When we first arrived at our apartment here in Madrid it was November - but the weather was still nice and it was a warm day. After an exhausting flight we opened the windows and had a nice relaxing nap. As I started to doze off, I heard an accordion player outside and thought "how wonderful, how romantic, how European!!!" By about day three - I was ready to kill the guy. Here is my arch-nemesis: I wish it was a little bit of a closer picture. I took this from the apartment as I'm concerned that if I get up close and take a photo of him he'll be convinced that he's finally caught his big break and REALLY ramp up the music! Seriously, in a country where most people don't get down to working until around 10 am, take a coffee break at 10:30 and then break for lunch from 2ish - 4ish - this guy is a regular work horse. He's on that corner no later than 9:30 and he plays that accordion NON-STOP until around 7 pm. What's the problem? you might ask. Isn't that a nice bit of local flavor? you might think. Lighten up! you might suggest. Here's the deal: the guy knows three songs and three songs only. In addition, he does not know ANY of those songs in their entirety - only a few bars of each. His top three list: La vie en rose (hello! this is Spain not France), some Spanish song I don't know the name of, and Jingle Bells - which he saves for Christmas but again - only plays about two bars in total. It is some kind of sick psychological experiment to be forced to hear the same two or three songs (or rather a few bars of the same two or three songs) every day, all day for over a year.
So you might imagine that once he packs up his accordion at the end of the day I heave a big sigh of relief and relax. I do - but only for a few hours, as - at about 10 pm when the dinner rush hits the cafe downstairs - another street performer 'strikes up the band'. THIS guy is a "singer". He has some kind of karaoke boom box with him and he serenades the diners with "Besa me mucho" over and over. I mean come on! How hard is it to learn more than one song when you're a street performer???? I would think you've got an unlimited amount of time to work out new material - but no, it's 'Besa me mucho' non-stop until someone pays the guy to go away.
Recently the hubby has been pricing paint ball guns. I'm sure it's totally unconnected to the street performers, but I'll keep you informed.