Primitive Man Discovers Fire
But first, a digression. We were dragging along a wheeled cooler filled with champagne on ice and a pile of finger food. About halfway up to the Bowl, it felt as though I were hauling a travois raher than a wheeled cart. On inspection, we saw that one of the wheels wasn't turning.
A closer look revealed that the axle pin of one of the wheels had become detached from one side, and was protruding from the wheelbase. I reached down and pushed on it with my thumb, thinking I could push it back into place, and gave a quick yelp of pain. The friction of being dragged had made the axle searingly hot--fully hot enough to burn my thumb. For those who believe I am overstating the case, here is a picture of my thumb taken just before I typed this:
Despite continued application of ice, I ended up with quite a blister. If you've ever doubted that fire could be produced by friction alone, ala the Boy Scouts, I'm here to testify that it can. Ouch.
But, As I Was Saying...
Joshua Bell gave an extraordinary performance (as always), and the seven thousand fans on their feet clapping persuaded him to come back for a a solo encore, which was even more impressive than the Bruch.
But after the rapturous reception of his performance, I couldn't help thinking of the experiment Mr. Bell participated in back in 2007, when he set himself up in a Washington, DC subway as a busker and played for 45 minutes. Hardly anyone stopped to watch--though he did collect $32.17, which isn't bad for a busker. On the other hand, those of us watching him last night paid $96 each.
I'm morally certain that if I walked past Joshua Bell playing in a subway, or anywhere else, that I'd stop dead in my tracks. (And cry out, "Look! Isn't that Hugh Grant?"). But perhaps in the event I wouldn't notice; perhaps I'd mutter to myself, hey, this guy's pretty good, must have some training, and toss a dollar in his hat.
As anyone who has ever seen their typescript set in print and slapped between two covers can testify, presentation matters, and, to a great extent, the platform determines how much attnetion you command.
Apparently even in the case of certified genuises.