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I've had a life of culture in this old industrial city.

WITH Coventry's bid for City of Culture, it got me thinking about my own 'cultural experiences' in Coventry.

My brother Flint and I came down from Scotland in 1966. We'd heard about all the work here. I was 19, Flint 20. We worked on building sites during the day and either listened to bands at night or sang folk and blues round the folk clubs. Coventry had a great music scene in the 60s and 70s.

I then joined the folk group The Moonshiners, singing and playing guitar and mandolin. After that I had spells singing and playing in various folk and rock bands: Omega, Teks & Co, Charge and a few others.

By this time I was living in a bedsit and had started writing songs and painting. I was also doing solo gigs and started exhibiting my pictures. Firstly in the Minster Gallery, Hearsall Lane, the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry Cathedral, and other venues. It was about this time I joined the prog folk combo Music Box with Rob Armstrong, Guitar Maker and Pip.

We did a load of gigs and recorded an album Songs of Sunshine in 1972.

After a short spell in London, I returned to Coventry, got a job in a factory but still wrote songs and painted. I started doing a bit of photography: landscapes, pubs, circus and fairgrounds, transport and trucks. Had a few in the Herbert and various other places. I then joined Shambles rock and blues band based at Warwick University. This would be 1975/76. I got a job in building maintenance at the uni and while there, had an exhibition of my paintings and photos.

But in 1983 I'd had enough of working for someone else. I'd always been interested in collecting old books and comics and clutter in general. So I went on the Enterprise Scheme and opened Armstrong's Books and Collectibles in Earlsdon.

In 1986 I had a one man show, The Dabbler, at Warwick Uni of my paintings, photos and music. Later that year I had a similar show in the Earl Street Showcase in Coventry. But this had a terrible response, after all the hard work, expense and effort I vowed to never do anything cultural in Coventry again. It was an industrial city, that's why I came here for work.

But now, with the universities, it is changing, it is becoming more cultural. In 1970 I wrote New City Song, about the rebuilding of the city after the war and all the different nationalities who came to live here. I recorded and released it in 2003.

I don't have time to paint now (I'm 70) but have had a couple of shows of my photos, write a bit and read some of the books I've collected with my wife Barb. I enjoy what goes on in Coventry. I wish Coventry all the best with the City of Culture bid. It's not a bad old place.

Colin Armstrong Earlsdon Remembering the IRA bomb damage RE: Remember When picture of August 26, 1939 - 72 years ago. I was 12 years old.

This was not an IRA attack. The IRA put a bomb in the basket on the front of a bicycle, left on the kerbside in front of the shops. You can see the damaged bicycle on the shop, just behind the policeman.

The blast from the bomb blew all the windows out. The shop on the left of the picture was Burtons; a mens outfitter on the corner of Smithford Street, Broadgate. You could buy men's suits for PS2.50.

On the right, Astley's sold everything from a mouse trap to an elephant, paints, tents. Then there was Samuels the Jewellers. All the clockface was blown out.

Further down there was a new shop on the corner of Market Way. Boots the chemist was not damaged. The bicycle was put in the police museum. Weeks later another bomb was put inside the window of the Gas Show Rooms in Corporation Street on the corner of Well Street. But it did little damage.

I am now 90: a very old Coventry kid with memories of Old Coventry. Albert Bateman Brandon Glad to see hard line on litterbugs LITTER is a major pet hate for me and I suspect many others.

There really is no need for dropping litter and just shows how arrogant, bad mannered and selfish some folk are.

Hence I was pleased to read that the pavement patrols have issued over 800 tickets in the past year ('800 fines for litterbugs who dropped cigs', Sep 5).

Assuming all these offenders pay the PS75 fine, that's PS60,000 and more if costs are involved. However the article did fail to report on the number who do not pay and manage to evade pursuit by the council.

The money raised from said fines could help to pay for fly tipping clear-ups and clearing up after travellers have graced us with their presence.

A council spokesman said: "We have a zero tolerance policy to those who drop litter."

It's a shame the council do not seem to enforce this bullish zero tolerance with the fly tippers and travellers, but then the soft targets are always the easy option when it comes to getting headline-grabbing results and PS60,000 plus.

Brian Nathan-Partridge Stivichall I know 'haunted' house pretty well RE: The most haunted buildings in Coventry and Warwickshire (Aug 22). I found this article most amusing regarding the Days Hotel/ Aston Court.

On this site stood two large houses - one on the corner of the Holyhead Road. I know the No. 80 Holyhead Road house quite well. It belonged to Mr John Charles Lee who was an organ builder and repairer dating way back. My aunt was his friend and housekeeper so I often visited and eventually lived there after Mr Lee died in January 1940. Audrey Givens Styvechale
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 7, 2017
Words:979
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