Street performers are a familiar site for most travellers, they are part of the fixtures and fittings of most major cities. Street pianos encouraging members of the public to demonstrate their talent are a less familiar twist.
London and Paris are two of Europe’s if not the world’s most iconic cities. The attractions of both destinations are well documented providing numerous entries in all of the “1001 superlatives you must see before you kick the bucket” publications that have been authored.
Finding two street pianos in the British capital inviting members of the public to tinkle the ivories however was possibly the most smile inducing moment of the visit to either city.
The pianos are located in St Pancras International Station the gateway to mainland Europe and boast some individual and quirky decoration adding character too. Already a fashionable station with chic coffee shops, cool bistros and stylish retail outlets but these are a touch of genius
Moments after spotting the street pianos, a young lady laden with shopping bags, sidled up to one. She placed her heavy burdens down carefully, before settling into the seat and then belting out a highly passable version of “Streets of London”. Being actually able to play and being confident enough to do so is a definite bonus and pleasingly this lady had talent.
It is a great twist on street performing and a testament to the station management that a innovative idea was not just conceived but introduced. They are maintained and even tuned regularly, proving so popular that they are due to be replaced with new pianos within the next few months.
Despite being in a hurry, wanting to try out one of the posh coffee shops prior to catching a train, failing to pause momentarily and appreciate the impromptu performance for a few minutes would have been discourteous.
My only regret; not taking musical classes seriously at school and lacking any ability to hear a chord let alone play one. “Chopsticks” anyone?