DIRTY Stop Out’s Guide to 1970s Coventry celebrates an era when the city became the focus of the nation.
The decade in Britain may be remembered as one of industrial strife and racial tensions but Coventry-born Ruth Cherrington shows how the city’s music and entertainment scene helped bring people together.
In its closing years, the city’s 2 Tone revolution challenged the stereotypes, not just musical ones, and even provided a new fashion trend that had ‘made in Coventry’ stamped all over it – Sta-press trousers called time on flares, and vertigo-inducing platforms were replaced by ox-blood Dr Marten boots.
The large format heavily illustrated paperback is packed with interviews and is like the best kind of scrapbook, as it traces the development of the area’s music and nightlife from the early days of the legendary Locarno Ballroom, where rookie DJ and future music mogul Pete Waterman spun the discs at the matinee disco, to landmark gigs by Bowie and Queen at Coventry Theatre. It revisits appearances by Pink Floyd, the Sex Pistols and the Clash at Lanchester Polytechnic, and even Monty Python’s Flying Circus at The Belgrade.
And then of course there’s the home grown 2 Tone explosion.
Ruth said: “It was a fantastic era to grow up in. The sheer volume and variety of venues totally dwarves the number of today – everything from thriving working men’s clubs to legendary record shops like Jill Hanson’s.
“It was fantastic to revisit the era. Venues like Mr. George’s, The Bear Inn and The Walsgrave are brought vividly back to life.
“It was the era of questionable fashion, go-go dancers, strikes and dancing round handbags.
“But Coventry was at the centre of much of was happening and it has been wonderful to compile a book that reminds people of what a great decade it was to grow up in.”
The Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1970s Coventry is published by www.acmretro.com priced £13.95.