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Trouble on the Red Line

At South Station. Boston Magazine interviewed them.

H/t Faye.

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guys at South Station; they are great! They do a lot of contemporary pop songs.

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Doing an excellent rendition of Justin Bieber's "As Long As You Love Me." They were getting a pretty good stream of donations and lots and lots of smiles from people as they listened and then suddenly recognized the song.

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or has pop become so unoriginal that the boy band performers are just creating meta-versions of their predecessors?

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They were at Harvard this morning--they're there regularly (they make my morning commute so much better!)

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There is a fellow named Ian on the Orange level at DTX. His sound is quieter and more meditative. Not as polished as these fellows but enjoyable nevertheless.

Before the last set of rate increase that came under the Grabauskas regime there were many more buskers. Then the T management required permits but also copped a negative attitude toward buskers in general. I remember one T manager responding to criticism of the change of policy toward buskers by barking that the T isn't there to provide entertainment (of course he never said what the T was supposed to provide).

Perhaps the new management regime will work to bring buskers back. They add a pleasant and positive element to the platforms.

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I think the T is correct to crack down on buskers. These violin guys seem cool, and there are some other legitimate musicians playing in T stations, but far too many have been nothing but non-musical panhandlers singing with a karaoke machine, or simply moaning away acapella. No legitimate musical ability whatsoever. These are people whom, if they weren't pulling this busker hustle, would be panhandling in the street. At least on the street I have the option to bypass them. In the T I am a captive audience.

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They used to have a permit process in place to make sure they didn't just have Moaning Myrtle and the Monotones massacring "Morning Has Broken" before the crowd. Does anyone know if they discontinued that process, or do they simply not enforce it (and if not, why not)?

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I believe for two or three years the T actually banned buskers.

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The permit just guarantees you have $25 (and ID, a piece of postmarked mail, time to visit the office, and 10 to 14 days to wait). There's no audition.

In NYC, there's no such thing as a permit to play in the subway or on the street. I find the idea of a government license to perform music rather offensive, especially towards out-of-town visitors.

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The MBTA is technically a government sponsored enterprise making stations private property owned by the state. So management can set whatever terms of service they like.

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The constitutionality of the rules is a different issue from whether they're a good idea.

In other words, just because they can, doesn't mean they should.

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Saw this link on The Chive:

http://thechive.com/2013/04/12/amazing-subway-viol...

Couldn't happen to nicer kids either.

They were playing on the Public Garden bridge last summer and I'd stop for a tune and a chat when I walked by.

They do a mean cover of Kashmir, among others.

More power to them.

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