Rich artistic legacy of writers, actors and pop musicians

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HULL’s year as city of culture will draw heavily on the work of arguably its most famous resident – the poet Philip Larkin.

The writer, who was born in Coventry, started work as a librarian at the city’s university in 1955 and lived in and around the city until his death in 1985.

The Coventry-born poet, who was also a novelist and distinguished jazz critic, could often be disparaging about his adoptive city, but developed a deep affection for it and recognised its pull on others.

Larkin, who was offered the chance in 1984 to succeed his friend Sir John Betjeman as Poet Laureate but declined, is not the only writer connected with Hull.

Andrew Motion, who did become Poet Laureate, lectured at Hull university for several years and a statue of the 17th century metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell, who was born and brought up in the area, stands in the city.

Actors Sir Tom Courtenay and Maureen Lipman also grew up in the city.

The Hull Truck Theatre was formed in 1971 and counts Alan Plater, John Godber and Oscar-winning film director Anthony Minghella among its alumni.

The city’s music scene has produced stars including guitarist Mick Ronson who rose to fame as a key part of David Bowie’s band in his Ziggy Stardust phase.

Indie duo Everything But The Girl got together while studying in Hull, as did the avant-garde industrial band Throbbing Gristle.

Perhaps the city’s most famous musical sons are The Housemartins, a four-piece who scored a series of top 20 hits in the 1980s including a cover of the Isley Brothers Caravan Of Love which topped the charts in 1986.

The band even called their debut album London 0 Hull 4 – a reference to their claim to be only the fourth best band in Hull behind Red Guitars, Everything But The Girl and The Gargoyles.

Frontman Paul Heaton also enjoyed chart success with his second band, The Beautiful South, while bass guitarist Norman Cook relaunched himself as the hugely successful DJ and producer Fatboy Slim.

The band’s guitarist Stan Cullimore has written a string of children’s books and recently appeared in a show for CITV called Bottom Knocker Street.