Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Last night, as I was going to the Zendo, I stood near an older gent busking on the subway platform with an accordion. I’m a sucker for accordions -- I have no idea why -- and as you know, I’m also a huge fan of ‘50s and ‘60s pop culture. Thus, if an accordion player launches into “Lara's Theme” or “Never On Sunday,” it is virtually a personal rule that I must give them a dollar.

Of course, that’s just what this guy did. After hustling a little too rapidly through something from Tchaikovsky he started “Lara's Theme” (from the movie "Doctor Zhivago," and also known as “Somewhere My Love”). I gave him a dollar, quite happily. Then there was an awkward period when every time he started something new he looked at me for approval, because I was his only acknowledged fan, and after a few songs I was glad when the train came.

When I was a kid, I had a music box that played “Lara’s Theme.” My grandmother had given it to my mom as a gift, and after a few years my mom -- not particularly the music-box type -- passed it on to me. It was shaped like a victrola, with a gold aluminum horn, and the box was clear lucite so you could see all the little parts working when the music played. I had it for years, though over time the horn got dented and the lucite box began to come apart, so much so that eventually it interfered with the mechanism and “Lara’s Theme” was forever silenced.

At least, from that particular source.

(Photo: Bleecker Street, Jan. 2008)


  1. Great post! I can see you standing there by the accordian player.

    One of my good friends is part of a huge accordian collective - I guess that's what you call it - in Brooklyn. Sometime when I'm in NYC we should go hear her band play. I hear they're fabulous.

  2. I've never heard the word busking before. Since we don't have many places that the public can gather here in Hooterville, it is not a word we would use.

  3. The accordion is such an outdated instrument and so geeky that it is cool. I love it. My grandparents had a friend who played when I was a kid and when he would come over we'd all dance around. It made everyone so happy. I have not seen or heard anyone playing this in the subway however but it is something to look forward to.

  4. ooh, yes, i'm a sucker for accordion buskers as well! haven't come across one in a while...

  5. ah, accordions strike a deep chord in those of us who possess a bit of a gypsy soul I expect.

    I love, love, love accordions and am proud to say it!

    when I fantasize about being able to play an instrument, there are two instruments I fantasize about - the accordion and the violin (but not in that order) ....I definitely must have been a gypsy in a former life.

    hey, I'm adding shadows and light to my blogroll....the only question is how have I not done this before!!

    accordions, joni, graffiti, doors, and oh so more...how have I not added you before!!!

    oh the circle grows! blessed be!!

  6. and cats - how did I miss listing cats!!!!!!!