It was when he started to play that I began to wonder if he had achieved the highest standards of fakery — was he miming the instrument? The backpack he wore was suspicious. Not an ordinary one, it was more structured, as if it was carrying an amplifier and speaker.
If he was miming the instrument, he was doing a remarkable job: finger timing and movement synced as perfectly as I could see from my obscured vantage point, breathing patterns were spot on.
Being at the other end of the car, I could discern nothing from the sound quality. It was an older train, rattling, poorly sealed — uninsulated against the sounds of steel wheels on rails.
I knew within minutes I would give a coin, for I thought: if he is truly playing that instrument, bravo. I’ve seen the same instrument in marching bands before and thought the same.
If it was fakery (not uncommon on the Paris métro), bravo still. That act alone still requires a great deal of skill and practice to make believable and it certainly takes some sugar maple balls to even try.
From what my sister tells me, it’s one of the most difficult instruments to play — even when seated.
All three of my sisters played instruments which are considered difficult and are not generally found in marching bands or métro wagons. Kudos then and the biggest coin I had on me then to the man on the métro playing the bassoon.