Author Topic: Nick the Troubadour. Ships that pass in the night. A recollection from the 90s  (Read 1715 times)

Offline Gyppo

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Note to all writers.  When you're a keen people watcher you meet interesting people.  If you ever lose your curiosity about the world, if you stop watching, these people will become invisible.  When they do the loss is yours.

=====

I'm Nick the Troubadour.
Yes, that's how he introduced himself
at a protest camp, around the fire.
Surrounded by joint-drowsy Hippies,
as he warmed his calloused hands.

A battered but well-tuned guitar,
ragged but warm clothing,
and a hard voice,
roughened by years of performing
in the subway theatre.

Like all street performers he knew the secret.
First, get their attention.
Second, make them stop walking by.
Three, smile even if they ignore you,
because sometimes the smile works
when everything else fails.


Stained fingers made a slim rollie
as he checked out his new companions.

A short phrase, a couple of lines,
will grab them every time.
Then you can start the money performance,
showcase any real talent you may have.


How to grab them, I asked?

It varies, he replied, smiling,
but this one always works.

He unslung his guitar,
settled himself cross-legged,
spiked his rollie on the stiff end of a string, 
silently found the chord he wanted
and split the peace beneath the trees.

I want to have sex with Maggie Thatcher.
I want to go down on Mrs T...


===
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Jo Bannister

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Like it lots, Gyppo.  And it was all going so well, until he actually started to sing...

Offline Gyppo

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That was it, Jo.  Just those two bizarre lines.  He reckoned it could temporarily freeze the High Street shoppers, then he'd slip smoothly into one from his wide repertoire of folk songs or retro pop.  He didn't have a bad voice when singing normal songs.

I asked if he'd written any more of his Maggie Thatcher song.  "No way.  That's enough to do the trick.  I want to stop them, not alienate them."
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Artemis Quark

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Love this, Gyppo. The subway venue reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence lyric.

"The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls"

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=--DbgPXwLlM



Offline Gyppo

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Nice tune.  One of the first records I ever bought as a 45 rpm single.  Ex jukebox, with the big hole in the middle so I had to fit a plastic 'spider' to play it.

The more streetwise performers know that you don't sit in the subway, unless it's raining.  You sit in the entrance, facing into the tunnel, and still benefit from the echo chamber effect.  People passing through towards you get to hear a couple of verses and can be semi-psyched into feeling obliged to drop something in your waiting hat ;-)

I smile when I see some of the 'electric troubadours' today with amps and speakers on a little trolley.  A good acoustic guitar, played with serious intent, is plenty loud enough without pissing people off.

Gyppo
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 06:27:12 PM by Gyppo »
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

cmb

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Good heavens Gyp! Sex with Mrs T. Utterly gross. An attention grabber for sure.
 ;D

Offline Baleezy

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You have me interested in reading the rest lol.  I demand more now!   ;D ;D ;D ;D

Offline Gyppo

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There is no more.  That was it.  Just a snapshot of a brief moment.
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline Sherlock

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That was so much fun and had my attention.

I got a real snicker at the end!

Offline DGSquared

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Sounds like a familiar.  ;D

If he hadn't made his guitar sound so sweet, I would have wanted to retrieve my money from his case once the words rolled off his tongue. :P
~Deb
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark. -Chinese proverb

Blondesplosion! ~Deb

Offline Gyppo

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He was definitely a character.

I met him again later down in the town and offered him half of my pork pie.  "Unless you're a vegetarian of course."  There were lot of them up at the campsite.

"Cheers, Mate.  I can't afford principles like that."
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline DGSquared

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Great story.

It's true. The little stories and snippets in time make up the entire encyclopedia or volumes of a lifetime.

It helps if you are able to strike up a conversation with a stranger and never really know a stranger. ;)
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 07:55:06 AM by DGSquared »
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark. -Chinese proverb

Blondesplosion! ~Deb

Offline Gyppo

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Dad used to say I was like him, cursed with a kind face.  People talk to me, unless I deliberately project a 'sod off, leave me alone' aura.
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1