The BIG FAT WORLD Busking Tour – Chris Smart
Ahoy there this is your Captain speaking. Have you seen any good buskers lately ? If so, I hope you made a donation or at least acknowledged with a smile or gracious comment your enjoyment of their effort. As a busker myself, my purpose in writing this blog is to encourage and advance the art of street performance, storytelling and dwelling on the fringe in general. Over the last few years I have been travelling in New Zealand and Australia performing at markets and on the street making money and friends along the way. In the summer of 2010 I spent 5 months touring New Zealand with my 3 cigar box guitars, a stomp box, my ukelele, tambourine and harmonicas. Oh yeah, and my inflatable surfboard. Somehow I managed to get this kit on a moped, on buses and planes and into vehicles sympathetic to my objective . That objective being to busk in 50 different locations between Keri Keri near the top of the North Island and Queenstown in the South Island and anywhere in between. I enjoyed some great company by looking up long lost cousins, fraternising with other buskers and just hanging at the beach in the Bay of Plenty and the Coromandel area. I am thankful for the brief time I spent in Christchurch host of a great annual International Buskers Festival before the devastation of that city by the earthquake earlier this year.
I called this busking, surfing, travelling adventure ” The BIG FAT WORLD Busking Tour ” and I managed to busk in 48 locations – 2 locations short of my objective. Now some folks ( the diligent and determined types ) need to finish whatever they start and some folks like me never seem to finis anythi . . . Sometimes I stop in the middle of a song when I’m playing on the street but the reason for this is either: A) someone wants to buy my cd and /or talk about my weird equipment B) I forget the words C) it’s time to scratch my arse. So to all those great Kiwi folk who saw me busking and stop n start a bit I’m gonna remedy the situation for both of us. I’m coming back to the Land of the Long White Cloud, home of the Maori people and a country steeped in the traditions of performance and cultural art. Yeah I’m going to make everything good again. In the summer of 2012 I will be returning to resume ” The Big FAT WORLD Busking Tour. I will be posting right here on this very blog my whereabouts, my feelings, my gig dates and my photos and videos. During the last Big FAT WORLD BUSKING Tour I spent a fair proportion of my time in and around the port city of Tauranga. During the summer, international cruise ship season is in full swing and some days when ships were in port thousands of passengers would be disgorged to experience the tourism highlights of the surrounding area. After a enjoyng a tiki tour to Rotorua ( geysers, mudpools and Maori culture ) they would swarm the shops and beaches of Mount Maunganui where the cruise ship terminal is located. And that is where we would set up and busk for them. The local Chamber of Commerce even paid some of us buskers to put our hat out at markets and events held during the cruise boat season. It is here in the Bay of Plenty that I encountered and befriended some great buskers and folk and blues performers.
Chris Smart is my standout favourite blues busker – like most Maori singers, his voice is full of soul – he has perfect pitch and is an awesome guitar picker. Chris also has a wicked sense of humor and is a great songwriter. Sometimes after a days busking Chris & I got together for a beer and a smoke at the pub Whakamaramara”. He is a dedicated and experienced busker and a generous guy as you will see in the film I made of him singing the words ” the dollar is made to go from hand to hand “. If you see Chris Smart performing, by donating a dollar or two or buying his cd you are supporting a truly talented busker. The real deal ! During the 2010 Big FAT WORLD Busking Tour I was also fortunate to be on the bill at THE MARCHWOOD BLUES PICNIC which is New Zealand’s best blues concert. Held in February each year on Peter & Carol Archer’s orchard Marchwood in Youngson Road near Omokoroa Beach. Yeah, Captain Tricko met such great Bay of Plenty musicians at The BLUES PICNIC and was so warmly welcomed into their family the good Captain had a bit of trouble getting back to the 50 town tour objective. To Tim, Grant Haua, John Michaelz, Perry Kohu, Peter Archer and Chris Smart it is the prolonged stay in the Bay of Plenty to enjoy your friendship and your scornful advice to me regarding my use of the 50 cc moped to get around that probably saved my life. LORD HAVE MERCY ! ! !
I have come to the end of this blog post with a promise to my Mum and my Bay of Plenty friends that during my forthcoming 2012 Big FAT WORLD Busking Tour I will not be getting to the market, the busking pitch or the beach or the pub on a scooter. I am going to get myself a van, a volkswagon if I can find a good one. I am hoping to hook up with my friend Kath, a fine singer and guitar player I met in Mooloolaba in the summer of 2005. Kath lives in the desert in Utah, Nevada and she too is a sailor. A licensed Captain, Kath works in the Caribbean and Pacific as crew on super yachts and will be visiting New Zealand during the coming summer. I hope we can go busking together – so keep a good lookout ( International Collision Regulations rule 5 ) for a couple of captains performing on a street or market near you. Ain’t life grand ! ! !