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Alternative City of Culture launched
6:00am Wednesday 4th December 2013 in News
SOUTHEND was hailed as the Alternative City of Culture at a glitzy event attended by well-known faces, including singer Patti Boulaye and Busted star James Bourne.
Since Southend lost out to Hull in its bid to be named City of Culture title for 2017, Tory MP David Amess has made it his mission to promote the town as its alternative.
At the launch event at the Genting Club in Westcliff, Mr Amess pledged the borough would host a calendar of cultural events to rival the northern city’s schedule.
Mr Amess said: “We want people to knowSouthend is not only the city of culture for the UK, but for the world.
“Sadly the judges didn’t see it like that and of the shortlist of four not one of the towns was in the south of England. As a result Southend decided to organise a competition to decide who will be declared the alternative city of culture.”
On stage at the event, Mr Amess read out messages of good wishes from Queen guitarist, Brian May, showbiz legend Sir Bruce Forsyth and West End stage star Lee Mead.
Mr Amess added: “Southend is at cultural war with Hull city.
It’s the Thames Estuary versus the mouth of the Humber, Rossi ice cream versus faggots, and we are going to win.”
He was joined on stage by former mayor Sally Carr, who will lead the promotion of the events in the three years to 2017, and James Bourne, from Southend, who is back performing with old bandmates Busted with band McFly, as McBusted.
James told the audience: “I’m really glad I grew up here instead of Hull.”
The event showcased a selection of Southend’s talents, including artist Paul Karslake, mosaic artist Paul Siggins, sculptor Rod Steward, Masters performing arts college dancers and to show the diversity of the town, Chinese national Betty Law who has lived in Southend for 30 years performed with her Yee-woo instrument, similar to a violin.
Mr Siggins, who owns the Mosaic Studio in London Road, Westcliff, said: “We have hundreds of artists, musicians and a good literary scene.
“Its good to promote the town and as an alternative city of culture I think is a good idea.”
Derek Jarvis, Southend councillor responsible for culture, added: “The council has a strategy right through to 2017 when we will submit our bid to be city of culture in the next competition in 2021.
"This initiative is a way of concentrating minds and building up to that."
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