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Brian Robert Pearce
Brian Pearce busked the streets and bars of Europe between the years 1994 and 2000. In addition he busked in New York while participating in the TIGHTROPE musical, a play written by Ken Post [ with Bonnie Burns].
The journal exists, at present, as approx. 750,000 hand written words formatted in about 55 segments.
Book 6 of the Labyrinth Busker Journal -
(Complete book on this page)
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Trying to salvage the Swiss venture
Plotting the retreat to Belgium
Only in my dreams
Busking on through a slow day
Auslander is Auslander to the Swiss
If you think you have nothing to say, then say nothing
The retreat from Bern to Basle
Retreat into rout

Ruana angry at my Antwerp arrival
Cocking things up
Vera's party and Flemish feast songs
Who is Tom Barman?
Oddyseus, Penelope and the 'hundred suitors'
If you have nothing to say....
"My life is in the day"
Is busking a noble art or a form of begging?

Big monsters and ' nuclear Winter'
Churchill and 'good intentions'
Stormy Normy
Tarot search for Organisor
Jealous of Char's mother?

Sonya? Is she Iris?
Little Black Sheep
Loose ends
Kat's invite
Rain weakens the 'nuclear Winter'
Ruana's White Sheep world
Palm readings
Telepathic distress? From Whom?
What is wrong with me?
British paratrooper on the horror of war
Two prisoners. Two captors. Who is on trial?

Mess to re-arrange

Herb's girlfriend and around Char
May... not!
Hare krishna and Char
Char: too good for this world
Leukaemia: shock news of my sister

Leukaemia, Lung Cancer, Radon Gas and Orpheus
Thoughts progress into a song
The message of the new song applied in practical terms
Cut off phone calls strengthens my Ruana doubts
Everts advice
Escape to Aachen


Busking in Trier
Ricecorn, Nick and "some old bastard who nicked the girls"
Seeking a cushion
Stormy Normy and Helga

Master Street Performances

Beauty and the Pain
Reflections on Trier
Dream of Char
Scraping by

Checking on Char
Time to leave Trier
Now I stand alone

New clear Winter 1

It is early May '95, and the first expedition of the year to Switzerland had started well, but run aground. This book starts with an improvement in weather and fortune. But had it come too late
to make any difference to the expedition failure? Expected back in Antwerp for his birthday on the 9th, Brian faced a stiff task - and his journal entries reflect his stress. Once back in Antwerp, shrouded under a 'nuclear Winter' style cloud, Brian shaped philosophical cornerstones that would guide his steps through the Labyrinthal turns ahead.

Trying to salvage the Swiss venture
Plotting the retreat to Belgium
Only in my dreams
Busking on through a slow day
Auslander is Auslander to the Swiss
If you think you have nothing to say, then say nothing
The retreat from Bern to Basle
Retreat into rout

Trying to salvage the Swiss venture
06/05/96 - Mon - Bern, Switzerland - Maybe I did around 70sfr this afternoon. Now I'm thinking it may be best to hang around here one more day. In the mornings I usually have time to spare. It would seem the best time to head for Fribourg... just for the day... come back here for the late evening, so I'm better aware of the motorway situation. Wednesday morning, I'll be up and ready to hitch early. That way I'll be back for Thursday (with luck) with the optimum earnings.
I've had to kick myself to keep working today. Some days you're not in the best frame of mind. The Munster was very good, about 42sfr from that; but my performance was not at it's best. If I spent the day (tomorrow) in Fribourg it may prove better money, because I'll be more fired up. I tend to do longish sets here in comparison to normal, and that tires me quicker. In Fribourg I could shorten the sets, because I'd be unknown.
The heat seems to mean the middle of the afternoon becomes too hot to play music - or listen to it. That is standard in Summer. It's not quite that situation yet, but it's heading that way. The work schedule will soon need to be adjusted. Afternoons may soon become leisure times. For the first time on this trip I'm over the 200 mark. Must press home the gain.

Plotting the retreat to Belgium
I found myself struggling to keep it going. But I played the Muster for 25, the terrace bar by the bridge for 15 and another one for 13, so that's 55. About 125 for the day. Well, for Monday, good weather or not, that's not too bad. Tomorrow, maybe I can do as well. It would give me something toward the Antwerp debts, which will soon swallow all of it 'thank you very much'. There are people on the terraces, but it's nine o'clock. I'd better head to the Hostel after this coffee to book in, otherwise I may be too late... though I think you can book in up to midnight.
I am saving, but it's early days with this weather. I'd need a week of it to truly save a large amount. As it is, the weather is likely to break on Wednesday and I need to be in Antwerp for Thursday. So, tomorrow will be my last earning day here. I will need to make do with what I have at the end of it. Tomorrow I shall try Fribourg...... see the money drip away... 17 for tonight at the Hostel, 17 for tomorrow, plus 10 for the train to Fribourg - cigarettes, coffee 7 - that's 50 gone, not counting sundries. By the time I get working tomorrow I'll probably need 60 to replace what's already in my pocket. After paying the Hostel I have 223 left. I should be able to add to that tomorrow; but whatever, the financial profit from my two weeks in Switzerland is not likely to be much. Whether I'd have been better off, in this respect, staying in Antwerp is questionable.... but I have developed in other fields, where real benefits have accrued. I have played restaurants and bars - thus breaking through the mental block I had in Antwerp. When I return I'll feel more competent and assured about myself. Also, I have learnt more about Bern and picked up useful snippets of information.... like the 300 seater casino terrace across the river in Basle. I shall seek it out one day, because it is playable. Not forgetting the bars and restaurants I know are playable here in Bern.
For my next trip to Switzerland, once I have established a financial cushion, I can relax into work and leisure more thoughtfully and without the same pressure; provided Antwerp doesn't ruin me like it did last October. But that was the onset of Winter. Now Spring and Summer are coming.
My task is to return to Antwerp, clear up existing debts and then back here as fast as is possible. If the weather is good in Belgium it should be possible to do this fairly quickly. If I can get to Antwerp with 250, then I'm halfway toward the crucial debts.
Robin (a friend in England) has not phoned Diana, my sister, so I don't know whether he intends visiting me or not. I sort of worry he may have sent a letter to me telling me when he is coming... so I'll have to hope he isn't doing that before Thursday.
How long the hitch back would take is anyone's guess, but if I get a lift to Luxembourg... and if the weather is good and terraces waiting... then I'll play them and catch a train the rest of the way. The key is to hang onto whatever I've saved here.
Back in Antwerp, of course, it'll be back to 'frienemies, family' and probably 'frustration' of some sort. As long as it's not financial frustration, because that is getting boring. But, this time, if it's bad weather I shall do bars, and try to break free that way. Meanwhile I'll head to the river and get some space. It's been a very hard day and it is now 10.15pm.


Only in my dreams
07/05/96 - Tues - Bern - I'm considering my options for working today. I could do the Munster at mid-day, maybe one other terrace, and then head out for Fribourg. Or I could head there this morning and take a chance there are sufficient terraces - and that they are reasonably good ones for money. I sort of favour doing the Munster one last time and then heading to Fribourg. Psychologically, having the money from that would take a little pressure off.I have also been toying with a new song, as yet not formed... but I liked the phrase "Only in my dreams do my dreams come true"

Busking on through a slow day
It is very slow today. Maybe it's the hot weather. Even the Munster only yielded 20+. The three other terraces put together probably double that, but it is bad. Met a Geneva busker who used to share an apartment with Mark (a calypso/reggae musician). He was saying it was bad too, although he was street pitching. I'd assume it's evening time that the terraces will be at their best, but it would be nice to get what I can before then without draining my energy. So, I have played a terrace, then rested, played another, rested - just chipping away bit by bit. I didn't think it wise to visit Fribourg today, where I would be under pressure immediately to claw back the 20sfr return train fare. It will have to wait until I get back here.
The heat dries your throat and body, so (being a clever idiot) I had some tomatensap. I'm not sure if it's the ideal thirst breaker. Maybe there is a fountain somewhere that will offer a gulp of water.
The Munster yielded another 24 and a terrace that supplied 15 yesterday gave 8 today, though I got another 10 from another terrace. Maybe I've done around 80 so far, but I was just about to do one more terrace when a powerful wind gusted in to herald a coming storm... so I retreated to the Manora for a coffee to see how this turns out. The wind is a cool one, so I'd say the terraces are finished for the day. But, despite good performances,many people on the terraces did not have money to spare - and two girls said they'd given me money earlier in the day...
I said, "That's fine! I'm a songwriter. I want people to hear my songs, and they can't always give money. It would come expensive. It's just nice you appreciate the music."
"Oh, we do!"
This is the problem of parading your songs through busking. If you had them recorded on a tape or CD, then people could buy the CD/tape and thus are you funded. If you had the equipment to set up and do gigs, then people can come to these and it's the owner of the bar who pays you... thus are you funded. But on the street it is each performance that funds you and to take the hat around to the same people twice in a day is highly likely, because Bern is relatively small with finite terraces. So I do know that people who like my music may give once and then obviously avoid the second time, because what they gave the first time was what they could afford, or were willing to give.
This is a prickly problem, because I want people to hear my songs as much as possible, so they sink in. But, on my next I will have more time and can experiment throughout Switzerland. Midday in Fribourg, evening in Bern. The other way round the next day - and then after 3 or 4 days of this, off to Luzern and adjoining areas. Moving around in a circular fashion so that I feel fresh each place I go and people will remember me, but from a couple of weeks back... not from each day. Bern is a small place compared to (say) Geneva.
Geneva is heavily busked, but that is because it is busker friendly. It is a place to visit at some point, because the terraces would be a nice compliment to the trams and the bars I know to play there. I must not forget southern Germany. A foray there would be useful. Even Italy and Austria could be investigated at some point.
For this trip, however, I have just stayed in Bern... because I know where things are and can cut my expenditure through this. Yes, I could have camped or hired a chalet bed on the camping, but the Hostel ensures I am up early and ready to roll for mid-day. I'm not certain what I've got altogether... about 260, I think. That's 6,500bfr. Whether I work anymore today, I don't know. It's about nine'ish now. But if I attempt hitching in the morning I may end up being lucky and get lifts all the way, but if it's only part way, perhaps I could work where I arrive and earn the fare for the rest of the way. Hitching is unreliable, but it is the only option.
There were a number of 'lawnmowers' in town today. South Americans, Portuguese, whatever. Hearing the music of one duo, playing guitar and squeezebox, the music they play seems to fit their outlook. The notes spin out as fast as possible... to get the song finished quickly, it would appear, while a third person chases round the terrace collecting the money. As I said: like a lawnmower. Probably they earn a great deal of money through the fact they can lawnmower a town in an hour and then drive to another town and lawnmower that.

Auslander is Auslander to the Swiss
The Swiss tend to be (like their politics) neutral. Auslander is Auslander. There are no niceties for them to consider, because they don't very much consider anything outside their cosy little world. They do not need to know Auslanders, because it makes no difference to them. The Auslanders, whatever their politics, usually find Switzerland a wonderful parking place for their money. With Nato all around them they have no need for appeasement or cultural exchange. So they remain an insular race, only visible to Europe because of their banks and their mountains and the general air of exclusivity.
Bern is a place where there are ultra violet lights in the public toilets so junkies can't 'shoot up' in them. A place where, under the arches of the Bundeshaus, you can walk by these junkies 'shooting up' and arrive seconds later at a TV crew interviewing a politician. They are aloof and distant, are the Swiss, but in the 'land of plenty' there are plenty of junkies. No land can ever be a paradise, because we all have minds and we all use those minds differently... but usually hemmed in by the psyche and conditioning of our culture.

08/05/96 - Weds - Bern -
Thinking of the curious Flemish and the incurious Swiss. Random comments I've made have been taken on board by contacts in Antwerp on occasion. The Flemish shape and manoeuvre their psyche through their constant interchange with other cultures. Their easy communication skills, on a fairly superficial level, mean they can extract what they feel is the best cream to be had from the milk of other cultures.
The Swiss seem less able to think and talk on a superficial level. They seem naturally incurious of other cultures. But if they do wish to break over this boundary and talk, then they seem to fall short of the communication skills necessary to navigate the superficial layers of subject matter.
I may be wrong, but I think the way to tap into the Swiss psyche is to by-pass the superficial and begin communication on a deeper level. This is, of course, very hard to do, chiefly because to explore deeper levels of thought in a language you don't use (in your mind) lowers the possibility of expression.

The retreat from Bern to Basle
Now the trickiest problem: the retreat. Napoleon didn't lose the war in Moscow; he lost it on the retreat. Crazy early morning thinking saw me plunging 100sfr into a bank change machine, believing it was 90. Throughout my life, 60 +40 has never been 90. But, this morning, that's the way my mind worked. Anything less than 100sfr changed and there is no commission. From a hundred franks, you pay 10% commission. I basically walked into the bank, gave them 10sfr and walked out again. That's dinner gone, plus I have to buy cigarettes and I'll need to use a note for that. I'm down to 230 without even greatly trying. Who knows what disasters I can manage before getting back to Antwerp? Maybe it would be better to play terraces and try for a hundred francs, using that for a train? Hitching may be good or bad. Well, I'll try: but if I don't get a lift after a couple of hours and the weather is good? Maybe I'd better work the train fare up...
36 from the Munster, 14 from the 'food' terrace.... so I have earnt 50+... do I try one more terrace before leaving here? Another 15 or so and I'm on 70? It would relieve the pressure a bit in Basle, where I have no idea what I'll find weather-wise (though it's supposed to be 20 degrees and sunny). I'll look and see what goes....
In the end, I went for the train for Basle. The terraces were not full enough to exhaust myself with. In Basle, I will see how things line up... but it's a more natural location for hitching, should I choose that option.
It would be handy to know a terrace in Basle where you can go and make a big haul. As it is, I'm scratching around small terraces. The Casino terraces is none other than the noisy one in the centre. It was only a quarter out, though I took 11 off it. My best terraces was the second one, because a guy gave me a 10sfr note - in fact, I seemed to take more from people not on the terrace. From this round, I've scraped 60, which brought me to 76. But I do need food, coffee, cigarettes... exit 14. It's a quarter to eight - the train leaves at midnight. If I can do another 20 or so, I'll be on that train.
Got rid of a pile of ruppences for cigarettes. This is the problem of 'last minute' stuff... piles of coins, which can be awkward to change and awkward to present toward a ticket. So, around 25 is my target - it's late, but I'll find out what can be. Now I can really regret that mistake of walking into a bank and giving 10sfr to them. Strange though.... that someone should choose to give a 10sfr note to me here..... somehow Fate compensated for my foolishness, so maybe I will get this train fare together.... maybe I'd better be on the train anyway....
No chance!!! I clean forgot the ticket office shuts at nine... so now I'm stuck in this place, it seems. Now what? I could try hitching? This time of night? It seems unlikely, but who knows? I could wait until morning (8.32 am)? A seven hour journey would leave me in Antwerp for 3pm... in no condition for partying on my birthday.... I could have a word with the customs? Maybe they will say you can get the ticket on the train... maybe they won't? Who knows? Maybe I should ask, all the same?

Retreat into rout
There was no one on the customs, but a Swiss controller said you could buy a ticket on the train... so I did, but he couldn't take coins... so 60 sfr became 22 ffr change. Just what I don't need: more French coins. Now I have 46ffr in coins, 7sfr in little bitty coins and 230sfr in notes... with the fare from Luxembourg to Brussels still to pay. At least I'll get Belgian currency back in change. This whole currency situation is so confusing and my savings diminish with it all. I do have to be back for my birthday, but, as a result, the Swiss expedition was a complete failure. Before I set foot on this train I had 7500bfr (300sfr). Now I'm rapidly falling to 5,000, and maybe below that. I will have spent 3,000bfr on train fares by the morning.
Of course... I do have the option of getting off at Luxembourg and hitching from there. It would be early in the morning, but I'd be well positioned to catch the early travellers.
But what time would I arrive in Antwerp? And in what condition?
As seems often the case, travelling back to Antwerp has images of Napoleonic defeat. Despite earning 125 today I haven't been able to sustain the 250 I'd started with. Well, the note farce in the bank didn't help.
Luxembourg to Brussels came to 37sfr by the controller's calculation. So what should have been a little over 80 comes to 94. That's 3250bfr on fares today. I am tempted to query a system where the ticket office closes, leaving two international overnight trains serviced by a French regional ticket machine (as though no one would want to take these trains beyond France). Now my savings are truly decimated. 190 left (4750bfr). Truly a wonderful birthday present. I estimate 5,000bfr spent today against 3,000 earnt. Hitching from Bern may well have been the better option. Staying in Switzerland was most definitely the best option financially. Now I'm left in the boring position I had when I left Antwerp: hoping for good weather to pay the rent and always in debt.
I really can't develop my music this way. I need to return to Switzerland and stay there until I'm completely, and comfortably, in profit.
How stupid? Coming to Antwerp for my birthday? Even when I'm back in Brussels I'll have to buy a ticket for Antwerp - another hundred odd Belgian franks... just seems endless...
Now I'm on the Brussels - Antwerp train, feeling pretty well fed up, but there may be terraces today. So, after a sleep and a shower, I'll try to do a couple of terraces to retrieve some ground. Looks like there is no early financial recovery this year, much like last year.
So what will I find when I'm back in Antwerp?

New Clear Winter 2
Ruana angry at my Antwerp arrival
Cocking things up
Vera's party and Flemish feast songs
Who is Tom Barman?
Oddyseus, Penelope and the 'hundred suitors'
If you have nothing to say....
"My life is in the day"
Is busking a noble art or a form of begging?

Ruana angry at my Antwerp arrival
09/05/96 - Thurs - Antwerp (Belgium) - My birthday!!!!!!!
10/05/96 - Fri - The morning after my birthday.
I got very drunk last night. When I left the train I went to my apartment... it's getting slowly bare of furniture, but it's home (for now). Antwerp is still under the impression it's Winter. The weather is cool, cloudy, uninspiring... and bad for making money too.
I slept to 3.30pm, then went to Zeemans to buy socks and a towel.... to the Amicrack to buy shampoo.... I scraped together whatever clothes I had remaining (that were clean), had a shower and made my way (via the Cathedral) to Gerhard's place.
There was Gerhard, Trina, Karson, Sven and... erm... a violinist (whose name I've forgotten). There was food and drink... and drink and board games... and drink and drink... and a toilet and me.... and the toilet bowl filled with food and drink. My safety valve for fast, heavy drinking is usually thus.... being sick. Despite this I was very drunk... and fit only for falling into the bed Gerhard said I could sleep on.

Through the speed of events I was unable to phone Ruana. I did eventually... when I was already pretty drunk. I got the impression she was annoyed a little, because she said she wanted to send a card and didn't know if/when I was coming back to Antwerp..... and I think she would have come to Gerhard's for a couple of hours if she'd known, in advance, where and when.
She said she has the opportunity of a Saturday afternoon job for July. This disturbed me.... I sort of hoped she would be travelling with me then. I believe that's half in her mind, but she's covering herself with this job.
She then said, "Will you ring me this weekend?"
I said, "Of course! I shall ring you tomorrow (Friday) at six in the evening."
Ah!!! I don't know what's in the pot. I really need to meet her this weekend. Person to person talking will clarify things better than speaking on the end of a phone. I'm not at my best for social confidence at this point. Somehow, I feel the time for hidden motives or ideas is reaching an end. Inner decisions may be made. Things will become are or are not. Guess that makes me nervous.

Cocking things up
Meanwhile, I must seek to earn what money I can here and see how I can recompense Char on my failure to "be there" for her birthday. There's no doubt... I'm a walking disaster!!!
I seem to have cocking things up down to an art form. Only through thorough organisation can I do all the things I feel I need do..... and organisation is not my strong point.
Most of this afternoon was spent sitting in general torpor in Gerhard's new apartment, though I did manage to gain an initial finalisation on my new song, "Only in my dreams". I had a little food there, but after having been sick the day before I was low on food sustenance. I phoned Ruana at six, but she said she needed to go out to a shop with her mother. She suggested I phone at eight.

Vera's party and Flemish Feast Songs
I continued home, still hungry, and on the way I met Gee Gee (Gerard Hirsch). He was asking for a plectrum, but he reminded me that today is Tanya's birthday. That there would be a party left little doubt, so I hunted for a plectrum, found one, and went to Vera's house to give it to Gee Gee.
"Hallo Brian!!!" said Vera, "We've been hunting for you so we could invite you to the party! Are you staying for dinner?"
"Yeah, sure thing!" I said.
I was really hungry. But, of course, there was wine a-flowing also. The meal was in the manner of a Greek Meze... and spread out over a period of four hours. The wine was constant.
Eight o'clock, I went to phone Ruana.... not back. Phoned half hour later... not back.....
"Would you leave a message for her?" I asked her brother, "Will you ask her to phone this number?"
I gave the number... he said, "Sure!".... but she didn't ring. I guess I can't trust her brother to leave messages. In fact, the only time she learns I've called is when her mother answers. So I'll assume her brother never left the message, because any alternative would annoy me too much.

The party moved on to raucous bellowing of Flemish feast songs - made more amusing by Gee Gee's responses to it all. But then... you'd need to know him (musical perfectionist) to understand. Vera looked very much in the same condition as me the night before. The wife of Robbie was truly active as the feast songs leader. Robbie (another musical perfectionist) and Gee Gee attempted to inject some serious professionalism into the music, but were usually broken up by a sudden, thundering cacophony of an unrelated Flemish feast song.
"So, now," said Tanya to me, " you can see a little Flemish culture, Brian."
"Yes, it's very... interesting," I replied, as another sudden bellow heralded another thumping song... and as Gee Gee cringed at the tone suspect melody. I played a little toward the end, but didn't engage myself in the cultural conflict - except to sway, arms linked, to 'bomp de bomp' beer songs.
Guess since returning to Antwerp it's been party time. Maybe I need it? All work, no play, makes Jack not sway with arms linked to 'bomp de bomp' beer songs.

Who is Tom Barman?
11/05/96 - Sat - Amidst the party scenes I took the opportunity to check on the Tarot two questions:
Who is Tom Barman?
and... What are Ruana's intentions toward me?
Tom was a surprise, because he drew the Knight of Swords: making him Dioscuri... with the clarification card of Two of Cups.
Ruana drew the Hanged Man, with clarification Nine of Cups.
Well, I tried to extract gossip from Gerhard yesterday on the relationship conflicts between Tom and Stef Carlens. I didn't give reasons for why I wanted to know; I guess that makes me evasive a little. In turn, I detected evasion and discomfort from Gerhard and a generalised answer,
"They're two talented people working together. They fight all the time. That's the way it is when two talents join on something."
I couldn't work out why Gerhard should re-act so inwardly troubled and reticent about such a question.
The Knight of Swords would make Tom ruthless, and possibly callous, toward relationship patterns, and the Two of Cups suggests the formulation of new relationship. This could be affairs of the heart or business and contractual matters, because these things also demand relationship patterns. So Stef chews over new creative projects, while Tom chews over new relationship patterns.
How bad is their conflict?

Oddyseus, Penelope and the 'hundred suitors'
With Ruana the cards need analysis a bit more, especially in relation to the dream I had last night....
I was at a place that seemed to be her apartment. It was her birthday (or something) and I felt myself as one of maybe half a dozen suitors in the room. A knock on the door produced another (very rich) suitor with an expensively wrapped present.....
"I would like you to have this present," said he to Ruana, "You will find there is money in it."
Privately, I was angry and thinking,"Fine! If there's money in it she can pay me back my fifty francs and I can leave this room - and her!"
Of course, Ruana doesn't owe me any money in reality, but there could be surrogate values in this image.

The matter of Oddyseus, Penelope and the 'hundred suitors' also comes to mind. I think that Oddyseus may not be an actual person, but money.
Who would be the best prospect for making money this coming Summer?
As I emerge as a suitor already in the room maybe I am not the Oddyseus she seeks - just another suitor to stall while she waits for her husband to return. It seems to look pretty bleak between Ruana and I. The cards she drew indicate a decisive turn outwardly, rather than convoluting inward impulses. The sacrifice implied in the Hanged Man could be OF the Nine of Cups or FOR the Nine of Cups.
The Nine relates to the power of unconditional love and its proven journey through "separation, resentment, betrayal, despair and readiness to give it all up, if required". (THE MYTHIC TAROT). It also relates to actual fulfillment on an outer level.

The nature of these two cards implies manifest action, rather than inner contemplation, because the Nine is an indication of inner reasonings and emotions coming to the surface. So what has happened?
I do not know, but I guess I soon will. It may be time for our mind games to finish and reality, whatever that is, to emerge. Thus will I know whether Ruana is a part of my future, or merely another skeleton in the closet of my past.
Only Ruana has true executive power over me. Only Ruana can say, "This is what I want you to do..." and make me, through my love for her, try to do as she would want. There must come a point when I will need to know the true reality, positive or negative. If it's Negative? Then I will be unbound in actuality, with no one to test my moral high ground here in Antwerp. More disappointing than this would be the 'back to square one' in my relationship dealings.

If you have nothing to say..
It seems strange that she had said, "You will call me this weekend?"..... then when I called her she had nothing of much import to say; even going so far as to say, "Well, I can only speak if I have something I need to say. I can't just talk and say nothing."
This occurred as a reflection of my comment on the Swiss and their problem with light conversation. In this, of course, I agree... but I was talking in a poorly constructed fashion... and I felt distance between us.
Talking on phones is best for light conversation. Certainly nothing crucial can be said on a phone with an extension and potential listening ears. Face to face, where you can read body language, is the only way for me. The fact that Ruana has not seen me is, in reality, a form of checkmate... so I think I must face defeat in this. She has a job for Saturday afternoons, which is fine for now.... but.... I guess it would be no great loss for her to give it up late June or July, but.... somehow, I think there is little joy to be had from this situation. The distance between us will soon be unbridgeable.
Phones are for superficial.
I think I can assume this is likely to be a dead end and that I can re-arrange my inner antennae. If it is not a dead end, then Ruana will show the road she's looking at eventually. I must take this as it is, rather than what I hope it is.
In reality, it is a casual friendship of two people with shared experiences and (likely) different routes of experience opening up. Maybe this is all the matter of this particular 'family' root ammounts to... a lifelong friendship, but of low interaction. My calls will dwindle from once a week to once every two weeks and on.... until once a year (maybe) we will write or meet as a matter of friendly duty and detached curiosity. If I assume this to be the case now I can re-open my heart and soul, because I need someone there with me... not someone there for everything and everyone but me.
So I shall test the water here in Antwerp - and be ready to swim if it favours it, although it may be Fate has other people elsewhere in mind.
Do I hitch back to Switzerland?
Frankly, there is no one I greatly need tell. I'd be back for a couple of days just to pay off Gerhard and the landlord.
When would be the best day?
Early morning on a Monday... go!!!

I played the 'Doos and after 2 or 3 weeks of not playing to microphones there is the problem of adjustment and nerves. I tried to sharpen myself by playing my new song first, but I finished it halfway through because the words fell away from my memory under pressure... and I haven't really memorised it thoroughly enough. But it's always worth the try because it tests your faculties to the utmost. I played a noisy set and very short, because I felt the audience was not likely to be wonderful.
I was right there; I got about 50bfr. So, at least I didn't waste too much energy on them. It would be harder if it had been a long set. Still, I've played here in Antwerp for the first time (in public) since arriving back.... that is one plus.

Tomorrow, if I think of it, I must try to see Kat. I haven't seen her since I've arrived back here and she was keen on sharing a birthday drink or two.
But the atmosphere around Antwerp feels very strange. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the atmosphere around here. Possibly it's the pressure of exams on students and limbo for many non-students.
It may be better to be in Switzerland at this time. I think June will have more bounce in Antwerp. Higher spirits.... the coming together for the Summer carousal. In fact, I would be in higher spirit myself if I'm financially clear and with money to spare. So the time for travel remains upon me.

"My life is in the day"
Ruana has been a disappointment, but I don't know what pressures she is facing. However, she did say,
"My life is in the day. Your life is in the night."
This is not actually true. My life is where my needs are, day or night... more often both. But the sentence further disturbed me, because it's almost a manifesting inner reasoning. Is she looking fo reasons to cut me out of her life?
I guess she doesn't realise that (de facto) this will happen within five weeks anyhow if she doesn't have any intentions of any sort for me... and especially if she feels that talking on phones is all we need do. In the end, I can't keep bending my life and emotions for someone who bends not at all.

Is busking a noble art or a form of begging?
12/05/96 - Sun - Everything relates for those who truly analyse.....
Is busking a noble art or a form of begging?
I have an idea that John Major and his supporters would prefer to consider it a form of begging. The truth is that busking is not necessarily a noble art, nor is it begging. But the broad spectrum of the profession can encompass a whole range of different levels that lift it from the ignoble begging to the noble art.
Busking, as a word, is inadequate to define what occurs on the street.
Many times have I seen people with a guitar (or other instrument) who have no true talent, but they use the fact that they are making some sort of noise and supplement it with a piece of cardboard saying, "Homeless", or "for food", or (in the case of an incident in Bern two weeks back) "Israeli student".
I was puzzled by the "Israeli student" sign, as the guy seemed to be about 50. He had no volume to his voice, although his singing was fine. He appeared to be singing Hebrew songs. Ben, the talented Israeli musician I had befriended, was in town at this time. I questioned Ben about the "student" tag. He said that Israeli often do degrees in their 40's, 50's and 60's. But then I said,
"Well, it seems to me that your songs should speak for you. You shouldn't need sympathy signs."
So we walked to where the "Israeli student" was pitching. We stopped to listen.
"Yes, he is singing Hebrew songs... but they're not the right words. He doesn't seem to know the words of these songs."
Nonetheless, Ben (in the manner of their custom) came to address the 'student' in Hebrew...
The 'student' turned to his right to face another direction, showing all the body language of someone 'caught in the act'.
After two or three further friendly attempts at conversation, Ben said in Hebrew, "You should not write 'Israeli' on a card like that! Where is your national pride? Your songs should speak for themselves and also your art!"
The 'student' cursed Ben with a venomous comment about parentage.
Said Ben, "He is Israeli, but he is not Israeli in the mind. All Hebrews greet each other and talk. His re-action is a strange one."

So... anyone who says all Hebrews do this, or that, are not correct in their assumption. Israeli have a full spectrum of character traits.
Busking is the same.
This 'student' was in the lower reaches of busking, relying on pleading notes rather than his art. In fact, not studying the art enough to have the correct words to the songs he sang. That he was a 'student' is equally open to debate. This man is light years away from what Ben and I represent.
Nobility and professionalism are represented by entertainment. In the end, entertainment is the aim of any honest street performer. The service that busking should provide is entertainment. Even my sad, melancholic songs are entertaining to those who are in the right mood and mind for poignancy. Whether I'm singing sad or happy - the view is entertainment. That's what I seek to provide; that's my service for which I seek my living.
I can say that I've made many people happy and reached the souls of many. This is the nobility of what I do.

What would be the chief type of supporter of John Major?
Service industries?
They're well up on the list, I'd say.
What do they do?

There again, there is a broad spectrum, but, to whomever reads this, let me give you a proposition:
Look, you give me 1,000bfr - and I'll give you 900bfr back. Is that a deal?
Good!!!! I'm glad you said yes..... I'll tell you what? I'll open an office on the Groen Platz and you can tell your friends... the whole town in fact. They can all come down to my office and give me 1,000bfr. Tell you how honest I am? I'll put a sign on the window of my office, saying, "For every 1,000bfr you give me, I'll give you 900bfr back."
The deal is that if enough of youse guys give me 1,000bfr I'll make loads of money. I'll be able to buy a flash house, flash car, get pissed, whatever!
Then I can pay tax on this and vote for right wing parties that say I shouldn't have to pay so much tax on this. I can sit on a Groen Platz terrace and call street performers "bums" in my mind.
What is the service I provide to my fellow man?
I can say that if someone gives me money I always give it back... minus my commission.
"That is a service?"
Of course, I am a vital part of the service industry. I have a Wisselgeld office on the Groen Platz. All I do is change currency.

Everything relates for those who truly analyse.

</>Big monsters and ' nuclear Winter'
Churchill and 'good intentions'
Stormy Normy
Tarot search for Organisor
Jealous of Char's mother?<>

Big monsters and 'nuclear Winter'
12/05/96 - Sun - Antwerp (Belgium) - A bleak, unbroken cloud cover shrouds Antwerp for days and the air temperature has the damp, chill of Winter. Antwerp in May seems a fair reconstruction of a 'nuclear Winter'. There are no hills or mountains to break up the cloud. A similar cloud and cool wind hovers over my heart. I have reached the point of despair with Ruana... and frustration with Antwerp. The 'family' is at a low point.
Ruana asked me to ask Char (if I saw her) whether she received the birthday present (a plant) that was left by her door. Char hasn't phoned Ruana to say "thank you" and the plant was expensive. Ruana guessed that maybe the "big monster" (Bennie) has stopped Char phoning her....
"Big Monster?" I chewed over the words...
"It's my best way of describing him," said Ruana.
"Big monster...." mused I, chuckling, "Big, big monster!" </>

But Ruana has, in effect, forced Char into a corner....
"I don't mind you visiting," she said to Char after Ruana's birthday fiasco, "But don't bring Bennie... or the dog."
"You are asking me to choose between you and Bennie?" protested Char.
So Char and Bennie form a wall to face the world... and Char has chosen Bennie.

Curiously, I said a very similar thing to Char when I told her I could speak to Char and Bennie separately, but not together.
The difference within the word phrasing was that I accepted them both as friends, but couldn't break through the tension of facing them both together. Thus has Bennie and Char sought to remedy this problem, because it was a problem that could be faced, not an ultimatum. Ruana burnt all relationship bridges with Bennie (and vice versa) - creating ultimatum, rather than a problem that could be solved.

Churchill and 'good intentions'
In 'family' matters, the simple act of "this intention", or "that intention", has proved seriously difficult to fulfill... despite all my determination and efforts. Thus were the British stretched in 1941, as they tried to halt the Axis forces. Good intentions - bad results. Determined speeches from Winston Churchill - inadequate resources and organisation to back up those speeches. Only the generosity of the USA to provide 'lease lend' kept Britain afloat and fighting. But 'lease lend' was ultimately business. Britain effectively subjugated itself to the USA.
The "good intentions" of Winston Churchill were based on Imperial and international aims. But the average Briton, middle class or poor, had fought beside each other, had shared their diverse backgrounds - and had taken on board the idea of "good intentions".
But they changed the "good intentions" to national and social aims. Thus was Churchill swiftly cast aside when international "good intentions" became less important.... and national social issues more important. From this came a swing to the left and the formulation of true "good intentions" like the National Health Service and welfare for those who need help.
In a similar (Churchillian) way I try to fulfill my "good intentions", but, equally, I am not equipped with the resources and organisation to truly implement them. But, all the same, I keep my "good intentions". Possibly, some brotherly 'USA' may 'lease lend' support... but disable my independence.
But the idea of "good intentions" is a seed - and the 'family' may respond with "good intentions", but of their own formulation. Though I may (like Churchill) be cast aside, the plant seeded by "good intentions" may continue to grow. If the end result is the equivalent of the National Health Service and welfare for the less fortunate, then the seed that was planted was not planted in vain.
Action and re-action. From my defeats there may arise 'family' victories.

Stormy Normy
A pitch on the Meir yielded 300bfr approx, so I'm having an omelette for dinner at the Cafe Centrum.
Meeting Stormy Norman, we discussed the dour state of Antwerp for weather and conditions, but although Antwerp is not ideal for earning money it is for social interaction. Switzerland, Germany and France may be better for money, but interchange socially with the indigenous people is slow, or almost non-existent. Also, from a personal point of view, Flemish girls are the most naturally attractive for me.
I was projecting my hopes to Norman that the money I save this Summer will give me an easier Winter. If I could save enough for a half share in rent for the six months of Winter.... the idea of working in (say) Switzerland and living in (say) Antwerp is taking root more and more. Antwerp would become more a place for relaxation than the trap it's been. Theoretically, I can achieve this. This Summer will tell me its actual practicality.
I have laundry urgently needed to be done. Whether I can escape tomorrow is questionable. I would like to see Char, Kat and Pierre. This may not be possible. This particular trip is projected for a matter of days - just long enough to collect the money I need to clear myself here. The first Swiss trip proved mere reconnaisance.
It may be appropriate that I disappear from Antwerp again, because nothing can be (or has been) fulfilled here. I need 400sfr for initial completion... that much is clear. I can't earn that money here in the next two weeks. I believe I can in Switzerland, so....

13/05/96 - Mon - Organisation! Collecting my thoughts!
According to the newspapers it is 20C and sunny here today. In actual fact, it is the same old cloudy muck... and probably about 6C to 8C. So I've set aside this afternoon for organising myself - laundry, chores, planning, etc. Tomorrow morning I would be ready for the 'off' - in search of sunshine. My savings gradually diminish. I changed 50sfr in a bank for 1,219bfr. I have a further 50sfr left.
My shoes are falling to bits. I hope Ge Ge remembered about those shoes that "just needed glueing of the soles". Some make do shoes would be handy while I battle with my finances. I'm pretty sure I haven't seen the sun since Thursday. I need to escape Antwerp before the trap closes.

Tarot search for Organisor
On a personal level, I'm considering a couple of questions for the Tarot:
Who is the persona that would be my organisor?
Who is the persona I need to look for in matters of direct, active love?
The hope is that a girl fits both these questions. To face the whole Summer alone is not attractive. To have three or four brief encounters to ameliorate my loneliness is equally not attractive. To have someone there with love and care for the period is my ideal. In fact, a girl to share my life and hopes... willing, through their love, to actively help me achieve my aims. I may not have met this person yet, but the Tarot may indicate whether I have met them... or even if I'm hot on the trail with the girls I have considered.
There was that mysterious answer (3 of cups) of 18/04/96: when I asked the cards of a "persona I haven't considered?" It was vaguely put, because I didn't clarify it properly. It would be best not to specify anyhow. It is the persona I seek - and I may already know them. It may even be Ruana, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Certainly Ruana seemed the perfect find. There's little doubt that should she choose to she would make a dramatic difference to me, my music and my life.
But her most recent re-actions alongside the most recent Tarot reading suggests a falling away of things, on a manifest level. This has often happened in my past interaction with her, but time is coming to 'choose sides'. I suspect she has opted for secure and safe routes in her life.
It's a very narrow route I'm attempting in my effort for success on a professional level. Should I navigate it then...
.... comes very much into play.
If I am openly successful, how do I trust the motives of friends or lovers who suddenly appear?
Whatever else... and despite (or because) of our conflicts... Ruana, Char and Gerhard have shown levels of love and care for me, as have I to them.
I have nothing material I could offer them, only myself and 'what I am'. If I had lots of money or material fame, where would have been the challenge for them? Or for me? These aren't the only people who have accepted me as 'what I am'. There are many others. Despite my annoyances with my 'family', and despite their annoyances with me, the basic friendship holds firm. I will remember this should my path lead to better days.
It is now though, while I'm at a true low in confidence and material matters, that I need the catalyst that will inspire me to success and completion. Thus should I ask the cards for the clues I need now. It is not time to surrender all hope with Ruana, but it is the time to open my heart to new possibilities. Ruana will always have a part of me, but I need commitment to me from someone who is truly interested in me, my thoughts, my diary, my music, my feelings and my hope.
So who is this persona?

Jealous of Char's mother?
Last night I went to visit Pierre, but only for 'half an hour'. Five hours later I left Pierre's... after Guinness and wine. I should know better by now. Lisa and Patsy were both there. I never got to the Doos (my original plan).
Pierre said Char and Bennie were not in their appartment on the day of Char's birthday. Char's mother went to see them, but they weren't in. It's to be hoped Char's mother saw the "expensive" plant Ruana had left and brought it in. Pierre was "doubtful" Char got the plant, but he's usually on the pessimistic side in reference to his sister. He believed they had gone to Amsterdam for awhile, but he did say,
"I think Bennie is heading back to his ways. He wouldn't let Char see her mother unless he was there too. He is jealous of this once more."

I can always hope that Bennie is just cautious in case Char's mum would 'talk him down' if he's not there. This is not essentially jealousy - more insecurity that Char could be talked away from him. It's a frienemy situation. To have your credibility dragged through the mud when you're not there to defend yourself is a natural fear when it's a loved one hearing misinformation or manipulative propaganda. It is good that Char's mother shows concern for Char.. and love. I share some of her concerns over Char and Bennie. But they should have the opportunity to work out their relationship without any dipped poison.
Wherever Char turns, she faces conflict over her emotional choices.... with Ruana, with her mother, with Pierre and probably with her father.
It should be noted that my grandmother strongly disapproved of Uncle Derek's wife. But they supplied her with three granddaughters - and when my gran became addled with old age and needed support it was Derek, his wife and their daughters who were most ardently there for her.
Yes... my thoughts on Bennie are not always wonderful, but I respect his right (and Char's right) to see what can be - and I do know that Bennie loves and cares very deeply for Char. He's not perfect, but who is? He can be more than he is - he has potential for this.
With or without Char, the latter is something I may be able to help him with. But, unless I learn that physical abuse is re-emerging, I will not attempt any judgements on them. This is how I believe it should be... and how I have tried to be. Char must not feel isolated in a sea of condemnation from all those she holds dear. This would lead to unfortunate choices, based on re-action rather than freedom.
'Black sheep' judgements lead to 'Black sheep' actions. The family problem needs to be erased.
1 - Who is the persona who would be my organisor?
8 of cups ..... clarify 7 of swords

2 - Who is the persona for direct/active love?
Temperance ... clarify Page of swords

3 - Who is Sven?
8 of pentangles .... clarify Queen of wands

4 - Ruana's attitude to me?

It may take awhile to untangle that. Even the accuracy may be uncertain. Vera's place has much activity at the moment. The signal from Ruana was weak.
But question two is answered quite directly by the "Mythic Tarot". Temperance, as a persona, is Iris. The Page of swords is Zephyros.
Zephyros, the west wind (the wind of change), was given Iris as a bride. From this, his "disposition softened"..... from (basically) anarchistic behaviour to that of a "sweet, scented wind".
Maybe this helps answer the first question? Erratic, unbridled wind is erratic, unbridled disorganisation. A sweet smelling wind suggests organised behaviour.
Who is Iris? Is Iris Ruana or not? She is the yardarm of my present thought patterns. If she is not Iris, then it may be I have yet to meet Iris.

New Clear Winter 4
Sonya? Is she Iris?
Little Black Sheep
Loose ends
Kat's invite
Rain weakens the 'nuclear Winter'
Ruana's White Sheep world
Palm readings
Telepathic distress? From Whom?
What is wrong with me?
British paratrooper on the horror of war
Two prisoners. Two captors. Who is on trial?

Sonya? Is she Iris?
13/05/96 - Mon - Antwerp (Belgium) - I seemed to be slow getting out tonight, but arrived at the Muziekdoos about half past midnight... with me believing it was around 10pm.
Dark haired, sultry Sonya was there. She greeted me with a kiss and invited me to join her at a table. She was with a guy who I've spoken to before somewhere - and I'm certain he was just a friend of Sonya's. The conversation was a general thing, but on a couple of occasions our eyes really talked..... what about or what of, I couldn't say.... but I liked her eyes, those dark-eyed pools that reflected the soul. Although we have often talked (verbally) we are still very much strangers. Our eyes are curious (possibly) to see what lies behind the superficiality.
Like a guarded frontier, the linguistic problem stands between us. Her English is good, but incomplete. With someone like this, a comfortable period of not talking is needed to compensate for the extra effort of speaking another language..... because, although she speaks English well, she has to seek out crucial words often. Most times, however, it is in a noisy bar where I meet her... where even two people speaking the same language can find communication problematic. Ettienne had the music up high tonight.
Sonya has got a job teaching drawing for 3 hours every Wednesday over the coming 5 weeks. She is also doing a computer course on graphic design etc. ..... now that's in my diary I won't forget.
What are the prospects that she is Iris? Well, if I remember well enough, her birth numbers were significant in some way. I certainly fancy her. She is perhaps one of the most beautiful girls I have met. She's 23, she's beautiful, she's Flemish, but her English is a problem, as is my Flemish.
She could be Iris.... but I think it doubtful. As far as I'm aware, she has a boyfriend. She may play the game a little, but Iris would need to be more committed than that. Maybe conditions will be right one day for Sonya and I to break through to each other a bit better.
Otherwise.... a quiet night. I didn't feel the mood was right for playing the bar.
I tried the 'Paters' later. Mark Meyer's girlfriend was in there. She said Kat usually works from Tuesday to Friday in the bar. That's why I haven't seen her! I did want to see her! Seeing anyone id difficult right now. People don't seem to be around - at least, people I know. There's a ghost town atmosphere hanging over Antwerp at present.
I guess it fits the 'Nuclear Winter'.

Little Black Sheep
14/05/96 - Tues - The 'Nuclear Winter' strips my resolve - a general torpor and depression bites me. Motivation is almost non-existent. There is so much I must do, but I can't get started on any of it. I puzzle through this strange feeling of limbo and indecision...... yes, I needed the carrot that was Ruana. It fired my resolution and inspired.
Even writing a song produced no joy, or great enthusiasm.
A small song, based on an intro and outro of "Baa baa black sheep". I guess 'Little Black Sheep' is its name. Thinking about Char and Bennie inspired it, but really there is a 'family' issue here.
What a little 'Black sheep' I am! Gerhard, Char, Bennie, Kat, other 'family'... we all take strange 'Black sheep' paths and thoughts.
A whole day of inaction, apart from my new song.... I don't know how good it is, but maybe I could give Char the words as a belated birthday gift.
I have no carrot to chase, no dragon to slay.
The battle was lost - and I wasn't there to fight it.
I need someone to fire me up.... to give me the determination to achieve what I must.... to help me get back to Rachel, my daughter. Seeing Rachel would fire me, but that doesn't seem likely for awhile.
Is there anyone out there to inspire me?
Probably not... because as 'Black sheep' go, I'm a humdinger. The 'Black sheep' of my true family, the 'Black sheep' of my wife's family, the 'Black sheep' of Antwerpen village people, the 'Black sheep' of the 'family' and the 'Black sheep' of myself. Most of all? The 'Black sheep of anyone who likes everyone to be neatly ordered and controlled by forms in triplicate and signed by 'Big Brother'.

Loose Ends
Loose ends, here, there and everywhere. Lots of loose ends. Maybe I should make a list of my loose ends and tick off the ones I tie one by one?
Except that there may be more loose ends joining the list than I can keep up with. I must have a loose ends day. Do lots of tying up. Cards to Derek's wife and things like that.
Meanwhile, I must very quickly phone my sister, just in case she's heard from Robin (he was planning to visit me). Somehow, I don't think so. I'm sure he's have sent a letter to back up anything he told Diana. But, just in case....
Come on, organisor! Where are you?
There's an English saying:
"He couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery."
Yeah, that's me. I couldn't, at that....

Kat's invite
Close! But so far!
"I would like to travel," said Kat.
"If you'd like, you could travel with me. It gets lonely when you're out on your own," I offered.
She agreed, but she doesn't want to travel until after the Summer.
So close, but so far.
All the same, if she still wants to do this and circumstances on my side favour it, then this could be the catalyst to fire me at that time. It would be nice if it occurred, but it would still leave an empty Summer emotionally (as things appear right now).
I continued, "I'll be travelling all Spring and Summer - but I'll be back for short periods... around a week."
"OK," said Kat, decisively, "You can stay in my apartment, but only if it's a week.... not months and months."
I smiled at this. Kat is decisive... I'm not. She could certainly be important in improving my decisiveness.
A high potential organisor.
Kat certainly seems significant to me. The time seems to be coming to discover in what ways.
She said she was invited to my birthday party, but couldn't come. Her birthday is on the second of May. Now the sequence:
May 2nd = Kat; May 4th = Paula; May 6th = Char; May 9th = Me; May 10th = Tanya. Five more for a full house.

I find it hard to talk in bars to busy bar people..... they're working.... you're sitting there like a guy with an air gun on a fairground shooting gallery, waiting for the target to stand still long enough to shoot. So, satisfied with what had been achieved with our conversation, I made my leave to the deserted 'Doos.... deserted, except for Gerhard, Karson and an unknown musical partner. Immediately, on a private level, I'm reminded of my responsibities. Tomorrow, I must go to Switzerland... if at all possible.

Rain weakens the 'nuclear Winter'
The rain spiked my idea of busking the Cathedral. Even if I don't go to Switzerland tomorrow I must do intensive work. I'm down to 50sfr. Soon, I will have no reserves. But it seems I had a week off for 140sfr. Now... a plan sets in. Three or four weeks work down south - a week off here.
For the periods that I am alone I think a system linked to this could be appropriate. Of course, it would not exclude a little time off on the working periods - and it definitely wouldn't exclude working stints on my 'week off'. But it could be more enjoyable without pressure.

15/05/96 - Weds - The rain falls down and weakens the 'nuclear winter'... almost imperceptibly.... but nonetheless weakens it. No movement from cloudy, dry and cool is stagnation. The rain breaks the pattern of stagnation. There is now the possibility of movement. One day (maybe even today) the sun will re-emerge, burning a hole or two in the dominant cloud cover. When there is stagnation, then anything that breaks through causes action and re-action.
Gerhard was in the apartment for awhile. His musical trio is a successful gigging enterprise. This is good.
Kat is fired up enough to look inwardly at her potential for creativity and art. This is good.

Ruana's White Sheep world
Ruana is showing signals of seeking the safer side of life and not looking with too much depth at creativity and art. I suspect she will opt for music academies etc.... in the hope that these will seriously fulfill her creative impulses after eight years (study), or suchlike. She will become, no doubt, a superb musician. The cost will be her creativity. This is bad, but probably safe and good for Ruana.... and understandable on conditioned levels for mothers and society.
Char and Bennie actively ride 'through the storm' of emotional conflict and bondings. That they do this is ultimately good, in potential, because it is the launch pad for their creative talents. Learning to release emotional frustrations into creative fields means real 'creations'. Only 'little black sheep' will recognise the deep inner yearnings of these two souls. Only 'little black sheep' recognise the giant steps they have taken, or tried to take.
In the 'white sheep' world that Ruana exists in, sympathetic "tut, tuts" and outward condemnation extend toward people like these... and people like me. It may well be that the creative efforts of 'little black sheep' will come to naught in the material world, but 'little black sheep' seek to find out what is possible to produce.... from their soul to their art.

Palm readings
Ruana's palm (when I read it, however imperfectly) showed a person whose emotions are ultimately controlled by the mind. Athene ( the card of justice) holds "abstract truth at the expense of the individual heart". Iris protects the "individual heart even at the expense of abstract truth". Ruans is basically on the Athene level, while inwardly battling with the Iris level. Thus is there imbalance in her, because Athene ultimately seems to be the dominant. I have tended toward Iris. Thus am I unbalanced.... but I do introduce Athene on a manifest level to re-balance and re-open myself.
In Ruana's palm is the stark answer to her reasoning patterns. She will toy with being out of control emotionally, but her mind will always conquer her heart. Of course, palm lines can alter to a considerable extent. I do not know what has happened in that respect over the past ten months.
Last year, when I set out for Ireland, my left and right hands indicated the strong bond between Char and I. The right hand 'marriage line' splintered while I was away. Now there are several potential (but no actual) complete lines on the right. The left hand was interrupted and blocked by a small spot.... but the line has circumnavigated it. The line still has one or two imperfections. One is a slightly missed connection when it crosses the 'health line', but a triangular branch breaches through the health line and joins neatly with a line sweeping toward the 'success line' finger. This gets interrupted by my 'emotion line', with a prospective continuation of the line a short distance above.
Equally, when the 'marriage line' attempts to cross the 'head line' it fragments into a confusing double triangle... with an equally fragmented branch of a 'success line' projecting from one root. This 'success line' (in anarchistic twists) protudes beyond the 'head line', but at a different point... and with an angular swing toward my double tracked 'fate line'. One line of this double 'fate line' breaks through the 'head line', only to be cut off by an upshooting angular line rooted in the 'head line' a short distance along. All of this is just a small explanation of a far more extensive patterning.
What does it mean?
Who knows, aside from a palmist?
But that my success is tied in with my relationship patterns seems possible. That I have choices in matters of Fate, but that one line will be dispelled by a matter attending to thought processes. That the 'success line' is not one clear line, but three or four fragmented lines, suggests I am easily capable of missing opportunities. That a loved one can help me not miss these opportunities seems equally evident. That confusion surrounds who that loved one is seems to be there, a conclusion supported by the right hand.
The clearest image to me is that Fate, Success, Head and Emotion are all dependant on my relationship decisions. Basically, someone can make all the difference to my success or failure. This is why I study the patterns of the 'family' and associated relationships.
I must not believe that someone will come along and make everything turn out right. No....but someone can catalyse my success, directly or indirectly.
This could well be the 'organisor' I seek. I have thought it Char, or Ruana; and in ways they have been crucial to me - and maybe they will still be so. I don't know! Kat may open up new possibilities this Summer.
Persona I haven't considered?
Yes, I remember the question! And the answer... the three of cups; that first state of blind "in love" (or unconditional love) that needs nurturing to grow - and the Fool; someone prepared to attempt the "Fool's journey" through the cards to manifest matters.
Was that Kat? Time will tell.

Telepathic distress? From whom?
The cold wind and gloom disturbs my energy. The stagnant cocktail that has been Antwerp aggravates my chest. This may be a root reason for my energy drain, but it could also be the implied loss of Ruana and a sense that Char is away. My link with Char is a source of energy.
Is she happy? Is my energy loss a reaction to a bad time she is experiencing?
I've just tried a (psychic) call. If she is in Antwerp I will see her 'co-incidentally' today or tomorrow. Cold weather may discourage her from going out, but Bennie would normally be around. Maybe they are away? The present weak, or negative, psychic links of the 'family' tears that inner willpower needed to drive me forward.
Pierre said his parents were driving to Switzerland tomorrow. What irony?
Yes.... I feel it! In the region of the stomach diaphragm. My soul feels pain - its own, or someone it holds dear. It is this that I'm trying to deal with. This is the sort of thing that overtook me on Char's departure to Spain last year.
Char? Are you alright?
Or is it just my own inner depression? Or someone else, 'family' or family?
Is Ruana alright?
I can't imagine she's not. My mind bitterly said,"Don't phone!" Something inside me says, "Phone!"
But is it my imagination? Orpheus never quite trusts his subconscious, much as he speaks of it. But it would be silly to just phone and say, "Are you all right?" Anyhow, do these people really care? Why do I worry about them?
Neither sent a birthday card. Doesn't that say it all?
With Ruana? Perhaps. But not with Char.
Char is as bad as me at things like that... well.... almost. Ruana, with her agendas and social beauty, would send a card... even if it is a day or two late... or would she? Someone so organised may insist that their greeting cards arrive on the said day, and that they are read on the said day. Guess I'm frustrated with myself and with the 'family'.

What is wrong with me?
I did get something resembling work done. A six song stint on the Cathedral. But during the first song my G string broke... and on repairing that my D string broke.... all with the accompaniment of a freezing cold wind belying the fact it's mid-Spring. Someone gave me a 100bfr note, which helped my takings along. About 249bfr altogether. A similar ammount from the Doos later. Maybe I stabilised the financial slide a bit today.
John at the Cafe Centrum is the eternal optimist, "The forecast is sun tomorrow."
Every time I see him, he says that. A little wishful thinking, I guess.

Really, I duck and dive from social matters. I seem to be really low on confidence generally. I need to be brought out of my shell. I don't understand what is the matter with me. I'm directionless and like an actor who has lost the script. I need to have a deep discussion with someone outside the superficial. My thoughts are being concentrated within this diary - and unassailed, or qualified, by a third party.
Maybe Vered is around? She would question my views and offer alternative perspectives. Maybe I should phone her tomorrow?
An analysis of all that's spinning round my head and heart may help.

Apparently, it is Bank Holiday these next four days.
What does that mean? Hitching may be difficult over holiday periods. Fate may require me here for a few more days. If so, maybe it'll arrange for suitable weather to pay my rent with!!

16/05/96 - Thurs - Briefly (this morning) the sun shone through the window and bathed my half asleep mind as I lay in bed. By the time I'd fully woken up, the sun was gone and the 'nuclear winter' back in place. Vera told me it's 30C in Scandinavia. Well, such a thing would certainly displace the natural seasonal chill of that part of the world onto someone else.
So, emerging onto the Antwerp streets on the outset of their Spring Bank Holiday, I was greeted with ominous cloud, arctic wind and images of potential sleet.

British paratrooper on the horror of war
A British paratrooper wrote a book about his experiences during the Falklands war. The ceasefire had been declared an hour or two earlier as he patrolled, and spotted an Argentinian "probably unaware of the ceasefire". The Argentinian "moved" to train his rifle on the Paratrooper. The Paratrooper "emptied his magazine" into the Argentinian.
With or without a ceasefire this is a common occurrence in war or conflict. When you are a soldier in a front line you have the knowledge that only one slip, or moment's hesitation, can mean death. Your decisions need to be based on split second reasoning.... but they can also be based on split second fear, foolishness, or any other number of instinctive reactions. The Para responded more to his training as a Para, and his effective utilisation of that training in the course of the war.
Back in England at a fayre on a village green I met an ex-Falklands veteran who spoke, in a state of deranged grief and tears, about his comrades dying around him while attacking an enemy position. The Argentinian conscripts were probably even more horrified by it all, because professional soldiers do have some sort of notion about the risks of their profession. But conscripts just fulfill their 'duty in time', and then move on to their real lives. Paratroopers are trained killers, but even they are affected by death.
War tests the frontiers of accepted behavioural patterns and can often, in critical situations, reveal the true unbridled psyche of people who could have spent their lives appearing entirely normal and unobtrusive. In a situation where a soldier kills a defenceless victim, that soldier crashes through an instictive prohibitive boundary of moral behaviour. If he does it again, it may have less effect on his mind until he can stumble into becoming one of those fully fledged serial killers who rear their genocidal heads in conflicts such as Bosnia. The distortion of the soul of such a person can only be left to the imagination. Most people would recoil in horror at their deeds, but some may succumb to the hysteria of the person, or people, who actively enjoy a path of unbridled murder.
It is a natural thing to view the genocidal actions of Bosnia with horror. But, one wonders, what would be the result here in Belgium if such an internecine conflict erupted into open war? Everyone here in Antwerp would choose sides or interests, or choose to flee it all. It would be the same as Bosnia, with monsters being formed. On an international level the Belgians are near the top in terms of civilised, non aggressive behaviour. But at what level was Yugoslavia on this list before the conflict?
War relies on the assumption that group A is good, group B is bad. Nationalism, racism rely on the same criteria.
THERE IS NO PRIDE TO BE TAKEN FROM WHERE, OR WHEN, YOU ARE BORN. People who use any of this as a crucial point of self esteem are seriously deluding themselves, because they had no control over either event.
A British paratrooper writes a book and goes to Argentina for an interview, only to be threatened and shouted at because he chose to write a book that states what everyone knows: War is never just, nor fair.
Not only war, but usually politics. Did the Argentines have secret police murdering and torturing their own countrymen at the same time as the Falklands war?
Life is not necessarily just.... but honesty should be respected. For someone to document war or strife is important, just to remind us of what people living ordinary day to day lives can turn into.... when open conflict comes their way. The British paratrooper has at least tried to reconcile his experiences and face them.

Two prisoners. Two captors. Who is on trial?
In the Guardian (two days ago) there was a picture of a scene in Liberia. Two rival groups (militia). Four men. Two prisoners. Two captors.
One prisoner, with his arms tied behind his back, stared helplessly at his fellow prisoner.... who stood naked facing his captors. The captors knew they had power and the prisoner, being naked, was truly exposed as at their mercy. The action of one captor seemed to be an intimidatory threat of assault (aiming his rifle) on the naked prisoner's penis. The prisoner's face, even at a side angle, reflected the unbridled fear of being without power and at the mercy of whatever these two captors would take a whim to do.
This is the extreme test of the beauty, or gangrene, of the soul for the captors.
Despite the physical outview, inwardly this is a test for the souls of the captors.
The prisoners are merely there as victims, or beneficiaries, of the outcome.
This is a situation that, in obvious milder form, appears day to day in our interactions with each other. We find ourselves in positions of power (emotionally or physically) or at the mercy of someone who has power over us (emotionally or physically).

To place myself, emotionally, at the mercy of Char meant she could have experience of having power. Time and again she seemed to mis-use that power, but she learnt eventually how to use her power in a better intentioned way. Ruana was equally given power over me, as was Gerhard (in a material way). I guess it's a facet of the 'family'. It's a facet of human life.
In those times when I have the power, then the test is on me.
The prisoner can only hope he is treated with respect and fairness; or fear (like the naked Liberian) the abuse he suspects will come. The Liberian captors have, no doubt, already acted out their whim.

Armed conflict corrupts. Even a peace loving philosopher may be tested to the full, as he holds a loaded gun and stares at a member of a rival faction that has murdered his family and loved ones. The gun is loaded. The rival faction member is a naked prisoner. No one is going to stop you from doing what you please with him.
What would be your choice?
What would be mine?
Fate is strange! One day after your choice you may find yourself a naked prisoner before the father or son of this same rival faction member. This father/son could be standing there with a loaded gun, with the same unrestricted choices, and with full knowledge of the outcome of your choice.
What would be his choice? Where does it end?
Only with the right choices.
Wrong choices over the centuries have led to the Bosnian conflict.
That is all.

New Clear Winter 5

Mess to re-arrange
Herb's girlfriend and around Char
May... not!
Hare krishna and Char
Char: too good for this world
Leukaemia: shock news of my sister

Mess to re-arrange
16/05/96 - Antwerp, Belgium - Thurs - This apartment is a mess. It depresses me. There are problems of so much junk lying around and nowhere to put it all out the way. But maybe I could move all the junk to the front room, clean this area and make it more habitable? But for what????
Between now and the end of July I'm likely to be abroad for all but three weeks!?!
It would be better if I had furniture to arrange. But I haven't, and it would be pointless bringing in any for such a short period. I guess I've never been able to say, "This is home!" about this apartment. I could say, "This is home!" to an extent while I had that room at Vera's. In the winter (if I'm here) I will want to live somewhere that says "Home". I have never really lived anywhere which has said to me "Home".... somewhere that is intrinsically "me". This place is not "me".
I guess I can be untidy, but I have frequent periods of tidying up and keeping it that way. Here, there is no option except to re-arrange the mess... which would merely become a re-arranged mess.
Maybe it's apt?
For someone who has messed up his life and takes on board the mess other people have made?
Thus that someone can look around and see there is more mess than he knows how to deal with.
The 'nuclear Winter' hangs heavy.

Herb's girlfriend and around Char
Another blank working day. There is no outlet. The 'Doos is too quiet. It's raining heavily. I guess it's a slight movement from the 'nuclear Winter'. Maybe it'll kickstart the Spring back to life?
Norman showed down the 'Doos. It's a shame, but he's only planning to short hop to Maastricht tomorrow. I'm not the only one feeling the energy drain. Stormy Normy feels it too.
There seems no escaping the trap. My chance was last weekend, when I had the money to take the train south. Now I only have 500bfr and really (on a financial level) I'm at a true low point. There is little immediate hope that this weather will change to the good. It's likely the weather is bad throughout the area of my operations. The chief drawback to my present existence is the sheer boredom. Lingering in limbo, waiting for work matters and social matters to start moving.
The one leads to the other here.
Because I'm invisible when the weather is like this. It is terraces where I pick up new areas of interest. A long concentrated stint in Switzerland is now needed, to finally clear myself of debt and gain some savings.
Incidentally, Herb's girlfriend, who wasn't Herb's girlfriend is once more Herb's girlfriend... and they'll be going to the communion together on the 17th. End of story!!!

I haven't seen Char around, but then I haven't been around myself and Char may not be around Antwerp.... so, obviously, would not be around anyway. I chewed over going around to her place, but it was raining around nine thirty and I thought that going around there only to discover she wasn't around was futile. So I made my way straight to the 'Doos.
It's around bedtime, so I'll round off this monologue and see you around in the morning.

May... not!
17/05/96 - Fri - The month moves inexorably on, and my financial anxieties haunt my dreams. The 'nuclear Winter' haunts my waking hours. It used to be possible to tell the time from this apartment by looking at the position of the sun. In four days it will be the period commencing May 21st to June 21st.... Spring complete.
For Antwerp, this is a seasonal matter. It seems the increasing heat of the sun must initially increase the amount of moisture absorbed into the atmosphere. A little like putting your jeans in front of a gas fire to dry produces steam. To make strategic decisions I need reliable information. The weather overviews in most papers are not reliable. A view of a satellite picture would tell me more (eg: the extent of the 'nuclear Winter'). Does it break up beyond Luxembourg? Or does it swirl in its way even over Switzerland?
If I had the fare I would just go, but I haven't.
Maybe, if it holds dry, a prolonged street busking stint may improve my options? There are only two weeks left of this month. It's time to dust myself off, pick myself up and start all over again.
Today I'll see what the earning potential, despite 'nuclear Winter', is around here. I'll set a target of 1500bfr (as it is Friday) and go for it. Maybe I'll work into the right frame of mind for bars? By the end of next week I want to have at least the rent for this apology of an apartment.... whether I gain it here, or elsewhere. A more efficient (and less expensive) means of travelling to and from Switzerland must be evolved.
Eurolines can be investigated. An open ticket return... with the money to buy another one every time I return here... so I can be up and away at a moment's notice.
Eventually, Taxi Stop (Mitfahrcentrum) can be looked at. Certainly, by the latest, I need to be in Switzerland from next weekend on for a full month to truly get ahead. Of course, the rent on this place is a burden; if I didn't have to find it I'd instantly have an improvement on my financial position. It would mean I'd rely on friends to put me up for a few days, but if I didn't need the rent now I'd be clear to head off south now with only Gerhard and Pierre to repay.
Last October (when I returned the first time from Switzerland) I had a similar problem adjusting from the more immediate audience factor of terraces to the blank, anonymous street pitch in cooler, unfriendly weather. It truly is hard to believe that this same situation would occur in May, mid Spring!!! It is impossible to plan for such an occurrence.... that it would be cold, windy and sun-less for eight days (so far). This is the October weather we didn't have in October, but was quickly there to greet me in November and... of course... now.

Hare Krishna and Char
A glimpse of sun, however brief, inspired the Groen Platz terrace to fill... but the 'vultures' swarming around made it unappealing to me. Pommie leant my guitar to do it (the terrace), as his own guitar had been "repaired"... though not enough to hold the tuning. While I waited for him to finish... Char appeared.
It seemed she got the "call".
She is fine, outwardly at least. Quite how things are with her and Bennie is hard to know, but I levelled the conversation as though things are fine. Bennie walked across the Groen Platz while we were talking and I suggested calling him over...
but Char said, "I will see him eventually."
I showed Char the reasoning of 11/04/96 (as yet unpublished). I also showed her "Little Black Sheep". She took a liking to the last lines of each verse. I told her of my inner doubts about Ruana. I even told her of Kat.
Char had been to Amsterdam for four days. She said it is not a good place to be. This, I can believe.
It's hard to squeeze much into twenty minutes on the Groen Platz in true exchange of opinions, especially when Hare Krishna sales representatives appear.....
"This book..." Ms Hare proclaimed, "... is worth a thousand francs, but we are only selling it at a price to cover printing costs."
Generous indeed! But if they really seek to convert the 'great unwashed', why not a paperback... instead of an expensively put together hard back book with pretty colour outlay on the page sheets?
I guess it's the pushy sales technique that irritates me. So... to test her true resolve...
"We've only got 20bfr between us," said I.
"Oh!" said she, "But you play music on the terrace soon? Can anyone do this?"
Great! Hare Krishna chanters blessing the Groen Platz terrace with spiritual enlightenment. Imagine how long it would take them to take the hat around..... "This book...".......
"This book..." she further claimed, "... is the oldest book in existence."
I would be interested to know if the ancient gurus in it confirm that enlightenment can be attained by selling their books at the cost of publishing only.
On having the 'meal of the day' here at Cafe Centrum, John (the owner) looked at it and said, "That's not enough!"... and, a little later, produced another plate of it. So... I'm full! One big meal has paid off for today.

Char: too good for this world
Meanwhile, it would appear Char and Bennie are in debt to various people. I hope its not too bad, but Char is very good at hinting at the tip of an iceberg. She has been making ornaments... and would make more, but has not the money for materials.
The central core of Char.... what she really is, no matter how other may paint her.... is a soul of immense beauty. Her nature is compassionate and caring. Her love, once given, remains obstinately through thick and thin.
The problem with Char, in the 'real world', is that she is too gentle and good for it. Both Ruana and I (plus Bennie) have seen the pure qualities of the soul that is Char. That is why we all love her. The only way Char can deal with her pure qualities has been through covering them up with 'black sheep' re-action. Such a jewel as Char is rarely found.
In Char, there is a subconscious honesty and openness people everywhere like to think they have... but haven't. Including me.
I do not think the bond between Char and I can ever be broken. It is invincible, because it has been tested time and time again.

Gerhard seems to have sailed through his test, whatever his private reservations. But Ruana may have taken a fall. I guess I will know better when next I phone her.
Like the Liberian prisoner I have stood before them all, but it was not me undertaking the test. My tests are elsewhere. Yes... I must phone Ruana again, otherwise I fail my own test.
A prisoner must be there to be executed, or not. So, I will be there.

Leukaemia: shock news of my sister
Tanya told me (tonight) my brother had phoned to say my sister (Diana) was in hospital....
I phoned him... and my sister has Leukaemia. She is in Addenbrookes Hospital (Cambridge) to have chemotherapy treatment. The doctors predict 95% success likelihood.
I ponder my palm and it seems the break in my right hand heart line is not relevant to the age I am now. It's just I didn't notice it before...
I needed 'family' for emotional support. Kat was too busy in the Pater's - it being Friday night. In the end, it was Gerhard who supplied the shoulder I needed to cry on.
I can do nothing about nothing, without Switzerland. Antwerp is a farce for serious money earning.

New Clear Winter 6

Leukaemia, Lung Cancer, Radon Gas and Orpheus
Thoughts progress into a song
The message of the new song applied in practical terms
Cut off phone calls strengthens my Ruana doubts
Everts advice
Escape to Aachen

Leukaemia, Lung Cancer, Radon Gas and Orpheus
18/05/1996 - Sat - Antwerp, Belgium - On Tuesday I phoned my sister. She said nothing of being ill. On Wednesday I had the afternoon disturbance with my soul. On Thursday my brother phoned Tanya to let me know my sister had been taken into hospital for Leukaemia and chemotherapy.
It appears it was my sister's distress 'call' I picked up.
The 'nuclear Winter' holds its ground day by day. On a financial level it is worse than February.

Friday evening should be a good time for busking the Cathedral. It's not. By the time you have warmed up, it's someone else's shift.
I think I can only try to extract what I can from this weekend here and then get on the move Monday. I will need to monitor the situation regarding Diana. There is no history of Leukaemia in the family tree. My knowledge is poor on the projected causes of this form of cancer.

Narrow minded researchers and doctors have pinned smoking as the main cause of Lung Cancer. Now a newspaper article I read two days ago cites a build up of Radon Gas as a major cause of Lung cancer. Radon is a natural form of radioactivity produced by certain types of soil. It infiltrates up into buildings and, over a period of time, concentrates to a dangerous level. The "hot spots" in England at this time are Mansfield, Bath and a place in Oxfordshire. It is estimated 2,400 deaths a year from Lung Cancer are caused by Radon Gas.

Leukaemia, similarly, appears to be higher in instance when a possible concentration of man-made radioactivity (power plants etc) is in evidence. My present rather naive understanding of Leukaemia is that it is a cancer of the blood, destroying red blood cells. In such a thing, untreated, I would imagine deterioration would be rapid to the point of loss of life.
It is to be hoped the first treatment is effective on Diana. If so, the ailment may never re-emerge... provided the catalyst is not re-exposing her.
But where is the catalyst?
Is it in her apartment? At her work (assembling electronics)? Industrial leakage from a factory close by? Was the catalyst food exposed to high radioactivity?
I have read that infected meat from Chernobyl may have found itself on the market.
Leukaemia seems to be a growing problem. Also growing is our 'playing' with our new toy: nuclear energy. So... as the 'nuclear Winter' sits stubbornly over me, I see another angle of life.....
The Agoraphobic who is too scared to leave their house to face the world because of their fear - fear of what may happen to them. The house has, over the years, built up a critical level of Radon Gas.....

We look to the left and right, forward and backwards... yet still we may forget to look up or down. Fate can not be avoided, but we have many choices as to the paths we can take. Looking to see what can overtake us is no protection from being overtaken. So, like Orpheus, I mustn't look back... or anywhere except forward. The road I'm on could lead me out of Hades to eventual re-uniting with all whom I love.
Looking back would re-align my Fate and that of others. Orpheus's wife was lost forever when he looked back with the best of intention. If he'd have kept on walking, playing his lyre, he would have escaped the underworld and been re-united with his wife.
There will come a time when Orpheus will have cleared the underworld, or will be severely tested to look back. So....
I continue forward, in a way that hurts me, because I seek to re-assure myself and others. But, in all but an abstract way, I can re-assure nobody until it is time for Orpheus to not be Orpheus.

Thoughts progress into a song
Four hours from coming out I finally got to play. A half out, half full Groen Platz terrace, but receptive to the tune of 500bfr. Possibly, I may catch the Cathedral (terrace) before it fades... but I guess if the Cathedral pitch is free that also would be good.

My ramblings of earlier this day inspired a song, "He doesn't look around" - based on Orpheus chewing over his dilemma as he walked on his way out of Hades. Of course, this is also an analogy of my dilemmas and situation.
How the song will fare with the general public? I don't know, but it has power in its basic way. It is a simple song trying to capture the conflict between faith and mistrust.... faith that the path will fulfill your expectations; mistrust that it won't.
The paradox is summarized by the last line:
"Who's behind him, up ahead he'll find somewhere"
This is the cornerstone of my strategy with my 'family', family and my daughter (Rachel). At present, nothing would appear to make sense... even to me:
"That path you're taking is not really there!" shout the angry voices.
If they are right and I look back, then in my mind I will have lost Rachel forever. In the mind of everyone I know I will have lost. Nor is it so much the ignominy of defeat.... more the end of potential; the difference I can make to so many people that need the catalyst I can provide.
Forward into the unsafe and the unknown, not knowing who is behind you, is a hard path. The harshness of it is reflected in my songs and my isolation from all I hold dear and love.... people whom I need to trust will nonetheless follow, in their way.

The message of the new song applied in practical terms
19/05/96 - Sun - Tanya, her friend (can't remember), Kris and another guy joined me for many a drink down the 'Doos and then at a disco until the early hours. Yeah, it was 6.30am before I got home.
Naturally the 'nuclear Winter' dispersed at such a thing and, although the breeze is unseasonably cool, the sun has broken through to give Antwerp a reminder of what it looks like. But I have only just woken up... and it is 2.30pm.

Everts played a great set last night down the 'Doos. I really enjoyed it. But I'd have enjoyed it more if I wasn't following him onstage. To compound things, the mike on the guitar had been turned up.. which is usually good, but adjusting to the sound left it hard to tune the guitar. While I was playing it always appeared to be out of tune to me, although Lena said afterwards it didn't greatly notice to the audience. Seeing DaveR having similar problems with his opening numbers added a minor, but important, experience to my stage knowledge.
There is a possibility that my strings are getting too old and over-repaired to effectively hold tune in a precise way, or it may simply be lack of recent enough experience of playing with amplified guitar.
Almost certainly, there was the knowledge that Everts had played a blinder. To me, Everts at his best is one of the best around. But then... I am a fan, and I would make no secret that he influences me more than anyone else at this time.
All the same, I didn't even try to match Everts yesterday. I didn't play any of my front line songs. Instead, the audience seemed amenable to experimentation. So, after doing "County Down" and battling after each song with the tuning, I played "The tide of Fate", "Little black sheep", an abridged version of "Only in my dreams" and finished with "He doesn't look around", still only a few hours old... but (to me) saying everything about the set.
It was uncomfortable for me because my tuning ear was confused by the different sound and I really felt like just saying halfway through the set, "Sorry, these strings are all over the place" and abandoning the stage. But I kept on going forward and, instead of finishing with a safer song, I tackled my most newest... and played it well. I still wasn't happy with the tuning, but I didn't "look around".
After the set I mulled over not taking the hat round because I was unhappy with the performance, despite reasonable applause (which, in itself, surprised me). But I did, and the audience had stayed throughout my set and gave generously.
"He doesn't look around" says you keep moving forward through all your doubt. This set required just that. My ambition requires just that. My heart requires just that.

I was out too late to catch the terraces. The Cathedral I did, but it was very sparse when I started and, although it had filled quite a bit by the time I had finished and most people gave, it was still only worth a little under 300. I thought I'd get on the Groen Platz, but... no... Lenny (of course) was there waiting for the "right time". And at the "right time" a bagpipe player appeared and succeeded in half emptying the terrace.
There was nothing to do except busk the Cathedral. Even being able to do that is an achievement these days.

Norman and Helga said they're off to Aachen tomorrow - and if this happens I'll be going with them. I need to be up very early tomorrow.

Cut off phone calls strengthens my Ruana doubts
Ruana has, to my mind, not so much fallen as disappeared without trace. I phoned her tonight, but when the 10bfr ran out I kept getting engaged tones. She said she was painting her bike so couldn't speak long anyhow, in case the paint dried. Well, I guess it was pointless re-phoning at that time, so I tried later. I got through to her brother who said as much as "Hello?..." before the phone ate the money, said 'thank you very much' and cut us off. Twice!!!!
That I should have to be the 'Liberian prisoner' in this grates, but Fate commands this - that much I know.
It all seems straight-forward to my reasoning pattern. If Ruana was phoning me once a week I would leave myself pretty open at the time she regularly phoned, or at least not doing something that couldn't wait. Perhaps the influence of mothers and frienemies have, with their exclusive 'airtime', spiked any potential from this line of Fate. That I have to phone to eke out what I already know truly grates on me.
I have a fast emotional recovery rate - and a situation of no response soon clears away the debris. Emotionally, I feel no great pain at this time. I guess I am growing stronger..... or weaker.
However, I felt strongly the need to explore the field that is Ruana. Now I have found the sign, "Private property - no right of way."
This was always the most likely scenario, but Fate may well draw us together again one day. The difference is I now know (or fairly certainly know) what value that friendship truly is. It is not any more special than my friendships with Gerhard and Char.
It is possible that the level of emotional enslavement Ruana had me in (as did once Char) will never be at the same high level again. It is too early to make conclusive judgements here - I'm only going on her outward actions and my inner perception of how our souls are interacting.
Fate, it seems, even thwarted my efforts at communicating with her today. Three non-working phones and a jammed signal when I did speak to her.

Only when all faith and hope appear to have vanished does the individual 'family' links re-emerge.... stronger, but more detached and balanced. With Ruana, all my faith and hope in her is virtually gone. I see that she is giving nothing, not even a few minutes a week to me. I suspect she will make no effort other than to let it all slide, as with her attachment to Char. But more pronounced, because the male/female aspect has made it more complex... and to not see me is the perfect answer to any weaknesses she may have. At least, the 'perfect' answer to her mind.
Maybe it is!
I no longer plan any likely interaction with her socially, emotionally or musically, though I will continue to play her two songs. It is likely (and hoped) that her social circle and 'hang outs' will not be mine, as was the case with Char. Any Char and Bennie type thing with Ruana would surely drive me out of Antwerp for good, unless Kat turns up trumps. Having a girlfriend of my own would deal with most situations more easily.
But I'm so difficult!
I don't open easily to girls. Especially when my confidence is at a low level.
I'm considering writing a letter to Ruana to tell her of my doubts about the weekly calls... in fact, about any interaction, aside from important matters that may concern us both.

Everts advice
The rain sabotaged any further thought of work and the 'Doos was empty. However, Everts came in and bought me a drink. He once more emphasised his view, "You are writing good lyrics and melodies and a great many songs. This is all good, but you must learn how to use a plectrum. It will make your guitar sound crisper. Good guitar would make all the difference to your songs. Try it! I'll teach you if you want."
To achieve the sort of energy and quality of the Everts guitar sound would be great, but it would take me sooo long - maybe years.
Herman, as noted, said I should practice barre chords. Everts says I should use a plectrum.
What do I think?
Yes, I should do all this. To be adaptable on the guitar is essential. What held me back on the guitar was the plectrum. I was always too pedestrian in its use. My plectrum playing was boring, more tedious than my freestyle strum. Which is why I went freestyle. My thumb is a natural plectrum - the nail is long. Maybe I could use it to hit the base notes in a crisper fashion? Another aspect is that Everts has not truly heard the full repertoire of my guitar style, because the 'Doos is not conducive for it.
On his own style he under rates himself considerably.

20/05/96 - Mon - What I would need to do would be to take a plectrum and make an unrestricted noise on the guitar until I sense the natural feel of using it. I find a plectrum usually shifts about in my fingers and my application becomes too heavy, too light or too tedious.
Everts says he is not a great guitarist, because he feels his playing style rather than understanding the technical niceties. But it's this very thing that makes him a great guitarist.

Escape to Aachen
Now I'm in Aachen (Germany). We made the great escape from Antwerp.
But it took us all day to finally make the move. But then, I arrived later than planned at the Groen Platz. I played the terrace, which was only half full. However, 500bfr was a vast improvement on where I was. I busked the Meir for a short time for another 200, then packed quickly and went to the Schelde park where Norman and his 'van' (an old German fire engine) awaited me. Without a word or signal to anyone (bar Everts) I was leaving Antwerp toward Aachen.
Now I sit in the small rear caravan (Norm's van tows this handy thing wherever he goes) and await development on the present quest. It is late at night. I'm about to get some sleep, but the sky is dotted with stars. It augurs well for the coming day.
Early morning, rather than working here, we'll be heading for Trier. This takes me further south - and even more on my way to Switzerland.

21/05/96 - Tues - Aachen, Germany - We're all up and ready for the journey to Trier. But, on arriving there the weather turned windy and bad.

New Clear Winter 7

Busking in Trier
Ricecorn, Nick and "some old bastard who nicked the girls"
Seeking a cushion
Stormy Normy and Helga

22/05/1996 - Weds - Trier, Germany - It's fairly early. Stormy Normy gave a 'wake up' call, but he seems to have shot off somewhere. So far, the weather looks good, but it is pretty early still.

It's been a maybe/not quite day for working. Norman, familiar with the street pitching, has done ok. I did 2 short pitches: one ok, the other not.... and I found a terrace that yielded about 15dm. But really I can do better - I just get confused at what would be the best pitch, as it seems anywhere is ok around here as long as it's only for half an hour. This sounds good, but it takes half an hour to get into stride sometimes. First working day in a strange town and unfamiliar country is usually awkward. But I have done a terrace, and I did ok.... considering that Norman said it's not a wonderful terrace. So I'm off the mark in Germany.

I did one more and gained about 17dm off it. Then the choice was stick around in case of evening terraces or go back for the 'party' back at Norm's van on the Messepark. So, getting a lift with street trading friends we anchored ourselves back at Norm's. I wrote a quick card for Ruana. Considered myself not up to the mark to write Rachel. Remembered I should write my sister, but... overall... finding a strange detachment from my entire life.

23/05/96 - Thurs - The weather looks not too good today. But, if the weather turns good for the weekend, it may be possible to get the rent for this month here in Germany. Trier is only a few miles from Luxembourg. Luxembourg - Antwerp is not expensive on a train (relatively).

It takes a lot of getting used to, does Trier. Although the weather was dry and warm, no people sat on the terraces. It seems terraces are mainly a tourist thing here - and there are mostly locals for the late night shopping. I guess I've stayed with the town rules of half hour stints, and I did three for 30dm approx. Testing different songs for effect. Irish seems to work here fairly well. Some of my songs work better than others, but it's hard to judge because my performance is a bit rusty at present... especially for street pitching.
Just a tick over day, waiting for the big day when the terraces open up properly. Plus Thursday being Thursday. but Norman, far more used to Trier, knows how to work it.

24/05/96 - Fri - It would be nice to have a shower! I guess Trier is not in itself too much of a terrace town. So, although there has been a great evening for weather yesterday, it was bad (or hard) for money because there are only three or four spots which summarise the passers-by. I say "bad" in relation to full terraces. If I'd been in Luxembourg or any Swiss town I's have earned more. I can see Trier is a good place to earn money, but it needs to be played on the right days (maybe 2 or 3) and then move on.
The "Summer" starts on Monday, according to the forecast. But, the weekend is a weekend and should be good.... even here. I guess the last two days I've been 'testing the water' of the place. Today, I'll need to swim.

Busking in Trier
25/05/96 - Sat - Five days on from this one and it's June! The caravan I'm staying in is usually attached to the rear of Norman's ex-German fire wagon. Now it is jacked up so Norman can head for Masstricht for a few hours.
Today, there is heavy cloud, rain and cool wind.
Helga (Norm's girlfriend) said that the radio has forecast 22C from tomorrow afternoon (ish). If some good, consistent weather is coming this way and over this part of Europe then the break out can be achieved. Trier is a bit of a trap for me. It's been a great period socially, but Trier is a strange town to work.
Yesterday, with the warm dry weather it had, would have meant great earnings in almost any town. But the terraces didn't become worth playing until 10 in the evening - when, of course, street playing becomes illegal.
Street busking in the evening between a quarter past nine and ten was a way to test the mood of the evening walkers. I'd found that romantic songs seemed to be the most appealing at this time. The moment 10 o'clock was being rung up on the church bells I packed up in deference to local custom. One minute past ten a police car drove slowly down the pedestrian precinct to probably make sure everyone shows deference to the local custom.

Yes, once you get the feel of it, street pitching here can be good. But terraces most anywhere usually will be good more consistently. So I wait for a day when Trier will come up trumps, and leave me free to explore further south.
The rain plummets down in sheets as I re-enter the caravan.
If I had no targets or debts to be cleared up my sojourn here would be fine. So accommodation charges mean I can survive on the money I scrape from this place. As a temporary measure it's ok, but I need to be out and away within the next couple of days. If Norman takes a mind to head for Freiburg, then I'll travel with him there and take the short hop into Switzerland if freiburg is as confusing as this place.
I'm chewing over a theory with these terraces here in Trier. The few I have played (with one exception) have been half empty when I started, but fuller when I finished. The exception was one which was full when I started, became half full midway through my set and full by the time I'd finished.
So... if I see a half full terrace, play it and gamble that passers-by would see what's occurring and populate it.
The money would be better, because these people will be sitting down with the full knowledge I'm playing it.... therefore more likely to put money in the hat.
It would be worth testing this, because who knows when I'll be in a similar sort of town... if not this one again. Interestingly, the full ones seem to be worse for money than the half empty ones. I will try and test this. It isn't unusual for people to stop and listen to street musicians here.

Ricecorn, Nick and "some old bastard who nicked the girls"
People here (of Norman's acquaintance) include a guy (I've forgotten his name) who writes on rice corns, but who has also busked. If I call him Ricecorn for now, maybe the name will come. His girlfriend (it's embarrassing that I can't remember these names) also street trades, but with beads and hair-ups. She is German from near Dusseldorf. He is English. They have a large live-in van, nicely laid out. The last few days, all five of us have been socialising at work and in the evening. We're parked in the Messepark by the Moselle, with a McDonalds to remind us the world is actually owned by McDonalds.
A fleeting visit a couple of evenings ago was made by a middle aged 'Pommie' called Nick. It would seem "God's gift to seventeen year old girls".
He philosophises thus, "When I was younger it was always some old bastard who seemed to nick the girls. Well, now it's my turn! I'm the old bastard now!"
Whatever absurdities I believe about myself can always be braked and modified by hearing absurdities other people believe.
I guess I was expecting a Tasmanian Devil when I met Tarquin last night, a local busker Norman had many things to say about. But he seemed a nice enough guy. Fourteen years it had been since he has seen his hometown, Oxford. He went back last year for a brief spell. He offered us all showers at his girlfriend's (Saba) place. Today, I'm still waiting.

One thing is sure, meeting all these: correct thought patterns can turn my subsistence into true prosperity and independence. I need to build up my savings to the point where I can invest in a subsidiary line. Ricecorn's subsidiary has become his major point of income. Maybe Fate has required me to learn what I've learnt this week? If Kat is serious about exploring street craft then maybe we'd better talk over possibilities and ideas on my return. Whatever, the Summer season should be good for what I do now. I should be able to build up a cushion.

Seeking a cushion
How to use that cushion in the Fall is my make or break. I must channel myself onto business mode. May has been abysmal for weather. In many ways, the 'April showers' we didn't have in April. In April, we had the 'March Spring'... dry, but with cold winds. At any point the full power of Summer could break through and give prolonged, hot weather. I've been hoping it would arrive early this year. I've been on red alert for when it comes. So far, the best warm , dry periods have only lasted at most five or six days... followed by long anti-social weather cancelling out any benefit.

It has been nice in the evenings here, eating and drinking with a sense of nature all around. With no debts I could enjoy it more. It looks like I'll need to be in Switzerland very soon. At least on sunny or warm days there will be terraces to play. Although I'd be paying for accommodation I'll be able to have regular showers. I haven't had one for five days. It would be more boring than the last few days, but more boring means more concentration on work.
It's feasible I could take the 45 minute walk into Trier centre and pitch up by the Horton. It's possible that I could do so and find the Russians, or the squeezebox player stationed there. It's definite I'd be drenched by the time I get there. It's definite I'd spend what little money I have, and probably before I can pitch anywhere.
Sometimes patience and 'no action' is the best action.

Stormy Normy and Helga
At present, however, I guess I share the company of two very talented people. Norman is possibly one of the best buskers in Europe for natural ambience, presentation and delivery. Helga is stunning as a portrait artist. Remembering the Swiss artist in Bern, who spoke of the power of eyes in portraiture, I studied Helga's sketches and found she has a natural ability to portray emotions through the use of eyes. Trier is very good for her trade. It is generally good for street trading. Luxembourg lies only a few kilometres away. I'd say that would be better for busking. If I have little joy here, that's where I'll head.

Our stay in Aachen was brief. Had a meal and a drink there in the late evening, but the next day it was raining. Having been to Aachen before, I know a sunny day would have been fruitful. The drive from Aachen to Trier took us through some beautiful countryside. There is no regular motorway between these points (it would seem).
On a Saturday, and off season apparently, Trier shops close at two in the afternoon. This is strange, but my home town used to have a similar system, before the economic pull of customer demand gradually re-aligned it all.
Trier lays claim to being the oldest town in Germany. There are the same number of inhabitants today, so I'm told, as there were in Roman times. Certainly the town centre.....

26/05/96 - Sun - Tarquin arrived as I was spinning into cultural. He had Saba's car ("she doesn't need it today"). He drove me to Conch, showed me the van he'd been "doing up" and was almost ready. One day, I must try to get the money for a travelling live-in van for the road. He introduced me to his "mum" Bethie... and the very normal, mod con apartment... the sort of place that has fallen away from my life these last two years. I had a shower and dinner there. We jammed for awhile in a constructive way.

We checked on Norman and Helga on the way back into town, but after they had spent the day travelling they were too tired to contemplate going out. So Tarquin and I set off to the Krim for a drink and on to a bar where there was much playing of the guitar (chiefly mine) by Tarquin and a French 'Pink Floyd' fan. He had spent 20 years in groups playing Pink Floyd influenced riffs etc., but he did have a nice guitar style. Tarquin and the French guy played "all those unforgettable oldies". Unforgettable, because there is always someone there to remind you.
The landlord is a music buff and seemed to take to me well. I played three songs; "County Down", "Fairy tales are real" and "Honey". I felt that was enough. Free drinks were the result of the whole thing, but today I need money.
Fairly penniless as I only had five marks last night, and I did buy one drink. A coffee here in McDonalds and now I'm hoping for good weather throughout today as the forecast for tomorrow (dammit) is not good.
Tarquin gave me some new strings, so I owe him 11dm... plus he needs to top up the fuel of Saba's car and I agreed to help him there. So I want to try to get 20dm for him if I can this afternoon, because he has shown himself a good friend and very helpful.
What me voice will be like first thing is anyone's guess.

I did a very short and fruitless four song pitch to warm up my voice as much as I could and then played a couple of small terraces on the market square to scrape up 30dm - meaning I could buy my cigarettes, have a roll and a coffee and be somewhere near what Tarquin needed for his fuel. So now I must build up from there to some cushion. It's a nice day. Even if I run out of terraces there is still street pitching.
It's going to be a long, hard day.

New Clear Winter 8
Master Street Performances
Beauty and the Pain
Reflections on Trier
Dream of Char
Scraping by

Master Street performances
26/05/96 - Sun - Trier, Germany - Norman is street pitching near Helga. I expect he may play some terraces later later, although his show may well be enough on the street pitch. I think I must aim to do two terraces at a time with a break between to restore my energy, but it is already three o'clock... so maybe I'd better start on round two.
What's missing today is the equivalent of the Bern Munster terrace - the sort of terrace that leaps you ahead. The Porte Nigro terrace may have done that. I'd got 10 marks off the bits I'd played sufficiently before a town band opened up. The terrace opposite my first two was good on one side and bad on the other. Applause is no guarantee of better money.
Meanwhile, Norman soldiers on in the street and has probably made far more than me. But terrace playing is more economical on your energy and you can still busk the street later if you choose. Helga is cleaning up though - probably outstripping us both with her portrait pitch. Every time I pass her she's doing another client, almost always children, with a very big crowd around her as well. I estimate she must be on a hundred at least by now.
There again, Norman with his excellent professionalism and expertise may well be on a hundred with his pitch. It leaves me floundering on fifty. But it's hard to compete with the twenty years of musical experience and projection techniques of Norman.
So I'll just soldier on to round three - and see what there is left to do. If I can find two more terraces, then I'll chew on round four... which may be a street pitch. I seem to be halfway to my target (a hundred), so a decent paying terrace would move me on nicely.

Beauty and the Pain
27/05/96 - Mon - Round three turned out a straight forward pitch on the main drag to the Ponte Nigra. Interrupted temporarily by the church bells sounding out for about fifteen minutes, but I got 30+ from the pitch.
At the end of my set an American serviceman stood listening to "Beauty and the pain". It began raining immediately after this song, but he asked me to play it again. So I played it in the shelter of a shop alcove...
"It is a beautiful song. Who wrote it?"
"Ah, it's a song I wrote last year in January," I replied.
"You wrote it!?! Would you mind writing down the words for me?"
It transpired that the words co-incided greatly with his present emotional situation. The female he is trying to win has been hurt so much by relationships that she is reluctant to enter this one... "Don't pressure me!"
Well, I guess the words would show that past, hurtful relationships need not be viewed exclusively from a negative angle. What we are is usually what we've become through interaction.
I gave him my name and Vera's address so he could post some of his poems. He gave a clear field to any attempt I might make to put music onto them. It is always useful to have an additional wealth of lyrics. Most often, someone else can say what I feel better than myself. This is life.

Reflections on Trier
About 80+ for the day and Helga has done twelve portraits for 240. Norman has probably earnt a couple of hundred, because (with Tarquin) we all charged to the Krim bar.... and Norman played it.
Drinks were a-flowing and a German girl from Heidleberg struck up conversation with me. She was with her mother, but I would say the girl was in her twenties. We talked for awhile, but they had to go eventually.
Said Norman, " You should have got her phone number."
"Ah, I don't really know much of the German culture," I replied.
But it would seem I'd need to talk to them and get their phone number. OK! I'll bear that in mind.

I'm in the Nordsee restaurant for a roll and a coffee. I decided to try a stint in the centre. Maybe I can get the top up money I need to stay where I am. Jerry, a guy from Belfast showed at the caravan, as did Tarquin for a brief period. If Trier is similar to Antwerp there may be some evening possibilities on the street, but I'm not sure whether there'll be a church bell cacophony for a quarter to six.
The rain has been heavy today and last night. Maybe they should rename May to Maynot. Truly a write off month for busking... at least on a personal level.

I woke at about one, being very conscious immediately of Ruana and others back in Antwerp. A few days earlier I'd had a dream concerning my wife. Being here in Trier with Norman and Helga and their assorted friends is good in its way, but it's a little like a mobile Antwerp. You can get so wrapped up in things here that your life elsewhere can be temporarily forgotten. It looks strongly as if my task of going to Switzerland will not be completed until at least the end of this book. But then again a sudden very good day may change things around.

In many ways I am "digging in" here to learn about the Germans a little better hereabouts. My impression is that they are quite friendly, but that they need time to fully understand. This is normal (I suppose) everywhere, but my style is something new to them. I'm curious to see how they'll take to it.
Trier is a small town. As with everywhere else, I will see what happens. If I infiltrate onto their wavelength or (preferably) vice versa, then it's a stopover place for me when I'm in this neck of the woods. The American serviceman was telling me of a town called something like Bad Croyen. It is the headquarters of the 82nd Airborne, who are in Bosnia at present. But the higher ratio of English speaking Germans in a town like that may make it a good place to play. Who knows?
But, whatever, I must start making sufficient money for my debts. Trier is nice, but I haven't found it wonderful yet for money. Of course, the people of Trier know Tarquin and Norman well. One day they will probably know me well.... one day. I just don't know!
It's nice to be playing and singing well with a family smiling smiling at a child's delight. Yes, it's nice!
You play them a song and family and child go their way happy.
But here, it tends to happen that you're playing to the same child for three or four songs, during which the passers by either stop briefly or smile as they go. It's good for the spirit, but not good for money. Because these passers by don't drop money while you're busy at this, and daddy can only afford a couple of marks for the show. It's nice, but it's not a living... unless the passers by take to dropping money concurrently.

I left the Horton spot for the main pedestrian drag and twas there for 20 minutes without response. In addition, I felt my energy burn out. So a fruitless trip to town for about 10dm. Covers the cigarettes for the day and nothing else. I suppose that's better than nothing. Of course, it may be that half an hour later on the Ponte spot would be a better time.... but that I wouldn't know.
So Trier is what? A tree trap? With street pitching your music takes longer to filtrate than with terraces. In addition, I couldn't extend my voice after playing the Horton and testing the Ponte Nigra - a natural reluctance to push myself. I think I prefer to instinctively hold back until I feel there's real money to be made. I expect this weather makes both me and everybody else a bit sleepy.

Dream of Char
28/05/96 - Tues - As this disastrous month draws onward to its close I had a vivid dream of Char last night. What I remember was going to a large house and on to a room. There was Char. Bennie and Char had split up. I felt a little concern for Bennie. But Char and I talked and then resumed a relationship. Once again, we were physically active. The sensation was good, but (as dreams do) it drifted to a situation where we were talking... and some other guy emerged on the scene, instilling a shade of insecurity and jealousy within me. The dream continued to drift to a point where Char rounded on me, telling me I'm boring (etc) and finishing the relationship. It seemed, as she was saying this, that I was seeing her for the first time... and from a negative viewpoint.
But still I slept in her room, except that now there were two other girls there too. The image was that they were Char's friends... also that they had said it was alright to sleep in this room. In addition, I knew that despite Char's attack I still had the power of her love for me - and that despite seeing such a negative angle of Char my love for her was unaffected.
Basically, the confusion that has been Char and me was there at the beginning and there at the end... alongside the love.

It's possible that Ruana has got my card by now. In it I inform her of my departure and wish her luck in her exams; further saying, "I'll be in touch!"
Char, equally, is not aware I've gone, but probably knows by now. The dream could be a satirical reconstruction of the passage of events, or a "call"
from Char.
I hope she is alright. If she wants me there urgently and I'm not... I'd feel really bad.
But, as with Rachel, Diana and whomever, Orpheus must keep walking forward in the faith that "up ahead" they'll be there. Maybe I could phone Pierre just to check?
If anything is seriously wrong with Char, he'll know.
I know Rachel is in very good hand with my wife. She'll look after her well and with intelligence. But, on an understanding level, there is no one in Antwerp for Char... outside of Bennie. So if Bennie and Char split, then Char will need me. Of course, there is Ruana... but, through my experience,
Ruana is unlikely to see the urgency of Char's emotional vacuum. Ruana has exams to deal with as an addition. I may be cynical, but for Ruana the 'family' is not at present worth half an hour, once a week, on a Sunday, when compared to the drying paint on her bike.
It could just be a dream. Maybe the intruding guy was a mere representative of the persona that is Bennie? But Char and I are linked in a very powerful way. I don't like to dismiss as co-incidental any subconscious interaction with her, particularly when a vivid dream comes into play. Same, I guess, with Ruana.
If things are going badly with Bennie what would Char do? Go back to her parents or Pierre? Or would she seek me out, wherever I am? Even Bern? Would she run away from it all? This is somewhere both Char and I fall down.
But then, it could be claimed that Orpheus is "walking away" from who he holds dear. Even though he is intent on "walking" to a situation where who he holds dear will be there in a satisfactory way (personally and for who he holds dear). In the situation of Orpheus's wife? She would be dead if he didn't walk away from her.
He just needs to hope she'll understand and follow with trust and faith.

Scraping by
I seem to be very low on energy today. It's turned out a nice day and there are terraces, but it has taken a real battle to find the energy to walk into town.
I've just eaten a cheese roll and a cake - now, I'm having a coffee. All I can think is that if I start at one end and just do terraces which look playable.
The alternative is pitching and hoping the money is good. But my energy level is low. Terraces may be the best option. There is rain forecast for tomorrow, but it's getting better in the following days. It looks like Friday will be break out day - all being well.
Well, I did a market square terrace (which was small), but one to start with. Partway through the set a town drunk decided to interfere, but the people enjoyed it well enough.
Not the owner, it would appear.... an old woman who, after the set, informed me this was a "nicht spielen" terrace.
Mark (ricekorn) said, "Yeah! I'd say Tarky has messed up the terraces a bit... wanting to play them every day."
Trier is too small for that - too small a place for me. I tried a street pitch by the post, but thus far I've probably made about 14 marks. Getting money here is a painful process. Two other buskers, plus maybe a half dozen beggars, all operating in a small area... and then me. Unless something dramatic happens I'm financially stuck here, but if I know good, consistent weather is here, then I can try Luxembourg: a bigger place, with (hopefully) more culture than here. This place is old, but it is fairly bad for culture. It is also the end of the month, I guess - probably bad everywhere, depending on when paycheques start coming in. I'll just have to scrape by with what I can get - remembering also it is Tuesday.
I found the river terraces very touristy and mainly empty, probably until the full flow of the season. I settled for a street pitch. Maybe did about 16 marks. It seems that here, on a sunny day, you can earn as much as Antwerp on a cold, cloudy day. To be fair, busking in Antwerp in the early evening would probably yield similar to my street pitch.
Thursday the weather should improve drastically (we can hope) and I'll busk up the train fare to Luxembourg, where there will be space to work.
Meanwhile, I should phone Pierre.
At least the set I just did included a lot of songs I haven't played here. There were two girls who sat and listened to it all. The evening is probably a bad time to play this pitch - not many people - but, at least, people can hear me better without bellowing and blanging the strings.
OK, Scotty, beam me up!

New Clear Winter 9
Checking on Char
Time to leave Trier
Now I stand alone

Checking on Char
28/05/1996 - Tues - Trier, Germany - Phoned Pierre to say, "Hi! I'm in Trier!"
Also, just to check on Char. I didn't get around to that until the end of the 1.80dm call. He had just enough time to say, "Oh, no..." after I'd asked, "How's Char?"
So.... I put in another mark..... "Bennie and Char are thinking of going to Portugal," said Pierre, "but she's fine in herself... I think!"
False alarm!
So, was she saying, "Goodbye!" (?)
She probably won't be there when I get back to Antwerp. She probably knows I'm gone by now. Action and re-action. I go ... she goes... I come back... she comes back.... we can hope.
Why is this so urgent to me now?
Because she's thinking of me?

Time to leave Trier
29/05/96 - Weds - It's 11.30am and maybe it will be a nice day. The sun is out, the cloud is light. Today could be the first stage of my break out. I'm thinking of doing just one terrace and then taking an excursion to Luxembourg.
Norman and Helga had gone to Aachen yesterday, but they were back by the time I returned to the Messepark. The jokes were flying. An amusing evening.
The river walk on the way back is inspiring in its way. This place has even got a cable car connecting us down here with them up there.

I'm in the Nordsee, and having spoken to Norman we need to move to Luxembourg tonight anyway. It's a clear, blue sky and I'm stuck in a place that's lousy for money. but if the consistently good weather is here then Luxembourg may be good tomorrow and at the weekend (provided I don't shoot straight for Switzerland). All my stuff is in the caravan, so it's best I go with them.... rather than meeting them in Luxembourg. If the earning are good in Luxembourg, maybe I can take a night in a hostel for a shower and for washing some clothes.
Right now, I am penniless once more... so I hope I can earn a little money fast - or a lotta money fast.

A short five song set yielded 1.20dm. Norman is also finding it hard. The crowd here today are the wrong sort - or maybe it's just the hot period of the day. One good thing: we'll be out of this hole tonight.

30/05/96 - Thurs - Luxembourg - With a street trader named Debbie I got a lift to Luxembourg city. I used my 200+bfr to buy cigarettes (92bfr for 25) and two coffees with a doughnut. The heat of the day is already evident as we move to midday. Now I need some full terraces with a little shade for afternoon work. The terraces are still mainly empty, but it's early yet. According to Debbie, everything shuts around here from 12 to 2.... making it quiet, but maybe more people will be on the terraces at this time.
Who knows?
What is certain is I must try a terrace somewhere as soon as I can, so I can get a little money in my pocket.

I played three terraces and collected a little over 500bfr. At least I'm off the mark. My voice was a shade 'Tom Waits', but then I haven't eaten or had enough coffee. Now it's the heat of the day. There will probably be only a handful of good terraces to play this time of day, so round two will be difficult. Anyhow, it's only Thursday. The weekend will probably be best here.
Norman is street busking the market at present.
It's a long haul up before I'm starting to clear up my debts whatever I can earn here - and the period in Trier has handicapped that aim.

This book started with earning good money in the sunshine that was Switzerland.... collapsed into the 'nuclear Winter' that was Antwerp.... on to the mixed bag that was Trier... and now, once more, there is Summer sunshine and it is very hot in Luxembourg. This is going to be a hard working period....
Well.... it wasn't until seven in the evening that people started sitting down on the terraces in any number,,, and even then it was the main square only. To resolve things a little, I thought I'd clear the confusion about which....

Now I stand alone
31/05/96 - Fri - .... terrace to play by asking inside first. The Chi Chi was good, about 600bfr - the Cafe de Paris about 300bfr (but there, they wanted me to stand on one corner).

In the evening Norman and I got well stoned - and today, I've done my laundry and had a shower. It's a scorching, hot day... not likely to be workable until the evening.

The Croix Rouge basketball thing is blanking out the main square. I went to get a busking permit, but the policewoman said she can't issue any until Monday (when her boss is back to sign).
Well... I guess I did ask. If I street busk I'll have to do it discreet. Meanwhile, the Hurdy Gurdy man is in town, as is a South American troupe. With it being too hot for terraces it seems a case of patience and no expectations as usual.

Perhaps the best summary of this May is a 'complete separation and breakdown of the constituent parts' of everything related to me: my hopes, my family, my 'family', my past. But still there, by a thin sliver of thread, is my faith that time will mend. In time, I will rebuild the wreckage that is my life. The next six months will tell me whether it's possible, through my song writing and music, to build the kind of lifestyle I would want; rather than what necessity dictates.
In a fuller sense, I feel I have let down all the people I would not want to let down... in some small or large way. What occurred here in Luxembourg 56 years ago is much in line with me....
Any attempt to regain Luxembourg is superseded by the task to hold or regain Belgian and Holland. This is, in itself, superseded by the task to hold or regain France. In the end, the holding of Britain is itself the task... and the original task of regaining Poland looks laughable.
In the follow up to this the British sought allies in the remoter south east of Europe (Yugoslavia, Greece etc.) and lost those also. To liberate Luxembourg would seem an impossible dream. One disaster after another, until the Japanese came to rub salt into the wound. But there comes a point when the British Empire stood alone.
Now I stand alone. On Monday, I must be on my way to Switzerland. It is time to fight back, as my front line gets breached time and again. It is pointless trying to regain Luxembourg. Now it's enough to try to hold or regain North Africa.
For years I have been on the retreat, despite all my efforts. But it is this 'despite all my efforts' that will eventually bear fruit. One day I will advance and begin to regain much, if not all, of what was lost. My enemy (the facets that block me) is relentless, but my determination is equally relentless.
So... sitting on a warm evening in Luxembourg market place... I contemplate on the wind which is now blowing across the square.

The wind speaks, "All things change!"


Labyrinth Busker Journal - Brian Robert Pearce

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