More reasons for loving Bristol
Bristol Travel Blog› entry 18 of 87 › view all entries
I went for a mooch in Bristol. Mostly, I was looking for a birthday present for Mum, but that's kind of dull. Spring seems to be coming early - there are a few flowers and the first brave wearers of miniskirts. Environmentally I'm sure that's bad. Personally, it's lovely. I will take this opportunity to tell you about some of the things that I love about Bristol instead. I'm not claiming many of them are unique - but you don't get all of this stuff in Swindon. Or Utrecht. Or anywhere else I've spent a lot of time.
Art and Street Art
Today, for example, I saw the national gallery's touring exhibition about Love. And there is a Yoko Ono piece where visitors write their own love messages.
It occurs to me that I talk a lot about Banksy, as in, the masterpiece on Park street, the reaper on Thekla, and the rats in London. Who is Banksy, I hear you say? He is the world's most famous graffiti artist, his works are worth hundreds of thousands, even though I have no idea how you go about selling it, and he's caused twenty kinds of problem spray painting the wall in the Gaza street. Depending on who you talk to, he is either a dynamic force in conteporary art, a total sell-out, or a hoodie wearing vandal.
And then you've got the folk art stuff, the other street art, and the old fashioned roof decorations and gargoyles. I've put some photos here. I'm a particular fan of the pink heart someone wedged between two post boxes, and the way that someone has arranged their broken umbrella into a spider. You're never sure if it is even totally deliberate.
The old harbours
I have a hard job believing that a city counts as a city unless it has harbours. Edinburgh has Leith, so I'm letting it off. Cities should be wet. Bristol has harbours, old cranes that no-one uses, and a strange bridge thing. There are bridges that open. And some of the narrow boats have wood fires and smell fantastic. I love the harbours.
Bristol must have the highest beard-to-man ratio in the UK. It's the hairiest city I have ever seen. Relatively young, fairly cute guys, too. There is something in the city that seems to inspire everything from scruffiness to full on waxed moustaches, and the lack of self consciousness cheers me up no end. It also seems to go with the Hatchett, the only nice, nonscary rockbar I've found since they destroyed Legends in Edinburgh.
The golden spotty unicorn
It gets its own category. It's great.