BORN in the USA, I was raised in Michigan and now live in Shreveport, Louisiana – but have an intense adoration and love for Great Britain, writes Scott Lyman

For over 20 years, I have cultivated what has long since become a deep seated obsession with England. It began in high school, when I first read Sense & Sensibility. Jane Austen’s beautiful prose painted such idyllic images of the English countryside and her rich verbiage did wonders for my own vocabulary.

Not long after, I watched Dame Emma Thompson’s fantastic film adaptation. This was my introduction to English cinema – and also the accent, which is still, all of these years later, the sexiest I’ve heard.

My Anglophilia progressed as I began listening to the BBC World Service in 2001 via National Public Radio.

Then, in September, 2011, another obsession quickly took shape. One fateful afternoon, I visited the BBC’s podcast homepage and began subscribing, on a whim, to local music show ‘Introducing in Oxford’. I say on a whim because, despite already being a fan of Ride, Radiohead, Swervedriver and Foals and being aware of their connection to Oxford, I was unaware of just how legendary and amazing the city’s music scene actually was.

Oxford Mail: Scott Lyman, Oxford band superfanScott at the Jericho Tavern, Oxford

As I listened to the first show, I heard presenter Dave Gilyeat for the first time and was taken by his infectious enthusiasm for the bands that he played.

I was equally stirred by the music. The first song I heard, even though it was just a snippet, that really caught my attention, was ‘The Organs. The Senses. The Muscles. The Memories’ by the long since defunct Gunning For Tamar.

That song was the first Oxford music track I downloaded and, after contacting the band and informing them that they had a fan on the other side of the Atlantic, they sent me a signed promo sleeve of their split EP with Phantom Theory (another Oxford band that I would become a fan of), a signed promo flyer for their gig at Oxford’s Cellar (RIP), with another band called Guns or Knives and my first issue of the city’s music magazine Nightshift.

Oxford Mail: Scott Lyman in Oxford

At the time, I knew nothing about the magazine, its storied history, or its editor Ronan Munro. I simply thought it was amazing to have my first bits of music memorabilia from a band that was local to Oxford.

In quick succession, I would discover Spring Offensive, Rhosyn, Chad Valley, Fixers, Richard Walters, Harry Angel, Wild Swim and Bug Prentice. As I listened to each subsequent podcast, something became very clear to me: Oxford’s music scene was incredibly diverse, unique, original, supportive and nurturing.

I loved it.

Oxford Mail: Scott Lyman, Oxford band superfan

As one who was profusely bullied for years and has been unwilling to cave into peer pressure, I fell in love with and felt an instant connection to this enclave and community of such distinct and talented artists who loved making music and supporting each other’s projects.

Without ever having been there, I actually felt like I belonged in Oxford. It was a beautiful sensation.

In 2012, as my fandom for Oxford’s music scene burned more brightly, like a gas lamp in the dark, I learned of and purchased a copy of a documentary called Anyone Can Play Guitar.

It had been made, via crowdsourcing, by an Oxford-based grassroots producer and director called Jon Spira. I knew nothing about him. However, when I discovered that his film was an oral history of Oxford’s scene, I was intrigued.

Jon’s film was nothing short of an amazing tour guide. As I watched the interviews with members of Talulah Gosh, The Anyways, Rock of Travolta, Dustball, Unbelievable Truth, Supergrass and The Candyskins, it felt like the floodgates had been ripped wide open. This may sound dramatic, but it was an absolute revelation. It has long since become my favourite music documentary.

Oxford Mail: Scott Lyman at the O2 Academy Oxford

Now, 12 years on, theer are so many Oxford bands I love: Radiohead, Ride, Swervedriver, Foals, Dustball, Unbelievable Truth, Talulah Gosh, Dive Dive, The Candyskins, Rhosyn, Spring Offensive, Richard Walters, Gunning For Tamar, Wild Swim, Kanadia, Dolly Mavies, Emma Hunter, Ghosts In the Photographs, Julia-Sophie (particularly with Little Fish), Bug Prentice/Ally Craig, Fixers, Chad Valley, Stornoway, Harry Angel/These Are Our Demands/Flights of Helios, Chiika, Molly ‘Aphra’ Taylor, Low Island, Juniper Nights, Pet Twin, Jody & The Jerms, Barrelhaus, In-Flight Movie, Dead Jerichos, The Kokroachez, Tiger Mendoza, Page of Swords, Dream Phone, Undersmile, Young Women’s Music Project and Zahra Tehrani, Julia Meijer, Death of the Maiden, Supergrass and Gaz Coombes, Barricane, Helen Pearson, Beaker, Mystery Biscuit, Coldredlight, Lucy Leave, Junk Whale, The Smile, Slow Drift, Glass Animals, My Crooked Teeth, Leader and Esther Joy Lane.

This month I finally made it to Oxford.

It was a long overdue opportunity to finally experience the splendour and beauty of the city.

Oxford Mail: Scott Lyman in Oxford

And my reputation as an Oxford music super fan preceded me – with a personal, music-scene themed tour, led by Ronan Munro, of the live music venues that still exist and those that have long since become vacant. One of those legendary existing venues is the Jericho Tavern, where, on November 4, a gig was organised, specifically for me – headlined by Kanadia and with Dolly Mavies, Emma Hunter and Ghosts In the Photographs supporting.

It was a unique gesture and something out of my grandest daydreams. It’s a testament to how lovely, sweet, thoughtful, considerate, generous, gracious and kind the members of Oxford’s music scene are, especially to an outsider who lives over 4,000 miles away and had never met them nor visited the city before

I was enormously humbled by this act of appreciation, respect and gratitude. It was an incredible evening of live music and meeting many people who were curious about and excited to meet me. The feeling was mutual!

Dave and Ronan, aside from being tireless supporters of Oxford music, are wonderful chaps, and it was great to finally meet them.