Staying outside London in an M.C. Escher-like tangle of flats and walking dimly lit, rain-black streets forces one to mingle with those from all corners.
In St. Albans, I ducked into a spice-wafting Indian restaurant called Veer Dhara. I was seated at a table next to a dignified septuagenarian named Fergus. I nodded and smiled a quick hello and he invited me to dine with him. Fergus was a retired lawyer who lost his wife some 30 years before. He gave me a brief history about the neighborhood. Veer Dhara used to be a popular Italian restaurant, but the new owners have done a wonderful job reinventing the space and fine menu. He recanted a legal case in which his client’s horse was spooked by a reckless air-balloon pilot, threw her into a parked car, which gave her a whopping concussion (among other things) and raced off to the next village. Fergus won his case. He enjoyed the lentils I ordered. He was such a lovely man and seemed so lonely, I wanted to take him home and adopt him.
Dwayne Nosworthy (our Master of Ceremonies for Roaring Boston) is one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. He’s handsome, quick-minded-funny and wears a broad, beautiful smile on his face at all times. He attracts as much positivity as he exudes, and has a tight-knit, gorgeous family. He asked me, “Why don’t people like themselves?” I have no answer for that. Is it society that forces us not to celebrate our beauty? Wait! We ARE society! I do believe this is something we can change.
A homeless Aussie named Rick approached me for change after my gig in Chiswick. His piercing blue eyes were still soft and sensitive under a crust of London street polish. He asked if I was a musician because I looked like Slash with my 1940’s hat and curly black hair. When I said “yes”, he immediately rolled off several adventurous tales of his life as a drummer in Australia and Britain. He wanted to shake my hand, but I declined because I’m just recovering from viral bronchitis and didn’t want to spread it around. I could tell I hurt his feelings. He must’ve thought I didn’t want to shake because he was homeless. Instead of becoming hardened by life on the street, he’s still vulnerable which is the mark of a true musician.
Around the corner resides a young couple with two small children. She says nothing. He puffs his chest, screams profanities that George Carlin had never heard with bravado and tries to intimidate those around him. Is he strong? Is he tough? Or is he as vulnerable as the rest of us trying to find our place in this world?
Over a pint, I listen to a young rocker confess that he is extremely hard on himself and those around him because he wants to make a difference in the world with his art. His compassion causes him suffering because he has no compassion for himself.
In the flat next to mine lives sweet, stray-cat-loving, Marjorie. Her mum died a few years ago, which has left her alone but as she says, “We must get on with it!” and that is the essence of this blog.
We all feel our human frailty at times. I think it’s important to embrace those feelings, but not get buggered by them. I try to find ways to connect with the joys of life because there are so many. Music is one of the biggest gifts in my life because I’m able to travel and meet all kinds of wonderful characters while pursuing my passion.
Fergus, Rick, Dwayne, Marjorie, Young Rocker and especially Mr. Tough Guy--I wish for us all to Embrace Love! Embrace Life! Embrace Our Beauty! And so, “We must get on with it!”
Love & Lo-Fi Life,
P.S. In the spirit of strength and love, please enjoy “Stronger Than Stone”