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Food/Arts/Entertainment/Shopping/Property CHRISTMAS 2019 / ISSUE 273 / £3







erry Bristmas, babbers; we’re coming at you in an unapologetic storm of festive glitter and the cacophony of sleigh bells. Obviously, we’re dreaming of a whiteout; but even if the snow doesn’t pitch, at least we have plenty of festive delights crammed into the following pages. To begin with, we have Mark Olver in a Santa hat; suits you, sir. Admittedly, Mark’s odyssey from Kno-el to Christmas Steps isn’t exactly 10 Days of Bristmas – it all takes place over a single day, just like Ulysses – but did you think that was going to stop us using it as a snappy coverline? Also in this issue you’ll find our usual mega Bristmas gift guide, a food and drink booze special, and a one-toone with Ardal O’Hanlon. And who can this be on our festive back page? Have we done another made-up interview with an elf ? A mildly amusing spoof Q&A with one of Santa’s reindeer? Or could it possibly be bona-fide national treasure Shane Richie, back in town for the Hippodrome panto, and just as polite and charming as we found him when we last interviewed him for this magazine in 2006? The very merriest of Bristmasses, Shane – and to you lot, obviously.

DERI ROBINS Bond of Life by Stefan Christmann, from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. The full feature is on page 34, but we thought you’d like this chick as a Christmas bonus

Follow us on Twitter @BristolLifeMag Instagram @BristolLifeMag I BRISTOL LIFE I 3

Issue 273 / Christmas 2019 COVER Photos of Mark Olver at Hart’s Bakery by Ben Robins;


14 MARK OLVER A festive odyssey. With cake 9 CHRISTMAS QUIZ Did you really think we’d do

our Bristmas issue without one?

our back page

10 BRIZZOGRAM Steps into Christmas 106 BRISTOL LIVES Shane Richie’s in panto, and he’s on




21 ART PAGE Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you 24 WHAT’S ON Ho ho ho, it’s all the Bristmas shows 32 FILM Ca commence à ressembler beaucoup à Noël 34 PHOTOGRAPHY Wild things; we think we love you 40 COMEDY The show-off must go on 46 BRISTOL HEROES Step into Bristmas, tra la la la la 51 BOOKS The gifts that speak volumes


54 RESTAURANT Mexican new wave 58 FOOD AND DRINK NEWS All we want for Bristmas

is booze

63 STAN La dolce vita on Worrall Road


67 GIFT GUDE It’s our inevitable gender-neutral,

indie-tastic, mega Bristmas gift guide

78 FASHION Wrap up warm, now


82 GREAT ESCAPES Port to Christmas starboard


89 BRISTOLWORKS News and views from the

Bristol pros


100 SHOWCASE They had us at ‘this house has a tower’



Editor Deri Robins Senior art editor Andrew Richmond Graphic design Megan Allison Cover design Trevor Gilham Contributors Mark Olver, Rachel Ifans, Christian Annesley, Colin Moody, Stan Cullimore, Kam Kelly Advertising manager Neil Snow New business manager Craig Wallberg Key accounts manager Dan Nichols Advertising & sales executive Hayley Allwood hayley. Production/distribution manager Sarah Kingston Deputy production manager/production designer Kirstie Howe Chief executive Jane Ingham Chief executive Greg Ingham Bristol Life MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. We also publish foodie mag Crumbs (, @CrumbsMag. Agency From the design and build of websites to digital marketing and creating company magazines, we can help. Events We create, market, promote and operate a wide variety of events both for MediaClash and our clients Contact: I BRISTOL LIFE I 5

SPOTLIGHT Stop singing that Ghostbusters tune right now; this is AREA 404, dummy




Now that we’ve had a chance to properly check out His Dark Materials, and discovered that it’s awesome, we’re totally claiming some of the credit for Bristol. The eight-part adaptation of the first book in Philip Pullman’s epic trilogy is said to be the BBC’s most expensive series to date; and the investment is clearly shown by the extraordinary production values, stellar cast and Ruth Wilson’s deeply covetable wardrobe (move over, Villanelle). While most of the filming kudos goes to Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema in South Wales, the show’s scripted by Bristol-born Jack Thorne, once best known for Skins but now absolutely everywhere (he also wrote recent C4 drama The Accident). Also, the crew visited Bristol a number of times throughout its shooting schedule to film key scenes with the help of Bristol Film Office, including a chase sequence through Trenchard Street, Colston Street, Host Street and Pipe Lane into Colston Yard; the production team also filmed at Blaise Orangery. Christmas is an ideal time to play the locationspotting drinking game; one sherry per location is ideal.


Bristol Sounds have just announced the line-up for 2020 too, headlined by Noel Gallagher, Jack Savoretti and Supergrass And Saturday is now an all-day mini-fest, curated and headlined by The Levellers, with Reef and Goldie Lookin Chain too.




Film and TV

The team behind Boomtown has launched Bristol’s newest, largest and most jaw-dropping multi-room events club venue to date. Behold AREA 404: a permanent events space in St Philip’s; it’s the largest venue in Bristol, with a capacity for 3,500, and it’s accessible to all. AREA 404 launched across two weekends in November, with fully immersive street sets reminiscent of the theatrical splendour of Boomtown, bringing the festival home to the city where it was created 11 years ago. Guests were invited to explore the deserted industrial quadrant of AREA 404: ‘an overgrown immersive dystopia filled with lost souls and the halfliving…’ (bit like the Croft at 11pm most Saturday nights, then). It’s a warrenlike complex housing five rooms; the main room features high-energy live music, with the medium and smaller rooms hosting a spectrum of live DJs, reggae, techno, house, d’n’b and disco, bringing people together in a huge melting pot of musical styles, theatrical exploration and creative endeavour. If you want to check it out, note that tickets are now on sale for its New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day party; see listings page 28.

Theatre and music


Got your Killers tickets yet? Don’t blame us if you missed out, we gave you plenty of prior warning on social.The indie rockers are comin’ out of their cage with new album Imploding The Mirage and a 2020 tour that takes in Ashton Gate; so if the last time you saw them live you were stood behind a squillion people at Glastonbury, here’s a chance to enjoy them in the excellent Gate sightlines.

Announced in the same week, and just as exciting if you’re into your theatre, was news that Mark Rylance will headline Bristol Old Vic’s ‘Year of Artists’ programme for 2020. Mark – formerly the first artistic director of The Globe, and recently on the small screen playing Hilary Mantell’s immensely sympathetic Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall – plays the titular role in the world premiere of Semmelweis; conceived from an original idea of Mark’s, the play is based on the true story of Hungarian scientist and doctor Ignaz Semmelweis. I BRISTOL LIFE I 7



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It’s time for the traditional Bristmas Life Quiz, kindly compiled, as ever, by our friend Richard Jones at Tangent Books. Need more Brizzleness in your life? Tangent’s books make perfect stocking fillers

1 2

What was Adge Cutler’s real first name?


Massive Attack’s Blue Lines album was released in the same year that The Galleries in Broadmead opened. Name that year.

PICTURE QUESTION What is the name of the bear removed from the Bearpit in 2019?


Which 19th-century Bristol woman allowed Brunel to use her original plans when he put forward his design for a bridge over the Avon?

11 15

4 5 6 7 8

In Bristolian dialect, what is a ‘strapper’?

By which names are Archibald Leach, Adrian Thaws and Trevor Stanford better known? First published in Bristol in 1798, Lyrical Ballads featured the work of which two poets? Which book resulted from a meeting in Bristol between Daniel Defoe and Alexander Selkirk?

Two famous fictional ships set sail from Bristol – The Hispaniola and the The Antelope. Which books are they from?

9 10

Where was Bristol’s original library, built in 1738 -40? What is now on the site of the Old Library?


The pirate Blackbeard appears in many reference and fiction books. What was his real name and what area of Bristol was he from?


The Westbury Park pub in Henleaze was known as the Kebab and Calculator in which TV comedy?


Which Bristol poet wrote The Story Of The Three Bears, which became Goldilocks And The Three Bears?

14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Which Bristol poet was appointed Poet Laureate in 1813. Name the three original members of the band Portishead.

Which Bristol musician had a top 10 hit with The Oldest Swinger In Town?

Fears of Bristol, founded in 1846, were famous makers of what product? What was Jerry Dammers’ (of The Specials) connection with Bristol?

In what year did John Cabot set sail from Bristol in The Matthew? In 2019, which internationally famous artist exhibited at the Georgian House in Bristol?

ANSWERS 1 Alan 2 1991 3 Sarah Guppy 4 Stranger 5 Cary Grant, Tricky, Russ Conway 6 Wordsworth and Coleridge 7 Robinson Crusoe 8 Treasure Island and Gulliver’s Travels 9 King Street 10 Rendezvous Chinese restaurant 11 Edward Teach, Redcliffe 12 The Young Ones 13 Robert Southey 14 Robert Southey 15 Geoff Barrow, Adrian Utley, Beth Gibbons 16 Fred Wedlock 17 Watches 18 His dad was the Dean of Bristol cathedral 19 1497 20 Yoko Ono Picture A City Museum and Art Gallery Picture B Ursa

Questions from Tangent Books and Bristol Books CIC loosely based on The Naked Guide to Bristol, A Dictionary of Bristle, Banksy’s Bristol, Punks, Adge King of the Wurzels, Louise Brown, My Life as the World’s First Test-Tube Baby and other titles all of which are available at Bristol Life readers get 20% off all orders if they use the code ‘supporter’.

PICTURE QUESTION Where in Bristol would you find Banksy’s Paintpot Angel?



Bristol’s most instaready street looks magical all year round – but it really comes into its own at Bristmas















The most Bristmassy photo we have ever seen was taken by Chris Hill – follow Chris at @chrshill on insta and buy prints at I BRISTOL LIFE I 11


Bristol stand-up MARK OLVER takes us on a yuletide odyssey, from Know-el to the Christmas Steps – all for the sake of a half-decent pun Photos by Ben Robins at Hart’s Bakery 14 I BRISTOL LIFE I




It’s on the edge of Brislington, at the top of a hill and next to the church where I spent many a Christmas midnight mass. A glorious pub that has had a major overhaul in the last few years. Gorgeous food, cosy, and friendly. With brilliant views over Bristol, Knowle is one of those places that has always felt slightly on the edge of all the coolness of Bristol. But things have changed and now you can have amazing food (a great Sunday roast!) and stare down across the city.



There aren’t enough Christmas themed or named places for me to make every stop on this tour a seasonal treat, but I can’t walk past this church without referencing it. Partly because the name is so appropriate for this piece of fluff, but mainly because you all know it without realising you know it. You can see it from almost everywhere in Bristol. If you look South from Brandon Hill or Clifton you can make out its distinctive green spire, and may have wondered what it is and where is it. It’s a Bristol landmark that you didn’t even realise was a symbol of home. It’s not the Suspension Bridge, or even The

Dower House looming over the M32, but it’s there, a little shard of green on the horizon just poking above the coloured houses of Totterdown, letting you know your journey home is nearly over.

“Hart’s is hidden under Temple Meads and feels like a hug in bakery form ” 3


I grew up in this area – Brislington, Totterdown, Knowle – and have seen the changes fi rst-hand as the Wells Road gets busier with cars and buses and people walking to work, listening to podcasts on wireless headphones, and carrying lattes and things made with almond milk and other things that haven’t touched a cow. I am not a vegan, or a veggie, but I love amazing food whatever it is, and Eat Your Greens is a small and perfectly formed café

that does incredible vegan food – including another brilliant Sunday roast.





I’m not going to continue all the way down the Wells Road, I have a detour to make; but I can’t leave this stretch of road without nipping into my favourite chip shop. It feels slightly wrong to go from a vegan café to grab my regular order of faggot and chips, but this is a long walk, and I need iron. I love Farrows. I love that even in this slightly gentrified part of Bristol there is space for a thriving chippie. Queues out the door on an evening, a choice of gluten-free batter, while not forgetting the joy of a battered sausage or offal-based lump of meat! Arnos Vale is a cemetery but also a hub for this part of Bristol. Gorgeous walks through acres of green space, a café, performance spaces and a shop. This is where I buy my Christmas tree; they also have regular craft fairs, including an upcoming Christmas fair. I think it’s one of my favourite places in Bristol. A perfect example of a Victorian garden cemetery, with places to get lost in I BRISTOL LIFE I 15

BRISTMAS and forget you’re right by the side of the Bath Road. They did a brilliant job when renovating it. Made it neater and easy to walk around, but also kept the character of a space that was left to the elements for over 25 years. It’s gorgeous in every season, but I think especially beautiful in the winter.







Nothing sums up Christmas better than sweet things and cakes, and the warmth of something cheesy and slightly bad for the waistline. Hart’s is hidden underneath Temple Meads and feels like a hug in bakery form. I will indulge during every season but there’s something about winter, when the smell of bread and cinnamon and specific Christmassy things makes starting a journey away from Bristol Temple Meads feel like you’re going on a yuletide adventure, and makes coming home feel like you are, well, coming home.

I’m walking down Victoria Street, because even though it still feels like a big mass of complicated roadworks it’s still (a) the main route into the city centre from this side and (b) called Victoria Street, so named after the person/period that essentially invented the way we say Christmas today. And you also have to pass a church – famously on more of a lean that the Tower of Pisa – which has the same name as the proper name for Boxing Day. Also because it has a couple of incredibly cosy pubs that feel like they’ve been tailormade to make Americans feel like they are stepping in the archetypal British boozing experience: The Shakespeare, and my personal favourite, slightly hidden away, The Cornubia.

Still heading in generally the right direction, but with a diversion, because I can’t resist the Christmas connection with King Street. Firstly, Wing’s Diner at the Small Bar. I love fried chicken, and have been on an exploration, internationally, to fi nd the best. And it’s here. In Bristol. Made by two guys who have a pop-up at the Bar. An excellent pub, with excellent chicken, and the blue rice and the gravy are works of art. Secondly, 1766 Bar & Kitchen and Bristol Old Vic. I think the renovation of this theatre is perfect. The new food offerings are amazing (yet another glorious Sunday roast) but it’s the space that’s the winner, gorgeously succeeding in revealing the historic beauty of the building while making it feel modern and new. And the Bristol Old Vic Christmas shows sum up Christmas childhoods for generations


and generations of Bristolians. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that there’s something magical about this theatre at Christmas. Thirdly, The Apple. Cider. On a boat. It feels like someone waved a wand and tried to create a pub that represents Bristol. And they came up with a cider pub. On a boat.



One fi nal stop before we get to our destination. And although St Nick’s Market is brimming with incredible food (Pieminister and Eatchu are my personal favourites) we really need to do some shopping. There’s obviously the market, both bits, where I reckon you could do an entire Christmas shop without getting wet or cold. Clothes, bags, crafty things and all manner of esoteric and unusual gifts and goodies. There’s Rag and Bone just on the edge of the Market, Stanford’s on Corn Street, the

frequent markets that pop up on Corn Street as well. Oh, and art. So much art. And vintage shops. And chocolate shops. And delis and posh food shops. And places to buy tickets for events. And fabric. Basically, if St Nick had to do his own Christmas shopping he’d probably go to St Nicks. Oh, and they do amazing late-night events and have got a special Christmas one coming up. Nearly there. And the big question is which route to take. I’m going to the top of Corn Street and down Broad Street. Coffee shops and The Grand Hotel. Horts pub, the amazing Strawberry Thief. The incredible Everard’s tile mural (Bristol’s best street art) and then under or through the old Bristol Wall, with a little stop at St John’s, the only remaining church built into the old mediaeval wall. Take in some of the incredible street art on Nelson Street, do a little 100-yard diversion and nip into Rough Trade records for last-

BRISTMAS minute Christmas shopping for the young and musically trendy people in your life. Out the other side, and work out exactly which traffic lights are in place at the moment. Relax from the stress of city centre traffic and slip into Hotel Du Vin for a sit down. Note: it’s the poshest city centre hotel, and I know for a fact that most famous comedians stay there when working in Bristol. It’s a good place to spot someone off the telly, but try and be cool. Chill. Right? Good.



My thoughts on Christmas Steps. They reckon a lot of places are starting to get more popular because they look good on insta. I think Bristol has always been ‘instaready’, way before actual instagram. Maybe that’s why people love coming here; it looks like we have a fi lter. A fi lter over the city that changes with the seasons. Christmas Steps (while not being a specifically Christmassy place, in spite of the name, which may come from the Three Kings Church at the top of Colston Avenue) is the

type of place you show Americans if you want them to have a good photo to send home. It’s all zigzags and lampposts. It’s also the place I ran my fi rst comedy gig in 1999. The Chicane Cafe, which is now a posh barbers.

“Maybe that’s why people love coming to Bristol; it looks like we have a filter” It’s also got Chance and Counters, a great board game café for people who enjoy fun, and a gorgeous pub, The Christmas Steps. And 20th Century Flicks. A video shop. Well, a DVD shop. And cinema. That you can privately hire. They used to be in Clifton, and one day someone will figure out that

20th Century Flicks was responsible for and influential in so many of the great British fi lms and TV of the last 20 years (It’s easy to imagine Pegg and Lucas and Walliams and Merchant all nipping in and browsing the shelves while living in Bristol). And that’s it. Knowle to Christmas Steps. A long walk. Purely for the sake of a bad pun. Not the most direct route, and almost defi nitely missing out some of Bristol’s highlights, and maybe even some Christmasthemed locations – The Stables on the Waterfront, perhaps. But I think it’s all there. Food. Shopping. Bits of Bristol history. Places to have a sing-song and places to sit by a roaring fire or hire a cinema to watch your favourite Christmas fi lm. Don’t listen to the people who tell you the best one is Die Hard. It’s not. It’s Iron Man 3. ■ Mark works as a compère and a warm-up act, and runs Belly Laughs which raises money for homeless shelters by putting gigs on in indie restaurants. Follow him on social at @markolver and @bellylaughs2 I BRISTOL LIFE I 17



AFRICA STATE OF MIND So colourful that we almost made it our Christmas cover… Athi Patra Ruga’s playful image is part of RWA’s new exhibition exploring the work of an emergent generation of photographers from across the African continent; we’ll be finding more about it in our next issue, so be patient Africa State of Mind runs at RWA between 14 December 2019-1 March 2020

Athi-Patra Ruga, Night of the Long Knives I I BRISTOL LIFE I 21


29 November-31 December


Unpack the tinsel, stick on the Pogues: the festive season is ON !

Cheer up, Ebeneezer; it’s Bristmaaassss!


Until 1 December

Until 20 December

167 ANNUAL OPEN EXHIBITION Last chance to see the 167th outing for the Royal West of England Academy’s Open;

DAVID SHILLINGLAW: HAPPY PLACE David’s art mixes abstraction and still life, often with references to land or sea scapes; at That Art Gallery;

Until 8 December

Until 21 December

MERIÇ ALGÜN: DAY CRAVING NIGHT Stockholm-based artist Meriç explores the precarious nature of love in a world obsessed with individualism, consumption and borders; Spike Island;

Until 15 December

STILL I RISE: FEMINISMS, GENDER, RESISTANCE – ACT 3 Part of an insightful series looking at Bristol’s history in radical feminist and queer resistance.

THE ENGLISH SEEN BY TONY RAY-JONES Fascinating exhibition of work by the 1960s English photojournalist, who was a major influence on Martin Parr. At MPF,

Until 31 December

INTERVENTIONS/2: FILMS BY YOKO ONO The legendary New York artist and activist’s solo intervention at The Georgian House Museum, including rarely seen short films;


Until 19 April

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? From ancient uses of witchcraft to the role superstition plays in the modern mind, this new exhibition at Bristol Museum explores how magic has been used to heal, hunt and harm across the world and down the age;

Until 4 May

VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHY FAIR Meet specialist photograph dealers from the UK and Europe at the Bristol’s first vintage photography fair, with rare photos from around the world available for perusal and purchase; at The Royal Photographic Society;

3 December

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR EXHIBITION The world-renowned photography exhibition returns to M Shed; turn to page 34 to find our inevitable feature.

AMAK MAHMOODIAN Continuing the ongoing series of free MPF artist talks, Amak launches her new book Zanjir: with photos taken from 2002 to 2019, in both Iran and the UK;

30 November

14 December-1 March

FAIR SATURDAY BRISTOL Bristol is the first English city to join Fair Saturday, a global movement which aims to boost arts, culture and social causes;

AFRICA STATE OF MIND RWA’s exhibition exploring the work of an emergent generation of photographers from across Africa; see page 21.

WHAT’S ON London chancer makes good – who else to play the role but cockney national treasure Shane Richie? See page 106.


Until 29 November

OF CHRISTMAS PAST The only thing more devastating than finding out Santa Claus doesn’t exist? Finding out that he does; Storyteller Douglas Walker unwraps the myth at TFT;

8-9, 21-22 December

STEAMED: A DICKENSIAN IMPROVISED CHRISTMAS TALE Board the SS Great Britain for an entirely improvised evening of Dickensian festivities;

Until 13 December above and left:

Tales as old as time, told Bristolstyle; TFT bring us their Snow White, while BOVTS take on The Snow Queen


Amak Mahmoodian; from Iran to the UK at MPF

THE SNOW QUEEN BOVTS present their adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson classic fairytale; it’s the story that inspired Frozen; but we’ll let it go, if you will.

10 December

FORBIDDEN NIGHTS Unfeasibly ripped guys perform superlative circus and acrobatic skills; at Passenger Shed;

Until 5 January

10-14 December

BOING! Travelling Light’s much-loved award-winning show for littler ’uns returns to BOV;

A CHRISTMAS CAROL It’s the Scrooge tale again, but with a twist: just one actor appears on stage, playing all the main characters. At Alma Tavern;

Until 12 January

A CHRISTMAS CAROL After a record-breaking run last year, everybody’s favourite Christmas Dickens is back with a new cast at Bristol Old Vic;

21-31 December

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Full-on panto time at Redgrave, as award winning Polka Dot bring their spectacular scenery, glittering costumes and amazing special effects;

Until 19 January

DRAC & JILL Hang out with Count Drac at The Wardrobe’s offbeat alternative festive offering for grown-ups;

COMEDY 29 November

SNOW WHITE TFT present an original take on the fairytale of friendship, love and why an apple a day isn’t always conducive to health;

3-7 December

6 December

SHIRLEY VALENTINE “Gone to Greece; back in two weeks”. You know the rest, right? Alma Tavern Theatre,

4-5 December

NOISY NATIVITY Bristol’s Kid Carpet gives the traditional Christmas story a radical remix with big beat songs, live special effects, puppetry and animation; at TFT,

5-30 December

KIRK V MING Bad Vs Evil have concocted a subversive sci-fi/drag/comedy play with laser beams, ill-fitting costumes and false eyelashes: standard festive fare, then. At TFT,

7 December-5 January DICK WHITTINGTON

RHOD GILBERT: THE BOOK OF JOHN In a six-year break from stand-up, a lot has happened to our favourite Welshman. Predictably, most of it has been sh*t. At Bristol Hippodrome; ARDAL O’HANLON: THE SHOWING OFF MUST GO ON Ardal brings his thought-provoking LOLs to Anson Rooms; see page 40;


29 November

EZRA COLLECTIVE The Collective’s sound nods respectfully to a classic jazz footprint, celebrating the originators while carving a path solely their own; at Trinity Centre;

30 November

FONTAINES DC The Irish punks land at SWX with their ‘poetically-minded, anxious take on rock’; I BRISTOL LIFE I 25

WHAT’S ON 18 December


19 & 20 December

MADE IN BRISTOL GIFT FAIR Meet and buy from Bristol’s talented local makers, for truly individual, handmade gifts; in the Colston Hall foyer, as usual;

Until 8 December (weekends)

PHILHARMONIX The ‘Vienna Berlin Music Club’ mix classical, jazz, folk, Latin and pop with pure musical passion; at St George’s. CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR Bristol Ensemble and the 90-strong City of Bristol Choir join forces again to bring Christmas cheer to St George’s;

Until 21 December

CHRISTMAS AT THE SPIEGELTENT The magical wooden mirrored tent returns to Waterfront Square with its legendary Christmas parties, live music, DJs, performance, theatre, masked balls, fine food and family events;

22 December

A BAROQUE CHRISTMAS Exquisite music from the Baroque and Classical eras, with arias by Mhairi Lawson; St George’s; above:


Philharmonix – jazz, classical,folk, Latin and pop in one package They’re so luv-erly: Scouting for Girls are back at O2

MAKERS MARKET Pop-up shop at St Nick’s; local, indie and cosily ensconced in the covered market.


Until 31 December

Until 22 December (weekends)

CONCORDE: THE WORLD SHRINKER Explore the original aspirations for the world’s fastest passenger jet, the global routes it would hopefully fly and the idea of changing passenger travel forever; at Aerospace Bristol.

3-8 December

BRISTOL CHRISTMAS MARKET After the switch-on, the Shopping Quarter undergoes its annual transformation into a wonderland of wooden chalets; perhaps more interesting is the adjacent Local’s Market, which also runs until 23 December.

6 December

Until 31 December

12-15 December

JOHN BARROWMAN: A FABULOUS CHRISTMAS Do we list this under shows, music or Bristmas? Or does John merit a separate section of his own? The showbiz all-rounder who will always be Captain Jack to us brings his unique brand of fabulousness to Hippodrome;

anthems a-go-go when they play O2.

FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL If the great family Christmas is proving a bit too much, escape to Watershed for four days of cinéma français ( page 32);

11 December

18 December

10 December

THE LIBERTINES The Libs are on a Christmas jaunt; their first headline tour in over two years. O2.

SCOUTING FOR GIRLS The Scouts are touring new album, The Trouble With Boys; expect pop

16 December

Until 23 December

BRISTOL PALESTINE FILM FESTIVAL A film festival to focus on the plurality of the Palestinian experience as illustrated through film and other art form; ST NICK’S NIGHT MARKET Street food traders, producers and local tipples alongside live music curated by Colston Hall and DJs;

SAVING GRACE Musical co-operative featuring Suzi Dian and Robert Plant,among others; At St Gs;

HARBOURSIDE MARKET Five festive-fuelled weekends, as the covered walkway transforms into a magical Makers’ Market, showcasing around fifty of Bristol’s brightest indies;

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN An expanded screening of the ultimate MGM musical: Compass Presents, Cirque Bijou and Limbic Cinema add projection mapping, light and live dance performances, and Gene Kelly’s wife and biographer Patricia will be there in person. At Spiegeltent;

THE GREATEST SHOW Hype’s annual bonanza is the biggest party on the festive circuit; this year they’re promising the Greatest Show on Earth, or at least in the South West. Passenger Shed;

Until 5 January

A VERY VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS AT TYNTESFIELD Tyntesfield’s taking the season’s best loved traditions and bringing them to life with an immersive Victorian experience; WINTER WONDERLAND As usual, The Mall lays on the South West’s largest outdoor ice rink, Santa’s Enchanted Ice Castle, a Christmas train ride inside The Mall and foodie treats;

1 December


WHAT’S ON right: Mr Brunel says it’ll snow, or else, at SSGB Be the first to experience the mega-ness that is Area 404 bottom: Bristol is LIT

Showcasing a host of local craft and produce suppliers, in the rather lovely surroundings of Arnos Vale;

1, 8, 15 & 22 December

CHRISTMAS MARKET AT TOBACCO FACTORY TF’s thriving community Christmas market, with over 50 food and craft stalls; plus, mulled drinks, local choirs and Ali & Joe’s Christmas Tree Sale – Bristol’s very best non-drop Nordmann firs.

1-24 December

BRISTOL BAZAAR CHRISTMAS POP-UP SHOP The fifth and funkiest BB Xmas shop pitches up at The Island, with everything from ceramics to pickles, fine art to faux fur, from Bristol’s best makers;

7- 8 December

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS WEEKEND Aboard the SS Great Britain you’ll be transported back to a wintry Dickensian scene complete with a beautifully decorated dockyard, Victorian characters and guaranteed snow;

8-22 December

TOBACCO FACTORY MAKERS MARKET A special Christmas pop-up as a taster of the permanent new market coming in February (more details here soon).

21 December

CRAIG CHARLES FUNKY CHRISTMAS PARTY Craig brings his signature funk and soul toons to O2 for your festive delectation.

NEW YEAR’S EVE Just some of the celebrations going down as we dive into 2020 NYE AT MOTION After a momentous NYE ‘18, In:Motion is reuniting with The Blast once again to usher in 2020 in spectacular style; NYE AT RACKS Racks Bar & Kitchen’s legendary Black Tie NYE party returns this


year with a free bar all night, live band, DJ and food; NYE PARTY AT THE SQUARE Party like Bond, a Bond girl, or indeed a female Bond (look, this could happen) at a Casino Royale themed NYE party, so expect casino tables among the other glamorous delights; STEAM’S NEW YEAR’S EVE ABBA, disco and live performance, at Clifton Down Railway Station; www. CLASSIC COCKTAILS Join The Milk Thistle for a night of cocktails, and a sneak peek at new menu, ‘Meet Jacques’ AN ODE TO BRISTOL An evening of cocktails at H7de & Co, celebrating their latest menu, Dens; a delicious dedication to Bristol’s drinking dens of past and present. AREA 404 Two events at the newly opened St Philip’s venue: a post-apocalyptic New Year’s Eve co-headlined by French DJ Chinese Man and legendary reggae DJ Rodigan, followed by a New Year’s Day party in collaboration with London LGBTQ+ promoters Little Gay Brother and Bristol’s own Bitch, Please!, headlined by DJ Hot Chip. JAPANESE FEAST Seven Lucky Gods are laying on a special feast for a bunch of lucky NYE revellers, with a sharing menu, sake and cocktails; STUDIO 54 PARTY Wish you’d been around for New York City’s famous Studio 54 nightclub? Head to Bambalan’s disco club night for the next best thing. Who knows; it may turn out to be even better... ‘80S PARTY: STEPPIN’ OUT Tobacco Factory parties are the stuff of legend, turning the whole of the building into one huge themed event. Break dancers, roller skaters, jugglers, acrobats and huge hits, from the decade of big hair and big beats! Dress up like it’s 1989. n



The Bespoke Furniture, Upholstery & Soft Furnishings Experts Clifton Village 62-64 The Mall, Bristol, BS8 4JG

Bedminster 196 North Street, Bristol, BS3 1JF

Open Mon – Sat 9AM – 5PM 01173 702745


JOYEUX NOEL Left cold by the interminable outings of the Star Wars universe? Rather stick pins in your eyes than watch the khaleesi do cutemeet in Last Christmas? Watershed, as ever, has some excellent alternatives to the mainstream winter blockbusters – and four of them come courtesy of the French Film Festival


ichard Mowe has the cineaste’s job of dreams. He’s director of the French Film Festival, which he created and co-founded 27 years ago in Edinburgh and Glasgow; over the intervening years the festival gradually spread around Scotland and then to the rest of the UK. Today, it screens as far north as Shetland and as far south as Plymouth and next month, between 12-15 December, four of the films in the festival will be shown in Bristol. “We’ve visited Watershed five or six times already,” Richard tells us; “and it’s a collaboration we hope to continue and develop, despite November and December being busy cinema-going times of the year.” Most people have heard of the Lumière brothers, many have a vague idea about the Nouvelle Vague – what’s been happening in French film more recently that people should know about?

I guess there’s a new nouvelle vague coming along every few years, and at the moment it’s spearheaded by films such as Les Misérables, which transposes Victor Hugo to the streets and housing schemes of today’s Paris. It’s not in our selection simply because it was unavailable, but one of the best French films of the year. What was the first French film you saw, and which one made you fall in love with French cinema?

Do you think that there’s been a resurgence in the popularity of foreign language movies on TV and in the cinema, and if so, why is this?

There’s a definite widening of choices, and various French TV series such as Spiral have stimulated a new audience for French-language films in the cinema. I also guess that there’s a limit to the number of Hollywood superhero movies and comic strip adaptations that people want to see.

Do you think that UK audiences relate especially well to French cinema, and if so, why?

French directors are strong on relationship dramas, although they have been accused of being too talky and verbose. When the words are wellchosen and the ideas challenging, then that does not matter so much. Comedies can be fun, but the broad commercial ones are better left to local consumption.

“I guess that there’s a limit to the number of Hollywood superhero movies and comic-strip adaptations that people want to see”

I fell in love with French cinema at very early age when I was taken to Jacques Tati’s immortal M Hulot’s Holiday by my mother – I laughed so much I fell off my seat, much to her embarrassment. It was a great pleasure recently to be able to do a complete Tati retrospective as part of the Festival, and I also took part in a documentary about him made in France. What’s your favourite classic French movie, and a favourite contemporary one?

There’s just such a choice – but I would opt for Jean Renoir’s superb satire La Regle du Jeu from 1939 and from this year’s crop, Invisibles, which mixes social commentary with feminism and broad comedy, which brings the director Louis-Julien Petit to London. Your top five French film directors of all time?

Jean Renoir, whose Nana has a special screening in London with live music; Claude Chabrol, Betrand Tavernier, Eric Rohmer and André Techiné … I could go on!


clockwise opposite: Happy Birthday; Portrait of a Lady on Fire; Young Ahmed; Oh Mercy

Tell us a bit about this year’s festival and what you have lined up for us – what’s in the mix?

Bristol Watershed has some of the best: a wonderful ensemble piece called Happy Birthday, with the legendary Catherine Deneuve as the mother celebrating her 70th birthday by gathering her family around her with some surprising results. Oh Mercy by Arnaud Desplechin is a noirish thriller set in a small town near Lille and based around a real-life investigation although fictionalised here. Portrait of a Lady on Fire has to be one of the top French films of the year after its acclaimed Cannes début; it’s about a stolen romantic liaison between two young women, set in 1760s Brittany with stunning scenery and sumptuous costumes. Finally, Young Ahmed. The material is potentially incendiary, but Belgium’s Dardenne Brothers – Jean-Pierre and Luc – tackle the radicalisation of a young teen with their customary low-key approach for their latest social thriller. It’s a slow burner, but none the less arresting for that. The French Film Festival visits Watershed 12-15 December



EARTH TO BRISTOL Wouldn’t it be great to travel the world with a sexy bit of camera kit, capturing the Earth’s most fascinating wildlife? If that’s not on the cards, pop along to the Wildlife Photography Exhibition of the Year exhibition – and let the mind-boggling plants and creatures from all corners of the planet come to you instead


lthough the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is in town until next May, we reckon the perfect time for a visit is during the quiet days between Christmas and New Year, when these thought-provoking captures of the natural world offer the perfect antidote to all the tinsel, hangovers and craziness. The photographers who created them have dragged their kit to all corners of the world, then simply watched and waited. The resultant images don’t just showcase their technical skill, but their preternatural, stoical, dedicated patience; the kind that leads people to stand thigh-deep in an icy lake for a fortnight in the vague hope that something exciting might deign to pop up to the surface. Over the next pages you’ll find a selection from this year’s images; and yes, we’ve swerved the more distressing and hard-hitting ones, because we’re sentimental softies, and you know, Christmas; but you’ll find plenty of thought-provoking, nature-red-in-tooth-andclaw, state-of-the-planet pics at M Shed if that’s your thing, along with the photographers’ backstories and all the techie spec geekery you can handle. n I BRISTOL LIFE I 35


previous page: Fluff Formation by Stefan Christmann “A few chicks started sticking their heads together,” says Stefan, “and within minutes there was a fluff ball of about 50.” One stuck its head up and broke the symmetry. Unlike the vast huddles of adult emperor penguins, mini huddles of youngsters are disorderly – taking it in turns to occupy.

Lucky Break by Jason Bantle A raccoon poked her head out of an abandoned car and paused to assess her surroundings, allowing Jason just enough time to use a long exposure in the twilight. The back seat was an ideal den for the raccoon and her five cubs, as the only entrance – through a blunt-edged hole in the glass – was large enough for her, but too small for predators such as coyotes.

Sleeping like a Weddell by Ralf Schneider Hugging its flippers tight into its body, the Weddell seal closed its eyes and appeared to fall into a deep, contented sleep. Shooting from a boat, Ralf tightly framed the sleeping seal against the ice-covered background, using the white backdrop and soft light from the cloudy weather to mimic the effect of a studio portrait.

Touching Trust by Thomas P Peschak A curious young grey whale speckled with barnacles and scarred from scooping prey off the seabed approaches a pair of hands reaching down. In San Ignacio Lagoon, grey whales actively seek contact with people to get a head scratch. For Thomas, photographing a whale that sought out human contact was a first.


WILDLIFE Cool Drink by Diana Rebman Despite the bitterly cold temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius, Diana spent hours mesmerised by what she described as the ‘well-choreographed dance’ of a group of tits taking turns to peck at an icicle. With the fast movement of the birds, and her fingers feeling like blocks of ice, capturing their behaviour was no easy task.

The Hair-net Cocoon by Minghui Yuan With his face pressed against a wall, Minghui framed this Cyana moth pupa hanging in its remarkable cage-like cocoon. Such delicate structures can be hard to spot, but this one stood out against its backdrop in the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden.

Circle of Life by Alex Mustard In the crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea, a school of bigeye trevally formed a circular shoal a few metres from Alex’s lens. For 20 years Alex had been coming to photograph the summer spawning of reef fish. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London The exhibition runs at M Shed until 4 May; £6 adult, £5 concession, under 16s free I BRISTOL LIFE I 37



While Ardal O’Hanlon is best-known for his TV sitcom roles, he still tours regularly as a stand-up. Because he loves it. And it’s a compulsion. And the world – despite us being in an age of raging populism, identity politics, the end of truth, the collapsing middle ground, peak avocado and £15 gin and tonics – is still a funny place, and comedy is still the best emergency response mechanism to extreme events there is and ever has been Words by Brian Donaldson Photos by Mark Nixon I BRISTOL LIFE I 41



always love coming to Bristol,” Ardal O’Hanlon says, very kindly. “I got to know the city quite well a few years ago, when I was filming Skins. “Last time I was in town, when I was doing the Bristol Comedy Garden festival, Canadian one-liner specialist Stewart Francis and I spent a long night trying and failing to get him an espresso martini.” Lads, for future ref, two words: Milk Thistle. But all is forgiven: “The only thing I’d change about Bristol is that I’d bring the airport a bit closer.” There, that’s the obligatory local angle covered. Now let’s find out what we can expect when Ardal brings the show to Anson Rooms this month. Most stand-up shows are effectively a mirror held up to the comedian’s preoccupations at any given time – which is presumably why so many new parents, regrettably, tend to write material about having kids. But there’s no such comedic middle-aged spread for Ardal, the County Monaghan boy who’s still best known for playing simple-minded curate Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted. Instead, he’s more interested in engaging with the issues of now. Admitting that he was happily sliding into middle-age, fairly sure he knew all that he needed to know about the world, Ardal says that he’s been jolted out of complacency by recent world events – and his conclusions can be found in the new tour. “There’s an awful lot to talk about,” says Ardal. “Especially in the last two or three years, the world has changed dramatically. There are lots of new things to deal with. I thought I’d cracked everything and then suddenly you have to completely re-engage with the world as it shifts. “There are always things to say, but at the moment there’s a kind of urgency. I think as you get older you have to be true to yourself. For me, it’s more about material rather than just gags; it’s about expressing yourself and it has to be based on real feelings and emotions. I hope it still has the silly and surreal qualities that I always brought to stand-up but it has to be based on something.” Typically, Ardal’s approach will be off-kilter. “I think it’s incumbent upon a comedian to find clever and imaginative ways to come up with stuff. I personally prefer watching comedians who aren’t too blunt or too partisan so, while I have strong political views, I don’t want to hit

an audience over the head with them. I think comedians need to be a bit cannier than that. “I’m not going to mention Trump or Brexit by name, but I hope to be able to do stuff on them while trying to keep it a bit light and userfriendly. What seems clear about these events is that feelings will always trump facts in making decisions. All the decisions we make in life are irrational: our consumer choices are irrational, our choice of life partner might be irrational. You could end up marrying the craziest person in the world. ‘They might stab you.’ ‘Yes, but they have lovely hair!’” As touched on earlier, the title of the show reflects the part of Ardal’s personality that he’s needed to draw upon to get on in the entertainment world, despite his upbringing doing everything it could to dampen that spirit. “I’m a very reluctant show-off,” he says. “I come from a part of the world where showing off is anathema; it’s the worst thing you could possibly do. When you grow up in a border area of Ireland, people are very wary and cagey and keep their head down at all times. Don’t speak unless it’s absolutely essential, and don’t give anything away. So showing off was a really terrible thing to do; it’s up there with armed robbery.” This left Ardal feeling somewhat conflicted. “I love stand-up comedy and I love performing, but I was always conscious that this is a form of showing off and I’m slightly uncomfortable about that. I suppose the question I ask myself almost every day is ‘why do I do this?’ And as I get older, ‘why do I still do this?’ I suppose to some extent this is what I’m addressing in the show.” Ardal still looks back with fondness on his days on Father Ted, the sitcom which helped raise his profile in Ireland and far beyond (the show also proved popular in Australia and America). “I’m so grateful for the show, and proud of my part in it. I sometimes pinch myself that I was in it, and that it was so successful. I was in the throes of a burgeoning stand-up career when we made it, and that was always my focus at the time; we’d be rehearsing during the day and I’d be gigging at night. I arrived in London the year before and things were going well for me, and Father Ted was almost like a distraction from that – a brilliant distraction, obviously. At the time I didn’t know what that would mean for my career.” After Father Ted, Ardal’s stand-up career took off as he toured in front of sold-out crowds across the world, made acclaimed festival appearances in Edinburgh and Montreal, filmed his own stand-up special for Comedy Central, released two live DVDs, and appeared on Live at the Apollo. Meanwhile, in 1998 he published a bestselling novel, The Talk Of The Town, which was translated into several languages and voted as one of the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die. On the TV front, he starred in BBC’s My Hero as a regular guy called George who also happened to be Thermoman, has played the lead detective in Death In Paradise for the last two years, appeared in Doctor Who and Skins, and presented several documentary series including the upcoming BBC Northern Ireland programme Showbands And Me. On the big screen, he played concerned dads in coming-ofage dramas Twice Shy and Handsome Devil. But stand-up remains his first showbiz love, and he’s almost giddy over the prospect of taking another show onto the road. “I’ve been lucky to have other dimensions to my career, but I’m constantly drawn back to stand-up; there’s something compulsive about it. For this tour, I’ll have a modest saloon car and my little bag of jokes and a toothbrush. I always enjoy touring, and going up and down the country. I do love the performing aspect of it but equally I love the whole process of it, engaging with the world, and trying to figure stuff out. Stand-up is the best medium for that.” n

“I have strong political views, but I don’t want to hit the audience over the head with them. Comedians have to be cannier than that”

Ardal O’Hanlon: The Showing Off Must Go On is at Anson Rooms on 6 December; tickets £24 incl booking fee; I BRISTOL LIFE I 43


Choosing a career in nutrition

Rebecca Cotterall talks about the chronic fatigue that put her in a wheelchair at the age of 13 and how nutrition helped turn her life around. Rebecca is now a Nutritional Therapist, graduate of the COLLEGE OF NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE


ntil the age of 13 I was a top-grade student and a keen swimmer. Everything changed overnight. I was too exhausted to get out of bed. I even struggled to chew my food. I was monitored in hospital for three weeks, diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, sent home, and given a wheelchair so I could get around. I attended a special school for a few hours a week in my wheelchair, when I felt well enough. Mum was my full-time carer. At 18 I won a place at university, but didn’t have the energy to cope. I felt that my life was never going to amount to anything and was prescribed antidepressants. What I really wanted was to find out what was at the root of my problems. The answer came when I saw an unconventional private doctor who specialised in Chronic Fatigue. She believed that the standard western diet, high in allergens, artificial additives and foods with a high glycaemic load, is responsible for a whole host of health symptoms, including fatigue. She recommended a completely different diet and guided me through a detox regime. When a specialist lab confirmed that I had Lyme’s Disease, (which two standard tests had previously failed to pick up), a herbal protocol was also incorporated. I was told that it would take time to repair and optimise my gut function. Months passed before I noticed a real difference; then slowly my energy levels began

ATTEND A FREE OPEN EVENING To find out about training with CNM Bristol for a career as a Naturopathic Acupuncturist or Naturopathic Nutritionist 11 December, 2019 CNM has a 22-year track record training successful practitioners in natural therapies, in class and online. Colleges across the UK and Ireland.

increasing noticeably. There is not a definitive ‘cure’ for what I had, but through my personal experience and research I realised the power of nutrition and how much better natural remedies made me feel personally. I decided that studying nutrition was what I really wanted to do. In researching available choices, I found some courses heavily based on pharmaceutical or food industry research. I enrolled at CNM because their approach, in addition to being research-based, is very natural and holistic. I studied biomedicine as a foundation part of the course and was given the flexibility of studying at weekends, leaving me time to rest throughout the week. What I learnt on the three-year course was highly relevant to me. During that time I managed to get myself better through understanding what helped me as a chronic fatigue sufferer. I began to lead a normal life, studying and socialising without fatigue or pain and, eventually, without a wheelchair. The students at CNM are all likeminded; they are there because they want to be there and they are very supportive of one another.

I graduated from CNM in the summer 2015 and opened my clinic that August. It soon became very busy and, as my own boss, I can work the hours that suit me. I run detox programmes, specialise in chronic fatigue and truly love seeing my clients’ progression. I think that everyone needs to be more aware of the power of nutrition and I’m passionate about spreading the word however I can. ■

For more information please visit or call us on 01342 410 505 I BRISTOL LIFE I 45



Step into Bristmas. Let’s join together. We can watch the snow fall forever and ever Words and pictures by Colin Moody




ight. I love Christmas. There; I’ve said it. But I don’t think we always get it spot-on. Sometimes it seems like before we even get autumn out the way those managers get the big boxes down and deck the stores with tinsel. And I won’t accept any Fairytale of New York until the second week in December.


Snow machine, some lights, and bam! It’s Christmas. With climate change, the fake stuff might be the only white Christmas we see this year. I remember big snow drifts, and rolling out the head of the snowman in the back yard while wearing illfitting Wellington boots. What’s your best Christmas memory? And can we all do our bit this Christmas by keeping it plastic-free? Go on. Because there are a lot of Christmasses to come, and because we can.   That kid feeling the Christmas joy there. Don’t forget, there is the option of hiring a living tree from some fine folks these days. No one should get the sure-drop petrol station leftovers on Christmas Eve.

2 3


No idea who dressed this family. Patriarchy in full flow here. He’s got the Santa belt; she’s just Mrs Claus. Kid clearly doesn’t know if this is how all his Christmases are gonna pan out from here on in. I’m trying to work out their story. I’ve got him, for sure, working hard for his family, but she, I can’t help thinking, has that 1,000-yard stare, thinking about the in-laws’ inevitable visit and all the Brexit chat around the Christmas table.


Last Christmas, I bumped into these lads on a pub crawl [overleaf]. I reckon they were halfway into their journey. There may have been no room in the inn for them at the end of the night, but here they were on a roll. Something about their configuration reminded me of a Christmas album, so for them, and for that wall of sound that was their singing, I’ve chosen to turn them into a Christmas gift for all of you.

“Have you seen the Christmas trees of New York all lit up with ten thousand lights, instilling a belief that this is the most magical time of the year? No, nor me. But I have seen the BBC Radio Bristol studio decorations” I BRISTOL LIFE I 47



Just add hats. It’s not a walk in the deer park anymore. It’s a Christmas safari. Yaaaay. Do you believe in Father Christmas? Or how about just deer in the rain? Kind of rain, deer.


Have you seen the Christmas trees of New York all lit up with ten thousand twinkling lights, that in the half-light of the city mist can melt the hardest heart, and instil a belief that this is the most magical time of the year? No, nor me. But I have seen the BBC Radio Bristol studio decorations.


When you hear a Salvation Army brass band playing in the street, you might pull the collar of your coat up a little higher, your muffler a little tighter, and the snow may start to fall. It’s just one of those sounds that screams ‘Christmas’, in its most plaintive, and most timeless sense. Here’s the band trying to get everyone in the shot after a blast in Stokes Croft. Feeling festive now? Hell yes!







Ahhhhhh. That’s better. When the tenth person that day has scuffed your arms with their shopping bags, stop. Stop for a break. Head to the cathedral. They hold shoppers’ specials where you can down bags and just listen to the singing. I prefer it in Latin, so I can drift into a beautiful downshifted brainwave pattern. Side by side, you and the person with the bags are no longer each other’s nemesis. Now you sit and feel that calm, while the incense diffuses the light to the opening scene of Name of the Rose. Ahhhhh. Welcome ad omnes magicae de Christmas.

Colin is available as a ‘mini-mobile PR/marketing/ social media unit’, to shoot striking street-style photographs at live events: parties, launches, promos and performances, for impactful immediate social media. Fees start at £100 for a two-hour package. email: Twitter: @moodycolin; Instagram @moodycolin319 I BRISTOL LIFE I 49


Presents and correct

The perfect books to buy this Christmas; you may even be able to bring yourself to give some of them away…


t’s a moral conundrum: can you legitimately buy your loved ones the books that you want as presents, with the sole intention of stealing them back later? Or can you read them delicately enough so that your recipient won’t know that you’ve read their present? At Storysmith we have no judgement about this: just make sure you wipe the mince pie crumbs off the pages before wrapping them up. Unsurprisingly, our tip for this festive season is to make some time for books. Whether it’s on the train between cross-country family dinners, following an enforced bracing walk, or under a pillow fort as Wham’s Last Christmas plays on repeat, it’s a surefire way to get some time to yourself, maybe learn something new, or become absorbed in someone else’s story. Here are some of our newly-published recommendations to get stuck into this Christmas. TALKING TO STRANGERS BY MALCOLM GLADWELL This is a fascinating and insightful look at how we interact with people, how we read and respond to people’s behaviour, and how we invariably get it wrong. Gladwell elucidates brilliantly through a series of stories from real-life news events and popular culture, ranging from police brutality in the southern states of America to a dissection of one particular scene from Friends, and even the dramatic effect of domestic gas supplies to UK suicide rates. Each self-contained chapter helps to build different aspects of Gladwell’s case with brilliantly entertaining prose and insightful extrapolations from research; it’s the perfect gift for anyone with an interest in anthropology, or who’s suffered awkward social encounters in their daily life (not just us, hopefully).

“Can you legitimately buy your loved ones the books that you want as presents, with the sole intention of stealing them back later?”

THE MAN WHO SAW EVERYTHING BY DEBORAH LEVY There’s a reason why Deborah Levy has become one of our most celebrated novelists: she’s able to make us care so deeply about her characters, but behind that is a forensic attention to plot. With The Man Who Saw Everything, she introduces us to Saul Adler, a man whose life is irrevocably changed after a car accident in North London – but not in the way you might think. Thundering along beside Saul is a plot which carries us to East Berlin in 1988 and back

to London again; and it’s actually impossible to give away any more plot details than that without spoiling anything. What I can say, though, is that there is a hugely significant event during the novel which makes you reconsider the book in its entirety: it’s absolutely thrilling and utterly heartbreaking all at the same time. Genius. CATCH AND KILL BY RONAN FARROW Here’s one for true crime nuts and pop culture addicts alike. The allegations and revelations of major sexual assaults committed by Harvey Weinstein was undoubtedly one of the most explosive news stories of recent years, but behind the headlines lurked a still more surprising and labyrinthine story of how the news eventually and spectacularly broke into the public domain. Catch and Kill is the utterly riveting account of what happened, from the journalist who made it happen: Ronan Farrow. Expect fearless reporting, double-crosses, stakeouts, Hollywood backroom intimidations, and basically everything you’d get in a brilliant spy novel, but with the added frisson that comes with a shockingly true story. GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER BY BERNADINE EVARISTO In Girl, Woman, Other, Bernadine Evaristo presents the stories of 12 black British women and the connections, albeit sometimes loose, between them. The characters that she represents are multi-generational and from very different backgrounds, but all of them feel profoundly real. Often flawed, the characters are found grappling with their roots, asking questions about their class, sexuality, heritage, ambitions and sense of self. We are swept up in their individual journeys and the celebration of acceptance and empathy that implicitly connects them all as women. The overarching message is that there is not one black British female experience, and the impact of the novel is in Evaristo’s ability to give a true, honest and compelling voice to an area of society traditionally under-represented in literature. This is a truly deserving Booker Prize winner. Happy Christmas, book lovers, and remember: no crumbs in the pages means you can re-gift it. Visit Storysmith at 49 North Street, Bedminster; I BRISTOL LIFE I 51


Meet the gallery owner A warm welcome, sound advice and art you’ll cherish forever awaits you at Bristol’s top art galleries PHOT O: RICHARD JOHNSON


CLIFTON FINE ART 0117 239 76 84; What sort of work do you represent? Work from award-winning artists, high-end pieces, more traditional Cornish artists, screen printers, contemporary mixed media – originals starting from £200. What is the biggest mistake you see emerging artists make when approaching you? It’s important to recognise how unique your work is – are there a hundred people doing the same thing? What makes you stand out? What makes an artist attractive to a gallery? Originality, commercial appeal, having a story to tell, passion. Do you think the gallery scene has changed in the last five years? Some are online only now, many have closed, we’re flexible and work with our clients closely. We would love to see the return of the Affordable Art Fair to Bristol. Is there a dream artist that you would love to represent? We’ve just taken on Russell Hatton – terrific huge candy paints and gold leaf on aluminum. Keith Haring; Anthony Gormley; Kyffin Williams. Why go to your gallery? The service is outstanding, with no pressure to buy. Why should I buy an original instead of buying a print? It’s lovely to have a one-of-a-kind. Art investment last year saw some excellent returns from statistics from the Wall Street Journal.


ALCHEMY 198 07702 598090; Why did the gallery open? I already own Room 212, a shop of artwork, jewellery and craft by Bristol artists, which I set up 6 years ago. The shop is a treasure trove, filled to the brim with affordable artwork and prints. We needed a larger space to exhibit original paintings in a more gallerylike setting. When the bar a few doors down from us on Gloucester Road came up for sale


Tom White

Sarah Cowper


COLDHARBOUR GALLERY AND FRAMING 0117 9446244; Why did the gallery open? The gallery opened 25 years ago as a bespoke framing service, and approximately 10 years ago it started offering local artists an outlet for original and printed works. What is your background and when and how did you get involved in the art world? Originally I did a BA (Hons) degree at Bower Ashton (UWE). I started doing ‘at home’ exhibitions in the late 90’s and, along with fellow artist Cath Read, then helped set up the North Bristol Art Trail. What sort of work do you represent? Simply put: Art of Bristol by Bristol artist and crafts people. What makes an artist attractive to a gallery? Knowing your audience and pricing your work appropriately. We believe in accessibility, art should be hanging in everyone’s home. Why go to your gallery? People come to us for high quality originals and prints from local artists. We also have great framing workshop run by our lovely framer, Ross. Why should I buy an original instead of buying a print? We believe you should have the piece of artwork that suits your needs. However the unique qualities of an original piece are hard to beat.

we saw it as an opportunity to expand. What sort of work do you represent? Bristol-based artists including painters, textile and textural artists, photographers. Do you have a dream artist that you would love to represent? Frida Kahlo! We had a fantastic Day of the Dead exhibition here in October with Viva Los Muertos. Why go to your gallery? Alchemy 198 is a beautiful European style café bar set over two floors. The main bar is warm and inviting, so customers can look at the artwork around them and think about how it would look in their own home, while enjoying local beers, gins, cocktails and tasty vegetarian food. The walls are a sumptuous teal colour with gold and copper accents, which really enhances the artwork. Downstairs is a more conventional gallery space, with white walls. It is a perfect venue for exhibition launches, parties and special events. The walls beside the stairs and out on our terrace were spraypainted by street artist, Cheba and there’s an amazing painting by Julian Quaye on the front of Alchemy 198, including a quote by famous quantum physicist Paul Dirac, who lived nearby. Stewy Stencil created a painting of Cary Grant, who went

to school round the corner, above Room 212 a few years and we had such a good reaction to it that I wanted to continue the theme of recognsing famous residents through street art. We change the artwork in the main bar and Downstairs Gallery every month, so there’s always something new to look at. We also have pop up exhibitions when artists can put on a show themselves and have a launch party. Who do you think is your main audience? Local people who live around the Gloucester Road plus lots of visitors from other parts of Bristol and beyond. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall was in here the other day. What can you tell us about your current show? We have just been a venue on the North Bristol Art Trail and so will continue to have artwork by Bristol artists Jenny Urquhart, Laura Robertson and Toni Burrows. We have a Woodland theme as we are helping Avon Needs Trees to buy local land to plant permanent forests. The exhibition will be throughout the Main Bar and Downstairs Gallery. We’re having a fundraising New Years Eve party, with a DJ in the Downstairs Gallery. Gift cards for Avon Needs Trees are available at Alchemy 198 and Room 212.




Why did the gallery open? We always loved art, and we wanted to be involved in something we loved doing What is your background and when and how did you get involved in the art world? I was in the fashion industry for over 25 years. My involvement in the art world started as a collector, then I started to meet artists, and found them to be as fascinating as their work. I wanted to work with them. What sort of work do you represent? Contemporary fine art. What might be called ‘painterly’ painting, but ranging from figurative all the way through to abstract. What is the biggest mistake you see emerging artists make when approaching you? Not bothering to visit the gallery or website to see if their work might fit with the other artists on show. Every gallery has a point of view, or house style. How has the gallery changed in the last five years? It has changed dramatically. Art fairs have become even more important, and we are now selling a significant number of paintings from our website and/ or on the phone. You can’t beat a nice gallery, though! Why go to your gallery? You will see a varied collection of fine paintings, in a friendly, relaxed and unpretentious environment. Also some top quality modern glass. What can you tell us about your current show? A wide-ranging, strong and vibrant exhibition of paintings, glass, sculpture and jewellery for the Christmas season.

What is your background and when and how did you get involved in the art world? I’ve always been a collector of art and after a career in the public and private sector it was time to do something for the love. What sort of work do you represent? Rare and collectabe work from Banksy to Picasso, alongside work by contemporary artists. Do you think the gallery scene has changed in the last five years? From our perspective the market for investment grade work has grown and matured. Do you have a dream artist that you would love to represent? Banksy please! Why go to your gallery? It’s a remarkable place. Where else can you see an original Picasso or Dali drawing, or a Banksy screenprint, whilst tapping your toes to the Clash and stroking Mabel the gallery dog all in the surroundings of an original Victorian shopping arcade? Why should I buy an original instead of buying a print? You should just buy what you love, both have their merits. What can you tell us about your current show? We’re currently showing work by surrealist Matthew Ensor. Its wonderful, bizarre and moving in equal measure. Where does the name of your gallery come from? After a Riad in Morocco where we were staying whilst formulating plans for the gallery

LIME TREE GALLERY 01179292527;


SMITHSON GALLERY 07779 656083; Why did you open your gallery? With a background as a screenprinter, and experience working with galleries, I identified a gap in the gallery world for more support and mentorship between gallery and artist. It was a bold move to be an online gallery 10 years ago, and many people felt dubious about it, but it has worked brilliantly being able to have a global reach; and not being tied to a venue also means

HIDDEN 0117 279 6402;

Sue Dean

Chris Kendall

more flexibility. What is your background, and when and how did you get involved in the art world? I have always worked in the creative field, from studying fine art textiles through to my career in London as an art editor in publishing. I have a deep love for the art world and am also a collector myself. What sort of work do you represent? I specialise in curating high-quality, contemporary artwork. Be it limited-edition prints, paintings, drawings or collage. What makes an artist attractive to a gallery? It is very important for gallery and artist to be right for each other and to be able to communicate well. I look for professionalism, high-quality work, imagery that suits my gallery, but also that complements and doesn’t conflict with my current artists. I like to keep my collection of artists small and take on a new artist with great consideration. Why visit your gallery? Rather than the traditional gallery space, our website is a gallery window, allowing you to view our collection at your leisure, from wherever you are at any point in time. We have a close relationship with all of our artists and can provide in-depth knowledge about artist and artwork. We always offer further photographs of the work

and can make client visits with artwork choices. It is really important for me to give clients all the information they may need to make the right choice for a very personal decision. Why should I buy an original instead of buying a high-street print? An original piece of art will be with you for life. The quality of a handmade piece of art, be it a one-off piece or a limited edition is amazing to live with, and as soon as you start collecting it’s hard to stop. A piece doesn’t need to be expensive; you can start small and can always ask galleries for payment plans. I have seen people fall in love so many times and it is a highlight of my job to pair up the right artwork with the right home. When buying an original you are investing in an artist and their practice. Do you have any special offers for Christmas? We have a very exciting launch in December of our limited edition Christmas collector’s boxes. A new idea: each box is beautifully packaged and contains 12 original prints by our artists for a fraction of their normal value. We really wanted to give something back to our supporters and it has been a joy putting the boxes together. There are 10 available in a 20x20cm size, and 12 available in 10x15cm (A6) size. We are launching these at the famous Art Car Boot Fair on the 1 December, and then online. I BRISOL LIFE I 53


Bristol’s most authentic Mexican cantina has recently begun to offer Sunday brunch; vamos a entrar! Words by Deri Robins




tokes Croft: the best of Bristol, and the worst of Bristol. squash, a staple of indigenous Native American tribes. Going right back Diverse, eclectic, accepting, friendly; whatever your to the Aztecs, you can tuck into chilaquiles – crunchy fried corn tortilla backstory, style or lifestyle choices, you’ll feel at home here. pieces, with a chilli salsa poured over and simmered until the tortilla If you’re lucky enough to have a home. absorbs the sauce. It’s 11am on a Sunday morning and Big Issue seller Jeff The ‘Masa’ part of the restaurant’s name refers to the maize used Knight is already out on the streets; in exchange for my to make the staples of Mexican cuisine, no matter what region, from £2.30 I don’t get just a magazine, but also a fist bump and Chihuahua to the Yucatan Peninsula — tortillas, tamales, taco, taquito, a hug. A dog walker says hi, though a few less happy souls are too busy torta, tostada: the Vitamin T in Mexican cooking. The ‘mezcal’ is the howling at the moon to register the fact that they’ve just walked into us. local hooch of Mexico, made from roasting, fermenting, and distilling the Saturday night has left its unbeautiful mark, in the form of overspillng many varieties of the agave plant. bins, fag ends and crumpled cans – there’s a truly baffling amount of We order up a pair of Mezcal Marys; a smoky, decidedly savoury chips on the pavement. But you wouldn’t wish gentrification on these version of a Bloody Mary, though you’ve already guessed that. And as streets, or to knock the edges off its corners. You you can’t possibly have any version of this drink wouldn’t clean off the tagging that’s become without oysters, we had a couple of those, too: DINING DETAILS part of the existing street art; though you can’t Devon rock oysters, perked up with habanero Masa + Mezcal, 77 Stokes Croft, BS1 3RD forgive the wholesale vandalism of beautiful and red onion. 0117 944 6477; pieces, either. By now, the cantina was filling up with couples Opening hours Monday-Saturday 11.30am-midnight: and families; kids are well-served by the likes of And you definitely wouldn’t mess with its Sunday 11am-4.30pm restaurant scene. Some of the city’s most masa pancakes with caramelised banana and We visited Sunday 11am purely enjoyable restaurants are here, and the berry compote. The most substantial dish on Atmosphere relaxed area received yet another boost when Mexican the brunch menu is carne asada, the Mexican Service Can-do, efficient, friendly, well-paced restaurant Masa + Mezcal opened in March, equivalent of a Sunday roast – fire-grilled facing Poco across Thomas Street. beef rump, black beans, two fried eggs, chilli Prices Botanas (snacks) from £2.50; masa from £3.70; Until a decade or so ago, the average punter’s crudos from £5; asados from £5.60-£10; side dshes jam, smoked buffalo cheese. El todo. The full £2-£4.60 Drinks cocktails £7, £8, wines by the glass notion of Mexican food was Tex Mex, which Monterrey. though fine as it goes, as Billy Connolly pointed from £4.95, by the bottle £19.95; Agaves (tequila, We kicked off instead with shredded pork, so mescal) from £4.50 out, is as much about folding as eating. But tender and juicy you could eat it with a spoon, Vegetarian choice Expansive — a specific plant-based there’s a lot more to Mexican cuisine than folded into soft tacos with pineapple. A smashed menu for vegans, as well as many vegetarian dishes nachos and chilli con carne; and now Kieran avocado tostada brought a mild kick of serrano Children Kids welcome; they’ll love the pancakes and Imogen Waite – the successful culinary chilli; the spiciness, in our brunch experience at Disabled access Fully accessible couple who also own and run Bravas, Bakers least, seems to be soft-pedalled, bringing more & Co, Cargo Cantina and Gambas – have interest than heat to the table. brought the country’s great culinary traditions to the Bristol table. A plate of chilaquiles saw crispy tortillas coated in salsa, cheese, I’ve turned up for brunch with Your Man, who tells me that he once avocado, red onion and sour cream; the masa was earthy and sweet, the played with a mariachi band in the borderlands; I see no reason to doubt salsa a zesty accompaniment. Finally, a classic huevos rancheros teamed the truth of this nugget. Mexican food, he continues informatively tortilla and fried eggs with a smoky, tomato-chilli sauce and refried beans as we settle ourselves into our comfy cushion-strewn banquette, is as – the latter so far removed from to the tasteless mush served at duller varied as the country’s music, and every bit as imaginative. From the Tex Mex chains as to seem an entirely different dish, with a chocolatey aforementoned Tex Mex in the north to the kitchens of Chiapas in the suggestion of mole (the Mexican sauce, not the mammal). south, a vast gastronomy feeds 130 million Mexicans. One parting contribution from Your Man; to be precise, a quote from They speak 68 languages (that’s official), and it seems that all of them a song of yesteryear, Down in El Paso. According to the singer, “out in the have had a say in the cuisine, leaving a jumble of indigenous, immigrant West Texas town of El Paso . . . . night-time would find [him] at Rose’s and colonial influences in the pot. There is the ancient aguachile cooking cantina”. I suspect that night time will find us at Masa + Mezcal’s cantina method, probably invented in the state of Sinaloa; and there’s acorn in the very near future. n I BRISTOL LIFE I 55

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e were a bit tentative about tackling Owen Morgan of tapas restaurant Bar 44 on the subject of Christmas sherry – because this tipple really isn’t just for Christmas, is it, Owen? “No; but unfortunately, for many decades, sherry has suffered from a misguided reputation for being all sweet and sticky, only to be dragged out from a dusty side cupboard at Christmas. Although sweet styles are great when served properly and with the right food, the vast majority are actually very dry (finos and manzanillas, the most popular styles in Spain, are the driest wines in the world). “Dot Cotton and her thimble of cream sherry should not be the vision you have in your head. A chilled dry is what you should be drinking at Christmas, with all your favourite festive savoury ingredients. “Do save something sweet, though, to go into your Christmas pudding, or on top…”

left: How we’d like to

serve sherry at home Here’s Owen right: Sherry cocktail middle:


What sherry/sherries would you recommend for Christmas?

blankets, glazed carrots and parsnips, and so on. Top tip: Enjoy a glass of amontillado while making your giblet gravy, and deglaze the pan with some amontillado too – heaven! Serve a moscatel or Pedro Ximénez with dessert, and a strong dry oloroso will be great with a mixed mature cheese selection in front of the fire for Christmas night TV.

So what would you pair them with?

Could you give us an idea for a special sherry cocktail?

I’d recommend buying a fresh bottle of fino or manzanilla, a toasted dry amontillado and a powerful dry oloroso. These are all dry, but very different, and you can have fun at home pairing them with so many festive snacks as well as Christmas lunch. Fino or manzanilla with Christmas canapés. Perfect as an aperitif, or even with a classic starter of smoked salmon and prawns. Amontillado is the perfect wine for a roast dinner; ideal with chicken or turkey – even better than fino, in my opinion. It will also be great with a strong herby stuffing, pigs in

The rebujito is an improvement on a Pimms. Fill up a glass or a jug with ice, then half fill with dry fino sherry, top with lemonade, fresh mint and lemon – so refreshing. For more:




amie Gatley is one of the two co-founders of House of Après, who dreamed of creating the finest sparkling brut beer in the world. “We like to dream big,” he says. The result? It’s called Duette… “Some people call it a champagne beer, but we’re not allowed to call it that. It’s designed to bridge the gap between beer and prosecco; it delivers the bubbles and characteristics you would expect from any good champagne, and will pop on opening. To create it, we worked with one of Bristol’s finest breweries, Wiper amd True, who are known for their extraordinary artisan beers.”

Can you sum up the taste of Duette?

The flavours and and aroma of a quality German Weiss beer, and the bubbles and fizz of champagne, with a crisp, refreshing finish. How should we drink it?

Chilled in a champagne flute. It’s great paired with earthy vegetable dishes, and works well with chilli, spice and stronger fishes. It’s a perfect partner for the festive flavours in the season ahead.. Where can we get it?

You can buy Duette online from the website below, ( £10-£16) or from Corks; it’s served at a number of bars and restaurants, from Spoke and Stringer to Box E, Poco Tapas, Small Bar and many more. When would you drink it?

Moments of celebration, inquisitiveness, enjoyment, romance and exquisiteness… For more:

House of Après worked with Wiper and True to create the unique Duette – just in time for Bristmas… I BRISTOL LIFE I 59

new years eve

FESTIVE LUNCH & DINNERS FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA CHRISTMAS DAY & BOXING DAY LUNCH FESTIVE BREAKS NEW YEARʼS EVE FRANCIS HOTEL BATH Embrace tradition in both history and style. Step back in time for a memorable Christmas.

Arrive / bar open from 8pm Band will start around 8.30pm - 12.30am Roast Pork & Stuffing Baps TICKETS: £20.00 ADVANCE OFFER

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La dolce vita Stan’s found the perfect pitstop – especially if you’re out doing Christmas deli shopping. Prego


f you head on up the Whiteladies Road towards the top, somewhere on your left you’ll pass Worrall Road, home to a handful of lovely little shops. Sitting quietly in among them is a tiny jewel of a café. Divino. It’s easy to miss because it is soooo very teeny tiny. Seriously. I’ve been in hot tubs that were bigger than this place. Whatever it lacks in size, it more than makes up for with character

“It’s tiny. Seriously; I’ve been in hot tubs that were bigger than this place”

and cosiness. First thing you notice when you walk through the door is that it’s also a deli, which means that every square inch of space has to make itself useful. From waist to ceiling, there are shelves and cupboards crammed with bottles, boxes and tins of brightly coloured groceries. All of them tempting, top-quality treats just gagging to be instagrammed. Or indeed, eaten. Lower down, there are table tops and stools, all ready and inviting, encouraging you to stop a while and live life the way it should be lived. Which brings me to the next thing you notice about the place; the family who run it aren’t just experts in fine foodstuffs. They are also very friendly, with a wave, a smile and a nod for everyone who walks in. The final thing you notice is that some of the customers are speaking Italian, which has the wonderful effect of wafting you away to warmer shores and happier days. (It was a cold, wet and grey morning, when we went.) If I sound like a massive fan of this tiny place, that’s because I am. And that’s before I even tasted the food. Which, after all, was why we had gone along. A friend had taken me there, insisting I try the bunga bunga sandwich. Now, don’t know about you, but I’ve heard that phrase before. To

describe some dodgy parties that an equally dodgy politician used to attend. However, taking a deep breath, I asked for one. Came as no great surprise to learn that in real life, ‘bunga bunga’ refers to a naughty little sausage, full of peppery pizzazz and lipsmacking saltiness. Sliced and fried, it was paired with a soupçon of sprouting broccoli, bringing garlicky warmth and chilli charm to the sausage sandwich party. My companion went for an aubergine cheese delight and we sealed the deal with a pair of perfect Americanos. Looking round, I counted 11 happy customers in the place. That’s 11 fully grown adults in a room too small to hold a full-size ping-pong table. Not a single one of them was crushed or complaining; instead, the whole space was filled with the happy buzz of quietly contented souls, enjoying a taste of the Italian high life with friends. Without a single dodgy politician in sight. So, if you are ever looking for a friendly corner, with the best little bit of bunga bunga in town – while stocking up for seasonal foodie treats, perhaps ?– you know where to go. n Former Housemartins guitarist Stan is now a journalist and travel writer I BRISTOL LIFE I 63


Find a little sunshine on Gloucester Road at The Blue Lagoon! - Cocktail of the week: two for £7.95 everyday - Pizza Monday: 25% off all pizzas - Tuesday Pasta Night: 2 Pasta dishes + Garlic Pizza Bread to share for £15 - Burger Wednesday: 2 Burgers for £12 - Live music all week

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SANTA… If it’s December, it must be time for our genderneutral, indie-tastic brantub of a Bristmas gift guide. Grab it by the horns…


This Ashton Court deer isn’t for sale; sorry. We just wanted to share this photo, taken by the excellent Ryan Carrington. Because Christmas Follow him on instagram at @thisiscarrington I BRISTOL LIFE I 67



SANDQVIST BERNT ROLLTOP RUCKSACK, £129 A stylish go-to for the daily commute; plenty of storage, and water-resistant From Maze Clothing, 26-28 The Mall

RAINS UNISEX LONG JACKET, £89 Classic urban rainwear from this excellent brand; from a range at Movement, which has recently moved to a new home on The Mall From Movement Boutique 5 The Mall, Clifton

EARRINGS, £295; SKULL CUFFLINKS, £70 Because Alexander McQueen’s skull jewellery isn’t just for Halloween From Garment Quarter, 23-25 Penn Street 68 I BRISTOL LIFE I

OCEAN’S CONSORT EARRINGS, £365 22-carat gold-plated sustainable eco-silver, from a recent discovery of ours – talented Bristol jeweller Loren Cole From

IRIS MERINO SCARF, £98 Beautiful scarf by Katherine Fraser, from this treasure trove of an artisan shop in Clevedon From Midgley Green 26 Alexandra Road, Clevedon

HELEN CHATTERTON SCARF, £82 Helen combines Harris tweed with Liberty silks and velvet to make her classic, luxurious and distinctive scarves From Pod Company, 24 The Mall

FUNKY JUMPER, £95; BOBBLE HAT, £39 The contrast crew neck knit has tweed shoulder patches; the bobble features a waffle knit and a Helen Moore faux-fur pom pom. Both from Bristol’s heritage brand, Peregrine From Peregrine, Unit 1, Montpelier Central Trading Estate



Limited edition screen print by Anna Marrow, with gold glitter details and fluorescent pink trails From Soma Gallery I BRISTOL LIFE I 69


FORGE CREATIVE WOODEN TREES, £19 EACH Little wooden trees, with over 40 designs to create your own bespoke little woodland From The Bristol Artisan 3 Lower Redland Road

WILLOW BASKET, £114 Half-basket, half work of art; like the ideal partner, strong, functional and very good looking From Midgley Green 26 Alexandra Rd, Clevedon

LINE BOWL, £109 Clean lines, silver finish; we’re thinking ‘fruit bowl’, but we may be missing the point From Bo Concept 51-53 Merchant Street

LUCI SOLAR STRING £39.99 The ultimate camping/festival accessory; the solar-powered unit twists open to reveal the string lights within From Ellis Brigham, 160 Whiteladies Road

ADVENTURE TOUR PREMIUM BIKE, £1,335 Limited edition of this beautiful handmade pink bike, which comes with a host of premium components From Temple Cycles, 28 Filwood Green Business Park


URSA MUG, £15 She may be gone from the Bearpit, but you can still have a version of Jamie Gillman’s Ursa for keeps, on this stunner of a PRSC fine-china mug From Stokes Croft China, 35 Jamaica Street

PORCELAIN BEAKERS, £25 EACH From Julie Fewster, aka Inner Finn ceramics, who loves the clean line, pure form and the pared back style of Nordic design. As indeed do we. From Paper Plane, 196 Gloucester Road

BRISTOL DRY GIN, BILBERRY EDITION, £38 Bristol Gin say this is the most luxurious gin ever made. OK, what they actually say is this: “In non-independent testing, four people responded ‘holy sh*t! That’s luxurious!’” Fancy just keeping it for yourself ? We’re not judging. From


Who knew that Brunel could be so cute and cuddly? The SS Great Britain has a brilliant one-stop shop for original gifts and stocking fillers for all ages; we guess this adorable trio might loosely be classed as ‘children’s gifts’, but there’s a Gromit in a little hat on the Bristol Life desk, and he’s going nowhere… From The SS Great Britain shop, Great Western Dockyard I BRISTOL LIFE I 71

WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG JELLYCAT CUDDLY TOYS, £14.99-£23.99 Yes, teddies are great; but every home should also make room for Ant, Hermit Crab, Shrimp and Toast here. What will Jellycat think of next? From Soukous, 44a-46 Cotham Hill

ORIGAMI LIGHTS, £10 OR £32 Choose between T-Rex, Triceratops and Diplodocus; the small £10 night lights are USB or battery-powered, while the larger £32 ones come with a plug From Mon Pote, 177 North Street

CHUNKY CHILLI WOLF, £27 C’m on: look me in the eye, and tell me you haven’t always yearned for a little stuffed wolf wearing a Fairisle woolly… From Fig 1 Unit 9, Gaol Ferry Steps

FLEECE NAVIDAD, £40 Artist Vivi Cuevas has transformed Shaun the Sheep into a friendly reindeer complete with antlers, fluffy coat and cheerful red harness with bells. We see Fleece becoming a beloved Christman decoration that you’ll love digging out every year; better still, all proceeds benefit lush Bristol charity The Grand Appeal From The Grand Appeal Shop, 30-32 Upper Maudlin Street


PERRY PANDA FELT RUG, £65 Soft, warm, quirky and ethically crafted from organic woollen felt; the rugs provide sustainable work for communities in Kathmandu, where they are individually made by hand. From Graham and Green, 92 Walcot Street, Bath


Frankly, we wouldn’t trust Feathers as far as we could throw him, but we have to admit that he makes a beautiful Christmas fairy. Just like all the other Grand Appeal figurines, such as Shaun opposite, every sale raises vital funds for Bristol Hospitals From The Grand Appeal Shop, 30-32 Upper Maudlin Street I BRISTOL LIFE I 73


THE ENGLISH SEEN BY TONY RAY-JONES; £48 Featured in our last issue: a fascinating timecapsule of 1960s England captured by this master photojournalist From Martin Parr Foundation, 316 Paintworks


CAMPERVAN HIRE, £285-£375 The state-of-the-art, everythingthought-of VW vans are hireable all year round From www.sunkissedvwcampervanhire.

ARGUMENTS, £8.50 Part of the School of Life series that also includes Dating and Affairs. A handy subject-changing tool when Brexit rears its head at the Christmas dinner table From Papersmiths, 6A Boyce’s Avenue

BALTIC, £25 Food writer Simon Bajada brings the Baltic’s answer to New Nordic to your kitchen, with nearly 70 recipes celebrating this seasonal and creative cuisine. A beautiful and inspiring book From all good bookshops;

BAUHAUS BALLET, £19.99 Watch the dancers as they leap, spin and kick their way through this beautiful pop-up book. Inspired by the eccentric and innovative Bauhaus Triadic Ballet From BAM Bristol, 104-108 Belle Vue Road

WHOLE BY NATURAL HARRY, £17.50 Over 100 down-to-earth plant-based wholefood recipes by Harriet Birrell – the ideal start to a healthy 2020 From all good bookshops;


URBAN AXE-THROWING, £25-£50 Whistlepunks have just opened in the city centre, with six lanes, a bar and a pizza oven; it’s niche, and it’s fun... From Whistlepunks, All Saints Street


UPHOLSTERY COURSE, £80-£275 Gift the gift of crafting – or maybe book yourself in to learn upholstery skills at this friendly collective From Bristol Upholstery Collective, 186 Wells Road

WINE TASTING COURSES, FROM £25 The ultimate gift for the oenophile in your life, non? From Clifton Wine Schoool Hotel Bristol, Broad Quay

Independent Special Occasion Wear Boutique Finalist 2019 As Featured in Vogue Hot Spots For Bristol & Bath

BALLGOWNS - PROM DRESSES C O C K TAI L DR E S S E S & L ADI E S E V E N I NG W E AR Gissings Boutique. 15 Portland Street, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4JA 0117 401 3356.

Beautiful Christmas Gifts, Stocking Fillers, Jewellery, Candles, Scarves, Hand Finished Cards & Baby Clothes

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BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE Breeze through the big chill with the coolest and cosiest outerwear trends this winter


Stand Studio Camille brown faux shearling coat, £260


oing against the grain of comeand-go trends, faux-fur coats remain a popular choice during the cold snap. From Helmut Lang’s structured cosy silhouettes to teddy styles championed by the Stand Studio, these faux-fur styles retain the same luxuriously soft feel and glossy lustre of the real deal, proving them a viable counterpart for the environmentally conscious. Once the preserve of countryside rambles, downfilled outerwear has established itself as an urban staple thanks to the scores of puffer jackets infiltrating catwalks worldwide. Samsøe & Samsøe’s mustard shell puffer jacket with a quilted hood, press-stud fastening side slant pockets, dropped shoulders and detachable belt, fuses function with style while Rains offers a selection of quilted styles designed for maximum insulation with a streetwear edge. There’s no underestimating the importance of owning a raincoat in Bristol, and Danish brand Rains has also built a cult following around the humble waterproof, releasing styles from the gelato-hued to the holographic, and from timeless trench coats to traditional jackets. This collection will have you positively longing for a downpour. Wool coats are not only an essential come the coldest months, but they’re also a classically elegant layer for when you’re headed to smarter destinations. Louche silhouettes dominate the S Max Mara collection, with coats cut to artfully drape around the body. The monochrome houndstooth pattern that decorates S Max Mara’s Scout coat captures the label’s classic approach to modern design. This wool piece is beautifully tailored to a timeless silhouette that features notched lapels, flap pockets and a waistdefining tie-fastening belt. Make cold commutes a little more bearable with some of the cosiest winter accessories around. From cable-knit beanies from That’s A Hat to Off White’s puffy black quilted shell tote, you can look cool but stay toasty in these snuggle-worthy styles.

All from Harvey Nichols Bristol;



3 2







1. Rains camel holographic raincoat, £140 2. Samsøe & Samsøe Asmine mustard shell puffer jacket, £280 3. Helmut Lang charcoal faux fur coat, £960 4. Rains checked quilted shell coat, £330 5. Stella McCartney medium python-effect shoulder bag, £715 6. S Max Mara scout houndstooth jacquard wool coat, £925 7. Gucci gold-tone D-frame sunglasses, £380 8. Velvet by Graham & Spencer Anne rust faux-fur jacket, £355 9. Aeyde, Kate 90 python-effect leather ankle boots, £365 10. Off-White puffy black quilted shell tote, £1005 11. Isabel Marant Lacine 100 black leather knee-high boots, £1,160 12. That’s a Hat grey fur pompom cable-knit beanie, £195



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*Photos courtesy of Brian Biesman, MD Simon Lee, Aesthetic Medical Clinic 3 Whiteladies Gate, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2PH Telephone 01173 292027

BEAUTY NATASHA GREWCOCK Fancy upping your party face game for the festive season, but can’t face sitting through endless YouTube tutorials? Wish you had a friendly local expert who can break it down for you? Meet Natasha…


atasha trained at the London College of Fashion, and has over a decade of experience as a professional hair and make-up artist. She’s worked in TV, fashion, music videos, bridal and more – and now she’s doing a column for us. As it’s Christmas, she’s showing us how to dazzle… LIGHTING: Always apply make-up in a well-lit room to avoid any shadowing on the face, as this will impact your application and overall look. 1: PREP: Make sure you invest in a good moisturiser, one that is hydrating and compatible with your skin type. Always begin with a freshly cleansed face, applying your moisturiser from the neck to face in upwards motion.





RULE: Eyes before skin; if any loose eyeshadow or product drops you can quickly remove it without taking off your concealer or foundation. 2: EYESHADOW: Push a neutral colour all over the lid with a ‘squirrel’ (round-ended) blending brush; this acts as a base and sets your eyeshadow. Choosing a rich/deep brown eyeshadow, use the same brush to apply shadow to the outer corner of your eyelid, working halfway in to add depth and definition. Add a splash of gold/bronze sparkly/metallic eyeshadow and sweep across the inner corner of your eyelid into the centre, creating an ombre effect. 3: EYELINER: Use a liquid eyeliner to define your lashes – don’t be afraid about getting this wrong. Keep close to your eyelash



“Use a liquid eyeliner to define your lashes – don’t be afraid about getting this wrong” line and glide across. Have a cotton bud handy to neaten up any errors. Introduce a smoky line under your lower lashes for more drama.

to brighten up the skin. Use patting motions with the flat of your middle finger to smooth out any lines.

4: MASCARA: Next, apply your mascara – lots of it. Get your brush to the very root of your lashes, giving them lift. Once you’ve applied one coat to each eye, add another to create volume, then use the top of the applicator to shape your lashes into your desired shape. Finally, wing your eyeliner, allowing the shape of your eyelashes to guide you.

7: HIGHLIGHTER: Use a dusting of highlighter over the top of the cheekbone with a flatshaped brush gliding up towards the brow bone creating a moon shape – this will bounce against the light, giving a subtle shimmer.

5: FOUNDATION: A quick and easy way to achieve a natural glow is by mixing your foundation and your highlighter together. Dab both to the back of your hand and using a firm blending foundation brush buff into the skin, creating an even coverage. 6: CONCEALER: Always use a lightweight concealer under the eyes with an illuminating formula

8: BLUSHER: Bronze under the cheek bone adding warmth to your skin tone. Use a pop of pink/ peach blusher to the apples of your cheeks for a natural glow. 9: LIPS: Complete your festive glam look with a gorgeous nude gloss, and you’re ready to partaay! @natashagrewcockmakeupartist Photos by Jesper Mattias @jesper_mattias I BRISTOL LIFE I 81


Padstow Christmas Festival is about beer, food, chefs’ workshops, beer, kitchen demos, more beer, Cornish pasties, fine dining, ales, stout, cider. And beer. Christmas is really for the kids, after all By Deri Robins



f it doesn’t snow during December, it can be hard to get into full-on festive mode. Those faux-Eastern European Christmas markets do their best, with gluhwein and Après Ski bars and so forth, but when it rains, which it generally does, the overwhelming impression is of a garden centre that has unaccountably relocated to Broadmead. Instead, head ye to the Padstow Christmas Festival, where they have yuletide magic on tap. Once again, Sharp’s Brewery is the main sponsor; based just across the Camel Estuary in Rock, the brewery will have its full complement of beers on offer, as well as running the Sharp’s Kitchen food demos. Chief Brewer Andrew Madden will be on-site to answer all your hop-related questions such as, “Beer, Andrew – it isn’t just for breakfast any more, is it?” Andrew has been working all year finalising the seasonal range for the brewery’s 25th anniversary. “The rebrand of our Pilsner, Offshore, has really breathed new life into the range, so we’re just ensuring we can keep up with demand,,” he says. “That’s alongside our core cask products, such as the UK’s number one cask beer, Doom Bar. All the while we’re sustaining our trademark consistency and quality – all in a day’s work.” And if that sounds just a teensy bit corporate-speak, Andrew delivers it with the kind of unbounded enthusiasm that makes you want to head for the nearest Cornish bar. The Doom Bar is named after the notoriously perilous sandbank in the estuary – still a navigational challenge today. The bitter is the brewery’s flagship, award-winning product; arguably best enjoyed when quaffed at the one-off Doom Bar sessions on the moored-up Jubilee Queen. We had a blast on the boat last year, when Huey “Yo, folks, I did not take a four-hour train trip from Bristol to come out on a mother***ing boat and f**k up, I’m playing all the tunes tonight for y’all” Morgan gave us his trademark funk and disco set. Unaccustomed as we were to grooving in wellies while standing on a bench, hanging onto nautical plumbing, our calves knew all about it the next day. Unlike many breweries, Sharp’s doesn’t own or run any pubs, hotels or restaurants. Its thing is brewing beer. But it does run a joint venture with Paul Ainsworth – the Mariners public house in Rock, Nathan Outlaw’s former gaff. With views across the estuary, this is the perfect place to sample Sharp’s full range of drinks and the Ainsworth cuisine. Pilseners, stout, brown ale, pale ale – basically, all your favourite hop idols. As you sip an Atlantic Pale, you can tuck into a breaded hake,

pickled vegetables and herb mayonnaise. The oysters are plucked from the shore a couple of hundred yards away, and the smoked fish chowder is a broth of particular note. Just the thing if you’ve marched smartly along the South West Coast Path which runs on both sides of the estuary. Just the thing, to be honest, if you haven’t bothered. But if you’re not a fish aficionado, you could try the Philip Warren bangers, mustard mash and slow-cooked onion and parsley gravy. Goes perfectly with a Sharp’s dark ale. Another excellent place to experience and savour Sharp’s products is the teeny tiny Secret Bar at the Padstow Christmas Festival. Obviously I can’t divulge too much, what with it being secret and that, but if you find it, you’ll be treated to an immersive experience and a selection of Sharp’s more innovative beers. Each beer is paired with a tapa or mini dish, which after tasting, sipping, and then tasting again, changes the conception of the taste of both food and beer. If you don’t know much about beer, the Secret Bar is a revelation, and an almost spiritual way of looking forward to Christmas. Knocks gluhwein into a cocked Santa hat, frankly. On a larger scale, and new to the Festival this year, is the Cornish Silent Bistro; a unique 60-seater dining experience, pairing beer and food to music through headphones, raising the tasting senses and providing a new route to combining beer and food. Nearby, the huge, mostly indoor market with over 100 stalls will be a boon for those still looking for that elusive present. Remember, there will only be 19 shopping days left till Christmas (or, if you’re like my partner, just one: Christmas Eve). On offer will be everything from arts and crafts to tantalisingly street food; you’ll have the opportunity more than once to say, “What the hell, it’s Christmas”. Finally, should you be visiting the Christmas Market and need a place to stay, the St Moritz Hotel in Trebetherick, overlooking the Camel Estuary, is your only man. Dominating the headland between the towns of Rock and Polzeath, the St Moritz combines an insouciant air of Modernist cool with friendly, laidback Cornish hospitality; it’s the perfect place to recover from a day’s shopping, beer sampling and Christmas festivities.

“Beer, Andrew – it isn’t just for breakfast any more, is it?”

The Padstow Christmas Festival 2019 sponsored by Sharp’s Brewery runs 5-8 December at Padstow Harbour; St Moritz Hotel;

left: Add sea shanties and mulled ale in ancient inns, and you pretty much have Christmas-on-Sea

above left: The indoor market sells all your festive foodie essentials, along with stuff you didn’t even realise you wanted

above middle and right: Prepare to meet thy Doom: Huey’s not playing the Queen this year, but keep your eye on the Festival website for other delights I BRISTOL LIFE I 83

Charity shopping helps reduce UK annual carbon emissions by 7 million tonnes Did you know; it takes 15 thousand litresof water to make just one pair of denim jeans? When you choose to buy a pre-loved item for your wardrobe or home, you’re not just picking up a thrifty little find, you’re helping to make our natural resources go further and reduce our carbon footprint. Make your next purchase at Emmaus Bristol; find us in Stokes Croft and on Bedminster Parade.

b @emmausbristol

Emmaus Bristol is a charity registered in England and Wales (1071538)

When I’m coming here I don’t feel myself alone, I feel like they’re stood with me, next to me, they’re helping me with every single part of the way they changed my life

Bristol Refugee Rights Young People need YOUR support Bristol Refugee Rights’ Young People’s Project (YPP) works directly with young people aged 16-25 to help them find their feet in this country. The YPP works to proctect them from being returned to places of conflict, war and persecution and helps them to build a brighter future. We are currently working with young people in Bristol who have come from Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Albania and Ghana. The YPP is lucky to be taking part in the Christmas Challenge run by the Big Give. For 7 days, between 3rd and 10th December 2019 any donation you make will be doubled. Please support these young people this Christmas.

Donate via: Telephone: 0117 9080844 For more information about Bristol Refugee Rights:

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Together we can transform dementia care in Bristol We want to lead the way in delivering outstanding dementia care, giving hope for the future. With your help we can put dementia care at the heart of your hospital.

Donate today at

Registered Charity No: 1055900

It’s the city’s business


Marsh makes the headlines


he much-loved Bristol Life Awards are returning on 30 April and category sponsorship opportunities are now open, bringing businesses the chance to associate with this highest-profile celebration of the very best of Bristol. Marsh Commercial is the new name for Jelf, which was previously the Platinum Sponsor of the Awards, and has now re-confirmed support for 2020. “We’re delighted that Marsh Commercial is the new Headline Sponsor of the Bristol Life Awards. We’ve been long-term supporters of the Awards – and even longer-term supporters of many Bristol businesses,” said Anthony C. Gruppo, chief executive officer, Marsh Commercial. “This is a superb city and area to do business. And the Bristol Life Awards are the best way to celebrate the many great successes here.” Marsh’s step up to Headliner means that there is also a new Platinum Sponsor: Datasharp. Last year’s awards event saw record nominations and an evening event with over 660 guests in attendance and a packed-out waiting list. The Awards were on everybody’s lips on social media and the night piqued the interest of many in Bristol.


Big news from the Bristol Life Awards as Marsh Commercial scoops Headline Sponsor spot Sponsorship provides an unrivalled business marketing showcase. The 22 awards categories cover the whole of Bristol’s thriving business scene; from arts to bars, charities to creatives and leisure to tech, there’s something for everyone. “Companies who sponsor a category gain from our awards and related receptions,” said MediaClash events director Steph Dodd. “Whether looking for that extra marketing boost for their business or opportunities to network and build contacts in the city, Bristol Life Awards has the answers.” The current list of sponsors is led by new Headliners Marsh and Platinum Sponsor Datasharp; plus category sponsors Acorn Property Group, Amarelle, Anderson Financial Management, Bristol Airport, British Corner Shop, Brunel Insurance Brokers, Burston Cook, Cabot Circus, Curo, Clifton College, Kersfield, Lexus Bristol, Nicholas Wylde, Spaces and VWV. Nominations are now open via the site. A strictly limited number of tickets will shortly be available, following sell-outs in all years previously. Details on social media. For sponsorship enquiries and to benefit from the Awards, please contact Neil Snow @BristolLifeAwds

Marsh steals a march on headline sponsorship

Stories & ideas to share?

Get in touch with our business editor, the experienced business writer and event host Christian Annesley at christian.annesley@

Bristol’s home-grown indie delivery service Good Sixty is now expanding to London

Two wheels good For three years now, Good Sixty has been helping the city’s independent sellers to reach out with sustainable delivery options for residents – and now the business has landed in Borough Market with a delivery-or-collection service. Who made it all happen – and how did Borough Market buy in? Christian Annesley found out 90 I BRISTOL LIFE I


ristol’s well-loved Gloucester Road has long been known for its cast of independent shops, and in particular a growing number of high-class food producers. Supporters of the thoroughfare have also constantly touted a story that Gloucester Rd is the longest road of independents in the UK, though quite how you stand that one up, and on what terms, is less clear. No matter. What’s definitely beyond argument is Gloucester Road’s great variety of outlets – and, more recently, its accessibility online, in a world where it seems

fewer and fewer of us have two hours to meander up and down a mile-long stretch of shops in search of perfect parsnips, pork chops or a better pancetta. DOORSTEP CHALLENGE So, what’s changed when it comes to online delivery? With more of us taking in items on the doorstep these days, whether from Just Eat or Amazon or Tesco or whoever, Gloucester Road’s outlets have since 2016 had their own delivery option – from a dedicated independent business called Good Sixty. The man behind the operation is Chris Edwards. He’s moved in web


Busy people love home deliveries and now Good Sixty is making it local and independent

Chris Edwards of Good Sixty

and tech circles in the city for many years, including a spell owning and running his own web agency, Synth Media. He was inspired to take the plunge with Good Sixty in part as a response to the growing number of supermarket vans roaring around Bristol’s residential roads. “All those boxy supermarket delivery vans are hard to miss. They are big and ungainly and often jam up and pollute all the smaller streets around the Gloucester Road,” says Chris Edwards. What did he do, then, to shake things up? For starters, he decided, understandably, that the city’s independents needed their own greener delivery option – but, more ambitiously, that he was the man to do it. A SIMPLE CASE “It was easy to make the case for this kind of service, as I got underway,”

he says. “There’s all this quality on our doorstep and people don’t necessarily have the time to shop but do love what’s here. All those supermarket vans also told a story, of course: the lure of going online is undeniable if you are busy, so it was just a question of making it happen.” On one level, it sounds easy, but it surely wasn’t. “No, it’s been a huge undertaking but exciting as well. In late 2016, we did a small test run with a minimum viable version of the platform processing deliveries for just one greengrocer at first.” It was a small pilot, yes, but immediately it got a foothold,

and within just four months of starting, Good Sixty had 40 shops on board. “The speedy pick-up we got was, I believe, because the proposition was so obviously a good fit,” says Edwards. “We were and are a platform dedicated to supporting a select group of local food producers, sellers and their customers. For those that we aimed to help, there is very little not to like. We generate them extra business for the most part, and charge a small percentage of the sale – and it is easy to trial us and see how well it works. There are no contractual tie-ins.”

TIMELINE 2016 Good Sixty’s Gloucester Road MVP launch 2017 Established on Gloucester Road and in wider Bristol 2019 Bath launch and Borough Market launches 2020 Ambitions to grow into new cities and ramp up Artisans by Post


El Comado, one of Gloucester Road’s indie businesses working with Good Sixty

NULLIFYING THE ONLINE THREAT What does Good Sixty do for consumers and producers? Its online proposition is easy for users to navigate and pick what they want from a long and varied list of suppliers (not just from Gloucester Road, either; others are now involved from across the city) while behind the scenes the software works out the best way to navigate the required pick-ups using Good Sixty’s fleet of electric cargo bikes and get the delivery done in a booked one-hour slot that suits. “The proposition is simple, easy to use and it supports local traders. For many consumers, as we’ve found, that is just a good proposition on all fronts,” says Edwards. “If you remember, before they had their own online option, many independent traders in Bristol would have just viewed the online competition – all those giant and well-resourced big names – as a massive threat. In a stroke, Good Sixty has been able to nullify that and hand back some control.” What about the name? “It’s a reference to the idea that for every pound spent in a local independent there is a 60 per cent greater benefit to the local community compared with shopping with a big national

or multinational name. That’s something the research bears out, so we wanted a name that captured that real benefit and brought it home to people.” DESIGN AND VALUE Now that Good Sixty is in place, it makes things look fairly effortless, but Edwards clearly deserves plaudits for his roll-out of the proposition in relatively short order. How did it come together? “I designed the site and the back-end system, while Cookies HQ in Bedminster, a mobile and app development outfit, produced the pilot platform for Good Sixty. It all just went from there, and we’ve kept on iterating,” says Edwards. “The other side has been the delivery bikes and riders, which in part we funded through an oversubscribed £150,000 Crowdcube crowdfunder in early 2018.” One way in which Edwards says he’s benefited is that, for those who can afford to pay, the definition of value is shifting. Where price was the only yardstick for consumer value in many contexts, nowadays the provenance of the food and its supply chain matters, as does the quality of what’s on offer. You could argue those measures have always been there, but supply chains are pretty invisible for the most part


and food quality hasn’t always been that easy to gauge in a world with sometimes quite narrow consumer options from which to choose. “Among our customers buying for their families in particular, all these great artisan producer options are a real boon. One thing the platform allows is interactions between the customer and the trader, so it’s easy to pose questions, get feedback and find things out.” What else does the platform do now? GEOGRAPHY OF CHANGE “The big thing is geography for us as we offer mostly a local proposition. We have opened in Bath, where we have 20 shops on the platform, the Bristol offer now embraces a wider area, and we have an Artisans by Post option, which enables suppliers and orders from anywhere for certain products and producers that can be posted conventionally.” What’s really upped the ante for Good Sixty, however, is its recent roll-out of the service for London’s flagship foodie destination, Borough Market. How did it happen? “We started talking to Borough Market two years ago about our service, and they loved it but when the time came it went out to tender. We put in our bid and we won

through against 16 others. We were the smallest operation – we still only turn over a relatively small amount and directly employ only a few individuals – but what they liked was the model and our pitch to consumers and producers alike. For each producer, their platform in the marketplace is theirs to control, so it’s like gaining a free website – complete with support and advice on photoshoots and imagery – without much effort or risk and no upfront cost. Each producer goes online but retains control, so they still feel that ownership of what they are doing.” Landing Borough Market has clearly sharpened Edwards’ ambition and also pushed him into offering a new proposition with real potential. “With Bristol and Bath, the choice is between a local delivery option and click-and-collect in store for the customer. With Borough Market, we are offering delivery within a smallish radius of the market, 1.5 miles for now, but the bigger pitch is our hub model. This sees us consolidate orders and store them in our dedicated, branded shipping containers for customer collection. That includes refrigeration where it is needed. This pick-up service is where we see great potential growth, given how

viability of the proposition has been proved,” says Edwards. “We’d like to open in some European cities, too – places like Lisbon, Paris and Berlin. That’s the vision.”

It’s about customer service, reliability and the planet

many work in the area around the market. It is reckoned that 50,000 individuals can pass through the market each day.” If signing up and retaining happy producers holds the key to Good Sixty’s long-term prospects, Edwards sees plenty of scope. “We support 100 producers for now, but with Borough Market alone we’re ramping up in a controlled way as we get under way. The launch has been great. More widely, with a proposition like Artisans by Post, we have 40,000 producers in our sights. There is great untapped potential out there still – and we can move into new cities, of course.” There’s still an element of curation to what Good Sixty is doing, it should be added. With Borough Market, the fact of being on the market is enough in itself to quality, but in Bristol and Bath Edwards says producers still have to be selected, partly to maintain quality and partly so the balance

of the offer for consumers is maintained. “We are growing fast, but we’re trying to do it in a controlled way,” he says. “In 2019, our sales are up 140% from 2018, which is massive of course, but also manageable. This means our ways of working are still holding up.” The same, says Edwards, is true of its delivery operation. This has been one of the biggest outlays to get the business working, and it relies on reliable, dedicated riders and quality e-bikes. “We vet and train new starters, and some are on our books while others are independent. We have five riders in Bristol right now and five in London as we get underway. It’s not just about reliable delivery, either – the riders have to personable as they represent our brand when they deliver.” The challenge, as Good Sixty takes off, will be to retain that control and maintain standards, as Edwards freely admits.

“The other thing that represents us physically, of course, is the vehicles we use,” he adds. “The bikes are something to be proud about. They can cover 50 miles on one charge and carry 200kg fully loaded. They are sourced from Urban Arrow in the Netherlands and we made our pick after testing about 30 alternatives.” FUNDING AND OWNERSHIP Who has funded Good Sixty’s growth to this point? Partly the project has been self-funded by the indefatigable Edwards, while next to this he has got investment and support from the likes of Jon Simon of Pieminister and some other more privacy-minded investors, plus about £180,000 from the 2018 Crowdcube crowdfunder, which gave away 15 per cent of equity in total to those who chipped in. “We are still in our investmentand-growth phase, so we aren’t turning a profit yet, but the groundwork has been laid and the

EVOLUTION AND THE FUTURE The aspect of Good Sixty’s story that Edwards is keen to draw out, as we wrap up our chat, is that the messaging matters. “This isn’t just about convenience but about local, low-carbon distribution for aware consumers. We can and do promote aspects like producers being plastic-free, for example. In Bristol, there is also a real challenge with pollution, as in all cities, and this matters. We think we are genuinely part of the solution in a world facing climate crisis and other challenges.” It is not a foregone conclusion that Good Sixty will succeed commercially. Far from it. Plenty of others with similar propositions have struggled at times to make an impact, but Edwards is clearly onto something, and making headway. “What we are doing is getting bigger and more complicated, but our smart systems and thoughtful approach are working,” says Edwards. “As we scale, we have options to outsource certain functions, too, in order to be able to move more quickly and work with good partners. In Bath, for example, the deliveries are being handled by a cargo bike delivery company called Three Bags Full, so that opens up another route to scaling up. But we will always keep a close eye out and make sure things continue to work, whatever growth path we end up taking.” For more:


“WHEN WE RECRUIT, WE TEND TO FIND OUR APPLICANTS ARE LOCAL RATHER THAN LOOKING TO RELOCATE” Being in the centre of the city at Temple Studios is huge for us. We

Nikki Ellison CEO of Loom

I started Loom in 2009, but to begin with it was called Digirank and was really just me. I had been

working in digital roles in various corporates but had not long been in Bristol and wanted to run things on my own terms and scale up as a business. Fast forward 10 years and we are well-established, with 13 staff in our home at Temple Studios in the centre of Bristol. Google-paid and organic search was the original proposition. The

service has kept evolving, as the world has changed. These days we do much more than search – a lot of projects are dictated by tracking user behaviour and activity, and the advertising platforms online keep on evolving, as well as the Google algorithms. It’s our job to stay ahead of the curve.

This year we completed our rebrand and became Loom. It

was a process to get here – the change was about 18 months in the making. I knew we had outgrown our old name and needed to reflect ourselves better. What makes us special, I guess, is our integration of digital channels, so we wanted a name that reflected the weaving of

channels to grow a digital presence and drive more customers. Client companies are turning to agencies for their deep experience across channels. The

companies themselves typically have some expertise in-house, but often not enough. For some, we become their outsourced end-to-end digital marketing team, while for others our involvement is more targeted. The pace of change in digital keeps on increasing. Change is

a constant but as an agency we can be proactive and jump on new opportunities and share their potential with our clients. We love working with local Bristol companies in particular. We don’t

have a niche in terms of sector, but we do like to foster community here in the city and establish long-term relationships with companies looking to make the digital leap and really accelerate. It is harder to work well with clients who are more geographically distant.

Bristol has a lot of innovative businesses. We are happy to refer

on some work or partner up with

those with a particular specialism our client will love. It is part of what makes the city tick. One long-term client is the R&D tax credits business ForrestBrown, in Clifton. We have worked with the

company for six years, during which time it has grown hugely from a handful of people to more than 100. That’s an interesting journey to travel with a client, as you go from a broad brief to a more specific role over time. But it does mean we know a huge amount about the company and can strategise with them very effectively.

have been based here for threeand-a-half years and it’s been a game-changer. It is hard to get good city-centre accommodation – or at least it was when we were looking, but maybe things are changing. Previously we moved around the city fringes, in spots like Redland and Clifton. Being central is good for staff access and makes it easy to engage with other creatives as well as clients. The building has also given us the flexibility to take on extra space and grow when we need to. The talent in Bristol is world class.

When we recruit, we tend to find our applicants are local rather than looking to relocate. Some roles we have are quite niche, but we keep turning up good people – and then we work hard to keep them. One of our team comes in from South Wales, which is straightforward, but the rest were already in the city when they joined us. We work hard at fostering team happiness. We have a chief

companies are churning agencies and losing valuable knowledge. We understand the value in that not happening, and many of our clients get it too.

happiness officer whose role is to enhance the working lives of those in the company. This summer we all worked a 4.5-day working week, for example, which was well-received by staff and clients. Having a focus on individual mental health and being supportive is always the right thing to do.

You can measure everything digitally these days. That’s a

We want to double our sales in the next three years. We have laid

Long-term work is satisfying, because it means knowledge isn’t being lost. Think about how many

great advantage really because we can prove we are adding value for clients. Every campaign can be measured and its impact can be understood. It’s all about the data.

the groundwork and are ready to scale. It’s going to be a lot of fun, but we will also ensure growth is sustainable and make sure we stay happy! I BRISTOL LIFE I 95

Would you like to work in Media Sales? We are always looking to hear from talented individuals who would like to work for MediaClash, presenting advertising opportunities and marketing solutions across our portfolio of fantastic magazines and events. We are a growing business and anticipate there being various opportunities over the next few months. If you would like to join our continuing success story please email your CV to or give us a call anytime on 01225 475827 for a chat about the company, our magazines and available positions.


NEW TO BRISTOL Who are we talking to today? I’m Janice Rae from TechTalent Academy

Brabazon plan is for huge arena complex


ristol’s long wait for an arena moved a step forward this month, with plans to repurpose the Brabazon Hangars at Filton into a new entertainment complex being submitted by the Malaysia-owned developer YTL. The application for the scheme has gone to Bristol City and South Gloucestershire councils, including a claim the project will create more than 500 jobs and add £1.5bn to the local economy over 25 years. The submitted proposal uses the floorspace of all three hangars to create an arena, exhibition and leisure space under a single roof. The arena itself would be in the Central Hangar and have 17,080 capacity, while the East Hangar would house the Festival Hall event space for conventions, exhibitions and for working with the arena for the largest events. The West Hangar would become The Hub – a home to leisure facilities, food and

drink outlets, and small or start-up businesses. Andrew Billingham, managing director of YTL Arena Complex, said: “We’re building much more than just an arena – it’s a 365-day entertainment destination inside the iconic Brabazon Hangars that will create new jobs, bring new business to the region and enhance Bristol’s position as a leading European city.” Seb Loyn, director of planning and development at YTL Developments, added: “YTL Developments is already beginning to transform the former Filton Airfield into a thriving new neighbourhood for Bristol, known as Brabazon. “The YTL Arena Complex will be connected to and complement this new community.” Under the plans, a new train station is due to open in 2021 and a new Metrobus service will run. If the proposals are given the go ahead at the first time of asking, YTL reckons it will

be opening the doors to the public in early 2023. Among those supportive of the plans are Bristol hoteliers. They expressed excitement at the scale of the scheme, which would be third only to the O2 in London, and the Manchester arena, in terms of capacity. Raphael Herzog, acting chair of the Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA), said: “The developers have spoken about this being a 365-day-of-the-year venue, which would be an amazing addition to the city’s cultural offering, and create a lot of interest from people visiting the area. “Major events like a big-name music concert provide only a brief boost to business when they happen. But if the plans really do involve attracting significant numbers of people all year round, that has tremendous potential for the local economy.” For more:

How did TechTalent come about? The founders have been working with technology businesses for a few decades, helping companies to position themselves as employers of choice to attract diverse talent. TechTalent Academy has been established to solve the issue of diversity in the tech sector. The idea is to upskill and bring more people into the sector, while creating more diverse tech teams. Janice Rae

When did it launch? In October – so all fairly recent. But the issue around the shortage of candidates in the sector isn’t going anywhere without a big effort. How are things going? We’ve had a great start. The tech sector has been very welcoming and we’re having conversations with employers in fintech, software engineering, government and the creative sector. We’ve set up home in Origin Workspace on Berkeley Square, which is an amazing place to learn. It’s been beautifully renovated with lots of bright open space and everything we need to create a great journey for our trainees. How big is the company? At the moment there are seven involved, and the number is expected to grow fast. We’ll definitely double in size within the next few months. What trends are there in your industry niche? A lack of women in the sector is a decades-old theme. The latest stats show women taking up 15 per cent to 19 per cent of tech roles and this number is going backwards as women are leaving the sector. Why Bristol? We’re very lucky to call Bristol our home – it’s the city we all love to live and work in so a natural choice for our first office. We’re also working on plans to extend out to Birmingham and London in the near future so Bristol will then become our HQ. Where can you be reached? janice@techtalent. academy or For more:

RAPUNZEL, RAPUNZEL... Okay, fairytale role-play may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But I’m just saying, if it were, then this may be the house of your dreams... By Rachel Ifans 100 I BRISTOL LIFE I


ith an ambition to do more than just restore a Grade-II-listed derelict beauty on the outskirts of Bristol, Peter and Anne, the current owners of Little Naish, have created a unique (I feel justified in using that word on this occasion) eco-inspired home set in six acres. “Being part of the former Naish Estate, there was a blueprint for what would make for a spectacular walled garden,”says Peter. “The tower, built possibly in the 17th century as part of the garden wall, was added to by James Adam Gordon in about 1830. An impressive relic of early Victorian gothic architecture, complete with gargoyles and a spiral staircase, which leads to a rooftop viewing area, it would have been designed to impress his


high-profile guests, who may have been entertained at the adjacent Naish House.” Who would have ever thought that a property which originates from the 14th century could now boast such eco-tech as uber-efficient ground source heat with a full heat recovery system, underfloor heating, solar panels, low energy lighting and water softener? But thanks to the foresight of its owners/ developers, that’s the case here. The restoration HOUSE NUMBERS and transformation of Little Naish was a story in Price £1,450,000 itself, anything-but-simple and featuring planning 4 en suite Bedrooms permission plot points, structural horrors and more – a tale that could’ve been written up by the Brothers 6,176 Acres Grimm – which was captured on film by the BBC as What else? part of its Restoration Home series. Paddock, eco field, car barn Luckily, there was a happy ending and the and 30’ kitchen modernity – and the high-quality fixtures and fittings Where? Naish Hill, Clapton in throughout – sit with ease in the historic surrounds. Gordano, Bristol The original period part of the home, for instance, Savills, Clifton, 20 The Mall, accommodates a gorgeous triple-aspect, stone-mullionBristol, BS8 4DR, 0117 407 windowed drawing room, which overlooks the walled 0111,

garden. To the rear of the drawing room is a study which also opens to the grounds. Contrasting with the period features in the drawing room, there’s a 30-foot contemporary kitchen, edged with glass and flooded with light. The ground floor of the main house also boasts two bedrooms, a wine store and a utility room, while outbuildings house a games room, boot room, plant room, workshop, car barn and stables. As for the massive six-acre plot, this includes a paddock, an eco field, and wonderful walled garden enclosing sheltered terraces, an orchard and a kitchen garden too. But come on, who’s kidding who here? If you’ve stuck with this fairy tale long enough to get to the ending, then yes, it’s the bedrooms in the tower that will provide your happy ending. A dreamy dénouement, you’ll float up to the two further bedrooms by spiral staircase, and continue up to the crenellated tower roof terrace from which to view your horsebacked-suitors approach. Come on, Rapunzel, let your hair down, and have a closer look at Little Naish. I BRISTOL LIFE I 101

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“You never know; shaving my head and wielding an axe could still be on the cards” You’ve recently been in a new production of John Osborne’s The Entertainer – what drew you to the character of Archie Rice, and why did you update the show into the 1980s as opposed to, say, today?

SHANE RICHIE The most likeable geezer in showbiz is back in town – and he’s taking the titular role of Dick Whittington in this year’s Hippodrome panto We last met Shane in 2006, on the opening night of Scrooge at Bristol Hippodrome. We found him charming, funny and friendly – and yes, just a little bit like his EastEnders alter-ego, Alfie Moon, the career-making role that catapulted Shane to national treasure status. And now the treasure is headed back to Bristol for Christmas, playing cockney chancer Dick Whittington – which shouldn’t be too much of a stretch… Welcome back to Bristol! When were you last in town?

Back in 2017, in the stage adaptation of Peter James’ Not Dead Enough. A crime thriller is a bit different to panto, though, so there’ll be a few more laughs in this one. And I couldn’t pass up another chance to play the Hippodrome; it’s a beautiful theatre. I love Bristol, and I can’t wait to be back in the city for Christmas.

At first we heard the panto was to be Robin Hood – why was it changed to Dick Whittington?

We actually changed it for a very special reason: our producers had staged an award-winning Dick Whittington at the London Palladium two years ago, and we decided we wanted to bring the same physical production to the Hippodrome. It’s a huge show, with some amazing scenery and special effects.

When Alfie returned for his most recent stint on EastEnders, he seemed a little less lovable, a bit harder round the edges – how did you feel about this?

Alfie had been through a lot, so it was great taking him back to Walford, especially to bring a new depth to him over such a good storyline. Everyone knew him as the cheeky chappy, so to bring a darker side to him was a lot of fun.


John Osborne was one of our greatest playwrights, and he wrote Archie so well, and for Laurence Olivier, so to follow in his footsteps was a dream come true. He was originally written as a former music hall performer, which we felt might not resonate as much with a modern audience, so we made him into a former variety act instead. The whole point is that his career is washed up, so it had to be set retrospectively; it wouldn’t work as well if we set it today. How much did you draw on your own experience in showbiz to play Archie?

I’ve been doing this job for 40 years now, so I know how the business works. When you’re up, you’re up, and I’ve seen people come and go. I don’t think my career has gone the same way as Archie; at least I hope not. Last time we met, you said that in contrast to playing lovable rogues, you really fancied playing an axe-wielding maniac (what you actually said was “I’d love to shave my head and play this out and out lunatic”). Are you any closer to realising this ambition?

I haven’t yet, but that’s why I’ve loved getting to do more straight roles like Archie, and I’ve done two tours of Peter James’ thrillers. You never know; shaving my head and wielding an axe could still be on the cards.

You’re also reprising the role of retired drag queen Loco Chanelle in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie on tour next year…?

I am, and I’m back at Bristol Hippodrome as Loco in May next year. I had a blast playing her in the West End, as it’s such a great show, with an amazing message. Playing someone in drag was a departure for me, but Loco’s a lot of fun. Do you have any pre-show superstitions or traditions?

I like to warm up so I’m ready to go on stage, but otherwise I find that if you try and stick to a set routine, if you fall out of it by accident, it throws you off. How do you keep busy in the dead hours between rehearsals and shows?

Panto is really physical, so in between shows I try to rest as much as I can, then I’ll head out into Bristol to find something to eat, or to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. What’s the most important lesson your life and career has taught you?

Show up on time, be grateful and be nice to people. We’d better let you get on. What are you doing immediately after answering these questions?

I’m off to become Lord Mayor of London and get rid of some rats. See Shane in Dick Whittington at Bristol Hippodrome 7 December 2019-5 January 2020

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Bristol Life - Issue 273  

Bristol Life - Issue 273