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One of the biggest football matches in the sporting calendar is the Manchester derby, when Manchester City play Manchester United. It happens twice every season and, occasionally, a third time when the two teams are thrown together in a cup match. It’s always a huge event in the city, millions tune in across the UK and hundreds of millions across the world. 

But tonight there is another ‘derby’ match. Both teams are on tours of the United States and are playing each other in Houston, Texas. Close to football mad, Mexico I imagine it’s going to be a well attended match, especially as two of the world’s most famous rivals will be playing.

City will be in their blue and United will be in their red shirts. Both teams have added a Manchester bee to their shirts to honour the people damaged or killed in the Manchester Arena attack back in May. After the match the shirts will be auctioned off with the money going to the Manchester Arena fund. If you can’t run to buying one of those, you can have a bee added to your existing shirt with the profits going to the fund.

This summer the country is celebrating and commemorating the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK in 1967. Until then men who were found to have had sexual relations with another man could be jailed. And that did happen. Having said that, that was an improvement on the situation that existed before when they could be put to death. This draconian treatment was never applied to women so there was no need to include them in this legislation. Back in 1967 people thought that people were either straight or gay, so there was no mention of bisexual people either. Men who dressed as women were a comedy turn in a Christmas pantomime and the general public had no concept of transgender people. 

Back in 1967 the change in the law covered men over 21. In the last 5o years they have changed it to men over 18 and then to equal treatment with the age of consent being brought into line at 16. We moved onto civil partnerships and then to marriage for gay people. Ironically we now have a situation where a straight couple can’t have a civil partnership while it is open to gay couples along with marriage. Straight people are discriminated against in the UK!

Before 1967 no one was ‘out’. Of course people knew people who were gay but it was not spoken about and all swept under the carpet. 50 years on there are out and proud gay people in every walk of life. I imagine that everyone knows a gay person in their family or circle of friends or at work. Laws protect them from discrimination and people are, generally, accepting of other people’s sexual orientation. And, if they aren’t, they realise that it’s best to keep such thoughts to themselves.

In cities like Manchester there are big LGBT communities that are very much a part of the city’s life. We are a small, crowded country and the tolerant attitudes of places like Manchester, London, Brighton etc. fan out into the surrounding countryside. It’s a good thing. There are positive role models for young gay people aplenty. 

Big companies support LGBT members of their staff and in the community wider. ASDA is one such company. I’ve been a fan of their gnomes for ages. And I love the special edition ones that they do. To mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of the gay community that have brought out these Pride Gnomes. They have been snapped up and people are on waiting lists for them. Well done ASDA. I only managed to get to take these pictures by getting into the warehouse to do so. All the supply was sold before they got onto the shop floor. 

I can see the light and the end of the tunnel and I don’t think it’s an oncoming train! By Sunday I will have finished my really, really busy time of the year and can starting looking forward to the bulge in my bank balance. Work sent me an email asking if I’d like some more work. I’ve ignored that email. I’d like next Monday and Tuesday off first and then I’ll think about it. 

I got up early and did my day’s allocation. I managed to do it before the biggest truck yet arrived in our road and started off loading all kinds of building materials for the neighbour’s ‘little’ extension. It was fun to watch as the crane unloading all the stuff.

That done I went into the office to catch up with stuff there. I didn’t want to run into anyone who might pin me down about extra work. So, as it was a warm (27C…Summer is back with a vegence), we had one of our walking/photographing meetings.

We had coffee at the coffee shop and I needed the washroom. I’d never used this one. I was confused by the door. What exactly is one of these?

Here are some of the pink Floribunda roses flowering by the lake.

And these images and words have been put on the windows of the restaurant. 

The office looked pretty cool as well. I like how they have arranged the buildings on either side of the rill running down the centre of the road. It’s a very calm place to work.

Last week Manchester’s councillors had the first full council meeting in the Town Hall after the attack on the Manchester Arena on May 22nd. Top of the agenda, watched by the families of the people most affected by the atrocity, was what to do for Ariana Grande after what she did for the city to raise its spirit and an extraordinary amount of money at the One Love Manchester concert at the Old Trafford cricket stadium. They voted unaminously to make Ms Grande the first every Honoary Citizen of Manchester. And rightly so. Here is my open letter to Ariana, a lady who I didn’t know of at all a few weeks ago but am now very impressed with.

Dear Ariana,

First, please excuse the familiarity. I’m English. There are people I’ve known for decades and we have still not got to a position where I feel comfortable using their Christian name so please forgive me for using yours even though we have never met. It’s a cultural thing.

I hear you are being made the first ever Honorary Citizen of Manchester, this place that I call home. I’ve had the good fortune to visit many of the world’s great cities, Paris, London, New York, Rome, Cairo, Madrid, Barcelona, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Venice and, wonderful those places undoubtedly are, nowhere quite has the feel, to me, of Manchester. I love to travel but I’m always happy when the wheels touch the ground at Manchester Airport.

I’d gone to bed early on the fateful night of 22nd May. I woke up early the following morning, tuned into ‘Today,’ BBC Radio 4’s flagship, morning news programme, and heard Nick Robinson say ‘There’s only one news story dominating the airwaves this morning.’ That’s rarely going to be a good way to start a news programme and to find that my city was at the centre of it all was dreadful. It was a day off and I spent it following the news on radio, TV and Twitter.

Years ago we had a burglary at our house. Losing stuff was one thing. The fact that someone had broken into our safe place, caused damage, been into private parts of our home was far worse. Insurance covered the stuff but the sense of security we lost was the really bad part of it.

On the 23rd I felt as if someone had come into our collective home, Manchester, a place where I feel safe, and had violated it in the worse possible way. As the morning wore on messages began to appear on social media asking us to look out for people. Pictures of fresh faced youngsters from towns and cities across the country, from remote Scottish Islands and from Manchester itself began to circulate. We are not a third world city where people disappear and can’t be found. We are a well organised first world city that was prepared for such an event, as had happened at your concert, and the services swung into action within minutes of the atrocity. And I’m proud of my fellow Mancunians who, while I slept, picked up the slack going out of their way to ferry people home, put stranded people up in hotels and on sofas, make people cups of tea. If any bewildered, scared teenagers were wandering around the city the following morning someone would have taken them in, notified parents and police, and arranged for them to be got home safely. It was apparent that many of the people whose pictures were being circulated were not going to make it home.

I apologise, but before the events of 22nd May, I didn’t know who you were. I’m not in the demographic of your fan base. I’m not a teenage, or younger, girl and I don’t have anyone in my circle who would have made me aware of you by me being their guardian and accompanying them to your concert. But your fanbase is sufficiently large for you to sell out the Manchester Arena so don’t lose any sleep about that please. Manchester Arena tickets can be expensive. Your fans will have been bought them as Christmas and birthday presents months ago. They would have been looking forward to it for an age. People made a weekend of it. Coming down to site see, shop, eat and generally enjoy the vibe of the city.

The first time I saw you was in a picture of you leaving the city, possibly, from Manchester Airport. You looked stunned and devastated, not able to properly comprehend what had happened a few hours earlier. Another picture I saw, of you arriving home in Florida, proved your state of mind hadn’t lifted in the long flight back across the Pond. I tried to think what you were going through. Putting myself in your position (it was something of a jump from my current life to that of a pop princess), I thought that you might be feeling some responsibility. That if I hadn’t been there doing that concert, those people wouldn’t have been there and they would still be alive today. I assure you this isn’t so. You brought music and joy to the city, we thank you for it and you are welcome back anytime. The responsibility for what happened in the Manchester Arena lies solely with the people who organised and implemented the atrocity. You bear no responsibility at all.

If it had happened the night before it would have occurred at Professor Brian Cox’s lecture on physics. I’m proud to live in a city where a professor of physics can fill the arena as well as a world famous musician. If it had happened a few days later, Manchester supergroup, Take That, would have been in your position.

I did see some unkind tweets about you cancelling the rest of your tour and flying home. Well, there were 20,000 people in the arena that night and their first thought was to get home. They wanted to be safe with their families, their friends and be surrounded by their stuff. It’s a natural reaction to a scary event and you were doing exactly the same. It was just that your home was in Florida and not a Manchester suburb. You should not worry about that at all.

Once home you might have decided that that was that. I’ll do more recordings, no more tours and live my life in comfort in my home in Florida. But that, we discovered, was not your style at all. Once you had recovered from the initial shock you decided that you were going to do something about it, especially for the families and fans who has been damaged or died. You, and your people, pulled strings and when you pull strings the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber are at the end of them. Your original concert was a symbol of what we hold dear. We come together to enjoy music, to be together to enjoy life. An attack on your concert was as good as an attack on theirs and an attempt to stop us from coming together to enjoy music and life. They joined you in support of Manchester and our common values.

At the arena concert you had 20,000 people watching you. Less than two weeks later you were back in Manchester and this time you had brought your mates. 50,000 tickets were sold in minutes. Millions watched it on TV and the Internet. If the attack on the 22nd May was designed to scare us from coming together to enjoy music and friendship, to stop us from singing and dancing, then it failed spectacularly. The concert at Old Trafford was one of the most moving things I have seen. I tried for tickets but had to watch it from the comfort of my sitting room courtesy of the BBC. As well as lifting the spirits of the city, you raised a spectacular amount of money to support the people damaged in the attack and the families of the deceased.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And we were also impressed by the way you came quietly back to the city, and while your people put the finishing touches to the concert at the cricket ground, you visited the damaged people in the hospitals and the families of the people who had died. This cannot have been easy for you. It was done privately, with no fanfare, and I’m sure that the families most affected appreciated it.

Because of your amazing support for our city, which at the start of your tour would have been just another stop, the city has decided to create this entirely new honour. In the future other people may receive it but you will always be remembered as the person who got it first. The people who organised the atrocity are scared of young women like you. They hate the idea that a woman can be confident and determined, that she can organise and inspire people to do things that they thought they couldn’t. And it is because of people like you that they will never win. They may score a Pyrrhic victory, causing mayhem and death at a concert for one evening, but they will never overcome the strength of good people like yourself and others like you.

I’m not sure what happens when you become an Honorary Citizen of Manchester. We will have to look into that for you. I do know that if you get the freedom of the city of London you are allowed to drive geese across London Bridge. If you would like to drive assorted barnyard animals up and down Deansgate for a couple of hours, in the style of Marie Antoinette at Versailles, I’m sure it could be arranged. I do know that if you walk into any bar or pub in the city I’m sure you won’t have to put your hand in your pocket to pay for a drink all evening so high is your standing in Manchester.

So it’s official. You are know one of us. You’ll have to start referring to your mother as ‘Me Mam.’ You have a brother I believe, he is now ‘Our kid.’ You will have to eat chip butties and Eccles Cakes. If they’re not in a butty, your chips will be smothered in gravy or curry sauce. You’ll need a Liam Gallagher Parka and you’ll need to perfect that Oasis/Salford swagger when you walk. You’ll be needing a season ticket for the trams. Pack some glitter for trips to Canal Street and your boyfriend will need to work on his beard for nights out in the hipster Northern Quarter. You’ll need to look effortlessly cool for Chorlton but need something dressy for afternoon tea at the Midland. Something ‘Cheshire Darling’ for Hale and Bowden. But I imagine your natural Florida tan will be the envy of everyone in Alderley Edge.

Thank you again, for what you did for my city while it went through its most difficult time in decades. You are my new best person.

Love,

Tom xxxx

In Exchange Square, outside Selfridges, I was delighted to find that Dutch Cookie Man was in town selling his delicious Dutch biscuits, cakes and cookies. I’m a big fan of the toffee waffles that you can put into the little Blue Delft Cookie tins. They are usually a Christmas treat that we start enjoying in November, when he’s at the Christmas Markets, and make sure we have some to enjoy over Christmas. I’ve given the lovely tins with the cookies as presents for Christmas as well. So it was good to see him here in July. He’s back in September as well. I doubt if the two packets I bought will last till then though. Everytime he makes a sale he rings a bell. 

He has a new design for the tins.

I’m well ahead of what I should do for the next target day on Monday and my team, mostly, are on track. I got up early and did my daily allocation. It’s good to finish early and it means I can concentrate before all the banging and vehicle moving starts on the building project next door. It was sold to us as a little extension but it is huge and the garden looks like a scene from the Battle of the Somme. They assure us that it’ll all be over and done with by mid September. We will see.

So work finished, I’ve been able to come into the city for a bit of a mooch and I don’t need to feel guilty about it as work for the day is all done and dusted. 

The Manchester International Festival is drawing to a close. It’s the final weekend then it’s all packed away until 2019. Sad, but the Manchester Jazz Festival is waiting in the wings, starting at the end of the month. And I won’t be so snowed under with work so I can actually enjoy it. My good bud, Andy, and I are planning an entire day at it with lunch and beer.

In St. Ann’s Square there was another of the MIF music installations happening, Music for a Busy City. It was new music but had a bit of a classical vibe to it, rather than the ethereal, New Age music I’d heard outside Selfridges a few days ago. People were stood about just enjoying it.

I went for a beer on the roof of the pop up bar at the festival hub in Albert Square. It will, sadly, be my last chance to do so until 2019. 

It’s cool to sit among the tree tops and see the architecture on the Town Hall at close hand. The Town Hall, which is Grade 1 listed and one of the most important buildings in the country, behind the magnificent façade, is feeling its age. They are about to start a restoration project to sort out the mess and bring in 21st century technology without changing a thing visually. It’s going to be a seven year project and will cost £350,000,000. And then some I’d imagine. The Houses of Parliament in London which is a similar age, is also going to have a massive restoration. They’re wondering where the government will be housed while it goes on. Answers on a postcard please….

Gary Neville, Manchester United legend, best bud and best man to David Beckham and all round nice guy occupies an enviable position in the city. Fans from both the red and blue sides of the city admire his footballing career. He’s married his childhood sweetheart and has a lovely family, staying faithful unlike many in his position. Not a whiff of scandal has ever been attached to his name. Having made a small fortune from his footballing days, he could have relaxed and played golf and lived out a comfortable retirement on an estate in Cheshire.

But he’s not that kind of guy and he’s turned his hand, and his money (together with some other United teammates) to property development. He does well with it as well. Hotel Football, by Old Trafford Stadium, is his and he’s converting the old Stock Exchange building into an upmarket, boutique hotel.

A couple of years back he decided to take the property developing up a notch and managed to get hold of the old Greater Manchester Police HQ building on a site between Albert Square and Deansgate. As well as that huge complex, his company got access to the Georgian Ralph Abercromby pub and the Reformed Synagogue that is next to the site. We waited to see what he would do with it. First there was rumours of hotels, restaurants, offices, a new synagogue bringing life to a deserted, quiet, underused bit of the city. All well and good until we saw what it was going to look like….

Now I like a skyscraper, the more the merrier in my opinion but in the historic, and often very beautiful, centre of Manchester you have to be careful what you build. In my humble opinion these were too big and the wrong colour for this site. They swamped Albert Square and ruined many other views across the city centre. Central Library looked like it had sprouted shark’s fins and I almost cried when I saw what they would have done to St. Ann’s Square where a great black wall (they were originally black, not this bronze colour) swamped the church. If these skyscrapers had been built on one of the zombie car parks that used to surround the city centre, we would be delighted with them I’m sure. But they would ruin this view of Albert Sqaure surrounded by some of the finest architecture and statuary in Europe with modern Manchester (Great Northern and Hilton Towers) looking over the square from a respectful distance.

I wasn’t alone in my unhappiness about the scheme. Groups with an interest in the city, national groups, private individuals, the local press, local TV and then national TV waded in with the condemnation. Changing the colour of the towers from black to bronze did nothing to make people happier. And Gary wasn’t happy with the knock to his reputation. The original architects stepped down and new ones have been brought back in. Today a new scheme was unveiled….

The Georgian Ralph Abercromby pub will stay. It is old and of historic significance. It was used in 1819 as an impromptu field hospital for people hurt in the Peterloo Massacre. This was an event in the city where people were demonstrating for democracy. The local militia rode into the crowd killing and hurting a number of people. It was one of a series of events that led to universal suffrage in the UK. If the original scheme had gone ahead it could have been that this pub would be biting the dust in 2019  when we would be commemorating the 200th anniversary of the massacre. Not good. 

The Portland stone element of the old police HQ building, along Southmill Street is staying so we will still have the view into the square. It will either be offices or another boutique hotel. It’s a lovely little building and all it needs is a bit of a scrub up. 

The synagogue is going. Some people regret this as it’s, apparently, a good example of a building of its type…the type being Cold War Bunker chic. I’m not a fan and the Jewish community that uses it are happy to have a new synagogue built into the new scheme.

There will be a park on the roof of the offices with steps leading up to it. I like this.

And the tower, another 100m+ one, will be set well back towards Deansgate and will be clad in glass. Glass works well in Manchester. It reflects the clouds. That works well in No.1 Spinningfields, so hopefully it will do the same here. The view across Albert Sqaure looks a lot better with the tower not lowering over the area.

And the view from St. Ann’s Sqaure is greatly improved as well.

 

I, along with a lot of others, was enjoying the sun in St. Ann’s Square. I had a Pret a Manger picnic and was enjoying the girl sat by the fountain who was playing her guitar and singing. She’s often there. She was one of the street entertainers who was allowed to sing in the square while the flower tributes were there, her voice clearly heard over the hushed tones of the crowds who came to pay their respects. 

Suddenly the peace was destroyed. People were shouting at the other end of the square near the Royal Exchange Theatre and police were arriving, purposely walking across the square towards the centre of the noise. Someone was firing off a klaxon. The atmosphere of the square was ruined and the singing girl gave up, packed up her guitar and moved off. I was annoyed as well. The flowers may have gone and the flags are no longer at half mast but the square is still sacred ground for Manchester. 

I fiinished my picnic and wandered down to where the noise was. The centre of it all was the HSBC bank on the square. Apparently they have some business interests in Israel. Some local people with contacts in Palestine were outside protesting about this. And where they appear you can be sure that the local supporters of Israel won’t be far behind protesting against the protestors. They did it, big time, a couple of years ago, when the centre of their attention was a little store on King Street selling products using Dead Sea mud. I have every sympathy with the Palestinians. If my country had disappeared off the face of the earth and I ended up living in an overcrowded scrap of land without proper facilities I’d be aggrieved. I also think that Isrealis should have a place to call home as well. I have no idea how they will ever square that circle, it’s a problem that’s been festering, on and off, for thousands of years. It’s not going to be solved any time soon I think. And it is one of the roots of the problem that led to the Manchester Arena attack a few weeks ago of course. Not the only one, but one of them. But I did think that, given the importance St Ann’s Square has assumed in the city’s life recently, they could have found another spot to noisily protest in.

I walked down New Cathedral Street. The guitar playing girl from the square had found herself a new spot between the Zara store and Marks & Spencer’s. Outside Harvey Nichols these street artists, called Nomadclan, were creating a piece. It was all a part of an event going on in the store. One of the American airlines (possibly American Airlines, I forget which) are launching new, direct routes from Manchester to several American cities. San Francisco is one, Boston another. The picture isn’t finished yet. I think it’s an American eagle?

I had a chat with them and they told me there was a complete piece of their work at Victoria Station so I went off to find it. It was on the hoardings around the Hotel Indigo site. They have work in the Northern Quarter as well.

Reading is one of the most important skills we can develop. It’s something we use, and have to use, on a daily basis. It is impossible to function effectively without it. I can’t remember ever having not been able to read but there must have been a time when I couldn’t do it. I’m told I struggled a bit at school and needed some extra lessons but the teacher found out I was quite good and used me to help other kids. I thought I had been selected for an extra treat. I obviously got the hang of it as I ended up getting a good degree from Manchester University. 

I can remember clearly what turned me on to reading. My teacher in what is tnow called Year 3 (I’d be 7) had this system where if you progressed well enough along a path on a chart she had on the wall, you were rewarded with a form that allowed you to go to the local public library and join. I desperately wanted that. And when I got it, I was always there borrowing books that took my fancy. After that happened I guess I taught myself.

But some people, especially boys, struggle still. There are too many active, exciting things that they can do that sound better than sitting quietly and reading oa book. People are always trying to do things to encourage people to read. These book benches, decorated with characters from famous books, turned up in Central Library this weekend.

And these ones I found lining the Winter Gardens of the Arndale Centre shopping mall in the city centre.

I have to read for work but I also read for pleasure. So what am I reading now?

After reading all those books set in Anglo Saxon England I’ve jumped 500 years or so to Tudor England and I’m reading a book called ‘Three Sisters, Three Queens’ by fêted author, Phillipa Gregory.

It’s set in the years after the War of the Roses which saw the end of the Plantagenet dynasty of monarchs and the ascendency of the Tudor dynasty after the death of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, near Leicester, in 1485. Calling it the War of the Roses makes it sound a very cosy, civilised English sort of war. It was anything but and the Game of Thrones story, not known for holding back on the violence, with the dynastic battles between House Lannister and House Stark, was partially based on this period of history. 

Henry Tudor won and became Henry VII. He married a Plantagent princess as his claim to the throne wasn’t that strong. He had four surviving children, Arthur, Margaret, Henry and Mary. The book is told from the point of view of Margaret who is married off to James IV of Scotland as part of a peace deal with that country. Quite a common thing to happen to a prince or princess in those days. She is the first queen, Queen of Scotland. She had quite a happy marriage even though James was 10 years or so her senior. He’d had quite a lot of fun while he was waiting to get married and Margaret arrived at her new castle in Scotland to find it full of the illegitimate offspring of his liaisons with assorted Scottish ladies who had taken his fancy. I believe a lot of that sort of thing goes on in Game of Thrones. 

Her elder brother, Arthur, was married to Katherine of Aragon, the daughter of the King and Queen of Spain. They were the Ferdinand and Isabella who drove the Muslim Moors out of Spain finally, and sent Christopher Columbus out west to get to India. He found America instead. Katherine and Arthur are married and packed off to enjoy their newly married status in Ludlow Castle. Arthur gets ill and dies of the ‘sweats.’ We don’t have them these days, they seem to have died out. Poor Katherine is a widow half way through her teens. She comes back to London. The alliance with Spain is too important to lose so they marry Katherine off to Arthur’s younger brother, Henry. They get round the fact that she’s been married to his brother (illegal in England in those days and probably still the same today, I’ve never heard of it happening anyway) by saying Arthur was too ill to consummate the marriage. Well he wasn’t ill ALL the time they were in Ludlow and if you put two hormonal teenagers in a bed and EXPECT them to have fun, I can’t imagine them saying  ‘no, I’ve got a headache (bad case of the ‘sweats’). Henry goes on to be the famous/infamous Henry VIII so Katherine becomes Queen of England. Has Game of Thrones done the suspect incest thing yet?

Mary, the pretty one, gets married off to the aging King of France who is old enough to be her grandfather. He also has some rather unpleasant sexual practices (G o T again?) but fortunately for Mary, dies within a year. Now the Dowager Queen of France she hops it backs to England, rich, and marries a handsome boy her own age before they can marry her off to some other, past his sell by date, monarch with dodgy habits. The Holy Roman Emperor was in the frame for a while there. 

So the three Queens and three sisters (well technically two sisters and a sister in law) write to one another as the wars and historical doings of early Tudor history happen around and to them. It’s a good read. Have I whetted your appetite to read this?

Once I’m done with all the work in July, I will be handsomely recompensed with extra cash and a bonus. Having two more team members to look after will up the amount as well. As I’m practically walking about in rags and tatters I’m thinking I might splash some of the cash on some new clothes.

I went up to the 1st floor of Selfridges to see what was on offer (note to American readers, what you call the 1st floor, we call the ground floor so I was on your 2nd floor). A shirt in the Hermès concession caught my eye. I liked it. One of the ladies working there came over to chat, sensing a sale. The shirt is a thing of beauty, fine cotton with palladium cuff buttons and mother of pearl buttons down the front. I loved the colour and the pattern. I couldn’t see a price. Could she find it for me? It was £800! I thought I’d misheard but I hadn’t. I do have a few Nicole Fahri shirts that cost £150 each but this one is in a different league. I’ll have to have a lot more team members to pay for this one. If you want to see what a £800 shirt looks like….

Slightly stunned, I left Selfridges and found myself in the soaring atrium that separates the store from Marks & Spencer (where you can buy at least 16 perfectly nice shirts for the price of one in Hermès). The Manchester International Festival had set up a free, music installation (of world premiered music) for people passing through. It was beautiful and ethereal and echoed around the space. People stopped to listen. There are several places across the city where you can listen to different pieces of new music. The installation is called ‘Music for a Busy City.’

Outside Selfridges, on the steps leading down to The Old Wellington Inn and Exchange Square, this young lad was entertaining the shoppers. He was very young, his voice hadn’t broken yet. He looked cool in his shades and was good with his guitar. He was rocking Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall.’ I put a £1 coin in his guitar case. It joined an awful lot more. There must have been £60, possibly more, in there. Not bad for a bit of pocket money. If he stayed there all weekend he might be able to buy my Hermès shirt.