Let's move to a dying port city Philip Larkin really hated! This week: Hull

What’s it about?

If you like your coastal cities dreary, run-down and incredibly isolated, Kingston upon Hull is the place for you. Hull soon recovered from being massively bombed in WW2, so if some areas still look as though they’ve been blown up, it’s probably intentional.

When you arrive you’re sure to receive a warm welcome, or the threat of brutal violence – the local accent is so thick it’s impossible to tell. Still, it helps justify the local souvenir t-shirt, ‘It’s Never Dull in Hull’. Although that is a lie.

Any good points?

Tellingly, Hull’s most famous landmark – the Humber Bridge – is also a major route out of the city. The only downside to using the bridge is yes, you’re leaving Hull, but now you’re on the way to Grimsby.

The city’s phone boxes are famously cream-coloured. They’re the only ones like it in the country – probably because they look disgusting. You might need one though if you visit the city centre as there’s a decent chance a heroin addict will steal your iPhone.

Local favourite Hull Fair lays claim to being Europe’s largest travelling fair. It’s a super-spreader event where you puke up your toffee apple on the waltzers and the local police put on extra officers to flush out all the paedos.

Wonderful landscape?

Hull stands proudly on the East coast in an area of Yorkshire which is tediously, endlessly and unrelentingly flat. The entire city is a flood risk and if you don’t move here soon, there’s a decent chance it’ll have crumbled and fallen into the North Sea.

When you arrive in the city – by accident or to meet a friend who didn’t get the grades to attend a good university – you’ll likely use Paragon train station. There you’ll be greeted by a monument to poet Philip Larkin. Who was actually from Coventry and called Hull ‘a fish-smelling dump’ full of ‘witless, crapulous people’ and has therefore been honoured with a prominent seven-foot statue.

Hang out at…

Bob Carvers, or any of the city’s many fish and chip shops. Here you can try the local delicacy of ‘pattie butty and chips’ – a dish of mashed potato, deep fried in batter, served in a ‘breadcake’ with chips for under £2. A rare example of ‘quadruple carbs’. Purely coincidentally, life expectancy in Hull falls way below the UK average.

Aquarium The Deep boasts the ‘world’s only submarium’ – a kind of elevator through the middle of a fish tank – which is far, far less impressive than that sounds. Next to The Deep is Hull’s reinvigorated marina area, with new restaurants, art galleries and coffee shops. Which would be great to visit, except the endless city centre roadworks now render it almost completely inaccessible.

If you’re stuck in the city centre, why not pop down shopping street Whitefriargate? Almost everything is closed. The George Hotel claims to have the smallest window in the world. It’s more of a slot. And it’s disappointingly big.

Where to buy?

Hull offers an array of laughably cheap housing as well as some of the largest council estates ever conceived. If you’re moving from a big city like London, you’ll probably be able to buy a huge mansion, an entire postcode, or even the whole city and rename it Kingston Upon Steve, without too much objection. Or move to nearby Beverley or even York. They’re both infinitely nicer.

It’s also worth remembering the city is split in two by the river Hull – you’ll be made to support whichever of Hull’s mediocre rugby league teams play nearest to you. Remember not to wear your shirt in the wrong part of town, as you’ll quite rightly get yourself a good fucking kicking.

From the streets:

Nathan Muir, 30: “I came to study at the uni and stayed for the cheap house prices and the fact I have no idea how to leave. Everywhere else feels so far away. We’re in the North but it’s still two hours to Newcastle. If I ever end up in Hull’s massive, menacing high security prison I’d stand more chance of escaping.”

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Mash Blind Date: 'I could tell she was aroused by my knowledge of Star Trek minutiae'

TO boldly go… on a date with a real-life human woman. We sent Star Trek obsessive Martin Bishop out with Lauren Hewitt who thinks Darth Vader is in it.

Martin on Lauren

First impression?

Lauren’s no Seven of Nine – or indeed Alice Eve, who played the alternative reality Carol Marcus for a single film – but she’s of acceptable weight and has breasts, so I could see us watching Voyager together before enjoying a session of penetrative sex.

How was conversation?

Fascinating. I kicked off with a detailed analysis of the pros and cons of JJ Abrams’ helmsmanship of the franchise, with perceptive asides about what the Kelvin timeline could learn from Next Generation and, to a lesser extent, Picard. I could tell by her fidgeting that she was becoming sexually aroused by my masterful grasp of Trek canon.

Memorable moments?

Lauren said she liked Ewan McGregor and I realised she thought Obi-Wan Kenobi was in Star Trek! She’d got the two science-fiction franchises completely muddled up! I laughed hysterically but to be honest I was deeply shaken by evidence she was mentally dysfunctional, proving my friend Clive’s theories about women correct.

Favourite thing about Lauren?

She’s an actual 3D human woman who exceeds my expectations for someone to do sexual intercourse with. And she’s not transsexual. I asked her.

A capsule description?

Lauren is female, not disfigured and woefully ill-informed about Star Trek. And indeed Star Wars, the Terminator films, Doctor Who, Blake’s Seven, the list goes on. The only hobby she mentioned is ‘running’ which is merely a form of motion and doesn’t count.

Was there a spark?

Definitely. Lauren spent most of the evening staring at me with her jaw hanging open seductively.

What happened afterwards?

I asked Lauren back to mine for a romantic evening watching the classic original series two-parter The Menagerie in which Kirk’s predecessor Pike is horribly burned and confined to a brainwave-controlled wheelchair. But she had to get up for work at 4am. That’s a really early start for an office.

What would you change about the evening?

Don’t get me wrong, Lauren is a wonderful person, but she’s embarrassingly ignorant. Still, I’m sure I can correct this character flaw when we’re going out. I envisage a series of tutorials on topics such as the Klingon-Romulan Alliance, Borg weapons technology and, for light relief, continuity errors.

Will you see each other again?

Of course. It’s just a matter of when Lauren’s ovarian cycle reaches a convenient point. But Saturdays are out because that’s the only night the crew can meet for a six-hour Star Trek: Frontiers tabletop gaming session.

Lauren on Martin

First impression?

I assumed Martin’s NHS glasses and USS Enterprise t-shirt were some hipster thing, which was bad enough, but then he turned out to be a bona fide geek. And, furthermore, an absolute twat.

How was conversation?

It alternated between the merely boring and the totally fucking incomprehensible. I know who Captain Kirk was, but who the fucking hell is Gorn? Or Q? Or Vina? And what is a ‘batleth’? Does he think people know this shit?

Memorable moments?

I think when he asked me if I ‘do all the sex positions’. I’ve met forward blokes who like trying to get a reaction, but Martin didn’t seem to be joking. In fact he wrote my answer down in a little notebook. Oh, and when each course arrived he said to it ‘You will be assimilated’ in a robotic voice. I think that was a Star Trek thing. By this time I knew better than to ask.

Favourite thing about Martin?

How wonderful he’ll make dating from now on. I reckon it’ll be a good six to 10 dates before the sheer novelty of sitting facing a man with even minimal social skills wears off. I wouldn’t be surprised if I fall in love.

A capsule description?

Star Trek’s a load of fucking shit. That’s not strictly a description, but it feels so good to say it.

Was there a spark?

No spark. The kindest thing I can say about Martin is he knows what he likes, and it’s not real and never will be.

What happened afterwards?

Martin seemed to think I’d be going back to his place. I made up some bullshit and we said goodbye. Or rather Martin said: ‘Goodbye, my little Borg Queen’. That’s not a thing and never will be.

What would you change about the evening?


Will you see each other again?

Absolutely not. He gave me his email address – [email protected] – and I deleted it in the taxi.