East of the M60’s 2021 Advent Calendar looks at a curio from 1980 about Milton Keynes

“Sunny CMK, wouldn’t mind staying all day…” trilled Ronnie Bond in his paean to Central Milton Keynes. On a personal level, it has been 27 years when I first visited Milton Keynes, and the place made a huge impression on me at the age of fourteen. Like Bond (Ronnie Bond), I would have happily explored the places treasures even more. Especially as it looked unlike any other place I had been to before.

As for the single, You’ve Never Seen Anything Like It was originally issued on a flexi disc (the sort you used to get off Readers’ Digest or Flexipop magazine). Released in 1980, it sounds like something that should have been released ten years earlier. Or a British Eurovision Song Contest (parts of which remind of Prima Donna’s Love Enough For Two – also from 1980). I am also reminded of Frankie Vaughan’s I’m Goin’ Back To Stockport.

Thankfully Johnny Trunk of Trunk Records fame has digitised the single. He has done a remarkable job with crisp sound quality, obviously from the original master tapes instead of the flexi disc.

Ronnie Bond – like Linda Jardim in our previous Advent Calendar window – was also part of chart-topping act. He was the drummer in The Troggs, whose UK Number One single was With A Girl Like You. The Troggs’ most famous song, Love Is All Around, was a much bigger hit for Wet Wet Wet back in June 1994, featuring in Four Weddings and a Funeral. A few months after yours truly visited Milton Keynes. Wet Wet Wet’s version was Number One for fifteen weeks – and lost its position on the top spot due to Marti Pellow’s decision to delete the single. One wonders if it would have been Number One till 1997 if he didn’t make that decision!

In Ronnie Bond’s musical love letter to CMK, he boasted about its open spaces. This was something that Milton Keynes Development Corporation was passionate about from the start. To a point where residents were given a free tree voucher. This is mentioned in BBC Two’s New Town, Home Town (1979).

Back in 1995, CMK went into anodyne corporate video territory with this clip. Take a look at these converted Mercedes vans, doing their best to impersonate a bus route.

S.V., 02 December 2021.

Image by Derek Barrett, 2016 (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic).

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