When someone uses a set of Bagpipes as a flame thrower, it’s an impressive sight, and one I was keen to capture. Sadly, I didn’t get the money shot as he’d stopped flaming when I took the photo, but that didn’t stop me from letting imagination fill in the blanks.
There’s an overall impression of chaos when you look at the flaming Piper. In fact the Piper is one of the many details you spot later when you’ve been looking at the picture for a while. The initial impression is of a building on fire, explosive fire would be more accurate. The Houses of Parliament or is it Westminster Abbey is ablaze. Isn’t it? No, there is no arson here. The flames blast from the bagpipes played by the man in the kilt. An impressive sight by any standards. Notice the space around him, on an otherwise crowded street. Nobody wants to get too close.
The flames were improvised. As he’d stopped flaming by the time I’d positioned myself to take the photograph for the image. But I couldn’t leave them out. They are part of what made his act unique. It’s certainly distinctive and so close to Westminster Palace. There’s a hint of danger and rebelliousness. I wonder if he’d be allowed to do such a thing in an authoritarian state? I doubt it. The palace is a backdrop to the scene relegated from its usual place centre stage. The people are the subject of the painting besides the busker is the large crowd that every busker needs. They are oblivious to the busker, going about their own doing their own things.
A group of women wear floral head dresses, and are obviously together on a night out a hen party or other celebration. A woman in red with black heels is pointing to the palace calling attention to something far more interesting to her than what’s going on immediately around her. Isn’t that always the case? That what’s going on far away can hold our attention far more readily than what’s happening right by us.
The crowd is heavy, details and patterns on clothing merge to form a jumble of limbs and fabric. From bright floral pattern dresses to drab suits and somewhere in between. This is a bustle of the city continuing with a blase attitude when faced with the extraordinary. The weariness of the crowd that’s seen everything. Even without the flames, the piper was amazing but the London crowd is jaded. They’ve seen this before. Time for the next selfie, or social media post.
Time for the next big thing.