Why this is such a big deal…


Outside the Jack Hylton Music Rooms


As we’ve got closer to tomorrow’s concert, I’ve had a number of conversations with people, many of whom didn’t really know what I was doing or why I was doing it. It’s funny but when you express these things out loud they seem to have more resonance.

As is well documented on these pages, I started my interest in Hylton during my music degree at Lancaster University, which began in 1992. By the end of my three years, it was clear I was going to investigate the man a little further. Once that process began, there was always ongoing conversations about putting on a show doing Hylton music. Of course at that stage there was no detail in there, but the idea of me presenting a show with a band playing Hylton music from the Hylton archive and doing it at the university was set literally twenty years ago.

As well as that, as soon as I’d finished my MPhil thesis in 1998 (or thereabouts) I started talking about writing the definitive book about Hylton. That’s a line of conversation I’ve explored on many occasions since. Meanwhile I always thought I ought to put together my own version of a Hylton CD, with songs which I thought would both properly represent the breadth of music he made, but also which scanned and was good to listen to.

Of course after a number of years, all spent trying my best to make a living as a musician (which is pretty time consuming) I had mostly assumed it would never happen. Tomorrow all of those things happen at the same time, along with some other bits and bobs which I hadn’t even thought of! It’s literally the culmination of twenty years work and I suggest that by Friday I’ll be a little tired! I’ve received missives from both my mother and father and both have made me cry. I reckon I probably need a day off.

Tomorrow is massive. Of course it’s not massive – not that many people will be there (and maybe less than planned, if the weather forecast is anything to go by) and not that many of the people there will care a great deal about it, but it’s not that. It’s massive for me, for my stupid little hobby. It’s something I’ve created just the way I wanted it and I’ll probably only get this one chance to get it right and get it all out of my system. It’s also occurred at a time of considerable personal upheaval, which has just added to the gravity of the whole situation.

On Monday, I’ll be back to doing what I’ve always done – a bit of this and a bit of that, keeping the proverbial wolf from the door by playing the piano.


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