I was very impressed by this replica of Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth aircraft hanging from the roof from the roof of the Paragon Interchange. You can’t tell from this photograph, but “Jason” is flying over the florists, towards the railway station ticket office. In a plane just like this one, Hull born Amy Johnson flew from London to Darwin in 19 days in 1930 and this replica was made by inmates at HM Prison Hull as part of the City of Culture celebrations.
You can read more about the replica on the BBC News website.
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This weekend the Classic Serial on BBC Radio 4 has been Robert Forrest’s two part adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby“, which got me thinking about the various adaptations of the work I’ve come across over the years and how they all remind me of different chapters or themes in the original novel.
The 1974 film, starring Robert Redford as Gatsby, for example, reminds me of the way in which Gatsby tries to hang on to this character he’s created for himself [the Oxford man with the medal from Montenegro], someone who thinks they can turn back time to produce what should have happened. More recently, whilst watching the 2013 film version, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, the character seems to take on a dual role as a genuinely romantic figure, pining for a lost love, but also someone we can project our prejudices and fears onto, because we don’t really know anything about him [is he a bootlegger, a spy, a murderer or just a bit vulgar?] until he reveals all and the curtain of ignorance is lifted.
The Northern Ballet production of “The Great Gatsby” had an old and a young Gatsby, and an old and young Daisy, so we see the story of Gatsby’s past unfold on the stage before our eyes, parallel to the present.
According to my souvenir programme, Javier Torres played the older Gatsby and his name always stands out for me in subsequent programmes, so his performance must have been quite something, but my memory has failed me regarding the particulars [this is one of those moments in which, if I had a time machine, I would go back and tell myself, “You better write some notes about this now, because you’re going to write a blog in two years time!”]. I would see Mr. Torres later in 2013 as The Ghost of Christmas Present, in the Northern Ballet’s “A Christmas Carol” at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield and as Julius Caesar in “Cleopatra” as the same theatre, but those are different stories all together.
A chap called Matthew Topliss played the young Gatsby and it’s his performance that comes immediately to mind when I think of “The Great Gatsby“. The J. Gatsby who came back from the war with nothing but the khaki uniform he stood up in, was surrounded by shady characters and becomes the front for their criminal activities, initially motivated by near starvation, rather than any grand scheme to win back Daisy’s heart. This is seen in sharp contrast to all the other elements of the production.
It is also worth saying that Isaac Lee-Baker played a very good part as garage owner George Wilson. It was a part very well written and very well performed.
2Faced Dance Company, break dancing, contemporary dance, dance, Freedom Festival Hull, Freedom Festival Hull 2013, Hull, Hull City of Culture 2017, old age, Paragon Interchange Hull, Souvenirs, street dancing, Two Old Men
To quote from the 2Faced Dance Company’s website, “2Faced Dance produces innovative, accomplished and aspirational artistic performance and participation programmes alongside a captivating community dance programme that truly reflects the landscape in which we are based, allowing us to tell new and original stories, generating distinctive new work, whilst striving to stay relevant to our audiences“. This performance ticked all of those boxes.
The section on “Two Old Men” describes the performance as “a story about two men’s extraordinary experiences, eccentric behaviour and witty tales.Two Old Men will make you gasp, laugh and cry as the old men take you on a life long journey all the way to the pub“.
If you’re interested in the technical details the performance involves a mix of “break, street and contemporary dance”. Here are some of my photographs from that “adrenalin fuelled” twenty minutes:
Regular Hull commuters or readers of this blog might notice something different about this part of the Paragon Interchange, which I’ve mentioned here and here. Last November, to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, plaques were mounted all around the walls and between the double doors you can see in the background in the photographs above. How quickly history is made.
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Here is another portrait from J. J. Payne’s photographic studio at 106 Anlaby Road in Hull [my first portrait by Payne featured a young lady in highland dress and can be seen here]. The lady’s wrap around coat, with its distinctive single button fastening it at the waist, was considered the height of fashion in the 1920s, so I would date this portrait to the inter-war period. The photograph is full of interesting details, but I think it was the bows on the little girl’s shoes that caught my attention in the shop. There is nothing written on the back of the photograph to indicate who the sitters are, apart from their connection to the Anlaby Road area of Hull, which is suggested by their choice of photographer.
I did wonder where the father was in what otherwise looks like a happy family portrait; at sea perhaps.
I’d swear that I notice something new every time I visit the Streetlife Museum in Hull and this occasion it was these notices in the window of the bicycle shop, which forms part of the Museum’s comprehensive bicycle collection.
I do not ride a bicycle myself; it was more the language of Edwardian bicycle that caught my attention. I noted in my diary, as you can only get an impression of the notices through my photographs, some of the names and features. I found “The Victor” bicycle, the “Albion Saddle” and “Lucas’s King of the Road lamp” particularly noteworthy, amongst the impressive lists of patriotically named bicycles and accessories.
In the October of 1862 Joseph Armytage Wade turned “the first sod” of earth to ceremonially start the construction of the Hull to Hornsea Railway. Having turned the first clump of earth Mr. Wade placed it into this fascinating wheelbarrow, shaped like a rhino; a heraldic device used by the Wade family. Mr. Wade was then given the spade and the wheelbarrow as souvenirs of the big day. What a brilliant object!
The last passenger service ran on the Hull to Hornsea line on the 19th October 1964, with the last goods train following on the 3rd May 1965.