There’s a gentleman who plays guitar on the banks of the Thames, near the Tate Museum in London.

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He plays, surrounded by the cold and grey, to the masses that wander by. He plays whether they pay attention or not.

In fact, many do not.

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He goes by the name “Flame Proof Moth.”

Looking at him, I’m reminded of the fact that life is short, and you have to do what you love. That you only get one chance to make your existence count, and if that means playing guitar on the banks of a murky river in frigid weather, that’s what you have to do.

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Looking at him, and I think of the opportunities I’ve wasted. I think of all the times I’ve been too scared to put myself out there.

And here he is, doing just that. He’s literally out there.

 

The opportunities to perform for an audience are there. It’s just a matter of how far you’re willing to go.-

Are you willing to stand in the cold? Are you willing to have strangers criticize you? Or, perhaps worse, ignore you?

Or would you rather stay inside where it’s cozy and warm, and every day is just like the one before?

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I wonder if, next time I’m in London, I should take my laptop to the shore and sit down next to him. Maybe I’ll write something amazing. Maybe not. But either way, I’ll be doing something.

Just like he is.

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Comments (17)

  1. 1
    ouida says:

    good for him. good for you. i am not brave. not one bit. i also find there is a fine line between bravery/putting yourself out there and being profoundly cracked. I probably have a better shot at being cracked than being brave, but I do admire the HOLY MOLY out of people who have this gift of bravery!

  2. 2
    JoEllen says:

    Wow! I think this is the guy I saw playing guitar and singing in Barcelona in fall of 2009. He was up at the very top of Park Güell (by the big cross) rockin’ out to his heart’s content in big white sunglasses and ripped up jeans. “Jailhouse Rock” is the song I remember most.
    It’s a small world, eh?

  3. 3

    You are putting yourself out there with this blog. I don’t think it requires actually writing outside. Now if you were going to read your blog posts aloud outside, that would be an entirely different beast!

  4. 4

    I can’t believe he stands out there all the time! That’s dedication.

  5. 5
    Andi says:

    Love this post.
    And was he any good?

  6. 6
    Frank says:

    Poetic prose. In a blog. Yes.

  7. 7
    Sanjana says:

    how did he play?

  8. 8
    Erica says:

    I walk this way every day and sometimes he’s even standing knee-deep IN the water (with the addition of wellies of course)!!! That really is getting out there…..

  9. 9
    Kerry says:

    That’s who that guy is! I see him every now and again when the weather’s good if I’m around there during lunch. I don’t know what it is (maybe it’s just that anyone sitting on the bank of an urban river playing guitar is automatically charismatic) but I’m a fan.

  10. 10
    Jane Babich says:

    Oh my, your post brought tears to my eyes. I’m at the point in my life that reflection is both beautiful and dangerous. This young man when he reachs the age of true reflection, will be able to rejoice. The comments or those that ignored will not be remembered as vividly as the memory of fulfillment and the sounds of the water rushing in towards him to embrace his bravery.
    Young people, do not wait, do not hesitate, do what makes your heart sing; so that in later years (like where I am) you will have reflections of beauty and of warmth.
    Accomplishment does not reflect well, but fulfillment grows and breaths into your future and back in to your past. So as we have learned from a great company… Just do it!

  11. 11
    weezafish says:

    ‘Do what makes your heart sing indeed’. Inspiring post, thank you.

  12. 12
    Emer C says:

    Hooray for people who do what the heck they want. I’m off to have ice cream for breakfast.

  13. 13
    Jeanette says:

    i love everyones responses to this post as much as I love the post itself:)

  14. 14
    Alex says:

    So true! We all could use a little more courage! I think life truly begins when you can start to stop caring what everyone else thinks about you.

  15. 15
    labossanova says:

    I travelled to London last year and that same guy was there, playing his tunes. I have the same pictures as you of him :)

  16. 16
    Katie says:

    When I was waiting for a train at the 30th Street station in Philly, two girls just joined the crowd on the platform with their instruments (guitars maybe? I can’t remember) and started playing and singing. Some people listened, many ignored them, and some clapped for them or whipped out their cell phones to record them. I complimented them when they were done but don’t think I’d ever have the guts to put myself out there so unabashedly.

  17. 17
    Saket Bhattad says:

    Many beautiful things have been explained in a very creative way.

    A well educated man does pottery in streets of Hyderabad (India), people call him mad, yet he is happy with his life though he does not earn much and there are many people who earn a lot and do the daily work according to what they have been imposed to, unhappy with life.
    whats life all about?
    Craving for happiness being in social norms..

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