Everyone has their own go-to band; that one which you refer to when people ask who or what you’re into. Everyone has that song which takes them back in time to a better place, mostly because you only ever seem to listen to it when the world seems dark and unforgiving. And everyone has that party tune which perks them right back up.
I’ve always had the Manics in my life. They enveloped my teenage years and still are the most referenced name on my CD rack. I’ll collect their albums long into the time when CDs are museum pieces, because they are something I want to be able to hold in my hands, to pass on to my children and say ‘this was my childhood’. One of the songs from their first album is adorned on my back in a most permanent fashion. And yet, I am prone to flow with tides of change. Though they remain the raft I return to when the seas get choppy and uncertain, they feature less and less on playlists than they used to. My love for them is strong, but my need for them is no longer all-powerful.
Last year I was obsessed with Plan B, getting into rap for the first time since that one Eminem song I liked once. His music tells a story of modern life for so many, and, at the time, I needed to feel a passion like that which vibrated from my stereo. I had lost my mojo and I was seeking it out in the only place I felt confident to find it: music.
After Plan B, it was OneRepublic. My song of 2014 is probably their hit Love Runs Out. Again, Ryan Tedder is a fantastic poet. He was the one who’d written most of the songs I heard on the radio, where I would say that I didn’t particularly like the performer but the song was amazing. That one song – that was Ryan Tedder’s. time and time again.
And then I attended Press Pack and started writing for Browse Magazine. I’d decided that I wanted to do some more writing and I expected that there would be a spattering of both local, national and international talent which pooled across the pages of my blog. It didn’t really matter anyway, as I was writing for myself and not anyone else.
And then I wasn’t just writing for myself and I had followers and deadlines.
And I was writing about local, national and international acts. Toploader played the Trinity Festival, a free festival set in the picturesque grounds of Trinity Square. And in the same week I got press pass to see Kaiser Chiefs perform at another iconic spot, The Adelphi. I was there alongside other journalists and I was playing about with my photography, honing skills I didn’t even consider needing until the moment when I was told photographs were a necessity to any decent article.
Now my CD rack still features the name Manic Street Preachers more than any other band. But atop their collection, I have a new assembly of musical joys. Just as I have a ‘Hull Tunes’ playlist now on my computer, which is my first port of call for musical ambience when doing just about anything, I have a collaboration of CDs from Hull artists. Tom Skelly, Hillbilly Troupe and Streaming Lights sit above Plan B and even my first love from Hull, The Beautiful South.
When I need a quick pick-me-up, I will turn to the joy of The Hillbilly Troupe, knowing that I’ll know all the lyrics and the energy from their last gig will overtake any negativity in my heart. If I need a physical shake then I can trust Counting Coins will have me perform a one-woman mosh-pit in my living room, sparking adrenaline rushes and pumping endorphins around my blood stream. When I need something to chill me out and allow me to focus mostly on my work – the dull reminder of needing an ‘adult responsibility’ – I switch Tom Skelly or Jody McKenna on, with their poetic lyrics and melodies.
Hull is slowly but surely digging its way into my very soul, and turning me from small town girl, holding onto a loose connection with Wales in order to ensure that link with the Manics, to a city girl who wants to scream at anyone who questions this wonderful place I call my home. I’ll spend my weekends, and often weekdays, at gigs in a former fruit market or a local bar supporting local talents, rather than paying to watch someone perform at a huge venue.
At the Adelphi30 gig where I saw the Kaiser Chiefs, I was more excited about having a chat with Paul Jackson and finally getting to speak with Black Delta Movement’s Matt Burr than I was about touching the sweaty body of Ricky Wilson. Don’t get me wrong, it was ridiculously exciting to get the opportunity, but when the end of the night came I was singing Life’s Crawling and smiling at the gentleness with which Jacko spoke with my friend and me. These are the things I will share with my children, when my eyes will brighten and my soul will shine.
I want to share Hull’s music with the world. I want to support our bands and promote them and give them that platform they deserve. But I also kind of want to keep them for myself a little bit, ensuring I have that much more real connection.