April 10th, 2007

MBTA Quarter

(no subject)

Looks like they've got the animated ad on the Red Line running again between Harvard and Central station, now that the track work is done and trains can go by at regular speed. Only caught the tail end of it; I believe it's for running shoes, which is quite appropriate. Most of the ads they used a few years ago were for products and services that promised escape, the great outdoors, fresh-air freedom, and, in the case of Target's ad, beautiful people in white running around outside through a rain of bullseye Target logos. You can see how that'd appeal to those of us stuck in a tin can hurtling through an underground conduit. (On the other hand, the ads I've seen from Broadway to South Station usually involve orange juice, so I'm guessing theirs is a morning commute theme kind of thing.)

I'm particularly intrigued by the reactions to the Washington Post piece on the busking virtuoso that's been gettin' all them blogs a-buzz (lookit all them little bees buzzin around an' everything!) While I think "Pearls Before Breakfast" makes for a dandy article name, I can't say I'm so quick to join up and lay down the Uncultured Philistine smack on the residents of Washington, DC for not recognizing a famous violinist in their midst. I mean, really, hands up, folks: who had heard of Joshua Bell before reading that piece? Okay, use your free hand to give yourself a cookie, but I freely admit I'd never heard of the fellow before, though he sounds like an amazing performer.

I have a busker or two on my friends list and I hope they can corroborate this next point with me, the point that subway busking is a transitory experience (if you can pardon the word choice there.) Mr. Bell was stationed at the entrance to one of the busiest Metro stations at the height of morning rush. In that location, folks are going to come and go quickly and if you can imagine your own commute, you'll know that there are times when you've had to rush out the door, down to the car, or dash to the train station to make the 7:17 train because if you wait for the 7:20 train, you'll be late, or you won't get a good seat, or you'll turn into a pumpkin, or whatever. If you want a crowd to gather, you go where people stand around. Had Mr. Bell performed on the train platform, I wager, more folks would have listened more closely while they waited for their train. It may be less of a comment on individual ignorance and more of a comment on our society, ruled by the clock as it is, that one should no longer expect people to stop and appreciate beauty; you've got to offer it to them when they're stopped.

I also wonder how many people passed by as he played and took the music with them. Even just hearing a fragment of a tune as you pass by can get it into your head. Perhaps you carry that tune around with you for a while. Heck, it could even set your whole mood for the day. If you think of it in Sims terms or somesuch, imagine everybody in that video who passed by as Bell played gained a musical note over their head. Think of all the people on the platforms, then, with musical notes over their head, little glowing eighth notes, getting on trains, dispersing elsewhere, and perhaps spreading, via a good mood, notes to others. I dunno. It made for a nifty visual, that's for sure.

But the folks with iPods, well, they're on their own here. By choice.
Make Mine Moxie


I simultaneously A. wish I could be at Fenway right about now as the Sox' season home opener has turned into an absolute circus, and B. am glad I'm taking the T through downtown before the game gets out, because the subway will be turned into an absolute circus.

At least I don't have to take the Green Line!