Oh my god, there’s an organ grinder on Water St. today! I don’t know if he’s old hat around here, but it’s the first time I’ve seen him. He’s an older guy with a great greying beard, a monkey puppet, and a hand-cranked organ on wheels. Good stuff! And of course, today is the only day I can’t sneak out of the office to find out his deal, since I’m waiting here for a board member to come by and sign my paycheque while the boss it out. Sigh, there’s goes my indie karma. Must have something to do with my paycheque…
Anyway, in lieu of anything on this guy in particular, here’s what I found on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_grinder):
- "Charles Babbage was a particularly virulent enemy of the organ grinders."
- "Charles Babbage (26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English mathematician, analytical philosopher, mechanical engineer and (proto-) computer scientist who originated the idea of a programmable computer." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Babbage) – which might be a little ironic when you think that the organ-grinder is a programmable mahcing in its own right.
- "At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century European publishers of sheet music and the holders of copyrights to the most popular operatic tunes of the day often banded together in order to enforce collection of performance duties from any musician playing their property in any venue. When faced with notaries and the hounding of other legal representatives of the "music industry" of the time, in addition to the other sources of hostility mentioned above organ grinders soon disappeared"
- "In Germany organ grinders were banned by Adolf Hitler"
- "it is considered lucky for a couple in Denmark to have a barrel organ playing outside on the morning of their 25th wedding anniversary, thus creating a small niche for professional musicians or musicologists capable of tuning one of the few surviving barrel organs, and interested in maintaining an old tradition, on their spare time."