‘Norwich is a city with culture running through its veins, and combined with its way of doing things differently, it is poised to make the best use of the City of Culture title through a radical Whole City Experiment.’
Many of the recent accolades have gone to the bigger, post-industrial cities which have needed significant regeneration whilst their reasons for existence disappeared. Places like Norwich on the other hand, have continued to do what they do best – living, working, studying, experimenting, playing music, making art, theatre, meeting, eating, dancing, reading, writing, fishing and football… The list goes on and the connected, liveable quality of Norwich makes it a true European city that many similar-sized places would love to emulate.
When I get a break and come back to Norwich, I often watch the football at Carrow Road, accompanied by Delia Smith and as a writer, I love the mix of bookshops such as the new independent The Bookhive in London Street, the live literature and poetry that pops up in the smaller independent bars – yes, Norwich is an independent city with a spirit that few can rival – guts, vision and ambition that has led it to compete with the likes of Birmingham, Sheffield and Derry for this prestigious title.
And they can’t compete with the splendid built heritage of the city from cathedrals and castles to the fabulous Forum, market and city centre that tempts the visitor in. Once here, they are greeted with theatres, festivals, shops, museums and music all within a stone’s throw in a beautiful setting.
I hope that Norwich wins this week and that the judges see past the church towers to the potential of the creative, active people who make the city the vibrant and interesting place that it is. If they start the trend, maybe Norwich will take its rightful place on the national stage as a recognised city of culture – after all, we already know what the rest of the UK is about to find out!
The UK City of Culture 2013 will be announced tomorrow.