The Humber Mouth
Hull Literature
Festival 2002


Rent a Writer!

Chamber of Secrets

Pee Po Belly Bum Drawers

Larking About

Imagine A Dandelion Upside Down

Close Encounters of a Literary Kind

Wreckless, Eric?

Fading, Fifty and 100% South of Watford

Next Best Thing

Larkin Unearthed

General Enquiries:
City Information Service
at Hull Central Library
Tel: 01482 223344
E-mail: [email protected]

{ Online Festival Diary }
Sue Wilsea & Jackie Goodman

Imagine A Dandelion Upside Down

Thursday evening, the official launch of the Festival, was a somewhat bizarre occasion for your trusty diarists. Nothing to do with the events on offer, you understand, but more a combination of chance meetings, fluorescent light sabres, a forgotten mobile phone, a weak bladder and creaky floorboards.

The aforementioned sabres were brandished by children being towed around the city centre by hordes of people there to see the turning on of the lights. While Oxford Street had Will Young to activate their illuminations we had the 'stars' of the panto at the New Theatre. ( Christmas? Bah! Humbug! ) Anyway, the end result was no parking spaces and therefore a slightly late arrival at the Central Library. Not to worry - there we found the usual generous quantities of wine of which it would have been rude not to avail ourselves. One of our first encounters was with Stuart, a charming man who talked unintelligibly about fast Internet connections, offered some opinions on some of the writers in the Festival ( Philip Larkin - " a miserable piece of shit" ), some wonderful meaningless quotations ( cf. title of this piece ) and a cheerful, lively presence in an otherwise pleasant but slightly muted gathering. A short speech by the characteristically exuberant Paul Holloway, the City Arts Officer, officially started 2002's HumberMouth Festival.

Our next port of call was the Larkin event at Wilberforce House but we were slightly late due to the fact that Paul's exuberance, as noted above, necessitated some sponging of wine stain from Jackie's trousers. There were also some essential and complicated domestic arrangements that had to be done in the car park, made difficult by the absence of one of our mobile phones. We hurried into Wilberforce House and were directed upstairs where unfortunately for us James Booth had already started speaking. There didn't appear to be any way into the room except by passing in front of him, thus incurring the likelihood of gross embarrassment so hushed and reverent seemed the ambience ( we tried to banish Stuart's unflattering opinion of Larkin from our minds ).

Accordingly, we decided to tiptoe down the passageway running parallel to the room in the hope of creeping in at the back. Unfortunately, this proved not possible and our progress was considerably hampered by creaky floorboards, an attack of schoolgirl giggles, a belated recollection of a dodgy bladder condition ( one of the many hazards of employing aging diarists - there's also the problem of teeth but we'll return to that another time ) and being startled by a figure in a glass case. The latter was not Larkin ( obviously ) but someone who was most definitely giving us very disapproving looks. Making our way back down the passageway the floorboards creaked even more ferociously as if to proclaim our presence to all there. We vowed to view Larkin's lawnmower another time and to make a point of attending Maeve Brennan's talk on Saturday.