Monday, 12 March 2012

Sent to Coventry

The day started off high octane. At the train station I had ten minutes to buy a ticket to Birmingham from Solihull but two doddery, confused Norwegian women were registering some problem in broken English at the ticket booth...

' Reading [pronounced 'reeding'] and to Birmingham,'

Bleedin' nora!

7 mins...


4 mins!!...

The lethargic train office man yawned....he stared through these plump, Nordic, human space-hoppers decked out with confused faces and multi-coloured patchwork coats and told them to go to Birmingham's New Street station as 'the customer information there would be better help'.

Got my ticket with a minute to spare.

Six thousand Blues fans were to go to the Ricoh this day, most travelling from Birmingham to Coventry via train. My scouts informed me that the Ricoh is just as close to Nuneaton station as it is to Coventry. 

We decided to go to Nuneaton and then get a taxi from there to the ground, but, alas, a miscommunication between the entourage meant we needed to go to Coventry. We were sent there.



I'd never been before, despite living not 5 miles from the place. I'd been forewarned though.

The Luftwaffe blew it to dust in the war, it meant that almost every building was destroyed, so in the following two decades a mass building project took place. Unfortunately for Coventry, this coincided with the rise of brutalist architecture. 60s buildings. Christ. Everything's grey, everything's concrete, everything's cuboid and gloomy and melancholy and...

Like somebody found a huge nugget of asbestos in a field and decided to try and carve a city out of it.

Like in the film 'Logan's Run' where Logan and his lady friend run into a monorail and flee to the sanctuary. Then the camera man pans out and takes an aerial shot of a toy town that looks like a shite Epcot in order to give the impression of a bird's eye view.

Coventry, the futuristic city imagined in the 60s when nothing was futuristic. I'm sure in those days the place looked hip, I'm sure it looked like the moon, but now it looks like the Soviet Union.

I reckon when they drew up the plans they were hoping for this...

But in the end they got this...

At 12pm, with half an hour to spare we strolled out the pub into the Coventry wilderness looking for a taxi. 


We asked locals for taxi ranks, each one gave us conflicting information. 

We ran through Coventry city centre scrambling for a ride looking like an Apprentice team who have 5 minutes to find the last ridiculous object on Alan Sugar's list, a monkey's arse, or an Ant and Dec calendar or a chocolate car bumper sticker or something. 

Coventry city centre, aka the Swan Market - all it's missing is a 'Crash, Bang, Wallop' shop.

Found a taxi rank outside an Iceland store from the 70s, but no taxis. We rang the number on the sign, a muted Cov type awoke to answer, sounding like he was in the bath: 'We'll send some out to yer' he splashed.

Nothing came.

With three minutes to go until kick off a taxi came flinging down the adjacent road, we ran towards it flapping like chicken prats. It screeched to a halt.

'To the Ricoh'

We hurtled towards the stadium, I was hungover so poked my head out the window clamouring for fresh air but I couldn't find any. Everything smelt like poison.

We missed the first ten minutes of kick off when we arrived in the ground.

No big deal though, the game and the fans were subdued as is the tendency for these morning kick offs, forced upon us thanks to hooliganism [I'm blaming Block 11, as I must for everything].

After the game we strolled across the car park and nimbly meandered in between the dancing, bobbing hooligans on either side, provoking one another, into Pizza Hut we went.

Margarita medium sized for a fiver, and a free salad bar. 

I bit into a bread roll, softened with thousand island sauce as the flat-cap teenagers were chased from beyond the window by the police. 

'Come on then pigs!' 

Squeaked a pre-pubescent in chinos.

We left Pizza Hut and made for the taxi rank next to Tesco, next to the bus station.

Here were local Cov types who had commandeered a shopping trolly and were taking it in turns to climb inside it while the other pushed the thing into a bus shelter.

'Huh huh huh Ba-reh, give me a gow mate laike'


Into the perspex flew a toothless local.

Coventry for you.

We taxi'd back to the station, went back to Birmingham on a packed train, I gave up my seat for an old lady with a dog to the delight of the carriage.

It had been a good day. The pizza was reasonably priced and tasty and the salad bar was a delightful added touch, oh and a football match had taken place or something, but the less said about that, the better...

1 comment:

  1. I think you were in the wrong city. That photograph is not of Coventry, and there isn't a Tesco by the bus station. And it's not all grey. Most of the new buildings are red brick and stone. And the Luftwaffe didn't destroy it. The council demolished more of it afterwards.