Of Tiersen and barbarity

While you are staring at the train timetable or just checking the next metro to Zuid, it may happen to listen to a more or less loveable music, coming from improvised, most likely talented piano players.

If you ever crossed the main hall of Amsterdam Centraal, you surely noticed that on the left corner, entering from the Damrak side, there is a big black piano. It is part of Luke Jerram’s “Play me, I’m yours” project. Everyone can play it and, literally, everyone does. Talented men and women of every age.

Can’t forget that 12-years old girl playing Chopin like she was turning the pages of a book, as much as I clearly remember the guy that played almost the whole repertoire of Yann Tiersen, which I adore beyond every human conception. That guy woke up some hidden feelings of mine, which I guiltily forgot in some dark corner of my mind.

I get goosebumps just recalling that afternoon. After he played the last note from Le valse d’Amélie, I couldn’t help going to shake his hand to congratulate with him. He told me that he’s 33 and learned to play piano because of the movie. He also asked me to suggest one song to play, but I was getting late for my appointment, so I thanked him and went away with the goosebumps still evident on my skinny arms.

The main hall of Amsterdam Centraal is not the best place where to play piano, especially for the terrible acoustics brought by the architecture. It may happen that the noise generated by people passing by overwhelms the nice melody coming from that corner. Anyways, it is a lovable attraction and an appreciable initiative.

Despite someone from NS – the Dutch public train transport company – complained in Groningen and Den Haag stations, the success of the initiative is under everyone’s eyes (and in everyone’s ears). You can see it daily, for the number of people gathered around the player of the moment.

Luke Jerram’s initiative is already spread worldwide and you can find it in many stations, such as Paris, Hong Kong, London, New York and so on. Of course, Play me, I’m Yours reached my lovely motherland, Italy.

Unfortunately, I didn’t read about this initiative on Italian newspapers for the same reasons I read about it on the Dutch ones. Despite people enjoy the music, someone else found the chance to measure their level of obscenity.

This morning, a group of passenger – gathering for a flash mob – in the Naples’ Garibaldi train station found the “shared” piano completely destroyed. But Naples’ facts are just the least. On October 26th, stupidity went on air at the Cagliari Central Station, where the piano has been scratched and seriously damaged just after two weeks it has been installed. On September 12th, the piano located in the Central Station of Milan has been made unusable by a bunch of vandals, captured by surveillance cameras.

Fortunately, actions for buying new pianos have been arranged. Independent citizens and private entrepreneurs are starting their own fund-raising initiatives to give back to their stations the melodies that they deserve.

Despite this, my lovely motherland showed one more time that it still has to learn that civility is the care of the shared goods, and hurting one of them is hurting ourselves.

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