Pricking our pretensions

In the mall this afternoon there's a young bloke playing guitar. He's carefully dressed in something my limited knowledge can only describe as down market, very grubby, Emo. His somewhat cleaner girlfriend was paying rapt attention to the music. I can't say anything about the music; it was an arcane rhythm that this old man simply did not get! There were words being sung, but they did not appear to relate much to the music. It seems I am very old fashioned and ignorant. Or, maybe not.

At the next bench in the mall, about twenty feet along, a slightly oddball street person was vigorously playing air guitar. He had so captured something of the "alternative" nature of the music, that I first thought he was the source of the music; perhaps a CD player in his green-bag. Then I realized he was enacting an acute parody of the musician. The girlfriend began to glare as people laughed. The young man's serious musician face changed to anger.

As I came back down the mall, I saw a couple of students playing a very snappy trumpet duet. The street person was playing along with them, and all three were having a fine time. At the end of the set, they compared notes, as you do when you're taking a gig.

Oddball people are really hard to live with, sometimes. But I think we need them. They're good at spotting when the emperor is wearing no clothes.

Andrew Prior

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