About pylons and student musicians

I was just out picking up one of the cars at the body shop.

Driving up a busy artery of western Toronto I looked at all the traffic around me. It’s hard to believe we’re still in a pandemic – there was hustle and bustle everywhere.

There were key differences though between how it was last summer and how it is now:

  1. Lineups outside of stores
  2. Masked people in lineups, stores, even inside cars (sometimes)
  3. Construction pylons in in places where there is no construction

Now don’t get me wrong. In my part of Canada, a big metropolitan city of almost 3 million people, there is always construction going on. In fact, we have two seasons: winter, and construction.

And winter isn’t even without construction…there’s just less of it (or maybe not, certainly doesn’t feel that way).

So those pylons, in places were there is no construction going on, is a COVID thing. They use them to section off parts of the street, or sidewalk, into make-shift patios.

What I’m saying is, it looks like we have more construction going on than usual because of all the pylons everywhere…but they’re actually serving a different purpose.

I read an interesting post today about a guy who moved to New York City exactly 10 years ago. He wrote about how different the city is today, even compared to just 6 months ago. Read it here if you’re interested. He makes me want to go to New York again… (but maybe I’ll just wait until coronavirus is controlled and until after the elections…) 😶

There was another thing I noticed, albeit not today, that reminded me just how deeply this pandemic has affected individuals on a chronic level; local musicians.

I live next to a community college with a huge and very well known music program. It’s not unusual to see students walking through the park, or along the sidewalk pushing huge Cellos or carrying large instrument cases.

One of the nice things about my neighbourhood is that our little corner in SW Toronto is along some nice parks, bike paths, and other natural land. It’s not unusual to see a lot of people milling about in the parks even during non-COVID times, but especially now. Everywhere you turn there are people picnicking (because they’re not rushing off to youth sports) or cycling or kicking a ball around with kids…

Well last night I was out for a bike ride. When I entered that park I had noticed some of these musician students hanging around; I didn’t think much about seeing them carrying their instruments, thinking they were heading up to the college. Maybe their studios are open again?

But on the way back, at that same entrance, I saw them playing their instruments. They were placed two meters apart from each other, all 6 of them, and playing songs. People of course stopped and took pictures or stayed to listen, and it was all very ‘summer festival-ish’, if you know what I mean. (Because of course the festivals are all canceled, too.)

Later, when they finished some of their songs, they tried to sell some CDs for $10. They said that they usually do the local bar circuits this time of year, but now, with COVID, that’s not possible. They lost their gigs, the little bit of supplement on their income, and most importantly, their exposure.

It’s so sad, really, when you think about all that.

A local coffee shop (not a chain) in my ‘hood used to have the music students play in their shop during the cold winter months. If you went to purchase a coffee there before or after class, or dropped by on a Saturday afternoon, a couple of musicians were always playing something in there.

No more.

I think reality is hitting me hard today. I feel sad, disconnected and a little bit hopeless. We all need to find ways to innovate and continue, leave our old plans, dreams and aspirations behind, and come up with new ones.

I don’t know if I can muster it up. I feel like hibernating instead.

Well, it’s Friday evening. I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’ll probably be here, talking to you. Thank you for reading.

8 thoughts on “About pylons and student musicians

  1. I feel bad for musicians, too. Tara and I were super into live music in Portland and went to shows at least once a month. I’m a little thankful the music scene in Rapid City isn’t nearly as good…at least this way I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My son was a college musician and those performances are so important for so many reasons. We have people in this general area, and more recently in my own small town who are doing “Porch Shows” Usually 1-2 musicians set up on their front lawn or porch and invite anyone with a lawn chair or blanket (masks and social distancing of course) to attend. They’ve been linking the concerts to food bank donations or other charitable ideas. I love these creative ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the bustle is simple: people are tired of being cooped up, and they know summer is winding down in your neck of the woods. They want to enjoy the weather before it drops to freezing. Funny thing, Cupcake and I have basically not really experienced any change in our lives. Not from day one. If it was not for the masks, our life trudged on as normal. Maybe we were anti-social all along? Huh.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I walked past a cafe earlier – while running an errand (because I don’t have lunchtimes like anybody else). The cafe was full of people, none wearing masks, none social distancing. I thought “how stupid are you all?”…

    Liked by 1 person

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