Back in the day, the 1980s and 1990s, music needed a place to happen. Before the internet, Hull had music pubs. My brother and my friends rehearsed in the back room of a bike shop in Beverley. You didn’t need to go far to hear live music. It was everywhere, in every pub, in every street. And man, there were a lot of pubs, just like in every port. Hull is an equal of Liverpool, and I make the claim with no hesitation. Our words were ironic, sarcastic and cynical, not upbeat or happy. Our words were truth and they were right and, like Larkin, they spoke to the real world, not some land we wished we lived in that could never exist.
I went to the Adelphi once with some people who were not my friends.
They were from another gang and we were only there to impress the French exchange students, who were not impressed. If it takes a six-part podcast to introduce Hull to England, it would take forever and a day to introduce such complex ideas to France. That said, I wasn’t that impressed with the Adelphi either. In the same way that I was unimpressed with the Hacienda. It wasn’t what I expected. Both places were too rough around the edges, more urban, slightly industrial.
This would have been fine if nobody had heard of the Adelphi, but at this time it was world famous. Incredibly there was a band called Burgess and Maclean who played here, long forgotten, at the same time as the Housemartins, never to be forgotten. The Manics, the Stone Roses, Carter USM, the Happy Mondays, The Farm, Pulp, The La’s, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Cast, Skunk Anansie and even a one-off Oasis, were all brought here after the place re-opened in 1984 as a music venue with more soul than style. Famously, the Housemartins signed their first record deal on the very stage at the New Adelphi, and instantly became so successful that they never played their again. Such fame deserved more fitting surroundings, in my naive eyes, and the Adelphi felt like someone’s sitting room.