Coventry, the city in which I grew up, is definitely for me a city of contrasts. During my youth I grew up in an area called Tile Hill – in particular the village, separated off from the newer housing developments by the woods. In our house I had such objects as this grandmother clock and so many other well aged things – athree quarter sized snooker table, bought for my uncle when he was young and ill – he later became a champion cyclist, nearly going off to the Olympics and he was also once one of the most skilled toolmakers in the area working for many years at Coventry Gauge and Tool. On the other corner of our street was the farm, known to us as Bourne’s Farm but properly named Tanyard Farm, originally a tanners yard built in the 18th century. But close by were the factories – Massey Ferguson, the tractor manufacturers, the Standard Triumph works and many more.
This is more of the nature of Coventry now. Part of a city centre shopping centre that is somewhat impressive – if that is your sort of thing. My memories are rather more of the older buildings sat beside more modern efforts in terms of work, industry and music.
The Golden Cross was a major part of my youth – built in 1583 and still standing, perhaps still open. I remember it as the place where I met John Bradbury, later to become drummer with the Specials and Selecter. I tried very hard to impress him playing sax and singing – I was seriously not very good and also quite shy. I failed miserably. I retain my love of the music of that era and beyond. I still create ska and 2 tone mixes and occasionally listen to the music I enjoyed in those days. It was somewhat later that me and friends went off to see a certain Noel Redding, bassist with Jimi Hendrix – he was very good – gave him a Picadilly because he was out of fags.
There are still a whole variety of medieval buildings still standing and still in use.
In a recent visit back home I had the chance to relate some old stories of my old school – Bablake, 670 years old – the stories are a little risque and so I will not repeat them here. Suffice it to say, the old boys had a somewhat lively approach to things and got up to all sorts.