By now, even the likes of my 79-year-old mother has heard of AirBnB, but for most that´s about as far as their ´peer-to-peer´ experience reaches.
Spain currently ranks 5th in European countries using the fluffily titled, ´Sharing Economy´. Suddenly to your average Jose, renting out a spare room to tourists or inviting complete strangers round to dinner has become completely normal. Equally as a consumer, if you can save a few Euros sharing a car instead of taking the train, then why the heck not?
Seville´s been rocking the sharing economy for a while now with alternative currency the Puma taking the lead. But in the last few months a new peer-to-peer off shoot has appeared on the city´s entertainment scene; ´Myplayz´ courtesy of cultural events company, La Matraka.
Billing itself as a ‘revolution in culture,’ it's a web-based community of users who create and attend their own cultural events from private locations. Put in simple terms it’s AirBnB for culture where ‘hosts turn their living rooms into a theatre, a garage into a cinema or a garden into a concert venue’. As a user you create a profile and then express interest in any gigs you´d like to attend. Then it´s down to the hosts to send you an official invite, with the cost on average being €5. As a host it´s a great way to create your own event, something particularly attractive for music acts, who of late are severely restricted due to the punitive entertainment licensing laws.
So on Monday night I found myself wandering into the unknown as I experienced my first Myplayz event. Performing was an American dude, Calvin Johnson and the location was a rehearsal studio in the Corralones on Calle Castellar. Waiting outside in the tiled courtyard, I couldn´t help but reminisce about those heady days of the Corralones, when by night almost every studio dramatically transformed itself into a bar or concert venue.
But tonight it was down to Calvin and in the blacked out rehearsal studio he had no where to hide. A few people in the intimate audience were pleased to see him and nodded appreciatively as he meandered through his one-man, acoustic set, which was peppered throughout with the staccato sound of flamenco feet tapping from the dance studio next door.
And when his set ended and Calvin walked off into the audience (where else could he go after all), there was an uncomfortable moment where no one knew quite what to do next. And nor did I think, poor Calvin, as that line between performer and audience somehow gets blurred when your public are so close that they can see the beads of sweat dripping off an artist´s top lip. But a little bar at the back selling Cruz Campo, soon put an end to any awkwardness and everyone seemed pretty pleased by the evening.
Myplayz is in its infancy. The idea is that eventually, rather like its successful, grown up cousin AirBnB, it will stretch across the globe. But right now it´s a Seville thing and one that is definitely worth checking out.