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Monday, 29 January 2018

Disposable heroes of musical hypocrisy

I've banged on before about the bewildering tendency people have to just throw away perfectly good stuff.

CDs - chuck 'em. Books - bung 'em. Musical instruments - stop making music with 'em and sling 'em in the street.

In the trash, bin, garbage, dumpster.

I'm ranting like this because of a little incident from last week. So there I am, meandering through a back-alley of Shoreditch in east London (as is my wont), when what do I come across but ... a rather large electric piano thing. Dumped. It was out in the rubbish with some office furniture. None of which looked beyond repair. In fact, the opposite - it all looked quite good.

The piano in question was apparently a Williams Encore, a rather clunky-looking thing in a vaguely "retro" faux-wood cabinet. Not exactly beautiful, but then so what if it makes music?


Anyway, this particular story of musical mistreatment has a happy ending. A colleague at the place where I work kindly salvaged it and passed it on to a friend of his who can apparently make use of it (I'm told it works well enough, albeit that one of the keys is faulty).

Why do people throw away things like this? If stuff works/has some possible value to someone, can't they pass them on? Presumably, though, that would be too much trouble. As you may have noticed, we're living in a distinctly weird hyper-consumerist society dominated by advertising, gleaming new products and instant online purchases. Inevitably, "old" things are forever at risk.

And the people who own items like electric pianos, notwithstanding that they presumably like music and might even affect a vaguely "cultural/spiritual" persona based on this, are often still depressingly quick to abandon whatever's deemed outmoded. So scuffed-up stuff like the poor old Encore gets knifed in the alley.

So yes, dear reader, we're living in a world of disposable musical hypocrisy. Out with old, in with that new overpriced thing I've just got from Amazon. But let's - just for once - take a moment to appreciate the underappreciated. Let's put our hands together for all those chucked-in-the-alleyway musical instruments. Come on! Let's reclaim them from the rubbish and get them back on stage! One more time. Let's hear it for the junked instruments. Encore! Encore! Encore!

Postscript:
So I've just received this photograph of the instrument in question, happily nestling in its new place of abode. 



How sweet, no? Now it'll be properly treasured, playing with loving hands, admired by friends and family. Except ... that exposed brick wall might remind the poor traumatised keyboard of how it was thoughtlessly thrown into the alley. And there's a rather too-nearby-for-comfort rubbish bin ...





  





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