Cornmarket Hallelujah

Last August I wrote about the buskers in Cornmarket, a pedestrianised road in the centre of Oxford. Recently, I've been hearing quite a bit from a saxophonist, a man who, perched on his amp box, gives it all he's got, eyes half shut, totally absorbed, body rocking as he produces some beautiful melodies. He alternates between a pitch in Cornmarket and one outside M&S just round the corner. Yesterday he was in a prime pitch, opposite Boots.

I needed to go in there to buy some stuff, but as I got the door I had to stop outside, mesmerised by a haunting rendition of Adele's Someone Like You. I stood in the chilly spring sunshine, letting the waves of music wash over me, soaking them up. As the final note died down I went in; the warmth of the shop hit me, emphasising the disconnection from outside.

I was looking at some special offers when, through an open door onto a side street I heard the beginnings of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. Like a siren call it lured me out - how could I have remained in the shop, looking at shampoo, when such fleeting loveliness was out there? So I stood on the corner, wave after plaintive wave sending shivers up my spine, quietly singing along. Hallelujah... so very appropriate for Eastertide!

When he'd finished I went over and told him how much I enjoy listening to him. A rare smile - that's what it's all about... then back to sorting out his belongings. The talc and shampoo, incidentally, are still in Boots, waiting to be bought; and Hallelujah is still singing within me.

This is a smoother version of what I heard - close, though not quite the same