Saturday, February 23, 2008

I wrote this during the T-Radio hoopla, and I never did put it in typed form, what with the whole thing blowing over faster than anticipated. I thought I might as well share. Enjoy. (To clarify, the T-Radio spectre has not reared its vapid and annoying head again; this is now anachronistic.)

Buskers On The M(B)TA (with apologies to whoever needs them)

These are the times that try our souls. In the course of our nation's history, the people of Boston have rallied bravely whenever the rights of people have been threatened. Today, a new crisis has arisen. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, better known as the M. B. T. A., is attempting to levy a burdensome torment on the population in the form of T-Radio. Citizens, hear me out! This could happen to you!

Well, let me tell you all a story of the subway buskers
On a tragic and fateful day
They all headed underground, but to their amazement,
There was radio in the subway

Did they ever return? No, they never returned,
And their fate is still unlearned
Now there's just commercials 'neath the streets of Boston
'cause the music never returned

The musicians set up in their spot at North Station
But before they could play a note,
A speaker crackled, blasted out a commercial
And the day's latest stock quotes.


The musicians called the T, and the T folks answered,
"Why must you make a fuss?
All those fare increases, they just didn't do it,
More money needs to come to us!"


Now all day long, buskers sit in the station
Crying "What will become of us?
It's cold outside and we can't play in the subway
And it's too crowded on the bus!"


No more guitars or singing, no more fiddles or banjos
The accordians have gone away
Now there's piped-in pop music, and ads, and sports scores
And the lotto numbers of the day.


All you citizens of Boston, don't you think it's a scandal
For the T to take live music away?
Let them know your feelings, contact Dan Grabauskas,
Keep live music on the MBTA!

Or else we'll never return, no we'll never return
And our fate will stay unlearned
There'll be just commercials 'neath the streets of Boston
'cause the music will never return!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Speaking of Park Street...

I realize that you, kind commuters, don't have time to dash off the train, tip me, and dash back on, necessarily, and I do appreciate the desire to tip me, but really, it's OK if you don't. I would prefer that to being pelted with coins from the train. It's surprisingly painful to be smacked in the ankle with a quarter.
There's never a dull moment, really.

I was busking at Park Street, Red Line. The busker's spot is on the center platform; there's a platform on either side of the tracks as well (in case anyone's reading this who is unfamiliar with the station).

On the Ashmont/Braintree platform, a man was pacing around, talking to nobody I could see, becoming somewhat agitated. This is not an unusual occurrence. Although it's difficult to hear that far, I got the impression that he was becoming impatient for his train.

So then he went over and hit the emergency call box that is a direct line to the T police. I heard the dispatcher answer, and the dialogue went a little something like this:

Guy: When will the next train to Ashmont be at Park Street?
Dispatcher: (answer, suggestion that this was not really an emergency)

Then the train came.

So there we have it; proof that even a god can't make the MBTA run on time.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Busking at Government Center, Green Line.

A middle-aged woman in a powder-blue Red Sox cap pulled down over her eyes was going around fake sneezing and saying "I'm allergic to evil!"

I have a hard time hearing when I'm playing, so I wasn't sure if she said "evil" or "fiddle", so I wasn't sure if she was talking to me per se...I mean, she was, because she fake-sneezed over my case and said it twice; I just couldn't quite understand her. Then I saw she was going around doing the same thing to everyone else on the platform until a T inspector had a word with her. Then she got on the train.

I talked to the T inspector, who said "She's got problems; she's gonna do that to the wrong person and get herself punched out. You can't be goin' around doin' that to people. She's uneasy."

Of course, I thought of comebacks later; it's probably just as well I don't think of these things in the moment.

"Really? I'm allergic to evil too! But it's mostly evil hamsters."
"Have you tried the new ClariSin tablets?"
"Oh? I'm allergic to crazy/ignorant/Red Sox hats."
Anything in another language

I think too much.