East Park, Hull

My first visit, and I was mesmerised by the Brutalist gates, the eerie trees, and the wide low skies.

It seems like only yesterday, and it was a lifetime. Hull and me, in words, art, and photography.

“I was born outside Hull, in Beverley, in Yorkshire. It was May, and it was the 60s, and it was hot, and the air was scented with the meadows of the Westwood, and flowers and the trees. I was born here. In a ward which is now the home of ghosts, whose doors rattle unheard in gusts of wind, and whose walls are streaked with damp.”
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“We moved abroad. And my Yorkshire home was mine no more. But you cannot tell a child to forget his roots. Snobs crushed my expression, with mocking laughs and condescension as sharp as a razor blade. And at night, in bed, with a teddy bear on my cheek and wet, pissed-soaked sheets on my skin, I remembered my home.”
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“Sometimes we passed through Hull, on the way to the ferry, on the way back to exile, to the school where I felt fear and shame on a daily basis, little bullies with cruel eyes, and changing rooms with no windows, and the home whose windows rattled with tension. How sweet was my lost East Riding, and how far, and no one knew its name anymore. So my mind creates it again, in sunshine so hot, and under sky so blue.”
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“Memories, long-since buried, sometimes surface, and I cling to them like a man unearthing diamonds”
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“But I am a grown up now, a man of 46, a man who has found his voice, and who wants to shout. And this is my city, and my birthplace, and over the next few years we are going to get to know each other again, and this time no one will mock or laugh.
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“I paint and I write, and I photograph, because it makes me belong again, because my roots were pulled up, and this is all I have left of them.”