Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival – 15th June 2019
A very insanely packed beginning to a rather spontaneous journey. Previous to this picture, I was out busking in Truro chatting with Gavin Randle (sax). An interesting and very enthusiastic character, solo sax busker. He expressed very heavily that I should go to the ‘Sea Shanty’ in Falmouth. I had no plans that eve, so thought why not go check it out, I can busk there for the eve. As soon as I pulled into Falmouth, I could hear this chorus of Chanteys (working sailor songs). Pirates, Mermaids and Sailors were drunkenly swaying throughout the narrow colourful streets. Everywhere I turned, someone was singing a beautiful line from a known Chantey, or swigging down a pint of ale, or laughing hysterically at their too-drunk-to-stand friend, or trying to seduce a mermaid by beating their not-too-drunk-to-fight-back-friend (which lead into a street brawl, friendly..I think). It was a mix of many wonderful and hilarious sights and sounds. I spent an hour wondering around seeing where I could pitch up and play. Found a reasonable pitch and excitedly ran back to my car to grab my gear, dancing with a few pirates and mermaids on the return journey.
I set up with little expectations, but I just wanted to play. First note hitting both guitars at once, caught the attention of a guy with a long-board, he froze “oh, that looks cool”, I just smiled at him and carried on playing. “Yo, come here, check this out man!” the guy shouted to his group of friends, “oh, shit, that’s insane”. They were the beginning of a crowd, probably the biggest crowd I’ve played to whilst busking solo. It got insane within minutes. I looked down mid song, then looked back up and the crowd had multiplied. It was such a narrow street, which caused more attention, stopping people from continuing on, so they stuck around. The picture above doesn’t quite capture the full crowd that gathered. An excited girl ran over to the guitar case to throw a coin in and look at the CDs, she flicked through the selection of designs laughing along. Threw in a tenner and ran off excited to her friends. Then many followed, the CD case was at 28, but depleted at the end of my set – wicked, I just spent the week hiding from rain, sleeping rough and eating on a super tight budget (chickpeas, microwave rice packets and bananas), this was a blessing, a big one. An overwhelming flow of gratitude poured from my mind into my hands with energy unlike any other, exploding performances followed, I wanted to give these crowds everything I could.
Finished the set. Ah a rest, exhaustion came. I wanted to continue, but I felt to overwhelmed, part of me wish I had, but that could of caused the next opportunity to fade = France and Vanessa. The little decisions can cause big doors to open, choose wisely and thoughtfully.
Vanessa spoke with excitement, eyes filled with wonder, “that music just happened? whoa”. With only a few days experimenting in photography Vanessa sat for 80% of that busking set taking pictures, just in the cove of the shop next door. We chatted on Falmouth high street, three days later we were on our way to Dover, to catch a ferry to France. Spontaneity at it’s finest, or perhaps a path already dug out by the wanderers of the fourth dimension?
Chichester (A stop before Dover) – 19th June 2019
Cooking mighty vegan cuisine on the Jurassic coast, beach cleaning, setting up a tent in the dark and getting bitten to death by creatures of the night (little tiny insects of such, not Vampires or Werewolf’s) proved a fine start to this adventure.
“I’m going on an adventure!”
– Bilbo Baggins
Somewhere on the English Channel – 5:00 am 20th July 2019
After a very uncomfortable ‘sleep’ (more like shutting your eyes wishing you were in an actual bed) in Hotel Kia Picanto (car, too small to sleep two), we made it onto Dover docks and into the ferry which took us to Calais! First stop. There wasn’t really a plan, just, “lets go to France!” …… “okay!”. To busk, delve deeper into the experiments of photography, explore and learn – that was the plan.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish in such a short time period and how far you can travel, head down, commit and get on with it, forget procrastination and forget the excuses, just actually do it, like actually do that thing you said you always wanted to do, now! Yes you, write it down, on paper, with a pen, a crayon or something…
1) ‘what’s something I’d love to experience or do?’ ask the question
2) write a list, brainstorm, explore other peoples bucket lists, what did you want to do as a child?
3) pick one
4) take a leap, whats the worst that can happen? (don’t answer that)
5) enjoy the journey – that is the most important part – THE JOURNEY
6) scream with excitement and dance
Dunkirk Docks – Cétacé – 21st June 2019
“If you play well, you can stay on my boat”, Alain. The music and setting brought the drunken sailors to a silence. Gentle strokes of water against the boat ‘Cétacé’, distance sounds of a street festival and tapping feet accompanied this performance. Wine, dancing, laughing and getting lost in translation, an absolute ending to a splendid day. We were welcomed to stay on the boat, as the music was well.
We met Alain the afternoon of the 21st. After wild camping somewhere near ‘Calais’ – which I do not recommend as this is considered dangerous to a local (Alain warned us when we told him), there have been many cases of thievery and assault to those camping. So please keep that in mind if you plan to backpack northern France. Luckily we had a safe rest, also much more comfortable than in the car, actual sleep, yes!
But we met Alain! Exploring Dunkirk, Vanessa roamed the docks while I went to pick up food. I came back to find Vanessa on the boat with Alain and friends. They were extremely friendly, offering food and drinks, welcoming us to their world. We got lost in translation at times, my French and accent is – awful. He built the boat over 20 years, and has sailed around the world most of his life. Speaking many languages learnt during his travels, but his memories recently been damaged as he went through a major operation that literally involved slicing his entire chest open. He’s a strong, determined and extremely loving person. The morning we left to drive to Lille, he gave us a key to his dock, “you can come any time, any time!”, we returned later on the trip. The love he holds for his family and friends, determination to continue working and travelling even after a seriously major operation, is just super inspiring!
Lille – 22nd/23rd June 2019
To be playing amongst such marvellous architecture felt amazing, the same affects apply across countries with busking, the music makes people stop and smile. Music is a universal language and so natural that it makes everyone feel something, good or bad. Busking seems to filters out those who feel something good and creates a connection, right there in the moment, and I love it more each day. People would come over, in French complimenting (I think..) and with my bad accent would reply with, ‘Merci’, I didn’t have many responses in my vocabulary, I wished I’d learnt more, I will learn more! ¡Pero mi español es muy bueno!
When busking out in Calais, at 19:00 when no-one was really around, a group of kids were watching and kept running back and forth to their parent for coins. They then came out with a menu from the restaurant “you want food or you want drink?”, I had a few minutes before leaving for a campsite, they brought over an espresso, the Mum came over and made sure I had a place to stay and food to eat. At one point busking in Lille, a man came over with a fresh cold 2 litre water bottle, it was melting hot (the weather), very generous, very thoughtful, also sent a nice message via Instagram the day after. The French are so lovely! I mean everyone is, but I felt a different appreciation to music here in comparison to England. It’s difficult to explain, it’s just different, but I suppose it is another country and in some sense another world!
Travel! It’s good for the soul, and good for understanding what you want to do with this gift we have called life. Travel out somewhere you’ve never been or heard of before. In this real world, not the virtual reality that we easily get absorbed into. It’s not a matter of money, just courage, taking a leap of faith and changing your way of life. There’s many ways to work abroad/whilst travelling, places to volunteer and help, places to explore your soul and find love. Choose life! Travel is a way to explore yourself in an infinite of ways, and there are infinite ways to live your life.
– this video by Prince Era will pump up your motivation.
“Don’t let your dreams be dreams”
– Jack Johnson
Vanessa – In the Car, Some Road, Somewhere, Planet Earth
The one behind the camera, capturing the great moments, a wondering mind and a wonder – Vanessa. It’s always amazing meeting others who have the same desire to explore and learn about the world in every possible way. Vanessa has dreamt of exploring ever since she was little, holding compasses and drawing boats, inspired by her father who was an explorer, owner of a hot air balloon business in Africa and who helped gift life to Vanessa and gifted Vanessa to this world. She dreams of living on a boat and sailing around the world, and she will do exactly that and more, unquestionably. A friend for life and a massive inspiration to not give up in working hard towards improving ones mind and body. It almost seems like tiny pieces were brought together for us to cross paths at the right moment in time, to take this adventure and help one another. As our paths continue progressively upwards, there’s a chance they may not cross until next year, 2020.
CD Artwork by Vanessa – Dunkirk
Drawing CDs – Garden of Giants – Lille, France – 22nd June 2019
The trip in France was short and sweet, but there was no plan with regards to a time frame. We bought a one-way ticket and left the adventure open. But with commitments back in England, we had to start making our way back at some point. It was spontaneous, it was wonder-filled, it was enlightening and it was important!
We made our way to Dartmoor for wild camping when we arrived back in England. We landed and made sandwiches/coffee in some small street down back end of Dover. “Couldn’t ya of found better place for breakfast?!” a builder shouted at us as he saw us prepping the fuel for the morning, at 7:00am.
Onwards on the route of the coastal tour!
I write this being with family in my home town, catching up with everyone and fuelling up with new songs and a bag full of new CDs.
Falmouth to Lille and Back – 2019