July 6th, 2013
It’s the first day of the World Saxophone Bus Tour. This is my idea to travel around the world and play street music and then also write about it, take pictures of it, and generally try to recreate the experience with movie, collage, etc. It’s just an idea I had, not necessarily a good idea, but one that I can try at least.
The first day is fraught with many problems, adjustments, and doubts. Even though yesterday was objectively a pretty good one, I played street music (105 Kroner), I met and played music with some very good (professional level) young Czech musicians from a nearby town, went to see Latirna Magica, more about that later, met a young woman at the show (who was married) but who invited me to have dinner with her and her friends, still I tend to look at the negative side, all that it is not. I have a lot to compare it to; other people who are traveling around in groups or with their girlfriends, and more importantly, my own past. I was here 25 years ago, once with a beautiful woman that I loved at the time. All that is in the past now, and my challenge is to not let the past or any other thing get in the way of living right now.
In the beginning you have to learn how to survive. where to sleep, where to buy food, how to make friends, establish a routine, how will you wash youself and your clothes, how to eat. I go into the supermarket and pick up some tomatos. How do I buy them? Do I have to weigh them myself and put the sticker on the scale like I do in Korea, or do I take them to the counter and the counterwoman (in this case) know how much they are? I watch other shoppers. They look at me suspiciously. Why am I watching? In the end, I just put everything in the basket and she rings it up. Ok. I learn. Things are rather cheap here in Prague. That’s good. What will I do though? My plan is to play music at night, write this blog in the morning, and sightsee in the afternoon. Where will I write though. Already I found a Starbucks about 10 minutes from my hostel. The hostel is cheap but there are many disadvantages, like the guy who started talking on the phone at 5 in the morning. Yes it was a terrible story about an emergency message and call and someone had to go to the hospital, but does it need to be at 5 in the morning? Later I got even though. I always get even.
aggressive just means
you are skip
can i write a poem
can i make a song
can i write
I am writing poems
blowing word bubbles
them float away
break and splatter on some (un)lucky bug
Walking in front of the famous beautiful and closed for renovation National Museum there is a band playing. They are surrounded by a semicircle of devoted looking people with music stands somberly singing along. Its a Christian service of some kind. Singing, follow our way, we are right, even though they look like joyless zombies. Jesus is fine if you have nothing better going on, but he’s dead and so many others are alive still.
its not that you are in the wrong place,
its not that you have the wrong instrument,
its that you are not really listening,
reacting in a truly honest way and fearlessly
I walk on further, another 50 meters; far enough to be way pretty much from the sounds. I don’t want to disturb them or be disturbed. There are a number of benches in the middle of the road, It is reasonably quite there. I ask the 2 young women there if my music will disturb them. After all they are there first and by all rights, its there place. They dont seem to mind, even seem interested in me. So I start to play. the woman listen for awhile and then become absorbed in taking pictures. The one is modelling for the other. Fascinated by the visual, not so much by the aural. I play for them, look at them repeatedly, hoping they will hear me and listen, but they are already gone and I am delegated to the rubbish pile of categorized things, a jazz street musician and I dont understand or like jazz.
A woman walks by wheeling another woman in a wheelchair who obviously has some severe neurolgical disease, maybe MS. The MS woman is beaming a smile which in its distorted way is truly beautiful for its intensity. Actually its quite strange looking but the emotion and honesty of that smiles burns away any strangeness that I see and thus makes it all the more beautiful. It is true feeling devoid of any physicality. She is swaying her head and looking quite bizarre and it warms my heart to see her. I feel like I am doing some good here at least, bringing some joy to someone anyway. The pushing woman translate everything I say to the wheelchair bound smiling woman. When the song ends I ask the pusher, “Is she always smiling like that?” she answers me quite seriously, “you know everybody is sometimes sad…she is smiling at you” Of course, she is just another person, albeit one dealing with great hardships. “Then since she is happy now, I will play a happy song for her.” When this gets translated the wattage of the smile increases from 110 to 120. Of course its in my interest to have them listening to me. If someone is listening, another person is more likely to stop and listen. But its more than that. “I love playing for her.” She translate this too. More smiles. “Its nice to have a tranlator. You want to work for me.” Im joking but she takes me seriously. No sense of humor.
“do you live here…”
“no im traveling…”
“there is this Christian church here in Prague that I belong to. ..” I see immediately where this is going…I cut her off
“im jewish…like jesus….” I look deep into her eyes. This gets her. she doesn’t know what to say to . “I am like Jesus. “
“are you mmmmm…” she struggles of the word
“mesiah? yes i am the mesiah…im jesus coming coming back….” Its mean but I cant resist. I mean who knows, maybe I am. sometimes when the music is flowing freely through me. I feel like its coming form somewhere far away. Wouldnt it be cool if God started speaking through my music. healing, dissolving barriers with music. Sometimes I feel like that potential is there if oly I would learn how to let that happen. She looks at me dumb founded (but mostly just dumb) no…” finally I say.
“so you are kidding…” she has to ask?
“about what?….i am jewish but maybe im not jesus, i think not. “ This gets me thinking. “BTW did Jesus know he was Jesus when he was young?”
“Yes” she answers emphatically. But I knew there wasnt much in the bible about his childhood. Later I looked on the internet and Billy Graham’s website said it is clear that he knew he was God when he was 12. What must it have been like to have a teenager who was God. “Jesus, go to your room.” “You will go to hell for that.” “Yeah, yeah, now go to your room, and no miracles in there.”
Just at that moment, a ladybug lands on my hand. Its an omen I think, afterall, isnt a ladybug good luck? I ask the 4 women present if the ladybug is good luck in their cultures. The Polish women answer that they don’t believe in good luck. it figures. I try to explain that of course I don’t either but its just sort of for fun, but I am sure they think I am a stupid superstitions person. I ask the pusher and the smiler and they say they are nt interested in good luck, they only believe in Jesus. Oh well, so much for cross cultural anthropology. She has a Jesus culture. “I have been in Israel, she says. Thank you for what your people did there. And thanks for the old testament. “ I tell her you are welcome on behalf of all the jews, “Are you a Masonic Jew. No im Jewish Jewish.” I cut her off just in time and start playing again. I try to get them more involved. “how about some chair dancing” and I demonstrate. The smiler nods no.”Are you shy?” She nods yes. They start dancing a little in the chair and with the chair but using it as a partner. The 2 women are dancing and smiling like crazy, but almost no one else is listening to my music.
“you guys are great. No, its not my job, its my fun. no money…. To say goodbye the pusher says …”shabot shalom.”
When they leave, I turn to the Polish women who are still there taking pictures. “She was intense.” I comment.
“But she was nice…”and cock my head and think a moment. “Yes she was nice.”
can i take a picture of you guys taking a picture of you guys….
i liketo remember things
After the pictures the say. “We have to go.” I counter with, “you have to go…your time is up. ….you cant stay more than 25 minutes. They go and I play another song.