Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Birthday Party

We're at Schooner Wharf now, listening to Michael McCloud with Carl and Bubba. They're playing their rendition of Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits), and Carl is laying down a solo that displays his virtuosity on the guitar. It's a beautiful day (again), blue skies and a few white clouds. There's a pretty good crowd in today.

I'm talking to Richard, a SWB regular, who tells me that he's a musician and songwriter, not currently employed as such, and that he spent some time in a federal penitentiary where he wrote three songs that he's currently holding on to until he decides what to do with them. He goes on then to verify what he told me by reciting from memory the half-dozen verses and the chorus of one of the songs, then discussing the structure of the piece knowledgeably, and telling me about the steps one goes through to have a song published and promoted. I told Richard about the young man we met at the Plantation an hour ago, Ben is his name. He's a musician too, and arrived in Key West late last night with a friend. He plans to live here for a while. His friend just came along for the ride. Ben, the musician, has begin looking for a place to live, a shared apartment if possible. He didn't say that he was looking for work as a musician, but I told him anyway that it's hard for a musician to break into the music scene here. When I told Richard about Ben, he offered the opinion that "he can do it if he wants to work hard enough. We are each our own producer, director, booking agent, and everything else." "And", I added, "we are each the star of our own show."

We got to SWB at about one o'clock, and just found out that Greer's birthday party and cake aren't until five, so we're going to have to stick here for a while longer. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

As McCloud and Company wind down for the day (and five o'clock approaches), Michael announces that the main "floor" area of the restaurant are being reconfigured for the band that is to follow them, and the staff begins to remove tables and umbrellas to make the dance floor more than twice as large as normal. It's the first time I've ever seen them do this at SWB. The band coming on is Jim Morris and the Big Bamboo Band, a Buffett-like band with a good following among Parrotheads. The Parrotheads themselves are beginning to arrive and, by the time we leave at about seven o'clock, the enlarged dance floor is elbow-to-elbow with dancers and just-plain-listeners. Janet was out there for a couple of songs, but gives up when a crazed dancer almost hits her with the bottle that he's waving around while dancing.

So, homeward we go.

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