So yesterday it was revealed Hull has been given the title City of culture 2017 and, I won’t lie, I did think to myself as I lay in bed ”Hull has culture? Does it also have flying pigs as well?” and I did laugh at a facebook status from someone in Hull who wrote:
”I’m sorry but hull as city of culture? It was only yesterday I walked past a mother and daughter in town when I herd and saw the daughter open a plastic bag and say ‘what fuck is this?! I wanted a fucking pasty!’ To which the mother replied ‘well they didn’t have any fucking pasties left DID THEY’. Yeah, city of culture.”
However, I’ve been mulling things over and I think that Hull getting this title is not only good but deserved; here is why:
1) Broken things need fixing, not abandoning.
I saw a comment on an online newspaper (You can guess which one) which said :
”Errrrr, I’m afraid it still is crap. A cultural wasteland full of benefits scroungers, with chip shops on every corner. Take a walk on the wild side down Hessle Road. You’ll see some real dipsticks strolling around, fag in one hand, can of lager in the other, face full of tattoos, and feral kids swarming round like pit bull terriers, and the men are just as bad! Look at the cultural abyss’s of Orchard Park and Bransholme, two of the largest and most run down council estates ever to be inflicted upon a city, even one as bad as Hull. The best thing about Hull by far, is the A63 dual carriageway heading out of the town.”
The city of culture award is given to a city every four years by the government in the hopes it will boost tourism. I have been to Hull and it isn’t the nicest looking place, but that is precisely why Hull needs the award. What would be the point of giving places like London or Bristol the award when they people would happily go to those places for a day out? Northern towns in particular need more support from the government to help boost tourism because a lot of people view the North as decaying and breaking down when in fact there is a lot of culture up there. I mean, how many people know that Hull has a museum on slavery and is the hometown of people like Phillip Larkin, Luke Campbell who won a gold medal at London 2012 and Paul Heaton from The Beautiful South?
2) Culture is relative.
I think when the British think of culture they think of literature, art and museums which certainly is culture but it is not the only culture in Britain. Last week The Northerner test was all over Facebook and a lot of people not from the North were confused by it (What’s a pie barm?”, ”What is this gibberish?”) but I think the test shows that the North does have a culture, but it is just different from the predominantly middle class southerner’s idea of culture.
For example, the fact that Northerners do not wear a coat unless hell has frozen over, our apparent love of pies, and chips with gravy, chatting to people on public transport and our collective horror of alcohol prices in London is part of the Northern culture. It’s different to the culture of sitting in Starbucks with a drink with a seemingly unpronounceable name whilst tapping away self importantly on a Mac but it is still a culture.
3) It is nice to see the North being recognised
The UK is undeniably Londoncentric, and at the risk of sounding like a petulant toddler, it’s not fair! From having bands do a ”UK tour!” which consists of them doing just one London show to having to reject internships because they are unpaid and in London and I can’t afford to work for free in a different city, it is just bloody nice to see the government recognising that there is more to the country than the south.