Why don’t they teach rookie policemen about the laws?!

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February 28, 2007
By Posted in Times Square Subway Station | 1 Comment »

Two Andian musicians were freelancing at the spot when I got there, with a third selling their CD. One of them, whom I’ve known for a long time, lost a screw of his cart and I helped him look for it.

Saw joke of the day:
“Man: “hit the high note! Hit the high note!”

An unusual man wearing a talit (Jewish prayer showl) told me to come to play at a church service… He was wearing a ball cap full of buttons.

A guy asked me if the name Clarence Mussehl means anything to me. Does it ever! It’s the name of the most important figure in American musical saw history – the maker of musical saws since 1921! The guy told me he ate dinner with Clarence Mussehl in the 1970’s, as he was a friend of Clarence’s grandson. He told me Clarence was old (in his 80’s) and that after dinner he took out his saw to play. As he did that his wife put her hand on her face saying “oh, no, not again…”. Clarence proceeded to play one tune after the other – like so many saw players, he was eager to play much more than his audience wanted to listen…
The man told me Clarence had a stern expression, so it was very surprising and unexpected to find that such a serious looking man played the saw…
I asked if Clarence’s grandson plays saw, but apparently nobody in the family played saw besides Clarence.
It was so cool talking with this guy – like a wind from the past sweeping me back in time.

A homeless guy told me he needs to get his I.D. card. I don’t know what he meant, but I asked him if he wants a bag of pretzles, which he did.

The woman who dances went by. She wrote a book about dancing in public as a healing method, and she has danced to my playing before. Today she only danced a very little bit, but it was nice.

Graywolf’s father-in-law (homeless guy who carries a keyboard) stopped to say ‘hi’. He told me he and Graywolf (plays with and sells CDs for Andean groups in the subway) were on a radio show and that he wants to get me and the Chicago brass band (who also plays in the subway) on this show.

The homeless guy returned, eating my prezles, and put a coin in my donnations bucket. This is known amongst buskers as the ultimate honor – being tipped by a homeless person.

At a few minutes past 3pm a young policeman told me I can’t use my amplifyer. That seemed very odd to me, as I know it’s allowed. At that moment I had a group of elementary school kids around me asking me questions and wanting me to play. I played without back-up music (no amplification) for them and explained about the saw. After they left I didn’t see the policeman, and I didn’t know what to do, as I knew he was wrong. I turned my amp very low and started to play ‘Over the Rainbow’. Immediately the policeman showed up and told me I have to pack up. I agreed to do that, but said ‘it’s allowed to play here, isn’t it?’ (fully knowing it is). He then said “give me your i.d.”. I said “sure, first – here is my permit”. The policeman was stunned “you have a permit?”. He didn’t even know there were permits!!! Why don’t they teach rookie policemen about the laws?!
As my permit just expired he told me I was OK but I have to leave. I didn’t argue. I left.


One Response to Why don’t they teach rookie policemen about the laws?!

  1. Mad Soundman on March 8, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Hey there! It was so nice to read about your experiences in your blog. Hope your doing well and that the saw is holding up in this cold we have been having…

    Take care luv,
    Hope to see you performing soon!
    The Mad Soundman of AMS Systems….

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