A sprint down memory lane

three minute heroes

 Joseph Eaton-Kent as Tim and Elizah Jackson as Sonya Picture: Robert Day

Three-minute Heroes

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

*****

If you fancy a gentle stroll down musical memory lane, forget it! Three-minute heroes provides a two-tone, high-octane romp with humour by the bucket, music, dancing and the story of our heroes clambering up the greasy pole to fame.

Too good to be true? Ruder than U might be a fictional band but the songs come directly from the greats – The Specials, Selector, Madness and The famous Cov against Racism concert of 1981 that stopped a riot in its tracks.

And directed by Bob Eaton This slice of history should be required viewing for all wannabe X Factor contestants. The performance is given great 1979 context by wonderful backdrop photography, a concrete jungle ‘Lanch’, Lanchester Polytechnic (now Coventry University) staircase used to great effect and references to the movers and shakers of Coventry’s greatest musical hour including Pete Waterman, Ken Brown and the ‘General Wolfe’. Look out for Aitch Bembridge on drums. There’s a treat in itself.

The year of 1979 was far from the country or Coventry’s finest political hour and the songs reflect it in every word – though not the music which is buoyant, bubbly and beautiful. I’m Ska’d for life!

Zack (Sheldon Green) meets songwriter Sonya (Elizah Jackson) at a gig at the ‘Lanch’. They meet next day to listen to music and her band mates Tim (Joseph Eaton-Kent) and the gorgeous if light-fingered punk milkman and roadie (in the milkfloat!) Sean (Conor John Nolan) with Sonya’s friend Sharon (Sarah Workman), a singer.

Other band members arrive and are invited to join. Joey Hickman plays trombone in the Bedworth Band – where would Ska be without brass? All the musicians seem to be not only able to play amazingly well but channelling their inner Tigger – at the same time! The story is rags to riches – for some of them – against a backdrop of strikes and serious racial tension. Sean, as a character, reflects the changes in fashion and mood of the young people. He evens goes as far as New Romantic and gay when his standard skinhead haircut has him barred from his friends’ gigs.

The Belgrade warnings about references to drug use, offensive language and so on are hilarious in themselves and one line in particular is still making me laugh 12 hours on. It’s far too saucy to reveal but if you meet me ask and I’ll whisper in your ear.To 25-10-14

Jane Howard

08-10-14 

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