Classical music drifts through the leaves of Postman’s Park, swirls past the plaques for those who have died saving the lives of others, sweeps over the purple flowers in the middle and people sitting on wooden benches applaud lightly. The girl at the piano pays them no mind. She’s lost in her music. The words “Play me, I’m yours” are scrawled across the instrument that’s positioned in the garden near a tree.
Down near St. Paul’s two friends entertain a small crowd – one on piano and one on guitar sitting cross-legged on the ground. People are smiling, the usual hurried City pace interrupted by curiosity and a lovely sound.
The piano near Millennium Bridge is empty, but the occasional passerby plucks a finger on a key and giggles shyly wishing she knew how to play, or remembered from her childhood.
Over at Monument, the afterwork boys have gathered round, the top of the piano a table for drinks, one lucky colleague appointed to the keys and the others drumming on the side or singing which is sure to get louder and more off-key as the night rolls on.
And the Royal Exchange has turned into a one-man stage, a piano man and a lonely soul with a beer and a cigarette drunkenly dancing and swaying his worries away.
There are 21 street pianos set up in London, a project by Luke Jerram. A similar project is going on simultaneously in NYC, only they get 60 pianos. Humph. Most of the London pianos are in the Square Mile, but a couple can be found in Hampstead Heath and Southeast. They’re around until 10th of July. Play them. They’re yours.
Here’s a video from the street pianos website on Carnaby Street last year. How often do you get Londoners hanging out singing “Hey Jude” together?
For piano map and more info: www.streetpianos.co.uk