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 - Chapter Eight.
...why did an American, a Brit busker
and a French film producer in Geneva
talk about Antwerp and Belgians?
31/01/96 - Weds - Antwerp (recalling my Sept.95 visit to Geneva) - Funny really! I sort of placed Josie at about 22. She was actually mid-thirties. She must have been, because she had a seventeen year old daughter back in the States. We played a sparse cafe terrace, but so impressed a French film producer that he wanted to buy us drinks..
Because he was the producer of a film called 'The sorrow of the Belgians'.
So, without a Belgian in sight, we talked about his filming in Antwerp (where I live) of a film based on Hugo Claus (a Belgian) and the producer's pleasant surprise at the quality and enthusiasm of his Belgian actors/actresses...while I explained about the songs 'Little bird' and 'Baby', both written by a Belgian girl (Ruana).
Josie referred to the girl sitting with him as "your daughter" and I was privately thinking ' Whoops! What if this girl is his girlfriend?'
So...as Josie and I finally walked on our way...I said, "Are you sure that was his daughter?"
"Oh yeah! He introduced her as his daughter."
Phew! I missed that bit.
What might have been with Ruana I'll never know. What may be is still open. I'll keep my fingers crossed. Anywhere in Europe becomes habitable with a well rehearsed duo. Ruana aside, however, the chances of a male/female duo must be explored. It's going to be hard to find someone as special as Ruana, but, last year, I set out my stall to find a male/female duo and I got one with Ruana. Maybe if I advertise my requirements once more someone will turn up. But I want Ruana!?!
Stop moaning, Brian! You can't always get what you want, but, sometimes, you can get what you need. Those were the words I said to Vera on the Thursday after Char left me for Spain. Within an hour I was walking into the Musiekdoos and seeing Ruana waiting there for me. I got what I needed.
Vered has a true enough pitch and a feel for harmony, but she has no real power in her voice. That can be worked on. But it would not be easy.
DaveR annoyed me last night. Competitiveness is one thing, but it shows a true weakness when you have to disparage your rival's act. So I returned the favour. I didn't disparage. I wouldn't do that. I just didn't applaud. I always applauded him whether he was crap or not. Now I shan't.
He is basically a walking ego. There's nothing he likes better than the sound of his own voice. Might be ok if he had something original to sing - and sometimes he has, but mostly he just churns out the same old stuff. "Just play all your hits!" is his simple philosophy.
To me, the 'Doos is not especially for that - unless you are particularly chasing money or there is a big, big crowd there and you feel under pressure to play it safe. On quieter nights the 'Doos is a springboard for untested new songs. I'm of the same mind as Stef in this.
Once, I said to him, "I don't know! Maybe I played too many of my own songs for this crowd."
"That's what the Muziekdoos is for! Playing your own songs!"
I think Dave's problem is that not only can't he be himself on the stage, but also he can't be himself off it either...because he's forgotten how. He hides behind his humour and his image. Behind the facade there resides a very sad and lonely figure. To him, sensitivity is weakness. A case of tunnel vision.
01/02/96 - Thurs - On the way to De Klamper I dropped into the newsagents for cigarettes. Twas then I saw a picture of John Reilly (an Irish busker) playing on the Inno pitch..."Muzikanten hoeven geen badge te dragen". The narrow minded powers are trying to introduce a badge system for busking in Antwerp. Well, there already is a permit system, but from talks with other buskers it is a hard thing to get one....because they probably want unobtainable documents, with a red tape syndrome. A badge would be instantly seen and Antwerp (unless they made the badge easier for foreigners to get) would would effectively stifle busking in the town. That is if the police actually bother to enforce it.
The world of music relies heavily on interaction between cultures. It is difficult to go from your private bedroom, where you have been developing what is probably a tepid set, to a gig situation in a bar. The system in Antwerp has been to partly develop your art on the street. A lot of talented musicians busk the streets, but won't busk terraces (generally, terrace playing is not interfered with by the authorities).
But look at the music scene in Antwerp! dEUS, Moondog Jr, Kiss my jazz, Stephen Duncan and the Recipe Hour, DAAU. All of these have members who develope, or have developed, their art through busking on the street. Only a handful would qualify for, or seek, a permit. The brilliant promise in Antwerp would be stopped dead.
28 songs have I written and developed on the street here in Antwerp. If the authorities make life difficult? Well, then I will just go elsewhere in Europe with my 28 songs. It would be in this new place that any money from any success I may achieve will go. If a song makes big that could be a million pounds going into that town instead of Antwerp.
The above mentioned groups may choose to disband rather than fulfill their promise, because several of these musicians still rely on busking the streets...and several may not be able, or willing, to get this badge. So Antwerp, on the edge of becoming a true MODERN centre of music, will retreat back to obscurity.
In addition, tourism relies heavily on street performers. Antwerp is pretty (ish), but basically unexciting. The tourist wants to see LIFE in Antwerp, not just bricks and mortar. Children get bored and need the stimulation of street performances to make them feel this is not just a fun day for 'grown-ups'.
Antwerp's brochures, promoting the city, actually put special emphasis on street performing.
Take away the spontaneity of street life and the bar entertainment (because the one relies heavily on the other) then Antwerp will become an empty shell.
Tourists will graduallyreduce in number. Bars and restaurants will fail and close. The people who work there will be out of work. New money will not be encouraged to invest in the town. The blossoming music scene will implode and become stagnant. It would cost the city a great deal of money. Then, of course, the city will look at other defenceless people and blame them.
The centre of busking will move elsewhere and elsewhere will get the financial benefit.
In addition (an important one), what do tourist centres really aim to do? Well, to get as much money from tourists as possible and improve the money circulation and general wealth of the place, Consider how much money tourists put into the hat of street entertainers - and then consider what these entertainers do with the money. They spend it in the bars, in the restaurants, in the shops, on their rent, on their electricity or gas.
On a tourist friendly day...if 10,000 people put, on average, 20Bfr into the hat of the various street acts littered around Antwerp then that would be 200,000Bfr extra introduced into the city that would not be there without the street entertainer. So, go ahead, Antwerp...shoot yourself in the foot.
Meanwhile, last night in the Doos (a busker's bar) there was only me playing it. Fine! Now I'm chasing the electricity money. I was on 900Bfr after yesterday - another 1500Bfr to go and then 5450Bfr for the rent.
It's going to be a hard couple of weeks. But there was even some heat in the sun today...around midday...
I tried "calling" (telepathy) Char last night, because I haven't seen her for three weeks and I guess I worry. I tried to catch Pierre yesterday, but he wasn't in. So I'll wait to see if my "call" was successful.
Evening - After that long tirade about permits and badges I discovered, upon getting back and reaching for my Nederlands-Engels Woordenboek, that the powers that be have given up the idea. It's a no go. Getting worked up about nothing.
But then, I'm good at that.
Meanwhile, as I sit here in the Cafe Centrum (I must make sure I put the name down - it pleases John, the owner), I think of ways of getting the 11,000Bfr minimum I need for dental treatment. The only assets I have are my songs. My problem is the way my style is so different.
Ken Post was always saying, "Stef is a business man!", but then, people said that about Ken. Three or four weeks ago, however, Stef confirmed it himself, "This is a business, man! I treat it as a business!"
My songs are my business but, I'm afraid, I'm no businessman. But Stef is....
Would he know ( or want to know) how I can get money from (say) selling one of my songs? Maybe, if he's a businessman, he can take his percentage for the deal. The only problem is I don't know what side he is on. Is he with the clique or independent of them?
My impression, from the things he says and the manner in which he says them, is that he is completely independent of thought and action. But whenever I've spoken of 'getting someone' to do my songs he has usually said, "You don't need to! You do them fine!" ...or something like that. If I see him I'll have to test the water, because I need money to break out of this trap and out of myself.
Sometimes, we all need a little help.
02/02/96 - Fri - It's two in the morning (Saturday). Haven't really had time to settle down to write today. I've probably made about 25% of the money I need for bills. 8,000Bfr I need. 2,000Bfr I've got. Last night I did a pitch on the Cathedral and then went to check out Pierre (Char's brother). He was in, with his friend Filippe. I ascertained Char's well being through him. She had been around there to pick up some of her stuff from her ill-fated previous apartment.
On my last meeting with her she had told me that she (and Bennie) were trying to get the deposit for a new appartment from the 'social'. Well...it seems they got it, because they've got somewhere. How long they keep it? I don't know. I can't see them getting the rent together. Is it a case of another defaced room and them charging down south again? Probably. What worries me is that she will look on it as 'home' and put up with unreasonable behaviour because of that. She told me she had doubts about sharing an appartment with Bennie.
Well..so do I.
Ruana sees it fairly black and white,"She's chosen her bed. Let her lie in it. She must expect that people eventually learn to live without her." Perhaps this is a sticking ground between Ruana and I. Seeing me would remind her of bad things with Char.
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