Made in Hull, the first week (Part two)

After seeing the light show and the fireworks on the opening night, we set off to see some of the other installations but most were too crowded and to be honest, we skimmed over them and we were a bit too tired to do them justice. We’d seen the main events and so decided to head home and visit again one evening during the week to seek out the other things and see them properly.

On the Thursday evening, we hopped on the bus into town and were absolutely gobsmacked at the crowds.  The official estimate is that there were 100,000 visitors to the light show that night alone and I think most of them were there at the same time as us!  It was heaving with bodies and we couldn’t actually get onto the square so watched the show from down the side of the Maritime Museum.  We were able to view it on City Hall that time, rather than the Ferens as we had the first time.  It was interesting to see it on a different ‘screen’ and both agreed that Ferens, being mostly flat fronted was a better screen but some of the parts of the film looked better projected on City Hall.  The Hull Fair clip in particular and the blitz scene with windows smashing and buildings crumbling looked so realistic, as though the windows of the City Hall really were shattering.

From there we made our way across to Whitefriargate to see several installations set up in the windows of vacant shops.  Some better than others, a little summary of them all below.

Amuse Agents.  This is a mock up of a newsagent with Small Ad notices in the window.  Absolutely hilarious and proved so popular that it is the only one of the installations to be given a stay of execution after the week and is actually still there now in mid-April.

Pauline’s Gift Shop Emporium.  A tribute to a second hand shop in Hull’s Princes Avenue which became a bit of a local legend as did it’s owner, Pauline Gift.  Customers came from far and wide and this installation was a mock up of the shop, featuring genuinely interesting vintage items along with the accumulated junk that is always to be found in these kinds of shops.  A sound track of people’s memories of Pauline, which were actually quite touching played along in the background.

Reflections. A bit odd this, just a film which filled a whole shop window of various people sitting on a bench down Whitefriargate.  Not quite sure what it was all about.

We’re all going on a summer holiday. In recognition of the caravan industry which is a very large employer in the Hull region.  In one side of the shop window, a set up of the inside of a caravan with two women playing board games whilst in the other window a film played showing a production line in a caravan manufacturing company.

The Heart of Rugby.  In case you don’t know, Hull has two rugby league clubs.  Hull Kingston Rovers, the Robins, in the East and Hull FC, the Airlie Birds, in the West.  This display in a double fronted shop showed films and memories of both clubs, one in either window with kit and fan memorabilia displayed around the screens.  I’m originally from the East of the city so a Robin in case you wondered!

On then to other areas. Projected onto the side of the C4Di building near Humber Street we had photographer Quentin Budworth’s Hullywood Icons where ordinary (or slightly bonkers depending on your viewpoint) people of Hull recreated iconic scenes from Hollywood movies but with Hull as their setting.  Enormous fun, I followed this on the site blog as the photographs were being taken and only wished I could have thought of a scene to do myself.

At the High Street Underpass we had something called Embers, which the blurb told us was a multi screen and sound installation recreating self expression in the the protective womb of the club space.  In reality it was a screen showing dancers at a rave with a soundtrack that didn’t seem to go with it.  Not impressed I’m afraid.

On Scale Lane, projected onto a gable wall was (in) Dignity of Labour.  It wasn’t to my taste if I’m honest, it showed scenes of people working in boring manual labour, along with a depiction of young people constantly building blocks one on top of the other and then them all collapsing to be built up again.  The cleverest part of this was that it was in the full view of the offices of Oriel House which is where anyone who has ever had to claim benefits in Hull knows is the place where they make the decisions on how much or if you get any money this week!

Last but certainly not least, down at our iconic aquarium The Deep, where our two rivers meet, a projection on the side of the building called Arrivals and Departures told the story of the ebb and flow of people, animals and cargo from distant shores through our City over the years. We are “A place built on working hands washed here by the sea”.  See it here. Arrivals and Departures

Made in Hull, the first week. (Part One)

Talk about In With A Bang!!  Wow. We certainly started it off in style with a fantastic light show of Hull’s historic moments and events over the past 70 years or so.

On Sunday 1st January, New Years Day, Queen Victoria Square, Hull was the setting for a spectacular film and sound extravaganza shown across the facades of the beautiful buildings surrounding it.  The former town docks offices, now the Maritime Museum, The City Hall and Feren’s Art Gallery all became screens for the film to play out on a continuous loop every evening from 4pm to 9pm.  Images and sounds of events such as Amy Johnson’s solo flight to Australia in her gypsy moth, Jason, the magic of Hull Fair, the blitz of WW2 and a very moving depiction of the lives lost from our trawlers.  I felt so proud standing there watching not only the show but the faces of the people around me, looks of wonder and awe on their faces and tears in their eyes.  As we finished watching it that first night, I remarked that although it was so busy, I expected that a lot of the spectators were also in town for the firework display which was to be later, down at the pier and I hoped it wouldn’t be empty for the rest of the week. How embarrassing would it be to have a light and sound show playing out each night to an empty Victoria Square?  How wrong could I have been and how proud and happy did it make me to be so.  The crowds swelled in number as the week went on and people were going back over and over again.  Civic pride in bucketloads and this is the reason for it.

Made in Hull Light Show

I mentioned fireworks earlier.  Well, this was a ticketed event due to safety reasons and crowd control, although the tickets were free.  Unfortunately, the morning they were released online, the City of Culture website became overloaded and just couldn’t handle the volume of traffic.  We were not lucky enough to get tickets at that time but luckily for us, Patrick’s sister Tina had two going spare and so offered them to us.  I nearly snapped off her hand!  So after the light show, we headed off to meet Tina and Andrew to collect our tickets and walk down to the pier together ready for the firework display which was to commence at the symbolic time of 20:17.  In the event, it was a few minutes late starting but I think you’ll agree, it was worth the wait.

In with a BANG!

There were several other fantastic art installations around the city centre for that first week.  I’ll tell you all about them in the next post.

Hull’s Year in the Spotlight.

When in 2013 the announcement was made that Hull had won it’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2017 I’ll admit it here, I cried.  I’ve championed Hull, my home city, all my life. Argued against not only strangers who have never set foot here but sometime family and friends, that it’s not a dump or somewhere where there is nothing to do or see but that if you take the time to look for it, has lots of things going on.  It’s long been a place with culture aplenty so that we were to be given the funds and the means to show the world was a cause for celebration for me and many others.  Not least all those involved in putting together this fabulous film as part of the bid.

This blog is just my own personal experiences during this special year, recorded for my own memories.  If it interests anyone else along the way then I’m pleased to be of service. I am to be a City of Culture Volunteer so expect to see some posts relating to that as well as my adventures as a tourist in my own home.

Just one more film link that I want to have a record of for my memories then on to the blogging.  The City Speaks – poem by Shane Rhodes