Friday, February 20, 2009

Support the Arts

In Boston, we're very fortunate to have a lot of street performers and musicians. The T, our subway and bus system, welcomes musicians in the stations and thus, there are many who go there to ply their crafts. I consider it one of life's simplest and most profound privileges to listen to a guy playing a steel guitar, a flute, the keyboards, an upturned bucket, in a train station. I frequently give money to anyone I feel is serious about what they're doing, and I will linger longer than I should to hear them.

Several years ago, there was a rumor going around that the T was going to install television monitors in the train stations that would provide train info and run advertisements. I was approached by a gaggle of Bohemians and hippies toting a petition to prevent it from happening. They were upset that the TV's blare would overwhelm the musicians and prevent them from being heard. I was pretty upset too. But, instead of blindly signing the petition, I pulled out my cell phone and called the T to find out what they were planning.

The agent explained to me that they'd been getting a lot of unnecessary flack from protest groups. Yes, monitors were going to be installed, but that they were not going to have any sound at all. It would be a non-obtrusive video display.I explained this to the gaggle.

I got off the phone and explained this.

The hippies seemed to feel kinda foolish. The Bohemians put down their torches, pitchforks, rakes, and other implements of mass harvestation and sauntered off. I'm not sure if they were more relieved that the musicians were safe or if they were more disappointed to have lost thair cause.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At one time they were going to ban performers in the station as I recall. Wonder what ever happened to that one.
Personally, I want to be able to hear that garbled electronic voice telling me which train is coming into the station. Street musicians belong on the street anyway, not in the tunnels. That would make them tunnel musicians.
And never give them money, it only encourages them to make more music.

beroth: what you get in your alphabet soup when all the other letters are used up.