Mark plays piano on the corner of Georgia and Granville almost every day, and is the most enthusiastic man ever. He wanted me to tell everyone to â€œkeep the faith.â€ Heâ€™s in his mid-late thirties.
Only: How often do you come out here?
Mark: Well Iâ€™ve been doing this sort of scene for about twenty years. I have worked in the past in radio, government, the last job I had for seven years was for Bell Canada. But welcome to the zeros! I was downsized, pardon the pun. So… sometimes playing the music is a backup income. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, for the last while itâ€™s been a primary income. I actually live in London, Ontario. Itâ€™s pretty scary. They have something called snow. Lots of it! So what Iâ€™ve been doing for the last ten years or so is come out west – usually October/November, and then I go back out east in March/April. I also have three daughters: Jessica who is soon to be 17, Stephanie who is 15, and Brooke who is five.
O: Do they all live in Ontario?
M: Yeah they all live in London, they all live with Mum. Mum and I have been separated for a little while, so they stay with her.
O: How do you get out here then?
M: I fly. Itâ€™s real hard on the arms after a while.
O: Do you have just loads of those kinds of jokes on tap?
M: Oh yeah yeah! Shit man, youâ€™ve got to. You have to adapt. I mean, I was born as a four-way amputee. I had some work done on what I used to have as undeveloped elbows. They were surgically removed about twenty years ago. But basically I was born with shortened limbs above the knee and above the elbow. I used to draw and I used to paint. Not such a good income. You have to be dead for a painter to be recognized, and I canâ€™t really afford that. So I switched format and started playing music. Iâ€™ve never had any formal training. I used to play by earâ€”itâ€™s not as painful anymore.