It was the perfect sunny Friday noonhour for dillydallying and, anxious to do our part, we were strolling ever so slowly along M Street NW when we spotted an unusually large crowd in the spacious arcade in front of 1800 M. There must have been more than 100 people standing or sitting in and around the potted plants, in a sort of impromptu semicircle - all staring at a man in a straw hat who was seated by the curb. Then came sounds - foot-stomping happy music - from the vicinity of this man.

The man is billed as the "Bob Devlin Street Band," and the absence of retinue led us to deduce that this fellow might indeed be Mr. Devlin himself. Not only did he sing, play the guitar and tap a low high-hat cymbal against the sidewalk with his foot, but - with the aid of a fascinating mouth rig - he also played a harmonica and a green kazoo through a little wired in mike-and-speaker system. Between numbers, there was a brisk shower of currency into his milk carton.

It is nice to find live evidence that the streets of Washington may be perking up in the manner of San Francisco (and other cities around the world, for that matter), where street music runs the range from comb-and-tissue-paper to sidewalk symphonies. Where there's space - and too much mindless noise already - why not?