And we’re off. The year started with In With a Bang, a massive firework display, timed to start at 20:17 (geddit) on 1st January 2017. I’m not especially fond of fireworks, and I’m even less fond of crowds, so I didn’t bother trying for tickets, nor for volunteering opportunities. But it was a huge success, and we thank the BBC for broadcasting it live, both on the BBC News Channel and Radio Humberside.
After that, it was Made in Hull, a breathtaking set of projections onto various buildings in Hull: City Hall, Maritime Museum, Ferens Art Gallery, Scale Lane Staith, C4Di, and The Deep, along with various installations in Zebedee Square and Whitefriargate. This ran from 1.1 to 7.1, and we pottered down on the Thursday, thinking that the worst of the crowds would be over. Oh. No. The city was heaving, although we managed to get a) a coffee, and b) a meal in the Lion and Key. The highlight for me was “Arrivals and Departures”, projected onto The Deep, a building that really could have been made for this purpose (although, of course, it is a very fine aquarium as well). This was the piece that I was involved in, chorally speaking, before Christmas. Very emotional.
Apparently these two events brought 342,ooo visitors to Hull in seven days, with 103,000 on the last day – absolutely amazing.
And then … and then … The Blade.
Rumours had abounded for a few days about something “huge” arriving for the next exhibit. Excitement abounded. The A63 was to be closed early on Sunday morning for a Very Wide Load. People thought it might be Amy Johnson’s plane, Jason – unlikely, as it is on the third floor of the Science Museum in London, and too fragile to be moved. It might, though, be a replica of Jason, although it was uncertain where such an item might be obtained. My money was on something to do with Siemens, who have poured money into an offshore wind turbine factory down on the docks, and I was right, but I didn’t realise just what was going on.
It was a wind turbine blade, a slip of a thing at 75m long. That’s 75 metres long. It left the factory at about 2:30 a.m. on a huge vehicle, and trundled at about 1 mph from the docks, down Lowgate and into the city centre – I applaud the driver, as there must have been very little room for manoeuvre through those tight corners. We popped down at lunchtime to see how they were getting on, and it’s just majestic – so looking forward to seeing it properly on Tuesday, when I’m next in town. It is one of the first batch of blades to come off the production line, and it is absolutely and utterly in keeping with the first quarter’s theme of Made in Hull – the city’s history moving forward. They have donated it, so I hope the council will find it a permanent home, because it can’t stay in Victoria Square past March 18th.
Not done too much of this lately – a couple of stints on the Pod before Christmas, which were great fun, though c o l d. And then a brief stint at the Lines of Thought exhibition up at the University. This was quite uneventful, really, and I didn’t even get to see the drawings, but I shall go up there before it finishes and take a look as a civilian. I will just say that I cycled there, and indeed back – 8 mile round trip, and my speeds are getting better. Go me.
Tomorrow, I’m off to Scunthorpe on the BBC Radio Humberside bus. May the lord, etc.