The Buskers’ View “Play it in Dystopian Time, guttersnipe”

by Michael Houston
Yesterday I dug my way out of the pile of cast-off vinyl, 8 tracks, cassettes and CDs that Mary Cando threw me into. Now I sing you the folk anthems of the post-apocalyptic dystopian world with grandfatherly eyes.

Did we ever wake up dreaming that we are living in the roaring 70s, 80s like it never happened? Reliving daily the times when we elders have not yet ended all war and got our own elders so mad at us that we got them, us, and what were then unborn generations into the revolting development we’re really in. Are we in a cold sweat due to self-realization or just our naturally strong sense of denial? Can’t be science. It must be climate change.

So where did our world go or is this it?

Ourselves answer, “The flippin’ place gentrified while we weren’t looking.”

Spring sprung sprang again, like Rip Van Winkle, kits, cats, dogs, and spouses, we emerge from hibernation. We’re the fellas out of F. Scott’s Fitz’s The Lost Decade finding out they finished the Empire State Building, Hearst Castle and Asilomar while we’d stepped out for a quick tonic of a spring evening.

Old, Young and Angry?

Capitalism done gone mad. Worldwide gentrification is! We see it all on the Greeting Card Channel when the lively yuppie lady comes back from the cosmopolitan glories to discover her Monterey County parishes and erstwhile love interests done decked themselves out as boutique versions of everything! In 1976 California wines beat the French. That was the price, buyers remorse.

Regime Change?

Will our loudmouth wanna-be-gun-totting-eegit friends suddenly realize they can’t afford to start a civil war should the electoral process lead to regime change in America? Will the deep state get its mitts on our Medicare and seguridad social? And why aren’t our eyes and teeth covered like our liquefying spines, hips and knees are? And where’s PRAA when we need ‘em?


What did we do to deserve this? Is our innate sense of wronged privilege and exceptionalism under attack from muggles? Only street music can save us.

Now hear this!

I can’t. Too many Days on the Green, Winterland Nights, Coachella fantasies, Pink Floyds at Bath, and Altamonts before the invention of noise canceling headphones.

Not a problem. Save the planet. Head yourself down to the local street market. Buy local produce and prepared goods. Support a real brick and mortar business. Most importantly, put money in street musician’s tip jars, especially mine. It will bring joy to the least of the world’s sapient creatures and conceivably improve your mood, if not your actual mental health.

Like you, I awaken blissfully singing to each new world from the gutter in the glory of June gloom here in Paradise.

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