You need look no further than the 25 bus or your rusting bike to take you into the cultural centre that is our “fine city” of Norwich, to provide you with a wealth of unique and innovative musical entertainment. You need no appointed time of day or night (although a sunny Saturday is usually best), and don’t have to spend a penny (although donations are always gratefully received).
The city centre is thriving with a wealth of street performers catering to all tastes. In fact, for originality and diversity, it might even surpass London. Not to mention the entertainment value. Here, we have music, dancing, fancy dress and ferrets, and at every street corner nestles a different treat for the eyes and ears.
Let us start in the market place, where you can often find a lovely Liverpudlian strumming away outside Primark, singing his heart out to an Oasis classic or a heart-wrenching James Blunt ballad. Always a good option for those with a mainstream music preference, he makes the trip down to Norwich for a few weeks at a time, so catch him when you can. Often competing for sound waves in this amphitheatre-style hot spot is an operatic tenor outside McDonalds, and a teenager outside Topshop, singing highly improvised and tuneful versions of the Arctic Monkeys, among other top indie rock hits.
It is at this prime location you will often find the internationally renowned Puppet Man of Norwich. Dear old Dave Perry has become so well known he even has his own Wikipedia page. He epitomises the Norwich busking scene, with his unusual style of dancing, a variety of straggly (and sometimes frighteningly ugly) puppets and a karaoke machine (although he creatively chooses to sing different lyrics and songs to his machine).
Norwich’s very own Elvis may give Puppet Man a run for his money in terms of dancing talent and can be found at all hours of the day, regardless of whether there are people around or not. After something a little more tuneful? Wander down towards Jarrolds and you can find another historic addition to our tour. The He Hew’s five piece band have been entertaining shoppers here for more than half a century and have even released a single dedicated to the city.
Keep your eyes and ears wide open, there are plenty more acts out there to discover, guaranteed to turn the most mundane shopping trip into an entertaining musical feast.