Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Accordions

I have heard more accordion music in the last four months since - well, forever. There was an accordion player on the train I took to meet Jean at the airport (the RER B), but I didn't get a photo, though I did give him a tip. There was another accordion player on one of the metro lines I rode this last weekend in Paris, and I tipped him as well, but didn't think to take out my camera first. They all seem to play the same thing, the Paris accordionists, a medley of "Those Were The Days" and "La Vie En Rose" and the one I don't know the name of but you'd recognize instantly: laaaa, la laaaaa, la laaaaa, la-la-la and so on, followed by the fast part that goes da da daaaa da, da de diddle-iddle-ee (repeat, then back to the slow part). You know the one I'm talking about. The accordion players in Paris are all men, at least so far as I've seen, as are the ones in Tours, like the guy at the farmer's market back in October. But in Oslo, there were a lot of women begging on the streets, and some played the accordion, like this woman in Vigeland Park. All of the street people in Norway seemed to be from the same general population, because they all looked very similar. Bulgaria, maybe? Romania? Some sort of Eastern European genotype, and always in many layers of skirts and headscarves. It's more of a mixed bag in Paris, and in Tours they're mostly younger people sitting in doorways with cups outstretched, though there is one older gentleman who sets up shop near the town center as well. I'll drop a coin or two into a musician's hat, but tend to not give money to some of the more strung-out looking men I see, though I will give something to most women, especially if they're older. I can't see anyone of the age I remember my grandmother as out on the street without feeling really very guilty and since I can't take them all home as grandmothers to me the least I can do is provide the price of a cup of coffee or something.

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