human, being

Maybe we’re all buskers
February 27, 2009, 5:40 pm
Filed under: As I See It

Over on A Cautionary Blog, Ms. Cautionary posted a YouTube video of herself playing the guitar and singing Feist’s Gatekeeper. She has a lovely voice–nothing manufactured or overdone, not even “professional,” but just nice to listen to.

Her video made me remember a time when I was little, when we’d go camping and someone would bring a harmonica, and someone else would bring a guitar, and we’d sing songs–yes, people, kumbayah was on the playlist. Sometimes someone would read a story, or tell a scary story. Maybe they’d say a poem.  We didn’t bring along our electronics. We’d entertain ourselves.

Today, as I recuperated from this nasty virus on the couch, I watched “Becoming Jane,” a Jane Austen docu-drama, and the same idea of self-entertainment prevailed. Back when there was no electricity to power Wiis and iPods, humans found ways to entertain each other. Maybe they weren’t talented enough then (or now) to make a living at their chosen artform. But they expressed themselves nonetheless, and their audiences enjoyed what they heard and had fun.

I grew up thinking that if I sang in front of people out of joy or read my poetry–two things I’m quite good at–then I was a show-off, and not very attractive. I still carry some of that today. I’m fine disclosing some of my most private thoughts here, but would I ever be so brave as to post a YouTube video of myself singing … AND LINK TO IT HERE? Never. in. a. million. years.

I feel like we have all gotten so used to our entertainment being “perfect”–engineered perfect pitch in our music, actors and actresses with no wrinkles despite their advancing ages, dancers whose slight errors are covered up by a switch of camera shots, or later editing–that we fail to appreciate the talents of those around us. Sure, they may never win American Idol or get cast on CSI, but they are talented nonetheless. I’m sure that many of my friends write but never show anyone their words, or sing, or play an instrument — but only when no one else is around. We’d never know it, because we’re not “good enough” to show it.

The Internet is once again giving people a venue to show off their talents. Maybe they’re good at doing pushups, or maybe they’re good at singing, like Ms. Cautionary. They’re getting brave enough, or silly enough, or exhibitionistic enough to put their work out there. Some of what is out there is horribly bad. Some of it’s pretty good, and some of it is downright great.

Maybe the Internet going to turn more of us into buskers of sorts, doing our thing on the electronic sidewalk. And if we’re not out there busking ourselves, we’re paying those who are in pageviews.

I kinda like that.


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: