Friday 19 March 2010

Through A looking Glass 7

A couple of month’s ago i asked some folk who had been dropping into my blog to write a guest post.

I gave them the theme « Mirror » and i asked each of them to apply their Personal Mirror (whatever that meant to them) to any one of my posts, or part thereof.

These are the results.

The Mirror Series, Part Seven. JOHN

"My old friend Chris has invited me to guest blog on any topic he had previously chosen – as I scammed through years of his stuff, I saw a a posting on Sunday, 23 August 2009 that reminded me of this:"

Mirror Post/John

Bill Mack was a busker, a street performer - so was I. He was a puppeteer – I was a magician.

Bill lived in New York. He had a great spot to perform his puppet show. He would set up in Central Park and as the audiences came out of Shakespeare in the Park, he would perform the play they had just seen in 10 minutes. He called his show – the Royal Short Company.

We met as buskers in Edinburgh during the festival. There was a lovely gang of us, jugglers, mimes, clowns, musicians – street performers all. Of all of the gang Bill and I had a special bond – we were smokers. One of my favourite days with Bill was at Fringe Sunday during the Edinburgh festival. For a street performer, Fringe Sunday was a licence to print money. The park in Edinburgh was packed with punters just looking to be entertained. I hadn’t brought enough smokes with me and neither had Bill. All day I would try and beg smokes from my audience. I even resorted to borrowing a cigarette from an audience member during a show and making it disappear and not bring it back. I’d then retrieve it from the hidden pocket in my jacket later. If I succeeded in getting two I would find Bill and share – he did the same.

As we left the park we were tired and weighed down with coins but mostly we were desperate for a fag. In the parking lot I started a show. I did my rope routine as Bill, behind me, sat two puppets on my shoulders and heckled me. When I think back on the zillions of shows I have done, this is one of my favourites.

We instantly got a big crowd and they loved it. At the end we told the audience we didn’t want money – we wanted cigarettes. I’d say there were about 60 people in that audience – they were all non-smokers.

Years later I sat up all night long watching the news of the Pan Am airplane that had crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland. A plane that I knew Bill was on. I sat up all night long – smoking.

A few more years later I was once again on my way to the Edinburgh Festival. This time to perform inside – my own one man show. As I drove I was startled to see a sign for Lockerbie. I’m sure I must have passed Lockerbie before but then it had held no significance. I drove into the cemetery and found the Lockerbie Disaster Garden of Remembrance. I sat opposite a marker with Bill’s name on it and took out a pack of Marlboroughs. There was only one in the pack so I put it at the foot of Bills tomb stone. I had another pack in the car.

I don’t smoke anymore. I’ve finally gotten to the stage were I don’t even miss cigarettes anymore. I still miss Mack.


John's Website

John's Blog

Everything you need to know about this Mirror series

Part One of The Mirror Series here

Part Two of The Mirror Series here

Part Three of The Mirror Series here

Part Four of The Mirror Series here

Part Five of The Mirror Series here

Part Six of The Mirror Series here.


Carol Laidler said...

Reading what you said about your friend Bill, and what Chris has written too, it's hard to respond. Random moments, decisions, chance. It's just very, very sad... but the memories of the friendship, of Bill himself, are warming.

popps said...

You would have loved Bill, carol , and he, thee - i'm sure.