It is just after 8 a.m. on sunny but cold Monday morning.
Rows of morning rush hour traffic speeds past Trevor Barry as he stands in the middle of the median at the corner of Saanich Road and Highway 17. He wears a white cap with an elongated rim popular during the height of 1980s synth pop, and in keeping with his wardrobe, he fingers out Careless Whisper by George Michael on the saxphone that he received from his grandmother on his 10th birthday.
A professionally-dressed woman in her late 20s, early 30s, on her way to work hears the decidedly romantic music and stops to listen, before crossing the highway. Barry notices her and the two exchange a friendly wave and a smile, with Barry reminding her, ever so gently, that he is one of 18 candidates running for councillor in Saanich.
“I don’t do road-signs for elections, because I think elections are an ugly use of public space, and they don’t add to the community conservation,” he said. “This doesn’t do a lot to add to the political conversation, but at least its community, and it is a way I cannot spend money, and still try to get my name, my image, my brand, my message out.”
Barry started to play for potential voters just before Saanich’s second all-candidates forum on Wednesday, Sept. 26. He has been warming up crowds attending various forums since then, and recently expanded his potential audience by playing around town in the mornings and in the afternoon. “This is probably my sixth morning [show],” he said. He will play his 10th afternoon show this afternoon, likely at the intersection of Shelbourne Street and McKenzie Avenue.
Barry, who plays in a local big band, digs deep into the song catalogue. His favourite artist is bee-booper Charlie Parker, but he covers a wide range, from Henry Maccini (Pink Panther) to Gerry Rafferty (Bakersfield) to TV themes from the Flintstones to Paw Patrol. “The TV theme songs are for the kids,” he said. He also fulfills audience request. “This weekend, I went downtown around the club scene, looking for Saanich residents, and everybody wanted to Careless Whisper [by] George Michael, sexy jazz man, so I learnt that one.”
It might have earned him at least one, may be two extra votes.