What was to be an adventure of valorous emprise turned, instead, to be an afternoon of welkin clouds, cutting wind, and fat snowflakes. Baron and I sat on a three by four foot rectangular bit of bright red carpet, busking in front of the Value Village main entrance in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Baron pounded on his pan whilst I, in juxtaposed concert, tooted my didgeridoo.
We were dressed for the weather. Each of us had on a toque, a parka, ski pants, hiking boots, and lined mittens. Even so, not even a half hour into our busk the gusts of wind blasted us into the nearest coffee shop for some Americano Decafs.
This is not the way it was supposed to be. I had imagined people pausing and tossing coins and bills into our busk pot. Because of the clouds and the wind and the snow, this was not the case. On sunny windless days the consumers are munificent. On cloudy bitter windy days, consumers are miserly.
No matter the weather, Baron handles his pan exceedingly well. Practically every time he plays (save for days like this) the little children gather, and to each and every one, he offers a drum stick for which to accompany him beating on the pan. Typically they laugh, they giggle, they make a hit or two. And then predictably, their parents stuff coins into their little fists and the children toss these coins into our busk pot. This is busking heaven.
No matter the weather, I, unlike Baron, do not handle my didge exceedingly well. (I must mention right here, right now that we in the didgeridoo community refer to our instrument as either a didge or a doo. And I must confess right here, right now that the members of my didgeridoo community to which I refer are comprised of … moi.) Every time I play I suck … and blow … and suck some more. Circular breathing is not yet an integral part my huffing and puffing nature. Even so the fates so far have been kind, for when I doo, I do attract an audience. I’ve been out droning into my doo just three times and lots of people have stopped to listen … to me … drone my doo. This is busking purgatory. I need more practice for more breaths for more beats for more rhythms. Until then, I shall compensate with some shaky advert measures.
Whenever I am busking solo with my didge I shall bring along a cache of pots and pans. (We, in the community of auxiliary percussionists, affectionately refer to our rhythmic toys as pots and pans.) As both kappellmeister and player, I shall rattle my shaker between breaths on my didge, and nary one audience member will notice that I am NOT circular breathing, and nary an audience member will notice that my busking performance is NOT anything but tin-pot. Learning to circular breathe is my long term goal. Faking to circular breathe is my madcap mercenary goal.
The generous marchers in my Chaucerian Parade for this week:
The few admirers who offered the following greetings and salutations: Man, can you play that thing ... I’ve tried to play like you’re doing, but I haven’t mastered the circular breathing … That sounds so awesome … That is something, it looks like it’s worth lots of money … That is so cool – You are so cool!
The chubby little woman who stated she was bipolar, 61 years old, born on the fourth of May in 1951; who had Ted Bundy for a boyfriend; whose minister continues to sexually molest her; who is currently being stalked by an Afghan named Ray; who thinks she might also has dementia; whose son thinks she should keep taking her Risperidone; and she doesn’t like to talk to people!
The twenty-something picker who rode up to us on his bicycle during the snow storm, while searching waste bins for bottles and cans, and exclaimed that he was so impressed that we were actually Winter busking. Did I mention he was riding his bicycle in the snow storm, searching waste bins for bottles and cans?
Yes, readers, I have determined plans for my didgeridoo … or as we kool kats call it … a didge or a doo.