“Off on your travels again?”

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I’ve been bouncing about a little again. “Off on your travels again?” as my Nan would say. Back on the road. Which is where I’ve always felt comfortable, even if it’s a night sleeping in the car eating tiger bread and spinach for dinner, I really enjoy it. The element of the unknown and adventuring is there. Since the last blog post on here, I’ve been across to Carmarthenshire, then to Worcestershire and now I reside in Oxfordshire, I think then heading back that way again – to Worcestershire and then to Carmarthenshire.

Because in Carmarthen, I was fortunate enough to have a cosy chalet offered to me by a friend Ken, who owns the Pantyrathro International Hostel. Having stayed there in the summer and performed a show there, Ken said: “anytime you need a place to stay you’re more than welcome to come by here, in exchange for a gig or two“. Arriving on the 4th of Feb, I spent a couple weeks here. An incredibly quiet and relaxing space to be in. The chalet park itself was empty, it was an all-round peaceful place. Waking up to the sound of sheep and bird songs, a morning view of the rolling hills of Carmarthenshire. It served as a space to heal some mental wounds and to reestablish a drive to create music and step back out on the road again. Close by to the town of Carmarthenshire, busking was mostly done there, with some trips to Haverfordwest and Swansea. I can’t wait to go back there! Morning walks across the beach and through the rolling hills, then a space to write music and read plenty. It’s also so great to sit with Ken at the bar, grab a drink and hear about his travelling stories (he travelled across the world since the age of 15, running around meeting many and gathering; artefacts, art and material from all parts of the world, selling them in UK markets during summer, funding his travels for winter). 

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A goal here was to write some new songs and sing some words. Instead, I developed habits of songwriting and practising regularly. So there aren’t complete songs that I was hoping for, but seeds were planted and half-written songs were created. Which I am now developing as I busk. It’s an interesting way to develop songs, taking a small idea composed in focused practice and then improvising around it a bunch whilst out busking – testing different avenues for the song to venture down. Part of me still feels I sound the same and play the same songs over and over again, but I do see the development even if it is a little bit.

Below are some videos, taken from a busking set in Haverfordwest and one in Carmarthen. The second is an improvisation with a passing flautist, I never caught his name, he kind of just appeared, pulled out his flute and started jamming. He rode a bike that was an amalgamation of several bikes, colourful and mix-match. Supporting the XR flag on the back end of the bike, he came from the XR gathering that was happening just west of that busking pitch, a drumming parade around the town handing flyers to the locals. Carmarthen itself is quite green and forward-thinking, lots of vegan cafes, a zero-waste store, many independent establishments. It is such a lovely place, and with each busk, I would meet new people and have some really great conversations, the locals really seemed to appreciate my music.

“I’ve got no money, but I can give you a handshake!”
The kindness of a stranger is brilliant and hilarious 🙂

“Take everything you own and put it in your car, you can drive away, you can drive so far” – Newton Faulkner

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That’s kind of what I’ve done. Packed all I own into my tiny car and started to drive away. I don’t own much and don’t plan to either, I try to minimise my possessions as much as I can, and avoid buying new things. Because there isn’t really anything I need or desire, other than; to create, explore, learn and connect with others. All I really need is my friends and family, the equipment to create and perform music, some good books and a mode of transportation – and a boatload of rice and beans.

I’ve been busking in Oxford from 23rd Feb till yesterday (27th). And from that created a lot of new musical ideas, experimenting more with my delay pedal. During last summer I made a habit of recording at least one busking set and uploading the entire set to this Bandcamp page;

26th Feb 2020, Cornmarket 7pm, Oxford by Chatfield Audio Journal

Revisiting that website I’ve uploaded and hope to continue doing so. I record at least one busking set per busking day and have no idea what to do with the backlog of it all. So in the form of this – ‘Audio Journal’, or an album of my favourites in ‘Captured Moments’, seems the better way. Or maybe never upload any of this music and just leave it to float around in the streets in the time I am there?

Here’s a more favoured improvisation from recent busking sets 🙂 Going for a more electronica sound.

I guess the point of this blog post was a brief catch up of the journey that has been had. I’ll aim to upload more frequently and with more interesting stories! 🙂

 

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