The Nurf Twins


Weasel and me were up in the North Sea port of Bremerhaven down on the walking street looking for a good place to play a pitch.

We come around this corner into a big square, there were loads of people watching some kind of act.

There were two guys on stilts wearing hand-sewn renaissance style leather jesters costumes. The leather pieces were all different shapes but with a leaning towards the diamond shaped harlequin style. They looked as tattered as if they had been wearing those leather duds for the last five hundred years.

The edge was thick around them, the people formed a huge circle that they chased each other around on stilts inside. One of them was tall and skinny, he had a mandolin and a large round (but shallow) drum on his back. The short guitar player had really tall stilts and a big fat drum on his back.

In addition to those instruments, they were literally covered in noisemaking thingamabobs. Crash cymbals between the knees, squeezeboxes under the arm, dingalings spurred by the elbow to the side, bells on their hats, hooty horns and lots more! Amazingly none of it required any batteries.

How they could dance around on the stilts, and play all those instruments while singing dirty German folk songs that made the audience roar with laughter was beyond me.

We caught them on their last song, and just when they had finished, the guitar player (who looked like some kind of prehistoric peasant with his beard and wild hair) pulled a cord on the side of his hat which made a curtain draw in front of his face!

What an act! When they started going around with the hat, the money was pouring in! I looked at Weasel in sheer delight at seeing probably the most inventive buskers on the planet, but he had a huge scowl on his face.

"We'll never make a fucking dime in this town with those guys around". And he was right. As if on cue, it started raining.

My mind was reeling, thinking of ways we could make our little street act more entertaining by dancing around and running all over the place like idiots. But Weasel's mood was darkening. "No money, no pussy, no dope and now this fucking rain!" The weather can make a mess of a street musician's life, and up in Northern Deutschland it sure can be unpredicatable.

I tried to convince Weasel to steal some of those guys' tricks to spice up our show and get bigger edges. He replied that getting big crowds like that doesn't always mean that you're making money. Unless you've got a girl bottling for you (who you have to split the take with!) there's no way you can make a decent profit.

Well. yes and no. Those guys were raking it in, anyone could see that. But a lot of people did disappear when they pulled out their hats, it's true. Still I harped on Weasel to consider the idea of medieval costumes like troubadours or something.

I finally got him to work out a couple of little steps to do with a few songs. We would sort of weave in and out of each other in a figure eight or do an uncoordinated kind of highland fling.

We went out after while to try our new act out (sans special costumes) and half way through the first little song and dance number, Weasel stops cold:

"I feel like a fucking fairy dancing around here in the middle of the street." And I have to admit he looked like one too. When I considered what effect that fact might have on the way people would regard ME, it soon became unanimous that we would no longer attempt to prance around in public while simultaneously failing to maintain a semblance of musical integrity on our instruments.

"And" Weasel added, "I don't want to hear any more shit about wearing faggy costumes either!"
copyright 2003 Jeff Brent

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