‘One night in February 2012, me and my friend Kyle (he’s a lawyer who looks like Buddy Holly) were crawling the bars of Clarksdale, Mississippi. We walked into Red’s Blues Club on Sunflower Avenue, and saw an obese black man drinking alone. Kyle and I bought drinks and then engaged in conversation with the large dude, who quickly established that we were tourists.
“Yo’ ain’t gonna see the real blues,” he said. “Clarksdale ain’t nothin’ but a blues theme park for white folks. It ain’t the real blues.”
It was short conversation. One of us (probably me) asked one question too many, at which the large dude promptly stood up and walked out of the bar.
Later that night, and after several beers, Kyle said, “You know, that whole scene in Red’s would make a great opening to a story.”
I got to thinking what the man had said about the real blues, and wondered how a modern day white, middle-aged blues tourist would react to seeing the blues as it was played in 1930s Mississippi.
Thus Fat Man Blues was conceived.’
“HoboJohn” is an English blues enthusiast on a pilgrimage to present-day Mississippi. One night in Clarksdale he meets the mysterious Fat Man, who offers him the chance to see the real blues of the 1930s. Unable to refuse, Hobo John embarks on a journey through the afterlife in the company of Travellin’ Man, an old blues guitarist who shows him the sights, sounds and everyday life in the Mississippi Delta. Along the way, the Englishman discovers the harsh realities behind his romantic notion of the music he loves and the true price of the deal that he has made.
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Fat Man Blues has been adapted to screenplay for a feature film, and there is a storyboard for a 10-episode TV series.