Sunday, January 14, 2018

LIFE COULD BE A DREAM: A PHOTO ESSAY FROM A PLANETARY BUSKER



QUINTESSENTIAL CANADIAN BUSKERS 










































Last summer, Baron and I stopped to busk at every TIM HORTONS betwixt Fernie, British Columbia and Regina, Saskatchewan.  We really are quintessential Canadian buskers!

Busking is a constant theme of mine.  My delusional self fancies that I am plodding along as a planetary busker, and that my guitar and didge and mechanical pencil can only lead to a life of happiness and prosperity.  

As a writer there are story lines always racing in my brain.  What theme shall I choose for my blog?  What song do I need to compose? What do I really want to be when I grow up?  As I toil today with tireless pen, my thoughts are set in Amsterdam, my destination in just two more sleeps.

Preparing for Amsterdam, I'm dreaming of other places I've been.  Because so, I've decided to post some pictures of my past other-country busking experiences.  And as I post I am thinking my planetary busker dreams are not so delusional!     

AT DAM SQUARE WITH ROQUE ANDRES
A great story:  I was guitar busking at DAM SQUARE in Amsterdam and ROQUE ANDRES comes along.  This was Roque's first ever trip to Europe.  This was Roque's first ever step into Amsterdam.  Roque said he left the train station and walked straight over to the Dam.  I happened to be the first person he saw.  I happened to be his grade 10 English Literature teacher years ago in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada!

ALINA
Busking at Dam Square I had borrowed a guitar from ALINA, a singer-songwriter from Russia.  In return for her generosity I drew her portrait!

BUSKING AT THE MILK MARKET IN LIMERICK, IRELAND

MICHAEL PAYNE, THE MOST FAMOUS HYPNOTHERAPIST
I borrowed Michael's guitar for a few days busking in Limerick Ireland.  Michael is renowned hypnotherapist in Limerick.  In return for offering me his guitar and giving me invaluable advice on my private hypnotherapy practice, I drew his portrait, of course!

TEMPLE BAR IN DUBLIN
IVICKA AND PETER, SLOVAKIAN BUSKERS IN IRELAND
Busking at the TEMPLE BAR in Dublin I borrowed Peter's guitar and amplifier.  He and Ivicka were being shoo'ed away by one of the vendors and it happened that I asked to borrow his guitar at this perfect time.  "As long as you take care of my amp, too," he said.

Peter and Ivicka, the Slovakian duo, were really a popular band, GREMMY, from Slovakia.  Ivicka and Peter stayed a couple years, after this photo, to keep busking in Ireland.  At present they are back in Slovakia, newly married, and with a bouncing newborn baby boy, Steven.

AT THE ITALIAN STAR DELI IN REGINA, SK
One of my favorite buskspots, THE ITALIAN STAR DELI, is but a three minute walk from where I live.  On this particular Saturday, CARLO, owner and manager, asked me to busk whilst free barbequed ITALIAN STAR SIRLOIN BEEF BURGERS  were offered to every customer coming into the store.

REVELSTOKE, BC
Once upon a time on a ROCKY MOUNTAIN vacation, I was busking in Revelstoke, British Columbia.  It just so happened that the entire main street was blocked off for a folk concert.  And it just so happened that the organizers of this folk concert asked me to come on stage and perform one set of songs, which I did, for a couple hundred people seated in the audience!

WASCANA PARK
Baron, my favorite drummer-busker, often joins me didge busking.  Here we are on a hot summer day, blowing our didgeridoos along the walking path in WASCANA PARK, REGINA SK.

BRUTTO TEMPO BUSKERS
Baron and I have set up in rather extreme cold conditions.  This busking day at the VALUE VILLAGE MALL was one of those days.  Baron is a trooper.  And like I stated at the top of this blog, I believe we really are quintessential Canadian buskers!

MARRAKESH SQUARE
Busking in Marrakesh Square with a guitar and amplifier I borrowed from Mohammad, an African busker who was passing through Morocco. 

MOHAMMAD
I gladly drew MOHAMMAD'S portrait for lending me his busking equipment!

My recurring dream is to actually be a planetary busker.  I've all the accoutrements and attitude to strum and thrum with a guitar, or drone with a didge, or draw portraits with a pencil and sketch pad.  (After my inchmeal progression of practices and performances for more than a decade, I have become busker proficient in all of the above.)

Whenever I return from buskation, be it from the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, the green and rolling hills of Ireland, the rugged Alps in France, or the deserts of Morocco, I find myself basking in the abendrot of just being there, wherever there happened to be.

At 66 years of age I am often of thought that this planetary busking has to begin before my inevitable slimsy and infirmity set in.  I do not want the remainder of my years spent in melancholia, especially when I know that even a middling street performance of busking on my part, with any of the above mentioned instruments, will suffice for my mensurable happiness.

At 66 years of age I have learned, finally, that life in general is operose.  

At 66 years of age I have also learned that all events and things in life are transitory. 

At 66 years of age I have learned that life experiences can range from treacly to tart, and that only by particular self-design, can there be stirring and stunning flavors in between!

I've just one person marching (pedaling rather) in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week, Carol, my wife of 38 years. 

CAROL BIKING THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN LEGACY TRAIL

This is a picture when Carol and I biked and hiked the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff and back to Canmore.  Carol loves biking and hiking.  Actually, Carol and I have hiked several mountains in and out of Canada.  Hiking with Carol is one non-busking example of those self-designed stirring and stunning flavors that add spice to my life. 


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A BUSKER PRESENTS PRESENTS: A CHRISTMAS QUIDDITY COMPACT



SHANGHAI GOODIE BAG
And here they are – the bestirring presents given to me this Christmas 2017, beginning with this very cool bag of goodies, our son brought home from Shanghai, where he plans on residing for at least three years.

PAPERWEIGHT FLASH
I’ve always been a fan of the Flash, more so as a young adult, than as an adolescent.  I even have a modest Flash comic collection in storage (somewhere).


When I was a young adult and swimming instructor, tattoos of the Canadian flag were the commonplace skinny expressions of my aquatic ilk.  My imaginary tattoo during that time, however, was not the flag, but rather lightning bolt of the Flash.  This attraction to the Flash was the delusional running bond, I'm sure.  Though I was a professional swimming instructor and lifeguard, I was and still am a long-distance runner -- my positive addiction since 1976.


SONG-WRITERS ON SONG-WRITING
For the past decade I’ve fancied myself as a singer-songwriter, my favorite gusts being four yearly gigs, one for each season on the Bushwakker Brewpub stage in Regina, Canada, where I sing my original songs.  My next scheduled performance, in fact, is January 24th.

Some of my favorite singer-songwriters discuss their muses in this book: Tom Petty, Roger McGuinn, Robbie Robertson, Carole King, and of course, Bobby Dylan.  Unlike these top charting icons, I've no public or hidden desire to have any song I've ever written recorded.  I write my songs and I sing my songs -- I do not record my songs.

THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
The Living and the Dead is a contemporary comic having the same recurring theme (existential dread) as is frequent in this blog.  The Living and the Dead is both an illustrative and literary treat.

And near to close, dear reader, this compact blog entry pretty much renders my quiddity.

Presenting my CHAUCERIAN PARADE of portrait sketches for this week, all save for the one of Eric, I've copied from an existing picture handed to me by the client.  Drawing portraits from a picture is certainly not my forte (I much prefer live models), but I am honing my calling card in this regard.

CASSIUS

CHASITY

SEB

ERIC from Victoria, British Columbia


Monday, December 18, 2017

HAVING A HOWLY JOWLY CHRISTMAS: MY DOG DAYS OF WINTER



KODA




CHARLIE


DIESEL AND ALMOND





It is apparent that people love their dogs.  And this for me is especially empirically apparent because people are will to pay me dollars to draw their dogs.  Just having their dogs is not enough it seems; there is an obvious need to frame their Fidos in perpetuity.  During Christmastime my canine sketches are a hot item because people love their dogs!

Why do people love their Hooches so much?

One reason is that dogs are relatively easy maintenance.  Not a chef, not a problem.  One does not need to be a culinary arteest or an exquisite cuisine queen to please Pluto.   

Commercial dog food is cheap and convenient and definitely the way to go. The best three dog foods recommended by DogFoodAdvisor are Acana Regionals Dog Food (dry), Fromm Family Gold Dog Food (wet), and Nature’s Variety Instinct Dog Food (dry).

And the healthiest human foods for dogs are peanut butter (unsalted), chicken (raw), and cheese (not processed).  Carrots, yogurt, and pumpkin too, are tolerable.  

Factoid:  Scooby Doo will eat pretty much anything you throw at him.    

Another reason for puppy love is that dogs can be excellent health and fitness partners.  I know a number of couch potatoes who’ve expressed that their canines are a guilty excuse to walk or jog on a daily basis.

Running is good for humans so it must be good for dogs, too, right?  Nope.  For example, if you’re looking for a long-distant running companion, do not pick a Dachshund.  Wiener dogs are wussies when it comes to jogging.

A third reason for the love is that dogs are cheap shrinks.  Need therapy?  Someone to talk to?  A snuggle partner?  With a slobbery head on your lap, you can vent all your problems and misdeeds the whole day long and Rinny Tin Tin will still love you just the same.

A good dog is a good listener.  Your dark and deepest secrets are certainly safe with Sparky.
I charge 130 dollars per session.  Any Bowser will offer services pro-bone oh.

Love reason number four.  It is cliché that a dog is man’s best friend.  Most everyone agrees that adorable puppies grow into long-time old buddies.  Old Yeller is great for goin’ huntin’ and fishin’ if you’re so inclined.

Also, you, being human, might have many best friends, but your best friend, Odie, has just one.  You, dear dog-owner reader, are the brightest light in your dog’s life.

A fifth reason for such love is that dogs provide loyalty and unconditional love.  Your dog will always wait for you to come home.  Though your pooch’s loyalty may simply be based upon food and shelter, dog owners believe it to be much more complex than that.  They know that their dogs are their mirrors.  They know that their curs will always reflect their glee and their gloom, mimicking every emotion their masters signal.

Reason six is dogs provide protection and safety.  Maybe.  Purportedly, the best guard dogs are Giant Schnauzers, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds, all of which are intimidating because of their size, their bark, and their bite. And a reminder, Timmy, that as far as protection and safety is concerned, even if you fall down a well, Lassie will rescue you.

Hound dog humor abounds throughout this essay.  (Hmmm … if you can call these trite and hokum attempts humor.)  Here are more Lucky, Lady and the Tramp alliterations:

Just as every pub has its specials for beer and munch lovers (Tuesday Tacos and Wednesday Wings), every day has its specialties for dog lovers:  Mutt Monday, Towser Tuesday, Woof Wednesday, Rex Thursday, Fido Friday, Sparky Saturday, Snoopy Sunday.  I get it, I fetch it.  Enough is enough. 

There is no Aesop fable in this dog blog entry.  There is no hounding or hidden meaning here.  I don’t have a dog.  I will not have a dog.  (Dogs are too much work, even though I’ve just presented the reasons why dog lovers believe their dogs are easy maintenance).  But I do like your dog (whoever you are).   

Factoid:  My mise-en-scene studio is a public park or city sidewalk.  I’ve very little foofaraw for drawing your mutt.  My sketches are Spotty with no frills and no flash; they are simply controlled scribbles for dollars.

 I am a mercenary mongrel monger! 

Marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week:

ARLENE AND HER SIBLINGS


 
INTERNATIONAL HOOP DANCER, TERRANCE LITTLETENT, IN REGINA
NATALIE AGECOUTAY-SWEET IN PARIS
TRAVERS HIKING IN CHINA
CHINESE MONKEY IN CHINA