Give us a tinkle on the old joanna*

3 Jul

DSC_0368 by you.

‘Play me I’m yours’ is an installation by artist Luke Jerram, who has put 30 Street Pianos in London’s public squares, parks, train stations, and markets.  The idea is that people will stop and play the pianos which are for anyone to play and will be in place until 13th July.  Each piano is different, for instance in Leicester Square it’s decorated with flyers from West End Shows and the Natural History Museum one (above) is covered in butterflies, and they all have a stool and songbook.

It’s amazing the effect putting a DSC_0359piano in a public place has on people.  Every piano I’ve visited has been surrounded by a crowd of people listening to some surprisingly good playing.  Londoners have been hiding their musical talent under a bushel and I’ve heard a schoolboy playing the soundtrack to The Piano (right), while his mates egged him on, an unconvincing transvestite playing Rachmaninov in Liverpool Street, and in Soho Square, an excellent jazz pianist being ‘helped’ by a drunk woman.  You get all sorts round these parts.

DSC_0360*For any non-British readers, this means ‘play us a tune on the piano’ in Cockney rhyming slang.

This post is part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby. For more travel pictures, click here.


23 Responses to “Give us a tinkle on the old joanna*”

  1. Maternal Tales 03/07/2009 at 10:57 am #

    Wow – what a fantastic idea – I love it! Always wanted to play the piano, but never could!! When I find out people can I start to look at them differently – it’s such a talent. Just about to start my eldest with lessons!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 03/07/2009 at 1:49 pm #

      I did Grade 1 then gave up. I wish I hadn’t now. I’m thinking of getting lessons with my oldest.

  2. Dancinfairy 03/07/2009 at 12:02 pm #

    Hmm, all I can play is ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’. I think this is a wonderful idea and would love to come across one and listen for a while.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 03/07/2009 at 1:52 pm #

      I find that tune comes in useful in most situations!

  3. Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish 03/07/2009 at 1:11 pm #

    How fabulous! It must be fun to discover pianos around the city.

  4. Nancy (Ciao Bambino) 03/07/2009 at 2:21 pm #

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wanderluster 03/07/2009 at 3:58 pm #

    I just heard about this on NPR – what a fabulous idea! It’s it great to see the pianos actually in use.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 03/07/2009 at 5:13 pm #

      They are so popular, every piano has a queue of people waiting to play. It’s great!

  6. Bridget Smith 03/07/2009 at 4:23 pm #

    I would love to see this. We had giant cows throughout La Jolla which I missed…bummer. Public art is so much fun!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 03/07/2009 at 5:12 pm #

      There is a giant upside down purple cow on the South Bank of the Thames which is being used as a comedy venue this summer!

  7. Kymri 03/07/2009 at 5:10 pm #

    Great photos of a great art installation!

  8. Kim@Galavanting 03/07/2009 at 6:01 pm #

    Super fun, thanks for sharing this!

  9. Karen Banes 03/07/2009 at 7:13 pm #

    What a fantastic pic. Love the colours. You left a comment on my blog mentioning you were heading to the Ningaloo Reef. It’s FANTASTIC!! Don’t miss the snorkelling with whale sharks. They’re so beautiful, and not scarey at all (in spite of the intimidating name!).

  10. Cate 03/07/2009 at 8:27 pm #

    This is really cool! And tons of fun a neat post to read thanks.

  11. Lorraine 03/07/2009 at 10:28 pm #

    My fingers are itching to play one of those colorful, public pianos! I only know one song by heart, but I’d give it my best shot while on display in London – what a great tale!

  12. Amy @ The Q Family 03/07/2009 at 10:45 pm #

    That’s such a fantastic idea! Love the piano as well. What an art work it is!

  13. Tim 04/07/2009 at 4:38 am #

    Great piano. And a fabulous idea. Play it again!

  14. Dominique 04/07/2009 at 4:39 am #

    This is a really unusual idea for a public installation…I like the interactive component of it.

  15. Angela K. Nickerson 04/07/2009 at 8:32 am #

    I absolutely love this idea! Thanks for the photos. Ciao!

  16. Almost Mrs Average 09/07/2009 at 12:16 am #

    Wow, we had the same installation in Bury St Edmunds recently, with pianos all dotted around the town. Unfortunately the local one to me was vandalised, which was a huge shame. I wonder if it was the same artist, because the tagline “Play me I’m yours” was used here too. It was real fun.

    Talking of fun…and it really is, given what you’ve got up your sleeve, I’ve just tagged you in the 8 Things meme that’s winging its way round. If you haven’t already done it moons ago it would be great to see what you think.

  17. insider53 09/07/2009 at 10:08 am #

    What a lovely idea. They couldn’t do it here in the US because someone would steal them… sad.

  18. eleonoraonline 10/07/2009 at 12:38 pm #

    Apparently here only the black keys have been stolen 🙂

    I’ve written about it too:


  1. Give us a tinkle on the old joanna « GuestBlog Me! - 06/07/2009

    […] Give us a tinkle on the old joanna* […]

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