The locals have a saying that ‘it’s never dull in Hull’.
When I was asked to return to this year’s City of Culture – and the place where I went to university – I jumped at the chance to see if the adage was true.
One of the first things you notice is the Humber Bridge, also known as the Bridge to Nowhere. Opened in 1981, it’s a perfect example of ‘pork barrel politics’ – not much use to anyone, but given to the electorate to keep them sweet.
Former guitarist for The Housemartins Stan Cullimore (left) ventured to Hull with former deputy prime minister Lord John Prescott (right) for this year’s City of Culture event
Well that’s what John Prescott, the former MP for Hull East, told me. We met in the car park next to the bridge and set off, with BBC film crew in tow, to see what we could find out about the city.
John thought the bridge was a waste of money. But as for The Deep, a new aquarium in the heart of the Old Town, he loves it. He’s not the only one – it’s always packed with visitors.
By now we were getting peckish, so we went to Bob Carvers, the most famous chip shop in Hull, where John’s political skills came in handy.
The film crew wanted us to do a piece to camera but workmen were making too much noise digging up the road, so John offered to buy them lunch to keep them quiet until we’d finished.
After that, it was my turn to act as guide.
Hull’s Maritime Museum overlooking Queen Victoria Square, one of the city’s many cultural draws
I took John to Hull University, where I studied for my maths degree. We went into the library, which Philip Larkin, Hull’s favourite poet, used to run. I met the great man a couple of times and always found him cheery but John thought him a sour grump.
To end the day, we headed to a small club. I explained to John that if Liverpool has the Beatles, then Hull has got The Housemartins.
The trouble is John had never heard of The Housemartins, so I explained they were a top 1980s pop band and I had been the guitarist.
When I got out my uke to play him one of our hits, he vanished. Obviously his idea of culture doesn’t include 1980s pop songs.