Saturday, September 17, 2011

I had a busy day yesterday ...

... and I walked my taters off, what with all of these people that I needed to see.

First step was to find the Canadian Government department dealing with commercial visas for people setting up businesses in Canada. After much searching and enlistment of the Fredericton City Hall, we eventually discovered that I need to speak to the Population Growth Secretariat (but why them I have no idea).

Eventually I cut through swathes of red tape and blagged myself an interview with them. Her first question was, surprisingly enough, "how would your project help the growth of New Brunswick's population?"
Never one to hold back when the occasion presents it self (as I have done so often in the past to my cost) I replied "if I told you that you would probably have me arrested".
She tried again "we are trying to encourage the growth of young families here"
"Well", I replied, "just because I look over the hill doesn't mean that I am, and I still have considerable expectations along that line. If a suitable young woman were to present herself, I shall certainly try my best".

And so she had another go. "You need to show some kind of proof of ability to invest $75,000 in your project"
"Well, I can put on the table proof of about $300,000 in cash" I replied. "Would that do?"

I picked up her pencil and notepad from the floor and handed it back to her, and I have to come back for my visa interview next Friday.

From there seeing as I was in a good mood I went down to the Festival offices. Giving them a story about me writing another (yes, another - I'm not short on the mendacity bit when it comes to furthering my own interests) travel book, I managed to blag a press pass for the Festival and since then I've been ambling around all kinds of different venues. I've seen some good acts, and some ... errr ... less-good acts. But everyone gets full marks for trying and when I go back to France I'm going to dust off my bass guitar and start to play again. If some people can do it, then so can I.  

Highlight of the evening was Taj Mahal, an ancient blues singer from Harlem. he had a bass and drums backing him and they were simple but remarkably effective. Taj Mahal himself played some of his own compositions, a few old standards (including "Good Morning Miss Brown" which was in our repertoire with "Orient Express" back in 1974) and generally took the mickey out of the audience "I recorded this song when 'it's squid-dipping time in Nova Scotia' was top of the Canadian hit parade".

Probably the most exciting moment though was when the bobby car pulled up alongside two street buskers. Sensing an "interaction" I prepared the camera, but all I photographed was the cop's fingers beating on the door in time to an old blues number the name of which I have unfortunately forgotten.

And that reminds me - I've been here two nights and three days and that was the ... errrr ... THIRD copper that I have seen at the festival. Just imagine that in the UK. The event wouldn't have ever taken place in the UK either - Health and Safety would have run amok with everything that has gone on here that I have seen. I just hope that it never makes it to Canada.

Anyway, I'm off now to hit the town for today's entertainment. I'll probably walk my taters off again but who cares? I know that you lot don't.

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