15 August 2007

My Home Town

Most cities and towns have character, Coventry has none. It's dirty, nondescript and empty. It may be a bubbling cauldron of racial unrest, drug culture, and alcohol-induced fervour, but on the surface, to an outsider, it's boring. Perhaps the most boring place I have ever been to. The main problem with the city is its the lack of identity. It was so cosmopolitan. The council appeared to demolish anything older than ten years in the name of progress, thus losing any link with a history and Coventry did have a very colourful history. It grew up in the Middle Ages and even as recent as 20 years ago, there was a host of medieval shops and houses teetering over the pavement. Most of them had gone now. Either moved brick-by-brick, like some gigantic 3D puzzle, to a ‘touristy’ part of town; or even more curious, packed away in crates deep in the vaults below the Council House. Such was progress. To be fair most of the centre of town was destroyed by Hitler’s’ bombs, but what he left standing the Council finished off. It is the just the sort of place to come to if your doctor gave you six months to live – It would seem like six years!

Being so close as it is to the second city Birmingham, Coventry suffered from a lack of investment; ingenuity and enterprise. After all, why build an ice-rink when there’s one a bus ride away. Why build plush cinemas and nightclubs when Broad St boasts ‘Ronnie Scott’s’ and the ‘Millionaires Club’? Its' neighbour was gradually swallowing up Coventry. The so-called green belt land between the two cities was all but gone. Housing developments and supermarkets had eaten into the parks and gardens. The city was filthy and unfriendly. Indeed, it had only recently won the coveted award as the filthiest town in Britain, an accolade it would have no trouble retaining for posterity. The council in an attempt to lose this title spent £90,000 on dog bins. Unfortunately, no one seems to have bothered to train the dogs to pick the litter up, and so the bins stay empty and dogs crap on the pavement. Crumbling buildings line decaying streets, which are full of ‘interesting’ people. You know the sort of people with an intelligence level slightly above a tent peg, who holiday in Ibiza, drink lager and with whom you could have hours of stimulating conversation with (provided of course you had been dead for weeks!)

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