A City of Culture…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s wrinkled old black and white snapshot is the one of me sitting in bright sunshine playing a game of dominos with Robert Oppenheimer at Los Alamos in 1942.

‘So, Dave, what do you think of Hull – UK City of Culture 2017?’ (City of C)
‘Yes, well… Hull, city of culture, it’s a bit like saying, Hull, city of palm trees.’
‘Oh right, so you don’t think Hull has a culture then?’
‘Of course it has, every town has a culture, but ours isn’t the sort of thing we need to have a festival about, we don’t do things like that very well. Just look at the visible culture the city has, the architecture and the public art that we’ve put up over recent years – it’s not exactly stimulating is it? We usually hire in a dollop of culture when we think we need it, you know, we pay people to come here and make the place lively for a weekend every now and again, city centre limbo dancers, fire-eaters, stilt walkers, coloured lights, noisy strolling drummers, bare-chested hippy jugglers, that sort of thing…’
‘Are you a miserable bugger?’
‘Yes, I am, but I do like Hull really – it’s a bit rough in parts, but generally the people are kind, nice, and friendly, ‘salt of the earth’ as they used to say – but, there has always been, for some reason, a whiff of low self-esteem about the Hull folk… The people of a town are what make it what it is.’
‘So, City of Culture then?’
‘Oh, the arts administrators are all fighting to get their snouts in the funding trough, and some dreary, but ‘meaningful’ things will be put on, but I suspect – though I’d be happy to be proved wrong – that it will all be a bit cheap-looking and there’ll be a big cloud of embarrassment hanging over the city for the whole year.’
‘Don’t you want to celebrate your home town?’
‘Well that’s a bit like celebrating the county you happen to have been born in, or your religion, or your country, as if it’s better than all the others, it’s like nationalism on a small scale… I see people are wearing t-shirts with “ull and proud’ on them, celebrating the fact that we don’t bother sounding our ‘H’s – oh, but I do quite like those t-shirts with ‘Hull – It’s not shit any more’ printed on them…’
‘So, you are not looking forward to 2017 then?’
‘The Turner Prize is coming to Hull that year!’
‘Bloody ‘ell!…’

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in architecture, art, conversation, drama, Dulltown, Grumpiness, history, Hull.UK., humour, information, observations, people, surrealism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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