Business Genius

I moved to Denmark from the UK, this is my blog.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The flute player

A flautist got on my tube this evening and began playing. He was quite good. He did a medley of rather sad little tunes and then hurriedly pulled a plastic bag out of his pocket and walked quickly up and down the carriage with it held out in front of him. He didn't seem to want to ask for money though. It was just a perfunctory gesture. No-one put any money in the bag and he went and stood by the door staring out into the dark of the tunnel. It was a strange interlude. As he played one got that odd sense of something piercing the all-pervasive veil of ordinariness; a defiance of the tacit agreement that in confined public spaces, no effort should be made to fill the void between people - metaphysically I mean. Such incidents jar. They are uncomfortable, not just because they force people to examine their consciences. 'Should I give him some money? No, I didn't ask him to come in here and play.' They are also uncomfortable because one inevitably ends up considering the nature of the musician's situation. What pecuniary straits must he be in to come and busk in this way? Most people instinctively and sanctimoniously rejected what they saw as an imposition and pretended he was not there, that he did not exist. Eventually our indifference told and when we stopped he got out and I lost him in the crowd of bodies streaming away, their faces blurring as we picked up speed, indistinguishable from one another. Then blackness and a return to the void. The lights flicker and briefly dim, we are approaching the next station.


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