Far from being the city that never sleeps, Hull has yet to wake up. City officials have been trying since the dawn of time to put Hull on the map. Subsequently the place is only famous for the band The Beautiful South (Oh the irony), and boasting the largest council estate in Europe. From which you hear stories that are well woven into the cities youth culture of drive-by shootings and armed escorts for safe passage through. How true these are, I can only imagine.
The most recent clutch at fame was on the TV programme Police! Camera! Action! This filmed a man being chased through the city centre. Past many shops and bars that I go to – it was all very exciting. He was a suspected Drug Dealer. When finally caught it became evident that he had swallowed whatever he was being chased for. As the police questioned him he gradually became more and more incoherent until he finally collapsed. A typical example of Hull gentry.
I hail from the Midlands, but in recent years have found myself a permanent resident OOP north. This is due to my choice of university, the last I have to admit. I didn’t relish the idea of coming to the smelliest city in England (Hull is renowned for its strong smells of fish and hops). But I have been here ever since, and even though I’d never admit it to my parents (hardened southerners), I feel strangely attached to the place.
You see it’s not “Grim up North” as we were led to believe by the KLF, and not everyone is the product of a flat-cap wearing, coal mining family. Although I have seen a few people around that make me think otherwise. It’s actually a nice place to be. I still haven’t mastered the art of Ullspeak (Hull speak – a language in its own right) and I don’t think I ever will. And I am constantly reminded when I walk through the town that Hull is still, and probably always will be, 10 years behind every other major city in England. Dress sense in particular, mullets are rife and the Kappa Tracksuit has earned its place in the cities history. The blonde perm with the visible black roots is also a common sighting.
But, and there is a big but, a place is what you make of it. I don’t know many places where you can go out with £20, have an amazing night and still have money for a taxi home. One notorious nightclub plays host to a 30p a pint student night. The place is a dive, but always packed. I’ve not crossed the threshold since sobering up from my first year spent in Halls. The ethic was back then, if it’s cheap and smells slightly of alcohol then you drink it no questions asked. Which we did on many occasions.
People up North seem content with what they have. I’m lead to believe that Londoners are continuously striving to be better than the next person. Here people work 9 to 5, Monday to Friday and are happy to live for the weekend. People work to live and not the other way round. The pace of life is slower and more relaxed. They have no intention of joining the rat race.
I’ve spoken to people who live in London and they tell me how anonymous it can be. Up north it’s a lot friendlier and in Hull everybody knows everyone else. There aren’t many places to go out to at night, so most people my age go to the same pubs and clubs. Which is great as long as you not trying to escape the awful date you went on last week.
And yes, I am speaking from experience. Which explains why I have the time to sit in and write this article.