Coventry – A newfound appreciation
Coventry – A newfound appreciation
I’ve lived in Coventry for 22 years. That’s a large chunk of my life spent living within the shadow of the three spires. So why am I here? The easy answer would be “Have you seen house prices!?!” My parents have a great Jamie shaped room available for cheap. But really, there’s something about this city that makes me want to stay. It’s not something that I’ve been able to quantify or explain, but it’s there. It’s a unique city, which makes it unlike any other place I’ve visited. Don’t get me wrong, I know the reputation Coventry has. I’ve been in enough conversations with people where the answer to the question “Where do you live?”, has been met with the same enthusiasm as someone who has just stepped in dog poo. I do think people have the wrong idea about our city. They think of concrete, the blitz and, being “Sent to Coventry”, but the city is so much more than that.
Like many Cov kids, I’ve seen the cities highs and lows. While I was growing up in the 90’s and 00’s, Coventry was not a great place to live. As a teenager, it was tough trying to find things to do. I did find stuff to do, whether that was with my friends (I’m still the undisputed champion of Mario Kart), hanging around in IKEA (much to the annoyance of the security guards) or participating in Drama workshops, but it wasn’t easy to occupy my time. Me and my friends managed to make the most of what we had, making our own fun. Even so, when I think back to my childhood, I don’t think fondly of my city. I often fantasied about living in other places once I grew up, so I tried everything I could to get out.
I went to study in Stoke-On-Trent, a competing bid city for the City of Culture. I lived there for three years, learning about filmmaking at Staffordshire University. It’s a great city and I enjoyed my time there, but I didn’t connect with the potteries as much as I have with Coventry. I also flirted with London, travelling and living back and forth while working in TV. It was while I was working in London that it dawned on me, I could use my skill set in filmmaking and run with it in my home town. I now own TouchType Films, a Film and TV production company creating films for a variety of clients. TouchType is still a brand new company, we haven’t even had our first birthday yet, but we’re having a great first year. We’re currently in the process of producing a dance film for Coventry 2021 in collaboration with Ascension Dance, which is really exciting and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Since coming home, I have a newfound appreciation for Coventry. Cov will always be about the people. It’s a place where everyone supports each other, whether that be artistically or reaching out to the wider community. We’re a city that has such a rich heritage, but we’re also incredibly welcoming – inviting people into our city no matter who they are or where they’re from. I think winning the city of culture would allow Coventry to reach it’s full potential. For years the city has been in the shadow of Birmingham, Leamington and Warwick, but now it’s Coventry’s time to flourish. Even before our bid, new buildings have been springing up and businesses are starting to see Coventry as a real asset rather than a hindrance. I can only see this getting better over the coming years, especially if we win the City of Culture bid.
It’s a combination of all these things that makes gives me a new positive outlook for the future of Coventry. It’s certainly come a long way already. So, when I next tell someone I live in Coventry, I hope the reaction I get is “I’ve heard it’s a great place.” Once that happens, I know we’ve succeeded.
By Jamie Sergeant, Touchtype Films