July 7th, 2013

July 7th, 2013

I first met Angelos on a magical night in Florence in front of the famous church, the Duomo.  He was playing with a great band including 3 women and another guy. Everybody was smiling,  It was 1 am and there was a group of people camped out in front of us listening attentively. It was magical. that was in the summer of 2010. We kept in touch over the years with email, thats easy enough and when I was planning my trip this summer I thought of him and his band.  Over a few months we determined that we would both be traveling. By this time I was planning on it. I bought my ticket and then was surprised when I received an email from him saying he really wanted his space, that he didnt want to be committed to anyone and wanted time alone. If I had received this message before I bought my ticket, I would have cancelled my plans for Prague and just gone to Barcelona first. but not I had the ticket and was committed. He said he didnt want to meet on Saturday. Now was Sunday and it was the day we were to meet finally. It seemed like an ideal schedule. I would play by myself for a few hours and then join Angelos. The best of both worlds .

They say that bad luck comes in 3. I’ve had 4 already in the past 36 hours. Does anyone bid 5?  New electrical power supplies come with built in voltage leeway. They will work on either 110 or 220 because they have that slack. I got a new amp from my birthday almost just like the one I had in Korea that died, except that it had a chord coming out to charge it instead of an external power supply. How convenient is that. I found out, not so.  Just in case I  brought the 220 plug along. However, out of laziness and a sense of experiementation I plugged in the internal power supply. I was surprised when the little red recharging light lit up for about 3 seconds and then there was a strange sound like phzzzzz, and then nothing but the faint smell of smoke. Oh no. I broke my amp. Incredible. This was the focus of my trip, my everything, and now it was gone. I didnt consider that the 220 would fry the internal battery supply like that. I was scrrreeeewwwed. Of all the bad things to happen. I left it chargeed in with the other suppy (the one I should have used initially) overnight just in case, and then went out.  I went to my usual spot (the place I played the day before) and crossed my fingers.

The amp worked amazingly, but for how long, that was the question.  I played a good hour in the middle right in front of the closed National Museum. As usual (like yesterday) there was not much response, but that was ok with me.  The first woman I sat next to gave me such a nasty response. She turned away then lit a cigarrette. Ah, try to smoke me out eh?  I countered with a timely fart but she didnt seem to notice. One more song and I moved away from her. After playing for about an hour in a gorgeous but non responsive setting, I moved up the street, afterall I was to meet Angelos at 7 pm and now it was 615.

I walked up about 20 meters and found a nice place on the side. I sat there and set up. So far so good. After about 10 minutes a few wild looking woman rolled out of a hotel. More and more came out. They looked big and strong and very colorfully, no theatrically dressed. Some had balloons and feathers tied on their heads, most wore halters and shorts. they were all big and strong, and there about 20 of them. What was going on? it was a woman’s rugby team from Amersterdam and they were touring the continent. They were extremely friendly. They were on the verge of highness, but theirs was the natural highness of being rowdy and being with a rowdy group. One darker woman with loud flowing hair stood right next to me and started playing the stand up air bass. She was good at it to, playing on the beat sometimes swinging the instrument around with a (air) practised flip. I encouraged her on, comeone do a sommersault. But she was a strong woman and refused to be influenced, she just seriously got into her groove. “We need a drummer.” A beautiful amazon with bruises up and down her legs and arms lunged over. “Me”  Her name was Elizabeth but she pronounced it with a beautiful accent, “ei lia a bet” It sounded like French music. We exchanged details. “think of me as the team’s personal saxophonist.” “And think of me as your fan”. “Wow that makes 3. My mom, my sister and you. A 50% increase today . Why if I continue at this rate in 1 year I will be the most popular person ever. By the way did you win?” Elizabeth, looked down sadly. “ok you didnt win so I will play a sad and happy song “no more blues” I started in but moments after the chorus started the mp3 died. I had a backup of course but couldnt play no more blues on that one. It wasnt there. Instead I played Autumn leaves. it was a special version , one that went through all 12 keys for practice. Elizabeth sat down at the air drum set and started in. It was great. My band was grooving off me and off themselves. The other 15 or so members were having a party. some were dancing, others conducting, others singing along. I imagined these woman had a party where ever they traveled. I just grooved on it myself. I figured the best way to do this was to play awesome licks, so I tried to focus on the notes. Every once in a while one of the crew would stroll over and drop in a coin or coins.  I wasnt really paying attention till the end of the night when I counted 600 kroners in all. After about 8 choruses, Elizbeth looked up from her drums and said, “This is a really long song.” She was exactly right. It was. I finished the chorus and turned it off. It was a great time and I felt a little overwhelmed by it all. I was out outraged by these rowdy women. Suddenly I felt shy. My drummer had the most beautiful eyes and hair. She smiled at me like she had just met Mr Right and he was me. Wow. Focus on the music and her focusing on the music. I did that. When it was over, I asked her for her name and email. She said laughing she didnt have an email. “How can I see you again?” I implored. “I will see you around” she said with a large twinkle. Ah yes this was one of those rarest of relationships, one lasting but seconds or minutes. Like those insects that live only 1 day and have to make every second count. Rachael, our energy was too intense not to burn out almost immediately. I saw one woman dressed in an officials uniform with a camera. “I would like a picture” I mentioned.     Within seconds they started pouring around me like molasses. This was a disciplined and well photographed team. Suddenly I was surrounded by the greatest (in spirit) womens rugby team in the world. I was like the tootsie roll center. And then they were off, a rolling mass of energy and mischief. maybe under another circumstance I would have begged them to let me join them as their mascot. It was just as well. It was time to meet Angelo.

I went to the end of the street to meet him where he told me, the New Yorker Building. I was a few minutes late. As I walked up there was a large hairy man with a guitar slung over his back with his hand extended. It was him Angelo. Angelo, after all these years. Funny he looked different. i wouldnt have recognized him without his lovely women musicians.  He was quite hairy all over. That was ok, I didnt have to sleep with him. He had been there a week already so he knew the ropes I guess. He said we couldnt play on this street. I told I had seen others playing on the cross street. He seemed doubtful. Then he started complaining. I told him I tought it was ok and that I would pay any fine. so we sat down and started to play. Of course he was from a different culture, Greece, so he did things a little different. he put his hat on his case right in the middle of the walkway. I thought that was a little obnoxious. People would see you if you put your hat right in front of you. Why not do it that way. He compromised. that was good. The complaining that was bad.  anyway we started playing. I was very expectant. After all this time. And the sound was, decidedly so so. He sang songs that I didnt know well, and ones that were rather slow and boring for the street. His voice was too loud, his guitar playing was ok but somehow it all didnt swing much. His boring songs though had lots of places for my solos though. That was nice. Maybe because the solos were the best part. After playing about 3 songs there, with no I mean no reaction, we decided to move to another great spot he had found. We walked about 10 minutes on the first street. It was a stone bench that seemed ok but not great. Again we got absolutely no reaction at I came all this way for this? Really? Ok new suggestion for rules of life. Rule 217.  Go where you want and meet people you can hang with there. A variation of the rule given by Steven Stills, “Love the one you’re with.” 

The other bad things…..I will mention them tomorrow. 

 

what im playing is not the thing,
 the thing  inside is what Im playing.
 when im playing im just exploring.

i play for hugs or money.
 they look shocked.
 its ok I’mjust kidding…
just for listening.
relaxed but suspicious

beautiful feeling and someone hears. …
like ice cream with a cherry.

A couple from French Canada comes up and he
 says thanks in Czech.   Děkuji. 
then he says goodbye in Czech.  Dobrý den!
Dont worry I’m not being abrupt. I’m taking Czech lessons and I can only say goodbye and thank you in Czech. We agree that the mimimum you need for getting along in any other language is hello, thank you, and goodbye.

its a worm within a worm….
prime the pump and then notice things
things that your subconsciouness can latch on to

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