Scratch the surface

CMK - Bright lights, blighted lives

Central Milton Keynes, (CMK), is ablaze with colour.  Neon lights from restaurants, pubs and the theatre shines into the darkness, illuminating the pavements and people who pass within the glow of windows and open-to-the-night doors. Music shouts onto the pavement and open spaces.  The smell of cooking wafts and rises upwards into the air, sticking to hair and clothes. For many, the 24 hour Casino and delights of clubs and pubs await, they are busy plying their trade.

Latin American dance venue spreading light into the nearby dark

Superficially, all seems well. People are milling about, convenient car parks are full, but in looking more closely, and from walking around the city centre, it was clear that all is not so shiny and bright.

CMK - Black and white?

No, not quite. Underneath the roads run walkways. Brightly illuminated angular concrete. A lady waits for a bus. A car with its full beam on, lights her up. Her shadow hits the see through shelter back panel.  Cold, austere metal grills on car parks. Empty spaces, empty shops. Space devoid of people. Closed pubs and eateries shouts "trade is bad".     

Iconic photograph of CMK city centre featuring Xscape

CMK - Xscape

Xscape is big. Xscape is colour. Xscape is brash. It is a magnet that attracts, people, friend, people with money, homeless. A young woman, pickled with too much booze, shouts and argues with police.   The noise echoes aimlessly around 12th Street with nowhere to go. 

Xscape dominates the city centre. A place to meet.

Buddy can you spare a dime...

 "Any money mate?" he cries.  Early yet. Wait 'til the pubs close, then the clubs. See what happens. 

One of many homeless people in the city centre.

Where next for him and the many people like him in CMK?  Home?  The street? A locked up building? A tent?


Tent City

This is CMK. It is not hidden. It is in technicolour, in full Dolby. Look, listen.  Snoring, conversations. Homeless.  A potted plant, food wrappers and rubbish adorn the camp. people trying to survive

A collection of tents - one of several tent communities in the city centre and its immediate vicinity

Potted plant and rug. Ordinary home comforts, in extraordinary circumstances

CMK - Lost its way?

Cold, impersonal, struggling.  Dark, despite the neon glow.  Frightening. Hopeless. 

Theatre District. Light illuminating the path. But where does it lead? Is this a warning for CMK?

Where is CMK going and what path should it take? Does it have to be like this?


ALP specialise in content creation for social media.  We support outreach work to support homeless people and the disadvantaged in society. 

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