The Coolest Sign In America


This is probably one of the coolest signs that the Ironbath has seen in America. Located on “Dirty” Sixth Street in Austin (of course, where else?), there is a priority traffic lane for musicians. Okay, so the lane isn’t very long and is outside one of the many venues on Sixth Street, but it is a start.

It got the Ironbath thinking about how the world could be …. should be. If only society valued talent instead of money. If your status was defined by what you make rather than how much you make.

Priority traffic lanes across the country for musicians – every freeway in every State. It kind of makes sense when you consider how much time they spend touring, although I suppose that the time sat waiting in traffic is a creative space for lyric writing.

The driving licence should be replaced with a musical license. Teenagers should have to wait outside a federal building to perform an original composition (in any style that they wish) in front of a panel. If they pass then they qualify for a probationary musicians licence.

Why should the people who pay the most get to skirt through the security checks at airports and sit in the front of the plane? Surely those seats should be reserved for musicians? – I mean how do you expect to take your guitar on a trip if they make you sit in economy?

At supermarkets they should replace the ‘5 items or less’ priority with ‘5 songs or more’ – after all musicians can’t waste their time lining up to pay for their groceries, after all it is just beer and Doritos in their basket.

So, may be the Ironbath inhaled something during his stay in Austin, but wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a society that recognised the importance of musicians and song writing.

The Ironbath believes that music is the best media we have to record our lives and times for future centuries. The visual arts no longer bear any resemblance to our society. Literature has become increasingly populist and is less radical than at any time in history. Journalism has become obsessed with celebrity culture. Film and TV has, with some exceptions, fallen into a middle ground where it has become too expensive to take a risk.

But one person with a guitar can still write a three-and-a-half minute song that cuts to the core of our society. It might not be played on the radio, but that is another problem. There is nothing in our culture that is more subversive than a sheet of music. In a 100 years time professors will be deconstructing the lyrics of todays song writers in the same way that they do Shakespeare’s sonnets, the war poets or the post-modernist painters.

So the next time you find yourself in a club surrounded by 30 people listening to a musician who is conveying stories of the people and places of our time, then remember that you are sat at the centre of our cultural history. You are the person who was sat in the Parisian cafe whilst Van Gogh was swapping his paintings for his dinner.

Imagine (It’s easy if you try.)

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About Ironbath

The Ironbath is a passionate music lover.
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One Response to The Coolest Sign In America

  1. Maryellen says:

    Great post Martin! And you are so right about how much great music will never get commercial radio airplay. So glad you had fun in Austin. I’ve never been, but hear it’s a great town. Cheers!

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