The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

August 30, 2004

Impressions from France (6)

Lewis Trondheim and people in the metro
from Lewis Trondheim, Approximativement. Paris: Cornélius, 2001.

I reckon that the Paris Métro must be something like the world's largest concert hall — or at least the world's largest concert hall of bad music. In addition to musically inept buskers in the stations, you have also a rather remarkable number of buskers on the trains. I don't dare to guess just exactly how many mobile buskers there are, but on one day I enjoyed no less than five performances, although two of them were by the same old man and his accordion on line 2. He wasn't even bad, but his performance didn't really make up for what I had had to endure before, a heartrending performance of "Besame mucho" and "O sole mio" smattered into a portable amplifier by a guy with a Casio keyboard, too much brillantine in his hair and no singing talent whatsoever.

With so many buskers on the network, I wonder whether there are any rules among them as to who can be where, and what happens if two of them want to board the same train at the same time.

And as on the many occasions when a busker entered a train I never — never — saw anyone give any of them any money, I also wonder why they even bother.

Cut to Vienna: Yesterday, I saw the ultimate picture of futility: two street musicians, most likely from some Eastern European country, one of them strumming a guitar with broken strings, the other making weird atonal sounds with a violin. They had set themselves up in a street adjoining the university, where there are absolutely no students at this time of the year, no tourists at any time of the year, and pretty much nobody else the rest of the time. How they expected to get money for the scratching noises they produced was strange enough (well, the pity factor might work), but how they expected to get any money in this particular place is shrouded in mystery.

Posted by Horst on August 30, 2004 06:46 PM to the land of Potz | Tell-a-friend

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