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Blog: 8 Bit Symphony and Hull Itself

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On Saturday morning myself and The Seats In My Carriage headed north to distant HULL where we were due to attend a CONCERT called 8 Bit Symphony at the invitation of the organiser, Mr C Abbott. It's AGES since I was last in Hull, so I was looking forward to going back. As it turned out, I was RIGHT to do so.

We had our first inkling that it was going to a fun weekend when we were on the way to our hotel. We stomped through Old Town heading for what we thought was a standard issue, possibly Millenium-related, pedestrian bridge, only to find it not only gently CHIMING, but also MOVING! As we approached it looked like some weird structure was moving down the river, but when we got there it turned out to be The Scale Lane Swing Bridge, a moveable bridge that sort of ROTATES round to allow boats down the river, and is the only one in the whole world that lets people SIT ON IT while it does so, while chiming a little tune. This only happens once a day on Saturdays so we felt entirely BLESSED to happen to be there just as it was in motion!

The Premier Inn we were staying in was perched right on top of a multi-storey car park, which meant that the lifts and staircases were all a bit, well, car park-y, but also that we had an AMAZING view out over the Humber. Once we were ENFRESHENED we headed back into Hull for TEA and then to the Hull City Hall for the concert.

The idea behind "8 Bit Symphony" had been brewing for YEARS, and you could see the amount of THOUGHT and PLANNING that had gone into it right from the start. There were stalls inside the (hugely impressive) building, merchandise, illustrated title cards for each piece of music and also specially commisioned VIDEOS which played along with the different tunes. The actual music was supplied by The Hull Philharmonic Orchestra, performing adaptations of classic 8-bit computer game theme songs. When I say "8-bit" I actually mean Commordore 64 theme songs, so I didn't really recognise any of them, but it sounded FABULOUS, and there was an ENORMOUS amount of love in the room, both for the nostalgia and for the HUGE team effort that had gone into it all. It was GRATE!

We had bumped into various chums, including Mr A Fisher and Mr W Pilkington, and in the morning at breakfast we also saw Mr C Abbott again, which gave us the chance to tell him what an outstanding achievement he had achieved. I do hope he gets to put it on again somewhere else, it was amazing!

Once we had reached the point in a Premier Inn Breakfast where NO MORE FOOD is possible we checked out and went to do some SIGHTSEEING. We started off at Hull Minster, where we were lucky enough to catch the last ten minutes of the current Vicar's last service, in which he very tactfully acknowledged that people in Hull are a lot more "self-effacing" than where he's going next i.e. Liverpool. This was very true - everywhere we went the people of Hull were friendly and welcoming and mostly self-effacing, although the spokesperson from Hull College, who sponsored the event the night before, did say that Hull is forever being put down by people who have never been there, and that it deserves a lot more praise as a Unique Place than it gets. I agree!

We had a look round the Minster, which is GORGEOUS, and then headed to the Ferens Art Gallery. This turned out to be an excellent example of the way Hull doesn't seem to promote itself very well - it was BRILLIANT, yet I'd never heard of it, and it didn't appear anywhere when we tried to google Things Of Interest In Hull before we set out. We only thought to pop in because we'd passed it on the way to the hotel, but we were VERY glad we did.

There were two highlights for us, the first being a chalk sketch of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger which was a) oddly MOVING as it was so REAL and b) dead interesting because you could see lots of little DOTS around the outlines, which apparently was for an MEDIEVAL version of TRACING. The second was an exhibition of contemporary art called Is This Planet Earth ESPECIALLY the stuff by an artist called Dan Hays who did big canvas made up of painted DOTS, like pixels, which transformed into pictures as you moved away from them. Saying it like that makes it sound BORING and OBVIOUS, but being in the room with them they were AMAZING things. I recommend having a look if you get a chance!

In fact I recommend Hull in general, if and when it is available to you. We had a bloody brilliant time there, I hope it's not so long before I get to go back again!

posted 18/6/2019 by MJ Hibbett

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