I work in an office block on a busy main road. The building sits on the corner of a busy crossroads junction. There’s not much going on around there. It’s not in the centre of Birmingham so lunch times can be pretty uneventful. The 30 minute lunch break is not really filled with much to do or see.
Facing us on one side is a shit pub, a golf shop, a charity shop, a vets and a small Co-op supermarket.
On another side we’ve got a chip shop and a Mcdonalds.
On the direct opposite corner to us is a caravan dealership.
So you get the picture. Lunchtimes aren’t exactly a roller-coaster ride of thrills and spills.
I tend to go to the Co-op and buy a sandwich most days. A couple of days ago standing outside the Co-op and next to the vets was an Eastern European looking fellow playing accordion (not the fellow above). I don’t know what the tune was that he was playing. I think it was something by Ace of Bass but in an Eastern European folk accordion kind of way.
It struck me that this was an unusual place to stand and play because it’s generally pretty dead around there. Especially when you consider that 10 minutes down the road there is Bearwood high street with plenty of foot fall, shops and an Aldi.
I couldn’t help but think of the accordion player only entertaining people who were taking their beloved pets to be put down. The last music little pebbles heard was an eastern European rendition of “Ben” by Michael Jackson.
He would then entertain the same people as they took the old dog basket into the charity shop I guess.
I returned to my desk after lunch and happened to mention to my colleagues that there was an accordion player outside the Co-op. We all agreed that it was a poor choice of location.
“There’s one that always plays outside Aldi in Bearwood,” I was told. Ah so that explains it. There was some turf warfare going on and this fella was forced out of Bearwood by the already established accordion player of Aldi. Or perhaps this was the Aldi accordion player forced off his patch by a new heavy handed accordion player who’s in town and enforcing his authority.
But my theory in the Eastern European Accordion playing underworld was about to be reinforced further as my colleague continued. “You’ve got to watch them. They’re pickpockets.”
This huge generalisation of the Eastern European accordion players that are seen all over was somewhat of a shock to me. Pickpockets? Really? But how could that be? How could someone who plays an instrument that requires two hands pickpocket? Unless they somehow fabricated a very realistic mechanical arm whilst the other does the pick pocketing? They lure you in with an Eastern European accordion folk rendition of White Snake’s “Is this love that I’m feeling!” and whilst you’re mesmerised by the amazing acoustic harmonious honks that are produced by this strange instrument from a distant land and whilst your admiring the skill and dexterity of the mechanical hand, he swipes your wallet.
In that location, not only could it mean a loss of the ability to purchase a chicken salad sandwich, bag of mixed nuts and an over rated innocent smoothie in a co-op meal deal but also, if I wanted to pop into the charity shop with the two pounds I have left from my original fiver and purchase a highly desirable 1970’s purple flowery three piece suite with bespoke urine stain, that would no longer be an option! My world could literally implode. My freedom as a consumer would be stripped away. How dare the Eastern European accordion player! How dare he! Call the authorities!
But hold on, surely that wouldn’t be possible. You’d be watching the Eastern European accordion player and the very instrument being used to distract you and entertain you is completely anti-stealth. So surely there’d be no way of them being able to pick your pockets. Even with the highly dexterous mechanical hand at work.
I raised this point. “They’re all at it! They work together in numbers. All of them,” I was told. What? So there is no mechanical hand? There are Eastern European accordion players working together to take advantage of the entrancing sounds of Eastern European accordion folk music and steal from those blessing their senses and feeling they are enriching their souls by the delectable sounds flowing from those little squeezy box things?
My mind drifts. I have a horrific vision. The ugliness of the growing criminality that there appears to be amongst Eastern European accordion folk music. Eastern European accordion players joining forces. Hundreds of them all coming together, amalgamating into an army to threaten the peace that most of us take for granted and yet still hold so dear. Marching, playing in unison the same Eastern European accordion folk tune. The sounds will precede them down the slim streets of the inner city. People will flee as they fear for their lives and their pockets.
My heart beat races, I gingerly look out of the window. From my raised position on the fifth floor, I am able to clearly see the Co-op supermarket and the vets.
He’s no longer there. Thank god. We don’t need to be faced with such evil when we just want to by our lunch and a scratch card.
Perhaps a vet told him to move along, perhaps he realised he was wasting his time there, or perhaps a Yorkshire terrier with hemorrhoids bit him.