John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
You're not born to rock unless you can do it from the center of a choking cloud of demolition dust.
To be a successful street musician, it's important to know how to maximize time and place – an office district during lunchtime, a subway platform at rush hour.
On Sunday, an anonymous duo in Glasgow gave a masterclass in seizing the moment for a gnarly, bawbag-bustin' performance. They waited until demolition crews had laced a pair of apartment blocks with explosives, then let er' rip right as the buildings blew apart and covered the neighborhood in a tsunami of dust. Eat your heart out, Limp Bizkit.
The apartments that graciously bowed out this weekend, granting Glaswegians a few months of improved horizon views, were 1960s-era structures in a southern urban enclave called "the Gorbals." This area has a historical crime and poverty problem, which city planners are trying to improve in part by knocking down old structures. The Gorbals wrecking job makes way for new housing with shops, office space and a healthcare center.
Though the demolition managers set up an "exclusion zone" around the towers, dust obeys no incredibly porous metal fence and flew right onto rubberneckers. That seemed to bother most people, who ran from the wall of flying particulates like it had been kicked up by Godzilla stomping. The musicians with their wee amplifier, however, continued to rock out while getting sandblasted by brownish residue. Their dedication to keeping the beat alive impressed the below videographer, who enthuses, "Stand yer ground!"
These guys may have only collected coins that fell from the bouncing pockets of the fleeing, but their born-to-be-viral performance should gain them future rewards: