Sunday, August 24, 2014


Busking is always a carpe diem experience, simply because you just never know what is going to happen or who you are going to meet.  (Really, this notion is true for anyone and any day can be one of derring-do; however, this is a blog about busking and I’ll express my thoughts accordingly.)

On this particular Tuesday I was joined by my Phantom Tide band-mate, Darren, and his son, Jack.  This was Jack’s first time busking and so we set our strumming to be at the THE ITALIAN STAR DELI on Victoria Avenue in Regina, one of the best spots in the city to busk!

Jack, still salted in Maritime Carpe Diem mode, and sporting a newly stamped tattoo of a blue carrack on his bicep, and donning a black East Coast Lifestyle cap on his noggin, brought along his bongos.  Darren brought his banjitar, and I brought my twelve-string.  What a handsome trio we were!  Jack had been practicing his drumming skills and it showed.  Darren is a guitar master -- he plied his signature style whilst growing up on Cape Breton Island, and I am but a thrummer and hummer, honing my guitar and harp skills mostly when I busk.

My deprecating self-described strum has been for some time the lines:  For every one hundred people who pass me while I busk, ninety-five will think I am an awesome guitarist and harpist, and the other five will have some guitar skills and recognize my real abilities.  Guys like Jack Sample will pass by just one in a thousand.

Well guess who finally passed by this particular busking Tuesday?  Jack Semple, of course! 

Jack Semple is the famous blues guitarist from Regina, Canada.  Jack won a Juno award in 1991 and was the star in the 1994 movie, Guitarman.  Guitarists don’t get any better than Jack!

Of course Jack was gracious enough to pose for pictures, and that is busker Jack sitting on guitar Jack’s knee, thus explaining the JACK AND JACK blog title.  (Also, Jack is a synonym for sailor, which seems apt considering young Jack and Darren had just returned from an East Coast vacation.) 

ANOTHER CARPE DIEM EXPERIENCE in the title, I’ve written about (in this blog) at least twice before: A PLACE IN THE SUN:  AN ESSAY ON BUSKER CARPE DIEM (April 2nd, 2011), and WHERE YOU ARE IS WHERE IT’S AT: AN ESSAY ON CARPE DIEM, ZEN, EXISTENTIALISM, PHENOMENOLOGY, AND BUSKING (December 5th, 2010).

CARPE DIEM has been one of my favorite themes since my university days as an English Literature Major.  CARPE DIEM was first introduced by the Latin poet, Horace in 23 BC.  It has been translated as SEIZE THE DAY, PLUCK THE DAY, ENJOY THE DAY, and GRASP THE DAY.  Allow me to ramble a bit on each.

SEIZE THE DAY, the most popular interpretation, seems too agog for my liking.  Seize the day seems to more express the YOLO (You Only Live Once) notion that has become band-wagon as of late.  Seize the day almost implies that nothing else matters, so therefore be reckless in every regard.

PLUCK THE DAY, as I understand, is the literal translation.  PLUCK, as in picking fruit, suggests that when the day is ripe, pluck it, and put that unforgettable particular day into your straw basket of memories.  This is close to my thinking, but not quite.  The metaphor of moments being ripe and ready for plucking just does not work for me.

ENJOY THE DAY I find anodyne.  Enjoy is rather a weak verb no matter the context.  I just think that enjoy gives a rather mild message, rather than one which is memorable.

GRASP THE DAY I very much like.  And it is beseeming to me because this is what I learned from Harry Dillow, an English Professor of mine, at the University of Regina. 

Hello, Harry, wherever you are! 

Harry was a lover of Carpe Diem; at least he seemed so to me and everyone in his 17th - CENTURY ENGLISH POETRY classes.  Grasp the Day connotes an awareness or understanding, a grasp of the situation.  Grasp the Day suggests that one ought to be aware that our days are numbered, and therefore it seems favorable, even obligatory to find something meaningful in every encounter, to grasp each as an understanding that such an appreciation is finite and therefore to be savored (very much akin to the pluck the day literal translation).

Others, others with big names, have embraced the notion of CARPE DIEM:

  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever. (Mahatma Ghandi)

  • Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today.  Let us begin. (Mother Teresa)   

  • Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.  (Helen Keller)

This week I was asked to thrum and hum at the SHOPPERS ON BROAD Tree of Life hotdog sale, for which I did GRASP for a couple of hours and did so gladly!

Courtesy of Skyler, SHOPPERS photographer
Other CARPE DIEM moments in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE for this week:



 Another soon-to-be CARPE DIEM experience:

My business card shall read:





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