Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Not music to MY ears, mate!

I hate the accordion – with a passion.

There, I’ve said it, and in doing so have probably firmly placed myself in the category of “philistine” and “miserable old bat” in the minds of my readers (all three of ‘em).

Don’t get me wrong. I love music. I was brought up with it, enjoy a wide selection, listen to it at all times, and quite simply cannot imagine any semblance of quality of life without it.

I also love street performers – can’t get enough of them, with two notable exceptions: those creepy painted dudes posing as statues (more on them another day) and wandering minstrels wielding a mutant instrument that is little more than a glorified squeezebox with a keyboard slapped on the side.

It seems, however, that I’m in the minority (now there’s a novelty!). If I’m out for a stroll or coffee with friends or family and we’re accosted by an accordionist, I’m the only one rolling my eyes and looking for the quickest escape route. Everyone else seems to be enchanted, as witnessed by their cries of “Isn’t it lovely? Just like in Gigi.”, “It’s very difficult to play, you know” and even “It reminds me of Paris” (no version I’ve ever seen, sunshine. When was the last time you set foot in Pigalle?).

I’m the only one silently begging the player to just go away and leave me in peace, immediately marking me as the grouch of the group.

So, you can imagine my joy on the Metro this morning when the first notes from an accordion blasted their way into my consciousness, right behind my right ear, as I tried to navigate a particularly incomprehensible article. Far from bringing a smile to my lips at a little faux-Parisian colour to brighten my daily commute, those notes produced an inner snarl and a muttered “Oh, dear god” from Yours Truly.

It didn’t help that he hit a series of jarring bum notes that even my untrained ear couldn’t help notice.

And yet everyone else in the carriage seemed unperturbed, even delighted, at the musical interlude.

So, my question is this: Am I REALLY the only miserable accordion-hater (misaccordionist? discordist?) in Athens? Or is everyone else faking it for fear of being labeled cultural cripples or - heaven forbid - music haters?

Answers - as usual - on a postcard, please…


  1. Spot on. Suffered the same at Venice Lido this summer just gone. The musician (yeah, right) played two tunes - badly - and was there at every turn, day or night, west end of island or east. Most amazing was everyone else's apparent joy in coughing up hard-earned Euros in return for having their eardrums so viciously attacked!

  2. No, I don't think you're the only one. Anti-accordionism is a common condition.

  3. Here's another supporter for your anti-accordionist club. Every word you uttered above resonated with me. As a matter of fact, your other follower, "expat mum", mentioned the other instrument of torture which insults the term "musical instrument" fact, I must admit I cringe even more at bagpipes.........

    And yet I love music....actually, I guess that is why I feel like I do about bagpipes and accordions. Sigh.