“Quickly to Lille and Back”, Falmouth Screamed with Excitement

DSC02609.JPGFalmouth 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?

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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

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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

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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!

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Alain

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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

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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.

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CD Artwork by Vanessa – Dunkirk

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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

 

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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.

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

 

 

The Loving Dancing Spirit, Freida

 

Freida danced for ages when I first busked in Winchester! She had crazy energy and the best dance moves! Her Mum videoed it and sent it my way!
Video above was from March 2018

Video below is from yesterdays busk in Winchester! She heard my music from the top of the high street, said to her Mum “Is that him?!”, “I think so!”. Then came running down, I looked up and saw here high bouncy energy jumping all over the place again! It was just incredible! More kids joined in and there was a small group of toddlers jumping around like crazy. Colin Kennaugh captured a moment of her dancing;

Any Step Forward is a Step Forward – Worcester Busking 19.06.18

Any step forward is a step forward. Make sure to celebrate all the achievements and progressions you make, no matter how tiny they may be!
Learning to love the grind and the journey towards your goals is important! Because that’s where the real magic comes and where you’ll learn so much. I’ve fallen in love with constantly pushing myself to do more and progress as a person, a musician, and a composer. I love the fact that I could be releasing tonnes of content each week, yet it only be seen by a few and almost undiscovered, like a hidden little thing, I love the idea that one day someone may come across my music and really connect with it, then learn that I’ve tonnes of videos and recordings to consume. I have no desire to become ‘rich and famous’, I just want to add value to as many peoples lives as I can with my music and words. So this is why I will always make the effort to release all the music in my soul and put everything I do out to the online world for people to consume for free! For me, one step is one more piece of content distributed on some internet platform i.e YouTube or Instagram,  and I want to take so many steps to create so much content. If anything I want to leave this world knowing that I’ve given everything I have!

Any step forward is a step forward.

Much love,

James x

Busking Wolverhampton on a Monday Afternoon – 18th June 2018

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Out busking in Wolverhampton on a Monday afternoon. New place, haven’t busked here before, and honestly may not busk here again. It’s been good and I met a lot of friendly faces who seemed to really enjoy my music, above video is a perfect example. But it’s a strange place to busk, a strange energy that I don’t quite understand. There are busking rules here too, which is great, it’s great that the council appreciate buskers and have made specific busking spots. But that comes with limitations, because the spots were made from a councils point of view rather than looking through a buskers eyes, they aren’t located in the best spots, and almost hide you away from the public, so it causes limitations on what you can do here. Also because the council walk around the city centre, if you’re not in a set busking spot you’ll get moved on. And unfortunately after my first busk, the other spots were occupied by people who are unfortunately homeless, so I couldn’t just set up next to them, I don’t want to upset anyone, I just want to help.
So these busking spot rules kind of stopped me from busking more than 90 minutes, which is fine, I played music and made people smile.

That’s all I want to do. I just want to make music to be heard by many people, to relax them and send them to chilled out spaces in their mind, and play music on the streets to make people smile. I don’t care for money or fame, all I want is too add value to this world and the people in it.
So I’m grateful for what I have and what I’m able to do, busking truly has bought so much value to my life and to others. I get lovely messages from people saying I helped brighten their day and make their day. So for that I feel like I’m doing some good for this world.
And to those who follow my blog and read this, thank you, I am grateful for your time and support.

I hope you have a most wonderful evening!

Much love,
James x

Also made this little beat today;