Sunday, June 10, 2012


Mouth organ. Blues Harp. Harpoon. Pocket Piano. Mississippi Saxophone. Tin Sandwich

Yes.  I’ve just purchased a HOHNER BLUESBAND INTERNATIONAL HARMONICA for just $6.99. My new tin sandwich is silver, four and a quarter inches in length, has 10 blow holes, and I love it.  Also, it’s easy to play, (sort of).   

The day of my purchase, my buskmate, Trent (TRENT’S GUITAR STUDIO), joined me to learn some simple sandwich techniques.  Here is the skinny of what we discovered:
My blues harp is in the key of C.  As long as Trent played his guitar in the key of G, my windy bellows seemed to fit.  We performed before a couple of music connoisseurs, Judy (my best-friend forever, band mate), and Melissa (a songbird whom I adore). Trent played his guitar in G, and I huffed and puffed into my pocket piano.  
Awesome, said Judy; Lovely, said Melissa.  

Upon such praise, I returned to the music store and purchased a rack (harmonica holder).  It cost $8.99 (total investment so far rounded off to $16.00).  By 5 o’clock that afternoon I was busking in front of SHOPPERS ON BROAD, blowing sad while thrumming my twelve-string.  By 6 o’clock I had made $24.00.  In just sixty minutes of busking I had covered the cost of the harmonica and rack, with $8.00 and change to spare.

Busking, however, is more than melody; busking is duende.  When busking with my banjo, cap-a-pie, I always don a derby or tam, a white shirt, blue jeans, and black work boots.  Busking with my twelve-string I’m always under my black stetson MHT, or my olive BRIXTON TILLER RANCH HAT, or my white CHARLIE HORSE RIDER, while wearing a western shirt, and Tom stompin' in my Rocky green leather cowboy boots.  

But now, whenever I take my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana, I’m gonna be a Bobby Dylan wannabe. I’ll wear whatever I want, be-hatted or bare headed, maybe don the shades, sport any kind of shirt, and stand even in sandals.

This Bluesband Mississippi saxophone has truly given me a silver wing with which to flap whilst busking! Though I cannot blow out any familiar tunes, at least not any anyone could identify, I can huff some harmony into my original G tunes on guitar.  This is so, so strange but very, very true.  Alas, I am thinking that this is an example of the truism my Carling Beer representative friend, Pat Casey, used to spout … In the land of the blind, one eye is king!

At noon today I’ve decided to go hatless, wear a pressed long-sleeved white shirt, faded blue jeans, and polished black boots.  I might even wear my sunglasses, which is usually considered a no-no while busking!

'Tis time to mention some of those consumers marching in my Chaucerian Parade this past week:
  • Gus, of course!  This was the first time the retired farmer, cockalorum, octogenarian did not want to strum my guitar.
 I’m going out to shoot and trap beavers, he said.  They’re just getting in the way.
I thought you were retired, I replied.  Oh but I’m just going to help out, he said.
  • My girl, Sarah, can now play C, G, and D on the guitar, stated a familiar consumer from Fort Qu’Appelle. This is the same gentleman that mentioned his uncle had learned to play fiddle and guitar while in a Residential School.  I asked Sarah if she wanted to play something on my guitar.  She shyly shook her head in a No thank-you.
  • What is PSYCHOLOGYBUSKING?  asked a customer who had just tossed a fin into my banjitar case.  
I’m a social entrepreneur, and that’s my blog, I replied.
  • You play banjo; I pick bottles, matter-of-factly stated a scruffy hibeard jumping off his bicycle and onto my banjitar case.  These F****ing C***suckers just throw ‘em away and I am happy to pick ‘em up! said this big-faced, big-mouthed pedaling tramp as he chained his bike wheels to the very lamppost that I was leaning against while busking at SAFEWAY ON 13TH  AVENUE.  It is a good thing that only a few of my consumers are public carpers.
  • I could stand here all day and listen, said a bespectacled middle-aged lady in a long plaid dress.  I used to play guitar, she continued, but not one with so many strings as yours.
At lunch today I’m going with the tin sandwich, and I’ll share it with my consumers.  I do hope they find the sound bites to be delectable!

Epilogue:  (I'm just back from my tin sandwich lunch.)
  • Rock on, brother! said a tall middle-aged man with a grey pony-tail, as he passed and gave me a thumbs-up. 
  •  You got some sweet sounds goin' there, said one of my favorite frequent consumers, Hank's Potatoes, as he stops for a smoke and a visit. Hank still plays a mean guitar, and has even played a few riffs on mine (when I've been on a break).

1 comment:

  1. It sounds great Neil! I couldn't play guitar and harmonica at the same time (seeing as how I can't play either, that's not a good example but I think it's probably similar to playing piano and singing at the same time which I have a hard time doing)!