Graphics from Ryders new book
Celebrating 2 Tone. Summer reading and viewing from Coventry, UK
2022 has been a year for celebrating 2 Tone: England’s classic ska-punk hybrid genre that spread from humble Coventry roots to become an English pop culture phenomenon in the 70’s. From exhibitions to TV documentaries and a great new book about Coventry fanzines, we’re bringing you a step closer to the Midlands by way of Jamaica music movement.
Tales from the Ghost Town: The Coventry Punk Fanzine Revolution by Alan Rider
Musician and prolific fanzine editor Alan Rider has created a compendium of Coventry fanzines, summarizing the movement’s roots in an interview with his publisher Fourth Dimensions Records.
“The period 1979-’85 (usually referred to as the ‘post-punk’ period) witnessed an unprecedented and never-to-be-repeated explosion of grass roots musical creativity across the country and internationally. That, in turn, stimulated a plethora of fanzines of all shapes and sizes to spring from bedrooms, dining room tables, and even school playgrounds. Nowhere was that urge expressed more prolifically than in Coventry, England. Galvanised by the energy created around Two Tone, but extending far beyond, over 50 fanzines were produced in Coventry and the surrounding area during that brief time.
Examples ranged from scruffy, faintly photocopied efforts that blinked into existence for just a few issues, to more polished productions that ran for several years. From the tongue in cheek style of Ded Yampy, to the politically aware polemic of Issue, the in-depth local coverage of the front runner Alternative Sounds, to the confrontational design lead stylings of Adventures in Reality, the teenage anarchist diatribe of Antisocial, to the barbed commentary of Private Enterprise, the diversity of views and styles on show was almost endless.
With a foreword by The Specials’ Horace Panter, Tales From The Ghost Town collects together rare copies of every fanzine produced in Coventry at that incredible time. With an in-depth review of each, accompanied by covers and inside pages alongside exclusive interviews with their original creators tracked down from across the globe, it is THE definitive record of this unique, punk inspired, explosion of grass roots creativity expressed in cut and paste form.”
The book can be purchased through Fourth Dimensions Records .
2 Tone Lives and Legacies – Virtual exhibition
The first ever major exhibition in the UK exclusively devoted to 2 Tone, curators Martin Roberts & Ali Wells staged the retrospective at the Herbert Gallery & Museum, Coventry in 2021.
You can now access the exhibition virtually , with images of memorabilia, editorial extracts and video interviews with key members of the 2 Tone scene a click away.
Poster for original exhibition at the Herbert Gallery and Museum, Coventry
2 Tone : The Sound of Coventry
If you’re UK based and have BBC iPlayer, check out ‘2 Tone: The Sound of Convetry’ – an excellent and all-encompassing 2 Tone documentary, available till 30th September 2022.
Using music, archive and new interviews, it is the story of 2 Tone – a unique musical phenomenon that exploded out of Coventry in the summer of 1979. 2 Tone not only dominated the charts and got the nation dancing to a ska beat, it played a vital part in the movement against racism in Britain and beyond. Including a rare interview with Jerry Dammers, the architect of 2 Tone, and contributions from other key players, the film explores the music style and ethos of the genre and charts the remarkable story of how this independent ‘do it yourself’ record label from Coventry went on to have a global impact and a unique place in popular music.
Log into iPlayer and enjoy!