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Andrew Kieser, 35, outside Deichmann, Commercial Road, Bournemouth

“At one point I was a Grade 7 pianist”

I’ve always had a problem with drugs but I managed to clean up for nine months and I got a partner and a job. I was a cleaner and recycling operative in Boscombe but things started getting stressful at work and I dealt with it the wrong way. I slipped back into bad ways and lost everything in the space of two weeks.

I’ve been on the streets for about a month. I was sofa-surfing but I can’t really spend any more time in other people’s places. My mate’s going to lend me some money so hopefully I can find some accommodation. I did have a private landlord lined up a few weeks ago but I couldn’t get the deposit together so it fell through. I’m going to call him again when I have the money to see if he’s got other properties. It’s never safe on the streets, that’s why I don’t sleep very well. I’ve always been a really clean person so the lack of hygiene facilities really does my head in.

I’d like to get back in touch with my son

I’ve been selling The Big Issue this time for about two months but I’ve done it on and off for 15 years. It’s something I’ve come back to over the years. As well as a bit of money, it gives me something to do during the day. You’ve got no way of relaxing when you’re living on the streets. It’s a busy pitch but it seems to be mostly foreign tourists about at the moment and they don’t tend to buy the magazine because they don’t know what it is.

Once I’ve got some accommodation I want to get a full-time job again. When I’m stabilised I’d like to get back in touch with my son. I saw him last week but at the moment I’m not in a position to be his dad. I’m dirty and I’ve lost so much weight. He’s four and has a genetic condition called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome where all the cells start withering and everything shuts down over time. There’s no cure and no medicine so the more time I miss with him the more depressed it makes me. It’s incentivising me to get a place but that’s a lot harder now than it was 10 years ago.

At one point in my life I was a Grade 7 pianist. Then when I was about 12 or 13 I got fed up of being bullied for it and turned to smoking and drugs. That stopped the bullying but it ruined my life. I can still play though, and occasionally I get the chance to play in charity shops. I used to be able to play in my workplace. Not so much now. In the past I’ve performed in churches but that was years ago. It would be nice to do something like that again, but I’d have to get back to the right level.

The Key Of Life… 

I can play the piano and classical music is my favourite. I usually played Beethoven. If I could recommend one piece for people to listen to it would have to be Moonlight Sonata.

On My Pitch… 

I’m here every day from around 10am-1pm then from 2pm-6pm

Image: Adrian Suckling

Deichmann, Commercial Road, Bournemouth, UK

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