WE MUST DO
IS 17/01/96 AND FOLLOWING
MONTHS OF EMOTIONAL UPHEAVAL I DECIDE IT
MAY BE INTERESTING TO START KEEPING A DIARY ON MY LIFE AND THOUGHTS. SO
BEGAN THE LABYRINTH BUSKER JOURNAL - HANDWRITTEN, WHILE BUSKING,
TRAVELLING, LOVING, SURVIVING IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES.
THE JOURNAL IS AROUND 750,000 WORDS LONG AND REACHED THE END OF ITS LIFE WITH MY RETURN TO ENGLAND AND THE CHANCE OF SEEING MY DAUGHTER REGULARLY.
with thought provoking
articles on busking, philosophy, the universe.
Whole books from a busking diary written while busking Europe in the last years of the last millenium.
Glimpses of a 750,000 word diary that could radically alter your view on life, love and the soul.
|As the diary progressed it
became ever more attuned to the motivations of Heart, Mind, Body and Soul with
their relevance and interaction gradually dissected amongst those who
came my way. People who shared love or any of love's by-products
(including hate) form the spine of the work, but the diary is forever
moving forward at a rapid or gradual pace.
Images or food
Prose and poems
Diary snippets Antwerp,1996
Buskers Good and True
Some fine buskers I've met along the way
Brian Songs for Rachel
Motivation behind some of my songs
A collection of bite size stories and articles
Pick a song and listen on your default player
Labyrinth Busker top Ten
Which pages are hot on www.buskerbrian.com
Things we must do
Antwerp, January '96 - Complete book from diary
Amusement and fracas on a night out in Rome
Belief, Heaven and Zolar
Exploring the need to believe
Tale of Uptown Suzy
Highly charged emotions dominate this event in 1995
The Societies within me
Are you one consciousness, or a vessel for many?
The Missing Link
The Human invasion of Earth
Cranky Brian shoots a theory or two on the universe
Gender Role reversal
No one is 100% male or female. Cue the Heartbreaker.
The Green Busker
It is Spring, 1994 and an inexperienced "busker" takes a ferry to Belgium.
My grandfather was a lighthouseman and farmer in Iceland
Cue the Heartbreaker.
A list of some pages on my sites that may be of interest
Know what you're looking for? Search my site.
Jesus? Celtic or Rangers?
My busking pitch is interrupted by religious zealots promising the "good life".
Lyrics from some of my songs
New Clear Winter
May, 1996, and this diary book heralds a calm before the storm of fascinating experiences that would make the remainder of 1996 so special.
Plato and Socrates debate Beauty
An imaginary debate between plato and Socrates on Beauty.
Hurricane Rita, Asperger's, Bob Dylan
A look at the boxes we use to define mental illness, mild autism and suchlike. Could it be that we are not normal?
Soulmate: A five minute Play
A woman is faced with seeking to isolate one advisor within her. Heart, mind, soul and body present their case in this short Play.
The Tortoise and the Hare (Rabbit)
Two months on from "New Clear Winter" and the busker has aided "Arthur" to lift the sword from the stone. It is time for more adventure in Luzern, Bern and Gstaad.
Home is emotional fulfillment
The main title for the Tortoise and Hare book.
Time is Temperature. They are one and the same, and everything that is, was, and will be, follows a set sequence. This sequence can be defined as "explosion".
Enjoy a few short videos. Show lasts half an hour or so.
|There's always something more to
find with the Labyrinth Busker journal
must do 5
...in which the focus turns
to Stef Carlens
24/01/96 - Weds - Antwerp - To me, my music is something I share with those in the audience who need it. The fewer musicians down the 'Doos the more I like it, because the general public are more likely to understand my music than musicians.
Imagine it...someone spending months, years learning different, specialised techniques on the guitar and then they see me go on stage to play a song in a way that claims that the technique he has painfully learnt has no relevance or interest to me....because, to me, the guitar is just there and, really, if you have to rely on the guitar to make a song work then that song is weak. My technique is concentrated on text, melody and mood - with the optimum use of that 'voice', despite its imperfections.
To me, a good song is priceless. Sven and Gerhard appeal to me not so much because of their musical ability, ( in actual fact, that is a bit of a drawback because their musical philosophy is fairly alien to mine) but because they are innovative and creative in their own right. Also, of course, Gerhard is 'family'. But so is Ruana. Co-ordinating 'family' together is problematic because we're all so fixed in our minds one moment to the next - although the end result of successful co-ordination would be greater than any external influences. I think I'm right in saying that because it just came straight from my inner senses.
Hey! It's time I got myself together - otherwise the day will be lost.
But it's nice to close on something that warms me. I really felt good when Ruana said she thinks of me in this cold weather and hopes I'm somewhere nice and warm. To know that she thinks of me means a great deal, as the chorus of a song about her relates:
I WONDER DID YOU THINK OF ME WHERE THE RIVER SAW US PLAY
AND I WONDER DID YOU THINK OF ME WHEN I TRAVELLED FAR AWAY
I WONDER DID YOU THINK OF ME THOUGH WE HARDLY MET THIS FALL
THEN I WONDER DID YOU THINK OF ME AT ALL
I really miss her, but I know it's not the right time to see her. I also know there will be a right time - a time when it will be right for us both. I need to improve my personal confidence level (I think) before I'll be ready for meeting her. It all seems so long away, but I shall stay patient - and sort of lonely...because that is the present requirements of my Fate. It is all a case of 'one day'...
25/01/96 - Thurs - Really, this weather is impossible! It's bitter cold and straightforward busking is also impossible. Aside from the fact that the cold dries and cracks your lips it also softens the fingernails and I tend to damage the skin beneath while I'm strumming. I'm sitting in the Cafe Centrum on the Groen Platz. I did 5 songs on the Meir for about 100Bfr and changed my few Guilders and German marks for another 150Bfr so I could have a Smos, a coffee and cigarettes. That summarises it, I think.
There is no artistic satisfaction to be had and the bars are basically empty. If I was in Switzerland I could be saving money, but here? Forget it! So I must ensure I never find myself stuck like this next Winter.
I despair of the situation regarding professional development here. There's just too much imagery, back biting and basic ignorance about true creative art. It's a place obsessed with the cultural niceties of the didgeridoo, bongos and (to my mind) obscure, worthless, cacophonous sounds. However did Stef and Tom manage to break through this herd of sheep, who are scared of looking too deeply at themselves and so escape into plastic and abstract imagery?
Simple, I suppose...they formed a group.
But I can see, from Stef's mannerisms and attitudes, that it has not been easy for him either. He knows the problems I face, because he has had them - although being Flemish is surely an advantage for him. Some people have said Tom Barman and Stef Carlens are arrogant. To me, that is rubbish.
Stef is someone who has a very clear view about certain aspects of life, but stays a little confused about other things - especially regarding himself. In many ways he is the equivalent of Gerhard, Ruana and maybe even me.
Despite what he said about "giving up playing and bringing on new younger talent" I can see that his real joy is getting onto stage and playing. But (unlike me) he has pressure on him every time he does. Last Spring, he played the 'Doos on Mondays and Tuesdays - and, for some reason, there was just him and me doing that. It was enough to see that he actually loved playing the 'Doos, because the place is a part of his life. Possibly he broke in his new songs there just like I do now. But he knows that when he does play there he puts his reputation on the line.
How many people in Belgium would like to say," Oh yeah! I saw him play one night. His voice was terrible..." - or "He played this song really bad" - or whatever. Of course, most of the time, everyone would clap because of who he is...but he would know how well he can play and sing...and if he knows he has played badly it will grate with him.
Then, one day, Stef said, " I don't think I should be playing here."
"Why not?" I asked.
"Well, I found it hard to put emotion into the songs tonight. It didn't feel good."
Strangely enough, I was more particularly impressed by the emotion he had appeared to put into his songs that night. To my mind, if he felt he wasn't being emotional, but still gave the simulation of it automatically in his voice?
Well..that is excellence!
I told him this, but he just seemed down on himself...on touring with dEUS...even (it appeared) on his eating at that time. Maybe one explains the other. Being vegetarian and existing on the odd cheeses smos sandwich might eventually cause the mind and body to get depressed.
But, as far as I'm aware, he didn't play the 'Doos again...until a few weeks after the new premises had been opened - and, at that time, there were no microphones, which made it difficult to do anything except noisy songs (for all of us). Then he didn't play it until this Winter, but then he has been busy with Moondog Jr and associated projects.
Somewhere, along the line, a rift developed between us. It seems someone jumped on one of my comments and distorted it to Stef, because after Ruana and I had just finished a set in the 'Doos I met Stef on the way to pick up the hat. I asked him, "What do you think of our duo?"
"It's ok," he answered, bitterly.
I then asked about the projected Moondog CD and he replied, "It's out in October. But you don't like my music anyway."
It is not true that I said that and in such a negative fashion. I don't think EVERY song dEUS or Stef do is great, but you show me someone who likes everything an artist does and I'll show you an inner denial. It's true (also) that I think the audiences that would go for that style of music is narrower than...say Cliff Richard, Rod Steward etc..- but that is NOT an insult. In fact, it is a tribute. It is people doing what they want to do and doing it successfully, despite the narrower range of general appeal. My music is aimed at the wider range of the market because I need to stay alive - and the wider the appeal of a song, the more money I get.
So...in Belgium Tom and Stef are famous in the eyes of most of its young, but to the middle-aged accountant and the grandmother they are barely understood images, glimpsed occasionally on TV or magazine, or half heard on the radio. Nonetheless, they have broken through. That is great for them.
But I can see Stef (I don't know Tom well enough) moving on from one field of music to another. He can do that, from now on, because he'll have the money and (in a year or two) the time to explore. He's a great talent.
A couple of weeks before Xmas I was telling him about that strange experience of seeing that 'part of yourself' there is in your daughter. That startling,unreal surprise you get when you see your daughter for the first time in months. Stef looked very intensely at me and said, "Can I borrow your guitar?"
"Of course," I replied.
He went onto the stage and then, for the first time, I realised he was left handed. I am right handed. I was truly impressed by him playing a set of 6 songs with a right handed guitar - and if you want to go up and down the fret in barre style? My guitar is a pig for that, because it has medium strings and fairly high action for volume.
But the thing which strikes me most about him is the superb control of his voice. One of the songs he played appealed especially to me - and it seemed to augur a subtle shifting of style.
For a few days after that Stef and I were repairing a friendship made uncomfortable by his friend Bennie and my 'soul mate' Char. Somehow, almost unspoken, the uncomfortable distance re-emerged from the moment Bennie gave his rather tepid apology to me. I really don't see that there is anything in Bennie that is of the slightest interest to me. We don't communicate well and I felt uncomfortable sitting with a group of people that includes him.
My Fate is too uncertain to plan too much ahead, let alone pretentiously, but maybe the time will come when Stef and I can co-operate in some way. I seem to feel that very strongly on a subconscious level - and I think mybe Stef does too...because his manner tends to be 'something, but what?' to me.
Meanwhile, a letter from Chriss today. I don't know how I can relate the the full details of 'what I am', or what I've been doing, to him. A strange tapestry is my life at the moment. Someone who works 9 to 5 and spends the evening having a beer, listening to records and smoking the odd joint in a fairly ordered routine might not understand.
You can understand the product of my life - that is my song. But the source behind it? Even I get confused.
26/01/96 - Fri - It just gets colder! 4 short songs was all I could manage on the Meir - and even that left my fingers dangerously exposed. Gerhard and I are both troubled by money at the moment. I am fairly penniless...just hanging on until it gets milder. Having said that, Gerhard and I had good fun over the 'Inge' thing today, amongst other amusing topics.
Last night I managed to break in my two new songs down the 'Doos, but there was only a handful of people there. Playing the Cathedral was virtually impossible, but I did 2 songs - got 150Bfr. I spent the evening perusing my private literature.
PS Had a great dream last night! Dreamt Ruana was sleeping next to me. Had this really great warm feeling as I snuggled up to her and then...dammit...I woke up.
COMPLETE ONLINE DIARY SEGMENTS:
Want something to read for an hour or two?
Then the life and loves of a busker can take you into his world for awhile. Reliant entirely on his music and what he can earn from it in bars, on terraces and the street (plus the mutual aid and faith of his friends), he colours his inner and outer worlds with layers of purpose and belief that stretch from real, felt, imaginary to flights of fancy.
What actually is real, felt, imaginary or a flight of fancy can often surprise him as well as those who line his path.
The busker monitors his path as Lone Wolf in the spirit world of the Soul as love and relationship quandaries abound in an historic Swiss city.
With close to zero busking experience, a man sallies forth from Britain with an idea of busking to survive. He had a one way ticket, no money and a massive well of despair.
Tortoise & Hare
New Clear Winter
Monster in NY
Things we must do
Other sites presented by the Labyrinth Busker journal:
audio.buskerbrian.com My songs with lyrics
free.buskerbrian.com About me
home.buskerbrian.com Loads of articles, stories and titbits
apachejohn.buskerbrian.com Bishop's Stortford based band
leddrain.buskerbrian.com Swiss based singer/songwriter
wolf.buskerbrian.com Busking adventures in Bern
wildwolf.buskerbrian.com Part Two: Busking adventures in Bern
moon.buskerbrian.com My music, plus featured acts. plus colour
as.buskerbrian.com Asperger's Syndrome
pearce.buskerbrian.com Family Photos over 100 years
Iceland Genealogy Family ancestry over 1,000 years
Pearce Genealogy British ancestry (Hornchurch. Rickling Green)
Cranky Brian "History of time" Provoking ideas in philosophy and science
My space Become a friend
Contact me Just that
Online Diary Podcasts
|COMPLETE ONLINE DIARY
Tortoise & Hare
New Clear Winter
Monster in NY
Things we must do