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You can't put a fire out on your own

A London-born ex-firefighter and tour manager for Wu-Tang Clan has been sharing his love of music and photography with a Coventry movement fighting to make nightlife more inclusive.

Simon Peter Green's journey from an Andover upbringing to the boulevards of Beverly Hills to the darkrooms of Coventry University, is unusual to say the least. Thankfully, the Coventry leg of his 'transatlantic tour' brought him into contact with a diverse group of local people for whom opportunity hasn't always come easy.

New Vibes DJ Sound System was borne out of a social movement called Fight for Your Right to Party. The group's members first formed a collective back in July 2019, based on their shared experiences of and passion for making nightlife in Coventry more accessible for people who have a disability or chronic illness.

Their resolve centred on removing as many of the barriers that prevent people from having an enjoyable evening out as possible.

Enter Simon. Initially volunteering his time and skills to show New Vibes how to DJ skillfully (and host their own disability-friendly events), his thoughts soon turned to sharing his passion for photography with the group as he studied for his degree at Coventry University.

"There's a flow. I don't come as the 'master teacher'. I learn far more than the group learn."

He was helping to grow the confidence of New Vibes Visuals, giving them the tools to represent themselves in different, new and artistic ways.

But then lockdown happened and we all retreated indoors. There were no more bookings, gigs or practices. No more time spent learning in darkrooms and lecture theatres. The moment had come to innovate and the group were up for the challenge.

Weekly audio visual shows began online, combining New Vibes' talents and passions for music and photography. The shows have continued every Friday in a format that's ready for a live two-hour show in any venue when the time is right, Simon points out.

They have the material, the skills and the confidence to emerge stronger.

Simon meanwhile is working on his masters degree and continues to be a source of guidance and inspiration for both New Vibes DJ Sound System and New Vibes Visuals. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

You can watch the full interview with Simon and Jay Holder from Coventry's recent People Like Us online creative festival below.

Article cover photo by Alan Van Wijgerden.

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