Busker out of tune with Dalston mall future?

Busker Mikey @ Kingsland Centre 180712 © ∂å

HE IS Dalston’s living landmark and he has been attacked, his guitar smashed, his pitiful Christmas Eve takings stolen, his Kingsland Centre pitch invaded by beggars and a security company has tried to silence him. Now Michael the busker says he has been rocked by an insistence that his removal must be a precondition of multimillion-pound redevelopment of the shopping mall.

The incident took place at the centre a few weeks ago, Mikey says, since when has been too shaken to make his regular afternoon appearances. This week he returned to the ramp that runs up from the car park to the mall for some short “performances”.

He told Loving Dalston the latest challenge happened in the wake of the release for consultation of Hackney’s latest plan for the area. The plan expresses a desire for the shopping centre to be redeveloped (as this site reported a year ago). Rumours have swept workers in the centre that a planning application has already been made for the site.

Mikey said: “You know how they’ve been talking about pulling down Matalan and using the space for another shopping centre? Well, the new people turned up, the architects, the developers, all those, and they were walking around.

“The security men at the Kingsland Centre generally turn a blind eye to my busking, even though officially the centre management bosses don’t want me here.

“As the group passed me, one of them, I don’t know who he was, this guy gestured towards me and said ‘Well, for a start, he can [depart] off out of here’.

“I’ve was stressed by that. I’ve been here for nine years and I’ve never bothered anyone, just played my music.”

Michael does not ask for money, merely plays softly on his acoustic guitar, occasionally singing, perhaps one of his own numbers. Surely officialdom and big money can incorporate in their plans a space for a busker? Why needlessly upset the public, on whom the success, the profit, of a big centre hangs?

David Altheer 190712 

* Backstory: Mikey moves home, Into the Vortex, Robbed again and Dalston busker to record 

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. This site welcomes fair comments, including the critical. Letters may be edited for grammatical, legal or taste reasons, for shortening or for substitution of Wikipedia citations by reliable sources. RSS feed link is at top right. Twitter: @lovingdalston Publicists, amateur and professional, should read http://bit.ly/ZnClKc Also relevant may be the note at the end of http://bit.ly/117GXmi Photographs © David Altheer unless otherwise stated and apart from supplied pictures

4 thoughts on “Busker out of tune with Dalston mall future?

  1. I know Michael and my apartment overlooks the car park of the centre. I shop there every day and I’m of the opinion it could do with a tidy-up and a bit of investment,

    Over the last couple of weeks I have seen men in suits with clipboards and cameras walking around and was curious as to what they were up to. So I decided to ask one of them why he had been taking pictures of my flat block. He told me that they are planning to redevelop the centre but will try to keep disturbance to a minimum for “neighbours” like us.

    So there you have it. I believe this is going to happen. I hope it will be for the better and I hope the “big men” don’t force the “little men” like Mike away from the area.

    It wouldn’t be the same without him there and I’d rather hear him play than the over-loud rubbish from the flower-stall stereo at the bottom of the ramp.

    [You may have missed “A new Kingsland Centre” a few months ago.
    http://lovingdalston.co.uk/2013/07/a-new-kingsland-centre-to-give-heart-to-dalston/ I’ve written often about Mikey the busker. Links at http://lovingdalston.co.uk/2012/07/busker-out-of-tune-with-dalston-mall-future/ — Ed.]

  2. Michael is great and my two-year-old loves getting a special strum of the guitar whenever he drops 50p or £1 into the case… I’d miss him if he were gone. The shopping centre is so grim and his music is lovely and he’s always smiling.

  3. Planning applications are public domain. So most of this article is based on hearsay and rumour.

    Mickey is a friendly soul whose presence on the walkway is one of the few pleasant features of the shopping centre. But his idea that architects and developers would walk around worried about a busker is far-fetched.

    Surely he’d find a better and safer pitch in the new square at Dalston Junction which should be fully open soon?

    The story came from Michael, to whom it is clearly attributed. It is entirely believable that a developer would not want a site to attract buskers. Sometimes a story has to be run before all the facts are known to elicit information from those who have the facts, which is the case here.

    As for the rumour that a planning application has been made that involves the replacement of Matalan, I can find no such PA. If you know better…

    I like your DJ square pitch suggestion. — Ed.

    1. I don’t doubt the attribution. But how does the busker know who these people were? He didn’t ask them. He just heard a remark from some people in suits and assumed they were going to redevelop the shopping centre. Now it’s on a Dalston internet site. Doesn’t it need a bit more investigation and scrutiny?

      Why don’t you ask Hackney council planning department? It will tell you if an application has been lodged. Anyway, we will all know soon as it has to make the information public.

      The council made it clear some years ago that it wanted this site redeveloped. If it is going to be a building site for several years, Mikey and the rest of us will probably not be able to access the walkway.

      The council might want to license an area for buskers in Gillett Square or the new Dalston Square. Better than the back steps of a car park, which seems like an obvious place to get your takings nicked.

      Well, that seems to have ended any possibility of a petition.

      As for your note about the site and redevelopment, Loving Dalston has reported that at http://lovingdalston.co.uk/2011/07/e8-rectangle-big-money-cashes-in/

      Just for information, in the the latest story, above, the belief that an application has been made is described as rumour. — Ed.

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