When you catch a train to hull, something happens that sums up the experience of coming here. The rail stops. It doesn't run through the city like the tracks of so many other towns. It simply comes to an abrupt halt as if to say (in a Vincent Price style voice) "You're here now. WE'VE GOT YOU NOW. HA HA HA HA HA!".
You step off the train into what is the surely the most paltry and filthy railway station in England (even worse than Sheffield) and you wonder what the hell you've let yourself in for.
And that's just people who are visiting. In the case of people such as myself who have spent all of their lives here it is almost like having a disfiguring birthmark or something. Apologies to the all the brave people who, in response to the Crap Towns business, have written angry letters to the Hull Daily Mail and indeed to this website arguing our towns case, but I am sorry. In the opinion of someone who has spent 22 years living here, Hull is a dreadful place in which to live.
As this piece progresses you may attempt to read between the lines and search for some sort of grudging, hidden affinity for my hell-hole of a hometown. Give up. There isn't one.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, allow me to explain the most obvious problem we have here. Hull is a docks town in which all the docks have closed. It also once had dozens of shipyards of which I think about 3 are still operational.
Therefore immediately it is as if Hull's very purpose of existing is no longer there. Perhaps it is for this reason that you are told at school, "Thou shalt work at Reckitts or British Aerospace. Don't get ambitious, you're from Hull."
It's at that age, 14, 15, when you need someone who comes from your home town to be your role model, who has walked the same streets has you and you can identify with. Well, let's see… famous people who come from Hull… William Wilberforce: no-one cares, that was a very, very long time ago. Amy Johnson: see Wilberforce.
Mick Ronson: yes, fair enough, co-writer of some of the most enduring songs in the history of popular music and guitarist to the most influential British musician ever (David Bowie for the 98.5% of culturally redundant Hullites who don't know). Mick Ronson died in 1992, so perhaps Hull would commemorate this exceptionally gifted man with perhaps a monument of some sort.
Woe is Me - I Live in Hull continued By Allen Miles
Admittedly something on the level of John Lennon's Strawberry Fields Park would perhaps be a bit extreme, but maybe something like a bronze statue such as Leeds have done for Billy Bremner, or on the other hand some sort of music centre or at least one of Hull's bottom-of-the-academic-League schools could name their music room after him.
No, what we have, and you probably have never noticed this, is a battered, boarded up portakabin in Queen's Gardens farcically dubbed "The Mick Ronson Memorial Centre." It's an utter fiasco.
Continuing on, Joe Longthorne is a desperately poor singer who appeals to 60 year old women who tramp the streets of North Hull in perpetual fear of being mugged, Maureen Lipman is an actress who at her peak was constantly ridiculed on topical comedies such as Have I Got News For You and Drop The Dead Donkey, John Prescott is a man who, despite having a certain grit and character about him, is constantly humiliating himself on TV with unintelligible speeches and of course, the egg incident. And finally, Paul Heaton of The Beautiful South, a fine pop band whose wry and wonderfully cynical songs do tend to reflect a certain intellect that can only be found when you live in a place like Hull. But while Heaton certainly lives in Hull, he actually comes from Sheffield.
We're told that Hull is a great student town. This is true, mainly because everything is so cheap. However what they don't tell the students who come to Hull is that 90% of the people in Hull have an irrational hatred of students and will voice their profound opinion at any bus-stop, branch of Turnbull's, chip-shop or 24hr garage that they happen to be scraping there knuckles outside.
They shouldn't feel so persecuted, it happens to everyone who is black, asian, gay, overweight, dressed in anything but a grubby tracksuit, hasn't got a crewcut, won't go into a shop to buy a 13 year-old who has to prove how manly he is by attempting to grow a moustache some fags… the list goes on. Basically, you will be publicly abused in this city at least once a month by some sub-human high-school drop-outs who have no desire to do anything except make other people's lives miserable.
Another down side of the fact that a lot of students come here is the rise of the laughable coffee-bar culture in Hull. I simply don't know what these people are thinking. Quite simply, Hull is not a trendy, cosmopolitan town like Leeds or Manchester, so why the hell do these people think that a pastille decorated, neon-lit yuppie-station is going to fare better than a traditional pub or café? It's utter lunacy.
Instead you just have people coming in and causing bother because they have to drink beer from a bottle and are offered a pastrami ciabatta for £3.50 instead of a bacon butty for a quid.
The name Hull is another hindrance. One letter away from Hell, one letter away from Dull and perhaps more tellingly, a mere 79 letters away from Miserable Vandalised Dump Which Is The Most Lowest Example Of Civilisation in Western Europe. Hull is only the river runs through this city, so why the hell have we named ourselves after it? Newcastle is not called Tyne, neither has Stoke been dubbed Trent.
The Ouse runs through Grimsby! It's ridiculous. Why have we not elected to be named Kingston instead? Do we not all remember the (admittedly hilarious) moment in Black Adder 4 when Edmund came out with the line "He went to one of the great universities I expect, Oxford, Cambridge… Hull" In actual fact Hull is something like the 11th best university in the U.K. but it got a laugh because Hull is simply such an ugly word.
We are constantly told by our council that we are striving to be a "Top Ten City", yet the up shot of all the councils efforts so far are an awesomely poorly conducted renovation of Spring bank which took so long that by the time it was finished the end at which they'd started looked exactly the same as it did at the beginning; the erection of a 25ft steel post at the end of Spring Bank which serves absolutely no purpose and allegedly cost us £7000; and what is increasingly becoming the council's main focus of attention (and they are clinging to it for dear life in the press) The Deep. Which seems of use only for things like primary school outings.
University of Hull celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, with 16,000 students from more than 100 countries engaged in the study of over 50 degree disciplines.
ranging from traditional academic subjects to dance, gender studies and internet computing.
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