Hull was skint. Post financial crash, we lagged behind neighbouring cities. The end of the line. Our nightlife gems were fun, but dated. Unimaginitive venues closed and even more unimaginative ones reopened. Until Fruit landed on Humber Street and changed everything, writes Alice Todd.
Way back when, before Hull found fame and fortune as City of Culture, the subversive small-venue Fruit opened its doors on the then-abandoned fruit market. The industrial warehouse was cold. It was stark. It was perfect.
“Fruit became an arrowhead, they redeveloped history and without places like Fruit, City of Culture might not have happened,” reckons self-confessed culture vulture Craig McBain.
His enthusiasm for the venue is unwaning, despite the fact that Fruit as we know it; closed its doors forever last year. “We have a lot of good venues in Hull, big, old iconic ones but Fruit had soul; you could feel a connection,” he says.
And Craig should know. He’s a guy who’s sampled more pints across the city then he cares to remember. He said:
“I drank far too many expensive beers in there. But I never cared. They roll out cheap pub interiors like they build new housing estates they all look the same, they’re sterile and antiseptic. Fruit space had presence, it had atmosphere and character. It was worth spending a few extra quid.”
In Craig’s opinion, Fruit went against the norm. It was a transformative space, a space that deserves some positive recollection. Even when the crowds were disappointing, they were never really disappointing.
“Sometimes the crowd was like a pair of holey socks, but other times they were furious and pounding.”
Bands from all over the country were drawn to it’s uniqueness.
For eight years Fruit fuelled the evolution of Humber Street. Now, in its wake, we’re left with a thriving fruit market and an openness to new ideas within the local culture scene. A sense of adventure and innovation.
Craig’s mind casts back to those formative years of Humber Street:
“Fruit became a pioneer venue, their successes encouraged other business to try something new and exciting.”
So when those doors closed, and people said that Hull would never be the same, they were, of course, totally right.