As a platform, it works, and I'm glad to see that a new generation of talent is coming through. Poets, authors and journalists are still emerging and it's a great thing to see, and long may it continue.
Then and now...
As I said earlier, I've been very lucky in the past couple of years in the sense that I've had exposure to and encouragement from the national 'arts scene'. I've travelled around the country, met a lot of people, and been involved in a lot of great things, simply by the virtue of writing and performing.
In late 2007 I was selected to take part in Incubate, a scheme set-up and co-ordinated by Apples and Snakes, a national performance poetry company that has been programming events for over 25 years. It marked the culmination of a year spent travelling down to London to take part in open mike slots in the hope that I would somehow be 'spotted' by someone.
I was approached at an open mike in Whitechapel gallery, and asked to apply for the scheme. Although I thought I had absolutely no chance, I decided to give it a go, and was completely shocked when I was contacted the following month and asked me go for an audition.
I travelled down to Greenwich the day after my thirtieth birthday, not feeling particularly confident, but I gave it my best shot, and was completely surprised when I was contacted a week later with the news that I had been selected.
I spent the next two years taking part in residencies in theatres and venues around the country, and I was also given advice and support to develop my work. It was a life changing experience, and for better or for worse it set me off on the path that I am still wandering down.
Aside from those benefits, it also changed my way of thinking about myself and my work, an issue I didn't realise needed addressing until I left Hull. You see, I have always been aware of the existence of a 'Hull mentality', but I always believed that it didn't apply to me.
You know what I'm talking about - a constant sense that what you do isn't good enough in the eyes of the rest of the country, a self-defeating attitude consisting of 'why even bother in the first place because I am just shit.' It's a vain and self-conscious view, and one that is unfortunately rampant in this great City of ours.
It doesn't help that Hull can be a real fishbowl. By which I mean, a lot of good performers and artists are content to be big fish in a small pond, thereby stunting any growth or development.
They get caught up in the local circuit because it becomes comfortable, safe.
They get used to performing in front of an audience of mates and acquaintances who don't challenge them, and when they do find themselves playing in a toilet in the middle of nowhere and they don't get the response they're used to, they go scurrying back to the relative safety of the local gig.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, why go on about how great Hull is in Hull? The word needs spreading.
I'm a big believer in cycles; death and rebirth, that kind of thing. I always have been. I think that change is inevitable, and should be sought out at every opportunity, even if it's painful and sometimes unwarranted. It's going to happen anyway, in all aspects of life, whether it be relationships, career, outlook, living situation or anything else, so the only question is how you cope with it as an individual.
At the moment I definitely feel as though I'm at the end of one era and at the beginning of another. It's been a great year for me in terms of my work. I'm particularly pleased with the Larkin workshops that Write to Speak has been involved in. I was very cynical about the Larkin 25 celebrations.
I thought that they celebrated the man in a way that excluded the majority of the people in Hull. And although I appreciate some of his poems, I felt as that the man himself left a lot to be desired, and would have objected to some of the ways in which his legacy was celebrated.
When Cilla, Mike and I sat down to put some sort of plan together, we decided early on to hijack the celebrations as a means of promoting poetry as a vehicle for the voice of Hull. The total lack of support, both financially and figuratively, also went towards shaping our ideal.
We were convinced that there was a true passion for poetry and spoken word in Hull that just needed an avenue of expression, one that wasn't bound by the expectations of academia. Even then, we were all taken aback by the response that we received. We lit a fire under Hull's arse
It has been truly great to have been involved in something that was purely about the encouragement and promotion of creativity. It's been hard work, but it's been worth every minute. In the space of a few months we managed to take a bunch of people and give them the means and support to express themselves, and we're proud of each and every one of them.
They've performed on stage, appeared on the radio and at festivals, published their work and organised their own gigs.
They are living proof that Hull has a wealth of talent and spirit, and that art and creativity will thrive in Hull whatever the circumstances.
I don't know what 2011 will bring; don't want to know if I'm perfectly honest about it, but we're already off to a good start though. Mike Watts' debut collection, Coming To A Street Near You - details on the website - is now available, so congratulations to him.
And Mark Walmsley, one of the workshop participants, is co-editing an international poetry anthology, Voices From Everywhere, published by Denmar Press. I'm also sure that will continue in some way shape or form as well, so things will get off to a positive start.
As for thisisUll.com, well, I know that it will be here to support and encourage the creative people of Hull and will continue to provide a platform for them to express themselves.
Happy New Year from Joe Hakim and from thisisUll.com.
Articles - One Banana Banquet By Brian Hodgins.
The old man stood by the fruit racks in the super store contemplating at what to buy today, 'just for a change'. As his eyes took in the plethora of fruit before him, his gaze fell upon an absolute mountain of yellow and green Bananas. His thoughts flew back over the years, when such a sight would have been absolutely unimaginable ...
Articles - Is This An Article Or A Letter, Or What? By Merle R. Stone.
It is with tremendous trepidation and maybe a tiny bit of panic that I begin this writing. You see, I once wrote with exceptional ease, and had no trouble at all putting my thoughts into print. As of late, though, it would seem that that particular talent has abandoned me. Has this ever happened to any of you (I presume, of course, that somebody is actually reading this)?
Not that I feel that I ever had any real talent for writing.
Articles - Philip Wincolmlee-Barnes By C.B. Tempest.
There are times when a friend's death can be such a surprise, as to justify it being shocking. With Phil Barnes, otherwise known as 'Acker' was just such a moment.
Though never the centre of the action but passing his fine arts degree all too easily, he always lay to the side, carefully rolling his 'baccy' to smoke, dressed in his 'ironic' suit and tie: he never
held down any obvious 'career' jobs, like being a lawyer or banker; rather he was an outsider,
Articles - Memories of Hull Part 4 By Terry Hood
Whilst living in Hull I worked for other companies. They were C.D.Holmes, Blackburn Aircraft and Ideal Standard which is in National Avenue.
We purchased our first house in National Avenue and we found out that when the washing was put out on the line, when it was brought in the items had smut marks on them and had to be washed again. This was due to the smoke from Ideal Standard's chimney.
Articles - All About Sex, the Government Minister, the Dead Boy in the Orphanage and the Cover Up By Tim Roux.
When I am not focusing on Hull (and I have recently completed another 'Hull' book, called Missio, about a boy whose father went down with the trawler The Gaul in 1974) I do sometimes engage with the wider world although, to be honest, it isn't up to much.
However, there is one excellent site I contribute to called Speak Without Interruption Read more...
Articles - Memories of Hull Part 3 By Terry Hood
On 26th January 1955 the nation was stunned by the news of the loss of the Lorella and Roderigo with all 40 crewmen during severe weather off Iceland. This was due to black ice forming on the trawlers. As quick as the crew were chipping it off, it was forming again.
My cousin was on another trawler standing by listening to the radio operators on each trawler talking to each other and then he heard one of them say, 'Give our love to our wives,
Articles - (Belated) End of 2009 By Cilla (Editor).
It's late. This was supposed to be an end of year piece and I guess it's typical of my life recently - there's just never enough time to do everything I want to do - time just passes too quickly.
So, it's 2010. Another year bites the dust. The first decade of the 21st century is over with - gone in a flash and here we all are, shivering with cold and sliding off pavements, sitting in queues of smoke billowing traffic.
When I was growing up, I took it for granted
Articles - Christmas With The Big D By Andrea Longstaff
Well, it's that time of the year again; a time of incongruity that spills over into the blurry edges of surrealism. At no other time but December will you see elves strolling down the street. I fondly recall one past Yuletide playing a game of pool with an elf.
Throughout the rest of the year we tell our children not to talk to strangers, then come December and they're all scared witless
Articles - The Political Show Trial the BBC Just Couldn't Resist By Steve Regan, the King of Hull
Shame on the BBC for giving a platform to people prepared to deny the dignity and worth of fellow human beings.
Yes, the bullying approach adopted by the Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Tory Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Liberal-Democrat MP Chris Huhne and the American writer Bonnie Greer on last night's Question Time was an affront to decency.
And the BBC top brass should not have allowed the show's usual format to be hijacked and used as a nasty and counter-productive show trial of BNP chairman Nick Griffin.
Articles - Memories of Hull Part 2 By Terry Hood
After being away from Hull for 40 years it was great to see my home town again and its friendly people. Some places I can remember and have now probably gone are Gainsborough fish and chip restaurant, the Cecil cinema where I went with my wife and my mum to see Emil Ford and the Checkmates, the Tower and Regent cinemas.
There was Sydney Scarborough's record shop were the trawler men used to go for the latest records when they came home from sea.
Articles - Memories of Hull By Terry Hood
I served my apprenticeship as a ships rigger with Lord Line in 1954. Tom Boyd was an absolute gentleman and the best boss I ever worked for.
I now live in Cheltenham but I visited Hull in April of this year and saw the true reality of St. Andrews Dock, Lord Line and surrounding area. It brought back such a lot of happy memories and sadness to see it as it is today.
Whilst I was in Hull I visited the museum
Articles - Don Wilson 1916 - 2009.
One of Nidderdale's most fascinating characters has died suddenly aged 93.
Donald Wilson moved from Edinburgh to Dacre Banks in February 1950, having been stationed at RAF Linton on Ouse during the war. Don was shot down over Germany early in the conflict and was eventually imprisoned in the infamous Stalag Luft III, setting for the film The Great Escape. He provided invaluable information and advice for the makers of the film, having kept a detailed wartime log during his incarceration.
Articles - Writing about a Hull singer-songwriter using the music of Joe Solo By Tim Roux.
I have just had a fantastic experience - writing a novel,(Just like) El Cid's Bloomers' about a fictional
Hull singer/songwriter around the songs of a real one, Joe Solo.
And it could be a global first - the first musical novel to be designed specifically for an e-book format.
It doesn't really matter whether it is or isn't, but it is always fun to be the first to do something.
For Joe, there were some serious potential downsides to the project.
Articles - Birth and Death in Ten Minutes: A Miracle in Room 11 By Ruth
'Doctor, they have an emergency in Room 11.'
'Ok, I'm coming.'
I put the phone down and exited the oppressive call room, where as the scheduled 'doc-in-the-box' on duty, I was busy frittering away 24 hours of my life.
My 11-year-old-son had state exams the next day, and I hoped my 17-year-old daughter would make sure he studied. I knew they would probably watch TV and eat microwave food on the sofa instead.
Articles - The Cosmic Mayfly By David Sloan
From deep under the oceans, far from any sunlight, to high up in spewing volcanoes, life forms have been found on our planet. Even deep in the arctic ice, life forms have been found to exist.
For life is tenacious, if it can exist it will exist, this is the way of nature. Soon, yes very soon, I'm sure we will find life forms on other planets in our solar system. Indeed I'd be very surprised if the whole universe were not teaming with some form of primeval life or another.
Articles - You Scare Me By Alex
'You scare me'
Having that said to you, just once, is one time too many. Why? Why was this person scared of me? Drunken rage? Membership in the BNP? A predilection for bumming puppies? Nope, none of those (admittedly scary) things.
I had done nothing but acquire a label; 'Psychotic'.
So what do people understand by that? Usually it's some media inspired portrayal of a reality avoiding, maniac
with a large blade. The reality is both fairer and fouler than the common perception.
No, psychotics are not automatically or overwhelmingly prone to violence or abuse.
Articles - Channel 4 Students and Friday Night Stars By Phil Prethero
2007, The One Stop 24 Hour Shop, High Street, Lincoln
It's Saturday, it's 7 in the morning, and I'm at work, hung over, stood here like a trampled on torn up tampon - of use to absolutely nobody.
Why the fuck I agreed to these shifts is beyond me, normal people at the age of 21 and in their last year of uni are in bed at this time, they'll get up at about 11,
Articles - Can You Help? Hull Clubs in the Sixties Keith Fairhurst
I wonder if you can help me. I am searching for the name of a 1965 Hull beat club.
The club was at the end of a passageway between two buildings off a one-way street in the centre of the city. It had a small opening/courtyard in front of the main entrance. The passageway was on the right hand side as you travelled down the street.
I believe it was called The Black Cat Club or Kontiki ClubRead more...
Articles - The Interview: The Four Ps - Plan, Prepare, Participate and Be Positive.By Mike Kemp, CV Satisfaction
As individuals who are looking to find employment the interview proves to be the
most daunting task.
But this doesn't have to be the case using the four P's system:
Plan, Prepare, Participate and Be Positive.
This is a system that was devised by CV Satisfaction which covers all areas
of the interview from the beginning to the end. Let's look at each one individually.
Articles - Apple iPod Touch; The iPhone Without the Phone Reviewed by Mo
Ok so first of all I'm over 50, with a pretty crap social life and like most of my generation, mobile phones reside in a blind spot of my brain. The fiddly keys, address books and ridiculous lose-ablity of the device help to keep it there.
Last time I called my (£15 pay as you go from Woolies) mobile in an attempt to find it, it was answered by a lovely police officer lady at the Reading Station's lost and found.
Articles - Jody McKenna and The Secret Millionaire (show to be aired Sunday 26th April 09 Channel 4) By Michelle Dee
Champagne Lifestyle on a Lemonade Budget was the title of singer/songwriters
and Dave Saxby latterly of The Peasants debut album
Jody could be forgiven for thinking those dreams of grandeur and prosperity had
finally been realised when Channel 4's Secret Millionaire presented him with
a cheque for twenty grand.
Articles - I Got Married By Ruth
I got married (my one and only time) in 1981. It was November and I was a college student in West Texas. My husband to be was five years older than I. He was very rugged/handsome, and a former football player in a land where football is king.
In fairness, this tale should be told with a Greek Chorus (you know, those people with white robes that say stuff like, 'Don't eat that, it's poison!' or
Articles - National Recognition for thisisUll.com - Fringe Report Awards 2009 By Cilla Photographs by Carl Schofield and Mo.
Monday 9th February 2009 was a landmark date for thisisUll.com and all
its contributors. On your behalf, I had the honour of accepting the
Fringe Report 2009 award for Best Publication.
Fringe Report, under the guidance and leadership of its editor
John Park is based in London. It reviews and supports fringe theatre,
arts, independent and arthouse film, dance, performance,
Articles - What The Doctor Did Next By James Marsters
So, we all know by now that The Eleventh Doctor will be played by none other than
household name Matt Smith. Okay, okay, so maybe he's not a household name now but
what will the future hold for the 26-year old once he has hung up his sonic
screwdriver and given back the keys to the TARDIS? Judging by the other ten
actors to have played the Time Lord, it's anyone's guess.