tmcg: (duet)
[personal profile] tmcg
As linked by [ profile] sleigh and [ profile] fastfwd (that I've seen so far), Pearls Before Breakfast by Gene Weingarten, an interesting and very nicely written Washington Post article about an experiment setting up a virtuoso musician as a subway busker to see what kind of response there'd be from passersby. Includes video.

Date: 2007-04-08 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A virtuoso musician with a $3,500,000 Stradivarius.

"Actually," Bell said with a laugh, "that's not so bad, considering. That's 40 bucks an hour. I could make an okay living doing this, and I wouldn't have to pay an agent."

I don't ordinarily have much use for Gene Weingarten, but this was an interesting stunt.

Date: 2007-04-09 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's a good point, about the forty bucks an hour. I sent the link to a few Irish musicians I play with, and one of them wrote back pointing out that someone we know has been able to pay her rent by busking in the New York subways. (It also helps if you're standing on a platform where people are perforce waiting for the train to come, or playing in, say, Penn Station, where people who arrive early are hanging out waiting for their tracks to be announced, not mostly passing through hoping to catch the next subway or trying get to work in time to grab a coffee from the coffee cart in the lobby or whatever.)

And about the I was reading, I had a niggling sense of discomfort from just the concept of that instrument being played in such a generally bustling place.

Date: 2007-04-09 12:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I rather shivered at that myself -- that's one hell of an expensive instrument to be brandishing in public...

Date: 2007-04-09 12:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes! I've seen--I can still feel--the instrument breakage that can happen at gigs, and granted those were all much more crowded, chaotic conditions than this was, but I can't help a bit of a wince.

Heh, now that I think about it, that same musician who made the point about busking paying the rent was the guy who said, shortly after a fistfight broke out (and was then contained) at a pub where we were playing, "If that had gone any further, it would've been 'Save the instruments, then worry about the rest of you!'"

Date: 2007-04-09 02:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know what you mean -- my usual bass is a nice 5-string Roscoe that cost me a couple thousand bucks... and I've seen drunks in bars come awfully damn close to knocking it off its stand as they stumble past...

Date: 2007-04-09 01:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh yeah, that's very familiar. A couple of thousand bucks is about what most of our most expensive instruments cost too. Not exactly three and a half million, but valuable by our standards...and it's painful when any instrument is damaged.

I'd forgotten about that icon of you playing! That's neat. :)

Date: 2007-04-09 01:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, that's about the limit for instruments on my income! I wouldn't even want to hold a $3.5M violin, for fear I'd drop the damned thing...

Heck, his insurance on the instrument is probably more than my annual income. :-)

Date: 2007-04-09 07:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Heh, yes! And the same here, about holding a violin that valuable.

Date: 2007-04-09 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you muchly for the sapling! It is an inspired and timely gift, and truly just what I wanted. *smooch*

Date: 2007-04-09 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are most welcome! {{{you}}}

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