On Thursday, we’re taking The Cart out to the top of Gosford Street. We’ll be inviting passers by to join us for free tea and cake and music. Free in exchange for ideas, that is! We’re hoping for a bit of a chat about great cultural moments – to look at things that HAVE happened here and imagine what COULD happen here (especially if Coventry were to be/is announced as City of Culture in 2021).
As a starter, we did a stream-of-consciousness round up of some of Cov’s ace past moments. And it was such a lovely nostalgia-fest it felt like it should be shared…so here goes. How many of them do you recognise? How many were you at? (Yes, we know it’s selective – it’s merely a stream-of-consciousness handful – apologies for the millions of other brilliant moments not yet included – please remind us of them via the comments).
A man, illuminated by a massive searchlight, walks across a tightrope stretched between the spires of Holy Trinity and the old Cathedral.
A channel drilled in the concrete floor of the gallery in the shape of the river is filled with glass jars of river water and lighted candles.
A small group are guided to walk in a straight line across the car park rooftop and admire the view over the coalfield.
A giantess walks around the square, propelled by steampunk attendants who make her head turn slowly, her eyelids blinking in wonder at the kneehigh people staring up at her.
A child running ahead of its parents realises that it is responsible for changing the coloured lights that line the walkway, and doubles back to do it again.
A pile of televisions, each showing an enormous eye, totters gently as a woman holding a red balloon places another tv on the top.
Ballroom dancers on stilts launch hundreds of gently-glowing chinese lanterns into the air over the crowd filling the empty city centre car park.
A group of young people carrying candlelit lanterns gathers outside an empty shop, the site of a former theatre. They sing a song of hope and remembrance and they lay flowers.
A man and woman argue over a chip supper in a theatre that was once a chip shop. Passers by who remember the chip shop, and know it has closed down, look through the windows, confused.
Huge animal puppets, manipulated by citizens of Coventry and Galway, process joyfully around the cathedral ruins as the ark is built around them.
An aluminium whale sits quietly by the fountain. It’s jaws open every so often and a smiling person emerges, carefully holding a small, folded piece of paper.
The Montagues and Capulets, played by people who live on a street named after the playwright, battle it out in the square. As Mercutio dies, he is borne aloft and cries ‘A plague on both your houses’.
Hundreds of breezeblock dominoes are laid in a long, winding line across the city centre. As they fall, some members of the crowd run shortcuts across the city to try and catch up with them.
Diggers dance, turning intimate circles around each other. As they turn, human dancers hang off their buckets and link hands.
A violinist plays a lament, a hundred years to the hour after another violinist was killed at the Somme.
In the pouring rain, a waterproofed trio are guided by text message to find markers around the city centre and send back thoughts, images and stories to two artists hunched over computers in the dry.
A cage is set up and people gagged with duct tape sit inside the cage to represent asylum seekers, including children, being detained without charge. Passers by are shocked. Some weep.
Russian and English child musicians join together to play a newly written song of friendship between their cities.
An artist gently dismantles things others have discarded. He examines the negative space, makes new things of beauty out of the rubbish and talks to the people who visit him in his studio.
Projected patterns play on a shop window. Outside, passers by realise they can change the patterns: they move closer, then further away. They sweep the shop’s window with their fingertips and squeal with joy as the pattern follows.
In an empty warehouse, a woman performs. She sits naked, cold, at a table covered with a white cloth, under rosy red apples suspended on invisible strings. She peels apples, littering the space with the red of their skins.
Three performers move wheeled staircases through pools of lights from the far end of a very long room, until they are right in front of the audience, demanding that they see the surprise witness.
There is a wishing well filling the stairwell. A woman writes her wish and drops it down the chute. Hearing the satisfying clunk as it hits the bottom, a child rushes up the stairs with their own wish and drops it through the grating.