Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Context is everything

A world-famous violinist plays masterworks on a famous violin. At concerts people pay vast sums to hear him play, and he is mobbed for his autograph.

What would happen if he played somewhere outside a concert hall, The Washington Post wondered. Would people still appreciate his playing if he busked incognito in the subway?

"In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run -- for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look."

The whole fascinating story is here. Thanks to Matthew for the link.

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