PLAQUE ONE-COVENTRY CANAL BASIN 15TH JAN 09
On January 15th, the first of
eight plaques (this one sponsored by Coventry Market) was unveiled at the Canal Basin (this was the setting for the album
cover photos that graced the Specials first and second albums). Specials Roddy Byers and Horace Panter did the unveiling honours
and Councillor Tony Skipper made the opening speech. There was a great fan and media turn out, with BBC and Central TV both
covering the event.It made all the local papers and even Clash Magazine website (see below for various links) Amazingly getting
funding for the plaques has been a joy, people like Coventry Market, Coventry University and The Harris Sign Group and many
more local icons are proud to help celebrate this wonderful genre in their city. You don’t have to be into the music
to recognise that 2-Tone is important to Coventry and Coventry is important to 2-Tone. It’s part of our cultural history,
and let’s face it it’s not a bad legacy to have, exciting danceable music with a message of racial tolerance,
with the National Holocaust Day taking place in the city, 2-Tone is another wonderful example of Coventry ‘getting it
right for all the right reasons’.
I asked Roddy how he felt about the new plaque, he replied, “This Coventry
Kid feels very honoured", while Horace had this to say, “I'm pleased that the music we played 30 years ago still appears
to carry so much value, I like the design of the plaque by the way, subtle. Chalkie Davies and Carol Starr were the people
who took those photos of the band. I asked Chalkie if he ever though those pictures would become iconic three decades down
the line? “Did we know then that the sleeve would last thirty years, we always felt that our work for the Specials was
the best we had ever done but let me also put it this way. I doubt if any of us expected to be alive in thirty years. when
our friend Elvis Costello told us about a great new band called the Specials and their Label called Two Tone. We went straight
out and bought the singles and were so impressed that we lobbied to do their Album Sleeve.
Along with the plaques I
promised events, and to kick it all off we had “Setting the Two Tone” a collection of superbly iconic prints taken
by John Coles in the early days of 2-tone presented at The Lock Gallery also at the Canal basin, by the divine Emma O’Brien.
It ran till the end of January, and it was a chance of getting an exclusive piece of 2-Tone for your wall. During the Exhibition
the gallery saw visits from Specials Roddy,Horace,Lynval and Neville. Pauline Black and Gaps also came along from The Selecter
as did Ranking Roger from the Beat and Anthony Harty from the Specials Mk2. The event ends with Rude Boy Glen posing for a
special Doctor Sketchy art-class on Jan 30th.
As you can see the first plaque has been visited by four Specials so far. Not to
mention Pauline and Roger and Gaps.
|Nev, Pauline and Roger at the canal basin plaque
|Lynval at the plaque
Photo by Yad Jaura
The Lock Gallery
BBC Midland Todays coverage of the event
Clash magazine website
Even the USA picked up on it
Covsupports video of the ceremony
Canal plaque is now a Waymark site