A short item…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s unusual pencil sharpener is the one shaped like a loud cough in a cathedral.
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My favourite cafe here in Dulltown is at the edge of a large open square; in the square there is often a busker, a plump middle-aged man who sits on a folding stool and plays popular, ‘nice’, and rather slushy tunes finger-style on a classical guitar (Candle in the Wind springs to mind as a good example). The guitar is plugged into a small, but surprisingly loud, battery-powered amplifier. I hate the blandness of his music and the unnecessary loudness in equal measure.
On Friday I happened to be in the cafe late in the day; the busker had been doing his sloppy stuff in the square most of the afternoon, but I could see out of the window that he had just finished and was packing up his equipment. He wandered across and came into the cafe, plonked all his gear at a table close to mine and went off to the bar. He came back with a drink and a snack and sat down encircled by the various bags and cases containing his guitar, stool, amplifier, etc.
On the wall, high above us was one of the cafe’s loudspeakers, I think it was playing songs by Stevie Wonder at the time – it was reasonably loud, but not unpleasantly so. The man stirred his tea, poked his muffin around a bit and then took out of his pocket a tiny tinny radio and switched it on, and turned it up; I think it was tuned to a station broadcasting coverage of some sporting event, possibly a football match. From where I was sitting the commentator, the crowd, and Stevie W were competing in volume, but no one was winning; the combination of the two sound sources was, as you can imagine, pretty horrible, but the chap seemed oblivious to this racket, and ate his cake and drank his tea quite happily in the middle of it all. Aren’t musicians supposed to be delicate and sensitive souls? What kind of musician could bear to listen to that awful confusion of sound?…
Answer: one who likes to play Candle in the Wind on nylon strings, in public, at high volume.
I had to gulp down my tea and leave…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in art, cafe, existentialism, guitars, Hull.UK., humour, information, music, observations, surrealism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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