When I went to Mac’s bar in Hiroshima to say farewell, I ran into Gale Barchus. This was surprising because Gale, just like me, had left Hiroshima a while ago; just like me, he was back now only for a brief visit.
Gale used to teach English at a local university, but is more widely, and perhaps better, known for his musical performances. He used to play the guitar and sing out on the street, in one of Hiroshima’s shopping arcades, but also in local bars, once in a while. Later – I wasn’t around anymore – he was joined by a Japanese woman, who sang with him.
Gale went back to Austin, Texas. He lives there in an airstream trailer (like this one), parked conveniently in a rv (recreational vehicle) park in central Austin. For some reason, the old man who owns the park & likes to groom roses doesn’t want to make milliions selling it to real estate developers. Gale teaches English at a community college, and plays music, of course. I heard Austin was a great place for music? For people who love music, yes, for musicians, not really. There’s just too many of them. Oh, and I heard there was some big music festival near Austin once a year? Oh yes, South by Southwest. Great for people who love music, but somehow puzzling. Musicians pay to play. Audiences pay to enter. Who makes all this money, one wonders, who, Gale said. As usual, a big smile came with his talking. He spoke slowly, drawing out vowels like there was no tomorrow. Big Mama Thornton sang her heart out in the background.
There’s a Japanese guy in Hiroshima who loves music from Austin and wants to promote it in Japan. He brings musicians over and organises concerts.
He produces CDs. Here is his homepage, text all in Japanese, but you get the picture.