August 11, 2013
Ok. I blew it. I should have stayed but I didnt have the presence of mind, the courage, the bravery. I was cheap, I chickened out. I didnt do the most romantic thing ever, I did the practical thing. Love is not practical, its a leap. I didnt leap. I climbed down the stairs. Now its Tuesday and Ive sent her 2 emails but not heard from her. What was I thinking? Now I am Prague, and having fun but lonely and looking for my heart again, like always. Sunday night here was good. I met Pavel, favorite guy here. What is it about him? I get to the National Opera building area and saved the spot. I played for about an hour as I waited. hardly anyone stopped to listen. a few people threw in a few coins. An annoying guy came with a saxophone and sat listened. I felt obligated to let him play with me. He did. He had some feeling, but played too many bad notes. I felt obliged to be a little rude to him because I wanted to play by myself. he sat there and stared at me, occasionaly playing a little quietly, which I ignored. Finally Pavel came with a drummer (not hanka, she was sick). It took them a few minutes to get set up, and I played till then.
We started, the 3 of us, around 815 pm. Almost immedietly a crowd gathered. It was something about Pavel. He had charisma. He had a funny interesting face, he made funny sounds, he made interesting music, but most importantly was that he was really enjoying himself. Even when he did the same thing as before, it was like he was doing it for the first time. When he sang making animal sounds or in a language that didnt exist, it was like the first time and it was so funny. He laughed every time and we did. The funny thing about Pavel’s crowd was that it was made of Czech people, not tourists. How could I tell the difference? Czech and Slavic people look like they are living in the 1950’s, like they were moving in slow motion, they were in black in white, while the rest of the world was in color. Anyway it was nice to play for these simple people and see them really enjoy our music.
Pavel’s repetoire included pop songs, but the way he did them changed them completely. Stairway to Heaven, Unchain My Heart, Come Together, became explorations not just songs. There were long extensions, repeated bars over and over until Pavel felt the urge to move on. I just listened and followed. The nice thing was that Pavel liked my solos and let me stretch out. Then without a clue, he would join me, making monkey noises or clicking in strange rythmic harmony, always with that mischeaveous look on his face and a look or complicity over to me and the drummer.
There was a big clock on the square. I looked at it nervously from time to time. I knew there was a 930 curfew on street music. At 930 Pavel declared, “ I think we can play until 10”. I shrugged and said ok. We played another few songs and the crowd kept growing. At exactly 955. a police van pulled up behind us. They squawked their horn like a giant goose. Pavel glanced back and nodded to the cops as a kind of signal, that he would just finish the last few bars of the song. then Pavel quickly came up to me and said, “Frank maybe if you go up to them and speak English they will let us go.” “Hi officers, is it too late to play now?” I said innocently. “Its night, “ he said tersely. These Prague were tough and didnt take any guff and couldnt be bullshitted (bullshat?). Pavel then came over and talked to them for a long time. In the end, Pavel took 200 Kroner out of the guitar case and handed it over to the cops. he seemed relieved that it wasnt more. The cops went over to write up a ticket. In their favor, I have to admire their sense of humor. They came over and presented the ticket to me. “Here is a good souvenir for you from Prague”. They didnt say it in a mean way. It was really funny and we all laughed about it. They drove away smiling.
Then it was time to count the money, which Pavel always did with great seriousness and wanted everyone to be involved. I sat with the drummer and pavel as they counted the hundred or more coins. I couldnt tell the coins from one another so I wasnt much help. In the end there was 1150 K. about 65 dollars. Pavel took some money for the car and we each walked about with 300, about 15 dollars. Not bad for having the most fun time possible. I would rather be on an island with a wonderful beautiful woman, but this wasnt bad either.