Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it ... no, not Superman exactly,
but a man on a high wire, fulfilling an awe-inspiring challenge from
more than a hundred years ago.
Back in 1884 the great Charles Blondin asked the authorities in
Coventry if he could stage a tightrope walk between two of the city’s
famous three spires, Holy Trinity and St Michael’s.
They turned him down flat but on Millennium Eve 1999 that stunning
skywalk will finally be performed, as the centrepiece of Coventry’s
The man on the high wire will be fifth generation tightrope walker
Ramon Kelvink, from Bordeaux. And to accomplish Blondin’s airborne
stroll he’ll have to walk a distance of 80 metres, at a fairly steep
incline, at a height of more than 40 metres above the ground.
It will be floodlit, musical and spectacular and it will be potent
with millennial symbolism. St Michael’s is Coventry’s ruined
cathedral, blitzed in 1940. And Coventry IS Britain in the 20th
century, in microcosm reflecting all the great themes of rapid
industrialisation, war and peace, immigration and town planning, boom
Ramon Kelvink’s aerobatics will be the high point of more than 12
hours of live entertainment in the historic heart of the city. Giant
video screens will broadcast images from some of Coventry’s 26 twin
towns and greetings from the city’s famous sons and daughters. A
three-hour family variety show will feature performers from as far
afield as Tanzania, Hungary and Brazil. Live music will range from the
1940s into the future.
NOTE: This is a
Millennium Commission Lottery project, forming part of the UK wide