21st Century Robinson Crusoe

An Ordinary Man has followed and supported Loudhailer Acoustic from afar. He prefers to remain anonymous. In Daniel Defoe’s story, Robinson Crusoe set sail from Queen’s Dock in Hull, the hometown of An Ordinary Man. He spent 30 years castaway on a tropical island.

Why do feel like Robinson Crusoe? I have never been ship wrecked never sailed the seas.
Why do I feel like Robinson Crusoe?
Never been on a desert island even though sometimes in my mind I have been alone.
Why do I feel like Robinson Crusoe?
You walk alone and it can be your choice family ties are broken by choice or not but you walk your path sometimes alone.
Why do I feel like Robinson Crusoe?
You go through life with a companion or not but the choice is not one you can make it is sometimes made for you.
Why do I feel like Robinson Crusoe?
Can you tell me so or do I go down the path and live the life constantly feeling like Robinson Crusoe?
Why do I feel like Robinson Crusoe when you walk in crowds and go in rooms full of people?
To be honest I don’t mind feeling like Robinson Crusoe.
The reason may never be explained why I feel like Robinson Crusoe; but I lose no sleep over this situation and wake up tomorrow feeling like Robinson Crusoe.
Can anyone tell me why I feel like Robinson Crusoe or maybe its best left unexplained?”

© 2015 An Ordinary Man, Hull

Hull 6

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Hull’s Hunger

This is ten years of Hull’s hunger as it rumbled in my lungs under Alder’s ghost from the depths of trawlers moored at queen’s gardens and while the city’s heart started beating in the 12th century we’ll keep that rhythm long past 2017.

Ten. With the history of the fishing industry my mind started to itch for non-fiction and as I flicked a cigarette out of the carton the disdain of my father inhaled with disgust at the taste and nicky rush. Too stubborn then to admit I’m not going to get to like tobacco. From here I started to understand politics. Cementing my ideals with ideas, I took to these streets with flags and banners, met my partner in the fervor ending each other’s sentences right there in queen Vic square. Now I’m here to tell some of my Hull stories that I bored from the depths of heads and bindings of book spines.

Nine. Orchard park is a part of me where my nanna’s moxie rocked me to sleep where now we speak politics my little cousin scribbles poetry four beats to a monkey bar and we fold paper into shapes snowflakes fly planes in the shadow of high rises where I saw angels as a child. Projected the length of it I remember that place those tenements not empty nor razed to their foundations; not pages of the papers that paint it unfavourably. But as a home I’ve known.

Eight. I wait in Trinity’s wake. Where my voice once echoed with a bevy of lessons I was trying to teach myself. I thought my words were loud enough to breach the ceiling but some still couldn’t hear me so misguided I visited a culture that hums alongside ours. Tried my hand at a language that’s life is so loud. I learnt to pour tales from my fingernails with a roleshift I know this city teams with different meanings to different kin.

Seven. I’ve healed aches in this town had my pain torn up and taken down by strangers mistaking my ill-fate for their own. You could argue life is harder in the north in the pocket of a capital that takes more than it ought. But winter is coming and we know the cold, (yeah we know the cold, who needs a coat!). We might not have much of a wall anymore but what’s left will hold.

Six. I was never cool enough to hang out at Pit. Instead we shifted to looking out to the distance of the Marina. Climbing rotten ladders tights laddered bandanna pulled up for just the right position to watch the city shiver and we’d listen for sweet nothings buzzing bridge-lengths and with bitter teen kisses we part friends.

Five. One of the busses killed a child.

Four. I chased graffiti through the streets to trees taken root in buildings. I never burnt bridges just pressed my treads on to the railing to look over the void we were avoiding. I’m still not so good at conflict, when I’m reticent I’m honest. but this city knows you can’t step on it for long so I picked a whetstone from Humber’s cold and edged new revelations to hark at under my sharpened tongue.

Three. I owe it to my folks for showing me here’s hope. Wilton’s labyrinthine antiques, cobbled roads not far from home, tram lines and tired dockers’ eyes. With mafting, ten-foots, emergency chip spice our old customs will survive.

Two. I used to say all my t’s now I adopt Hull’s glottal stop to spit what I got. But I’ll still get called posh because…

One. I grew up just outside this place. Where main roads whispered in the distance and green space protects like us versus them. Now my flat’s near the centre and it welcomed me on entry. I used to dream of leaving now I see Hull still has more to offer me.

© 2015 Alyx Tamminen

Remember 1980s Hull?

Karl Oakes' shedArtist, sculptor and musician, Karl was the first person to get in touch with us when we started Loudhailer Acoustic and since then has regularly come along with three brand new songs to premiere. From the moment we heard his ballad of 1980s Hull, Sailors Blue’s 82s, we knew he had something special. It was one of the songs that became the inspiration for HullSongs. Listen to it, and go on a journey back in time, growing up and going out in Hull against a backdrop of the decline of the fishing industry. Absorb the memory of many nights out in Hull and breathe the political and economic atmosphere of 1982.

1982 was a strange time to come of age in Hull. The new found freedom and sense that the world was yours to shape, explore and make your own was tempered by a dark political and social time in the life of the city, the country and indeed the world. The city itself was caught in time between two states: in one, the echoes of a past grandeur built on the sea; on the other, closed and empty shops and a proud heritage built on fishing rusting and gathering dust in padlocked, chained and shackled yards. There was the sense in the air that something had been lost and would never return. Yet at the same time the optimism of youth drove you on to claim those shadows as your own, to want to build something new, something you could call your own. Sailors Blues 82s was my attempt to capture the devastation of Conservative rule upon a city, through the eyes of an eighteen year old who was determined to build something new of their own from out of those ashes.” Karl Oakes 2015

Ferens To The ABC Sailor’s Blues ’82s by Karl Oakes

Sailor's Blues 82s

From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
From Bun in the Oven to LAs
See the Old Zoological from those days,
Across the road to Spencer’s arms,
Hold me tight; keep me safe from all harm.
From where the Tall and Mighty stood
To where prospects changed because she said that they should.
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
Past Amy Johnson staring at the sky, I have to look with her but I don’t know why,
Andrew Marvel showed me rhyme; I was very metaphysical at that time.
Queen Victoria sits aloft, down Whitefriargate where the King was stopped,
Grandfather put the gold on Trinity’s face, looks down upon the sailors lost without trace.
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
One more drink in the Old White Heart before we are led, past the garden where William lay his weary head,
Past the Humber Star we tread the boards, trying not to wake Mr Wilberforce.
The ship builders were still in existence, steel men and miners put up resistance,
Too young to understand just feel dismay; wish the iron lady would rust away
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
Standing by the Minerva looking out to sea, where fathers returned through history,
Mother and child’s hand locked in hope, to see the pull on the end of the rope.
Past King Billy on his golden horse, ships sail the Humber to the source,
Where has my future gone? Guess I’ll have to fight for one.
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget
Skeletons of ships open to the sky, said there’d be jobs for ever but that was a lie.
Broke sailors hearts when they filled the dock in, made it into a garden for the Queen.
Robinson Crusoe sailed from here, into literary history disappears.
Past Gough and Davy and their musical bazaar, where I took my money and bought my first guitar
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
Standing outside Dingwalls where the Red Guitars played, CG’s played there too but it burned down within days,
Across the road only George knows, stood the place where father watched The Shadows.
From the Ferens to the ABC, that’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
Everything But The Girl, but the opposite is true, Factories closing and there’s nothing left to do,
Said there’d be work for ever, but I guess that’s not true, no amount of sailing, will traverse the seas of blue.
A whole generation lost to the blue, blue, blue, a whole generation lost to the blue, So let it rain, blue, blue blue, we’ll make it through.
And they’re marching in the streets, heads held high even in defeat,
With all they’ve lost they’re sure to weep, hearts joining their fathers in the deep.
The ships aren’t sailing anymore; there are no wages to work for, the ships aren’t sailing anymore
A whole generation lost to the blue, blue, blue, a whole generation lost to the blue, let the blue wash over you… So let it rain, blue, blue, blue, we’ll sail these waters and make it through.(x2) And the tide will turn, and the ships will return (x2).
To the hearts that yearn, with a rage that still burns, look how little we’ve learned…
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget

Karl Oakes

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page

Catherine Scott photo shoot

Catherine took Loudhailer Acoustic by storm in May 2015 enchanting the audience with her wickedly witty spoken word set. Her fantastic uplifting stories of growing older gracefully, office politics…and that particular cockerel are inspiring. We are delighted that Catherine has written a new poem, I’m a Hullaholic especially for HullSongs.

Rich took Catherine’s portrait this morning and I recorded her reading the poem. Look out for it here soon!

Catherine Scott