Those that know me and what I do will also know Alan, I have photographed him a few times, last year I saw him in the same place doing the same thing, trying to get money through playing his flute in this cold weather. Last year I just could not talk to him, I suppose the despair of seeing him still there got to me.
My wife and I went to Manchester on Monday for a Mumford And Sons concert and Alan was still in his same spec still playing his flute trying to earn some money. This time though I did speak with him.
His name is Alan Dent, he is from Corsican ancestry and at over seventy years of age he is too old to be doing this, the cold weather is playing havoc with his water works as he puts it and his bones feel it too much. Alan is not homeless but lives in a small flat that has a landlord that should be in prison, he will not let him turn the heating up even though the weather is below freezing most of the time.
I asked why he spends so much time out in the cold, he does not beg for himself, he has a lady friend he takes care of, she is frail, has fallen a couple of times and broken bones, she once broke her teeth in a fall and the NHS refused to fix them as they deemed it to be "cosmetic". Alan found the money to do this for her.
One thing I found remarkable, when I was sat talking with Alan I saw a Romanian gypsy approach with trinkets in her hand I thought she was going to try to sell me something, she didn't, she simply gave Alan a handful of money and said "Look after yourself darlin" I had simply judged a book by its cover and I was wrong.
If one person that survives on the street can find it in their heart to help another they feel is even worse off, whats stopping you?