So today I ran into my friend Anthony, street friend, I see him on the street here and there at different events around town. Last I saw him was at the All-Star game playing outside Busch Stadium where he staked out a place along the fence hoping to make a little money as the crowd passed by. He's a street musician, pretty good sax player, also guitar drums etc.
He was down in the loop sitting in front of the sushi place across from the comic book store. I saw him as I was headed over to get a falafel, and stopped to chat for a while. He was pretty high, first time I've ever seen him really high qnd looking so rough. Told me he lost his place, was living in his van, though I've never seen him driving anything, and every morning he was getting himself a bottle of liquor. I told him I'd come back after I had lunch, bring him something to eat. Figured it was the decent thing to do. I brought a menu back so he could pick out what he wanted, took him a while, but he found something with ground beef that he liked and I went back in and asked the girl behind the counter to make me an extra big one.
I was grocery shopping, headed home at the time, but I thought I'd hang with him for a few minutes because he needed to go across the street to the music store and get his guitar, and he didn't want his other instruments laying around for anyone to pick up. He's got a nice sax, worth a few hundred a least. So I sat down on his bucket and played his role the best I could for a little while. Picked up a bongo and banged on it once I figured out the right angle, I couldn't play the drums even back when I was good with my hands, so I just reverted to making as much noise as I could to try to get people's attention as they strolled by.
It was an interesting experience, street musicians mostly get ignored, people don't look up or in your eyes to avoid it. So I just hit that drum as hard as I could, made a few remarks to anyone that happened by. Some people will acknowledge you, others just act like you don't exist. Street people are pretty common down in the loop, so local people just kind of develop an immunity to them, the way you would to a virus, if a virus could walk and talk and play the bongos. I was only there for maybe 10 minutes, but it seemed like a lot longer, and I felt a kind of loneliness that even I'm not used to, and I get taken for homeless when I'm downtown sometimes so I know how it goes somewhat. But I have to say that I felt kind of isolation sitting there kind of isolation that would make me want to take a drink or smoke some dope surely.
Anyway Anthony came strolling back after a while with his guitar in hand smiling, and I hung around a little longer to try to keep a beat while he jammed pretty good on his acoustic, but I was pretty pathetic pounding away with my fucked up hand. I could never make it as a street musician that's for sure, or as a homeless person either, ain't got the heart for it. It's a lot tougher than it looks I'd say.
I gave him my card and told him to call me if he really needed something, I know he won't even if he does. I don't know what's going to happen to him this winter, hope he finds a warm place.
Anthony rehearsal, Fashion FR8 show (05-31-09)