Find Out About Lowestoft literary and artistic connections
Lowestoft has a number of literary and artistic connections. The most famous of which being the composer Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft in 1913. However we can go back even further to find rich sources of Literary & Artistic Connections of Lowestoft.
Joseph Conrad came to live in Lowestoft in 1878 from his native Poland. Edward Fitzgerald, the translator of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam, lived in Lowestoft. W.G. Sebald, who taught at the University of East Anglia and was tragically killed in 2001, wrote about Lowestoft in The Rings of Saturn.
Glam rock band, The Darkness was formed in Lowestoft but spent their formative years in London. Three of the four founder members were raised in Lowestoft. Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins and Ed Graham all attended Kirkley High School. Several of their songs are either about or make reference to the town: Black Shuck is a retelling of the famous local legend of the same name; Stuck In A Rut tells of the band’s desire to ‘escape’ from the town, making reference to ‘the Barnby Bends’ and ‘the Acle Straight’, popular nicknames for local roads; and Hazel Eyes starts with the lyrics “I hail from the flatlands of East Anglia/In a town that once could boast prosperity.”
Also, scenes from Coronation Street were filmed at a local hotel.
In 2006, Lowestoft’s Kirkley High School was subjected to the Gene Simmons experience when the Kiss bassist brought Rock School to the town. There are some disgruntled residents of the town, however, who feel that the Channel 4 program didn’t represent their town fairly – Kirkley is an economically deprived area of the larger Lowestoft conurbation – the program refused to show the far more developed Northern end of the town, which in no way resembles “God’s Waiting room”. Also, several (un-proven) accusations, (supposedly formed on first hand experience from pupils attending Kirkley High School) suggest that students were in some cases paid sums of money to “misbehave” on camera, and were “bribed”, so to speak, to smoke cigarettes, curse and litter in front of camera. The school itself (as well as the town in which it was filmed) was thoroughly misrepresented, showing only the oldest or less well maintained parts of the building, as well as focusing on the bad aspects of the school and virtually none of the positive parts. A clear sign of this misrepresentation is that despite the fact that the programme was based entirely around Rock music, little or no mention at all was made of “The Darkness” whom primarily (3 of the 4 founding members) attended Kirkley High School. Despite this obvious misrepresentation of Lowestoft and Kirkley High School, the Channel 4 program was a relative success.