Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The story of the "Music Man," the guy with bike-mounted boombox in the neighborhood

One of my favorite sights in the neighborhood is the "Music Man," the older man who rides around on bike with a CD player and speaker attached playing old-school R&B songs. He's often seen around 14th and Park or Georgia Avenue and makes the neighborhood instantly more interesting and quirky. Aside from the music, he also has flashing lights attached to his bike and is a generally happy, excited guy. Sometimes he stops and dances around for a while and often chats with passersby.

And now the Washington Post has his story. Named George Whitlow, he's a 65-year old retiree and occasional bike messenger who actually has 8 bikes, though only one has the music rig. Why does he do it?
His goal is to get hyper-scheduled, ambitious, uptight D.C. to get loose and listen to music — together. His high season is spring and summer, when his audience stays longer. Sometimes, he’s invited to play at block parties: a DJ on wheels.
The idea came about to get people from listening to headphones, keeping away from each other, Bowling Alone style.
He first started rigging up his bikes with boomboxes a few years ago when he noticed all the iPods. He wanted to bring people together, listening to the same music, D.C.’s music. 
Whitlow wants us to interact, away from a computer. We date online. Watch movies on our smartphones. Go online to do “mindful meditation.” We sext. 
“I think those are antisocial,” Whitlow says.  
(Of course, you could argue that sexting works better when somebody else is involved.)

I'm not able to find a video of him, so if you have one or know of one, leave it in the comments!

Personally I think it's great he's getting some publicity, he's definitely a fun addition to the area. The fun police seems to be out in force in the WaPo comments, as they're mostly complaining about him. Pretty bizarre. 


Anonymous said...

I was just thinking it was a shame I had never heard him riding around the neighborhood before when I ran into him last night at the CH metro!! He has some seriously great speakers on that bike

Anonymous said...

Love that guy! He makes me smile every time. :)

Lennon English said...

i saw him from across the street so i had to instagram him!