I'm sure most folks reading this (if anyone is reading this) have already read the news out of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia about how officials and business owners there successfully used Barry Manilow deter thugs from hanging around their business district. Read about it here.
There are diehard Barry fans out there, who love his triumphant melodies and his signature key changes within individual songs. But I know most people would rather pass on the velveeta. Most people admit that they don't particularly like Barry Manilow, but I'd bet, that nearly everyone (me, included), can sing along with most of his songs. You may not be proud of that; I know I'm not. My guess is that thugs move on when they hear Barry's theatrical voice, because they know, once those melodies are received by the brain, they're there to stay for awhile, hence the loiterers and thugs go elsewhere to avoid that.
I just love this story because it illustrates another subtle way that we can, as individuals and small groups, take back our corners, on our own. We may need to drill Rage Against the Machine directly into our brains via our headphones for hours afterward to cleanse our heads from Manilow's sappy "Weekend in New England" and "Mandy" and "Looks Like We Made It," They're HARD to get out!
I'm wondering if there are other artists who have a similar effect on thugs. Maybe classical music at loud volumes might do the trick? Or Wayne Newton? Or Barbra Steisand? Paul Anka? Bobby Darin? The Beach Boys? Michael Bublé? John Denver? The Carpenters? Air Supply? I could go on and on...scary, I know. We all will suffer a bit by listening to too much of that stuff, but we'll suffer more if we don't try harder to keep our corners and business fronts safe.