Hahahahahaha…. no seriously… hahahaha… tee hee… ho ho ho… HA. Geddit?
No me neither.
I’ve been researching things to do in Bristol, and out of interest, googled ‘jokes about Bristol’- apart from Bristol Palin (Sarah’s unfortunately slutty teenage daughter) that one about their football team was the only one that came up.
Bristol has held a strange history in my life, creating this synchronicity it’s almost predestined I go there to live eventually. Growing up in London’s burbs, my knowledge of anything outside of the M25 was pretty shocking. When considering universities, I only really looked at London. However, a school friend and I noticed a trick- if we went on school-approved visits to universities, we got days off in strange cities where we could go and check out record shops and comic shops and not do any work.
So I went to Bristol as a 16 year old. It wasn’t really on the cards for me, it wasn’t in London. But the city was a sight, we walked down Park street, the dizzying panorama of South Bristol heading off into the hills, splattered with colourful houses. We ended up in Broadmead shopping centre spending our teenage wages on hip hop records and Spidey comics. A year later, my cousins wore my hip hop head down and got me back into indie through the medium of middle ground… trip hop. That Bristol sound of Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead bore a hole in my head, the size of a dub fist.
Then I met my future fiance and she was from Bristol and to see her I had to travel over there. I was caught in the mix of a city that was historical yet urban. All these gorgeous town houses that provided shelter for an army of creative DJs, graphic artists and musicians. Banksy and Massive Attack and funk… badass funk. Bristol opened itself up as a hip city that was spectacular to go out in on dates and on nights out. It was more compact than London, was at least 40% less pretentious and full of creativity. Then my best friend moved to Bristol, and he opened up yet more intricate layers of the city. He quickly gained local knowledge, knowing the best places to get food and beer and see interesting new music through running his own nights and networking within that vast creative army that keeps Bristol ticking along. With him there and my fiance’s family, it seems all signs point west and eventually once my work-life balance sorts itself out, we’ll be convoying down the M4.
Now I’m writing my first printed book and it’s about Bristol.
I met a guy at a party who’s working on a series of pocket guides to different UK cities and I managed to convince him of my local knowledge of Bristol, which was why I deserved, I felt, to write about it. He got me the job after some sober harranguing. But yes, my knowledge of Bristol is growing. I’m starting to flesh out a city that has a lot of hidden charm and a lot of local loyalty, which is why some of its best places are only found through sheer tenacity of exploring or knowing someone in the know. My knowledge is growing and to be honest, I can’t wait to move there. It’s an amazing city. I know the places to stay, the places to drink eat find antiques walk etc etc… I am a listings guru for Bristol, and it hasn’t taken away any of my reverence for the city. Its complex mix of art and localism, its eco-sensibilities and its vibrant multicultural communities make it an amazing city.