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
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