Someone recently said to me:
C’mon, let’s get this out of your system. Why do you not like Hull? You continue to say, over and over. ‘I hate it, it annoys me. Culture! Pah!’
But, what is it exactly that displeases you so? Last night, you saw on twitter they are planning a great big dance off in the Hull City Centre. You wanted this, you thought this, you planned this in your own head, you said, ‘this would be a great idea,’ you spoke of this to many. Why are you not participating?
It was time to come clean and I decided to write my answer into a blog.
I had to think about this answer, what exactly is stopping me from participating? Maybe it is because I only ever seem to find out after the event. Arguably, I am not looking for events, I am not pencilling them in my diary if they do pop up. I haven’t offered my help to the co-ordinators. I only ever seem to be ahead of the game for the activities that required a fee. However, all the voluntary participation events, seem to happen without a great deal of advertising. Who are #Hull2017 advertising to?
I guess it’s not been advertised to my locality. I know I’ve chosen to live on the periphery, and I am happy with that choice. I spent so many years of my Young Adult life trying to get away from Hull, get out of Hull. A place which often felt from the day I was born the coffin was closed shut and been slowly nailed tight.
- There is a saying about Hull, that once you enter, you might never leave. Maybe Ricky Gervais’ comment on Twitter was funny, in Spring 2017, suggesting Hull as a typo, it should be spelt as Hell. But that is my satirical sense of humour kicking in, because Hull is Hull, it is all about the fishing industry and boats of is it ships? That once was. Now it is an array of pound shops. Or maybe that is a once was too. For now, it has lots of pink and blue jackets floating around its cobbled streets, and there are more restaurants, more activities, and more artistic events popping up than ever before. I hope this is not going to be another once was.
The traditional values that my Hulls foundation lies upon are something that most communities value; most cities, most countries.
Family, Marriage, Blessings of Birth and Respect the Dead.
Sadly, all of the moments in between these key traditional values are a little bit fuzzy. I am beginning to find out I have a heritage of a caravan industry, the odd writer, singer, the fishing industry which was once the maritime and heart and hub of the land. But, as these words clearly state already, I am only just finding out, and I am in my twilight years, I was never taught any of this as part of a History lesson at school.
I have a lot of respect for Hull, because so many people were born into the locality and aimed high, tried to be positive, follow their dreams in the 1980s and 90s. When you are living under grey skies in a grey city 24/7 we had to dream, because life was almost a repeating nightmare of negativity, woe and beastly behaviours, generally induced by excessive drug use and alcoholism.
Personally, I’ve never taken drugs. My father told me I was such a fantasist if I took them I would probably think I was a fairy and jump off the Humber Bridge (when the bridge was built I was in my teens). Instead of choosing to pop a pill, or snort something, the thought of flying encouraged me to take my first flight of independence and I stepped onto a plane to find a new life at the age of seventeen and hopefully never look back.
I never did look back, because my travels, gave me an insight into the matter of simple fact that Hull is simply one place on the map that I was born into, conditioned by its surroundings and although I was called, nuts, crazy and wacky on many an occasion for my beliefs in making Hull stand out on the map: in my mind’s eye, I knew there was also more to my life than ‘Hull’. If people didn’t want to change, then I would.
Having travelled for so many years of my Young Adult life, I learned so much and met so many wonderfully cultured human beings. The one matter of fact commonality was in the question of ‘Where are you from originally?’ New friends would answer with a title of a local region and then go on to tell me the regions claim to its existence, it’s fame, its community position. Even though my Geography is abysmal, I grew interested and chose to look at the map and appreciate where my friends originated.
When I was asked about Hull, I would answer and they would ask, ‘Where is that?’ and I would state, ‘erm, in Yorkshire!’ and they would reply, ‘Oh Manchester’. I would try to tell them where exactly and they would ask, ‘What is it known for?’ I would answer ‘erm! Haven’t a clue! I was just born there, taught how to survive socially cultured politics there and keep my legs crossed or spawn two or more children before I reached true adulthood. Whatever the age of adulthood that may be! Excessive drinking of alcohol is encouraged and prostitution was rife on the edge of the riverside.’
My friends would laugh. ‘Are you glad to get away?’ I replied. ‘Absolutely. I miss my family, but absolutely.’
So why did I come back after all of my travelling years?
Well, as I said, Family is a huge traditional focus in the area, and no matter how hard as I might, I am pulled like a magnet, every time, back to Hull’s local region. It is because I have family here and the love I have for them is so great that it can be tested by distance, and remain intact. However, social media and a voice on the phone, once in a while, doesn’t do it for me. I want to be able to see them, when I want, when they choose. We don’t rely on each other, but we like to share in each other’s company, catch up, share tales of life and then carry on regardless as a local pop artist once sung.
I’ve returned to Hull, now an adult, maybe older, and had my family near Hull, I see my family regularly in Hull and I visit Hull Centre, if I must! And I observe minute changes.
I hold great respect for Hull and the travel industry. It is essential that Hull is appreciated for its people that have lived many years in hard times, those who make it and are able to peek their heads over the summit of smoke induced fog that permeates the minds of Hull’s local people tend to. . . dare I say it . . . move to the outskirts of Hull. However, they rarely (this might be a generalisation) leave their families behind. Those that do, always come back, because Hull, for what it is worth, it is a quiet place, a place where you can hide, a place where you can wash your life away with booze and the people locally truly think you’re cool because you can drink twelve pints and still stand up.
Hull, is absolutely stuffed full of creative talent, because it is in the places most bleak that the greatest of Creative minds find their potential and purpose.
I read an article the other month suggesting, Hull doesn’t like to follow rules and non-conforms. I beg to differ. Hull is an abandoned child, a place without guidance, without influence and without a voice. It is only in 2017 that voices are beginning to be heard. But, they are only the positive voices, were those voices bought in? said with a hint of irony, it’s my roots. Sorry!
I have nothing to gain (self-less return) in being a volunteer for Hull in 2017, besides the gut feeling that I am drawing people into a locality that isn’t quite ready for the change, yet. New buildings are only half built and the local people are trying to keep up, but as with change, it should ebb in order to flow, rather than ram down the localities throat what they already never knew.
I don’t live in Hull directly anymore, but when I visit my family who do, they don’t even talk of the Cultural events taking place, they only talk about working for a pittance, the weather and family. Such is a life. Maybe that is just our sad, nuts, wacky, miserable old way as Hullites. But, when it comes to family, that is all I want. Good health, their company and happiness.
I will travel to Dublin for Culture, I will travel to Prague, to Barcelona, to Italy: European countries that have dedicated a lifetime appreciating their heritage and sharing it with the world. Feel free to tell me where else I should travel for some Cultural and Artistic appreciation of human talent upon the planet. The world is abundant with places to go.
So, although I was buzzing whilst at the University between year 2009 to 2014, thinking wow, what will be in store for Hull in 2017. I recognise that the Culture of Hull I have been voluntarily advertising to the world since 1993 on my toddle lonesome . . .
I know there are others out there trying, too. We all can escape our coffin confines and learn to appreciate there is a whole wide world out there, waiting to be seen, even Hull.
The adventure for promoting Hull for me is a life time quest, not a one-year event. I want to see rolling annual programmes, I want to see more B&Bs listed, I want to see more Hotels that don’t offer rooms for an hour rent. I want to see more smiles on faces from the locals, more tapas than booze in the pubs. I want to be able to take my family around Hull and be proud of its Heritage which is taught as an educational package locally, alongside the wars and the mass media world. Future generations of Hullites will have their confines removed, they will learn the knowledge and Historical information to promote their birth place with whomever they meet.
I hope this is already happening and maybe I am out of the loop, I just don’t know about it yet.
Forgive me for going on so long, but I have finally come to understand why I am not participating in the Hull2017 hype, because I feel like it’s a Hot Air Balloon, only ignited for a year, and I want to see the five year plan, the ten year plan, the fifty year plan that grabs Hull by its roots and says, wake up damn you, see that life is passing you by, don’t let life nail you in a coffin, break the seal, and step out of your box, your comfort zone of nothingness and become part of the supply chain that encourages growth and profit and people and exchange and beautiful images, smiles on faces, a fulfilment in life that is not only for one year, but for the rest of your generation and the next generation, and the next generations of Hull.
For me, today: The Bee Lady is doing an amazing job for Hull2017
Who’d have thought my answer would be so long. Before I went to the University of Hull to do a Literature Degree (whilst parenting) I would have just replied.
“Can’t I just hate Hull?”
It is in the exploring of what we hate that we find some real solutions.
Hate is a strong word, and can easily be replaced with the word ‘frustration’, certainly not envy, just ‘frustration’. Rant of A Girl from Hull over.
Long live Hull!
Now, I best get back to my story telling, or is it telling of tales?