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New Clear Winter
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NEW CLEAR WINTER
to salvage the Swiss venture
the retreat to Belgium
in my dreams
on through a slow day
is Auslander to the Swiss
you think you have nothing to say, then say nothing
retreat from Bern to Basle
Ruana angry at my
party and Flemish feast songs
is Tom Barman?
Penelope and the 'hundred suitors'
you have nothing to say....
life is in the day"
busking a noble art or a form of begging?
and ' nuclear Winter'
Churchill and 'good intentions'
Tarot search for Organisor
Jealous of Char's mother?
Sonya? Is she Iris?
Little Black Sheep
weakens the 'nuclear Winter'
White Sheep world
distress? From Whom?
wrong with me?
paratrooper on the horror of war
prisoners. Two captors. Who is on trial?
girlfriend and around Char
krishna and Char
too good for this world
shock news of my sister
Lung Cancer, Radon Gas and Orpheus
progress into a song
message of the new song applied in practical terms
off phone calls strengthens my Ruana doubts
Nick and "some old bastard who nicked the girls"
Normy and Helga
and the Pain
to leave Trier
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.
to salvage the Swiss venture
the retreat to Belgium
in my dreams
on through a slow day
is Auslander to the Swiss
you think you have nothing to say, then say nothing
retreat from Bern to Basle
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
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.
BACK TO TOP
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
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
"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 -
IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY, THEN SAY NOTHING -
or so it goes...
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
Retreat into rout
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?
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
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
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
angry at my Antwerp arrival
party and Flemish feast songs
is Tom Barman?
Penelope and the 'hundred suitors'
you have nothing to say....
life is in the day"
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
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
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
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
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
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
How bad is their conflict?
Oddyseus, Penelope and the 'hundred
With Ruana the cards need
analysis a bit more, especially in relation to the dream I had last
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
Everything relates for
those who truly analyse.
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
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.
CLEAR WINTER 3
and ' nuclear Winter'
Churchill and 'good intentions'
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
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.
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
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...
YOU MAY WANT ME, COME
TOMORROW, BABY - BUT YOU WON'T RISK IT FOR TODAY WHAT
I AM: Words/music..B.Pearce
.... comes very much into
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?
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.
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."
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
Temperance ... clarify Page of swords
3 - Who is Sven?
8 of pentangles .... clarify Queen of
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
weakens the 'nuclear Winter'
White Sheep world
distress? From Whom?
wrong with me?
paratrooper on the horror of war
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
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
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, 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
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
There's an English saying:
"He couldn't organise a
piss up in a brewery."
Yeah, that's me. I
couldn't, at that....
Close! But so far!
"I would like to travel,"
"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
I smiled at this. Kat is
decisive... I'm not. She could certainly be important in improving my
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
What would be his choice?
Where does it end?
Only with the right
Wrong choices over the
centuries have led to the Bosnian conflict.
That is all.
New Clear Winter 5
girlfriend and around Char
krishna and Char
too good for this world
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
Herb's girlfriend and
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
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.
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.
BACK TO TOP
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
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
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
BACK TO TOP
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
It seemed she got the
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
but Char said, "I will see
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
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
"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.
BACK TO TOP
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
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.
Leukaemia: shock news of my sister
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.
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
I can do nothing about
nothing, without Switzerland. Antwerp is a farce for serious money
New Clear Winter 6
Lung Cancer, Radon Gas and Orpheus
progress into a song
message of the new song applied in practical terms
off phone calls strengthens my Ruana doubts
Leukaemia, Lung Cancer, Radon Gas and
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.
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.
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
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.
BACK TO TOP
The message of the new song applied in
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
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
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
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.
BACK TO TOP
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
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
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
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
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
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.
New Clear Winter 7
Nick and "some old bastard who nicked the girls"
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
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
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
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.
BACK TO TOP
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
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
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
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
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
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.
BACK TO TOP
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
BACK TO TOP
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.
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.
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
What me voice will be like first thing
is anyone's guess.
It's going to be a long,
New Clear Winter 8
Master Street Performances
and the Pain
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.
BACK TO TOP
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
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.
BACK TO TOP
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.
BACK TO TOP
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"
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
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
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.
BACK TO TOP
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
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
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
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
to leave Trier
I stand alone
Checking on Char
28/05/1996 - Tues - Trier,
Germany - Phoned Pierre to say, "Hi! I'm in
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!"
So, was she saying,
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
Because she's thinking of
BACK TO TOP
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.
BACK TO TOP
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.
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
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....
BACK TO TOP
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 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).
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.
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.
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
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
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!"
BACK TO TOP
HERE ENDS THE BOOK, 'NEW CLEAR WINTER'
Labyrinth Busker Journal -
Brian Robert Pearce