This is my first draft, don’t have time to make it look pretty at the moment and there will be some gramatical and spelling errors for now
A ‘Real’ Guide to Hull
I decided to write this article after seeing so many innaccurate PR puff pieces about Hull recently that totally seemed to miss the best bits of our City and Region and some just being totally misleading to any tourists who decided to visit on the back of them. Add to this an article on the Vice website which was pretty accurate but the writer seemed to have gone out of his way to find the worst bits to write about, so…..here is my 'Real’ guide rather than a Rough Guide.
I will point out that I am a massive live music fan and run a venue so this article will be heavily weighted towards what I know and like, I would love other people to take up the baton and write their own 'Real’ guides focussing on what they love about Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire.
What to do in Hull….
The Vice writer turned up on a wet Wednesday night and seemed to find next to no entertainment, food or people, well here is a run down on what I know/like to do during the week.
Monday - yep Mondays are pretty boring, grab some food maybe but make sure its early as most decent restaurants shut/stop serving by 9pm then head down to Hull’s iconic live music venue The Adelphi for the longest running Open Mic night in the city. Sometimes its busy, sometimes its quiet, sometimes you see some brilliant acts, others its pretty average but its there every Monday. Other alternatives are checking out the other venues in the city who will have one off gigs/events some Mondays - Kardomah, Fruit, Union Mash Up, Pave, O'Rileys as a starting point.
Tuesday - its got to be The Sesh, Hull’s longest running original music night now at the excellent Polar Bear pub which is run by the same guys who have Welly Club & Fruit venue. Usually three or four acts with the majority from Hull playing their own songs, running for over ten years you are more than likely to hear something very good from acoustic acts to indie bands, dance music to metal. The night covers all genres nowadays and is so popular it even has spawned its own massively popular festival in The Humber Street Sesh in early August every year. Other venues do put stuff on on Tuesdays so there are alternatives including live jaz at Pave just around the corner from The Polar Bear, an acoustic night at the St Johns pub but touring bands and local promoters also regularly appear on a Tuesday elsewhere.
Wednesday - its time to hit Hull’s Old Town or a trip up to Cottingham possibly. In the Old town you will find plenty of great pubs serving real ale in very unique settings plus Jaz Bar has a variety of live music usually hosted by Off The Road promoters (who help run the very impressive Springboard festival at the end of May in Cottingham) also there is Folk'n'Beer at the Sailmakers pub about five minutes walk away from Jaz Bar which is a more traditional unplugged/singaround style with everyone welcome from spoken word to blues to folk and more. Also worth checking out is The Black Boy pub in the old town on a Wednesday afternoon as they have a folk afternoon and plenty of quality real ales and ciders. Cottingham on the edge of Hull has a vibrant live music scene and on a Wednesday you will find a very popular acoustic night at The Blue Bell as well as a fair few decent pubs from the recently refurbished Duke and the massive Hallgate Tavern (one for sports/football fans)
Thursday - its time to get a bit louder with several warm up nights for the legendary Thursday night at Welly Club, O'Rileys has live music from 7pm, usually free entry and just a couple of minutes walk away from the club. The Polar Bear has DIG every week with Matty Burr from the Black Delta Movement DJing and Haworth Arms on Cottingham Road is a popular student meeting point before headling down Beverley Road to Welly. Princes Avenue and Newland Avenue are certainly worth a look for food before checking out the above events/other bars.
Friday - well Friday is an odd one, as a young drinker in the 80’s Thurs-Sun all used to be busy but nowadays Fridays can be pretty quite/dull. At O'Rileys we tend to have rock or metal gigs or boxing…odd mix I know but amature and white collar boxing are massively popular in Hull and it will be an utter crime if the City Of Culture in 2017 does not celebrate this as well but thats a topic for another article….back to a Friday, nearly all the venues in Hull will have something on so worth a bit of digging around on the internet and alot of pubs like The Highway, Salthouse Tavern, Cross Keys & more will have cover acts appearing. Polar Bear has a mix of DJs and live music and is just around the corner from Princess & Newland Avenue.
Saturday - Hull’s only consistantly busy night nowadays, saying that over the last year I have seen some very quiet Saturdays in the City Centre as a lot of people head to Princes Avenue or Newland Avenue before clubbing/late night bars. We tend to have big tribute bands or boxing at O'Rileys but its usually a busy night for venues across Hull with DJs/club nights all over the place at Welly, Function, Pozition, Fruit and others. Saturday is the only night that Spiders, Hull’s only alternative club, opens with cheap drinks and a mixture of goths, metal heads, students, old hippies and more. Very laid back attitudes and usually very friendly, if I end up there I spend most of my time in the smoking area socialising with friends and musicians and I don’t smoke……
Sunday - hangover day for a lot of people but fairly regular gigs all over, acoustic open mic during the afternoon at Sailmakers in the Old Town and/or folk singaround at Minerva on the Pier which has excellent food and ale, Ella Street Social on Newland Avenue also has a popular open mic on the evening. Sometimes its Ice Hockey time at the Ice Arena if they have not played on the Saturday night at home, Hull Pirates are a new team for the city this year and very much finding their feet in the English Premier League (second tier of UK ice hockey)
So there we go, a busy week if you want it in Hull, I WILL have missed lots of stuff, hardly touched on sport and food and not even mentioned art, theatre, spoken word, comedy or any of the other great stuff that goes on in Hull at a grassroots level so please someone else write about those :)
I'm from Hull, The Northern Thing Polarises People
Recently I’ve been sending my music out to a number of UK radio stations in search of air play, In particular for my band Vinnie & The Stars single “I’m not from America… I’m from Hull” One reaction from a radio station producer was…
“Honesty being the best policy - we don’t like it very much, I’m afraid. Also, the Northern thing polarises people I think.”
I find this comment quite disturbing. Then it dawned on me that a mass of my favorite bands and songwriters from all over the world have wrote songs about our capital city London, which have been filling radio stations airwaves for years. Immediately I think of “London Calling” by The Clash, Then I think of a favorite songwriter of mine Jamie T who puts endless amounts of London references from street names to tube stations in his songs. Then a few more artists who have sung about London spring to mind, and they just keep on coming… The Streets, The Kinks, Billy Bragg, Ed Sheeran, Warren Zevon, Ian Dury, Pet Shop Boys, T-Rex, Elvis Costello, The Jam, Madness, Lilly Allen, Adele, and the list could go on and on.
So why is it that we can reel song after song off about the capital city that can be deemed suitable for radio and not bring attention to a north south divide in music and people. But a radio show producer can claim that northern content in a song can polarize people.
I think of one of my favorite albums of all time ever “London 0 Hull 4” by The Housemartins they must have had reason to come out with such a title to knock the capital city and make a stand for northern music. The Housemartins claimed to be the 4th best band from Hull and the title is actually a reference to their claim there are 0 good bands from London and 4 from Hull. Did this album create the bitterness towards northern music and divide the north from the south, It was released in the middle of Thatchers reign where a great divide was also taking place in industry.
Then I think of The Beatles, They predated The Housemartins and came from the north aswel. Did their songs ever polarize people? What about “Only A Northern Song” by The Beatles? The more I think about it, I come to the conclusion that, although there are a lot more songs about London, then there are about the whole north of England, broadcast on radio, this comment about my song is simply one comment off one human being. And it just proves that even in the music industry today their still must be some kind of north south divide remaining.
But at the end of the day “I’M NOT FROM LONDON… I’M FROM HULL” so I’ll also take influence from my southern musical influences choice to sing about where they are from in their southern accents, and make it my choice to sing about where I’m from in my northern accent.
Listen to Vinnie & The Stars single “I’m not from America… I’m from Hull” and watch the music video on the website www.vinnieandthestars.com
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