If you missed last week’s blog, I wrote about my personal goals to inject some culture into my life as my city celebrates finally getting to flaunt its City of Culture status. The first week saw over 342,000 visitors come to check out Hull’s opening exhibition, Made in Hull. I think I probably chose the coldest night in living memory to stand outside in the city centre. But I’m glad I did.
The exhibition projected ‘Made in Hull’, a short film on the history of the city onto three of the main buildings, taking us on a journey from pre-blitz to today’s celebrations. Similarly, another film was projected onto the side of The Deep, celebrating Hull’s diverse population, and giving the most unsubtle of kicks to the Brexit voters of the city. We ARE cultural, dammit. Visually, it worked really well on the building and the end of the fruit market provided a really cool viewing spot over the water.
My verdict: it was a really great start for the City of Culture team – safe, appealing to the majority (not my mum, of course, who will say most things cultural are just a bit silly), and did what most of the city would want it to do – tell others what we’re about. It was just the beginning, and the message it conveyed arguably needed to be said in some way, but for me it had too much of a focus on the past. Those looking for a cultural taste of Hull probably didn’t have a clue what the footage of Hull Fair was about, and a bigger focus on the individuals (the famous and the locally famous) that have come from Hull might have been better. Some recognition of those that have been pumping art into the city for years and the work they have achieved – the grassroots poetry collectives, not to mention Philip Larkin, could have enjoyed a share of the attention. But in general it got the city buzzing and it got the national media’s attention, so job done.
As for my own culture kicks, I’ve been reading a book called The Reader’s of Broken Wheel Recommend. If you’re thinking of reading it too, don’t. I’m debating whether or not to stick it out so I don’t give up on the first book of 2017, or whether life’s too short… you know the rest. Here’s to another week, a different book and more culture to come.
Next week: Blade, and 1001 songs