Sunday, September 29, 2013


Busking Saturday morning at the downtown Farmers’ Market, I knew it was autumn.  I knew it was the continuous tale of bildungsroman. Though I pulled my black woolen toque over my ears, buttoned my ankle length black split-leather coat right up to my chin, left only my fingertips sticking out my grey woolen Dickensian gloves, donned my winter-lined blue jeans, and buckled up my all-season Columbia hiking boots, I was still chilly from 9 o’clock until noon.

My neighbor vendors were wearing parkas, having their hoods covering their heads.  The one left of me had his arms folded across his chest in life-saver fashion, standing like a statue.  The pair on my right were nibbling their baking and drinking hot teas.  Across from me, another baker, was sipping bowls of hot soup which he had purchased from the young lady kitty-corner from my buskspot. The crowd was thin, my consumers few and far between.  It was too frigid for the regular Saturday market foofaraw.

Not until early afternoon did those glorious golden rays of sun brighten my guitar case.  Not until early afternoon did my chilly morning busk in the shadow transform into a warm and windless bask in the sun. My spirit lifted, I could at last look around, enjoy my many consumers marching through the market, and contemplate the art and science of my busking.  Up and until this bright and shiny moment, I was benighted miserably in my mind’s eye, about the nature of brutto tempo busking.

Fair weather buskers are faux buskersbrutto tempo buskers are real buskers.  After all these years of strumming on the sidewalks, I am still really a bel tempo busker.  (See my blog profile.)  Gradually and developmentally, I am moving from being a fair weather faux busker, to that of a brutto tempo real busker.

All buskers have their rhythms, their sacred moments, and their challenges.  A busker’s rhythm is determined according to schedule, locations, and particular talents.  Sacred moments are those peak consumer times that the sweetest rewards for those locations.  I, for example, have as my rhythm and sacred moments:  Saturday mornings I busk downtown at the local FARMERS’ MARKET; Saturday afternoons I busk at VALUE VILLAGE; Tuesday afternoons, 4:30 until 6:00, I busk at SHOPPERS on Broad; Wednesday afternoons, 4:30 until 6:00, I busk at MIKE’S INDEPENDENT on Broadway. Other days I just busk on weekday whims.  Some Friday afternoons I busk again at MIKE’S INDEPENDENT, and some Saturday noon hours I busk at ITALIAN STAR grocery.   

My particular talent is simply strumming and harping.  Rarely do I sing; rarely do I frail my banjitar; rarely do I didge.

My main challenge is the weather.  As a busker, sometimes I have to batten the hatches in the winds of summer.  As a busker, sometimes I have to button and wrap coats and scarfs in the shadows of autumn and the damp of spring.  As a busker, I always have to warm my throat and fingers in the icicle of winter.

In summer I am the quintessential guitar-guy and folk-singer busker, complete with a blues harmonica.  In autumn and spring I become the drugstore cowboy, wearing denim and leather for warmth, and donning my favorite hat, the Brixton Tiller (pictured in the header).  In winter I need a toque, a parka, ski pants, hiking boots, and mittens.  (Pray tell, what instrument can I play in such garb besides a didgeridoo?) 

No matter the season, no matter weather, brutto tempo buskers are plying their chosen trade. Brutto tempo buskers have a better awareness and a deeper understanding of themselves.  Brutto tempo buskers are tough.  Brutto tempo buskers are real buskers.

Brutto tempo brings out the worst in me.  Yesterday morning at the Farmers’ Market I alluded to my benighted thinking, until the sun beams at long last, brightened my visage and my thoughts.  In the dark and chilly morning shadow, anytime I spied someone else with a guitar, I imagined that person wanting to set up alongside me, or worse yet, wanting to join me. (Both scenarios have actually happened on a few occasions, usually by buskers who are novice, or just plain stupid.)  On the front burner of my brain I rationalized why I should be elsewhere, in a gym lifting weights, at a coffee shop sipping Americano decafs, somewhere more bon vivant than being here as a bum (ouch, but that was my thinking)!

Betwixt moments then and now, from the time of that radiant noonday sun until my time at my kitchen counter (pun intended, at home counting my coin), did my thoughts toward busking become lucid and golden and positive.

  • Alex, my wine cellar-seller neighbor at the Farmers' Market, yesterday, is a Political Science major at the University of Regina.  He and I chatted most the morning on the Middle East and Al Jazeera news.
  • The Hutterite vendor, next to Alex, delivered free to me at my busk-end, a bundle of washed and cut carrots to take home.
  • And last, the anonymous vendor who complained to Ada, the Farmers' Market CEO, that he didn't like guitar music and that I ought not to be near him next market call ... that BRUTTO TEMPO BASTARD! 
From a buskologist’s point of view …

In spite of the weather, a busker’s identity need not be static.  A busker’s identity can be subjectively fluid; can be chosen to suit whatever whimsy and occasion.  We, as buskers, can always become who we want to be, while sometimes discovering in the moment, our real selves, really our bildungsroman brutto tempo selves.


Sunday, September 22, 2013


Yesterday was the perfect day for busking twice.  From 9 o’clock a.m. until 1 o’clock p.m. I strummed and harped at the Farmers’ Market.  The temperature was chilly and the wind was brisk.  Several times many vendors’ wares set sail in the morning winds.  My neighbors’ chuckles and comments kept me smiling the whole time. (Busking betwixt Dallas and Annette (SASKATCHEWAN HILLBILLIES) and Angela Latta (ANGELA’S HOMESTYLE ORIGINALS) warms me no matter the climate, both weather and consumer, of the market.)

From 3 o’clock until 4 o’clock I strummed and harped at MIKE’S INDEPENDENT FOODS.  Busking there is always a pleasant experience.  The wind had gone down and lots of shoppers stopped to chat about everything (e.g. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee performing live at Saskatoon in the 70’s) and nothing (phatic chat after chat about the weather).

At both buskspots the term YOLO was debated, and at both buskspots, neither discussion was prompted by me.  When I busk, I never solicit conversation, but I do partake when invited.

YOLO, the acronym for You Only Live Once, is the new mantra for emerging and young adults.  (I’m thinking this notion of YOLO really began with CARPE DIEM, a literary genre meaning seize, grasp, or enjoy the day -- see Horace, 23 BC.)  Since then we’ve had such inspiring expressions on our listening charts as Born to be Wild (Steppenwolf) and Born to Die (Lana Del Ray).

Having a morbid fascination for other people’s pain, I cannot imagine YOLO without thinking about the death impact on human behavior.  I mean, really, one cannot have YOLO without having YODO (You Only Die Once).   

This is simply another of the YIN and YANG Chinese philosophy(Pictured in the header of this blog entry, YIN is the black side with the white dot; YANG is the white side with the black dot.)

Keeping in Yin and Yang, death is the price we pay for living. 

FACT:  We do not need to fight death – We need to enhance our life (Mario Garrett, 2013).
FACT:   If life is a contest – then YODO will forever win over YOLO.
FACT:  As bleak as YODO may seem, it does force certain values toward YODO.

We can enhance our lives; we can regard life as not a competition; we can make our lives meaningful.  We can do all these things to give value to the finite time we reside on this planet.

How can we enhance our lives? 
To begin, where we are is where it’s at.  This includes where we live, what position we are in our family and society, and what kind of condition our physical and mental conditions are in. 

Where we are is where it’s at is a downhill ski logo.  Metaphorically, it simply means (is this a contradiction?) to appreciate anywhere you happen to be.  For example, the nearest alpine skiing location for me is Fernie, British Columbia, and eight hour drive; though, I can ski downhill at Mission Ridge, just a one hour drive.  Mission Ridge is not a mountain, but it is a place to sharpen my downhill skiing.

We really do not have much to do with our chronological family placement, but we do have control over our behaviors and attitude toward such.  If you’re regarded as the leader of your siblings, demonstrate some respectful leadership.  If you’re a follower, demonstrate some respectful followership.  (I’m not stating that the eldest is the wisest, I’m just giving examples of some traditional and cultural patterns of our nuclear families.)

Toward our physical health we can contribute in significant fashion.  To put it simply, GET MOVING.  Research insists that exercising on a regular basis and eating healthy foods whenever possible and practical, will enhance your life.  Such behaviors may not add years to your life, but they will certainly add life to your years.  Though clichĂ©, it is true.

How can we regard life as not a competition?
This is not easy.  It is not easy to behave under the condition that some people are not better than others.  It is easy to say – It is not easy to play. 

Living the philosophy that some people are not better than others does not seem to be fostered in any of our major systems, including our school system, our sports system, our work system, our social system.

In both our public and private school systems, students are graded according to academic achievement.  These grades are traditionally signaled by a percentage system of marks.  Oh yes, all children are deserving and have smarts in all sorts of areas but, the only areas that are counted in school are the grades, which are really, a competition among the student players.

Typically our sports systems operate on win-loss scenarios.  Practically any time one team (in any sport) plays against another, there is always a team that wins and a team that loses.  Sometimes there is a tie.  Teams are measured according to the win-loss columns, which are only determined through competitions.  Individual sports operate in a similar/exact manner.  I’m thinking the main difference between recreation and sports is that the competitions are referred to as friendly versus non-friendly.

In our working system, everyone has a boss.  Everyone is accountable to someone higher.  And one can only get higher by climbing the ladder of career success; the higher the rung on the ladder, the higher the pay, the higher the power and prestige.  Getting to higher rungs typically involves job competitions, pitting one employee underling with another.  Dog Eat Dog is the unofficial motto in most of Corporate America.  And when I read about the employment structures in other places on the planet, that unofficial motto is prevalent.  Humans behave the same no matter where they live.

How can we make our lives meaningful?
We can make our own lives more meaningful by simply realizing that our life goals are not to win, but to continue to learn and perform and enhance our physical and mental abilities.  Life is not about the win and loss columns. Life is not about acquiring the most toys. Life is not about gathering the most followers.  Life is about each of us, our uniqueness, and the joys of being near and around us.  Life is about being the master of our personal destinies.

It could be, of course, that we really do not have to make our lives meaningful.  The pleasures life will bring to us in spite of ourselves are not to be ignored, children and grandchildren being the most precious examples.

Our life paths are own doings, are truly ours to design and travel.  Generally speaking, we can choose to do whatever we want, whenever we want.  We can be fishmongers or warmongers.  We can be paean singers or poetasters.  We can live Annie Oakley in Augean Stables or we can work to make the world a more generous, a more sparkling, a more forgiving, a more non-polluted place.    

And I guess all of us are really buskers in all of this regard!

Ah, YOLO … be it a mantra or buzzword, or even a cultural sensation, or YODO, it does not matter because …

I cannot die -- it would ruin my reputation! (Jack Lalanne).

My Chaucerian Parade has but four members marching, all middle-aged and seemingly middle-class women purportedly representing the Regina Water Watch.  The Regina Water Watch is a Canadian Union of Public Employees sponsored political group that is against sewage treatment policies of the current civic administration of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada (my permanent residence).  I busk not for political adventure.  Twice now, once at Value Village on my regular Saturday busk, and now, today, after the Saskatchewan Roughrider football game, the Regina Water Watch has been socially intrusive toward my buskspot.  At Value Village, two women of the Water Watch stood on either side of me as bookends, pressing their Vote Yes posters into the faces of my consumers.  This afternoon, two different women from the Regina Water Watch  attempted to stand beside me during my busk at game end at the East Gate exit. I did politely instruct them to move, and they did.

Here is my spin: 
The Regina Water Watch seems to be a group of women with some theoretical concern about the ownership of public water waste and sewage being financed by private (corporate), rather than public (taxpayer) sources.  They appear and seem to be pleasantly disgruntled home-bodies with nothing much academic to do.

This may be quite an unfair judgement, but ... this is what I do know about them in their relationship to me, as a busker.

Fact:  At least four female members of the Regina Water Watch do not know the unwritten and commonsense rule of the buskerhood -- Don't busk beside a busker.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Last night was my second time busking near the east gate at Mosaic Stadium, home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  The Riders were playing the Toronto Argonauts.  Start time for the game was 7:30 P.M., and I set up in the dark at 10:30 P.M., just before the game ended.  My buskspot was the same place as last time, a sward where the spectator parade would narrow after exiting the stadium, just before the right turn down the Albert Street sidewalk.  Approximately 20,000 people would pass by my thrumming.  (This is my calculation:  Approximately 40,000 fans attend every Roughrider home game; therefore, half of those fans exit west, the other half exit east.  Granted, some fans catch Rider buses right at the exit gates but I’m not of their significance in my calculation.)

A serpentine-string of fans were leaving the game even before my arrival.  As always at any sport event, some people leave their seats early to avoid the traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian.  When the final football horn sounded the callithump mass did emerge, the main ruck, five or six persons thick, bedizened in jasper green and white hats, jerseys (and some bras), and leotards, marching down the middle of my busking road, and on both sidewalks on either side.  Of the 20,000, only the walkers immediately in the line next to me would notice my sign.  Most people passing would notice my melodic noise, but for them to toss any coins from wide out, from the middle or across the road, would take considerable effort.

The Riders lost and therefore, so did I, suffer a considerable loss of coin tossed into my guitar case. Dreary and disappointed fans are not munificent. Last night I made about a third of what I made on that glorious and victorious day two weeks ago. These marchers were solemn and the catcalls ad hominem.  Tune that guitar, You suck, Cash in beer cans for dimes, were three especially that I remember.   

And as I reflect upon these heckles, I have to realize that they always come from either adolescents or emerging adults.  I have to also realize that even amongst my cast of amicable consumers marching in my Chaucerian Parade; there is always a select few seated in the peanut gallery.

I shall now explain the phrase, My Chaucerian Parade, to which I routinely refer in this blog.  

My first university degree was in the study and methodology of teaching English Literature.  Of course then I studied (pun intended) 19th, 18th, 17th Century, English Renaissance, Middle English, and Old English literatures.  Chaucer was a writer in the period of Middle English literature, having died in the year 1400 A.D.

Geoffrey Chaucer, considered by most to be the Father of English literature and the best poet of the Middle Ages, is most famous for his, The Canterbury Tales.  The Canterbury Tales is the bawdy story-poem description of a group of pilgrims traveling together to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral.  Included among these pilgrims are the Knight, the Wife of Bath, a monk, a miller, a merchant, a plowman, a cook, and a nun. 

Chaucer wrote in a style that mimicked all the Medieval English dialects, from the sophisticated aristocracy to the lowbrow hoi polloi of his day.  It was from this, The General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, where I stole my idea for the Chaucerian Parade segment occurring in most of my blog entries.  My Chaucerian Parade is never to be compared to the style and depth and artistic creation of Geoffrey, but the idea of different characters making chance presentations while I busk can be (sort of) compared.

Meanwhile, back at the ... peanut gallery, any hecklers I’ve just previously stated, have always been adolescents or emerging adults.  Whenever I busk at Value Village I tend to reconnect with familiar strangers, regular visitors marching in my Chaucerian Parade.  Hank and Gus, both octogenarians, are dedicated Saturday shoppers at that mall.  Hank always parks his cargo van in the disabled parking stall right beside my buskspot.  Hank delivers potatoes in several eateries in and around Regina.  This last month, Hank has had a bad knee and is receiving regular medications because so.  Last Saturday he told me he was going to sell his van, quit his business, and focus on his physical health.  Hank is 86 years old.

Gus always stopped on Saturdays to chat and play a couple country swing songs on my guitar.  I resented this at first, but after a couple of busking seasons, I’m used to it.  I have yet to see Gus this summer.  I do hope he’s okay but I fear for the worst.  Last time we talked, Gus was 88.

Other regular consumers at Value Village are Nelson, from a reserve east of Regina, and Emma, from Regina.  Nelson brings his family every Saturday to shop at Value Village.  There is my darling, Emma, an elementary sweetheart whose parents own the Island Lunch.  Emma’s parents are Christa and Shawn, both of whom visit whenever I’m there busking.  Shawn happens too, to be the mall manager.  Other workers at Island Lunch are Summer and Sam, both of whom provide me sparkling waters on hot days.

One time and one time only did I have a heckler while strumming at Value Village.  In the traditional sense of heckling, he did not fill the role, for he never said a word.  Instead of yakking, this adolescent would walk by, show me a fifty dollar bill, and pretend to toss it into my guitar case.  Without ever tossing it into my case, he laughed aloud every time when he did not.  Being a tolerant busker, I’m politically savvy not to announce that his slap stick lost its humor the first time around, not to suggest it was ever funny even then.

At Shoppers on Broad I’ve had just one heckler in the past couple years.  This particular, too, was not the usual heckler within the regular definition of such.  This fellow was escorted out of the building several times, and tossed out the exact time I was busking.  He looked directly at me, glared, then began pounding on the glass windows from the outside, just two meters from my buskspot, chanting and pointing, Look, look at him!  He’s begging!  Look at him!

At Shoppers I’ve many regulars not seated in the peanut gallery.  John is there every time I busk.  He’s retired, loves to golf, and tosses a toonie at every chat.  Several of the Shoppers employees are consumers.  There is Skylar and Colin and Sebastian and Jessica and Rhonda and the manager, Tara.

Just a week ago at Mike's Independent, I had a young man, twenty years or so of age, slow down the half-ton he was driving, and toss a couple of ketchup packets into my guitar case, after which laughing and putting gas pedal to the metal.

Even so I appreciate the regular consumers there over the past few years.  A handful of the new employees have just begun to be consumers of mine, and several regular shoppers, including Ron and Chad and Myles and Mike (the manager) are most certainly appreciated.

At the Italian Star I’ve never had a heckler.  I must also mention that I’ve not regular consumers there either, save for Carlo and the other family members who work there.

In downtown Regina I've a cache of consumers.  Whenever I'm strumming along the outdoor Plaza I often chat with the eloquent and ever entertaining James (he lives in my building and is an avid follower of this blog).  James is a bona fide swashbuckler, but disguises himself as Corporate America, completing this persona by having his posh and comfy office in a downtown highrise.  James is a fitness freak and has an evergreen thumb.

There is a gentleman named Wayne who is always praising my musical talents, and there is J.B., nicknamed Joke Book because tells jokes non-stop.  Rod, who lives in my building, is a regular downtown consumer and moils at City Hall.  Rod's quick and witty comments on the state of the civic union always make me chuckle.

I've also many consumers who are connected to the Canadian Mental Health Association, and as they frequently wander about being familiar strangers, they regularly toss (small) coins into my guitar case.  Adolescents and emerging adults, too, stop and visit, especially if they know me from the high school where I counsel, or from the university where I teach.  I have never experienced heckling when busking in downtown Regina.

Last night, in addition to the cat calls, I did have an emerging adult attempt to strum my guitar while I was busking.  Another emerging adult (a doughty drunk) a few minutes later, stopped and attempted to signal the pedestrian traffic my way while drinking his can of beer while hollering, Give this guy a break and give him some money.  Don’t be cheap, give this guy a break and give this guy some money.  Needless to say I was not unhappy when he left.

To close I have to mention that at this particular busk spot east of Mosaic Stadium, I’ve packed it in early both times while the crowd is still in motion.  I do this because I want to blend in among the fans while marching down the Albert Street sidewalk.  I do this because I do not want to get mugged, which could very likely be the scenario in this neighborhood.  I do this because being a solitary figure, strolling down the lane just after a big busk on game day, would be a silhouette difficult to resist from a gangsta point of view.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


The phenomenon referred to as the RIDER NATION is an amazing culture surrounding the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team.  Rider fans are purportedly the best fans in the CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE.  According to Murray McCormick (sports reporter for the REGINA LEADER POST), Roughrider fans aren’t made, in fact, they are born green.  There are countless pictures of babies born in Saskatchewan dressed in Roughrider green and white (uniform colors).  Practically everyone in the RIDER NATION wears green and white to the games, many of which being MELON HEADS, the art of sporting watermelons, as helmets.  (There are even MELON BOOBS -- see picture below.)   And when RIDER fans go to the great football game in the sky, many even have a ROUGHRIDER line of reference in their obituaries. 

FACT:  The RIDER NATION is comprised of the rowdiest fans of any sports team in Canada, even ranking ahead of the Montreal Canadians of the NHL (National Hockey League).

FACT: The SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS sell as much merchandise as all of the other CFL teams combined. When the games are at home, downtown Regina is a beer frothy sea of green and white.  And even during away games, the Rider Nation dons the colors.

FACT:  The attendance of the RIDER NATION exceeds 30,000 at every home game.

FACT:  There is a stretch of road that runs from the football stadium to downtown Albert Street, designated as the GREEN MILE, in reference to the path the majority of RIDER NATION members walk along to the game.  There is even official signage on the route.

At this particular game, forty-four thousand fans were in attendance.  The SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS were playing the WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS, and the buskspot that I chose was a sward just one city block from the east exit of the stadium, thinking I’d have at least half the fans heading my way.  The RIDERS defeated the BOMBERS 48 to 25; 20,000 jubilant fans passed by my buskingdom; and I was there greeting them onto the Green Mile with my guitar.

Cap-a-pie I was hatless, black shades, a CFL official Reebok RIDER jersey (my favorite number 31 on the front, and my name, CHILD, on the back), a pair of faded blue jeans, and brown Columbia hiking boots.  I strummed my Simon & Patrick twelve-string and blew my Blues Harp.

It was the most perfect day.  It was five o’clock in the afternoon and the sun was shining bright. The Regina world was windless, and the fans had just witnessed the Saskatchewan Roughriders improving their winning record eight games to one, the best ever in their franchise history.

It was the most perfect day, designed for the RIDER NATION, my green and white consumers, to be most munificent – and they were!

That particular busking day, appealing to the RIDER NATION, definitely elicited a positive cathexis, a mercenary urge to replicate that first time Green and White busking experience.

Upon moments of general reflection, I do grok the social and monetary benefits of busking. As a busker I am, indeed, the Kapellmeister of my buskingdoms.  On every occasion that I sling my guitar I meet a coterie of characters.  On the Green Mile I met the fans of the RIDER NATION; at SHOPPERS DRUG MART I meet the people picking up their prescriptions; at INDEPENDENT FOODS I meet the people buying their groceries; at the FARMERS’ MARKET, I meet a multitude of green tea consumers shopping from a variety of niche market vendors.  And as a busker at the FARMERS’ MARKET, I become one of those niche market vendors.

The last few times I’ve set up at the REGINA FARMERS’ MARKET, I’ve done so betwixt DnA FARMS and ANGELA’S OWN HOMESTYLE ORIGINALS.

Dallas and Annette are the proprietors of DnA FARMS, a booth selling old fashioned baking, a variety of naturally grown vegetables of heirloom seeds, and wire worked jewelry (designed by Annette from Dallas’ polished stones).  Dallas calls himself a hillbilly.  He even dresses the part.

Angela Latta is the owner and operator of ANGELA’S OWN HOMESTYLE ORIGINALS.  And Angela presents that homespun appearance.  Angela sells prepackaged dips and soups and sweet spreads. She also sells children’s toys which include balloon yoyos, ribbon wands … and hoola hoops! (I am thinking I ought to purchase a couple hoola hoops from Angela, and have them, not for sale, but just to be available for kids to enjoy whilst I busk!)

As I continue to grok the social and monetary benefits of busking, I realize that I am not unlike a character in a novel of the bildungsroman genre.  My psychological and moral growth as a buskologist has certainly waxed over the years.  My busking began on the sidewalks of downtown Regina, having since buskingdoms stretched to Moose Jaw, Invermere, Salmon Arm, Kamloops, Victoria, and Prince George, and a variety of bugtussel country swain-like locales.

My bildungsroman has been on the sidewalks, in the parking lots, at harbors, at storefronts, at arts and crafts shows, at farmers’ markets, and now, on the Green Mile.  Being a buskologist is being a being of thrumming adventure.

Being a buskologist has given me Annie Oakley access to big events (where others must pay at the gate).  Being a buskologist I have become a boulevardier (man-about-town), on the concrete walks, on the paved parking lots, on the grassy swards.

Being a buskologist I have discovered (I have created) just one heuristic for which I truly abide:


In closing, I must mention that being a buskologist I have even become somewhat tony in attitude, as I bask in my imaginary notoriety.

For example, yesterday busking at the FARMERS’ MARKET, a LEADER POST photographer, MICHAEL BELL, took a dozen photos of me, asking if it would be okay to have a staff reporter interview me later in the week for a story on busking.   

For example,  I have been invited by my newest best friends-to-be, Shelley and Sam, to strum in front of their SNOW DOME CAFÉ during CULTURE DAYS, this coming September 28th and 29th in the resort town of JASPER, ALBERTA. And I have even been asked to play on the main stage during the evening award ceremonies.