Dave Thompson’s got a ditty from the past – anyone remember the pub piano player who used to sing this song about his garden in Wincolmlee?
Stop Press: Thanks to everyone who made the launch such a brilliant night. We thoroughly enjoyed it, and everybody was ace! Click on the story page for songs and stories. Get in touch with us to find out more about HullSongs. Rich & Lou
HullSongs launch night at Kardomah 94, 94 Alfred Gelder St, Hull, HU1 2AN on Friday November 27th.
Our inspiration for the HullSongs came from people who have performed at our Loudhailer Acoustic nights at various venues in the area. We have a fabulous range of quality song writing from a real eclectic mix of performers. Some of the pieces are nostalgic, some personal and poignant, and some are very funny. There are tales from all over Hull – Gypsyville, Longhill, Hessle Road, the River Hull itself. The Orchard Park high rise angels, old record shops of Hull, and even Bun in the Oven by the old bus station get a mention.
HullSongs is part of the James Reckitt Library Trust/Art for Hull Untold Stories project which is building an archive of stories about the city, whether oral, written, pub sagas, tall tales, misunderstandings, mythologies and even downright mistruths.
Jessica Leathley, Untold Stories project manager said, “We are delighted to have Rich and Lou on board. HullSongs brings a wonderful new dimension to oral history, telling stories through music and poetry. The launch night on 27th November will be a marvellous opportunity to experience these stories first-hand.”
Visit our Loudhailer website to find out more about Loudhailer Acoustic. It’s always a top night, all welcome to come and listen to the music. Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard
River of Shadows, written for HullSongs by Andrew Tomlinson – songwriter/producer from Kingston upon Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
I could never imagine living somewhere else and moving away from Hull or the East Riding. I have always loved the history and architecture of the area especially the unusual and the hidden. I remember growing up on Newland Avenue and being fascinated at how behind the Edwardian façade were old, disused farmhouses and barns harking back to Newlands rural history. I clearly remember being 10 or 11 years old and eating sandwiches from Fletchers Bakery, sat on a millstone in an old derelict courtyard on my lunch breaks from Sidmouth Street Junior School. There are so many aspects of the architecture, history, countryside and coast that have shaped me and become part of my psyche.
I like the fact that areas of Hull such as Sculcoates and Marfleet were once medieval ports exporting vast amounts of wool from the massive Meaux Abbey (about 2 miles from North Bransholme) to the Hanseatic League cities of Bruges and Antwerp. I like it that there was a Roman amphitheatre at Brough, an Anglo Saxon Shrine to Woden at Goodmanham (this was the kingdom of Northumbria’s most important place of worship) and Knights Templars temples at Blacktoft and Faxfleet. However it’s not just the ancient history of the area that fascinates me.
I used to work at the Needlers’ sweet factory which was housed in an old, imposing Victorian building. The factory was situated in the Sculcoates area of Hull and I’ve always found Sculcoates to have a very dark, old vibe to it (I heard it was the last place in England to have public bear baiting) and the factory definitely had that sort of really dark, oppressive atmosphere. I remember walking through the corridors late at night (10.00pm-6.00am shift) and going up the floors in an old lift that had loads of late Victorian brass fittings and wood work complete with a big brass lever that you operated the lift with and stopped it manually as you approached each floor. At the time I worked there large parts of the factory and upper floors were left desolate and unused and I became fascinated with the building, which was haunted. It became company policy, and this is true, that no one on the night shift had to go to the upper floors on their own but they could if they were ok with it. I knew a sparky, 6 foot 4 inches, mid 50’s, totally solid guy, down to earth, in a nut shell a rough, tough contractor. This guy had been on a job on the 4th floor at 2 in the morning and had come down mid job and refused to go back up and finish. Apparently he was working up there when he suddenly heard children laughing and talking behind him. Of course when he turned around there was no one to be seen. Slightly unnerved but resuming work he then heard loads of children’s footsteps running about and skidding and sliding on the floor again with accompanying breathless laughter. He did not resume work a third time. This was just one of many, many stories that occurred on the 4th floor and I gradually became obsessed with all the characters and ghosts who lived their lives and supposedly afterlives up there and this is why I took the pseudonym 4ourth4loor”.
© 2015 Andrew Tomlinson.
From Bransholme To Germany All For The Price Of A Bus Ticket
An Ordinary Man has followed and supported Loudhailer Acoustic from the start. He prefers to remain anonymous and it’s a total pleasure to receive and read this evocative picture of a rite of passage from Bransholme to Germany all for the price of a bus ticket.
Bransholme Estate, Hull in 1974 was still young and so was I, still playing out on a Saturday night, football with me mates. And all of a sudden no-one was out. I knocked on all the doors and everyone was somewhere else. Me mates were all about 17, they were out with their dads, all having their first pints in the Nightjar or the Drake. But not me, my dad had left when I was eight but that was no excuse.
I’d always tried to get in pubs when I was a young kid, even when I was at school. You used to go in in your school uniform, rip off your school badge and put it in your top pocket and go in Paragon upstairs (now Hull Cheese). Sometimes you got served if they was blind as a bat and a bit deaf ‘cause they had old barmaids in them days and you could chance it should’ve been in school but you was having a pint.
I was now working in a carpet shop at the time MV Couplands on Ferensway. I’d left my first job in a lemonade factory because the shop floor bully had dropped a lemonade bottle onto my head from the stacked crates above which he thought was really funny but it really fucking hurt. Anyway the carpet job was ok and I was 17 but I looked 15 and one Saturday night in too many with Starsky and Hutch with me Mother swanning out down Westfield Country Club where people thought they were something was sending me round the twist. So one night it was time to make a change and beer was on the menu.
So I tagged along with a couple of older mates, jumped on the no. 36 bus from the estate that took us down George St. and straight to the stop outside Hofbräuhaus and two large rounded brown wooden doors. Green flares, platform shoes and a stars and stripes jumper, I don’t know how I got in but me mates went in first, who were older, and I kept me head down and handed over some change, can’t remember how much dirt cheap, something stupid and I was in. I was stood by the wall with me mate and grinning ear to ear thinking Christ what’s going on here and two women walked up and one put her hand on the wall above my head she was a big tall woman and old – must’ve been about 27. I just remember staring at the bead of sweat that was just hanging on to one of the hairs in her armpit, she was that tall, and then she stared right at me, smiled and said have you got the time so I pulled up the sleeve on me stars and stripes jumper, looked at my wrist and said no I didn’t put my watch on tonight and me mate started pissing himself, lit up and flashed the fags. The beer was in huge glasses, steins hanging out your hands took two hands to hold it and schnapps was being served by women in very low cut tops on long wooden tables and the music playing was like this Oom Pah Pah band and somewhere near the stage some big hairy blokes, grown men in leather shorts and braces started dancing and slapping their thighs and back sides then each other’s back sides. I’d had half a dozen schnapps and got on the table and started to dance but me platform shoes and flares and the table had other ideas. Got a message all me mates were out of here and next door by 11 o’clock and straight into Scamps up some stairs and the latest music loud, flashing lights and glitter balls. This was the place no turning back and they served scampi and chips and I woke up on Sunday with a bad head and me brain all mixed up.
I was now on the circuit: Dram Shop, Trog Bar, Scamps, plenty of birds and cheap beer, there was now something to look forward to every week. Everything was different then, but everything had changed.”
© 2015 An Ordinary Man
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