PLAY ME, I’M YOURS – By Walter Pieringer
One afternoon I went down to the 9th street trails, only to find a shiny, red piano chained to a tree near right line with the words, “Play me, I’m yours” neatly painted on it. How strange.
It seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up – I mean, how often does one stumble upon a piano next to some dirt jumps? So a couple of days later, I came back with Joseph Frans, Nick Steben, and Jeremy Hrabal to see what we could make happen on this unlikely obstacle.
Sure enough, the piano was still at the trails (and miraculously not completely demolished), but someone had cut the chain and moved it in between two little dirt humps. Perfect.
After Joseph and Nick sessioned the piano between the humps for a bit, one of us had the bright idea of moving it on top of a little tabletop jump across the way. This would prove to be easier said than done.
Dragging the thing 50 feet across the trails was hard enough, and once we got it to the base of the jump, we had a serious discussion about whether or not getting it any further was even remotely possible. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to lift a piano, but let me tell you – they are damn heavy. Much heavier even than we had anticipated, actually.
With the help of several friends, and one very nice older gentlemen (who may or may not have once owned that particular piano), we somehow managed to get the damn thing up on top of the jump. It was legitimately one of the most challenging physical endeavors I’ve ever accomplished, and I truly believe the ancient Egyptians would have been proud of us. Once it was all situated (and braced with a shovel), all kinds of BMX-on-piano moves went down.
As it turns out, the piano was part of an art instalment by a British artist named Luke Jerram. Apparently there were 14 pianos distributed across Austin, and the general public was encouraged to both play and “personalise” each one. It sounds like a pretty cool idea, although I must question the wisdom of placing one at the trails, or anywhere BMXers congregate really. . . . while we didn’t cause much (if any) damage to it, within a couple of weeks the poor thing was pretty trashed. In any case, it was sweet while it lasted, and much thanks to Mr. Jerram for providing us with the means for one hell of a fun afternoon. And sorry if we hurt your piano.
…Dragging the thing 50 feet across the trails was hard enough, and once we got it to the base of the jump, we had a serious discussion about whether or not getting it any further was even remotely possible…