Music for The Homeless: ‘The Key’ from The Department of Distractions

Update 6th March 2018:  ‘The Key’ raised a grand total of £61 for Crisis and Emmaus charities for homeless people. The track is still available to download, but if you want to donate directly to these or any other homelessness charities, please do!


The Department of Distractions was joyous fun to work on; the walks between digs and the theatre were quite saddening.

There’s a man sleeping rough in an underpass on the way, so for a week I passed him twice a day. He sleeps on concrete slabs, next to a busy dual carriageway, sandwiched between two concrete pillars and surrounded by pigeon droppings.

This track is called ‘The Key‘. All profits from its sale will go to charities Crisis and Emmaus who help homeless people in Newcastle (the city where I was working) and Sheffield (where I live), respectively.

The Department of Distractions is about a secretive organisation who ply the public with (secret’s in the name) distractions. Why do they do this? To keep us happy (and, possibly, well-behaved), of course.

Working from home, and being a big old highly sensitive introvert, I’m less out-and-about in the world. Especially in the winter when it is cold (people from Yorkshire and further afield describe this fear of the cold as ‘nesh‘. That’s me to a tee). Like a lot of us, my distractions are online and onscreen and in print.

However, when I venture out into a real environment I’m often struck (and still surprised, distracted as I am by said media) by the increase in homeless people and people begging on the streets in recent years, and how incredibly impotent I feel when considering what I can do to help.

So maybe this is something I can do:

  • Pay what you like for the track, minimum £1; it’s a toe-tappingly good tune and features all of the musical themes heard in the play.
  • Give money to worthwhile charities, both with awesomely excellent and effective track records in helping people in dire circumstances.
  • Get a feel-good rush of dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin as well! 

Win-win. Please give what you can. Thank you.


The Department of Distractions was written by Alexander Kelly, and made and first performed by Third Angel at Northern Stage, Newcastle in February 2018.

Image: Rick Harris

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