As the first paper issue of the Hullfire 2021/2022 team is coming to you towards the end of the year the Hullfire thought it would be a good idea to tell the readers about some of their recommendations for things they have enjoyed throughout the year. We have a great range of recommendations and hopefully it will be a good way for you to get to know some of our members and writers!


Gemma Curry: Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Sour’ – Olivia Rodrigo took the world by storm this year, first with her song ‘Drivers Licence’, and then with its accompanying album ‘Sour’. Whilst many saw it as just a breakup album it provided much more, acting as a portal to the struggles of being young at the moment. She touches on mental health, social media, beauty standards, as well as the pains of heartbreak. The album broke numerous records and already led to three awards despite being Olivia’s debut album! Sour was definitely my album of the year and I am excited to see what music of hers is still to come.

Hannah Bowater: Taylor Swift’s ‘Red [Taylor’s Version] – Taylor managed to make the Greatest Album of All Time even better both by revamping old songs and releasing some brand new (old) bangers – and that doesn’t even begin to cover the magnificence of the 10 minute version of All Too Well. The undisputed greatest songwriter of our generation!

Lauren Smith: Dinosaur Pile-Up’s ‘Celebrity Mansions’ – My favourite album of the year is ‘Celebrity Mansions’ by Dinosaur Pile-Up. Its nostalgic alternative rock feel is like a time-trip back to the 90s, appropriately since bands like Nirvana and Foo Fighters are their main inspiration. The theme for the album differs from your typical modern album in that, instead of a focus on heartbreak or love (although there are elements of it throughout the tracks), it describes fear of failure and chasing after large ambitions, a topic which almost everyone can relate with and understand. What Dinosaur Pile-Up do incredibly well on this album is combine elements from other genres to create their own unique sound. From the heavy metal riffs of ‘Thrash Metal Cassette’, to the rap included on ‘Back Foot’, and even to the melancholy vibes of ‘Round the Bend’, it’s an album that I’m sure every alternative music fan can enjoy.

Amber Wiles: ‘Seventeen Going Under’Sam Fender After the success of his critically acclaimed first album Hypersonic Missiles it seemed like an impossible task to reproduce a second album that was as good if not better, but he definitely did it. Seventeen Going Under is in-depth analysis of growing up working-class in the North of England. The lyricism of the album proves that one day Fender will probably rank amongst the great British female lyricists. His song  Last To Make It Home opens with the lyric ‘Mary, what looked like a mirage/Made of glimmering silver in sunken eyes’ setting up a story of desperation in way familiar to many who cling to something in the darkest moments. The overall construction of the album is amazing, especially the string sections of tracks such as Get You Down. I’ve listened to this album on repeat since its release, and its safe to say it one of my all-time favourite albums.


Celina Backhaus: ‘No Time to Die’ – My favourite movie I saw recently is the new Bond, ‘No Time to Die’. I think it shows Bond from a more vulnerable side we never really get to see. Also, the set pieces are stunning and the action scenes very well choreographed and a joy to watch.

Kieren Allen Dodd: ’Inside‘ – I’ve just finished watching Bo Burnham’s Inside, and honestly, it was an experience! Coming out of the pandemic (hopefully) and out of quarantine, seeing it was akin to a fever dream of the lost year of last year, being garnished with social commentary and sardonic lampooning of out of touch billionaires. It’s a genuinely interesting take on a man’s year in near total isolation, with the struggle of an individual who has spent the past ten in the near constant spotlight. Inside is a special that clearly resonates with a great many of us, trying to adapt to those new circumstances, yet also of the unique toll of fame to somebody who both relies upon and wants out of it. It’s a hilarious, sad, and strange montage of musical numbers and meta skits, and the fact that a song with a message as scary as ‘Welcome to the Internet’ is still in my head is a testament to how good it is. I keep catching myself singing about Jeff Bezos in the kitchen. Five stars.


TV Shows:

Abbie Hardcastle: ‘You’ –  My favourite TV show of the year is ‘You’, the third season of which came out in October this year. After the success and the considerably positive response to the first two seasons, I was hesitant to start this one as recent popularised shows have lost their momentum by the third season. However, I couldn’t wait to start this one and thankfully, it did not disappoint. Whilst being quite a slow-burner, the thrill of murders and mysteries was entwined with the continuing development of Joe and Love’s characters as they try to navigate their seemingly ‘perfect’ life with their new child whilst balancing their own psychotic and obsessive  impulses. Whilst I don’t believe this season lived up to the previous season’s standards, it did have its fair share of shocks and twists. I would recommend to anyone who loves compelling crime, mystery and thrillers.

Nathan Honest: ‘Only Murders in the Building’ – A show about three strangers who come together to try and solve a murder in their Manhattan apartment building, ‘Only Murders in the Building’ is brilliantly funny and sweet-natured.
The seemingly random pairing of Selena Gomez with comedy veterans Steve Martin and Martin Short is ingenious, allowing the show to depict an intergenerational friendship of the kind rarely seen in popular culture.


Adam Storr: Matt Haig’s ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ [or anything else by him] – Matt Haig would be my favourite author as he writes in such a realistic way that you can tell he has suffered in his history and puts that into something creative and amazing. He has some brilliant books like the ‘Midnight Library’ and how to stop time along with his autobiography ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’.

Hannah Claridge: David Mitchell’s ‘Utopia Avenue’ – Although this book was released in 2020 I read it in 2021 and those two years feel like such a blur that I think I can get away with it. The novel follows a band [Utopia Avenue] in the 1960s as they become more famous. It is a great read if you are a big fan of music, especially the 60s period as there are some great references. I particularly enjoyed the way it was structured. Mitchell sectioned the book into three albums which was then sectioned into side A and side B; not only this but each chapter within these sections was the title of a song from the album. If that wasn’t clever enough, the writer of the song on the album took on the point of view for that chapter. This allowed you to explore each character in depth. The novel mainly tackles ideas of mental health, sexuality, relationships and stardom. It is a brilliant book and evidently favourite read of the year.

Lucy Jolliff: John Green’s ‘The Anthropocene Reviewed’ – This is the newest book by John Green, best known for his mega-hit novel The Fault in Our Stars. This new book, however, is a first for Green – a series of non-fiction essays. That description makes it sound a bit boring, but the book is adapted from his hugely popular podcast, in which he takes a fairly random aspect of the Anthropocene (the fancy term for the current geological era) and reviews it on a five-star scale. The book takes a selection of the most personal of those reviews, adds some new ones, and turns them into something of a memoir. The essay topics range from ‘the practice of googling strangers’, based on his time as a chaplain in a children’s hospital, one of his kids’ favourite films, ‘Penguins of Madagascar’Those who know Green as a Youtuber or as one of the hosts of YouTube educational series Crash Course will know how entertaining he can make education, and this book is no different – it will make you laugh and cry while giving you a new perspective on the world. If you’re struggling right now with feeling like there isn’t much to be hopeful about in the world, give this one a read.