FEATURE: Urban Regeneration
James Watts examines the influx in regeneration around the city. With huge developments such as Cabot Circus, how are the community areas of Bristol, like Stokes Croft, surviving?
10 MUSIC: Iâ€™m With The Band Bristol has long been a hub of new music, producing bands such as Portishead and Massive Attack, but what bands are now begining to emerge? Selina Orrell investigates.
12 FEATURE: Public Art Public Art can take all shapes and sizes. James Dixon expores itâ€™s varying history and where it can now be found in Bristol.
16 FEATURE: Bombing Bristol Bristol has a thriving street art scene which goes a lot deeper than Banksy. Sarah Pusey follows a local artist as he goes about his work.
24 FASHION: Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion Fashion starts on the street, so this issue we examine some of those local trends, by meeting the people wearing them.
26 HIDDEN GEMS Marcus Siddall searches the depths of Bristol for the gems that go unnoticed. This issue he discovers two providers of food to make your taste buds tingle.
Enjoy, Jack Smith, Creative Director
Earlier on this year in a poll by cake makers Mr Kipling, Bristol was voted the happiest place to live in the UK. The reasons for this could be as simple as someone greeting you by saying ““ello my lover”” when you walk into a shop, or just because we are so damn happy. This issue explores all the explanations as to why we smile, looking at the greatness of this city’s vibrant culture. Selina Orrell, Editor
UWESU Publications Frenchay Campus Coldharbour Lane Bristol, BS16 1QY
Publications Editor Sarah Pusey
Editor Selina Orrell
Creative Director Jack Smith
Content James James Sarah Selina Marcus
Watts Dixon Pusey Orrell Siddall
Illustration & Design Jack Smith Ed Maier for Bungo Sarah Pusey Ellie Bacon
Photography Fay Curtis Ellie Bacon Tania Neves
Proof Reading Sarah Hopper Clare Clark Louise O’Brien
Cover Illustration by Jack Smith
This issue is all about Bristol, a truly eclectic city. While visitors may only see Cabot Circus and Park Street, the locals realise there is far more to this city than overly priced fashion shops and chain cafes. This issue explores those parts of the city that have a sense of community and the music, art and fashion that is emerging. We have only begun to touch the surface and it is up to you to explore the depths for yourself.
There is no doubt about it, Bristol is changing. In the last few years we have seen the erection of new business complexes, trendy city apartments and most recently the opening of the ÂŁ500million Cabot Circus. Much of this change has been a part of a plan of urban regeneration within the city, turning depressed and deprived areas into more prosperous and safer places. Words by James Watts These may all seem like positive changes to the city in the short term, but will these changes actually have a degenerative impact on the culture of Bristol; turning it into another faceless city with the same shops, buildings and tacky chain bars as any other place in the country? Is Bristol losing its soul? Stokes Croft is perhaps one of the most culturally important and diverse areas of central Bristol. Several factors have led to this, most importantly the very deliberate neglection of the area by the government which caused many buildings to become derelict and the cost of rent to become significantly lower than other places in the city. These circumstances created a culturally diverse area where people from different backgrounds including artists, musicians and writers lived and mixed. The impact of this melting pot of talent can be seen by
“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” Ellen Glasgow the plethora of breathtaking street art that adorns the walls of many buildings that would otherwise be left bland and faceless. As well as being home to the largest independent cinema in the UK, Stokes Croft is also the centre of the most important underground music scene in Bristol, and it is the direct threat to clubs that champion the ‘Bristol Sound’ that has received the most attention recently. Following the development of Cabot Circus in Broadmead, the properties in Stokes Croft have
become increasingly valuable as destinations where new residential properties can be built. This has seen developers take advantage of the cheaper land prices, making applications to the council for the demolition of several popular clubs. Earlier this year the hugely popular Clockwork closed its doors and will be demolished to make way for new flats, with Lakota likely to follow by the end of the year and the future of Blue Mountain looking increasingly uncertain.
“It could be a template for everywhere else” Chris Chalkley (PRSC) on the project
Many locals are concerned about the affects that ‘topdown’ urban regeneration has on the unique character of Stokes Croft. The ‘Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft’ has been set up to try and combat the influence of the government, and instead advocate a bottom up strategy. They argue that “The future of Stokes Croft must rest in the hands of the people who live, work and play in the area.” On 12th of April this year the people of Stokes Croft made their feelings about
the threat to the area very clear by staging a massive demonstration to protest against the gentrification of the area prompted by the threat of the closure of Clockwork, Lakota and Blue Mountain. Speaking at the time Chris Chalkley, of the PRSC, argued that the area needs preserving because of its individuality: “What we have is a fantastic cultural resource that is not of the institution type that we find elsewhere in the city. And what we’re aiming to do is make a case for the preservation of
that in the face of the horrors that are coming towards us.” UWE student Josh Turner, who was present at the demonstration agrees: “I feel that with the opening of Cabot Circus, Bristol is one step closer to becoming just like every other large faceless town in the country. One of the things I love about Bristol is that within a halfhour walk you can go from being in the picturesque Clifton Village to the pulsating atmosphere of Stokes Croft. I think that the diverse nature of
life here is under threat and it shouldn’t be at threat just because it doesn’t fit into what the government thinks a city should look like.” It would be naive to suggest that Stokes Croft is some kind of bohemian utopia where artists and free thinkers mix in harmony, because it isn’t. There are very real problems with crime and drug use which are filtering out into other areas of the city such as Easton which need to be addressed. However, these issues need to be addressed without ruining the culture of Stokes Croft. On the PRSC website they propose “to take control of the visual amenity of Stokes Croft, borrowing ideas from the past, welding them into the present, working within the framework of the historic fabric of the area to create the World’s Biggest Outdoor
Art Gallery, an area that stimulates by the beauty and intelligence of our visual artistry.” Chris Chalkley of the PRSC has even greater ambitions for the project, believing that it could change the way cities are regenerated: “It could be a template for everywhere else, because in microcosm we have all the social problems and strains of society in its widest context right here in Stokes Croft.”
This is indeed an ambitious plan, but it is hard not to admire anyone who wants to improve the place in which they live using the resources and passions of the people who live there, instead of waiting for a huge company to come along and place a Starbucks on every corner.
Words by Selina Orrell Bristol has always been seen as one of the country’s most up and coming cities; with so many different aspects of culture being celebrated in every corner, Bristolians will no doubt tell you that there’s something for everyone. We all know that musically speaking, our fair city has produced some pretty amazing acts over the years - Portishead and Massive Attack to name but a few. But just how easy is it to break into the music industry? And is Bristol the best place to start? So, how does it all begin? Alex Colmer, explains how him and two of his friends, Ross O’Donnell and Adam Armstrong, put on their night, Nowt2Do, at Hush Hush on Gloucester Road: “It all came about at an open deck night which me, Adam and
“Our fair city has produced some pretty amazing acts over the years, Portishead and Massive Attack to name but a few.” Ross all entered. Adam blew the owner, Chris, away. He asked Adam to play at a few nights resulting in the three of us having a monthly residency and taking on the promotion.” Alex explained how it wasn’t until Ross and Adam moved to Bristol and began playing at Hush Hush that they would try to get involved more in the music scene. “We used online promotion via Facebook, Myspace, Don’t Stay In and forums, as well as postering, flyering and word of mouth.” Promoting can be quite costly, and requires putting your own amount of money into it. There are ways to earn money though to help such as by charging a certain amount on the door of the venue. Alex explained how they gained money to aid the process: “We began to play ourselves and eventually
started charging a small amount and after a few months we felt we had sufficient funds and experience to book known DJs and acts for a fee. Between the three of us we created a wish list of who we would like to play at the night.” Once earning a bit of pocket money and getting known by more promoters, musicians and DJs can start taking bigger chances to get their names known, but are they always the best chances to take? Alex explains how they “tried to do a night in a gay club but didn’t take into account the competition and the audience, and it ended up being really hard. We’d take chances again in larger events perhaps, but wouldn’t go into it being so blind. We’d take an area that
we were more confident with and do our research more. By getting in contact with already established nights in Bristol, we’ve played side rooms at their nights, such as charity events and collaboration nights.” It is not always a success story for musicians in Bristol and is dependant on whether they want to be the next big thing or just do it for pure enjoyment. There are so many venues to choose from to play, it just takes confidence to go and talk to owners and the time to put into promoting. Alex explained how “It’s easier to do it yourself than expect anyone else. Build relationships with club owners and speak to venues. Get involved at a grass roots level.”
What is public art? Or, perhaps asked more often, what isn’t? There’s no easy answer. In fact there isn’t an answer at all. There is nothing in the world universally acknowledged to be public art. It can be art in the public realm, art produced by ‘the public’ (another contested term), art in response to people and places…. the list goes on. However you define it though, it’s definitely there. Public art in Bristol has been around for about forty years and has taken a variety of different forms over that time. Words by James Dixon
The New British Sculpture show in 1968 was really the first public art in Bristol. It was a show curated by Arnolfini in which a number of abstract sculptures were placed around the city to a mixed reception. Locations included High Street and College Green. Looking at the reception of this show in the local newspapers it is possible to see the full range of opinions, from complete bewilderment at the strange shapes now encountered by city centre dog-walkers to copycat artists placing their own pieces alongside those of the established artists. Alongside Bristol’s emerging free-party scene in the late1970s and into the 1980s, a group of artists, including Mac Dunlop and Annie Lovejoy, began taking over disused buildings and warehouses and putting on art events, usually involving the showing of more conventional works, but mixed with performance and other public interventions. Hospitality was a key theme of the public art of this group and the display of art in these ‘borrowed’
spaces was often accompanied by a makeshift café and music. In 1993, as part of the ‘reopening’ of Castle Park, adjacent to Broadmead in the city centre and the construction of The Galleries, Bristol City Council, Arnolfini and RWA collaborated on a large public art commission for Castle Park (known as the Castle Park Project), to partner archaeological work on Bristol Castle and new historical interpretation boards around the park. The trail can be seen on notice boards in the park. With this project, we see the kind of public art that is literally ‘art-in-public’ and the majority of it is historically referential, serving an educational function. A further variation on the theme would be the work of Heath Bunting, an artist who began working in Bristol in the late 1970s. Currently attached to The Cube, Heath undertakes a variety of participation based projects often linked to wider themes such as
In this context, what is termed ‘public art’ was commissioned by a private developer to enhance a development scheme. It’s public art in the sense that it’s in a shopping centre and has a planned function of enhancing the shopping experience through its presence.
mobility, ownership and the environment. His work often involves walking or other forms of excursion, such as his kayak trips into the Severn estuary or his widespread Chalk Line Graffiti that can be seen all over Bristol. As part of the Cabot Circus development, InSite Arts commissioned a largescale public art scheme to go alongside the new development, including work by Neville Gabie, Nayan Kulkarni, Susanna Heron and Timorous Beasties. A trail around all of the pieces is available on the interactive screens inside Cabot Circus. Each of these projects show a different conception of what public art is, but the scheme at Cabot Circus stands out from the rest in that it is funded by a private developer.
The question is not whether this sort of commercial commission can be considered public art, rather we should question the worth of public art of this type. There has been much criticism of socalled ‘heavy metal’ public art; sculptures and other such works placed in public places to be encountered by passersby. It can certainly break-up an otherwise uneventful shopping trip, providing you with an “Oh, that’s art? Huh” moment but whether the pieces themselves have any investigative function is another matter. Public art is of immense importance to any city, but perhaps even more so in a place like contemporary Bristol where change and development seem so ubiquitous and wholescale. Whatever conception
you have of what public art is plays an important role in daily life, whether overtly, through participation, or by changing the way an individual looks at something they see everyday. It doesn’t really matter whether the average Bristolian knows that public art exists or not as it is generally something that is supposed to be encountered in some way. It is common for contemporary artists to see the response to a piece or the interactions with it as the artwork rather than ‘the thing’ itself. A project like that at Cabot Circus is slightly different in that it comes from ‘the other side’ and is part of a development rather than in response to it as, for instance, most graffiti would be. Perhaps, it is because this kind of public art is overtly marketed as such in mitigating criticism of its attached development that the definition of public art as sculptural pieces, generally placed in the public realm, is the most common. This is unfortunate as it can be so much more interesting. Ultimately, the worth of something like the Cabot Circus public art scheme comes down to what we do with it. If we tire of it or ignore it, it will become worthless. Of much more use is for us to consider individually what the pieces mean, one by one and as a collection, and use whatever conclusions we
come to in our own way. In a sense, Cabot Circus can only ever be good because it has prompted such innovative responsive projects as the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft. Hopefully, the Cabot Circus art will come to have an impact on the rest of the Bristol art scene as people use their own practice to question it, compete with it, subvert it or respond in any way they see fit. Perhaps then it will have a distinct function as public art other than the purely decorative.
One of the many cultural joys of living in this fine city is witnessing its graffiti scene sprawl out across Bristol, sometimes degrading areas but often enhancing them, bringing colour and life to the public as they commute to work, school or uni. Areas such as Stokes Croft and St Pauls have embraced this culture that has been booming in Bristol for more than twenty five years. 3D, Inkie, Cheo and Banksy to name but a few have been bombing Bristol with graffiti long before it was recognised as a legitimate art form, a term that is perhaps still under discussion. So what is it that makes a graffiti artist tick and do they consider their work to be art, vandalism, or somewhere in between? Trying to get to the bottom of this occasionally misunderstood yet often lucrative culture, I started by posting a Facebook message on some graffiti related groups. The response was overwhelming and showed just how this art scene played such a huge part in the lives of locals. A few students were interested in helping out, one guy claimed his uselessness from the start but gave me another website to look at, and an artist from France wanted to get involved but the commute would have been a little long for my liking. So when one woman gave me the contact details for her nephew who had ‘done a bit of painting in the area’
and I discovered the nephew in question had covered half of Bristol in his work, I knew that I was on to a winner. After some initial contact and more phone calls and messages from interested artists, I managed to speak to Sepr about the graffiti scene in Bristol and how he first got involved with the scene. “Growing up in a rubbish area of Bristol graffiti and skateboarding made me feel like my surroundings could actually have something to offer! I just remember seeing graffiti around and it blowing my mind, the quality of the work was amazing and I couldn’t work out how they produced such amazing pieces, especially after I failed miserably attempting my first piece with crap car paint.” Next was the organisation on the day. That’s right, day – I had envisioned running round with a can in the dead of night but in fact it turns out
that painting in the daytime can be less conspicuous: “Looking respectable and going about your business in broad daylight often gets you less attention, people just assume you’re above board you look well dodgy creeping around at night; people assume you’re a burglar or sex pest!” And so that is the reason I find myself meeting Sepr and his colleague Epok outside a café in Stokes Croft on a cold autumn morning. Armed with a ladder, a roller and some rough sketches, the boys finish their cuppa before showing me the wall one of the few legal painting walls in Bristol. Epok explains that he used to enjoy painting illegally but that just isn’t an option anymore; “once you get to certain age you can’t just go around painting what you like with your mates. I got caught twice before I moved to Bristol and a third time could have resulted in prison.” For artists serious about their vocation, a spell in jail is not an option. Earlier this year five members of London graffiti crew DPM were sentenced to a total of eight years in jail for vandalising train cars and stations with their paintings – the kind Banksy and other successful
artists are now getting paid large sums for. Discussing the nature of painting and the continuous change in heavily graffitied areas such as Stokes Croft as they begin to paint over a two day old piece, Sepr brings up Bristol’s most famous urban export; “The situation with Banksy paintings is fucking ridiculous. I’ve a l w a y s been a big fan of his work but people seem determined to completely rinse the life and excitement out of his work by preserving it behind glass or selling bits of walls he’s painted on; it’s just silly and it ruins what it’s all about for me.” Perhaps it comes with the job but it must be hard seeing hours of hard work up one day, only for it to be painted over the next. Some people in passing cars beep their horns and shout at the boys while they work, some scurry past and others stop for a chat, including the artist whose work they have just covered in purple emulsion. Luckily, as there is such a community feel among these artists, the guy doesn’t seem to mind too much but this puts pressure on Sepr and Epok to do a good job. “It’s only natural to get attached to something you’ve put a lot of time and effort into, but you have to get used
to your stuff getting painted over or tagged. Painting is such a big part of my life it makes sense to keep every part of it positive. You do get some friction sometimes when stuff gets painted over but generally people who paint get along. Bristol has a good scene of talented artists and is a well exciting place to paint and I’m lucky to have met some great people just through painting pictures on walls.” Five hours, half a tin of emulsion and twelve cans later the painting is nearly finished. As the final touches are added (their individual tags and a touch up of gold paint) we part ways and I am left taking photographs of the finished wall. A couple of hours later I go back for a few more shots and who should I find but another graffiti artist putting the finishing touches
to his work – a green face that is slightly overlapping the wall. He glances my way and I his before we both go about our business and I have to smile to myself. A week ago this wall had a large tag, a few days later another painting altogether and, at least for now, a lizard on a rock. But tomorrow, next week, who knows? Some people say graffiti is vandalism and can drag an area down but from what I’ve seen and who I’ve spoken to, it seems that graffiti is inspirational. Perhaps the final word should go to Sepr, one of the artists who some might say has enhanced some of the more neglected areas of Bristol: “Everyone has different ideas and definitions of what graffiti is and what art is. I think people should just decide whether they like something or not, regardless of what category it fits in.”
Ship Shape & Bristol Fashion....
/ Pete / Admin Assistant /Favourite item of clothing / Batman pants
/ Ed / Photography student /Fashion philosophy / Throw on and run out
/ Holly / Art Foundation student /Favourite thing about Bristol / Cabot Circus, atmosphere and nightlife
Photography by Fay Curtis & Selina Orrell /// /// Styling by Sarah Pusey & Sammy Maine
/ Sonya / Masters in IT /Style/ Make it up as I go along
/ Emily / Criminology & Psychology student /Wearing /Jumper left at my house
/ Matt / Magazine Editor /Worst item of clothing / Really bad xmas jumper proper stripey and gross!
/Tracey / Student /Favourite thing about Bristol / Cool, chilled out and friendly
/ Roger/ Unemployed /Style icon / I am my own style icon
/ Kane / Shop Assistant /Style inspiration/ The London look
/ Hannah/ College student /Favourite item of clothing / Highwaisted belt
/ Sara / Barmaid /Style / Depends on my mood
/ Remy/ Medic Student /Worst item of clothing/split boxers
/Scarlett / Photography graduate /Favourite item of clothing / These trainers
/ Debbie / Student /Favourite thing about Bristol / Itâ€™s my home, it keeps calling me back: nowhere else can offer me what Bristol does
/Adria / Admin Assistant for Council /Worst item of colthing / Nothing otherwise I wouldnâ€™t have it
Words by Marcus Siddall Beyond the usual circuit of the bars, clubs, trodden city parks and well-worn seating so often used for meeting friends lies a less known path. Unfamiliar to most and quiet on the sunniest of days, these places retain as much quality from their semi-secret status amongst most Bristol occupants as they do their detached sense of existence from the surrounding landscape. Go hours along the same trail without meeting anyone else, escape the bustling city lifestyle and all its restrictions, get purposely lost and wonder where you are.
Bristol Sweetmart Arguably one of the best food shopping streets in Bristol, Easton ’s is a regular stop for mos Sweetmart surrounding residents of t of the the area.
Just off Stapleton road, cater for many Indian res the management taurants in the South West; they also run fishmongers. Thus, they sel the adjacent and smaller amounts. The l in both bulk coconut milk is so fast turn around on that they don’t even bother to stack she lves, instead, pellets are placed by the tills.
You’ll find fruit and veg consistently cheaper and here that’s quality than any other sho of better vast selection of foreig p around. The n foods and spices can be bought by the sack-full. Staff are constantly run notepad and pen in hand, ning about, stock numbers and prices taking down - ask them anything, and they’ll tem porarily act as your personal shopper. The you’ll have, if you’re any only trouble will be in managing to strthing like me, of lentils to the back of ap on 2 kilos you without fear of it fallin r bicycle g off.
Zak’s t much to ; there isn’ in terms of Greasy Spoons em e between th differentiat od, is there? After all,y fo of e is usuall t quality state that on as consider the ng that a fry up breakf er di tt ci ma de a y en ll wh in and it’s usua you is in order, e or location that sees nc ie ace. pl ar ul of conven ic rt one pa siding with like any a fry up just easy that es rv se , en t - so gr Zak’s, th she ast bar migh other breakf ght pass out in horror if the at mi t m sa mu u yo your nd to catch was ever arou table - or at £3, Zak’s uld. But for p, and it’s least mine wo ea ch terribly back places breakfast is the more laid of e on y el wn. definit to eat in to of St Nicks in a corner y ways is so ay aw ed ck Tu le pattern of al r many Saturday market, the weve ho at th r in ng disorientati proach there with my pape it d ap fin I to gs le in ab morn seem to be r ve ne I , hand any easier. way between e in the gang, warmed by id ts ou g in ea Sitt and table ar the kitchen in the winter, this is ant er ch from - ge a gas heat to people-wats are opening ot sp g in az am as the vendor selves, and there early between them y feeling. ng ti at it up, ch un mm co real experience a
Stockists: You can find us in the following places... /Bower Ashton SU bar, SU office and reception/St Matts SU bar and SU office/Glenside SU bar/Spike Island/ Watershed/Tabaco Factory/Thekla/Khoi/Motel/Arnolfini/
Grass Roots Issue