WE MUST DO
IS 17/01/96 AND FOLLOWING
MONTHS OF EMOTIONAL UPHEAVAL I DECIDE IT
MAY BE INTERESTING TO START KEEPING A DIARY ON MY LIFE AND THOUGHTS. SO
BEGAN THE LABYRINTH BUSKER JOURNAL - HANDWRITTEN, WHILE BUSKING,
TRAVELLING, LOVING, SURVIVING IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES.
THE JOURNAL IS AROUND 750,000 WORDS LONG AND REACHED THE END OF ITS LIFE WITH MY RETURN TO ENGLAND AND THE CHANCE OF SEEING MY DAUGHTER REGULARLY.
with thought provoking
articles on busking, philosophy, the universe.
Whole books from a busking diary written while busking Europe in the last years of the last millenium.
Glimpses of a 750,000 word diary that could radically alter your view on life, love and the soul.
|As the diary progressed it
became ever more attuned to the motivations of Heart, Mind, Body and Soul with
their relevance and interaction gradually dissected amongst those who
came my way. People who shared love or any of love's by-products
(including hate) form the spine of the work, but the diary is forever
moving forward at a rapid or gradual pace.
Images or food
Prose and poems
Diary snippets Antwerp,1996
Buskers Good and True
Some fine buskers I've met along the way
Brian Songs for Rachel
Motivation behind some of my songs
A collection of bite size stories and articles
Pick a song and listen on your default player
Labyrinth Busker top Ten
Which pages are hot on www.buskerbrian.com
Things we must do
Antwerp, January '96 - Complete book from diary
Amusement and fracas on a night out in Rome
Belief, Heaven and Zolar
Exploring the need to believe
Tale of Uptown Suzy
Highly charged emotions dominate this event in 1995
The Societies within me
Are you one consciousness, or a vessel for many?
The Missing Link
The Human invasion of Earth
Cranky Brian shoots a theory or two on the universe
Gender Role reversal
No one is 100% male or female. Cue the Heartbreaker.
The Green Busker
It is Spring, 1994 and an inexperienced "busker" takes a ferry to Belgium.
My grandfather was a lighthouseman and farmer in Iceland
Cue the Heartbreaker.
A list of some pages on my sites that may be of interest
Know what you're looking for? Search my site.
Jesus? Celtic or Rangers?
My busking pitch is interrupted by religious zealots promising the "good life".
Lyrics from some of my songs
New Clear Winter
May, 1996, and this diary book heralds a calm before the storm of fascinating experiences that would make the remainder of 1996 so special.
Plato and Socrates debate Beauty
An imaginary debate between plato and Socrates on Beauty.
Hurricane Rita, Asperger's, Bob Dylan
A look at the boxes we use to define mental illness, mild autism and suchlike. Could it be that we are not normal?
Soulmate: A five minute Play
A woman is faced with seeking to isolate one advisor within her. Heart, mind, soul and body present their case in this short Play.
The Tortoise and the Hare (Rabbit)
Two months on from "New Clear Winter" and the busker has aided "Arthur" to lift the sword from the stone. It is time for more adventure in Luzern, Bern and Gstaad.
Home is emotional fulfillment
The main title for the Tortoise and Hare book.
Time is Temperature. They are one and the same, and everything that is, was, and will be, follows a set sequence. This sequence can be defined as "explosion".
Enjoy a few short videos. Show lasts half an hour or so.
|There's always something more to
find with the Labyrinth Busker journal
must do - Chapter Seven.
....a card from my daughter
and emotional windows
29/01/96 - Mon - Antwerp - Last night, other dreams were of my wife - we met, we embraced...and I asked for Rachel...but she was somewhere else - and I wanted to see her.
With money I can do decent demos of my best songs...get the equipment I need for gigging...even get transport. But money is something I don't have and, unless I get to Switzerland, something I will never have around here. The only assets I have are my songs, my guitar and my voice.
Meanwhile, aside from Gerhard, I am probably relieved no one needs witness my helplessness and despair. At this time I do no greatly love myself. I just pray for some financial miracle to help me break out and repair my confidence. But...life is not like that.
30/01/96 - Tues - Just thought I'd go to the 'Doos, about midnight, to read the English paper and find out how the football was going. Never expected more than 5 or 6 people there on a Monday, but when I got there I saw two table loads of 'ordinary' people...not trendies....plus a half dozen other people littered about. Asked Marie to play - she said "yes".
I started with Graham Nash's 'Wounded bird', followed it with 'Dirty old town'...then on to my own latest 'Will you sleep' - on to 'Help u thru', but the capo didn't seem to behave so I cast it aside and did 'Fairy Tales are real'...and finished with the traditional Irish song 'Star of the County Down', which left Ettienne wildly applauding. The groups on the table were all still there, so they were the kind who liked my sort of style. Took the hat round and EVERY person on those tables gave...and not just 5Bfr. I ended up with just over 600Bfr. Very satisfying!
Of course, it was sheer luck. Most musicians would have given it a miss down the 'Doos on a Monday, because it was cold, the end of the month and usually quiet there. In addition, Moondog Jr were playing in Antwerp last night, so the trendies would probably be there.
Moondog are playing again tonight so maybe I can strike lucky again.
But there is one thing that has emerged out of this. The general public have a good percentage of people who like what I do, caring little for image.
Most of this Winter I have been playing the 'Doos, which seems increasingly to be a 'trendy' haunt. dEUS, Kiss my Jazz, Evil Superstars all turn up in here, so it's 'star' spotters most of the way these days. As there is an 'anti-Brian' faction around I find it difficult when the 'abf' is concentrated of an evening.
But, all the same, this is good on a competitive level, because I must try and work harder. What I mustn't do is lose sight of reality. The reality is I am facing audiences consisting of the cream of Belgium's most promising rock talent.
Open a paper, a magazine...and I'm likely to find a picture, an article or general blurb about one of these people. So I am playing to people in, or breaking in, the music business...and, no doubt, if I was a crawler and pandered to these people's ego I would be involved in some way with them.
But, no...I want to break through on my own terms as much as is possible. That I will have to compromise eventually is inevitable, but that I hold my integrity as long as possible is, personally, important. Yet I still get fazed by a lot of things....
Two young girls, maybe only sixteen or so, looked into the 'Doos window and came in. They sat themselves on a table near mine. I was sitting on my own and it would have been nice to talk to someone. I just kept reading the newspapers and they kept on talking to each other...and I was wondering,'Are they waiting for me to say something?'
Frankly, that is what fazes me. I don't, as a rule, talk to strangers from cold (some sort of fear of getting trapped into uncomfortable dialogue). Here, in Belgium, the girls usually never talk to you first - you have to talk to them. This means that I don't get to talk much with most girls...even ones I've known for months. Usually...the girl has to tire of waiting and approach me.
I suppose, in a way, there are benefits to that. At least I'd know the girl who approaches me has some kind of interest in me. Lots of girls don't approach...they just give really sunny, come on smiles.
But I find that a little suspicious. Like the come on smiles you get from girls when you're sitting with Stef. It's the image they see - not the reality...and it's probably Stef they are really interested in. So...if a girl approaches me I know they have SOME interest in me. Ophelia and her friends approached me,,,and from that I recognised a kindred spirit.
Yet the last time I saw her (in November) she said, "I didn't want you to think it was Stef I was interested in and that you were just a way to meet him."
See what I mean? But, I feel, even with Ophelia it was the image of "that voice" and "that song" (Separate shields) that drew her to seek further. Hopefully, our friendship will develop a bit more this Summer (if I'm here) - or, at least, within the next few years. The whole point of my 'family' is that this happens - and naturally.
Back to the two girls. Anyhow, I saw no sign that they were stealing glances at me, but I heard one of them mention Milligan, which told me a great deal. I had bought some food in for dinner and I decided it was time to head home. I packed the guitar and put on my coat...and the two girls simultaneously got up to go also. This really made me nervous! What were they expecting from me?
I said general farewells, stepped outside and stood there temporarily until I heard behind me the girls coming out. As they were reaching for their bikes I started to walk home...turning over my shoulder to say "Bye!" - in its way a big compromise to my shyness.
Sometimes it's hard to be lonely and shy...
31/01/96 - Weds - Well, I guess I got a lot I need to say today. What has added to it all is a letter from my wife enclosing a Xmas card from my daughter, Rachel. In it was written "to daddy love rachel" - the first time I have seen her writing words, though 'seen' may not be the right word. Also, there are four up to date photos of her in her school uniform.
Tears of emotion came unbidden to my eyes. Paula sent a letter with it telling me about what Rachel received for Xmas...including a twin pushchair for her dolls ( so she can be just like Carmel, her Auntie with twins). With the money I sent Paula bought Rachel some boots. Rachel started school last September and enjoys it, especially (I'm pleased to hear) reading and writing.
My wife also noted that I should write to Rachel on a regular basis (once a month), because it does more to re-assure her than all the talking they do about me. So I must make sure I do that! I shall get onto it tonight or tomorrow. Also, Paula says I should send a recent photo. That's harder! Though I could send one of the photos from Helen's party, but...it's not recent. In fact, I've seen Rachel since then.
I suppose much of what I'd planned to write today is inter-related to my desperate haste to find my professional feet, so I can see Rachel more...and as much as possible - and also to contribute more money than I have been able to. People here do not comprehend that! They are conditioned to think of themselves...of their egos.
The poison and the resentment I spoke of earlier in this diary between Ruana and I is beginning to seep through.
"How would you feel about playing some bars one night, Ruana?"
"No! I do not want to play bars. It puts me under pressure! I think that we'd need far more rehearsed songs. I don't like the pressure of 'well, from 2 months we shall play this or that'...it makes me run and hide. I would like to learn more chords and stuff..."
"Fine! Then why don't we just play privately and relax? Without a timetable or pressure?"
Half a cake is better than none. But none seems my lot.
I suppose the seed has been relaid, but it doesn't seem likely we'll be getting together yet for awhile. The poison and the resentment runs deep.
That I put pressure on her musically is probably so last Spring, but to do anything in this business you have to remember the stiff competition of people the world over putting pressure voluntarily onto themselves to get an edge. My subconscious desire to do things quickly in this field is fed by Rachel. That is important to me.
Ruana said, in Balazuc, that she picked up my burning urgency and tried her best to meet it. Of course, when you make such concilliatory gestures eventually you have to buck against it. So she did!
When you're uncomfortable with something...sooner or later you snap. So, from a musical perspective, though she liked performing with me she felt pressurised by my professional ambitions. Well, my ambitions are professional! I know I'd get nowhere fiddling about self consciously in a private room. You need the edge an audience gives.
Having said that, I am hopeful Ruana and I will start again on our music. It's just that I am aware that I can not count on her to be an important facet to my professional aspirations - at least, for the time being.
It was a bit hard to write properly what I freely want to say, because Gerhard was with me in De Klamper. Now, having done a busking stint for a hard earned 500Bfr I have just had a Smos and can relax a little by writing this in the Cafe Centrum.
Unexpectedly, Heidi came in briefly. I showed her the photographs and when she saw the card she exclaimed, "Rachel!! That's my name!!"
"But I thought it was Heidi....erm Heide (hedder)"
"Yes!! But Rachel is my middle name!!"
Incidentally, I saw Vered yesterday. She was saying that Charlotte was asking after me ...gulp!! Vered has just arrived back from Israel, where she had that bad experience of having your mother die. Two years ago, almost to the day, my mother died too. Empathy....we sang the Melanie song 'In the hour' at the Cathedral as a mutual tribute.
Oh yes! The duo arrangements Ruana and I worked out have been utilised by me on occasion. I had been introduced to Josie (an American) in Zurich. By sheer chance, a couple of weeks later, I met her in Geneva, where she had been seeking to busk acapello. We teamed up to busk the terraces and restaurants for an intensive 24 hour period. She had a great voice and it was almost like having Ruana with me. In a way it was a shame she had to go to Paris and on to Zurich to catch a flight home. She was a very fast learner. She picked up melodies and harmonies swiftly and took a liking to many of my songs and wanted to sing them. She liked the words to my song 'What I am' so much she copied out the words.
COMPLETE ONLINE DIARY SEGMENTS:
Want something to read for an hour or two?
Then the life and loves of a busker can take you into his world for awhile. Reliant entirely on his music and what he can earn from it in bars, on terraces and the street (plus the mutual aid and faith of his friends), he colours his inner and outer worlds with layers of purpose and belief that stretch from real, felt, imaginary to flights of fancy.
What actually is real, felt, imaginary or a flight of fancy can often surprise him as well as those who line his path.
The busker monitors his path as Lone Wolf in the spirit world of the Soul as love and relationship quandaries abound in an historic Swiss city.
With close to zero busking experience, a man sallies forth from Britain with an idea of busking to survive. He had a one way ticket, no money and a massive well of despair.
Tortoise & Hare
New Clear Winter
Monster in NY
Things we must do
Other sites presented by the Labyrinth Busker journal:
audio.buskerbrian.com My songs with lyrics
free.buskerbrian.com About me
home.buskerbrian.com Loads of articles, stories and titbits
apachejohn.buskerbrian.com Bishop's Stortford based band
leddrain.buskerbrian.com Swiss based singer/songwriter
wolf.buskerbrian.com Busking adventures in Bern
wildwolf.buskerbrian.com Part Two: Busking adventures in Bern
moon.buskerbrian.com My music, plus featured acts. plus colour
as.buskerbrian.com Asperger's Syndrome
pearce.buskerbrian.com Family Photos over 100 years
Iceland Genealogy Family ancestry over 1,000 years
Pearce Genealogy British ancestry (Hornchurch. Rickling Green)
Cranky Brian "History of time" Provoking ideas in philosophy and science
My space Become a friend
Contact me Just that
Online Diary Podcasts
|COMPLETE ONLINE DIARY
Tortoise & Hare
New Clear Winter
Monster in NY
Things we must do