I have perhaps, being quite pessimistic about Hull’s title of UK City of Culture 2017, but only because I never envisioned it being anything that worthwhile. The run up has been mismanaged, and the city has been thrown into chaos, but now we’re here, we’re in 2017 and we have the title.
Whilst I missed the first event “In With A Bang”, I have managed to see the light and media show that runs throughout the city, twice in one night. I went to “Made In Hull” with my sister and her two children, and then again with my friend who isn’t Hull born and bred.
“Made In Hull” is basically a hell of a lot of history and interesting facts about the city that few people know. Forget that newspaper already slamming the city for having drunk people in it – hello, it was New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day that this all started – and let’s focus on why Hull is actually cultural for a second.
We have always been a massive port. Whilst the fishing industry died down, we have always provided ferry crossings to mainland Europe, and you can get across to the Netherlands for £66 for two of you at this time of year. We, as a city, felt loss when our trawlers were lost at sea, when fathers and sons never returned, especially in 1968. We are the birthplace of many famous people including the first female solo pilot to travel from the UK to Australia, Amy Johnson, actress Maureen Lipman, musician Mick Ronson, Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell, and the band The Housemartins.
Of course, we have to set ourselves apart from the rest of the country and we have white telephone boxes instead of red, we boast the world’s smallest window on Land of Green Ginger, we have the world’s only Submarium, and much more that I have covered before.
Hull has forever been a joke to the rest of England, and it’s sad. We have been stuck behind the times, because during World War II, we were the second heaviest hit city by the bombs, only beaten by the capital London. 95% of Hull’s homes were damaged, most of the city centre levelled, yet we struggled to claw back anything we had, because we were too far away. Whole art collections and artefacts were lost, lives taken, and history wiped out. This is part of the “Made In Hull” projections too, as is the trawler losses of 1968, and even though I wasn’t around then, the displays were heartbreaking.
The thing is, we can be the joke, we can take it, because at the end of the day, we won City of Culture. We have taken in refugees, and immigrants, we have diversified our city, we have a fairly visible gay community, we support one another, we are friendly, we are united, and we are here. Imagine the M62 as a Yellow Brick Road, leading you to this colourful city for one year, as we burst out of the shadows. That is Hull this year. Everything is supersized, everything is for everyone’s pleasure. So don’t be shy, come along, because we have such wonderful sights to show you…