Our new book about Coventry celebrates the city’s vibrant, varied and full-on nightlife of 1970s.
The decade may have an image problem because of industrial strife, strikes and racial tensions but this new book explains how Coventry’s music and entertainment scene provided something for everyone, from start to finish, and helped bring people together.
In its closing years, the city’s 2 Tone revolution challenged the stereotypes, not just musical ones, and even gave 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.
Ruth Cherrington’s ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1970s Coventry’ 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.
It revisits landmark gigs by David Bowie and Queen that shook the Coventry Theatre in its foundations. Even the local colleges got in on the act with music festivals provided by the ‘Lanch’ and Warwick University.
Coventry-born Ruth Cherrington 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.”
The book includes scores of interviews and rare photos.
Ruth Cherrington – who wrote the acclaimed ‘Not Just Beer and Bingo! A Social History of Working Men’s Clubs’ – admits researching the book was a labour of love.
“It was fantastic to revisit the era. Venue’s like Mr. George’s, The Bear Inn and The Walsgrave are brought vividly back to life.”
The decade wasn’t kind to Coventry – the collapse of the car industry dealt a crippling body blow to the city.
But the 2 Tone explosion provided a welcome distraction with The Specials and the Selecter providing the soundtrack to a generation.
Ruth Cherrington said: “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.”
Read more about the book here.