2-TONE @ 30

Canal Basin Event

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The first plaque in unveiled!

plaque sponsor
Coventry market



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

John Coles master photographer, many of his photos are on this site

Without these guys 2-Tone @ 30 would not
have been possible.

Pete Chambers is proud to wear Ace Face Tonics

Huge thanks to Derek Harris and Harris Signs Group for making and installing the plaques