august 12, 2013
Back on the streets of Prague, playing alone. I decide to play early so maybe I will go to the Toastmasters Meeting at 730 if Pavel doesnt call. I go down in front of the National Museum. its not the best place to play but the view is great. A magnificient towering castle of a building, dominants the area. In front a famous statue of Vaclav the 4th, the king and saint Wenceslas I, There are streets on either side, so it is a bit loud, but I settle for here. I sit down and forget to ask permission to the people sitting there already. They stay for about 3 minutes and then huff off. Thats ok, there are others. Street drunks and cowboys from another dimension. old people zoned out on a lifetime of regrets, aches and woes. They sit and stare at me, unsmiling, but still they stare. i think the music is reaching them at some level. Thats my spin anyway.
dont ask why…
just accept it…
and keep watching it….
it will change….
and in that change
and in that watching is ….
Sometimes a couple comes up and wants to take a picture. I run my old routine that hasnt failed yet. I offer the woman my arm and she hooks it happily. …then I quip …
i have a good job….
A vietnamese couple walks up..and I hook her arm….then motion for the guy to sit and take a picture. He is from ho chi min city, she is from hanoi. I wonder how they can make that work, its very far. He looks so strong. I shake his hand and squeeze as hard as I can. he doesnt react. I ask him to squeeze me but he is too nice to squeeze.
Some woman are listening at the next bench. I finish the song and look over and she is making a clapping motion. Clapping but making no noise. I make fun of her, “quietest clap ever”. ..but i appreciate it. She says she is a singer. “Oh, why dont you sing a song.” “I’m not going to sing” she declares in a way that I know means she really wants to sing. “You may not sing. i forbid you to sing.” “I wont sing” she repeats which leads me to believe either she didnt understand me or she understood me too well. “You know summertime dont you?” “Yes but im not singing” I start playing summertime and in the middle for about 10 seconds she sings. At the end “Just for the record, you did sing. You know try it more, it wants to come out.” they walk away excitedly.
most important has to be the passion.
then later other things will follow
A young girl comes up and shyly and nervously puts some money in my hat. “can i have the ice cream instead” She looks worried like I might just take her cone. …”just joking, really” but she looks worried. Maybe I will chase after her and steal it. .
As I am playing some bees start bothering me. Flying around my saxophone and face. There is a garbage can not too far away and I guess they are in there going after all the sugary drinks. “hey i am not sugar, leave me alone.” but they keep bothering me. The family across the way is watching. I get an idea to put on a show. Think chaplainesque. I chase the bee with my saxophone, swinging it wildly around , following the bee. Trying to play the flight of the bumble bee sounds as it zigs and zags. I try to catch it in the bell of my horn. The little girl is cracking up. “Oh you like the bee attacking me? If it stings me you will laugh so hard I think.”
Pavel calls and doesnt sound excited about playing. he sounds tired. Wants to rest his voice. But he will come if I ask him to. i tell him to skip it and we will meet tomorrow. I go to the TM meeting instead. Now I’m in another universe. Its a small club only 6 members and 6 guests. I had written telling them I was coming, laying my credentials on the table so maybe I would get some respect but they dont know who I am. I try to make connections with some of the members. Someone asks me where I am from. I give my new answer. “I am from USA, Japan, and Korea.” Afterall Ive lived in all those places for more than a year, so I guess I am a certain percentage of those cultures. A woman I meet there is interested. “Im giving a speech about that next month, but you have thought about it much more than I have. we agree to meet and collaborate on our next speech. Yeah…..she’s pretty too. Then I make plans to meet with a very great speaker that is there. amazing stage presence. A guest, Chinese, agrees to show me a club where people play music freely. We go there after the meeting. on the way to the meeting the Chinese woman tells me she thinks she his apergers syndrome. She cant stop talking and the ideas pour out of her like breaking of a dam. she doesnt pause between sentences or ideas. I have to agree with her. On the way, at the National Theater square, we see hundreds of people gathered. Its Gay Pride week and they have a free film festival every night. Tonight is Behind the Candelabra, the story of Liberace with matt Damon. I watch. Mostly a gay crowd, but very friendly and not acting out much. Czech people are great. Always seem happy and excited to meet an American. Try out their English. Talk to the source (movies music). Then I go to the club and its just like she said. Its very funky and there are different rooms with some pianos spread about. Anyone can get up and play, and I join in with everyone. Its like going back to the 1950’s beatnik era. I see some other people there like Peter the water glass virtusos. He’s there but his water glasses are not. He is quite a presence though. He is there with his girlfriend. I am surprised when Peter starts kissing a really beautiful woman who was playing piano, right in front of his girlfriend. She doesnt seem to mind or even notice at all. Peter looks ageless but actually behind his glasses and goatee he is quite a nice looking guy. As I am playing he listens with intense passion, sometimes shouting out and clapping suddenly. He comes up and sits right in front of me and as I am playing he touches my face. Quite a character. Suddenly,I can see me spending my final days in Prague happily. Writing, walking around, playing music with pavel, going to the crazy music club and gay movies.
I would rather be in the islands with the beautiful woman, but this is not too bad either..