Breaking from tradition, I’m posting something akin to a regular blog post as opposed to my speculative anect-posts. Just because it means something… to me.
It took me quite by surprise, this new-found affinity to Hull. I mean, I’ve worked at the University of Hull for almost seven years now, and not once have I experience a tear-in-the-corner-of-my-eye moment like I did today. Not even when Hull recently won its UK City of Culture 2017 bid (although, that was mighty fine, was it not!).
A colleague emailed me a scanned newspaper clipping written by Hull alumna (journalist, broadcaster and writer), Rosie Millard, entitled “Why I adore unloved Hull”. I needed a break from what I was working on and decided to squint-read it. What I didn’t expect as I pored through the blurry-to-my-eyes narrative was to actually get through the whole thing. Equally surprising was the fact that I felt quite emotional at the end of it.
I’ve noticed this particular phenomenon quite recently, since moving to ‘this side’ of the bridge a month ago (the bridge being the Humber). It’s almost as if I finally experienced the (quoting a successful Australian tourism campaign line) ‘you’ll never ever know if you never ever go’ scenario. I had to get here and be part of here to fully appreciate what Hull has to offer.
Coming over the bridge from North Lincolnshire (not South Humberside, mind) every day just didn’t cut it. So from humble beginnings trying to learn to pronounce the ‘ull accent (I drive a VW Pearler!) as an Aussie, to the final leap of faith, I have at long last come full circle and can call myself a Hullite/Hullian.
There are plenty of reasons why Hull deserves the honour of UK City of Culture 2017 (I write about this stuff all day long – Google it if you need justifying examples*), and, yes, it will do the city a world of good from the tourism, investment and reputation side of things, as Rosie rightly points out. But more importantly, it will remind the people of what they have here… what they’ve always had here but simply forgot.
A hidden gem no more.
And it will also help in reversing Hull’s supposedly bleak repute among outsiders (*). Again, as a former outsider myself, I remind you that ‘you’ll never ever know if you never ever go’.
Philip Larkin (famed poet and past University of Hull librarian) said that Hull is “a city that is in the world, yet sufficiently on the edge of it to have a different resonance”. I totally get that now.
Go on, take the plunge and see what we have to offer (yes, before 2017).
Get inspired in Hull… this city belongs to everyone!