Sunday, September 9, 2012


Yes, we’ve created three busking videos and have linked them to this blog and to Youtube (scroll on the left side of this header to click and view).  During the shoot they did seem spontaneous; viewing them a second, third, and fourth time, they seem corny.  And they seem corny … because they are so obviously contrived!

The players on screen from left to right: Trent on guitarlele (a guitar-ukelele hybrid); our bongocero, Baron; me on the twelve-string and harmonica; Ben on guitar. Behind the camera is Michele.

The audience members:  Eric, who is doing the dance; Robert (wearing the neck brace); Susan, who is waving; Sugar, a sweetheart standing beside her bicycle; a group of teenagers from Swift Current, Saskatchewan.
We shot the videos in the Fred W. Hill Mall in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  It was a perfectly windless bluebirds chirping kind of a day, and Michele and Ben just happened to be in town.
Michele is a professional singer of international acclaim – she sang for Hillary Clinton and her entourage at a lounge in Calcutta!  Ben, a world traveler hailing from Washington, D.C., is that kind of guy that has the duende to be whatever he so chooses. Having an adhesion to social causes, Ben had chosen to spent eight years in India as a social entrepreneur. It was there, in India, where Ben met his true love, the very urbane and quintessential jazz singer, Michele. Both were moving to Toronto immediately following these video shoots.  Eric is my friend from White City and … father to Michele and her brother, Robert.  Robert, the sometimes reckless adventurer, too, is a traveler.  His neck brace and arm cast are the result of a motorcycle accident just a week ago.  Susan, who just happens to invite us in with a grand wave, is the owner and manager of my favorite clothing store, Madame Yes. (Scroll down the header of this blog, left side, to see her shoppe advertisement.)

Susan graciously offered her storefront for the setting of the shoot.  Susan also agreed to come out and supposedly wave us in during one of the songs, which she did in ever so melodramatic fashion.  A group of teenagers in Regina for some shopping agreed to happenchance stop for a listen, which they did after an obvious head nod from me.  Eric just happened to be dancing in and out of Madame Yes.  Robert just happened to request Knocking on Heaven’s Door.  And the most obvious and contrived, Trent and Ben coincidentally, sitting on the sidelines complete with their stringed instruments, willing to join on a spontaneous whim request from moi.  Yes, we were all in cahoots in the making of these videos.

Sadly, the sweetheart Sugar was our only surprise guest -- (the Fred H. Mall is not a busy station on a Saturday afternoon.)

When I watch the videos I see me nodding my head to the Swift Current teenagers, and indicator for them to join us.  This was supposed to be Eric’s job.  I see me shouting Eric! and Susan! which is really me reminding Eric to get Susan and remind her to wave us in!  I see me smiling and nodding and smiling and smiling.  One need not be a cryptographer to detect the discernable nods and command codes. This being the case, our videos were in declension, really, before they began.  When I watch the videos,  I see me, the unlikeable and interminable me, spoiling all on the screen.

For the next video shoot I think I know what to do, the formula being:  More choreography means less perception of being contrived.  Maybe.  Or maybe I shouldn’t plan anything, just gather the players and go with the flow! No matter, I do not want to create another unintended comedy because of one unlikeable character.  I do need to winkle that guy out, and allow a sincere one to enter.  

And I know what I want it to look like at the start.  I’ve had an epiphany, so to speak. Someone, one of us, will be smoking a cigarette (yikes!).  This shall be in the cinematic and winsome style of my favorite busker video, Glen Hansard and Mic Christopher singing Bobby Dylan’s, You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.  Glen Hansard is an Academy Award winning songwriter and a famous member of the Irish rockers, The Frames.  Mic Christopher, a noteable singer-songwriter, has sadly passed on.  Both were buskers back in the day.  Google them and You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – I promise you’ll be impressed!

To continue, it'll likely be either Baron or Daussen Cassell smoking the cigarette.  (Daussen and I have done some busking together -- see my blog, The Fiddler on the Pith, July 23rd, 2011.)  As the camera starts rolling, we’ll be waiting for either one to finish his smoke, which he will then flick to the pavement, and snub with his grinding heel.  And then whoever we happen to be, in the quorum, will start the song.  In the Hansard-Christopher video, Mic is smoking and Glen is waiting.  Later in the video, Glen has a guitar string break, which is a glorious moment in the video because Mic, who is singing, casually takes the guitar while handing Glen another, and proceeds to remove the broken string.  Once we’re started in song, I’d like the person behind the camera to keep panning us, the performers, along with the crowd members, of which all have randomly arrived.  Once the song has ended, the camera ought to shoot us bowing, and the crowd members clapping.  I’m thinking the song shall be again, You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.

Characters marching in my Chaucerian Parade for this week:

*Tom & Jerry.  Tom convinces Jerry, who is packing an axe, to pick alongside me.  Jerry is humble, Tom is not.  This was an agonizing three minutes of fake smiles and fake sincerity on my part.

*The Man Handler & Pan Handler.  There’s a new sheriff in town!You want a piece of me! are just a couple of the several threatening taunts issued from the store manager toward the panner in front of the liquor outlet.  Suited, the manager was raffish; his quarry, the panner, was ragtag.

*The Assayer.  Do they know you have this sign?  I work there you know and I want to know if they know you have this sign.  She is referring to the Schizophrenia Society of Saskatchewan sign I had on display in my guitar case.  Anita and Jackie made the sign for me, I reply. I’ve been in that office several times and have never noticed this mentioned lady.  And she contributed nary a farthing, nary a smile for our cause.

The characters for our next video shall surely be of those marching at random in my Chaucerian parade on the day of the shoot.  Ah, the vagaries of videos!  But I want to be a-go-go in the blogger world of busking and connecting to Youtube just seems hip!  Future video shoots shall not be so risible as the current ones that are posted. I shall winkle out the wrinkles, so to speak. Our only strategem shall be the weather and ... we shall only pick another windless and bluebirds chirping kind of a day for our Youtube instauration.

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