Paul Jackson and The Adelphi

I wrote this article in the spring for a local magazine. Today is the 30th birthday of The Adelphi and this evening I will go to see This is The Kit at The Adelphi in the City of Kingston upon Hull, I will go to tonight with my Wyf, it is the anniversary of our wedding of 10 years. Read on folks and you will see understand the relevance.

————

On the 1st of October 1984 the Adelphi passed its square footage into the mind of Paul Jackson. Prior to this date it was a working mans club with a gay night, darts, dominoes and pool but not very many working men. Mr Paul Jackson was, and remains, a music fanatic. His entirely reasonable objective was to secure a place where he could wander downstairs, watch a decent band, imbibe a respectable pint and facilitate culture.

 “In the 70’s: both in 6th form and after we left school: my mates and I spent all our social time going to gigs at Hull, Leeds and York Universities. The best gigs were happening at the Students Unions and I loved the SU’s of that time. What I found to be particularly inspirational was that thing of young people from around the world leaving home for the first time, and being thrown together into this cultural melting pot in which they would become what they were going to become. I‘m talking about what is that most vivid and character forming experience of anyone‘s life and this formed the main founding principle of The Adelphi from day one, by chucking young local people into the equation. To this day The Adelphi remains one of the most cosmopolitan places in Hull. “Of course the SU’s changed beyond recognition with the withdrawal of central funding at the beginning of the 90’s. They nevertheless remain potentially the most important cultural institutions in any city, if only confrontation could be replaced with cooperation once again”.

Evolving rapidly and gaining a reputation as a great music gig the club soon attained a fantastic reputation on the live music circuit (due in part to the Editor of this very magazine who helped him launch it a as national music venue!) and by the late 80s’ Paul was promoting local, national and international bands.

“It was always important to me that playing The Adelphi was an enjoyable experience for acts that play here. I advise them where to eat, what to see and to partake in the more civilised vibe of the area, it’s important to sell the City of Hull, and it is a fact that so many touring bands have come to love both the venue and the city as a result of this. “I see the Adelphi as a blank canvas. An underground music venue where people can express themselves without inhibition, but importantly with consideration. A selfish lack of consideration is one thing that will not be tolerated, and is rarely seen, here. One of the major roles that I see as being an essential function of an ‘underground’ music venue, is that we should strive to complement rather than compete with other places in the city, which I think we do, catering for specialist audiences as well as giving performers a start. Over the years I think we have consciously tried to fill the gaps in Hull‘s essential cultural equation, which changes constantly. Perhaps we are not as good as that these days, having to operate with hands tied behind our backs, but over the years we have been very good. We’ve also given people a creative community and reason to stay in the city. A lot of people mention that.”

 It’s hard going running a venue these days. (The problems facing small music venues nationally are well documented with lots of heavy duty national media coverage on this in recent months.) Small venues spring up all the time around the country but many swiftly go to the wall. There are problems. Licensing laws, bills to pay, sometimes very large ones sprung by utilities companies who care not what something is but how they can maximise their own shareholder driven revenue and the club along with many other small businesses is not immune to such harsh realities. With hands tied by public protection laws it is now particularly difficult to put on the important lifeblood of new music, the local sixth form scene…

 “I have to be very careful. A complaint from a member of the public about underage drinking can lead to all manner of problems I deal with all sorts of situations and responsibility does not end at the door of the venue, we are located in a residential area.”

 I ask Paul if he’s ever thought of a more stable and secure existence?

“At the peak of my powers I found myself able to interact effectively at any level within the music industry and did that. Certainly there were opportunities but I always stepped back up to The Adelphi because it was by far the most important and irreplaceable thing. With bands like Kingmaker and Fonda, I took them on solely with the intention of setting them up, and those initiatives were very successful. I even pretended to be a record company once and was very proud of the achievement. We put a great team together”.

 So The Adelphi remains a major and irreplaceable hub of the local music scene.

 “Certainly I consider it to be an awesome music venue and all round performance space with a unique and welcoming atmosphere. I love it to bits.”

 Paul is passionate about great ale too. The club has been accepted in the next good beer guide and runs regular hand pulled ales. It’s untied to a brewery, it’s a free house and doesn’t try to sell more beer than its capable of, so it’s all fresh and delicious the emphasis being on quality. Yummmm….

I ask the inevitable, though quite dull, question. What have been the highlights of the Adelphi over the years. I get the expected look, but an answer nonetheless.

“Of the massive bands who have played The Adelphi we generally got on very well. I’m sure Liam and Noel still fondly remember their Tropicana curry, while Green Day, The Manics and many other bands played for hours with my dog Yosser. Perhaps the bands that I like the most, and remember most fondly are the ones we had the closest relationships with & I’d have to name Radiohead, Pulp and The La’s. Radiohead even took a couple of Hull bands out on tour with them, and there are great memories of late pool and drinks. There is Pavement too, with their Hull based horse racing holidays. Bob Nastanovich even owned a racehorse which he called ‘Hull City Tiger.’ Poor beast took one look at the rain from the stalls in his first race and refused to budge. He was soon on the way to the knackers yard! Steve Malkmus even worked the bar on the night Pavement played”.

 “The first band I ever put one were called “Vagrant” they had Guy Gibson in them he’s is still around, All Mod Cons I think. The Second were “Cold Dance” the drummer Kev Hunter went on to become the tour manager of the Pixies and third were The Housemartins who beat London at the party”.

 Paul can play the “Bluebells of Scotland” on piano and three chords on guitar.

Martin Yelswel.

Addendum: @ 3.12pm on 23/03/2014 myself, my Wyf, and our two kids walked into The Adelphi for a Matinée performance. The artists performing were the wonderful Tom Skelly and This is the Kit. What followed will never be forgotten. The club was full of many people I know and love. I had seen TITK before at The Adelphi and they were stunning. That afternoon was something else. It was magnificent. The group played a casual, yet so breathtakingly striking set, it nearly made me cry and I’ll wager I wasn’t alone. It was so impossibly beautiful. Quiet, reserved and powerful. But it wasn’t just that it was the Adelphi itself. We were all “inside” the Adelphi and it was supreme. I, along with you, if you were there, will never forget that day. Nothing will ever replace what occurred that afternoon and nothing, can ever replace the Adelphi Club of Hull.

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The Long Hair of Death

Thunder cackles and there’s that sinister ominous low heavy light out side. I’m staring at the shop opposite where earlier I purchased three bananas… I squeeze.

My gallery, Alive With Art is opposite the best of shops. They sell amongst other things big bags of spice, fresh coriander and dried apricots, which are fantastic fun in the dark. I like the India & Continental Store a lot a real lot and I am this day into my sixth week of AWA, the pop up gallery which sprung from two brains and has been facilitating local artists. I have enjoyed these weeks immensely and now outside it rains like in Rangoon. In six days I will be gone. I have one banana left and I am in love.

6:37pm 27/06/1982. My cycle hit the kerb and leapt into the air. I followed in a hail of gravel. I got up laughed and looked at the distorted front wheel of my bike. It was fucked. I was bleeding. I wasn’t shocked because the reason this happened was entirely predictable in that my attempt to do a U turn through the central reservation of Kingston Road in Willerby, Hull had failed. It had failed due the idiotic speed I was doing. I knew that but wanted to see if I could bank the cycle round using said gravel at approximately 33mph on a full size road bike. Kingston Road is long and straight with a gentle slope. I was in tenth gear pedalling rapidly. There were no cars involved, no cars near. I’m not that stupid and I wasn’t in love.

The last six weeks have been great and last night was Friday. I decided to go for a pint of beer. I packed up my bags locked the gallery up and went to a public house called Queens Hotel because that is what it is called. In the corner of the pub sat a man reading. The man is fanatical about a group called Talking Heads and an LP called Remain in Light by the band. This record is shockingly good. I know the man so I joined him. I have been playing this LP a lot in AWA gallery over the last few weeks. I have record player in there. We talked about Talking Heads and he put some Stereolab on the Jukebox. I have also played lots and lots of Stereolab in AWA and have just this minute put on the record deck a triple LP by them called Aluminium Tunes. This has a track called The Long Hair of Death. I squeeze my leg and consider the banana I have left and that the City of Hull is no longer behaving like Rangoon. I am in love with Stereolab.

I left Queens Hotel and returned to the art gallery, picked up my bag put the lights on my bike and rode off into the night very carefully. The Long Hair of Death was remixed by Nurse With Wound and this tune is extraordinary, hypnotic… fantastic. As I pulled out of Springhead Lane which is full of pot holes The Long Hair of Death remixed by Nurse With Wound and now called Simple Headphone Mind was raging through my brain. I turned right and accelerated. I was nearly home. At the corner of Hull Road and and First Lane there is a little patch of grass with a little bit of a drop, a mini mini hill. I like to turn off the road and have one and a half seconds of fun riding over this grassy patch of land. This evening I decided to do this at full belt. There were no cars and no people. I swerved off the road onto the grass and came off my bike. It didn’t hurt as I came off like a ballet dancer, a perfect slide on the wet grass the bike smashing in to the hedge. I got up and laughed. This morning my leg hurts. My wallet had compressed into my upper thigh in the fall. It was a reckless and stupid thing to do. In six days I will be gone. We will have crossed the border into Germany and to the forest. I squeeze my leg. I am glad I didn’t break it.

The Tears of the Dead

Confused? You will be. Read on folks, another lost but found bit of history. As usual all true.

——-

“Big blade dirty Sachsen, this night soon you all going to make me rich and fat. Build me a fire and cook them rabbits or I eat you and wife. I’m sick of salty white fish. Do it or I cut your balls off and stitch a dogs in place.”

——-

It always brings a smirk to my face that, the complete impossibility of it all. I mean stitching the balls of a dog on a man, come on what a waste of time, may as well ask someone else to do it. It makes me laugh every time I enter this place, look at the site, the photographs the happy faces of the dudes who dug it up, shame they were late. Still as I said it makes me laugh and it is nice I suppose. Hell does have some good museums and they are all free. You have the Streetlife Museum, Wilberforce House, the awesome Ferens Art Gallery, the Maritime Museum the Arctic Corsair and of course the Hull and East Riding place which is where we are now, a place where they have little bottles with the tears of the dead in them.

As I said though it makes me laugh, every time I look at what’s left of Rudston Villa, that’s what they call it now.

——-

“Now that would not be very nice would it big man, shit what the **** ….  Jesus man ow… ****. Argghhhh”

“Who’s there, show yerself or I kill Sachsen now and eat wife, come out of the mist licker of dogs.”

“Sorry, looks impossible, you are going to have to cut me out, bloody thorns man, hey over here to the left”

“I’ll cut you out after you tell me why you are in this bush”

——-

Again I laugh spontaneously. “Dahddi why are you laughing, Mamma why is Daddy laughing?”

——-

“Look just cut me out will you, this is really not very funny and it’s painful, oww, hey…. hey…. and don’t hit the Saxon. Who are you anyway”

“Who are you. Man in funny clothes stuck the in bush”

——-

My daughter tugs at my coat. “Dahddi why are you still laughing… I want to know”

“Ok come and sit down I’ll tell you. But first I want you to look at some things. Look at the picture and look at the floor what do you see?”

“There are some men digging in the picture, and there is a lion and a cow on the floor”

“Yes that is right but what I am laughing about is what is not there. Now…. listen”

…..Once upon a time a very long time ago a man fell from the sky… he landed in a bush on a misty evening just as another man, who was a Viking warrior dude was about to turn another man, a Saxon, into a dog with his sword. The bush was a very thorny one and most unpleasant on the bottom so the man from the sky asked the Viking to cut him out. The bush was next to that man in the picture over there which I asked you to look at. The Viking was a funny man indeed and wouldn’t cut the man from the sky out of the bush until he found out his name. He did though as the man had a present for him which he gave to the Viking.

________

“What is this?”

“It’s whiskey it is for you, look there is a nice gold label on the bottle”

“Give me it I will drink this drink I have thirst”

“Hey hey steady on leave a bit for me I need a hair of the dog”

“A dog you turn me to a dog. I will kill you first”

‘Hey hey now now…. it hasn’t turned me to a dog yet and do not drink it all or you will be acting like a dog, sit down sit down, but first I want you to look at something. Look over there what do you see?”

“I see a whimpering Sachsen sat on a rock.”

“You don’t see the gold then?”

“What gold?”

“The gold below where the Saxon sits and which I reckon you should ask him nicely to dig up, but do me a favour and don’t disturb the Lion and the Bull next to it”

——-

“What did he give him Daddy?”

“A sack of gold he gave him which was burried below that rock in the picture, the rock was over there by that hole in the mosaic, a mosiac is what that floor is called with the lion and Bull on it. It was once the floor of a great villa. That’s what makes me laugh”

“What did he give the Saxon?”

“He gave him some words, he told him to not to kill the Viking and to go to Holy Island and have the books removed to a safe place”

“Did the Viking give anyone anything Daddy?”

“Yes, he promised not to kill the Saxon”

“Hmmmmm”

“Is it true Daddy”

“Yes”

“Like a Mammas tin of peaches, true but funny”

“Yes”

“Daddy, can we look at those little bottles again the ones with the tears of the dead in them?”

The Message

Hello. What a marvellous thing electronic mail is. What was lost is found and what is found shall be published. From the deep dark and mislaid archive………

Take it of leave it but it’s all very very true.

Read on.

————————————————–

The usual thing is Kaffee und Kuchen, generally about three or four different kinds of cake. All sorts, one which looks like a giant egg, a marble cake a Käsekuchen an Apfelkuchen, himbeerkuched, Erdbeerkuchen, Obstkuchen etc etc. and a chocolate cake. Me I like the raspberry cake the so called Himbeerkuchen in the Wyfs tongue. It is an awesome deposit of a taste where it counts.

This is the United Kingdom though 2008 CE and so today it is banana cake, carrot cake and the majestic despicable mountain that is the “chocolate earthquake cake” a recipe invented by myself and some entity somewhere in space called Maureen. The idea is simple enough. Just put far too much chocolate and bicarbonate in it. The result is an amateur disaster full of cracks and liquid chocolate but it tastes a lot of coca.

I thought it was at first a rat or mouse, it had been there for a few days, the Kat noticed it first, sitting there staring like the murdering bastard it is.

“It makes a right racket scraping, scratching, I thought it was a rat”

“Oh do you have to” says my mother. “You should have it seen to”.

“Why? It’ll be dead soon, I thought it would have snuffed it by now to be honest”

“It’ll stink, you’ll have blue bottles everywhere” says my Dad.

“Mmmmm this chocolate cake is really like…. chocolatey” says my sister”

“It’s a bird, it was flapping about this morning, going mental it was, a pigeon by the look of it’s feathers, it’s been in there since Wednesday, four days at least that’s when the Kat began it’s weird stare at the fire place for hours behaviour…. the freak”

“Four days”

“Yep”

“You should have it seen to”

“More cake”

“It’ll stink”

“You’ll have blue bottles everywhere”

“Ok Dexter, can you give us a hand, one last try to free the bird” Dexter is my Sisters husband.

The old guy who sold us this house liked screwing. So much so that I have several jars full of four inch screws, if a shelf needed putting up it was with four inch screws, if a coat rail went up it was with four inch screws. When the fitted wardrobes (which came with their own screws) went up it was with an additional 12 four inch screws driven into the masonry per cupboard. It got on my nerves. I was sick of unscrewing.

The fire place came away quite easily though, then fell to bits. We managed to ease away the flame guard at the back enough to see the creature which had descended down our chimney without ascending back up again of it’s own volition.

“It’s a pigeon alright Dex, here move the guard back a tad more so I can get hold of it”

“Ok”

“Hey it’s a racing pigeon, and pretty tame…. got it, just gotta lift it out”

It was indeed a racing pigeon of sorts and very tame thus the lack of a struggle in grabbing it and manoevering it round the twisted metal of the broken über ugly 70s’ fire.

I took it out side and let it go. Up it went and landed immediately on our chimney pot. This bird had not flown.

The kids found it fantastic, their faces slimed up with brown chocolate and stinking of banana…. they grinned.

I removed the identification in place around it’s left foot before freeing it. The tightly bound paper ring.

I unravelled it, unfolded it… read it…… It said.

_______________________

Happy birthday Erik, how’s 2008 and hows the leg? Still bruised?

Please go to the Old Hall by the river again.

Leave two cracked mobiles and a wind-up charger on that rock you fell over. Do it at high tide on Sunday, that’s probably tomorrow you lazy bastard.

Speak to you soon.
Krane 876 AD.

The Goat

Another from the archives. All true of course they always are. Read on folks….

Indeed it came to pass… the visit that is. Yesterday I was visited upon. One of my clients a most favorite one took to the iron horse from the Big Stink and disembarked in Hell where I met him like the good chap I am. We had several layers of work to discuss which to cut a short story shorter was easily and fruitfully concluded by six o’clock after which we sat and ate a magnificent prawn curry washed down with red wine. I personally think wine and curry is actually most foul, but my Wyf got it on special offer in Morrisons, which by chance I also think is most foul and a bit of a rip off to be honest. There ya go, I made the curry on Tuesday night and I think I over egged the ginger. Anyways that don’t matter we scoffed the lot except for the remains I have just eaten in some vain pathetic attempt to relieve the almost appocolyptic distortion of my vision at present.

Hell is a wonderful place, it is not normal, things are not what they once were I will admit but that was when I was a young man, sexy, fit as fuck and incapable of pulling a bird. My client is also from Hell originally and we both used to hang out in the very same depraved places. As I said Hell is most wonderful and it was the first time I had took to the night here since we moved into it. A Northern night out is now back in vogue with me I can tell yas. One pound thirty on the bus and one is slap bang in the middle of Hell – Redux.

First stop was a place known as Ye Olde Blue Bell a really nice pub, one which I loved to bits when I was younger. Thing is I had forgot where it was and my client couldn’t remember having been there, which he had ’cause I was with him when he did all them moons ago. I was really exited, we both were but where the fuck was it? Then it happened, the flashback. “I know where it is” I said. “It’s next to Corn Exchange”. And it was. Ye Olde Blue Bell sits down some alley like a Dickension dream, the magic, the vibe of a classic “Olde Inglish” pub like the one in Lord of the Rings… except it wasn’t was it, it was shit. There was absolutely no bugger in there and there weren’t even any bar staff to serve the ghosts. I said to my companion, “what the fucks this”, he said “maybe someone has murdered the barman”. We left and headed off to another magnificent delight known as Ye Olde White Hart a place where a mutual acquaintance of both of ours once ate all the Christmas balls on the Christmas tree. A place where the landlord then bought our acquaintance a pint to wash the glass down with at the same time as calling our mutual aquaintance a bit of a freak, a bit of a freak man, the guy was nuts. He is now a teacher.

We got to Ye Olde White Hart and it too was empty but being such a magnificent vista to the eyes and having possibly the best fire place in Hell we decided to have a pint. To be honest it did have a several customers a couple of middle aged men, three women and believe this or not which you wont, a fucking goat, which wasn’t actually doing anything at all apart from being someones fashion accessory. Me and my mate sat like… supping our pints and trying not to listen to the conversation at the bar. It was then it dawned on me… the people in Hull have got the most gay accent I have ever heard for being actually mostly not gay. Even gayer than Manchester, even gayer than Leeds where grown men call each other love and ducky. Fuck me I thought no wonder I could never pull a girl in London. I talk like a Yorkshire Graham Norton. Fuck. My mate agreed… only because he is from Kilnsea and doesn’t sound pouffy, not that there anything wrong with that.

Next stop was the living legend itself the most magnificent, most true, most fucking brilliant pub in the world, Ye Olde Black Boy. This place used to have loads of man traps on the walls, manacles, spears and various other real life propa ephemera from the sad times of slavery. Hull was never part of the slave trade but did play it’s part in it’s eventual abolition in the form of a certain William Wilberforce. Interestingly we never made it to Ye Olde Black Boy, for we, are over 25 and tonight most rudely thrust upon us by a young girl was an invite to the over 25s night at King Billy down the road and there was “music” too… as well as a free shot, it cost nowt to get in and stayed open late to boot.

Off we marched, this sounded good, King Billy was William III, William of Orange by the way and he sits on a golden horse outside the real King Billy, the pub. He sits atop his horse on top of the nearest public convenience which has goldfish in the systern of the urinals legend has it. We got there and King Billy was shit. It was virtually empty except for four fat old men slumped at the bar, who probably smelled of sick.

“Bollox” I said. “That girl has defrauded us of our excitement, our fun night out in the Northern city of Kingston upon Hell, the city which locked it gates to the King during the supposed Inglish civil war”.

‘Shut up” my mate said. “I don’t need a history lesson I need a drink, lets go to Corn Exchange”

It was 9.30pm, Corn Exchange is next door to King Billy so we trundled in and what a sight it was, I was gutted, it was gutted, gone where all the elaborate celebrations of civic pride, gone, all gone and so where the bloody customers, this place to was virtually empty too. Still we went in and straight to the bar to gaze upon the sad sight of marigold coloured formica bar fittings and the three yes only three bottles of very lonely looking Jacobs Creek wine surrounded by a chasm of empty space. It even sold Stones bitter which I don’t like very much. Fuck it, what the hell have I done moving back ‘ere, it’s shit.

The barmaid was quite pretty though but had a strong Hull accent so sounded completely gay. We got served and we got charged, £4.20 for two pints. NICE. We sat down in a corner. My mate said “This sucks” I said “Yes it does and I feel like… old now…do I look that old”. He looked right past me… and uttered the words… “p-e-o-p-l-e”. And it was true. From getting our booze, sitting down and me sulking about looking old about fifty people had somehow managed to sneak in the pub. I said “Are they fucking ghosts or what, where did they come from?” They where all dressed up, some even had leather on… black leather. They were all shapes and sizes, young, “old” (like me) male, female and no goats and… they where pouring into Corn Exchange. Fantastic, fucking fantastic. I jumped up. “More ale fine friend” I said, “for we have stumbled upon the onion”. Onions you see have layers, and the ghosts pouring through the doors of Corn Exchange had many layers.

“Yes, I think we should have more ale” my fine friend replied, although it was rather unlikely he would say anything else. Off I went to the bar grinning and weaving around our fine most excellent company of ghosts now numbering about a 100, some of them looking a bit kinda hard, sort of Northern bastard hard, the girls and the boys, the women and the men. I went to the bar and ordered beer again with the pretty barmaid, I said to her “You know, you have a lovely voice but it sounds really….. ….. very much like my sister”. £4.20 came the reply with a smile.

Then bang, it hit me right in the face, slap like a fucking rocket, pounded me it did. Pummled me. WHACK! The opening chords to ‘Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf, the unmistakable blast of shyte pub rock, played by some fat fucker who can’t sing. Oh no… and it was loud. Like real loud and the ghosts were up for it big time, they were still flowing in. I looked around and there it was, I should have seen it but was blinded by the scarcity of taste. The notice, the band poster, well it was A4 actually and it read.

———————

Wednesday nite.

LIVE

Erik & Dave of

“TOP SECRET”

Playing all your favourite tunes and requests.

We Luv it so will You!

Open Late.

———————

Requests? Requests? What’s all this and then the bloke started singing and guess what…he was…. I made my way over to the table and my mate who was sat with a big grin on his face. I put the beer down and he said. “This is Top Secret”. “You what” I said, “TOP SECRET” he said, “How do you know” I said. He nodded to his right, I looked and there sat next to us where three buxom females. Grandma, Daughter and Grand Daughter. “Top Secret” said the Grand Daughter to me grinning like a fucking monsoon. “Pardon” said I. “T-O-P S-E-C-R-E-T… they are really really good”. I said “You sound really, really gay”. “You what” she said. I said “Are you a fucking ghost” “Pardon she said. I said “Yes really really great”. She smiled a massive smile and then wiggled at me.

I turned to my fellow traveller who was having his hat tried on by an other young lady just as the band pounded out “Caroline” by Status Quo at full freaking sonic attack, I’ve seen Status Quo, I photographed ’em in the pit at the front of a big gig in Lincoln and the are actually really bloody good live, this was better, faster and meaner. This was pub rock.

“Hey come and dance with me, you” a voice boomed out in my direction. I looked round “DANCE… YOU…ME”. “ERR… MAYBE LATER” I shouted back to some… let’s not beat about the bush here… to some startlingly attractive ghost. “Can I borrow your glasses then?” came back the bizarrely abstract reply. What does one say to that but yes. “Don’t brake them” said I. We where getting hit on repeatedly by women and girls, the place was like going mental, more beer appeared, then disappeared. The band utterly fucking rocked, souled, psyched, strutted, bluesed, blasted and funked out. These guys could sing and they pissed on any pithy Indie band in Camden Town. This was music played by demons, ghosts, charged up on hell fire, beer and fags. This was soul music from the blackest heart of satan himself. It was beautiful, it was refreshing and it was driving this place crazy. I’m now getting the finger, a beckoning from some siren on the dance floor dressed in black… slim, long blond hair, real dark blond hair. She’s looking straight through me, she’s inside my head, some cormorant on a rock in a raging sea. A soul cormorant, black as night twisting and writhing to “I heard it through the Grapevine” the Marvin Gaye classic…. Jeeezzus…. A ghost dressed in black, I always thought they wore white.

It was Eye of the Tiger Time, “Eh, look it’s fucking Rocky Bilboa” came a voice smashing though the music and ripping me away from the murderous sirens gaze. An enormous man was commenting on my mates hat on his girlfriend or wife or just whatever. There was a bloody fashion show going on now and we were in the middle of it. And so it went on, and on, and on. My glasses came back my mates hat came back and went, the band hit the big time finishing with The Final Countdown a cracking bit off tat but I can’t remember by who. And there again the ghosts danced like a raging fire, right in the middle was the siren again burning into this mans face. “Eh I think she fancies you” said some friendly looking phantom. “Yeah I think she does” I looked again this time I had my specs on and man I was floored, like jet in the head floored, this woman was not fucking real it would be impossible, this is not real, she is a spector.

I stood up, I spread my arms out and shouted loud as I could “You’re beautiful, so utterly beautiful but I am married and I probably sound a bit gay”. Two geezers, and I mean geezers heads polished as brass just look at me like I am some nut. I see the spector spin, wink, flourish her bumps open her wings and fly off the rock.

We finish up our pints and depart the haunted Corn Exchange. “Goodbye gentlemen”…. we both look round as we walk passed a small group of people sitting outside at a table, “Goodnight, safe journey home” says girl of about 25, tall, slim, blond and dressed in black……….    and that is the truth…………

The Impostor.

I am slowly recovering some of my old blogs. Some of these were before blogs were called blogs. The loss was due to my fondness for not actually caring about anything I had ever written, having email accounts deleted due to hackers and plain old accidental loss. This is one from the vaults of time gone…  I have recovered several more, though it is a laborious chore and in all likelyhood a complete waste of time. I will duly post them in an archive… on this “Blog” site thing… which incidentally I lost the password for and only recovered it through a dream I had last night…

I may start this whole sorry affair up again… I may not. So anyway without further adoo this is……..

 The Impostor.

Marianne took her Mum to work at seven in the morning only to return all upset and told me to look out the window. I did this but could see nothing as my bins were not on my face. She said “put some shoes on and have a look down the road” in the sort of crap unintelligible garble one speaks when distressed. She was very upset.

Off I duly went, fully clothed in the freezing conditions and half asleep.

Marianne was unconsolable.

I approached a bundle of black and white fur laying motionless on the pavement. Blood stained the snow and a trickle of frozen pigment snaked across from the centre of the road.

Oh no Bungie was dead, the famous wild cat beast from Hull. Mown down in the early hours by some bastard car driver with little concern for the little things

I returned with news of our departed dead friend as Mariannes Dad asked from the top window at the front of the house. “Es ist sie?” “Ja” said I “Es ist Sie” More tears flowed.

“How do we tell Saskia” Marianne said. “Well she can’t speak” said I. “My Mum will be very upset” said Marianne. We all cried, me less being a real man. Saskia was happy enough though, she was clueless to this tragic event.

So off I had to go to find a box to put Bungie in and a shovel to hack her off the icy pavement.

We couldn’t find a suitable box as sure enough, Bungie was as inflexible dead as she was alive, so an old towel I used for the grim task of covering the body. I didn’t need the spade as she came off the pavement with a strong tug, leaving only a small amount of fur behind which I judged to be acceptable considering the conditions.

I placed her in the barn and asked the others if they would like to have a final look before we decided what to do with Bungie next. My idea was to leave her in a nearby field for the buzzards to eat, this being winter an’ all they must be very hungry. Sooner or later the temperature would drop and she would thaw out a bit. This was not very popular I must add.

It was decided the compost heap would be the best place. The soil being less like steel due to the heat generated by the natural biology of this environment.

Off I trundled, spade in hand and our frozen mate under my arm when I heard a loud scream….. “BUNGiieeeeee, BUNGIE”. It was Marianne. Bungie was alive, warm, very well and had been fast asleep all this time in the basket full of our CLEAN washing until now, until this moment when she was rudely awakened by an ecstatic Marianne and Dad.

I then had this cold sensation under my arm. Who the fcuk was was dead Bungie?

Was this some cruel trick of space time continuum? Dead Bungie and live Bungie in the same room at the same time? No bollocks it wasn’t, I had some other dead bundle thawing out under my arm. An impostor an identi-Bungie!

Well I stuck to our original plan, the compost heap it was for dead Bungie and the washing basket seemed fine for live Bungie so that was that. A happy ending for us and a sad one for our mystery minx.

Addendum…

Bungie later bit me on the leg, no change there then, and Mariannes Dad admitted he cried more when Bungie was discovered alive as he thought he had gotten rid of her.

Cheers
Martin

One Letter From Hell – The Road to HU5

So it came to pass. It always does… pass…. and it has been a long long while since I last typed regarding Hell and its environs. Read on folks it a bit of a ride this one.

I’ll start at 4 The Beeches, Sidmouth Street, HU5 2JS. Telephone 01482 41650 (bakelite model of course) and I’ll end in tears. This house was the first house I ever received an electric shock in. The first I ever bathed in a tin bath, the first I ever did a crap in an outside karzi onto ice and the first garden I ever weeded. It was a very small house with steep stairs, a clock that did that hypnotic spooky thing… tick tock tick tock etc. There was no fridge, the plugs were the old style round ones suitable for little fingers and a man used to come round and collect the rent in a black trench coat and trilby and smelled of the war. The war…..

This was the home of my Nana, Frances Wood, she looked after me a lot, an awful lot and she looked after my sister too when she arrived. She introduced me to Vesta Curry, home made bread and Rosie (mentally ill), Mrs Fisher and Mrs Honeycombe none of whom had husbands but all had those incredibly loud clocks… Mrs Honeycombe’s was in a weird glass case and had things that span round in it. She introduced me to bomb sites too which I was allowed to play on. Massive portions of fish ‘n’ chips from Exmouth chippy (I think it was called) and endless walks up and down Newland Avenue at a most tedious slow pace as she was quite old. I didn’t mind though I liked Newland Ave, it was interesting and the people were always nice to me.

In 1984 I first heard a song called “Green Fields of France”. Of course it was played on the radio by Mr John Peel and it was by The Men They Couldn’t Hang. I went out and bought it the next day. It blew my (expletive) head off. I told the bloke who sang it years later about this as by some act of weirdness we became friends and had several devastating verging on apocalyptic nights out, years later in Camden Town.

In 1985 I left Kingston Upon Hull for good.

In 1986 my Nana dropped dead. I was no longer a little boy I was err… a bit bigger and living in York. I was sad at this news, delivered to my door by a police woman who came to inform me of the death of my Grandmother. Which was a bit confusing as my Gran was already dead. Which I told the woman several times and she kept asking me if I was me and saying she had come to inform me of the death of my Grandmother. Of course it clicked eventually.

The intervening years between then and now have been a roller coster ride of of exhilaration,  pain… black times good times, loss, gain, depression, poverty and most importantly experience.

In 2006 I returned to Kingston upon Hull from Mordor… London with a ring on my right hand inscribed “Marianne, 2 Oktober 2004”

Our return was a massive shock to the psych. We were refugees, blasted out of our city by the hard economic inevitable. We left our friends, our Kultur, our life in London for my home town and we were were almost alone…. almost….

But strange things do happen… we were almost alone as I said…

A strange fact, a pure oddity really looking at it. A friend of mine also returned three weeks after we did. I shall call him Nick as he is of that name. He moved into a flat down Westbourne Avenue. The very same flat my now Wyf had lived in when she was as student in Hull. Years before she thankfully scraped me off the floor of the Good Mixer in Camden Town I add.

This simple yet peculiar anomaly has slowly but surely conspired events.

It lead to me meeting another fella, I shall call him Lloyd as indeed he is that and resulted in the creation of something. It lead to Hulloween in 2008.

The intervening years between then and now have been a roller coaster ride of of exhilaration,  pain… black times good times, loss, gain, depression, poverty and experience. I say this because, personally I have, until the climax of this summer and to now, been wanting to leave Hull for Germany, the Black Forest and the old fort of “Maria Im Tann”, the place where I converse with the earth Mother and the place where time shifts.

We spent summer in Germany as the norm and travelled to Kulturtag at the end of our trip. Kulturtag is an Art Jazz festival not far from Köln and it’s fabulous. I played a couple of gigs there and upon our return reality hit. Hull is not Germany. I crashed hard. We’d looked at a property in Oaxe where we are based in Germany. I loved it, it was old, had a stable a great big garden and was dirt cheap. I wanted to leave, Marianne did not.

But strange things do happen…. Freedom Festival was blinding, I saw my first slow worm at Boggle Hole. Hulloween 2012AD was fantastic. Precipitated by myself and Lloyd but made what it was by the artists who contributed and the people who went.

7:30pm, 10th November 2012AD. Sharp Street – A Performance to Remember the Fallen. Trinity Methodist Church. Newland Avenue HU5.

Precisely that… A Performance to Remember the Fallen. I gazed up at the roof in the church, Marianne at home, as we couldn’t get a child “lookerafterer”. I gazed up, I listened and history swept into my soul as the narrative to the event progressed, interjected with music from The Hillbilly Troupe. It was a sombre evening but exhilarating and incredibly well attended. The Troupe played “Green Fields of France” but they never called it that. History, bomb sites, my Nana. Slowly walking up and down Newland Ave for well over a decade with her… history the fallen and of course The Fallen. Spoken about with such sincerity and played about with passion and humour as the Troupe do it. History, The Fallen of HU5…. Kingston upon Hull. Memories facts and The Fallen on all sides. I held back tears last night… it was a mistake I should have just let them rip.

So there you have it folks. I am not going anywhere. The road to Damascus? Fuck that it’s the road to HU5 and the people I have met over these last few years and in some cases this summer. You’ve taken taken the “e” out of Hell. I live in Hull and now I weep now not in sadness but in joy. For this I thank you… You know who you all are.

XXX