Internal Rhythm by Letters and Colours' Gerry Miller

Every so often I turn the page over to singer and guitar player Gerry Miller. Gerry plays in a fantastic Sheffield UK band Letters and Colours.
About today's post -
I went to photo exhibition and there was a picture of a busker with a mustache in a tattered old white suite. He was playing a violin. I asked the photographer about him and he said "'he was a very proud man. He insisted on combing his hair before I took the picture." G.M.
Internal rhythm by Gerry Miller

I'm a great musician. I do street performances regularly and introduce new people to my music. Most respond favourably. They smile and put money into my hat.

I had no formal training, but my father was eager for me to progress in music. He bought me a violin for my 9th birthday from a pawn shop in the district I still live in.

I borrowed libary books, and began to teach myself. I wasn't familar with much of the music in the books, so I listened out for them on the radio. When I heard them they were almost unrecognizable from what I used to play from the book. This made me feel good. I was already interpretating pieces in my own style.

These days I write my own music. I don't listen to the radio anymore, but I hear a lot of modern music coming out from the shops near were I perform. I don't like it much, as they all need a beat, I dont need a beat. My music has internal rythym.

I watch people while I perform. I watch the people who are disinterested. They are generally opposites, either very quiet and fearful of the city, or very loud and too comfortable in their surroundings. I like the first. I just wish they had a bit more confidence. I used to get moved on by the police. But I've found a place now. They don't seem to mind me performing here. They just leave me to my business. The police dont like music.They have no internal rythym. But few people do. I have internal rythym.

Sometimes a man comes to watch me perform. He dances too. But I don't like it when he dances as he has no internal rythym. He is never in time to the music. I get angry, but I dont want to say anything to him that might upset him. I tell myself he only likes my music. But I may have to move on again soon to somewhere he wont come. But I like it here and the police leave me be.

I don't like to hurt or upset people. If I don't interfere too much with people they leave me to my own devices. They dont mind me playing my music as long as I don't pester them for money. I'm thankful.

But kids, kids are different. I get trouble from kids a lot. They make fun of my hair and my moustache. I find that hurtful. I make a real effort with my presentation, few of the other street performers bother. I dont like the other street performers. They're beggars not musicians. They want to get more money so they dress untidely. I wear my white suit. It's 20 years old. It's well worn, but its neat and tidy. I'm well presented.

I'm also well presented in my private life too. I enjoy the company of ladies. And visit some of them at the supermarkets were they work. They know my name. And I know theirs. I often see them on there way home from work when I perform. They do shifts, I know their patterns. I want to get closer. I'm plucking up the courage to invite them out with me sometime. To spend some time with me. I miss a lot of opportunities.

I smile. I say nice things. I instigate conversation. I can make people laugh. People leave me with a smile. I smile too. I like to be pleasent. And a like pleasent people.

I dont like unpleasentness. People who drink and smoke. People who gamble. I knew a lot of people like that. They made trouble for me. So I stay away from such people now.

I'm in control now. I do and say as I please. I come and go as I please. Control. I am in control of what I do and where I go. It's a freedom that I didn't have for a very long time. But I learn.

I make note in my own way, of things that happen around me. We can always learn. I'm a great believer in the capacity to learn even now. I still have my libary card. You don't have to renew anymore like we had to every year. It's a lifetime membership. It's the only membership I have. I don't go to clubs.

I used to play a lot of sport but I never liked it. It's competitive and you have to rely on others. I don't rely on others, its part of my control. If I make a mistake it's only me that suffers, nobody else. I find that comforting. And then there's some that seek to patronize. They talk tome about poverty. About a simple existence. About limited education. They don't talk about my pride or my presentation or my libary card. Thats all over-looked. They have no internal rythym. They have no grip on live. Not like I do.

I make claims. I know I make a lot of claims. But I have proof too. People talk of age and experience, but they seldom go hand in hand. But I've lived. I've remained sober too. I don't like drinks and I don't like smoke. I had enough of the people who do when I was young.

I'm in a safe corner now, where the police leave me. Where people respond favourably and put money into my hat. Where that damn man dances. And where the kids tease me for my hair style and my moustache.

But my moustache means I'm a man. My white hair says I'm an old man. And, my suit says I'm an old man that cares about his apperance.

And I am an Old man that cares about his apperance.

But Lord knows I've seen those who arent what they appear to be. And I've suffered through it. Slings and arrows. But I've left unpleasentness behind. I hope. I smile. I smile and laugh at the pretty girls in the supermarkets who know my name. They laugh. I persue. I chase. But I have stiff opposition and very few possessions.

I am desired too. Members of my audience. I'm pursuer and pusured. But I'm never caught and I never catch up.

I've been doing the same thing in the same place for a longtime now. i grew up in this district. I never left my home. People are dead now. And it some ways alone. But I'm not really alone.

I've got internal rythym.

Note: the attached photos do not include the one which Gerry saw in exhibition but I thought them a good fit. Gerry wanted me to tell you this is a work in progress. Its parts may end up in a song...

Recent Gerry Miller articles on the RSL blog:

RSL exclusive: Letters and Colours musician on the UK indie rock scene

Gerry Miller: Poetry from Sheffield England


Letters and Colours - Bigger Than Life mp3

Letters and Colours - Chase the Bull mp3

Letters and Colours - Cause and Effect (the I Love Poland remix) mp3


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