I sit here, Thursday morning, in a hotel room in Coventry. I came down to watch Manchester Storm play the Coventry Blaze at the SkyDome Arena, which is conveniently a two-minute walk away.
I got into Coventry in the mid-afternoon yesterday. It was three trains and three hours of waiting and riding, waiting and riding, waiting and riding. Though you are sat down doing nothing, it is surprising at how much this can drain you of your energy.
I made the rookie mistake of forgetting to pack a drink or something to eat. I was sat on the train, refusing to pay the extortionate prices of that which the on-train vendor was asking. Sitting around me were people who had not forgotten, my stomach rumbled so loud and with such ferocity that I thought that I had received a text on my phone.
I got into Coventry, checked into my hotel and began to sit and type yesterdays reboot at the supplied desk. I looked at my clock, checked the time and rang my Mum to let her know I am safe. No matter how old I get, I don’t think I’ll ever not have to ring my Mum whilst travelling. After a delightful, what’s the weather like over there, conversation with my Mum, I decided to have a walk around the city centre.
The first thing that I noticed when walking around Coventry is that the city has some wonderful buildings. Old churches, new tower blocks made out of glass and weird 1970’s architecture, like the circular indoor market. Lots of charming architecture, fusing the old with new.
However, what wasn’t unique about Coventry, is the same as every other city, the shops were all the same. Now, that is a generalisation for effect. Of course, there are independent shops and the locale is different from what I am used to. But, saying that, you walk into one Sports Direct, Waterstones, Game, Tesco Express, HMV, then you have walked into them all.
I know that I should not judge a city by its high street. I mean that is not all that the city has to offer. But it is the centre of the city, it is where everybody converges to when you visit. It is the first thing that you see when you get off the train. This is not a criticism of Coventry either, more of an observation of how uniform city and town centres can be like they were built by some sort of identikit.
I had come from Manchester, landed in Coventry to be met by the exact same logos upon buildings. I could not help but think of the Hanna Barbera cartoon Scooby-Doo, where the characters run down a hallway but the backdrop does not change.
It got me questioning, is everything the same?
Until the next reboot…