MANCHESTER’S GOT TALENT
With Britain’s Got Talent due to takeover Saturday night TV next month, what better time to take a look at the talent that can be found right here on the streets of Manchester.
I roamed Piccadilly Gardens and beyond to find street performance alive and well.
Piccadilly Gardens is where I found guitarist and singer Richard Burton, 20, of The Streeters, a four piece band who said they were influenced by The Beatles – which was clear from the sixties haircuts and sunglasses they sported.
The band performs more than twice a week as well as gigging around – Richard told me he doesn’t have a job as he “just plays music”. Asked whether he would be tempted to go on reality shows like Britain’s Got Talent, he said: “Personally I’m not, it’s not music it’s performance, they look all pretty and wear nice clothes.”
Stepping away from the bands in the city, I talked to musician John Haycock, 22, in Exchange Square.
The Salford-based performer was playing the Kora – an instrument I had never heard of – as part of The Kora Collective. John plays full time, performing four or five times a week. I wondered how he made enough money to live on, playing an instrument that I’m not sure many people have heard of. In response, he gave me his business card, which advertised Kora tuition and workshops as well as sales, hire and live performances. He said social networks helped get him noticed, and added that he didn’t see himself ever going on Britain’s Got Talent, saying “it’s just not for me”. He didn’t want me to film him either.
Surrounded by bustling crowds on the high street outside the Arndale Centre was Craig Gorey, 24.
He is a full time football freestyler who doesn’t seem to have a problem with talent shows, having been on Britain’s Got Talent a few times, finding the experience “all right”. The dedicated freestyler practices for three hours a day, and although he hasn’t made it big from the show, he has still had the opportunity to showcase his fancy footwork around the world.
Whether for and against, a contestant or not, Britain’s Got Talent hasn’t got in the way of the passion and enthusiasm these street performers have for their craft.
Simon Cowell can keep his tired formats – we’ll always have Manchester, and Manchester’s got talent.