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Shaster

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  1. Understand your position regarding your gig Notes. I did a backyard BBQ that I was going to decline. The host mentioned all the safety protocols, and that he wasn't inviting anyone that wasn't double vaccinated and generally cautious. Then he basically said that for some people, this might be the last year they could attend, either due to death or becoming infirm. He was joking, but only sort of. I've been gigging back at my airport venue, and I've been wearing my mask - so far so good. I also have a Jazz festival gig (45 minutes) indoors, that was supposed to be outside, so that will be a masked gig as well. Got a boat cruise coming up, where everyone has to be vaccinated but as we know, one can still spread Covid even if vaccinated. Yep, the saga continues. Stay safe.
  2. I did my first indoor live gig since 2020 on June 13th. It felt pretty strange, and the band sat outside on the patio during the breaks. Except for the singer, we all wore masks. It was a small band doing a tribute to Dinah Washington - vocalist, acoustic piano, string bass and guitar, although the bass player and I had amps and the piano was mic'ed. I wrote all the charts for the gig, so all we needed was a forty minute Zoom rehearsal - yay! A couple of days later, I got a last minute call to play a downtown "exclusive" club. It was a patio gig, so I said sure. PA was provided. It was the usual, play background music, but don't fade into the background! Even though I used to play that venue every month or so, I could take it or leave it now. I think I've developed a bit of an attitude during the Big Break. Still and all, that's two gigs in one month. That ties my pandemic record, and that brings me to three gigs this year. Got one scheduled for July and one for September. I'm tired just thinking about it...
  3. Well I did the taping for Coastal Jazz, that went well. We all had our masks on except for the singer, who had this floor to ceiling plexi in front of her. Everyone was standing apart and I didn't feel too nervous, especially as I've had my first Pfizer shot. My Valentine's gigs went sideways, sort of a disagreement with me and the higher ups. They wanted some singing, and I didn't think it was appropriate. Just as well, it was quite the snow storm over the Valentine's Day weekend. Plus, the hotel is now one of the official isolation hotels for air travellers. Thanks, but no thanks Spending my time rediscovering my mothballed guitars and reconfiguring my pedalboards (over and over again). Looking to build a looper rig just for fun. If all goes well, I'll get my second Pfizer shot next week.
  4. Nothing in 2022 yet, but I've got three in February 2021. I'm doing Valentine's weekend as a solo and a band taping for Coastal Jazz Winter Festival with Dalannah. https://www.coastaljazz.ca/event/dalannah-gail-bowen I'm still picky about which gigs I take, but because I'm an essential visitor for my Mother, I got part one of the Pfizer jab last Friday. Not sure when part two will be, as the plant in Belgium is temporarily closed, and Canada doesn't get any product from Kalamazoo. My current gig status reminds me of Grade 9 and 10, when my band would play 5 to 10 gigs a year, and we would think we were really making it
  5. Ha ha. Probably a discount of some sort, but quarantine is always the issue! Pre pandemic and post vaccine, YVR Fairmont is a great choice. You can't get stuck in traffic and miss your plane, the staff is fantastic, it's a 25 or so train ride to downtown Vancouver, and there's a casino nearby (in normal times). Plus it's a short cab ride to some of the best Asian food on the West Coast, due to the large Asian contingent from China that live nearby. As I've mentioned, I played there every Monday for three years. Took me a while to find something to do with my Mondays after the music was cencelled.
  6. I'm sensing this isn't the place to debate whether Covid is overblown or not, but I can say I know of a half dozen people who have had, or rather have admitted that they have had Covid. Two of them died, one almost died, one had to temporarily close their business, another was quite ill for some time. Now maybe they all lied to me, and the dead people are hiding out on an island, but like I said, I just don't want to debate Covid. Anyway... I took my gigs because I knew the room was very large, and would be very quiet and I trusted that the staff would be very stringent with health protocols. That, and it facilitated my EI claims; but like I said, I am in no rush to get back to the grind under these circumstances.. Notes, sorry for your loss. I'm am however, so glad that you and Leilani are getting the vaccine. Way to advocate for yourselves. Stay safe.
  7. Getting my hedge cut tomorrow. Costing me over a grand but the last time I cut my hedge, I got bad tennis elbow and could barely play for a couple of weeks. Hmmm come to think of it, I'm not playing anyway, but OTOH I won't use an electric chainsaw in the rain, and all it does is rain here So I finished my "string" of holiday gigs. December 24th, 25th and 31st. Very quiet. NYE had some diners in the restaurant next to me, one person sitting at the bar, a table in the meeting room behind the fireplace wall and at most six or seven people in the lounge. I might have mentioned that unlike the USA, our airport is very quiet. Ninety percent down in business, the hotel might be around that too. It was great to see the staff, but strange to play to no one (although as far as covid goes, that was fine}. Wearing a mask for four hours was a drag. Except for keeping my chops up, I'm in no rush to do more gigs - at least not inside. Btw the area shown in the picture is only half the lounge, and the restaurant past the fireplace is the same size as the lounge. The musos set up by the column shown, and play through a Bose L1. There's another L1 about fifty feet away - echo city if it's up too loud. Happy New Year everyone!
  8. Just got the contract for my hotel Xmas gigs, so it's a go so far. My agent stipulated that I will be far away from the crowd. Also interesting that there is a Covid clause in the contract. If the room gets shut down due to a health order, there is no cancellation fee paid to me. First time I've seen a pandemic clause...
  9. Yeah, I just might pass on the tip jar. Or bring tongs to handle the money!
  10. I know a few folks that are up against the wall with their Macs and OS, and trying to browse properly. It's finny that for all the comments about Bill Gates trying to put 5G chips in our cereal, Apple is sometimes the big bad brother, forcing one to upgrade or "perish". Looks like you maybe found a work-around, so good stuff.
  11. Well now I have to put up or shup up. Just got offered the 24th, 25th and 31st of December, all instrumentals, in a very large and modern lounge. I would wear a mask and be away from the diners. Much safer than a grocery store clerk or a bus driver, but nothing is 100%. So far I've said yes, but I'll be watching the numbers...
  12. I haven't checked for awhile, but I trust everyone is doing as well as can be expected. It's been so long since I've posted, it's possible I'm about to repeat myself - oh well... blame it on 2020. I haven't been doing much. Filmed a couple of "live" videos for some streaming jazz concerts (with a band). If I find the links I might post them. I did one live outdoor gig in August and that's about it. I've turned down a few gigs because it felt strange to risk my health for a hundred bucks. Mainly been working on this radio musical for a friend. It's way more work than I thought but it keeps me out of trouble. Re: decks, I spent the money I had set aside for recording a CD on replacing our two decks. One plywood and vinyl top, and one cedar. Got rid of the thirty year old hot tub, and have done a bunch of other grunt work around the house. I've had a few nibbles for Christmas day gigs, but I'm thinking of passing. The Covid numbers are going up here in Vancouver, and it might not be worth it to play. Stay safe folks.
  13. I've only had one gig offer since the lock-down. It was for a backyard BBQ, and I turned it down. Our chief medical officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, has done a great job of locking things down and keeping the rates of Covid very low here, but I still feel a bit Corona shy. I was feeling pretty sick for awhile and actually went to get the test. Felt like a hot poker up the nose (the test have improved since). The test was negative, but it was a sobering experience. I'm happy to ride things out, and work on my massive TO DO list. I try to practice guitar for a couple hours a day, just in case a gig comes up that I'll feel comfortable doing, but like I said, I'm in no rush. Have fun on your gig, and like Dr. Henry always says; be kind, be calm and be safe.
  14. Yes it's really hard to say when gigs might start flowing again. Maybe not until a vaccine. Having said that, I know of one fellow solo musician, that got flown (in a helicopter) over to a town to do a parking lot serenade. He played 15 or 20 minutes in a parking lot to a third floor balcony (with small PA) and then got flown home. I'm assuming social distancing and/or a personal protective device was used on the helicopter. Maybe "Rapunzel" gigs are the wave of the future. As I mentioned, and as have others, I've been saving for emergencies. Just didn't know it would be for the Zombie Apocalypse. In Canada we have the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit which bridges the gap for self employed and gig workers. It pays a taxable benefit of $2000 every four weeks, currently for a maximum of four payments. It's not a bundle but it's way better than nothing. And kudos to the programmers. As long as you have filed your taxes and have an online tax account, the whole process takes under three minutes! I feel for folks like Notes that have to jump through their EI... hurdles. In BC we also have some rental and other reliefs, although I own, so they don't apply to me. Other than that, I think I'll start working on Xmas tunes. Just not sure if they'll be for Xmas 2020 or Xmas 2021...
  15. I played March 16th, and that's been that. It was arguably the largest lounge in my town, so social distancing was not an issue. Oddly enough it was a really good night. Afterwards, the bartender joked that I was like a musician on the Titanic, playing tunes while the ship went down. The manager also bought me a beer at the end of the night (only the second one in three years) and wished me well. I've been playing the gig for three plus years, and specifically, every Monday for over two years. I had never missed a Monday. It was very strange not playing there this past Monday. Lately, I had been loosing lounge gigs to DJ's, so my gig count had gone down, maybe 15 gigs a month, but now all my end of March gigs and April gigs have been cancelled. One of my favourite yearly gigs was playing a 45 minute (sometimes less) set of Jazz standards with great musicians, to a great crowd, and free drinks! All for $200 each. They actually are paying us half: now that's classy. Anyway, I have emergency savings, and I had also planned on doing a little CD, so I guess I could use those funds if I had to. The trouble and strife has a pretty good pension, and my kid still lives at home and still has a job, so I don't have to worry about that... I've only had two vacations in twenty-five years, so while this pandemic is of course, a life and death situation, and a very serious economic hardship for many, I am in some ways relishing the time off. I just wish it wasn't under these circumstances. Take care all, and stay safe.
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