UK Coastal Tour 2019 – The Beauty and Rain of Devon

UK Coastal Tour 2019
3rd to 9th June

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Swanage Pier

It already feels like I’ve covered so much ground and done so much in this short space of time. Only having brief moments in different towns somehow makes time go slow, I’ve been enjoying each moment as it comes, and I feel that’s important to a happy life, let things be as they are, take in things slowly and realise that we have plentiful time. 

Poole and Swanage, both brief visits after leaving Bournemouth to head further west. I had nowhere booked to sleep. I knew Poole would be nice as I visited it once before and being it a Monday I didn’t expect many to be out, but the sun has this magic gift of bringing out everyone and placing a smile on their face! So the busking sets I had there were so lovely, at times I think ‘I wonder if this town and the people enjoy street music’, I usually have to make my own interpretation by the amount of people who stop and watch, who smile as they walk past, who buy a CD and who find me online afterwards. But as I was packing my things away in Poole, a stream of 5 people threw in a coin and told me how much they appreciate music in the streets, one woman didn’t even hear me play but wanted to show her support regardless, “I just caught you packing down, but have this as a thank you for bringing music out here, it’s always a more pleasant walk when there’s music!”. These happenings keep my love and determination to play that much stronger.

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Poole

As I had nowhere to sleep, and couldn’t find any accommodation within my budget, I camped out in the car. I spent the evening walking around Lulworth Cove, which is absolutely stunning, then found a nice quite spot to sleep, but feared as it was on a hill that I’d somehow flinch in my sleep and throw the handbrake down..and end up driving ‘asleep’ down a very long hill and into a house somewhere. Pretty silly thing to fear really, but it kept me up, so I drove towards Weymouth with intent to find a nice spot to pull up. But I kept driving and found nothing, so I just drove to Weymouth. Then as I got there, I was almost hit several times by I guess ‘boy-racers’ in a 20mph zone in some back estate, which shook me up. Then I found a car park by the pier and just sat, but from a distance I headed many people shouting and throwing bottles around, opened to door to hearing loud running footsteps and ‘propah chav slang ennit’ screaming. Figured it wasn’t the right place to be! I found somewhere, eventually, in Bridport. The rough sleep kind of ruined the next day of busking, a lesson learnt.

But this is Lulworth Cove, es muy bonito; IMG_20190603_205950.jpg

From sleeping in the car in Birdport to waiting for the rain to pass in Sidmouth. Sidmouth, where I found myself the morning of the 4th June, in a cafe here is where I created my own Patreon page, here;

www.patreon.com/chatfield

Patreon is a platform in where you can support creators by subscribing to their art and paying a price of your own choosing. A place where creators can continue to make that which you enjoy and give more back to you.

This website now allows you to subscribe to my art and gives me the opportunity to give more of myself and my music to you. So I’ve designed a few perks so far, one of which I’m quite excited about is sending you postcards/letters along this journey! But I have plans to grow this page with perks such as ‘House Concerts’. I’m also welcome to suggestions on what I should do, so please pass all ideas my way.

Any support on this journey truly helps me massively, it gives me belief that I am doing something of good for this world and allows me to continue growing. From the simple acts of following this blog or liking my Facebook, to tipping me whilst I busk or via an online tip, to buying a CD or joining me on Patreon. It all aids this journey that I’ve began. I wish to make the world smile, and if I’ve made you smile then that’s a big step forwards.

Video taken by my busking friend Ethereal, out in Poole.

So after the creation of the Patreon page and the rain cleared from the land of Sidmouth, I managed to play a set of songs in the middle of Sidmouth. A lovely little spot right in the centre of different shopping streets, benches around and people queuing for ice-cream. It was a quiet day, but after a few songs there was an outburst of CD sales. The whole busk was enjoyable, but my energy was low due to the rough sleep. As the town quieted down I spent the early evening sat by the sea playing guitar and reading. A little bit of the playing here;

Next on the road was ‘Exeter’. As I got into the city, I was totally surprised by how big and busy it was, completely not expected. Cities sometimes freak me out and I get claustrophobic because of how busy it gets, so as I played my first set here I was filled with a few nerves, self-doubt kicked in and I was very uncertain. Rain broke up my playing so I stopped and was almost deciding to pack up and head to a smaller town. I just ran straight out of my comfort zone and set up to play again, I’m extremely glad I did, as it lead into another 4 sets of playing! Pushing through uncertainty sometimes feels daunting, but taking just a few small steps can change that entire feeling. 

Here in Exeter, I met a couple of really friendly buskers who shared many nice conversations, had many lovely people take CDs and bumped into ‘Grow Magazine‘.

Grow – ‘Relentlessly Positive News’.

They took a video and shared on their social. Their mission and what they’re doing is beautiful, I highly recommend following what they do and get reading some of their content, it’s massively inspirational and feelgood.

I’m massively glad I stayed and played a while longer in Exeter!


From Exeter to Teignmouth;

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Once again shut down by rain most of the day, it’s done that a lot this week! You wouldn’t think so by looking at these pictures. But it’s unexpected, it shifts from heavy fast rain to bright blue skies so quickly. Here a small little vegan cafe ‘Kud’, gifted me a cake, the owner was sat reading her book just outside the cafe whilst I was playing, then as she closed for the day, came over and put a cake in my case. I also met up with an old college friend who I haven’t seen in a few years, Savannah who grew up here. We made music in a rather ‘echoey’ tunnel, video to follow (soon)!

Teignmouth to Torquay;
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Now this picture gives you an idea of the rain! It didn’t really have many sunny outbursts this day, well not until the evening, but by then there wasn’t really anywhere to play where people were congregated, apart from the louder pubs and clubs, but playing their would basically be pointless, maybe I’ll give it a shot one day! 

It was such a lovely place to play, it was very cosy under this cover, and quite fun just sitting back providing music for the people of Torquay passing by quickly to avoid the rain. Still many people stopped and watched me play. As you can see the guy behind the window on this picture, looks rather happy! 

From Torquay to Totnes;
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Same weather conditions, same foul playing music in it! It rained even heavier than the day before, but luckily I found another decent sheltered spot. Throughout this whole set there was a German girl dancing while she was stood selling her flowers and garden produce to the people of Totnes. As soon as I began playing here a group of French students gathered around and watched like 3/4 songs, they all bought a CD and took a bunch of pictures. The German girl later gifted me with a head of lettuce from her garden, it was a pretty tasty head of lettuce, made for a great addition to my lunch!

From Totnes to Brixham;
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Finally a full day of sun! This was such a fun place to play, although it was massively busy, where the majority of people were a pirate/20’s themed event seemed to be happening. I found a quiet spot outside a bunch of cafes instead to make some noise. The cafes and their customers seemed to like this noise, they even came and gifted me a cup of coffee!

All in all it’s been a pretty awesome adventure this week, a lot of places discovered that I wish to return to and explore more, great people met, a lovely catch up with a few friends and lessons from my own doings learnt, as well as lessons from the conversations had with the people I met.

You can follow the trip on this interactive map.


Someone, somewhere, is thinking about you…. and smiling.

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UK Coastal Tour 2019 – Start

Busking Tour (UK Coast)Intended Route

On 29th May 2019, I began a busking tour. One with intentions to travel the coast of the UK. The picture above maps out the route I plan to follow, with subject to change for whatever reasons. A few key destinations will keep me focused on the bigger picture. The idea is to stay on the road full-time, explore new places and share my music with as many people as I can, in hope to bring them positive value. This map and route shares with you the first part/first chapter on the ‘bigger picture’. Exploring the coast of the UK is something I’ve wanted to do for years, as a child I spent many summer holidays in Cornwall/Devon camping with family/friends, so in a way its a place to dig out those nostalgic feels and have a very long extended holiday.

I’ll be documenting the journey in many ways, through blogs on here, YouTube/Instagram videos etc. But mostly I’ll be using this interactive Map;

James Chatfield Busking Tour

It’s quite a neat little feature on Google, where you can create maps that allow you to drop pins and leave written notes/pictures. With it, I’m going to pin each place I’ve played/visited and leave pictures, short notes, YouTube links etc. and date the pins so that anyone viewing it for the first time can follow where I started, where I’ve been and where I am at that time. I don’t know all the features of it yet and I don’t know what it’ll become, but my vision is to have the whole map covered (eventually, one day, in time, the dream, sugar puffs on a roller-coaster).

In some ways I’m tempted to go back from my first day busking and fill the map from there till now. But I like having it from this time now as a milestone, as a beginning point to a commitment to myself, to not give in and follow the visions I have in my mind. All journeys start with a single step, anywhere you want to go, it’s just, one step at a time, sometimes they’re small baby steps, others are gigantic steps. I heard quite an interesting question recently;

“How long would you give you average baby to walk, before you tell them to give up?”

I’m sure you and all parents would agree, you’d encourage your child to keep on trying even after the 25,341st time. Same rules apply to everything else in life I suppose? Fail forwards – Will Smith. Patience is key to everything.

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Roxy swimming, she loves it, I love her and I miss her, it’s only been 5 days since I left, still miss her though, massively, as I miss my family and friends. Picture above – from the morning before I left my Mums house to drive down to Bournemouth.

I got to Bournemouth the 29th May, to stay in an AirBnB till 3rd June. My first stop on this journey.

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Picture from the first busking session in Bournemouth. The drive down was mostly in rain, as I pulled into a car park, the rain cleared, but there was a still a dark cloud looming above me, I risked it and set up anyways. Just before I was about to play, a guy walked past, “I pray that it doesn’t rain on you when you play!”, his prayer worked as it didn’t rain at all, managed to play from 6-7.30pm.

The first video of this trip too. The thumbnail suggests its just 10 minutes of my face close up, unfortunately it is.

So I’ve played mostly in Bournemouth during this time, it is beautiful here. It has a park area which is a perfect spot to play in, one of the days I played a few hours in the evening closer to the seafront – here – spending most of the late afternoon watching other buskers play, such as Ethereal; video here.

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As you can see the aesthetic of playing in the gardens is beautiful, especially in the sun, it has this endless summer vibe to it. The great thing is you can play from 11am – 10pm as it’s always full of people, so there’s always a potential crowd.

So far this week, I’ve sold many CDs, had many generous donations, had very inspiring and interesting conversations, been called a ‘fat ugly beggar’, been flipped the bird by a few homeless people, had an overly excited Polish man throw me a quid and pass me a beer can, shared many smiles with strangers, made new friends (Like Ethereal and Dan the Fireman), melted in the sun, created some new songs and read book one of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’.

It’s been an enjoyable first few days on this trip, I’m sure they will continue. It’s predicted rain for a few days, I hope it doesn’t ‘Disallow’ (Rain taps, 1 generic 2 blue, counter James from activating busking ability) me from making music on the streets. I’m sure I’ll find a way.

I’ll be sure to upload more words and content for those who delve into this website, on the next Sunday that passes us. Till then, I wish you all well!

Thanks for reading!

You can download/buy my music here – https://chatfield.bandcamp.com/

Also you can donate here to help keep me playing on the streets – https://www.paypal.me/jameschatfield

 

 

‘Holding Back’ – Live on the Streets, and Other Things

From a recent busking session out in the sunny streets of Cardiff. My original song, ‘Holding Back’, written with lyrics for concerts. For now I don’t sing on the streets, but it’s something I have planned, I very much enjoy singing and making noises with my voice, but I feel my voice is not yet to a good enough standard – plenty of practice.

During this song, there was a little human in a pushchair with I guess their Granddad with them. They were smiling so cheekily and dancing so much, it’s amazing the effect music has on people and especially little babies. Most of the time they’re amazed and stare at you in such an intrigued way, ‘what is this noise?!’, ‘what is going on?!’, ‘waa?!’.

It’s been a while since I posted on here, I’ve been meaning to for months but I’ve always felt like I never had enough to say. Or that I should be writing big long posts that take days to write. Then I thought, well that just doesn’t allow me to document my busking journeys and musical endeavours. So why not just post snippets and small journal entries on a regular basis. Gives you the reader some sort of story to follow and there’d be plenty of video links etc!

i.e.

Here’s the second most recent thing I posted on YouTube;

A riff and melody idea played with my hands full. This has to be one of my favourite ways of writing and performing, the limitations and challenge within this method is so much fun! I like to push myself to be able to write in any set-up. I just wish this set-up was more portable so I could busk with it more and take it to epic woodland locations for some ‘epic videos’!

I have taken this full set-up out busking, but with the size of the set-up and my tiny car, it exerts quite a lot energy. It’s a lot of fun though, here’s a video of me performing in this way; (on a very windy day in Worcester, so excuse the amount of wind sound coming through the audio) 

 

I spent last weekend in Oxford (5th-7th April 2019), it’s such a beautiful place. Probably my favourite city within the UK, (that I’ve visited so far). I love the city, but there can be an odd crowd at times, whilst playing outside West-gate. A highly intoxicated man was standing a couple feet in front of my setup, shuffling his way down the street in a slow motion manner. I’m setting up my stuff to play, just about to plug my guitars in, when he stands still, I just look at him, ‘this is a bit weird’ I think. He stands still for a few minutes, then fills his trousers (and floor) with urine, it just pours down the street, lucky it’s on a bank and it travels away from my stuff, it was like a stream. I wanted to feel bad for the guy, but as I walked into town, he was just sat at a bench shouting abuse to random people. After he did this, in a very animated and cartoon style skit, he falls over, more slower than slow… and his head landed in the guitar case, so I’m like ‘…..what, do I do?’ A couple of people came to see if he was alright, he mumbled some abuse at them waving his arms. Another highly intoxicated man comes over and tells me he’ll sort him out, so he drags the man on the floor by his ears to the other side of the street, shouts at him ‘what you doing, you f—ing idiot, there’s kids about, yam a —-‘. Council/police come over, but he was gone into the endless dream world. When I finished playing, I walked past to see how he was, he was half asleep rolling a cigarette. The council didn’t seem impressed.

This area of Oxford ‘Bond Square’, does have tendency to gather many drunks and homeless people. Unfortunately there’s the odd occasion of unpleasantness, but most of the time, its a great place to play. Most of this group are always thankful for me playing, a few sit next to me and just watch me play, smiling loads and getting hyped about certain techniques I’m using. They’ll say “I really like it when you play here, thank you!”. These kind of moments make me believe I’m doing something good for this world. At times I feel that I’m not giving enough to this world or that I should be doing something more impacting, but I guess small things like this can truly make a difference.

Thank you for reading my post! I’ll be back with more stories soon!

If you’d like to support my journey, you can purchase my music (with a price of your choosing) on my Bandcamp page;
Here’s my latest release

Clouds on Clouds

 

Live at The Oil Basin: Drums and Tings

Earlier in November, I performed a solo set in Worcester at the Winbrew Trip Co. which later evolved into a Maefield gig (new duo, a later post will add detail), then into a huge jam with a bunch of my musician pals from Worcester.

For the gig, I played a lot of new stuff, which currently involves a small drum kit (hats, snare and kick). My set-up has changed a lot over this year, going from solo bass to double guitars 18th December 2017, now with drums/vocals and quite recently little weird additions saucepans/glockenspiel/tongue drum.

Everything keeps falling into place with the set-up. I have a vision for a much larger set-up ready for tours and bigger gigs. Slowly but surely, I’m getting there.

Here’s a track I wrote with added drums/vocals;
Written whilst staying in Liverpool.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

― Dr. Seuss

For the gig, I didn’t sing as my confidence was very low, so I stuck to just instrumental. You can listen to it all here;

 

 

‘Love Your Music’ a Note from a Lovely Busk!

It’s been one of those amazing days that has uplifted my spirit and strengthened my love for the art of street performing ☺️

While playing outside Debenhams, a woman who seemed to be having a pretty serious fall out with her partner, sat right in front of where I was playing, closed her eyes and just listened. She kept shaking her partner off as he tried to talk to her. He eventually walked off, and she sat there smiling at me. Pulled out a pen and wrote that note ‘love your music’. She kept smiling, then disappeared for a while. She came back sat down and burst into tears, sitting watching me play, smiling and crying loads. It was obvious she was in a bad way, but there was a peace inside she was holding onto and I think my music really helped her find that.
The song I was playing drawed in a crowd because of a beat that got a bunch of kids dancing, they were laughing and smiling so much and everyone who saw this happening were smiling with joy and the energy was good and high. The woman came back with a band and tied it on my arm whilst I was playing and gave me some flowers she stole from a flower bed aha! xD she also gave me a picture something she’s kept for years that has brought her luck and love, ‘hold on to this, I want you to have this as luck, you helped me today, thank you’. She left smiling and a lot of warmth and inspiration!

I also had a few people saying “why are you here? You shouldn’t be on the streets you’re too good , you should be out there on staged and festivals!”. Well sure I’d love to get gigs and festival slots, but I’m also here on the streets because of these kind of things, the spontaneity, the people I meet and the good things that I can bring.
I sometimes get filled with doubt and wonder if I’m actually doing something worth while for this world, and then things like this happens and I feel that I am doing something meaningful and good for this world, it may only be small, but I guess that’s something everyone can do a small something to make a small change, collectively being a big change.

Keep on loving and believing in yourself cause your capable of more than you know!

🙏❤️ Have a most wonderful day!