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Building a legacy

5 May

Here is the eastern end of Jameson Street with the canopy of the now empty BHS store that used to shelter those waiting for buses. Where once there was a steady stream of cars, buses and people, the very arterial blood of any city, there is now yet another bland, pedestrianised desert. 

When a shop stops selling stuff and the doors close and the “for sale” signs spring up (redevelopment opportunity, of course) this is when the cover up operation starts. In swoops the council or whoever and City of Culture posters festoon the empty windows and doors. It all looks so professional, they’ve obviously had a lot of experience in this. So the empty BHS store is no longer a salutary lesson in the failure of modern business but has somehow become a bright blue advertisement for Culture and that is some sort of legacy I suppose.

Now I’ve gone on about this mosaic thing before and how there was a petition to get it some protection from any future wrecker’s ball. Well it seems there yet another petition to get it Grade 2 listed. As you simply cannot have too many petitions I signed that as well; you may like to do so it’s here. The mural now has a Twitter identity (@BhsMuralHull)  and I read recently of a young person who had a tatoo based on the mosaic. Now that is truly a lasting legacy.

The Weekend in Black and White is here.

Nice mural, shame about the building

10 Nov

They say if you stare this mural for long enough (in my case over thirty years on and off) you can see ‘Hull’ spelled out by the masts and rigging of the boats. I wouldn’t worry if you don’t see it.
This is the now empty BHS store and I’ve shown it before in better times. I’m showing it now because there’s a bit of a storm in a teacup brewing over getting the mural some protection from removal or demolition and so on. The powers that be have said that the 1960’s work by Alan Boyson “does not reach the standard for listing compared to other examples”. There’s another mural inside, which I don’t remember ever seeing, and that too was not listed. This decision has not met with universal approval and a petition has been set up to get the Council to do something about it. (You can sign it here should you wish.) It’s not difficult to discern the dark arts being employed here. If this does get listed then that building will be damn difficult to demolish without a lot of expense and I think that building really should come down if only to subtract one ugly thing from the planet. So I signed the petition; to lose the mural would be like losing an old friend, but I’ll sign one to remove the building as well if anyone were to put one up. Go figure.

Stretching things

2 Nov

There’s really nothing new in this picture, the mural you’ve seen before, the bridge and the flood defence ditto; even the pigeon has probably popped up in a few postings. The site behind the mural which was going to be a twenty storey cigarette box or hotel has been sold to an unknown buyer, that is to say unknown to me. This is a panorama shot stitched together then squeezed in sideways and stretched in height just to give a strange view of a really flat scene. You don’t have to like it.

I’m feeling a little wrung out and stretched as well as this household is getting over a wretched weekend of vomiting and diarrhoea caused by some virus, bug or other microbeastie whose vile little existence is either proof of ongoing evolution and adaptation or God’s mysterious and divine plan. Sucks either way.

Corner House

4 May

Someone with time on their hands and a lot of paint has neatly decorated the Cornerhouse on the corner (geddit?) of Percy Street and Freetown Way. The lower half reminds me of the modern craze for adult colouring in books, I suppose it’s harmless fun.  Cornerhouse is a place for youngsters to get (free) advice on sex and relationships and so on. I don’t know where the oldies have to go for such things, I suppose we just have to make it up as we go along …

Big Lil

10 Mar
Lillian “Big Lil” Bilocca

The only memories that I have of Hull from my childhood back in the swinging sixties in the idyllic seaside town of Hartlepool is of dock strikes (seemingly every other week), trawlers being lost at sea and a large woman in a headscarf berating all and sundry up to and including the Prime Minister about safety for trawler men. That woman, whose trademark image of the headscarf and raincoat on the grainy black and white TV of the days was really unforgettable, was Lillian Bilocca, who, along with other equally formidable women from the Hessle Road fishing community, managed to get some modicum of safety on the fishing fleet. Trawlers had to have a radio operator, come to that, trawlers had to have a radio, quite a few didn’t. Why did it take a group of women to achieve these things while the men were seemingly invisible? Well that’s a story for someone else to tell.
So what’s all this mural about then I hear you ask? Well someone’s written a book, Headscarf Revolutionaries, about all these goings on and the film rights for the book have been sold so watch out for a Hollywood blockbuster. Then the BBC program, the One Show, got involved and commissioned two fellows from Belfast (where murals like this are two a penny) to come over and paint, well, what you see. It was unveiled, if that’s the word, over last weekend. And I have to say I’m impressed and I don’t impress easy.

Long Walk to Freedom

14 Jul
It’s been a while since I had walked down the lower end of High Street which I have shown before to have an empty plot awaiting the construction of an umpteen storey hotel. The site had a dismal security fence with the usual warnings for those who would misbehave. So it was something of a pleasant surprise to come across this colourful mural to Nelson Mandela which apparently went up last September. Don’t know how I’ve missed this ’til now. 

Finally credit where credit is due. This was commissioned by Full Flava Arts along with Roots and Wings and Freedom Festival Ltd and it’s the work of twelve graffiti artists. You can view the creation of the mural and get a much fuller view than I present here by going to this page.

Hull ♡ attack

23 Jun

Someone has clearly entered into the full spirit of the City of Culture thing with a colourful mini-mural on Posterngate. As the whole shebang doesn’t start for another year and half this may need a bit of touching up before then.