It’s 2017 and Hull’s big year is finally here. It all started with a huge fireworks display from two barges in the Estuary, which we watched from the top of a hill on the south bank having now repatriated myself as a “yellow-belly”. The opening week has been marked by “Made in Hull” – a series of light projection exhibits around the City Centre, focused on Queen Victoria Square where the crowds are immersed by projections on the City Hall, Feren’s Art Gallery and the Maritime Museum.
The first video here shows a brief snippet of the light show on Hull’s The Deep aquarium, standing where the Hull’s eponymous river flows into the Humber Estuary.
This next video shows the Hull Blitz segment from the main display in Queen Victoria Square. It’s difficult to convey the power of this piece, the chilling hush that descends over the crowd as the word “war” is repeated, the noise and the atmosphere of the search lights ahead. It’s only a small measure of what the terror of living in the most bombed city outside of London must have been like.
Made in Hull has been utterly superb and a very fitting start to 2017 – if it continues like this we’re in for a fantastic City of Culture year.
News just in from our Sports Correspondent, Tom Coulthard, of the much anticipated Staff vs Student Football Game –
The Staff Team before Kick-Off
“Match Report: GEES staff vs students football. 11th May 2016.
A bright Wednesday afternoon saw the inaugural GEES Staff vs Students football match. Played with 8 a side and rolling substitutes, the Students were all in a blue strip and the Staff, playing a 4, 3, 1 (Christmas tree) formation, in largely not blue. The first five minutes saw a flurry of chances from Staff, with shots on target from Bettley and Bond drawing a string of sharp saves from the students agile keeper. However, the students weathered the early storm and neat interplay saw them quickly score twice. As the game settled the Staff keeper (Hu) made two brave saves, but continued pressure from the students saw another goal deflected in. In the midfield, Baines, Jennings and XuXu were industrious and a period of Staff possession saw a deep cross to the back post nodded against the woodwork from a – rising like a salmon Skinner header. Hu then took an unfortunate blow with a foot to the spectacles (literally, not metaphorically) forcing a late keeper substitution.
A half time saw a tactical change from the Staff, with Bond drawn back to sit in front of the defensive 4 and Parsons moved up to play a lone striker role. This cunning change reaped immediate benefits, with Parsons scoring a well taken low shot greeted by cheers from the Staff supporters. The Students then scored another well worked goal, before Parsons scored again taking the score to 2:4. Staff continued to press, with a powerful drive from Jonas, but as the game wore on, Staff legs suffered (positionally sagging to no real formation) allowing the Students to work in a couple of well crafted one touch goals. Two more were fired in by the students in the closing minutes to leave the final score 2:8. Handshakes and congratulations followed – with the game being played in an excellent spirit, cheered on by some 30 students and staff.
The Student Team before Kick-Off
This match was played for charity, with all Staff players contributing a Club fee and the Students collecting with buckets. The funds will go towards care for the two broods of ducklings that inhabit the Cohen Building each spring, and also towards conservation at Spurn Point. All in all, it was a great success.
It’s been a few years since I’ve had a chance to write a blog before Eurovision week. I make no secret about my love of the Song Contest, and I also make no secret about the fact that my predictions are always spectacularly wrong. In this blog, I will detail my simple methodology for predicting the winners, and also some idea of where the UK entry might place (Spoiler – somewhere near the bottom). Along the way, I will pick out some of my favourites and thoughts on the entries.
However, before I start I want to take a moment to share my all time Eurovision favourite – Lena. It’s been difficult to narrow down a single song to share, but I’ve decided to go with this one where Lena has arranged to meet Bert and Ernie (out of off of Sesame Street), who have a surprisingly advanced grasp of German. I don’t really know what is going on but I gather that Bert is late, which is odd because I’ve always thought he was very punctual. Anyway, here’s Lena, Bert and Ernie.
My methodology is very simple. Last weekend I watched each entry on YouTube on the official channel. As I did I recorded the number of views, likes and dislikes that each video had received. I used these to calculate two values, a Score and a Ratio.
Score = (Views * (Likes – Dislikes)) / 1000000000
Ratio = ((Likes – Dislikes) / Views) * 10000
Each entry will be rated using both.
The Big 5 plus Sweden
The Big 5 are the five countries which fund a European-wide broadcasting network through the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – the original contest was conceived as a test for this. These countries, plus last year’s winners and hosts, automatically go through to the final. This is fortunate for the UK as it spares us the ignominy of going out at the Semi-Final stage every year.
The stand out performer of this group of six is France, with the most views, the highest score and the highest ratio – it looks set to do well.
The entry I have chosen to highlight in this section is Germany’s. I quite like the song and the singer looks like a love-child between Ash Ketchum and Hello Kitty. She’s also called Jamie-Lee like one of my nieces so I can use that to wind her up. Due to a lack of views it has a low Score but a decent Ratio.
Using Score the following countries would be eliminated – Austria, Iceland, Estonia, Montenegro, Finland, Moldova, San Marino and Croatia.
Using Ratio the following countries would be eliminated – Montenegro, Armenia, Estonia, Moldova, Finland, Iceland, Malta and San Marino.
My selection for this section is San Marino’s entry. This man’s voice is exceptionally creepy, it doesn’t just make my skin crawl, it makes my bowels crawl. You could use listening to him with headphones to replace waterboarding. Thankfully, it looks to be going out very quickly.
Using Score the following countries would be eliminated – Belarus, Ireland, Albania, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Latvia and Georgia.
Using Ratio the following countries would be eliminated – Denmark, Norway, Georgia, Belgium, Latvia, Switzerland, Slovenia and Albania.
I’m very surprised Belarus has not performed better considering he says he will be performing naked surrounded by wolves – this is surely Eurovision-fodder, but the YouTube stats suggest it just isn’t resonating with the public.
My pick of the entries here is Georgia. Set to go out, the song is a bit dull, it does have some mad scientists in the video.
The Grand Final
Using Score the Top 5 looks like – Poland, France, Australia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Using Ratio the Top 5 looks like – Cyprus, Croatia, Bulgaria, Israel and Austria.
As Cyprus’ entry tops the Ratio table and the song is also pretty good and catchy, which goes a long way, there’s a small chance it might actually win it. Here is our 2016 Eurovision Winner –
My Earworm Choice
Greece – It’s like a mash up between Baywatch and 300 and keeps going around and around my head.
The UK’s Prospects
Being in the Big 5 saves us the blushes of an early Semi-Final Brexit. Sadly, our song is pretty dull and out of touch of even British tastes, let along European tastes.
Score places it in 15th (which would be doing very well), whilst Ratio plants it firmly at the bottom of the table. It won’t be nil poit, but it won’t be much higher.
History is also not on our side, as the chart shows below –
I’m not sure what happened in or around 2003 to cause such a sudden downturn in our fortunes, but it doesn’t look like abating anytime soon. Maybe we should try putting in a decent song for a change.
Thank you for reading – I expect none of the above to actually happen. Belarus plans to be naked and Russia are the bookies’ favourite…