Sunday September 18th 2016
What a hard day today was. We got to the Angel Tunnel in plenty of time. There was a peace event going on at the Bandshell, which meant the break dancers would be downstairs at Bethesda with their boom box. Cover Story was in the tunnel singing. They always acknowledge us. Great guys, all of them. We got ready and a photographer friend Paul came by to say hello. Our other friend Paul was there, too. It’s always great to see him. I don’t film him because he doesn’t like being filmed, which is why he’s not in today’s vlog.
Cover Story finished up and we set up to play. A break dancer group we’d never seen before started blasting their boom box in front of the Angel Fountain, with the speaker pointed towards the tunnel. It was one of those days again. I called the park rangers, but there’s little they can do to really stop them. We assumed they’d blast their speaker through “Anya,” but right as we began, it got quiet and I could see their crowd disperse as we sang. I never look down when I sing “Anya,” I always look at the Angel, but I could tell. When we finished the first song, we had a nice big crowd and people came forward too. “They’re gone.” I said hopefully. Then I looked. “Oh no, they’re still there.” They were just sitting there on the fountain. I guess the rangers had come. When the break dancers see the rangers they just stop and wait for them to leave. They know they’re not allowed to do what they’re doing, but they do it anyway.
We got a half hour of silence, but I knew at any moment the boom box would start up again. It’s so unfair. Boom boxes aren’t allowed in Central Park. Naturally, the boom box started up during “Gypsy Dance,” four songs into our set. We stood in complete stillness for a long time until the boom box was turned off briefly. We did the same for “Plucking Song,” one of our more quiet and gentle pieces. We stood in complete stillness for what felt like 10 minutes. I heard someone calling my name. It was Marcela, the woman who sings after us. I remembered she doesn’t know we play a bit later on Sundays, but didn’t think much of it.
We got a bit more quiet when all the break dancers left. Suddenly, and without warning, Marcela started her boom box up with the backing track to “O Mio Babbino Caro” by Puccini. Feeling incredibly disrespected, Thoth yelled across the tunnel, “We’re not done yet Marcela, turn the boom box off!” I had to run to the back of the tunnel and ask her to stop. She complained that she can’t start so late. I was very apologetic (despite that it was her who tried to set up on us) but was very firm with her. “That’s just how it is.” I said. She was pissed, cursing to herself, but turned off the music. She acted just like Miriam, the other opera singer who used to sing at the tunnel.
We played another song, but she came over to talk to us. Bad idea! Thoth was seething with anger and let ‘er rip, tearing into how she is an amateur and clearly has no respect for us. “YOU HAVE NO RESPECT FOR US!” he yelled loudly several times at her. He hates being disrespected by other buskers, being older and having done this long than any of them. Of anyone I know, this man deserves some f**king respect. I mean, G*d damn! I had to talk to her while Thoth played two solos to calm himself down. I joined him and we finished our set in relative peace.
We packed up and talked to Paul. He watched the whole thing. “She set up on you, plane and simple.” he said. We went down to 4th St. to have dinner at Risotteria, but it wasn’t there anymore. We loved that place!! Damn! We took the L to Lorimer to have dinner at Santos Anne instead.
Flying to Malaga tomorrow.