MUSIC MATTERS- 'Martin Freeman loves Coventry 2-Tone' - The Coventry Observer

MUSIC MATTERS- 'Martin Freeman loves Coventry 2-Tone'

Coventry Editorial 1st Feb, 2024 Updated: 1st Feb, 2024   0

COVENTRY Music Museum curator Pete Chambers BEM writes for the Observer. 

I Go Out On Friday Night – From The Caribbean to Coventry

Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending the opening of new 2-Tone exhibition From The Caribbean to Coventry – Plotting the Rise of 2-Tone at the magnificent Barbican Library in London.

I was part of a delegation of Coventry Music Museum volunteers that included Lila and Nick Shergold, Mark Harrison, Gaz Dyde and my wife Julie, all honoured to be invited to such an event.

It seemed that all the London music elite were in attendance – I had the pleasure of talking to Lee Thompson of Madness, who was enjoying the event and the author of the new mighty 2-Tone tome ‘Too Much Too Young’ Daniel Rachel.

The exhibition took on the mantle of ‘by the fans for the fans’, and consisted of enough Ska material to turn the head of the most jaded Rude person, cabinet after cabinet told the story of this wonderful musical genre that shows no signs of ever diminishing. On the contrary, if the night’s crowds were anything to go by it was there forever.




I was proud to have two of my Terry Hall photos hanging aloft and it really was a case of where do I look first.

All hail David Burke and Mark Baxter who curated the whole thing and consultants Rhoda Dakar and Tony Minvielle, plus the wonderful Barbican team who looked after everyone so well.


Andrew Ogilvy and his amazingly creative photography stood out, juxtaposing Coventry’s and the Barbican’s Brutalist architectural, as did Morgan Howell’s supersized art piece of the iconic record of Al Capone by Prince Buster.

We often see photographs of Morgan’s astounding work but to actually see it there on the wall was very much a Mona Lisa Bluebeat moment.

I was thinking the wall of 2-Tone records on loan by various Ska fans is a nice touch, and then we turn around an who’s standing there?

Only Hollywood actor Martin Freeman (a huge 2-Tone fan), so we all had a great chinwag with him and invited his good self to the music museum and had the all important selfie with him and the team and holding our flyer of course.

Then it was back to Euston and home to Coventry, to end a terrific night.

The highest praise I could pay this exhibition is that I liken it to the southern arm of the Coventry Music Museum, sort of ‘From Coventry to London’.

We loved it so much we have a coach trip planned for February to see it all again.

This is on until May 25 – don’t miss out on this great exhibition, once it’s gone it’s gone.

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