Saturday, 6 April 2013

Sent to Coventry

Coventry City


I had to go to Coventry for a meeting on Friday. I hate Coventry. I really do detest the place. I feel stressed just driving past signs for Coventry. I realise that it is a little unfair that I have such negative feelings associated with the place, that really it is not Coventry’s fault. But I still hate it.

And I lived in Coventry for about 9 years!! I went to university there, then kind of just got stuck there (needed a job near where I lived, then needed to live near my job…) until I moved away in October 2011. I always hated the place, so I am amazed I didn’t make more effort to leave, but I guess sometimes you just follow the path of least resistance. And better the devil you know, and other relevant clich├ęs…

So going there this time I decided to allow force my stress to evaporate, and that I would go there and focus only on the nice bits. I would blinker myself to all things ugly and unpleasant, and I would make a beeline for all of the bits I know to be nice. I would take photos of the nice bits (I’ve never really photographed Coventry before) and I would formulate good things to say about visiting Coventry, and I would look forward to this.

And it worked, to a point: as my meeting took a while longer than I’d expected I didn’t have enough time to visit all of the places I wanted to, and those I did were very much on a whistle-stop basis, so I didn’t get to do it quite the way I wanted to (and rushing does make me stressed too!) But aided by a positive attitude and firm resolution to look with fresh eyes at familiar scenes, I did manage to, what would be the appropriate word? Appreciate? Yes, appreciate what was there a little more.

The problem with Coventry is that it was really heavily bombed during the Second World War, and – in terms of destroying the beauty of the medieval city – what the Luftwaffe began, the town planners finished. So Coventry is now this really ugly place with some extremely questionable architecture nestled up to amazing wood framed buildings. Harsh concrete spread up to carved stone. It’s always seemed very weird to me that more is not made of the medieval buildings in Coventry. You see them kind of abandoned around the place, empty and boarded up. Coventry could have been a bit like York if it weren’t for the bombing and the unsympathetic redevelopment.

But also playing a part in all this is that familiarity can breed such contempt. Spending almost a decade in this city, had also dulled me to it. Hidden amongst the ugliness there are things there to admire, history to marvel at, and a small selection of independent retailers to browse. Just having a change of focus – wanting to take some photos, wanting to introduce some positive points to other people, can make you see things anew.

So I have my photos, and I have my own ‘picks of Coventry’, and I have written something positive about this place that was my home for so long!

"My picks of Coventry can be found under 'My Pages', or link to it here"
 


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