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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Will Pay You to Stop; or Pearl Contemplates Buskercide

I am standing at the bus stop. 

And I am listening to a sunburnt, disheveled woman with a voice like a brass gong explain to a sunburnt, disheveled man how “big government is ruining the entrepreneurial spirit” of the United States – all while clutching a sign that says “Anything Helps.  God Bless!” – when the man on the recorder starts up.

The man on the recorder. 

The man with the skillz needed to play both Three Blind Mice and Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

There he is, on the corner of Nicollet and 8th:  a man with the burning desire to share a less-than-average gift with the world.

His rendition of Three Blind Mice is one thing. 

But his version of Popeye the Sailor Man is another.

Popeye the Sailor Man:  Eight bars of simplicity beaten into shrill, trilling submission by a man with an upended top hat at his feet.

Look.  I have nothing against buskers, against street musicians.  I don’t mind the guy that advertises a personalized poem for a dollar.  And I certainly don’t begrudge a living to the little South American dude with the accordion or the toothless man that claps his hands and sings “Oh, Happy Day”. 

But the man who plays the recorder? 

I want to crush him.

Is my violent reaction because of the way he plays nursery tunes, the instrument pointed toward the heavens in ecstasy?  The way he closes his eyes and sways, moved by his trilling virtuosity?  The way he seems to know only the very beginning of Somewhere Over the Rainbow yet manages to make it last for ten minutes?

Frankly, it’s all those things. 



I don’t know, man.  I think I need a vacation or something.  


38 comments:

Shelly said...

Come south, Pearlie! We've got beaches, and ocean, and some darn good musicians~

Suze said...

So, the title took me by surprise and made me laugh. I don't think I'll be trying to drop it into conversation today, tho ... :)

Pearl said...

Shelly, I am seriously considering it. :-)

Suze, I believe buskercide is still frowned upon, no matter how much one feels one has been provoked!

Ray Denzel said...

You are cute even when you are screaming inside!

Pearl said...

Ray, :-)

TexWisGirl said...

feeling a tad bit stressed, are you? :) this made me laugh, though.

goatman said...

I have seen the recorder played in a formal orchestra. It seems to be an adaptable instrument.

I always thought of it as a practice device.

jenny_o said...

I have to disagree with you there. It's not that a vacation wouldn't be a fine idea; it always is. The problem is that you're blaming your reaction on stress, when even from this far away I can clearly hear that man tying up and torturing that innocent music.

Get yer tube socks and oranges ready. Sounds like you need them.

Pearl said...

TexWis, things could always be worse, I suppose. :-)

goatman, you know, I can see someone talented getting a pretty sweet Irish ditty out of it, but I'm with you: always struck me as a practice instrument.

Jenny_o, LOL! Wish I'd thought of that!

Douglas said...

Could be worse, he could be playing bagpipes.

Pearl said...

Douglas, but if he was playing the bagpipes, we might get a look at 'is knees.

Hubba hubba.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Haey - dinnae dis the pipes mon! Nor the recorder. I am an orchestral recorder player - all five species of it. Ancient flute of good order.

The instrument is just fine. The player I too have issues with. You have my permission to make marmalade a la tubular leg wear. @} YAM xx

Rose said...

**laughing**

:D Thank you.

Delores said...

Downtown is full of discord this summer and it's not all city council...some of it is recorder music.

Simply Suthern said...

Thanks goodness they don't actually record anything.

We had to buy one for our daughter in elementary school. It's kinda like paying someone to pull teeth without numbing them first.

Pearl said...

Yamini, I fear this recorder is a poor substitute for either the instrument itself or the musician!

Rose, any time! :-)

Delores, there IS something weird about this summer. Or is there something weird every summer? I forget between seasons. :-)

Simply, the elementary-school recorder is a gate-way instrument, man. :-)

joeh said...

At least we get enjoyment out of your misery...is that wrong?

Al Penwasser said...

I feel badly. All I can play is the kazoo.

Pearl said...

joeh, I am willing to suffer on your behalf.

Al, don't see yourself short. You're an AWESOME kazoo player. :-)

Daisy said...

You probably kept hearing it over and over again in your head all day too, I would guess. Arrgh!


"I'm Popeye the sailor man..." :D

Indigo Roth said...

I recommend a long holiday in England! If you're quick, the rain is still lovely and warm! =) x

Pearl said...

Dammit, Daisy!!! :-)

Indigo, :-) Summer in London! Well, I probably wouldn't have to quick get a base tan, would I?

Jinksy said...

Makes me glad I don't have to stand around at bus stops... :)

Gigi said...

My views might be considered extreme here - but the man, on the recorder, butchering nursery rhymes? Well, he needs to go. No two ways about it.

There I said it. Send all hate mail to Pearl.

Launna said...

Don't pay him to stop... he might keep playing... lol

Joanne Noragon said...

Actually, Pearl, you need a new bus stop.

Lin said...

Ooooh! Have you heard the new Target adds with the recorders???
go to: http://youtu.be/T8HTmTnfDYE

Maybe he's working on the next commercial gig???

Elephant's Child said...

Some days, some bus stops, no jury would convict on the buskercide charge. And if they had to listen to the busker in question you might get an award. We have a singer whose voice could rend a paper cup into shreds....

HermanTurnip said...

Ah...the recorder. The one instrument I was forced to learn in elementary school...and remains to this day the one instrument I despise. I could never get the song The Lion Sleeps Tonight fully down, and because of that I earned a 'C' in music class. That 'C' is my scarlet letter. My own personal iron mask. The crimp in my soul.

The frickin' recorder...

jabblog said...

The recorder is a tiresome instrument even when perfectly played by professionals - no dynamics.

Kymbo Whitford said...

I hate buskers...and carnies (sorry Pearl) but they annoy the heck out of me.

River said...

We have a busker here in Adelaide who plays the recorder really well, but when he plays the saxophone, you think you've died and gone to heaven, he's that good. I always toss him a few gold coins more than I give the others. Perhaps I should send him to Minnesota to play for you? He plays the clarinet as well.

jeanie said...

It must be a sociology experiment - else why would someone try to extract money from fools who only tolerate that instrument under duress when played by the fruit of their loins (or their loinfruits loins)?

There is a thesis in it, I bet.

George Turnbull said...

Hello Perlchen,

I haven't popped in for a long time! Still working those keys to the max girlie!

If you ever need a vacation, Cardiff isn't the place I'm afraid!

Linda O'Connell said...

I had to put my fingers in my ears just reading about the recorder guy. Hope you're healing.

Diane Tolley said...

Whyte Ave. in Edmonton. But hurry. We're expecting snow before the end of the month.

Rose L said...

Maybe he is just learning. Be supportive, and walk away Pearl--walk away!

Pat Tillett said...

Don't get me wrong, I really like street musicians. However, in my humble opinion, they MUST have some talent, or I won't give them a dime.