My name is Baz Jobson.

Born and bred in Coventry, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this City all my life – but mostly love.

It’s a City with a rich culture, a soft concrete heart, and has had some seriously skewed identity problems over the years – but ultimately is a place that I’m extremely proud to be from.

I was brought up somewhere between the Canley, Willenhall and Coundon areas over the years. Of late Radford.

As a kid, Coventry Market and Canley Social Club were the two places that I think I spent more time in, than at home. Social places, that were busy, full of happy proud people and real hubs for communities, many of whom were living pretty tough lives.

I’m proud to be from a working class family, brought up by a single parent. Coventry never seemed like a tough place growing up in as a kid, but looking back now it was probably pretty harsh. I know now it was for many friends and family.

I worked in a supermarket, dropped out of A levels and was lucky to be around at the start of bass culture in Cov when I was about 16. A music that was and still is a big part of my life. The first ‘scene and culture’ that was my generations. Bang N Tunes, a record shop on Hales street being my very own spiritual home every Saturday afternoon. Even before I knew what ‘spiritual’ meant. The smell of vinyl and weed in the middle of a bustling City always amused and amazed me.

But it was the sounds that came out of the place. Wow. I still remember the first time I heard some of Doc Scott and FBD’s first tracks. It was dark. Intelligent. Beautiful music, and was a hard soundscape, that seemed to go perfectly with the view outside the window of the gray concrete streets.

The music was influenced by hip hop – and was first called rave, then dark core and then jungle onto drum and bass. But was all based around bass, drums , grooves and rhythms from black culture. Reggae, dub and ska. The same styles that influenced the godfathers of Coventry Music – The Specials, some 20 years earlier.

Music that united people of all races, then and still today through modern interpretations of earlier bass culture.

They were stand out times. Good clubs, decent events every night of the week and amazing people.

I had always enjoyed art, and was a big collector of flyers at the time. Artwork that was graphical, bold, fluorescent and in sharp contrast to the greyness and harshness of ‘Cov’. I always wanted to design my own.

So I decided that stacking shelves for the rest of my life wasn’t the answer. But I was still living in Willenhall and didn’t feel like I was good enough for college. Only middle class kids went to college right? But I pushed forward and got on to a Graphic Design course at Coventry Technical College and loved every minute of it.

So, when I was coming up to the end of College, I was faced with a dilemma. Do I go to University, or get a job. University seemed daunting, and again, I felt like an imposter going to Uni. It wasn’t for people like me. But I got a place at Cardiff and at the last minute got an invitation to interview at a local marketing agency in Coventry – Parenthesis.

The interview went well, and luckily I got the job as a Studio Junior. Basically a tea boy and general skivvy, but grasped the opportunity (and real money) with both hands and cut my teeth with some of the best designers I’ve ever worked with. It was an apprenticeship of sorts, and I was mentored and guided by the whole team but mostly Craig Spivey. A world class Creative Director and someone I’ll be eternally grateful to. A master of word play and visually communicating messages in a simple, down to earth manner.

He was also the only other person I knew of that listened to Billy Bragg.

I learned loads. But had not forgotten about the music I was into. By this time I was frequenting any gig I could get to. Not just electronica, but indie, rock, folk. I had an urge to find more music, and find local music.

So ‘on the side’ I put on some parties and gigs. It was a way of seeing the music I liked and also selfishly designing flyers, like the one’s I was collecting from other promoters. I then tried to kick off, develop and help support local artists, musicians and independent businesses through magazines, networks and websites. Again, ways and means of flexing my music, technical and design muscles, while meeting a good community of people.

Attenshun was my first project in 2003. A kind of ‘myspace’ for the Coventry Music Community.

A place for bands, musicians and DJ’s to showcase their work. We did a couple of years at Godiva Festival, with the unsigned music tent. A series of nights in The Belgrade Theatre before it got refurbished, where we had live reggae, drum and bass and some amazing electronica and indie. We even did a festival at Coombe Abbey, in a small tent while the first reality TV, music sensation Liberty X headlined the main stage to about 10 people, while around 60 were in our unsigned tent listening to the mighty local band, Spotlight Kid.

It got pretty big, but ultimately got killed off by MySpace and took me quite a while to realise that theres little money in Unsigned music. We’d worked with some great artists that went on to big things, namely Nizlopi, Post War Years, The Enemy – labels such as Fierce Panda, Southern Fried and Domino and partnered with the legendary Fopp Records and their Unsigned Network. It was great fun.

I helped kick off the first incarnation of Coventry Music Network with Danny Greene at Coventry City Council alongside Richard Elms at the then Colloseum, which has been moved on since considerably by the guys over at the Tin Angel.

After that, I left the marketing agency where I cut my teeth – and setup a co-working space for creatives at the Canal Basin Warehouse. Kin Creative. Cheap design space for creative professionals, way before the term ‘co-working space’ had been invented.

Then the covertmag.com website. A website that is still live, and was more geared around bass culture. Still focusing on Coventry, but moving farther afield into Birmingham and the rest of the UK.

Community websites and projects were always a release from the day to day drudgery of ‘marketing’ – a word that was starting to become a dirty word in my vocabulary.

The music projects, website projects tapped in to my upbringing of people coming together, in social spaces, online spaced, collaborating, enjoying themselves and letting their hair down, saying what they wanted – and were spaces not be sullied by big money, or the corporate world.

At this time, I was getting fed up working in the Marketing industry. Working with a lot of well known, household brands that were literally sapping my soul. One particular client who I was working for, who paid little tax in 2014, but posted record profits in the same year really got my goat.

I suppose living and being brought up in Coventry gives you an idea of fairness, and growing up in certain areas of Cov, an idea of the real hardship some people go through in this City. And here I was helping this firm with their marketing.

I kind of felt like I was betraying my roots, by helping these companies out. That unpaid tax could definitely help people in my City out. Family and friends who could do with that money. A council that could do with that money, as austerity took hold at local and national level.

And brewing under, was my absolute disdain for the media.

National papers, TV news was getting more biased and not talking about the issues that were really affecting the average man, woman, child on the street. Listening to Bragg when I was younger, and being around family members who were fiercely anti-thatcher, poll tax era people, I started to feel like something needed to change.

At the same time, Coventry seemed to be getting less tolerant, undesirable polictical movements coming into the City to march, local press like the Telegraph were more ‘national’ with their news. Native advertising was taking over.

The lines between editorial and advertising were blurring. Local journalism has been dying for years, but the large media companies were more about reality TV and advertising trickery, with less focus on local social issues.

So I tried to setup an alternative youth media company that would start to put the spotlight on the real issues facing Coventrians. It was supposed to be a kind of Vice Magazine, meets the Coventry Evening Telegraph circa 1990. Somewhere that young people could truly talk about the things that mattered to them.

But there was a problem.

I’d never run a magazine before. I’d never organised a bunch of people before. I’d never managed people before, or ever wanted to. Getting people to contribute to a magazine, or media channel is difficult – especially when you have no money to incentivise people. I also set the company up to be owned by myself. A huge mistake.

I also realised, that I did not want advertising or money tainting the magazine. Which makes running a magazine, very difficult. So, I had to revert to what I’ve always done. Back to that dirty word I mentioned earlier ‘Marketing’.

I closed the company short after.

So, press forward to this turbulent week after Mr Trump became President-elect in America.

Last Wednesday, America voted on who will be their president, and so called leader of the free world.

Mainstream media has been shown (in America and here in the UK) to be completely and utterly biased, irrelevant and powered by wealthy tax avoiding companies through advertising revenues, and mogul owners like Rupert Murdoch steering their own personal agendas.

Americans have two dire candidates to choose from. Both liars, with ulterior motives and backers who seem not to have the masses best interest at heart.

But how does this effect me in Coventry?

Well, I feel that the media are integral, at City level, to Country level to helping address the issues that all people face.

The job of the media is to hold those in power to account, and help inform the masses of the truth through investigation. Presenting facts, that are in the public interest.

People need to organise and educate themselves, and own their own media.

I have a love for this City, and a passion to kick a project off that lasts, but more importantly includes all people and communities. And I do mean all. All views need to be listened to. Discussion needs to happen. The right. The left. The centrists. The independents. The

So today, I would like to start a conversation.

A conversation with the people of Coventry.

Are you looking for something more than your current local and national media provide at present?

Do you want a direct say on key decisions such as stories, events and money – as well as a vote at general meetings?

The Community Led Alternative Network looks to be the voice of people like you. Telling stories and asking questions around the subjects that really matter to you, and not what is spoon fed to us by an increasingly biased and billionaire media mogul owned press.

We want to talk about social, environmental and cultural issues that face us all. No bias, no need to rely on dubious advertising from dubious international companies.

A media outlet owned by the people.

So, do you want to own your local media?

If so, please answer 2 very brief questions – or email us on info {at} weareclan.co.uk