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O where do we go now but nowhere

4 Jan

The final show, as it were, of the Year of Culture was a series of installations scattered about the town each consisting of several robotic arms that were supposed to move around with lights and sound (I believe the term ‘music’ may have been used, but it was basically just eerie noise). This junk was titled “Where Do We Go From Here?” and is described as a “thrilling mix of art and technology” … the blurb continues “…At a time of political uncertainty at home and abroad, it also asks important questions: What kind of place do we want to live in? What role should culture play? Where do we go from here?” There’s more (isn’t there always?) “Where Do We Go From Here? , is a deliberate provocation designed to get individuals reflecting upon their city’s future. It invites everyone to take part in a timely conversation about art, culture and society.” Yada, yada, yada …

I came upon this very unmoving piece  as they were obviously fixing some kind of fault, so it wasn’t working. However later I did cross paths with a different installation that was in full flow; the arms had lights attached and waved about a bit and there was sound to go with. (Gosh, how very sixites I thought, when robots were just coming into the work place and were seen as menacing … ) An enthusiastic Hull person (there are some, well, at least one) grabbed me by the arm and exclaimed how brilliant and fantastic it all was… I’m afraid I used language that the clergy do not know.

So the Y of C ended not with fireworks, nor yet with a whimper; it just fizzled out possibly from exhaustion or, more likely, boredom… (Officially there was no celebration because (& I paraphrase) “It’s not over yet, there’s still more to come and, and ,and …” yeah, yeah, we paid already) The gang of imps, pimps, banjo players and blow-ins from the world of Culture Incorporated responsible for this fest of dreck were all dutifully gonged by Queenie over the New Year and have not been heard of since… And while Hull is still City of Culture for another three years attention will now pass to poor old Coventry. Oh yes! the birth place of Phillip Larkin (damn Hull did him first, still…)… and Lady Godiva and, and, and … aint culcha fun?

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Stop traveller whoever thou art …

28 Sep

… and look upon him now dead who when alive it were better for thee to imitate Thomas Whincop an unparalleled example of divers sorts of science sound judgement probity of life indefatigable industry charity humanity and piety. A choice servant of God a most dearly beloved divine and one who worthily merited the love and remembrance of all good men who after he had served the most high above the space of seventy four years diligently executing the offices of an honest man a prudent citizen and a vigilant pastor at last full of years and honour he resigned his soul to God waiting for the resurrection of the body who though now dead yet liveth. All that remains. Go reader! as God’s glory is now his reward so his example thine. 
That’s what the little plaque says, only it says it in Latin 1. There’s more in English about his days at Cambridge, his wives, his sons and their wives and his daughters and their husbands (and so on ad infinitum) but that only spoils the effect of this fine encomium.
This is the memorial to Rev. Thomas Whincop, a former master of the Hull Charter House, in Holy Trinity church. Old Whincop died in 1624 and did nothing that need concern us in these glorious days. I post this because I liked the little skulls and also it bears a more than passing resemblance to Shakespeare’s memorial in Stratford which dates from around the same time.

1 Quisquis es viator siste atque hunc intuere mortuum quem vivum satius tibi initari erit scientioc multiplicis profundi judicii vitae probitatis industriae indefessoe charitatis comitatis pietatis exemplar singulare Thomam Whincop eximium Dei servum charissimum theologum omnium bonorum memoria et amore dignum Qui opto maxo plusquam 74 annos servivit integerrimi viri sapientisfimi civis vigilantissimi pastoris officii fatagens annorum tandem samoe gratoe satur deo animum reddidit corporisque resurrettionem procstolatur atque etiamnum mortuus vivit Tantum est vade lettor sua mercesest creatoris gloria paradegma tuum.

BBC Proms at the stage in the dock

28 Jul
I mentioned that last Saturday that along with the Hull Folk Festival Hull was also host to the BBC Proms held at the little stage in the old dry dock. Those without tickets could listen from the footbridges at each end or turn on the radio or download it from the wonderful web.

Classical music may not be to everyone’s taste and I captured the leader of Hull City Council making a early getaway; perhaps Morris dancing was more his thing. I’m sure he’d cut a fine figure dancing a jig in a shirt and baldrics with knee-length breeches and bell pads or more likely just playing the fool.

Suffer the little children

4 Jul

So now there are eight reflection pools (at great expense)  in the space outside Holy Trinity Church now known as Hull Minster (which has more resonance?). Anyhow these are supposed to give people a “chance to reflect on their busy lives and their place in God’s world”. We could reflect that this space was used as a weekly market place but Hull Council decided against such a vernacular use and it has stood empty for twenty or more years. Yeah, well whatever: the people of Hull are now left with eight square puddles that refill every now and then and not surprisingly those who like that kind of thing like that kind of thing.

… and still we wait

2 May

The promised fountains in Queen Victoria Square have yet to materialise. We are told by a Councillor that “The technology used to operate these features has not been used anywhere else,” and “So it that sense they’re unique. Issues around that technology are being addressed.”. Now as far as I know fountains have been around for thousands of years; how difficult can it be? You have water, you squirt it through a hole, repeat process until bored… These however are fancy fountains with bells and whistles, well coloured lights anyway as you can see in this article from a well known local newspaper. If I were a gambling man I’d put a small wager on these things working on and off for a season or two then being quietly forgotten and paved over.

…and also outside the Holy Trinity Coffee Bar the so-called mystical mirror pools are also still not in place (surprise, surprise) and guess what the reason is? “I can safely say nothing like this has ever been seen before in this country, if not Europe. I prefer to call them glazed paving. They are going to be mystical, magical and I hope quite special….” says the guy who sold these puppies to Hull City Council and “They are definitely the first of their kind in the UK and they’re here in Hull.” Yeah right, puddles with knobs on, can’t wait.

The Flensing

2 Feb

Here lies the cold carcass of Holy Trinity Square scraped clean of history, of character, of any interest whatsoever. It’s as if an old  familiar face with  laugh lines and creases has been botoxed to oblivion so there is no possibility of a smile. Deathly dull doesn’t begin to describe it. Two and a bit years ago I said this would be “a tacky, crass and short sighted act of vandalism”; I’ve not had reason to change my mind.  A sign on the church door says the place is closed while it is being transformed into a coffee bar and in the Summer there’ll be small reflection pools (reflecting the sheer emptiness of the place I suppose). I can’t wait.
There’s seating and then there’s these things as well.

Tangled up in blue

25 Dec

Over in Trinity Square the finishing touches to this year’s marathon makeover were being put in place the other day. I noticed this figure wrapped in blue plastic. It’s the reinstated statue of Andrew Marvell. This seems to be a more modest presentation as previously he was atop four or five steps and surrounded by four concrete balls. Naturally those steps were the place for alkies and druggies to while the day away. Where will they go now, those poor souls?

And jumping over to the other side of town to the junction of King Edward Street and Jameson Street this was the scene late on Wednesday still with a rush to complete by Christmas Eve. Still with the old orange barriers and still a fair few paving blocks to be laid. I haven’t been back since then but the local paper reports that Jameson Street, off to the left, is now clear of barriers though the response from readers seems somewhat mixed.

And as ever a job is not done until it has been seen to be done by at least five other workers …

If you’ve reached this far it only remains for me to wish you all a “Happy Whatever It Is You May Be Celebrating” this exceedingly mild December 25 …