Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heart of Stone.

I'm used to hearing and seeing the worst performers ever on public transportation.  There was a woman in NY who played a Fisher-Price piano type thing that she could also blow into, so you can imagine how well that went.  The music was never the main part of her act though.  It was the fact that she stood with one leg on the train floor, one leg leaning up against a pole, and 2 hands on the piano horn.  At every stop she would struggle to keep from flying to the ground. 
It was actually pretty sad.

That's why last night's train ride home was such a pleasant surprise.  When I entered the station I was welcomed by what can only be described as the best Doo-Wop group I've ever heard. I'm a sucker for a good Doo-Wop group.  And when they broke out into a crazy rendition of The Tymes' So Much In Love I thought to myself, "Take note, piano horn lady." 

When the train rolled up I was disappointed that I'd have to leave the music, but awesomely, all of the guys got on my train car. So for my entire ride home, non-stop insanely good Doo-Wop. I once had a Mariachi Band ride on my train car from Queensboro to Shea, but after about 4 subway stops of Mariachi, you tend to get the gist.  

During a cover of We Are The World--the Doo-Wop cover, not the Mariachi--the entire train car started clapping in unison. People were swaying back and forth, singing along, smiling. It was a total goose bump moment without even the slightest hint of cheesiness. I was looking around the train car, amazed by how quickly a group of strangers can connect, when I saw a girl sitting across from me, hunched over a huge text book, basically frowning, using her hands to cover her ears in such an exaggerated fashion it looked like she was holding a basketball instead of her head.  It killed me. What kind of igneous rock does your heart have to be made of to get so mad during free train ride Doo-Wop?


Macnabbs said...

There are two ways to handle buskers on public transport, the first is to go with the flow and enjoy yourself and hope to God that the bloke has mastered the music and that his rendition of ‘Baker Street’ (an Underground fave) is not on a par with ‘saxophone key stage 1’. The other way is to take the ‘great, I’ve had a whole day of grinding humiliation and here’s the capper’ and either frown or open your briefcase, reach into the foam-packed interior and hastily assemble an anti-busker rocket launcher.

I recall once when a bloke with a microphone, amp, sequined jacket and silver top hat got on the carriage and started on his routine. My reaction, apart obviously from covering his top hat, was to think that this was all going to end very badly and that when the carriage pulled into the next station, there’d be one dead busker and, like Murder on the Orient Express, a whole carriage full of suspects. I strongly suspect the solution would be like Murder on the Orient Express too.

Love the idea of a band in a carriage though. But what would really impress would be a marching band! That’s right, tromping the length of the train with a baton twirler out front.

Jess said...

Great idea about the marching band. Fall weather always puts me in the mood for a good fight song.

Also, way to use busker appropriately. For the longest time I had no clue what a busker was (I thought it was some kind of basket or barrel maker) and it always confused me why the law was so set on keeping them off the train. I used to think to myself, "Is it a space issue? Because I'm sure most buskers keep their barrels in the workshop. And how big is the barrel-making industry that the amount of buskers taking public transit to work has created a problem that warrants a sign? "