Sunday, 1 February 2009

The quality of busking is a pain...

I used to really like Simon and Garfunkel. But my appreciation of their work has taken a bit of a dive since I moved to Madrid. It's not Paul and Art's fault. They weren't to know some of their most famous songs would be reproduced on panpipes to oompah backing tracks and inflicted daily on the Spanish Capital's Metro commuters.
Ordinarily, I really like music. I also happen to believe that deserving musicians should be rewarded for their efforts, and that includes decent buskers. But I do object to having music played at me whether I like it or not. At least with other buskers, you have the choice of walking past (with finger inserted in ear) or stopping to listen. When one descends on your carriage on Linea Circular with yet another muzak rendition of El Condor Pasa, Bridge Over Troubled Water or Sounds of Silence, you're stuck with it.
Most Spaniards have developed selective deafness and a thick skin when it comes to handing over money to musical hijackers. Which makes me wonder how many performances of S&G's Greatest Hits (panpipes interpretation) make it worth the hijacker's while.
Maybe I'm being intolerant. After all, riding the Metro isn't exactly the last word in fun and a bit of music is always welcome, isn't it?
No, it isn't. Those people who don't have a companion to talk to during the train journey seem quite happy to be left in peace to read, study or snooze. An over-loud, naff and unasked for soundtrack only serves to add to the other irritations of public transport, like over-crowding, delays and pick-pockets.
The other day, I think I had to suffer no less than four renditions of El Condor Pasa during my journey to work, each by a different busker, yet all sounding the same. Ye gods. If they must panpipe us to death on the Metro, is it too much to ask that they learn a different tune? Something by Pulp or the Sex Pistols or even The Spice Girls? If they could, if they only could...

No comments:

Post a Comment