Saturday, 28 April 2007

The plot thickens

Our creative writing group decamps to Ye Olde White Harte's plotting room, pivotal to the start of the English Civil War and now normally reserved for families arguing over mint sauce. Its an amazing building, with a sort of 16th century chavness about it, where all the locals double as drunken tourist guides and there's secret chambers and corridors and stained glass windows. At lunchtime, we meander through the old cobbles of vintage Hull for chips eaten out of Advertiser paper from Bob Carvers, a transvestite with "Love" and "Hate" on his/her knuckles, being stared down by a teen with Imelda Davis Grange Hill hair, outside HMV. Stepping away from the surrealness, I took off to the grounds of Wilberforce's house for a peek at the decapitated statues and the incapicitated locals. But surrealism wouldn't leave me alone. On my return, I saw a shopper being joyridden by a local teen, twisting its 20mph maximum into a twisty, knarly grotesque of wheelies and etiquette-smashing. And saw another local trying to sell a travel suitcase for two to a couple of eastern Europeans outside a graveyard - "£25 to you. It's on wheels. And it's fer two of yowze". Upon venturing into said graveyard, I have to gingerly bypass a middle-aged man drunkenly doing full-on yoga amongst the entangled seamen remains, an empty bottle of industrial strength cider by his side.

Listening: Arctic Monkeys
Reading: The Damned United by David Pease

Thursday, 26 April 2007


On a day where houses were put up for sale (mine), offers were made (Dee's) and a dream house seen (ours). As a future-looking couple, let's focus on the new one. Double-fronted, with an impossible long garden, a gargoyle door knocker, those beautiful Victorian railings, all manner of sheds, lofty ceilings and picture rails. Only down side we can see is the name of the street. Dam Road. Sounds a bit like Apocalypse Avenue or Impending Doom Street to me. But enough of such quibbles. On returning to the car we realised we'd parked in the grounds of a building called Providence House. That does it for me. Tomorrow, we sail at dawn for the estate agents to put an offer in. But in the meantime, a celebratory Chinese down Chants Av, the one with the great retro menu that hasn't changed since '79.

Listening: Candie Payne - I Wish I Could Have Loved You More; Arctic Monkeys; The Aquatic Ape on Radio 4; Maconie and Radcliffe on Radio 2

Reading: (variously, sluggishly) The Last Mughal (William Dalrymple); Everyman (Philip Roth) Margrave Of The Marshes (Peel, again)


Despite my attempts to hog the glory by crashing my bike on a level crossing out of Hull, this post is to alert you to the work of two of my mates currently doing the bizness in the theatre world. Joy's play, The Aquatic Ape, starring the voice of no less than Matthew Kelly, is available to listen to at, and has been given new sea legs since I saw it in a Lift at the Edinburgh Pleasance three (is it really that long?) years ago. And dashing Dave Windass brings Sully back to Hull Truck in a fortnight. I was there for the first night and it was one of the most emotive, highly-charged bits of theatre I've ever seen. Wonder if Paul Cooke'll turn up?
Me? Well apart from a bruised elbow, I've been listening, with the rest of the country to Favourite Worst Nightmare (like a raunchy Breathless compared to the Sillitoeisms of Whatever ...), reading William Dalrymple's exemplary The Last Mughal and admiring Lincolnshire in springtime. Oh, and, I'm writing loads for various story competitions and college deadlines. Wa-hey!

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

A housey bargain .. or is it?

Decided against Richard Herring on Sunday ('Herring - on the side of caution' would be my headline to the soundtrack of my life) but have promised Dee we'll see him at Edinburgh over the summer. Basically, we went a bit gungho buying stuff for up "that mountain" - trousers that magically become shorts, first aid kits and the like, which left the casual comedy fund depleted. Good job there's comedy gold to be had closer to home. My old employers have tired of conventional front-pages and decide on having a child's drawing as their front page on Monday in the long running Bring Back Woman With An 80s perm storyline. "How can immigration minister Liam Byrne say no to this?" it proclaims in 32 point Bold. Easy, its one word. One wag on the comments (who could it be?) says: "At least this Mail front page has been designed by a six-year-old rather than just APPEARING to be". Then, the main story closer to home is this little pearl about a Goole farmer offering his house as a competition prize. £60 per entry for a chance to win a rambling £650k farmhouse set in 300 acres. As someone who once paid £27.50 a month to rent a three-bed semi in Ghoul, I'd say its too much for any DN14 postcode. And flogging it would be a nightmare.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Lincolnshire Rising

A lovely day out with the family in violent, bludgeoning, heretic-hating Louth. For it turns out that this gentle, rolling market town was where the Lincolnshire Rising began in 1536, when a bunch of Catholics marched on Lincoln and demanded the abolition of the Ten Articles. The vicar, Thomas Kendall, was hung, drawn and quartered in sleepy old Louth, a blue plaque by the church wall reveals. We spent the day climbing the tower of 11th century St James', walking on Hubbards Hills, spotting the oft-spotted bearded Wyatt (once, minutae fans, pressed close to the window in his Victorian farmhouse; once, close to the post office while we scoffed pizza in an all-you can eat lunchtime buffet) and generally making fun in the capital of the Wolds. In other news, we are now only a month away from trek Peru and so are going into town to buy such essentials as alcohol hand gel, tiger balm, The Great Gatsby and some kind of crazy headgear. And off to see Richard Herring tonight in his new show Menage A Un. A report will follow later ...

Listening: Felt - Down But Not Out

Reading: Various reports of the chaotic French elections; Arctic Monkeys album reviews

Tuesday, 17 April 2007


As in all sweltery weekends on the coast, there was a fair bit of surrealism thrown in to the mix. For a start, this flyer is dropped through Dee's door from an incredibly nice man called Mr Mahfooz, who claims to be a deep forest man who can call the Ghost from the mountain and capable of brining (sic) back your loved ones. I'll stick to tuna chunks thanks, Mr Mahfooz. He's capable of "breaking black magic, success in business and a lot more, and Your will never regret". In the interest of fairness his number is on this crudely Photoshopped flyer. Wonder if black magic can help sell our respective houses? Also on this insanely balmy weekend (thanks global warming), I find out that Dan for Big Brother 5 (dubbed the gay Gandalf by Victor, and a fabulous ambassador for Hull, I'm sure) drives the same car as me; same colour, model and age. We sidle up next to each other (steady now) at a level crossing and he turns, then gives me a wave. On a motoring tip, isn't it polite of other drivers to acknowledge you if you've let them out of a junction. Well, I let a bloke out at the Old Zoological and he stuck his tongue out and gave me the two-fingers. How rude. And in Bridlington, I had to reverse down a one way street because the couple in the car in front decide to just pull up for a snog. Like a cut-price Rita, Sue and Bob, my life resembles sometimes.
Listening: The Good, The Bad And The Queen, Larrikin Love - Raggedy Ann; Serge Gainsbourg collected videos
Watching: Bowling For Columbine

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Nice one my Philson

Dee's horse, picked completely at random, comes a creditable fourth in the Grand National, at 66/1. She picked the horse, in typical non-gambley fashion, by pointing at it from a distance and saying: "I want that one". Me reading the biog which described the horse as "dour" and "unyieldly" convinced her it was the one she wanted. She thought "dour was very south Yorkshire - steady", and being a Doncaster lass I wasn't going to argue with her. Anyways it earnt us a nice £54, which we are going to spend on Chiquito's cocktails, the new Jon Heder film Blades Of Glory and a nice Balti. Earlier today we went to the superb William Blake exhibition Mind Forg’d Manacles: William Blake and Slavery at the Ferens, and marvelled at his drawings and literary obsessions. Note to Doherty (a regular reader of Hull Bloggers): this is the proper Albion, sunshine, not your sixth-form nonsense. Then, inspired, to Billy Wilberforce's and the Streetlife for the best Hull has to offer, before cheering on Philson's Run to fourth down the Tap n Spile with eight regulars and a mangy dog, in glorious temperatures. Pretty much the perfect Saturday.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Inner city booze (make me wanna holler)

Took these photos of prime-time Hull this afternoon, focusing on a tiny part of the city, the ashphalt triangle from Kurdistan Restaurant, past a shuttered-up Nice Things and a newly-revealed Cash 'It' In, before returning via George's Bargains AND George's Removals, Spring Bank newcomer Polish Smak (insert your own quip here) and a dialpidated kids playground. All kinds of life are here, its true, and its certainly the scene for creative rich pickings.

Thursday, 12 April 2007


It seems that most newspaper companies are the same. At my new employer's annual results brief, the editor of one tome asked a question of the MD about why one paper had had loads of money invested into it, while his hadn't. The MD replied: "Think of that paper as a lab rat. When we've finished experimenting on that, after a year, we'll know which rats to concentrate on next." A nice way to deal with humans, we thought. Before the results banter, the MD seemed to only have one conversational skill - the size of his employees. Either "you're very tall, you'd be even taller with heels on" or "tall people are much taller than small people". The heights of stupidity. All this lab rat talk might have been empathised with by Kurt Vonnegut, the author of the fabulous Slaughterhouse 5, who died today. One of the most radical, inspiring writers - there's a nice obit here, and me old mucker Mr Windass has posted his rules of writing here.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

From Red Veg to Red Wedge - front page news

My colleague Paul Speed submitted this insane pic of himself and his girlfriend looking at our Louth Citizen front page to Word Magazine. If you scroll down to the entry for March 24, you will see the article they've printed about it ... with 11 comments. The Word editorial is full of praise for the Red Veg headline (thanks Benjamin) and ends by saying 'Give That Sub A Job'. So I have applied for a job via the messageboard!

Monday, 9 April 2007

Pontius Parking

A succinct round-up of my Easter fun, which ended up being some kind of weird quasi-biblical parable featuring parking wardens and a knackered air bed.
First of all, I'm really noticing the marked contrast between Hull and Lincolnshire every day. The drive across the Wolds features crazy green sprayers, squashed animals and weird villages like Great (Loose And) Limber, and, I kid you not, a place called New York, which is just a crossroads with a church and a dose of bad feeling. But the Wolds is nothing compared with Spring Bank West, the last but one street on my return home. Last week I saw a granddad actively encouraging his top-off grandson to go on the nick ("go on, son, cow and gates and a copy of Psychologies"). Anyways, moving on.
Friday began with the modern interpretation of Jesus on a donkey. Hull's parking enforcers, Park Smart, on their little mopod's, were on my street, giving little Good Friday £60 tickets to the illegally parked. Not sure what Jesus would make of their blatant disregard of Bank Holidays. Nice that Hull City Council can ignore the crucifixition by turning the screw on motorists. I managed to move my car in time, only to get into a spot of road rage with an over-75. Hang on, I thought, I've just raised £5k for you lot, so you can cut me up at a junction.
Typical. Saturday was spent laughing at Jeffrey Archer's missing statues in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire. Our Easter Sunday was spent realising that the airbed we were sleeping on round at Dee's mums had a puncture and we were flat on our backs. Luckily, some duct tape and a pump enabled us to create our own resurrection of the airbed in the early hours. The bed rose, and peace was brought to a troubled Doncaster.
House update: Gazzumped
Listening: Alexander 'Skip' Spence. Recorded with Moby Grape. Went mad, attacked band with axe, sent to Bellevue, discharged and biked to Nashville in pajamas, recorded cracked solo album, died penniless, you know the drill; Nelly Furtado
Robert Wyatt radar: Glimpsed beraded through window cradling a hot tea

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Fag enablers and stolen sweethearts

The office has resounded this week to the words of Fred 'Gramps' Phelps, the patriach of the Most Hated Family In America, as shown on Louis Theroux this weekend just gone. Amazingly, everytime we say 'fag enabler' or 'your tweaking my nose, jackass' in doff-capping to the Sunday night show, we all crack up, even mad Tom, our 60-year-old token old school disgruntled sub from Hemel. We've taken to asking the ad girls if they're off out for a 'fag enabler' and splitting our sides when they say yes. Nice to be in a working environment when people are on your level, rather than the pseudo-baldy-tourettes rubbish I put up with at the Dalai Fairy.

House update: Have put in a crazily low offer. Thanks Baz for input!
Watching: The Notorious Bettie Page

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Great expectations?

We have been house hunting, in, whisper it, north Lincolnshire. Barrow and Barton. One fatty in Barton opened the door to us with her dinner down her shirt, said she was from the Shetlands, had eight cats, dogs and a crazy peripatic woman battling for smell space. We ain't touching that in a month of Sunday viewings.

But we saw one yesterday that could be lovely. Beautiful open views of fields. Outbuildings. A garage. Lovely village location. And a bargain. But it needs a stack of work - it's virtually derelict; and the love putting back into it. Or we could just buy a cluster fuckin' cul-de-sac with no personality. Anyways, any opinions and offers of fitting new windows welcome. See what you think ...