Blown up by God
Poet, diversity advocate and heritage buff Jay Hulme talks to Reform about hiding in cathedrals, his life blowing up, and doing interviews with gloves on. He performed at Greenbelt festival in 2022
We have to begin with cathedrals. As I understand it, cathedrals were a big thing for you long before you found (in your words) ‘Jesus coming to get you’.
They’re the loves of my life, and it’s really fascinating because, politically, I should kind of be against cathedrals, particularly with the way they’re administered in the Church of England. With that sort of exclusionary vibe, they’ve long been bastions of civic stuff, which is not my energy. I’m a bit of an angry young lefty. But they are generally the fancier, more accomplished, more expansive examples of architecture. And who doesn’t love to see the best of the thing that they’re into, which in my case is church architecture?
Cathedrals are like your grand statements, but they’re always ruined by people. There is always a sort of absolute chaotic mess because of centuries of architectural messing about by people who are trying to make it fit what they need in that moment. Making it smaller or changing how it works. And I love that, because churches are the tapestries of the community, and the needs and wants and loves of that community through time….
This is an extract from an article published in the February 2023 edition of Reform