Episode 2 Britain's City of Culture

Episode 2

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Hello and welcome to Hull which for the whole of 2017 is the UK's city


of culture. And this is the Humber Bridge, the latest location to take


part in the 365 days celebration of art and culture. It's being turned


into a giant musical incher -- instrument, taking you on a sonic


journey. I've been exploring the cultural links between this maritime


city and its sister city of wretched fix. All this talk of girls not


boxing is old-fashioned. Will also find out how boxing pioneer barber


Butterick is being honoured in her home city. -- Barbara.


I'm the arts and culture correspondent for the BBC in Hull.


I'm the face of Hull, chosen by the BBC to tell the world about the city


of culture. We are on top of the Humber Bridge. Over there is


Lincolnshire and behind you is this city of Hull. This is one of the


North's most famous landmarks. It has stunning views and is an amazing


piece of engineering. Its 156 metres tall, just under 500 feet. It's just


a bit shorter than Blackpool Tower. I don't know how I'm going get down.


I'll cross that bridge when I come to it! I'll let you into a little


secret, there's a lift up here. This was asked earlier getting all the


people and the kids up to the top of the Humber Bridge. If you look over


the edge, you can see the very first people to experience the Humber


Bridge as a musical instrument. The Swans bend their necks backwards


to see God. They know the magnetism of the blue space. Listening through


headphones, they're hearing a piece of work that combines poetry with


sounds of the bridge as it creaks and sways in the wind. Lucy can


explain. Many of us will have driven across the bridge, taking in the


sights of the Humber River, but this unique project is hoping to inspire


people to walk along its mile long length and get lost in incredible


sounds. The east coast links to Scandinavia go back to the Vikings


so Norwegian composers have been chosen to create a musical guided


walk across the bridge. Today in arctic temperatures, they were


walking the bridge together for the first time. It's really, really cold


here today and it's been snowing and raining. It's a fantastic


construction and so much bigger than I expected. It's been interesting to


walk across the bridge together and to hear the sound of the bridge


itself. Uniquely, it's the noises the bridge makes which will form the


basis of the peace. A field recorder has been given the job of capturing


them. I have to admit I was very sceptical when he started testing


the railings to see which ones sounded the most musical. This one,


maybe this one. This section here. Let's try this. I can't hear a


thing. He sticks little contact microphones onto the railings to


capture their sound. If I play them, you can hear... I can't believe


that. Amazing, isn't it? I take everything back, it's very musical.


And it's these raw sounds that Yanda and how his team have been


transforming into a piece for orchestra and chorus. This is the


sound of the bridge. The plan is to use the voice of the bridge to say


something like, look to the left. When you're walking across the


bridge and you look to the left, you look across the bridge and this


beautiful sound of the orchestra starts playing. It's like film


music. It is beautiful, isn't it? Today, the orchestra is recording


its part. The choral parts have arrived and


the chorus has one day to learn and record them. We have to sing very,


very quietly. That's a challenge because it's quite opposite to what


we are normally asked to do. At Bute Park primary School in Hull,


auditions are taking place for the voice of the Humber Bridge. The


child who will be the narrator on the walk. My name is Katie and I'm


going to keep you company on your journey to the bridge.


Eight-year-old Kate Smith has been chosen to be the voice of the Humber


Bridge. I think it will be a bit weird hearing myself. But it's going


to be pretty cool. It's a long walk ahead, I hope you've got strong


shoes. Look up! Faces an extraordinary, soaring


piece of music and to think it came originally from the very sounds of


the bridge itself. It only really makes sense when you're out here.


Fantastic. That looked amazing. We are going to


have a go. It's an opportunity to walk along an


iconic part of Hull and really enjoy it with an extra experience you


wouldn't normally have the opportunity to do. It was brilliant.


You appreciate the environment more, you're in a zone. It makes you think


differently having the music directing your thinking. It was


good. Amazing, I enjoyed it. Usually I just drive past, but I never walk


across. A long time since I've walked the bridge and this added to


the atmosphere, fantastic. You only have to look across from the Humber


Bridge to see that this is an area which has close links to the scene.


Hull was a major fishing port and one of its sister cities is


Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Later this month a major music


Festival is planned in the city of culture to celebrate those maritime


links. It's curated by John Grant, an American now living in Iceland.


He showed me around Reykjavik and explain some of the cultural


similarities between the cities. Welcome to Iceland, home of fjords,


trolls and an unexpectedly good football team. But what has it got


to do with Hull? For one thing, Reykjavik is one of Hull's sister


cities. Through the fishing industry, they've traded with each


other for 700 years, sometimes peacefully, sometimes less friendly.


They were both in the world's top ten cities to visit in the rough


guide in 2016. It's said the cobblestones in the old town were


brought from Iceland. But there are also cultural links. North Atlantic


flux, one of the major music Festival is, will celebrate Hull's


Nordic traditions. This is its curator, John Grant. John Grant is


an American that has lived in America -- Reykjavik for the last


five years. He's such an Nordic native that he co-wrote Iceland's


2014 entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. Hello. I meet John at this


coffee shop, his favourite place in Reykjavik and the setting for his


album art. Hull has been on my radar for a long time. Several artists I


admire have connections to Hull, like Tracey Thorn and lain low


pitch. Cosy fantasy. These very female voices from Hull that I've


been listening to and influenced by four decades. Hull is also known for


its resilience, its powerhouse women. Revolutionaries. It's aptly.


It was down to four women who brought about these protests after


the trawler tragedy. Can you take me through the festival you've created?


You'll see a good mixture of what Hull has to offer. Also things from


the north Atlantic. It's quite Scandinavian. And then some of my


favourite things from around Britain. Britain has been


instrumental, pun intended, it in forming my musical DNA and my


musical vocabulary. It's a very, very important place for me. This


festival is no ordinary gig for John. He's genuinely invested in the


story of Hull and its connection to the North Atlantic. He showed me


another favourite spot of his, this church, which is the focal part of


the skyline in Reykjavik. Even though there have been hardships and


some animosity in the past between Iceland and Hull, there are still a


lot of similarities. People are connected to the sea. What that does


in terms of building character and your relationship to nature is


something the two very much have in common. The sea separates us, but it


also gives us this shared history and natural understanding of each


other's heritage. Historically men from both cities would trawl for


fish and these cities, which led to overfishing and a breakdown in


relations, but now through music and art there is a friendship which


thrives on so many levels. That's what John Grant and his friends will


be celebrating in Hull and that's why I'll be there at the front of


the crowd. Still ahead, one of Hull's most famous daughters on


inspiring the next generation of performers. That white-haired women


with spectacles can be on telly and so can I. And the man whose swaps


rock for classical stardom. But first, my guide to some of the other


2017 highlights and a little look ahead at what's to come. In March,


the 75 metre wind turbine blade that sparked a debate about what art is


was moved to a new home. It left a void in the centre of Hull for about


five days. Quickly replaced by the famous weeping window poppy


sculpture. It literally represents a piece of our history that is


relevant now. See what people think. Files feed takes the real


conversations of Hull's young people and act them out with puppets. If


you drive through Hull... You get to Scarborough. An incredible


collection of celebrity portraits is currently on display at the


University of Hull. It's a rare chance to see the entire collection


of paintings by winners of the National BP portrait award. People


are really excited, it's always busy and the gallery has never been this


busy before. It's great to have the publicity. An epic you're --


year-long show continues. Flood. Part one was online and part three


will be broadcast on BBC TV. And there's lots more to come, including


Richard III, starring Matt Frazer, and a piece of theatre by middle


child. It's a play in a nightclub punctuated by live music from local


bands. One of the unexpected things about


city of culture is that it has an unearthed some are mockable success


stories that had either been ignored or forgotten. That story is about


all sorts of culture, and not just obvious ones like music and theatre.


Sport, specifically boxing. Barbara Butterick was born in Hull and she


was the world's first women boxing champion in the 1950s. We sent


former boxing champion Johnny Nelson to meet her. To become the best


boxer in the world, it takes commitment. But for one fighter, the


toughest battle was just to set foot in the ring. Barbara Butterick went


on to become the world's first women's boxing champion. She trained


at the same gym as Mohammed Ali Bhatti under five foot tall, she was


known as the mighty atom. Now 87, it's more than 70 years since she


fell in love with boxing. On my bedroom wall as a kid I had all


boxers. I bought myself a harness thing that you could put a football


in and made a punch bag out of it. I read this in the newspaper. An


article inspired her to make it her career. This is the newspaper


clipping. It tells about Polly Bernsen, who travelled in a boxing


booth. I thought if she could do it so could I. Let me try boxing.


Typist by day, boxer by night, she headed to London to find a trainer


and opponents. I think all this talk about girls not boxing is


old-fashioned. Girls aren't the delicate flowers they used to be.


Anyhow, my boyfriend doesn't mind. Her boyfriend was her trainer, who


she later married. Soon she was making headlines, although none very


positive. The criticism... Did it bother you? Nicki Wood said we made


the front page again. He said don't read it, measure it. She would take


to challenging any woman who challenged her. Fed up with


fairgrounds, she took to fair -- she went to America. This was one


fighter I lost. Look at the size difference! I never fought anybody


my own size. In 1957, came the moment she dreamt


of. She got a professional licence and became the world's first woman


boxing champion. It is nice to know you buy the best in the world. The


title brought her to the epicentre of the boxing world. Miami Beach's


fifth St gym. It is in the new building today but inside, the


history lives on. I see pictures on the wall of non-Muhammad Ali. You


were here when these guys were here? Yes. He was very confident of


himself. She mentioned his name is coming you


talk about these people but these were actually history makers. They


supported me. In 1960, Barbara retired, having won 30 fights. But


she can say goodbye to boxing. She set up women's International Boxing


Federation and gave women titles to fight for, and in 2012, she to


London to watch women box for Olympic medals for the first time in


history. Among them, Nicola Adams. It is because of the like her that I


got into boxing. It been hard for her to keep pushing, keep training


and try to be taken seriously. I've got is a big thank you to Barbara


felt paving the way. She is coming back to visit city macro. Stroke. --


Hull. Southport is this way. It is very easy to get this way, to get


your feet stepped on. If I was a kid today, I would be in my glory, I


would pack my gym bag, walk off the same of anybody off and go in the


gym and work out. I think dystrophy. When Barbara put on a first pair of


boxing glove seven decades ago, she could only dream that girls would be


welcome into boxing gyms. But it could never have happened without


Barbara leading the way. Barbara's life has inspired a


brand-new play. She was finally recognised in her home city at the


women of the world Festival. It started life back in 2011 other


Southbank Centre in London, though it now comes to venues around the


globe. As well as Barbara, it also celebrated the work of Hull


comedians Maureen Lipman and Lucy Beaumont. They recorded play in


front of live audience. She is coming out of my birthday. I want to


go to Amsterdam. Amsterdam? You know what the women do in Amsterdam?


Yeah, what? They make cheese. Maureen Lipman is one of whole's


most famous exports with career, stage, TV spanning five decades.


Do you think there are things of the audience in Hull that will pick up


that went over the heads of Radio 4 audience? I think when I called her


Sophie, I think people will know we are both the real McCoy. It feels


very whole, it feels I like to say -- I hate to say last outpost


because everything now is very buzzy, City of Culture has animated


the place. As a woman worker in the performing arts, do you find you are


treated differently, as a woman? The arts have always been a bit more


level pegging for women, and who would have thought, after the second


wave feminism that the most popular book would have been 50 Shades of


Grey which is very definitely putting us back over a man's knee.


It is just obscene, really. Sometimes, we are just our own worst


enemy. We don't go for it, we don't sit forward, the number of times I


have had women say, I hate my desk, I hate my nose, I hate my breasts, I


hate my legs, not to mention I've never heard a woman say, I was right


for that part and I really deserve it, because they always say, I don't


know why they have chosen the! I went in and I didn't read well and I


couldn't believe I got it. You know, I think ambition is something which


is still regarded as unfeminine. And that is just going to take time. Are


you hoping that you and Lucy being here, as women who have achieved in


the arts and out there showing that women from Hull can do it, are you


hoping that you might make a step towards changing that? I don't


really have the arrogance, yes I am arrogant, but don't really have that


kind of belief that I changing anything, I am just making people


laugh. And I come from Hull. And that is about it, and I think Lucy


would probably agree with me. It is stripped, drip, drip, with women's


rights. A little bit, if there was one kid out there watching him


things, gosh, if that Whitehead woman with spectacles can be on


telly, so can I. Someone living in London, have you count people in the


capital look at hold differently since we became City of Culture? It


has always been regarded with a bit of a snigger, hasn't it? End of the


line, whole, in a sense we engender that ourselves, we put up a barrier


that says we are all right, we don't body need you. Now, people will come


in and see that it is folksy and feisty and funky and the other F


word as well. Is it going to make a permanent difference? You are only


going to find that out when you pay the bills at the end of it? Are you


proud to be from Hull? My pride goes back before City of Culture and I


always, always said I am from Hull, I have joked about it, I have joked


about it, I have been proud about it, I have no need to be in a City


of Culture but I am happy for the city that it has got it. It is about


time we got something. The music on the Humber Bridge is


one of the many pieces specifically commissioned for 2017. There will be


all sorts of styles and genres, including a brand-new work from one


of classical music's real superstars Carl Jenkinson.


Here is Caroline Bilton with more. His music is known to millions, from


IDMS, to his most highly acclaimed and popular piece, the armed man.


Sir Karl Jenkins is Britain does Mac most successful living classical


composer so when whole's Philemon Caulker/ wolf looking for someone to


write a special piece of work -- Hull Orchestra. Why don't we try and


commission a composer to write a piece especially for us. Who better


to go for than coal Jenkins? They are than nation's leading amateur


Symphony Orchestra and have performed in Hull's City Hall for


over 100, they wanted a piece of music that would celebrate it. For a


composer best known for his choral music, it would be a break from the


norm but an opportunity to good to miss. The City of Culture is an


amazing thing. To be part of it is wonderful. This piece ticks all the


boxes. Experimenting with music is how his career began. The last thing


-- time he played in Hull was when performing with a 70s jazz rock


group. But he has never written music for an organ like this before.


In this age nowadays, sounds are digitised and because of that,...


Inside that thing, that is an actual instrument with something hitting


end. When you want to base drum sound, it is the glockenspiel being


hit with hammers. It is quite incredible, really. 6000 pipes is in


his own words, quirky, an oddball, a celebration of Hull's history, its


people, and its traditions. And at its heart, the organ, played by


Jonathan Scott. It has amazing power. There are 95 stops, a full


keyboard and a pedal board you play with your feet, it will bit rate and


Orchestra and the accompaniment. If you think through time, you think


Bach, Beethoven, if they were playing their piece, an amazing


experience. They write these pieces and they are baring their soul and


they put it out there and I wanted to sound great so we are all making


it sound the best that everyone can make it.


The world premiere of 6000 pipes played to a sell-out audience. There


will be another opportunity to hear this unique piece of music in


February of next year. That is it from the top of the


Humber Bridge and our bird's eye view of the City of Culture. I hope


you have enjoyed this show. We will be back next month. We will look


ahead to the weekend, and we will meet the 2017 volunteers. That is


all coming up in May. If you need a culture ticks in the meantime, go to


our website. Goodbye. Bye, now.


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