Friday, 23 August 2013

The Worst Place To See A Band: Coventry

Land of the chav and the home of the cov, this place is a desolate breeding ground for failure. After being bombed by the Luftwaffe in World War 2, Coventry Cathedral was left as a ruin, it's a reminder of the blitz, but more recently, a reminder of England's ruined city. You're never too far from a push chair in Coventry City Centre, the streets are packed with 16 year old single mothers, chain smokers outside the magistrates’ court, and middle aged men drinking Tennant's Super before they run out and have to knick some Special Brew from Sainsbury's. It's commonly referred to as a 'shit-hole'; the city which has never re-built itself is still unknown for anything other than the topical music of the 2-tone ruled 80s.

It's all about The Specials, the biggest thing to come out of Coventry; in fact, the only remarkable band to come out of Coventry except The Enemy, who have in part aided to Coventry's chav culture. Where Leicester, Swansea, Hull and Dundee are trying to get the accolade of UK City of Culture 2017, (A.K.A we need tourism because we are the run down cities. Past Winner = Liverpool) Coventry will forever have great success in being UK City of Chav. This chav culture has plagued Coventry and for decades hindered development, even the police seem to have given up on Britain’s very own Detroit. 

Coventry's most known music venue is Kasbah, situated in Hillfields right outside the city centre. This is where things turn ugly. Hillfields is famous for its 60s high-rise developments, migration, and riots. Wikipedia (among other internet sources) says: "It was listed as one of the top 10 dangerous areas in the UK, and is also in the top 100 most deprived areas in England." You could say that Hillfields is a dump, but it's all too easy to talk smack about a place unless you've actually been - I have. Coventry's biggest music venue is situated in a bad area of town, even though most areas of Coventry are bad. I went to see Foals at the Kasbah. Parking my car in Hillfields seemed like a massive risk, it's when prejudice starts to kick in. Everyone is an enemy, everyone is a criminal, and it's awful to say, but you don't feel safe. It's like the 'sketchy areas of Birmingham' your Dad always talk about.

Above is the street where I parked, next to a police van opposite a high rise. My walk, just three minutes, was one to remember. Not knowing what Hillfield is notorious for, I encountered a group of chavs on BMX's, a police officer, and a prostitute. I've never been approached by a prostitute before, so when she asked if I wanted nookie while casually, and obviously walking to Kasbah on a Monday night, it took me by surprise. Thankfully, Foals were outstanding and the venue too, but the area surrounding this neat toilet circuit venue was dark. By the end of Foals' set, there was only one thing on my mind: getting out of Coventry as quickly as possible.

Given the opportunity, British chavs will take off their shirt at any sign of sun. It's just one of the reasons why Coventry's free music festival, Godiva, shouldn't be. How Coventry City Council has kept this running for over a decade is beyond me. Chav's walk around in Goi-Goi and Henri Lloyd jumpers, dogs run around without leads, girls walk around with cans of Fosters (Alcohol is not allowed to be brought in for obvious reasons.) This festival even has metal detectors upon entry, because of all the previous crime. It's like taking Coventry City Centre, and moving it to a field, but this time with music. You can tell who's from Coventry just by looking at them. Those that travel in to Coventry for Godiva must be crackers, I was crackers. It's the biggest free festival in the Midlands, but being free doesn’t outweigh the sour atmosphere.

If you're looking for a music venue in the Midlands, go to Nottingham, Birmingham, Leicester, anywhere but Coventry. Kasbah's schedule never raises the roof, and Godiva is just too white trash to withstand. Having pit bulls run around your legs and being approached by prostitutes is too much, it was better when Coventry was a Ghost Town.