with my family, sometimes the money went to buy dinner.

Trying to learn the cornet at age 40+ is like someone moving to Italy from the Midwest, and trying to sound like a native. Never happen. I could eventually learn to blat out some things, sure, but it would not sound right to anyone who knows anything. Frankly, it's as bad as the people who move to where I grew up and try to sound like a local. Never happen, an insult and hurts our ears.

But here I have something I'm fluent in, a thing in which for me "there is no 'try', there is only 'do'".

And these days it's really easy to set up a blog, publish, etc.

So, I will do.

Stay tuned, for part 3!

alex carter said...

OK so, I have a proposal:

I want to do 3 CD covers for you, for no cost. Just because it'd be good practice. One for an album called "My Favorite Mule - original songs by Street Musician Daniel", one for "The Carcass Song - and other original dishes by Street Musician Daniel", and lastly one called "Raising The Dead - Street Musician Danial plays some grateful covers".

My idea is to pencil out the basic layouts to decide on them, then get some posterboard like comic book artists work on and pencil then ink. I know CD covers are basically square, so you might have to "stretch" the image a bit if they're a bit off-square, but it'll be OK. My idea is to do the black and white, and digitize and send the images, keeping the originals, and you can do the coloring.

I guarantee I'll come up with covers that will pull people in so don't worry about that.

The thing is, tourists often just buy CDs from buskers and collect them like stamps. You may sell them in sets of the 3, just because lookit the cool covers.

Do the colors, have a print shop print 'em up, put into come cheep jewel cases and insert your CDs, and you'll have a product, and I'll have some practice.

So, what do you say?

Daniel McKenna said...

Wow, I was going to ask a caricature artist on Bourbon if she would do one; but would be offering her like 6 or 7 dollars (some of it in change, so she will appreciate my financial situation) but, she sits there on Bourbon with one (1) caricature (of herself) and reads a book or something; she doesn't Do, she Tries to get people to stop;
"Why don't you pick people out at random and do a quick take on them and then say 'What do you think; should I make your nose bigger?' or something...maybe the wife would say 'Oh, that is so cute' and then come out with (the) 20 dollars (that she charges)"
I am starting to think that the recorded quality that I am capable of might be good enough to burn onto CD; as long as I push up the quirky lyrics* to the front..and that could mean having at least one done within a couple months...
*Like who ever complained about the production of a song like "The Streak" or said the bassline on "Spiders And Snakes" by Jim Stafford was lame, or that Monster Mash could really benefit from a high-cut filter...
I'm thinking of having little snippets of conversation in between tracks like maybe just a (different) tourist asking (variations of) "Do you write your own stuff?" before each song -'cause they'll all be my "own stuff"
I'm going to post up mp3s as soon as I find the audacity (excuse the pun) to cut out sections of the hour and a half recordings, when I just let the thing roll through the whole set; hoping to catch lightning in a bottle, and then maybe lightly season them with a bit of reverberation and maybe some non obtrusive backup vocals; Beatles buff that I am...
That's what I think...
Now, for Part #2...

alex carter said...

Well, I'm going to do the black and white artwork, digitized, for you for free because I feel like doing it, and you can essentially color it in like a coloring book to add your part to it, and then you'll have something you can have a place like Kinko's print out and put into "jewel case" CD covers and sell.

I'm thinking I'll burn it onto a CD or I might have an extra memory stick around here I can put it on.

Just give me a week or two, I'll keep you posted.

Lots of artists got their start doing album covers for their friends lol.

Blogger said...

Are you paying over $5 / pack of cigs? I buy all my cigs over at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 60%.