Triple Trawler Fiction - Clinging to the Wreckage
Reviewed by Tim Roux
By the 1960s, there was still a significant deep sea trawler fleet fishing out of Hull but only three literary figures had as yet been associated with the city: Andrew Marvell, a seventeenth century politician and poet, Winifred Holtby, author of South Riding, and Stevie Smith, a poet and novelist whose most famous line is 'not waving but drowning'.
That final quotation could have been used as an epitaph for the whole of the Hull fishing industry. Stevie Smith herself left Hull at the age of three.
Some fifty years later, the situation is somewhat reversed: there may be one or two trawlers still knocking around in a dock somewhere, but none of them are trawling, whereas there are northward of sixty published authors, poets and dramatists who are proud to live, or to have lived, in the Hull & East Riding region.
Not that the rise of Hull as a busy literary port has much to do with the decline of its fishing industry. That started with the arrival, as the Librarian of Hull University, of one of Britain's most famous poets, Philip Larkin.
Strangely, few of this bumper crop of new writers have even mentioned Hull's century-long history as the UK's leading fishing port even when writing about the city.
The custodianship of that particular flame has been almost exclusively left in the capable hands of local historian Alec Gill and of non-fiction writers such as Rupert Creed who wrote Turning The Tide
about the 1968 Triple Trawler Disaster .
As everyone born in Hull before that date will know, in the space of three weeks in January / February 1968 three Hull trawlers - the St. Romanus, the Kingston Perridot and the Ross Cleveland - went down, killing 58 men.
There was only one survivor, Harry Eddom the mate of the Ross Cleveland, who was fortunate to be clearing the superstructure of ice dressed in full waterproof gear when the boat sank, and therefore found himself in the open air ready to leap into a life boat rather than trapped on the inside.
Now, suddenly (as you might say), forty years after that tragedy, three fictional novels featuring heavily Hull's fishing past are being published by local writers within nine months of each other.
The first chronologically is
Leslie Wilkie's Pallister's Phoenix (June 2009) which is about a deck hand who survived the loss of the fictional Hull trawler, the Phoenix, with the help of four shipmates who lent him their clothes on the life raft.
The rest of the crew perished. Many years later, Ron Pallister wins the lottery and sets about tracking down his old shipmates to reward them for saving his life. The story is therefore about the sinking of the Phoenix and the devastation of the Hull fishing industry as a whole, and about how ex-trawler men typically kept body and soul together when their world had disappeared.
The second is my own
Missio (December 2009) where a boy called Stevie has to come to terms with the death of his trawlerman father on The Gaul in 1974.
As purportedly his grandfather had gone down with the Lorella in 1955 and his great-grandfather had drowned with the Axinite in 1925, he faces a triple trawler disaster all of his own. His closure is to marry the granddaughter of Hull's leading trawler owner via a spot of magic.
The third comes from leading Hull crime writer Nick Quantrill with the launch of his latest private detective tale
Broken Dreams in March 2010, a jaw-cracking yarn that surveys the decline of the Hessle Road trawling community and pounds those very streets as PI Joe Geraghty searches for a lost woman and the murderer of a local businessman's wife.
As Leslie's book features the Rayner's pub on the Hessle Road and mine has a scene in The Alexandra Hotel, it may even be time to raise a literary glass to those good old, bad old days.
Reviews, Arts - Contents May Vary at Red Gallery in Hull Contemporary Art Continues Despite the Big Freeze By Michelle Dee. Photographs courtesy Andrew Quinn
While the city of Hull struggled against the adverse weather conditions on Friday 8th January and people tried in vain to get home after many businesses were closed earlier than usual, a group of dedicated contemporary artists were preparing for the opening night of Contents May Vary at Red Gallery in the city.
Battling against all odds, the show opened on time just minutes
Reviews, Books - Seers by Karen Wolfe Reviewed by Tim Roux
Ever since the publication of The Philosopher's Stone, I have been troubled by a niggling concern. It doesn't keep me awake at night but I do regularly accost strangers and ask them, 'Whatever happened to Harry Potter's grandparents?'
Harry Potter was a baby when his parents were killed. His parents look like they were in their twenties, max. thirties.
Reviews, Books - Broken Dreams by Nick Quantrill Reviewed by Tim Roux
Over the last couple of years, Nick Quantrill has made an enviable reputation for himself as a highly accomplished true-to-the-gospels (of St. Elmore Leonard and St. Raymond Chandler) crime fiction writer who reliably delivers precisely crafted plots, authentic hardboiled dialogue and classic PI fisticuffs action.
His tales are suffused with an atmosphere of compounding tension
Reviews, Books - The Unitary Authority Of Ersatz by Rich Sutherland Reviewed by Tim Roux
You know when you are sitting there typing away at your new book and suddenly a million tons of waterfall cascade all over you and sweep you away, and there is nothing you can do to resist as you tumble mid-air among all those words and ideas, but you know that when you hit the pool at the bottom, and should you survive, you will be handed a tick-box questionnaire by the publisher
Reviews, Books - Breaking Faith by Stuart Aken Reviewed by Tim Roux
One of the great pleasures of reading indie authors is that they are often literary Luddites, exuberantly smashing the commercial frameworks imposed on their more industrially-produced cousins, replacing them with a more zestful, fresh, individual and, might I say, compelling approach to their work.
It is not that they do not recognise as well as anyone the existence of the rules
Reviews, Books - A Book at Christmas Reviewed by Tim Roux
About eighteen months ago I decided to look around and see who else was writing books in the Hull and
East Riding region, much encouraged by discovering the work of Hull crime fiction and gangster authors
Nick Quantrill and Danny Birch.
I thought that there would only be a few of us knocking about, veritable prophets on our own shifting
mud banks, but Nick Quantrill and Rich Sutherland (then at Waterstones) Read more...
Reviews, Theatre - Tuesday 27th October 09 - Write To Speak Featuring Kate Tempest and Matt Panesh at Hull Truck By Dick Spring
The consistency in stunning quality of acts brought to perform at this night (which is Yorkshire's only theatre based spoken word / poetry night) by Hull poet Joe Hakim is simply phenomenal.
With another fantastic and packed house, it was a thoroughly enjoyable event.
Opened as usual by Hull's flag bearing poet in residence Joe Hakim and his stage partner Mike Watts, their competence and stagecraft is second to one, with lots of good interaction
Reviews, Theatre - Tuesday 27th October 09 - Write To Speak Featuring Kate Tempest and Matt Panesh at Hull Truck By Michelle Dee
Just had to write something about Tuesday's Write To Speak at Hull Truck Theatre. The regular event showcases the best poetry and spoken word from around the country.
Tonight we have the incredible vocal dexterity of Kate Tempest (London) and the poems, ponderings
and profane humour of Matt Panesh (Manchester) on his Welcome to the U.K. tour.
Reviews, Theatre - Write to Speak featuring Kate Fox and Scarlet Lights at Hull Truck - Wednesday 16th September 09 By Mark Walmsley
The first performance of the new season of Write to Speak came round pretty quickly and most definitely replicated the first gig a year ago with regards to support and talent.
On a personal level, I fully understood what was on offer and although the event didn't seem very well advertised, I was notified by thisisUll the day before and without a hesitation changed my appointments for the big day in order that I made sure I was there for the kick off, in fact I was
Reviews, Theatre - Wednesday 16th September 2009 - Scarlet lights Theatre Company Performs Retail is Detail at Write to Speak at Hull Truck Theatre By Danielle Rhodes
Retail Is Detail is undoubtedly a 'maverick' production of contemporary comedy, embodying a highly versatile and compatible cast as rare as rocking horse shit. From start to finish the audience is inflamed by the radiance from the performer's energy and fast pace scenes.
The play displays a young educated girl facing unemployment, regrettably a conventional product of the current recession. In her despairing attempt to find employment
Reviews, Theatre - Write to Speak featuring Tony Walsh and Dennis Just Dennis at Hull Truck - Wednesday 15th June 09 By Mark Walmsley
The third and final Write to Speak event of this season at the Hull Truck Theatre on Wednesday 15th July, was headlined by two nationally acclaimed performance poets, Dennis Just Dennis and Tony Walsh, who both hail from Manchester.
The nights entertainment was introduced by local poet Joe Hakim who was, in effect 'on the subs bench' as far as performing on these occasions go.
Joe has a bigger challenge and I dare say a bigger audience to present himself to at the fourth
Latitude Festival in Suffolk where he is performing in the poetry arena on Sat 18th and
Sun 19th July.Read more...
Reviews, Theatre - Write to Speak featuring Luke Wright at Hull Truck - Monday 29th June 09 By Mark Walmsley
After attending the first Write to Speak session back in May featuring Mike Watts, Joe Hakim and Mandi Lowe, I certainly wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to attend the second instalment with Luke Wright on Monday night.
I arrived at pretty much the same time as the last Write to Speak performance at about 7.20 pm for an 8.00
Reviews, Films - Emma Rugg's Directions Tour By Steve Rudd
It's fair to say that it has been relatively quiet on the Emma Rugg front over the past couple of years. I, for one, thought she'd relocated to the United States in the wake of the Directions Tour she undertook there with Henry Doss in 2007. Having first made contact through the BBC radio show Raw Talent in 2003, Emma had visited Henry in the states on a couple of occasions prior to heading over to hit the Read more...
Reviews, Arts - Adrian Johnson: All Wound Up - Red Gallery exhibition, March-April 2009 By Philip Wincolmlee-Barnes
I am currently re-reading John Carey's The Intellectuals and The Masses, a fascinating (and sometimes troubling) survey of how the former regarded the latter from the late 19th Century until the 1930's.
He charts a course via Nietzsche's theories of 'the Superman vs. the common people' (guess his preference
Reviews, Theatre - Write to Speak at Hull Truck - Wednesday 27th May 09 By Mark Walmsley
Having found the thisisUll website by accident while looking for an
outlet for my hobby and passion, Writing, I was welcomed by Cilla after an initial
contact who took a page of my work I submitted and pasted it on the World Wide Web as
seen, titled as The Right Hand of God. In addition to this, she asked me if I would be
interested in attending the Write to Speak gig at the Hull Truck on Wednesday 27th May.
Reviews, Theatre - Funny Turns and the Opening of The New Hull Truck Theatre By Gary Clark
I was fortunate enough to get an invite to the opening gala night of the very
impressive Hull Truck Theatre to get a first hand look at the new venue and to see the
opening night of the latest John Godber play, Funny Turns.
The company went to great expense to make all the invited guests welcome with vats of free champagne and a choice of wines already poured out for the 440 guests to gorge
Reviews, Films - AWAYDAYS at The Bradford Film Festival By Margaret J Shillingford
When Carty meets Elvis at a Bunnymen gig, they fall headlong into a volatile friendship that each of them aches for but neither can control. Violent, sexy and funny, Awaydays is a blade-sharp rites-of-passage that buzzes with the post-punk energy of its late-70s Liverpool setting.
Based on the classic novel by Kevin Sampson, and pulsating to a soundtrack of
Joy Division, The Cure, Read more...
Reviews, Films - The Confession By Steve Rudd
Expertly directed by Dave Kebo and Rudi Liden, The Confession is an extraordinary movie for many and varied reasons, not least because it was shot all in one take. Another major reason why the movie is so unique comes down to the fact that it is 'interactive' and features three and a half addictive hours of multi-angle footage.
Having been shot via a multitude of strategically placed CCTV
Reviews, Films - Slumdog Millionaire By Ruth
I don't go to the movies, and I don't usually enjoy love stories.
My idea of a good love story is Thelma and Louise, Crash, or possibly Monster
(with Charlize Theron).
The darker element of humanity is what I find appealing.
I went with my family to view this film and was utterly blown away.
We left the cinema feeling as though we'd been slapped hard across the
face and somehow enjoyed it.
Reviews, Books - The Dance of the Pheasodile by Tim Roux (Upfront Publishing) Reviewed by Nick Quantrill
With his sixth novel, Hull native Tim Roux, is certainly one of the city's most prolific writers. A committed champion of all things East Yorkshire, the publication of his crime story, The Dance of The Pheasodile is his well deserved opportunity to take the limelight.
With a fulfilling job, a successful wife and two beautiful children, Keith McGuire leads an idyllic middle-class life in the south of England.
Reviews, Books - How Not To Manage by Adam Kirkman and Daniel Mayhew (Quick Brown Fox Publications) Reviewed by Nick Quantrill
Think you're a great manager? Think you know how to get the best out of people whilst
increasing your personal performance and worth? Think again - you can be better -
it's simply a matter of attitude. If this all sounds a bit too much like hard word,
fear not, this new spoof management manual from York's Adam Kirkman and Daniel Mayhew
is here to
Reviews, Books - What Do I Know Anyway? by Jamie Mcgarry Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Writing poetry is a painstaking craft, and it's clear from the outset that Scarborough-based
Jamie McGarry spends a lot of time in perfecting his poems.
An award-winning poet at a young age, Jamie recently unleashed What Do I Know Anyway? - a wry look at life in the twenty-first century.
Consisting of twenty-nine superb poems which are spread over seventy-five pages, there
really is something for everybody in this,