It seems there’s always been this ragtime piano playin’ busker doing his thing in the Murray Street Mall, in Perth. What impressed me was that he was a busker with a freakin’ portable piano. Most buskers carry a guitar, or a flute or some smallish instrument. A certain accordion player was popular for a while. But this dude had a whole piano. It was an upright piano with the front panels exposed so you could see the movement of the little hammers on the strings inside whenever a key was struck. Since he was playing ragtime, there was always plenty of movement in the hammers. Kids, especially, would be mesmerised by the groups of keys dancing back and forth when he played the likes of “The Entertainer”.
Turns out he was a rather talented maestro by the name of John Gill who attended many prestigious schools and played in many bands around the world. He was playing in leading clubs and hotels in Europe and across the US before he moved out here.
I say “was” because he had a heart attack and died on the weekend. He had a bit of a writeup in todays newspaper.
Another little bit of Perth has disappeared.