Ask any average Joe off the street about the beating heart of music in the UK and I they’d point you in the direction of London. Home to the mega-sized record companies and scruffily dressed indie bands of tomorrow, our capital is arguably the place to be if you’re looking to find ‘the next big thing’. But if you’re looking for a real source of passion and inspiration, separate from the money hungry corporations, you’ll only find disappointment there. No, dear reader, to find the throbbing beat of true British music you must delve into the communities that create it for their own satisfaction, rather than to feed some fat cat’s offshore account.
After growing weary of the cynical money machine that was London, I made the decision to up sticks and search for the soul and spirit of ingenuity, that had been so lacking in the city. My search led me to Milton Keynes, and my first visit there – which I will recount to you here – not only revitalised my interest in a world that I thought was lost to me; it convinced me to leave our smoky capital and make a permanent move to a new found Mecca of British music.
After a journey listening to a selection of 80s post-punk, I arrived in MK down cast (3 hours of Joy Division and New Order will do that to man) and in desperate need of an uplift. Turning off Ian Curtis and the rest of the boys, I drew my yellowing ear buds out to clean them and was assaulted by something much more raw and unrefined than a few lads from Salford. A growl, a screech, a glorious wail and my post-London blues were all but vanquished by the sound of – blues.
The source of the sound that had woken me from my existential slumber was that of an ancient man, covered in a patchwork of wool, waterproofs and bristly black hair. He sat on the floor, with his back against a bin: this man was Hobo Jones. Contrary to his name he was not homeless, his surname wasn’t even Jones. But in the weeks to come this man would show me more truth about music and passion than a hundred EMI executives. From the paved streets of the town, to the bustling pubs and bistros all the way to the great bowl itself, Jones would be my hairy, unkempt Athena guiding me through my musical odyssey of Milton Keynes.