My Short Acting Career

Many many years ago, when I was about 13 I think, I was persuaded to appear in the school play. The play, and I will never forget it, was The Snow Queen. I managed to land the part of the Story Teller which, looking back, was a bit contrived but I guess was meant to be a parody of Hans Christian Anderson or similar. I played no role in the action but introduced the story and then popped in and out to explain what was going on, help the characters make key decisions and harass the audience. I can still recall part of the introduction where I was engaged in dancing a little dance while reciting a poem….

Snip, snap, snooper
Pooper bazalooper
Snip snap snooper

It went. Did I feel daft singing that? Yes, I did. Pooper bazalooper indeed! It sounds like something you do in a bathroom.

Having looked up the play on the internet, I am reminded the last part of my introduction went as follows;

Crippety! Crappity — Ugh! {As he fails to get
the right step.)
{He snaps his fingers and begins again.)
Snip! Snap! Snooper!
Pooper, bazalooper. {Quickening.)
Snip-snap-snooper —

Crippetycrappity — BOOM! {He succeeds with
his feet.)
{He hears the audience and slowly turns.)

No comment but the analogy definitely works doesn’t it?

Anyway, I recall learning these and other silly lines and rehearsing and rehearsing and…. The big day arrived and it seemed to go quite well but then how would you know. An audience of parents isn’t he most critical of theatre goers now is it?

Apparently, I did so well that I was invited back for the next school play – Time and The Conways by JB Priestley. I recall none of the lines from this one but I do recall that I played Earnest Beevers – a nice man! This one I found difficult. Ask a 14-year old to act the part of a young man then transition into a middle aged self-made man and then go back to a shy young man again…. I didn’t have much fun. I did like the play though with its messages about the nature of time and reality.

time

And this is the rub.

There are still nights when I wake up drenched in sweat and experiencing palpitations because I dreamed that I forgot my lines. Forty-years afterwards I still dream about my fear of it all going wrong. That pregnant pause and rising embarrassment as you realize the poor kid can’t recall what to say next…..You know, I don’t think I forgot my lines. To be honest, I recall very little of it now at all in normal consciousness but somewhere, deep down inside my psyche, I am still there, frozen in time, petrified that I would forget my lines.

Of FA Cup Finals, Hull and Yorkshire

This last weekend, I and a good percentage of my fellow East Yorkshire compadres (not all as Rugby is still big in Hull and Hull KR played Hull FC that same day!) were either sat in the London sun at Wembley or, like me, huddled in front of the biggest TV we could find. Of course, none of us really entertained the idea that we could actually win the FA Cup but we all brimmed with pride and awe at the occasion none the less. But you also knew, as underdogs, we had nothing at all to lose and there is always the chance, no matter how slim, that on the day and for 90 minutes, Hull City could be the better team. Of course, 10 minutes after kick off and the score Hull City 2 Arsenal 0, we perhaps did allow ourselves a moment or two to dream that maybe it was going to be the underdog’s day and that Curtis Davies would lift that cup for the long suffering fans of Hull City. In the end, it wasn’t to be, but the overwhelming sense of pride at having made Arsenal and their fans suffer and work for their reward made it all worthwhile. In fact, now we have a taste for such occasions, we want more!

arse

Of course, when you play a team like Arsenal you are playing a global brand. People who have never been to Arsenal support that club all around the world and they expect success. Arsenal have a history and a pedigree. They have one player valued at two times our entire squad. It’s easy to support a team like Arsenal.

But, I have to say, I would have liked to see more media coverage of the underdog. Hull’s story is a much better one than Arsenals. Its easy to be an Arsenal fan with expectations of Premier League football, Europe and silverware year in and year out so it must be tough to go 9 years without a trophy. Arsenal fans everywhere have my sympathy. I full well understand how 9-years is an eternity to wait. You see, Hull City was founded 110-years ago and we have never won anything. After Saturday’s glorious defeat, we have still never won anything. There are loyal Hull City fans, born and bred in Hull, who have been born and died without ever seeing Hull City win anything. These are real fans.

To be honest, the media could have done a better job. A decade ago, Hull City were in the bottom tier of English football. Almost went out of business a couple of times. The club has gone from bottom to top in a short period of time and we all of course hope that over the next few years, it will stay there and that we will win something soon. But thats the difference between us and Arsenal fans. They get all weird over not winning a trophy in 9-years, we just support our team through thick and thin – mostly thin times. There are some truly great stories that they could have done a better job of picking up on.

Hull_MArina1

In fact, having travelled a lot in my life I can say that there is something about being from Yorkshire and Hull – in that order. Hull has always been somehow cut off from everything by virtue of its geographic position. The huge muddy estuary of the Humber to the south, the boulder clay cliffs of the east coast leave only the north and west accessible. Hull has always been a sort of maverick place willing to assert itself whether that was the Icelandic cod war or the English civil war! Hull has historically been a backwater cut off from the south albeit an important backwater as a result of its port and access to the ocean. Being essentially cut off and isolated is in the psyche of its inhabitants too. We are unafraid, down to earth and unimpressed with attitudes. We get on with it, make the best of it and know how to enjoy ourselves. There is an element of Yorkshire spirit too in there but with a definite Hull edge. We are like our team – resolute, spirited and uncomplaining taking little or no notice of what others might think or say – after all, the vast majority of them have never been to Hull!

hull-map

So, quite honestly I feel sorry for Arsenal fans having to wait 9-years to win something. They plainly don’t have the stomach for the long haul or for adversity that comes with being born north of Watford and especially in a little City called Kingston upon the River Hull.

hullfans

Hull City Honours – from Wikipedia.

Football League Championship and predecessors (level 2 of the English football league system)
Runners-up: 2012–13
Play-off winners: 2007–08

Football League One and predecessors (level 3 of the English football league system)
Champions: 1965–66
Runners-up: 1958–59, 2004–05
Promoted: 1984–85

Football League Two and predecessors (level 4 of the English football league system)
Runners-up: 1982–83, 2003–04

Football League Third Division North
Champions: 1932–33, 1948–49

FA Cup
Runners-up: 2014
Semi-finalists: 1930

Football League Trophy
Runners-up: 1984

Watney Cup
Runners-up: 1974

Hull City 3 – Liverpool 1

It just took us 109-years to beat Liverpool in a real game (we did beat them 3-0 in a friendly a couple of years ago) but to do it so comprehensibly and actually make Liverpool look terrible just puts the icing on the cake for me. I mean, in all seriousness it could and should have been a 5-1 drubbing as Hull simply cannot score (Elmo should have scored and so too should have Sagbo). What a day!

Hull – A Great Northern City

Today I realized that I hadn’t mentioned the Hull City Tigers and their return to the EPL. Well now I have. Yep, we got beat 2-0 at Chelsea in the opening game but I suspect most teams would have been swept aside by that performance. It will be an interesting ride this year but I am pumped! By the way, has anyone been to Hull recently??? I know most southerners get lost in the back woods north of Watford and that Hull is a really tough place to find but, it hasn’t half changed. Its really rather worth a visit chaps.

Of course, anytime now, some lazy sod of a journalist is going to come up with the oh so original article title “To Hull and back” in relation to soccer. Do these people really think they thought of it first? Do they realize that parts of London are significantly more hell-like than any part of Hull? No, I thought not.

The only thing I don’t much like about Hull is the accent. The accent is well….. bloody ‘orrible if you ask me. I even moved and spent 17-years in Texas hoping to lose my ‘Ull vowel sounds. It didn’t work of course. I am lumbered with it for my entire life albeit in mild form.

Hull Docks these days...

Hull Docks these days…

Obviously more affluent than it used to be?

Obviously more affluent than it used to be?

What a lot of folk don’t know is that Hull is located amongst some gorgeous scenery. The Holderness plain is so flat you would swear the flat earthers were right all along. The wolds are beautifully green and punctuated by amazing little villages and pubs while to the north you have the Vale of Pickering and then the bold North Yorks Moors. Its great and as a few wealthy soccer players have recently discovered – very livable.

The flatness of Holderness

The flatness of Holderness

The Wolds

The Wolds

The Wolds

The Wolds

And what about all those famous folk from my home town? Let’s see…. er, well there is Tom Courtenay of course and er…..Mick Ronson and Trevor Boulder of the Spiders from Mars, Roland Gift of the Fine Young Cannibals, John Alderton – my mother’s heart throb, Ian Carmichael, Roy North of Basil Brush fame, John Venn – yes he of the Venn diagram, William Wilberforce who worked so hard to abolish slavery, and the man I love to hate – John Prescott – buffoon, idiot and former Deputy Labour Party Leader. There are a few more…not so well known including three members of Sade including my former school chum, Stuart Mathewman…. and me? Oh well. Maybe one day.

Hull…… worth a visit.

Old school chum done good - Stuart Mathewman

Old school chum done good – Stuart Mathewman