So we’re one month in to Hull’s year as the UK City of Culture – it’s not been bad has it? Let’s take a look back on what’s been an explosive, creative and inclusive start to Hull’s time in the spotlight.
It all started with a bang – literally. Lots of them. Kicking off at 20:17 on New Year’s Day, a fireworks display set to a soundtrack of Hull-based musicians such as The Housemartins wowed a packed crowd of Hull folk and city visitors at the Hull Marina. Our lovely next-door neighbours, Octovision Media, captured the event from above, supplying incredible drone footage to major news outlets such as BBC Look North. Check it out below.
Our MD Anita was interviewed live from the event by Burnsy for Radio Humberside. When asked if she was enjoying it all, Anita’s 7 year old daughter froze, lost for words. Maybe the event really had left her speechless.
Made in Hull came next. Across one week, a weird and wonderful collection of cultural installations was put in place across 8 city centre spots, allowing anyone and everyone to wander from one attraction to the next, free of charge and at their own pace. A favourite of ours was the Hull Amuse Agents on Whitefriargate, a shop front temporarily filled with 150 hilarious fake advertisements – anyone need someone to break their shoes in for them?
Other installations took place right on our doorstep at places like the Deep and Humber Street. Being based in the C4DI, we’ve seen Humber Street transformed in front of our eyes over the past six months or so. When walking down the street one evening during the event, it was great to overhear so many people saying things like ‘ooh – I didn’t realise all this was down here’.
The guys at Nibble felt the same. Located just outside the C4DI, the café extended its opening hours throughout the week to serve the people of Hull their very own Made in Hull menu – take a look below.
Nibble’s chef, Louis, talked me through the story behind the unique menu. ‘Mr Science’ was the man who first brought chip spice to Hull, and the man who Louis first worked for. The ‘Marrakesh’ is Louis’ favourite restaurant in Hull, whilst the ‘Pattie Butty Deluxe’ was Nibble’s take on the famous Hull pattie. Next, ‘The Land of Green Ginger Burger’ was named after the famous Hull street of the same name, and of course all the ingredients were green. ‘Toad in t’ole’ was a homage to Hull having the largest Aunt Bessie factory, whilst the ‘Ull Madame Rarebit’ was made with beer straight from the Yorkshire Brewing Company based on Humber street itself. ‘Intrinsically Hull’ he called it.
The star of the Made in Hull show for many, however (the cultural event, not the menu – stop thinking about food), had to be the Queen Victoria Square light projection. Over 10 minutes, a genuinely moving depiction of Hull’s history was cast onto the front of the City Hall, the Maritime Museum and Ferens Art Gallery, with sound surrounding you as you stood in the middle of it all. It’s not often you’ll get to see Dean Windass’s famous play-off final volley projected onto city-centre architecture – in fact, you probably won’t ever see it happen again… unless he comes out of retirement of course.
After the final night of Made in Hull came to a close, the city awoke the next day to find a 75m wind-turbine blade sitting pretty in its previously wind-turbine-blade-free centre. The blade has confused as many people as its excited – when we posted our own photoshopped version with a splash of colour on social media, we saw huge engagement, with many people saying they liked the added colour. Regardless of what you think, the public debate sparked by the blade has been overwhelmingly positive.
And that’s the best thing about Hull’s time as the UK City of Culture so far – it’s getting the people of Hull genuinely engaged and excited. The weekly ‘Challenge Hull’s are a great example of this, with our favourite so far being week 3 – to create an inspiring message. As people left anonymous positive messages in random public places throughout the city, our Head of Creative went ahead and wrote a blog that received a great reaction – an open letter to anyone having a hard time.
There was also the long-awaited re-opening of the newly-refurbished Ferens Art Gallery. Much of the focus has initially been on Christ between Saints Paul and Peter, a 14th century panel painting by Pietro Lorenzetti. At a press opening, our MD Anita was photographed in front of the piece with old pal and Look North presenter Peter Levy – before being promptly told off. It was a no-photograph zone. Weeks later, she’s still on the run. (Disclaimer – police have not been involved).
All this and its only January. It’s been extremely warming to see the city centre and local businesses so busy, and we’re excited and proud to be in the middle of it all. Here’s to the second month ey?