In my continuing campaign to play in all of the most beautifully reverberant spaces in Coventry & Warwickshire*, on Saturday 3rd of February I’ll be playing at the Old Coventry Evening Telegraph Building, situated (not unexpectedly) in Coventry.
The building, widely considered to be one of the most iconic post-war buildings in the city centre, has stood empty since July 2012, when the Telegraph moved just outside the ring road to Coventry’s Canal Basin.
As with any empty city-centre building there are plans for this site – a boutique hotel and cinema, however in the meantime it’s been taken over as a pop-up art space.
The site occupies a huge 5000m2 – it’s the purpose built printworks, and former HQ of the Coventry Evening Telegraph newspaper, constructed way back in 1957 during Coventry’s post-war boom. Full of style, glamour and industrial chic … The Historic Coventry Trust has leased the premises short term, and, with the help of local volunteers, re-opened the space to the public – including an astonishing 1.5km self-guided tour route that winds through offices, panelled boardrooms, machine shops, storage basements and under the giant printing press – all the while introducing the visitor to a regularly-changing selection of artwork, slideshows, films, displays, memorabilia and exhibitions.
I took the self-guided tour around the place back in late summer last year. It’s an amazing place, full of remnants of the pre-computerisation heyday of print journalism. Coventry’s daily newspaper was once produced here in its totality – the writing, editing, photography, design, layout, typesetting, printing, packing and distribution of over 100,000 newspapers each and every day took place in this one building.
What really blew me away, though… was the rooms for keeping massive, MASSIVE machines in.
Shortly after having a walk around the building I pitched the idea of playing in one of the large, reverberant halls to Alan Denyer, who is the incredibly dedicated chap who is running the place, fixing broken stuff and constantly trying to fill it with art and events.
Then I went off and got distracted with TEDx and gadgets and recording and then it was Christmas; long story short – eventually a plan got hatched and I’ll be playing in this beautiful, brutal space on the 3rd of February, an extended improvisation session to see what sounds I can pull out of the fabric of the building, and what the space will do to with those sounds. Admission is free and you can tour the building for free while you’re at it (although a donation to the upkeep of the place is probably always welcome). Music starts at noon.
Hope to see you there!
* There’s actually no such campaign – as with my gigs at The Herbert and All Saints Church, this stuff is pretty much happening by accident. This year it’s big reverb-y spaces. Next year it’ll be broom-closets of the rich-and-famous, the year after – moons of Jupiter. All by accident. You wait and see.