From Grafton Street to Glastonbury - I visited the pub where Paul Heaton made his name

For those lucky people who have managed to secure tickets for this year's Glastonbury Festival, congratulations.

Amongst the 2,000 acts performing are two colossal names who cut their teeth in Hull. Back in 1986, The Housemartins gained their only number one with Caravan of Love. The band, fronted by Paul Heaton with bassist Norman Cook - later Fatboy Slim - made their name in various venues in the city, but none more synonymous than their local, Grafton.

Still being in Hull rather than at Worthy Farm, I headed to The Grafton for a bit of local musical history.

Read more:

Grafton Street is 0.3 miles of terrace houses between Beverley Road and Newland Avenue. Amongst those houses is this old-school-looking boozer.

Whereas the Avenues is filled with hip, trendy and modern bars, Grafton offers a look back in time with traditional pubs. Growing up around Bransholme pubs in the '00s, seeing this place felt nostalgic - even though I've never been in prior.

Paul Heaton in The Grafton back in 1991 with The Beautiful South
Paul Heaton in The Grafton back in 1991 with The Beautiful South -Credit:Martyn Goodacre/Getty Image

As I asked for a pint of Camden Stout, a pair of locals in the back gave me a not-too-serious boo. Turns out, the pub has recently swapped out Guinness for this, leaving a bitter taste in some people's mouths.

I took my drink outside into the rather spacious yard and noticed an Alternative History plaque. "Paul Heaton. 1998. He told Pat she's a perfect 10 (but she wears a twelve)." An ace nod.

Paul stayed at Number 70 Grafton Street when he moved to Hull in '83, where soon after The Housemartins were born. Joining forces with guitarist Stan Cullimore, Hugh Whittaker on drums and lastly a fresh-faced Norman Cook on bass.

In a relatively short time, just three years later they would be at number one, and then disband in '88 with people going their own ways. Norman Cook became a giant in house music, with Beats International and of course, Fatboy Slim. Paul would go on to create The Beautiful South and then later become a solo artist. Though shortlived, The Housemartins' grip on the city lives on. London 0 Hull 4 album release lives on as one of THE albums for any record owner, not just locally, but nationally, with bangers like Happy Hour and Caravan of Love.

Paul Heaton (left) and Norman Cook, of the Housemartins performing at the Tower in August 1986
Paul Heaton (left) and Norman Cook, of the Housemartins performing at the Tower in August 1986 -Credit:Mirrorpix

Though the two have since left the city for new pastures, both still always respect their roots. Fat Boy Slim - who was used to playing to 250,000 people at Brighton Beach, headed to Adelphi to celebrate the club's birthday in 2019.

Speaking of birthdays, Grafton was one of the three pubs where Paul put a grand behind the bar so people could raise a glass for him on his 60th. The pub is clearly one of his favourites too, as a music video was filmed there as part of his and fellow Beautiful South vocalist Jacqui Abbott's 7" Single.

With Fatboy Slim and Paul Heaton (along with guest Rianne Downey) playing on the same day at the world-famous Glastonbury Festival this weekend, I'd like to think they'd be having a catch-up and a pint while reminiscing about the pub I've just visited. This year will also feature Hull rapper Chiedu Oraka and Jarvis Cocker, and if all four get together I'm sure HU would be a conversation starter.