May 13, 2004

On University

On University just east of Au Coquelet, an oldish guy, thin weather-beaten face, slightly toothless looking, blue work overalls and checked shirt, battered leather shoes, sits against the wall single-mindledly playing an old portable Casio or Roland for change. He can obviously play, but there's something wrong: there's a melody and some sort of line, some sort of rhythm, no bad notes, but ... going past him I realise it sounds like random chunks –- sometimes just a note or two, other times a bar or so -– are just missing. The time signature keeps changing, the melodies and cadences don’t quite fit together....

Around the corner on Shattuck, under the scaffolding, a tall young guy in cowboy boots, stetson, blue jeans, open white shirt strolls north strumming a three-quarter size guitar, singing a slow country song with a big smile on his face.

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