Alfresco cabaret on street is just a typical morning...

Peter Unsworth

Peter Unsworth

First published in News

ARMED with a most generous £1 ice cream cornet, bought near the entrance to the Westgate Centre, I was ready for the unusual that is often found in Queen Street. I’m never disappointed.

Making her farewell appearance before returning that evening to the Royal College of Music in Manchester to read – and sing – for her master’s degree, was Josephine, the talented young soprano from Witney. She brings a touch of class to the busking scene of the city.

“See you at Christmas,” she said before plonking a welcome kiss on my left cheek. I’ll be counting the days.

A small girl, accompanied by her mother and grandmother, without any prompting, felt compelled to tell me her name was Amelia and that she was four-years-old. Congratulating her on this milestone, I admitted to once being four-years-old. Her brow furrowed.

“Are you sure?” she asked, her words delivered with almost tangible suspicion.

A young woman, clad in a black gown and clutching a mortar board, whizzed along towards New Road on a skateboard, missing buses and public by inches. She was applauded rather than condemned. The final act of this alfresco cabaret was provided by a man, his nakedness hidden only by an overcoat, being led from Marks and Spencer’s by the strong arm of the law.

“Leave him alone!” called an elderly woman with green hair.

Tuesday morning was far from dull.

NEITHER was Monday evening. I went to the New Theatre to see Dreamboats and Miniskirts a delightful show crammed with music from the 1960s, performed by a young and multi-talented company. Among them was Headington’s David Luke, a former Cherwell School pupil who was playing one of the leading roles.

“Oxford will always be my home and to return here is the highlight of any tour,” he told me.

David was here earlier in the year for the show’s forerunner, Dreamboats and Petticoats.

Before the show, management asked for mobile phones to be switched off. The request appeared to be universally observed. But you should have seen the dash of young and old alike to resume contact with fellow phone addicts once the curtain fell.

FINALLY a word of appreciation. If you’ve ever bought beautiful homemade greetings cards from the Covered Market’s Helen and Douglas House shop, like me, you’ll be sorry to hear of the death of the ever-cheerful ’northern lass’, Betty Simpson. Recently she and her husband Colin moved from Water Eaton to be nearer their family. She’ll be missed – as will her handyworks that are real works of art and have raised hundreds of pounds. Thanks Betty.

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