James Rant talks to Coventry2021

by 15 October 2018

What does ‘culture’ mean to you?
Culture to me is the typical behaviour demonstrated by a group of people or a society. I feel there are really positive and amazing cultural traditions that all can appreciate and enjoy.

Equally, I’m aware that there are longstanding cultural traditions which can, at times be challenging and needs to be changed. I therefore feel like culture is a coin with two very different sides, both of which can be learned from.

What’s your earliest memory of what you used to eat growing up?
My mum used to feed all the kids on my street. Fairly healthy stuff, including: apples, cheeses, crackers, oranges, chicken, ham, pickle and, admittedly the odd bag of crisps or some cookies.

I just remember those plastic plates of food that me and my friends would be given after a day of “playing-out”.

What’s your favourite cultural aspect of Coventry?
I just like how old this place is, there are ruins that are hundreds of years old all around the city and while much of it was bombed in the war, it makes me (and I think a lot of other people) appreciate what is left and serves as a reminder for what many of our relatives went through for us to still be here.

What was the last sporting event you attended?
A Wasps Rugby game, I actually can’t remember who they played, just that Wasps smashed them, a great game!

When were you last moved by a piece of culture and what was it?
It’s hard to pin-point one thing, but a story which does spring to mind:

A friend of mine from America, a history enthusiast, visited a couple of years ago and I had the responsibility of showing them around Coventry and Warwickshire, so I took to Google to look for some noteworthy and inherently British things to do, showing the best of what we have in the area.

The whole event really made me value where I lived; a stone’s throw from the birth place of Shakespeare and Anne Hathway’s Cottage, St Mary’s Guildhall, the story of Lady Godiva, the Godiva Festival, the Cathedral and our War Memorial Park. We also have Kenilworth and Warwick castle and even Spon Street on a Saturday night, these are all things that I had taken completely for granted for the majority of my adult life.

It really did change my perspective & appreciation for where I have grown up.

Tell us about your involvement…
Utility Team being a Coventry-based business and having lived in Coventry my whole life, admittedly I was really surprised at first that we had won (perhaps guilty of being a tad pessimistic). Although upon reflection, when I think about all of the effort that so many businesses and people went to it is not actually that surprising.

It’s brilliant; the city deserves the attention/income that something like this title can generate. I am personally really proud to be associated with the message behind Coventry, UK City of Culture 2021; it is an important one.