Wednesday, February 25, 2009

making my way with love and pity

On the subway back from buying 5/32" plexi drill bits (for plastic not made of plastic) my ears happened to be assailed by a terrible 4 part a capella butchering of "Stand By Me." A common enough occurrence. And they were given money. Again, not surprising. But that got me thinking. Here they are all these varied and various subway musicians, singers, etc. or various skill levels, but mostly they are not good enough to get paying gigs and so for love of the game come and practice in the subway for pity and change. I suppose it plays into the "A for Effort" mentality. People give money to these guys because "at least they are trying". I find that to be a terrible reason to reward a terrible musician. It gives them hope, makes them dream big of the days when they won't suck so hard. Or, it further crushes their dreams brining the desperate realization that it is only pity and the talent they so long dreamed of having will never be achieved and the best that they can hope for is some drunk tourist accompanying them as they do an acoustic hackjob of "Stairway to Heaven" or a sacreligious rendering of Dylan (harmonica rack and all). Personally, I figure the money would be better served tossed on the street for the ambitious to chase after. At least their humiliation would be less soul crushing.

1 comment:

euterpe's bitch said...

I don't believe in the whole "A for Effort" racket. It's bullshit. Here's a concrete, real-world example of why the concept is crap that I think most people can agree with. We don't give Olympic medals to athletes who "tried really hard" but still came in 10th. You are either one of the top three fastest/best/twirliest, or you're not. And if you're not, we don't give a shit. We don't give you the Lead Medal for coming in last, even though you "tried really hard." We send you home in tears. 'Nuff said.

And another thing. Subway music, for the most part, sucks. People give those jackasses money because they feel obligated. They were "entertained," however unwillingly, and in this country, we are conditioned to pay for our entertainment, because the days of free, government-sponsored bread and circuses is fucking over. But as far as I'm concerned, strumming an off-key guitar at a literally captive audience does not qualify as entertainment. In the case of some of these would-be pop-stars, it probably violates the Geneva Convention. I'm saving my quarters for coffee, goddamn it. Go howl at the moon elsewhere.