Tag Archives: Freedom Festival

My Hull Vigil

Just think of me like the BFG watching over your night time routine

catching all the bad dreams, so you don’t wake in the night with

a fright. Think of me like a faithful hound, watching and waiting by the 

door listening out for intruders… think of me up there in a wooden box

looking to the east and looking to the west, just hoping for a glorious

 golden moment, think of me…

Oh there you are: I had a feeling I might see you up here. 

The following text contains some sensitive content. For trigger warning scroll to the bottom before reading further.

Well here we are united again after fifteen long years. As soon as I saw the location I knew I had to go up there, wanted to go up there just as much as I did and for a similar reason, that I climbed Roseberry Topping that morning when we took the trip up north: while you were still here. 

Now is not a time for answers. Now is the time to appreciate and reflect upon the life/death/life cycle… and no I don’t really understand it, not in a comprehensive, academic kind of way. I see it as having to still go on after tragedy, to continue in whatever way you can, just one step in front of the other, each day and night, and remember to breathe once in a while. Is that what you were thinking about when you used to come out here on your lunch hour? Or were thoughts of the future just too much?

Look how the city has changed since you walked its streets in your velvety leopard-print leggings. I don’t know how this works. Do you watch me all the time, or just during moments of note? If I told you I was a dancer would you know that I performed in front of thousands in a glorious torch-song for the queer community? Would you also know that I studied just down there next door, for three years and graduated, just like you did from here. I wonder how much your passion for study, for education and knowledge, fed my own, eventually. Seeing your unbridled passion for everything was exhausting… but we shouldn’t focus on that.

Image courtesy Bluebeany

Look at that sunset not a bad view hey? Not a bad view over not a bad city; it has its problems, many of them, but it’s the people that make a place, and they are, on the whole, really good folk: and have embraced me as one of their own. I’m lucky to have so many people I call friends, and very lucky to be able to share special moments with those few whom I adore. 

Talking about embracing do you know we’ve had/having a pandemic? Craziest thing ever, no hugging your loved ones; no going within two metres of another person; weeks of isolation and lockdown; and far too many, many deaths, maybe you’ll already know about that side, where you are.

And we have to wear a mask everywhere indoors. How would you have coped with all of that? You packed as much as you could into every hour of every day and you loved your freedom. Relishing the ability to get on your bike and just disappear…. like you are doing now… I’m glad we had this moment. I’ll go back to watching over the city, after all it’s my civic duty and an honour. 

I arrived homeless living in the Sallie Allie, then a round of sofa surfing, bouncing around hostel beds, to many false starts, moonlit flits, promises made and broken again to myself and those around me, from central to the east, and now the west. This city and the people within it have watched over me, and shaped me, moulded me into a better person, into the active and valued member of its vibrant colourful society. By the way I’ve put our poem in my new book, I hope you don’t mind. 

Go on then off you go: get thee to a nunnery and ogle beautiful women. 

Trigger warnings: Contains references to suicide. death and loss

Useful information : https://www.samaritans.org/branches/hull/

Image courtesy Bluebeany


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See Unseen Beings at Freedom Fest 2018

Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in a sheet’ The promotion for Unseen Beings community dance project – commissioned by Hull City Arts supported by Arts Council England – is attracting heaps of love and attention… but what about those times when you are not getting love or attention? What about when the world doesn’t see you at all?  What happens then? Continue reading

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Unseen Beings Community Dance Project

Unseen Beings Community Dance Project Choreographers Jo Ashbridge and Tamar Draper are looking for participants aged 16+ to take part in a vibrant, thought provoking and innovative dance-theatre project throughout August, culminating in a performance at this year’s Freedom Festival. Absolutely no dance experience is necessary.  Continue reading

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Freedom Festival Correspondents at SIRF 2016

While Hull was celebrating Humber Street Sesh 2016 I had returned to Stockton-on-Tees, my hometown – for the first nine months at any rate – as one of the Freedom Festival Community Correspondents team. I joined the programme because I saw it as a good chance to see some new art and performance, work with pro journos, build networks and try new things. Below is a short picture diary of Saturday at SIRF 2016 Stockton International Riverside Festival. Continue reading


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Freedom Festival A Window On To Hull2017

I began, like many others, inside KAG at the members show enjoying the art on the walls in the familiar surroundings. I made a beeline for KAG because I felt sure there would be people there who I knew. I also hoped there’d be a welcoming glass of vino – which there was. Continue reading

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Revolutions Not Fish At Heads Up

Dynamic. Atmospheric. Innovative: three words that describe the performances served up twice a year by Ensemble 52’s Heads Up. September 5 -12 sees the return of the festival of national and locally curated theatre. 

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Strong Oral Tradition in the City says Creed

During the latter end of last year I began to learn a new skill. Anyone who has seen me over the last ten years, doing my spoken word stuff will know that I am not yet off script. Continue reading

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