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.
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.