Have No Name.

Have No Name, Say They.
By Uncle Monty.
TCWNN Photos
By Alex Albion.
Although the choir stage seemed rather too small
at Feet East, their jolly singing and polished per-
formace was certainly quite nice and swanky
 to mark their third anniversary as
 "The Choir With No Name" or TCWNN.
While third birthdays usually don't count as very
important for most folkz, for TCWNN's third
birthday it was really quite a milestone for the
well known and respected homeless choir
that has continued to outshine most other
choirs of the same age and disposition
whether they have a name or not.
TCWNN Founder Marie Benton With
Her Beloved Homeless Choir Members.
All one needs to do is to watch "live"
TCWNN's founder and choir director -  the
quite talented and unbigheaded Marie Benton,
shown above - to see how far the choir has come
 under her magnetic direction. Such is not only
a personal credit to her, but a credit to the
 homeless community in the UK.
Standing room only at their third anniversary show
 was proof enough of how "The Choir With No
Name" has emerged so well and professionally
in three short years. Those giddy and paying
 TCWNN patrons were thrilled to no end, much
like me, as they watched the whole two or so
 hour show that seemed to get better and better
at each performance and higher levels
of the show.
The Big Issue fundraising shows that I have
also attended in the past, looked pretty stale,
cold, and mechanical against the talented,
 warmth, and excuberance of TCWNN that
 I saw this time off East London's Brick Lane.
It was the fifth performance of the homeless
choir that I have seen with the last one for me
at last November's Annual Commemoration
 Service for the Homeless Dead that is held
always at wonderful Anglican
St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
Another Matt Cardle, Then?
So with their more than two full hours of almost
non-stop group and solo singing and dancing, it
was hard not to be more and more impressed
with such a happy group of  homeless folkz
that delighted in performing at their very best
to their supporters and admirers and friends
at their third anniversary show. They had
gathered for a full evening of pure entertain-
ment that would have otherwise cost an arm
and leg to see the same with those expensive
tickets for most West End theatre shows.
A Lovely Singer Was She At TCWNN.
I bumped into a couple or so folkz at
TCWNN show who knew me well from
 my dayz at The Big Issue! Some were still
 unaware of how vile Peter and Anthony John
Bird had thrown away my Covent Garden pitch
 in their godless fit and spite to coldly take
 away my five year pitch due, so they allege,
for "bringing the Big Issue into disrepute." It
was a callous excuse of their own making!
A small number of choir members are either past
 or present Big Issue vendors, but most haven't
 the time of day or interest whatsoever in becoming
Big Issue vendors. One choir member described
the Big Issue as a "fat corporate front" that is only
interested in "sucking the blood of those who are
down and out." When I told her I had been with
The Big Issue for five years as a badged vendor,
 she then said she remembered me from St. Martin's
night shelter and recalled, like I did, how she knew
Denise and Ronnie and Minnie, who sold
The Big Issue back in the mid-2000. She said
 she'd not seen or heard of Denise or Ronnie
 or Minnie for the past couple of years now.
Nor have I, I told her ...
"You know, Monty, I don't want to earn money
so that I can give The Big Issue even more money
it is making from people like me, you know,
homeless." So I asked her: So how do you earn
 money for yourself, if you don't sell something
like the Big Issue? She said she wasn't earning
any money per se.  Rather she was doing job
training that was "by far alot safer than being
on the street as a Big Issue sellor." Her outright
rejection of The Big Issue was palpable as a
homeless person for the past seven or eight years
 at perhaps her age of mid-30's or so. A single
 white mum and a divoree, is she. And, she's
 also a terrific singer in her own right. If she
became rich and famous, would she ever do-
nate to The Big Issue? "NEEEEVEEERRR!!!
They have enough money, don't they?"
But to TCWNN she almost happily yelled:
"Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! Yeesssssssssssssssssss!!"
The evening spent with TCWNN was like a
tonic for me. I felt the positive vibes from the
choir and to see them joyous on the stage and
to witness their overwhelming dignity and
worth was uplifting for all to see and share.
Such is due in no small part to Marie
Benton's consuming care and attention to
those who are proud members of a choir
that cleverly trades by declaring to "have no
 name, say they." But we know them by their
 true and good name, don't  we? Yes, we
 do - It's "The Choir With No Name."
Have a g'day, Uncle Monty.
+Passiontide, 2011.
International Day For Street Children.
Feedback & Comments
Big Issue Owner Pigface Anthony John Bird.
Anglo-Saxon Coins.
By Uncle Monty.
{ Just click on any image to Enlarge }

1 comment:

Marion Dexter. said...

Dear Uncle Monty, Can I say that you're a great writer to start off
with? Because you are. The choir with no name is a good story by you. I saw you there at the Brick
Lane troupe chatting away with several people. And taking tonnes of photographs of all the choir
members and public. It was inspirational to be there with the
choir. They were in top form. I
enjoyed being there with them.
Sorry to read about your lost
pitch. The Bird chaps seem to be rather mean people. I stopped buying the magazine when they did the same thing to my local vendor like they have done to you.
Next time I see you, I hope we can
have a chat like you seem to like
so much to do. Kindest wishes.
Marion Dexter, Retired GP.