21st Nov, 2018

MUSIC MATTERS: From ghost town to host town

I first used the slogan ‘From Ghost Town to Host Town’ back in 2005 in my 2-Tone books and articles.

As Coventry did the unthinkable last Thursday and won City of Culture 2021, it’s being used as almost an official adage now. Maybe I should have copyrighted it!

But I jest of course. I’m so proud that we can use it now.

It fits the zeitgeist perfectly as we head towards a monumental time in our city’s history.

To say I’m overjoyed is an understatement. It’s hard to put it into words.

I was born in Brays Lane, Stoke Coventry 61 years ago, I have always loved my city.

I always felt something was building, I knew we were destined to shine. I thought that we had reached critical mass in 1979 when 2-Tone arrived.

Then the ache began again, and as the Olympics came in 2012, that feeling of being something bigger stayed with me.

The many artists’ impressions of a new city just riled me (just get on and do it). Then a couple of years ago we began to dream as we became a contender in the City of Culture bid. From there we made the last five.

I kept thinking the obvious.. we had a one-in-five chance, yes, just a one-in-five chance.

The pressure grew as we were being told we were favourites, and finally at a busy Belgrade Theatre the moment arrived.

Hearts beat faster and faster as we waited and glory be, the first syllable was pronounced, it was the hard C, 61 years of pride overtook me, must be something in my eye, IT’S COVENTRY.

This is where everything changes for us. Already the mood in the city is different. Less handshakes, more hugging, visitors in the museum just want to talk about Coventry, no longer just a forgotten Midlands city, now a city that the whole country is watching.

There will still be the detractors. Well, detract away, as you are not in the club, and are not experiencing the joy that we are right now (and that’s YOUR choice).

For me there is a new optimism, and those who are part of the Coventry infrastructure already know how great this city can be.

However the task is convincing the disadvantaged, and the ones that just happen to live here, that this is good for them too, and more importantly making sure it is a new Coventry for everyone.

I was proud to be part of the official bid film, and one line I used was also part of the final presentation to the judges. That was: “We were multicultural, before we knew what that meant.”

I think Coventry is like that. We are brilliant and we don’t even know it. Huge thanks to our amazing bid team, the judges and to Coventry and all its wonderful people.

I began with a Specials song title so I will finish with one, as It’s ‘The Dawning of a New Era’. Roll on the next four years.

Artist of the Month

Remember the name, T.H.Noah.

At just 16 he is already a rising star, equipped with the vocal and song writing talent to create wonderful songs.

He is influenced by Peter Docherty and his own father (also a musician). Noah’s superbly written songs are particularly mature beyond his years. Hailing from Rugby town, The Coventry Music Museum is proud to make T. H. NOAH our Artist of The Month on Saturday December 16 at 12 noon, with music and conversation.

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