‘Going to Hull to get cultural?’ the guard on the train asked as he punched my ticket. Well of course – why not? I’m always cultural. I’m a cultured fellow…
At the beginning of March I had the brilliant opportunity to visit Hull – 2017 City of Culture – and it was great to be there with colleagues from the Paisley 2021 bid team and with other representatives from bidding cities from across the UK. The overwhelming feeling I was left with following the visit was how much the opportunities from the City of Culture status has changed how local people feel about the city in which they live. Talking to some of the volunteers who were acting as city ambassadors was a treat – all of them were so enthused by what was happening and they looked fantastic in their very cool and colourful uniforms. I’m sure when we win the competition our volunteer ambassadors will look just as good and radiate to all our visitors the pride we have in Paisley.
In Hull railway station, you’re met not only by the volunteers but also by a striking statue of poet Philip Larkin who lived for a large part of his life in Hull. A wonderful writer, his poems capture qualities of life which are often overlooked. His work seems to be concerned with the modern world and the relentless process of change but it also, to me at least, contains a sense of hope regards where the change may lead too. I’d like to think that he would have seen the City of Culture award for Hull as something filled with hope for the future.
While I was in the station I couldn’t help think that a statue of a Paisley icon in Paisley’s Gilmour Street railway station would be a great way to greet our guests. I will cast my vote now for Gerry Rafferty…perhaps with these words somewhere nearby…
‘I know how much I lean on you
Only you can see
The changes that I’ve been through
Have left a mark on me’
One final impression of Hull – culture was all around – even in the polite notices… This one here, which was on a wall in one of the venues, reminded me of the master Marcel Duchamp…
Today is Kindness Day UK, a nationally recognised day for the celebration of kindness in society and day to day life. Individual acts of kindness are encouraged on this day annually. So be nice to everyone today…and tomorrow… And if you want to look cool while you’re being kind these very cool shirts are available from Big Issue online:
Speak soon – Tara!