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A Response To ‘Gentrification By Instagram’

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Bristol Skyline sunset

In response to Bristol 24/7 and Thomas Oxley: ‘Gentrification by Instagram’

First of all I should say to those that do not know me; I was part of the @igersBristol team for two years, so this article really was aimed at a lot of my friends and peers.

The reason this article will not be impartial isn’t because of my ties to those involved, but because it is a grossly unfair opinion piece with unfounded accusations, and it’s seemingly based on fuck all else but a desire to be controversial.

I really do love Bristol and the diversity of its people, their passions and their beliefs. What I’ll never stand for is someone telling anybody what they should, or should not create, capture, or share.

Bristol is a city that built a reputation on its creativity, and a community that supports each other. There is no room here for crab mentality, or negativity towards any other person’s craft.

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Happy Easter, gang! 🐣🍫 Hope you’ve all had a lovely day. So. Bet many of you can’t name this viewpoint… Having grown up around BS4 I recognise it as the beautiful view of the city from the railway bridge on Langton Court Rd, St.Annes. A woefully under-photographed area/scene! Get snapping, eastside folk! 📷 We held a brilliant Instameet around this area last summer which lots of you attended, and we made sure this view was part of it. It’s a good ‘un. 👍🏻 • Big thanks to @the_unarmed_shooter for tagging us in this shot! Enjoy the rest of your evening & we’ll be back tomorrow. 👋🏻 PS More Instameets to be announced this week! @porthjess 🌈 #igersbristol

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I understand that most people don’t live in the pretty, colourful Bristol we see on Instagram and in the wider press. It’s not all ‘Sunday Times Best Place to Live’ shite, where you walk your kids to school without swearing at them, past colourful houses, through the park or along the river.

I understand this because I grew up on a council estate in East Bristol. I believe most of us had tough upbringings in a city that is rife with drug use, poverty, inequality and racial tension.

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🎉 INSTAMEET NEWS! 🎉 • As part of our #igersloveGloucesterRoad campaign, we are hosting an Instameet in two weeks time! ———————————————– 📅 Saturday 25th February. • 🌍 – Brunswick Square, St. Paul’s. • ⏰ 13:00-16:00. ———————————————– We’re going to be weaving up Cheltenham/Gloucester Road, taking in some of Bristol’s most vibrant communities, including Montpellier, Bishopston, St. Andrews and Ashley Down. We’ll try and navigate via some great pieces of graffiti, lovely green spaces and stunning terraces! 🙌🏼 • If you haven’t really explored Gloucester Road before, this will be a great opportunity to acquaint yourself with the surrounding areas. If you love Gloucester Road, well then I don’t need to encourage you. 😅 • England aren’t playing in the Six Nations that day so I don’t want any excuses. 🤓🏉 ———————————————– Photo by our very own @richimal_bristol! ———————————————– Shared by @antimitch! 🤙🏼

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The mixed views of Bristol held by many, shouldn’t be grounds to curse those that choose to focus on either the good or the bad. If you want to “Make Bristol Shit Again”, crack on.

If you want to campaign and protest the injustices people in this city face, from the homeless, the refugees, the poor, the ethnic minorities. Please, please do.

Or if you’d prefer to shine a bright light onto the things that make Bristol such a fantastic city to live in, as many people do extremely well, then have a fucking field day as there’s lots to shout about.

@IGersBristol is a community of people that do the latter out of pure passion, immense pride and an unwavering attachment to Bristol. Building friendships, educating, and broadening minds along the way. To question the integrity of people you’ve never met is a lamentable act, for which you are being rightfully admonished.

I’m focusing on @IGersBristol, I’ll reiterate not because of personal bias, because in my opinion, they are the inspiration for a large amount of feature accounts in Bristol. The foundation of the account, community and hashtag is to shout about what you love, to share your Bristol.

A lot of folk’s favourite part of Bristol is indeed the floating harbour, not Withywood nor Knowle. Although, if you look a little deeper you’ll see there are plenty of other Instagrammers who strive to document the “real Bristol” that is claimed to be missing from social media.

You’d also have seen the meets and events arranged across BS1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 and beyond. Events that took us way beyond “the square mile from the Suspension Bridge to the Arnolfini and from the Create Centre to the top of Park Street.”

I respect opinion pieces, and the conversations we have every day on social media and in the press, but myself and my peers cannot stand by in light of such vitriol.

Bristol’s “gentrifying” Instagram community have made it clear that no amount of hatred will stop us doing what we do, because we love it, and we love our home. Why don’t you join in sometime, Thomas? Everyone is welcome.

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The Time I Beat Bristol’s Scariest Escape Room

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Hell in a cell Bristol

I’m put in many a tricky situation exploring the very ‘Best of Bristol’.

Usually up high, scaling buildings and cranes (#antimitchclimbs), but I didn’t think it would result in being locked in a prison cell with a psycho killer called Pig Face (pictured above). Welcome to Hell in a Cell, ay?

Now for some of you reading, Hell in the Cell will make you think of wrestling but I can promise you this is scarier than when Shane McMahon jumps off the top of that cell.

Probably..

Hell in a cell Bristol

The rather terrifying Pig Face.

Hidden beneath the old Crown Courts on Bridewell Street, within the cells, this has been dubbed “Bristol’s scariest attraction”. And so in the interest of research I took on Pig Face, and lived to tell the tale!

I can’t actually give away too much of the game, because this is an escape room and that just wouldn’t be cricket, would it?

What I can reveal though, should give you a taste of what to expect.

Hell in a cell bristol

You don’t know what you’re getting yourself in for until they handcuff you and throw a bag over your head..

Like any escape room, Hell in a Cell Bristol sets players challenges that they have to complete. Perhaps the first challenge is not backing out after you’re handcuffed with a sack placed over your head.

It’s then trying not to cack yourself as you’re led into the pitch black cells, where you know you’re not alone, but you can’t quite tell what’s there.

It’s that lovely fucker by the name of Pig Face.

Pig Face is reasonably fair at this point and allows you an hour to make your escape. It’s go time!

Oh, and all your belongings have been taken off you, so you can’t use your phone torch or ask Siri for help.

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You ok there hun?

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What I will say is that you bond pretty bastard quickly when you’re scrambling to find light and remove your handcuffs. I was with my good friend Colin Moody, but with three other people I did not know, and we came out of it with an unwavering sense of camaraderie.

That probably explains why this Bristol escape room has proven so popular with corporate clients in the city. Hell, it’s proven pretty popular with all but one reviewer on a popular site that rhymes with whip chastiser. That person claimed it wasn’t very scary. Ooooooo sorry ‘ard.

The game itself was challenging, terrifying and fun (if you like being scared). It will most certainly fill you with adrenaline and leave you in need of a celebratory drink if you do make it out.

This is NOT for the faint hearted. I don’t scare easy, and if you’re like me you won’t feel a sense of fear, but you’ll definitely be made to jump. Nobody is immune to that.

If you do scare easily, go to the bathroom beforehand. Or don’t, these are real holding cells so you could always have a pee in there..

Fancy it? Then click here to book.

Tag us in your psycho selfies on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you take on Pig Face

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Sampling The Lesser Known Ciders From Thatchers

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Thatchers Cider

Despite the recent rain, bbq season is upon us, and no camping trip or garden gathering is complete without a few ciders to sweeten the deal.

With honey notes and a golden colour, the medium-dry Thatchers Gold is the flagship cider from one of Somerset’s oldest cider makers – and it’s a great go-to cider on any occasion – but Thatchers Cider have been producing and pressing apples in the Somerset village of Sandford since 1905, and their selection these days is broad.

Thatchers Cider

Thatchers Katy, the 7.4% single variety cider well-known to Bristolians who want something a bit stronger than Gold or Dry..

An introduction to Thatchers Cider and Pasture

To showcase the full range of their cider offerings, the Thatchers Cider team descended on Pasture – the stylish new bar and restaurant near St Mary Redcliffe – last week.

With butcher Sam’s enthusiasm for local produce and Thatchers’ chief cider-maker Richard Johnson on hand, it was the perfect pairing.

Thatchers Cider

Thatchers Redstreak, a multi-award winning cider with accolades such as Supreme Champion at International Cider Challenge 2017, and World’s Best Sparkling Cider at the World Cider Awards 2017.

Richard introduced us to the Thatchers Cider story – starting over 100 years ago with farmer William Thatcher making cider to help pay his workers, and ending with William’s great grandson Martin (the current managing director) overseeing Thatchers Cider distribution throughout the UK. In between tastings, Pasture’s Sam talked us through the menu selections he’d made to bring out the best in the ciders chosen.

Thatchers Cider

Cured duck breast with juniper and orange marmalade, on a chai cracker.

Food and cider pairings

The Thatchers team opened with Katy, a light and softly sparkling cider made from Katy apples, and with it came Pasture’s scallop ceviche with pickled gooseberry and lime – the delicate seafood working beautifully with the light, bubbly cider. There followed five further mini-courses, each paired with a different Thatchers’ cider.

The meaty steak tartare with oyster mayonnaise met its match in Thatchers’ Old Rascal – a peppery 4.5% cider made with Tremlette and Somerset Redstreak apples for a bittersweet flavour. And Pasture’s short rib croquettes with delicate gochujang aioli balanced nicely with the bold and beautiful Thatchers’ Vintage – an oak-matured 7.4% cider with fruity aroma and crisp flavour. 

Thatchers Cider

Pasture’s Signature Short Rib Croquette with gouchong aoili and nasturtiums.

It was a great chance to try lesser-known Thatchers ciders you don’t regularly see in the big supermarkets, and clear to see the thought Sam had put into the food pairings he chose.

Thatchers Cider

Thatchers Family Reserve, a sparkling Somerset Apple Wine that rediscovers the recipe for champagne cider originally created by William Thatcher in the early 1900s.

If you’d like to give a few of Thatchers’ lesser-known ciders a try, take a look at the full range and buy online here. And for more details on the flame-grilled offerings over at Pasture, check out their website here.

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Bristol’s Biggest Food Festival Is Back

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Bristol Food Connections

Bristol Food Connections 2018 is nearly here, so it’s time to plan your festival!

Bristol Food Connections is one the highlights of Bristol’s food calendar, with a ridiculous amount of events (130 at the last count!) taking place across the city from 11-17th June.

It’s a fairly huge festival, covering everything from growing your own food to huge gala dinners and talks on sustainability. We’ve decided to break down what’s happening and pick out a few of our favourites from this year’s programme.

Bristol Food Connections

Booze it up

There are plenty of ways to hit the hard stuff (and find out more about it too)…

See more of Bristol

With events dotted in every far flung corner of Bristol, now is the time to get out and explore!

  • World Food Passport (All week, £8)
    Taste your way around the food businesses of Gloucester Road, collecting stamps as you go (or you can also do a guided food tour of Gloucester Road that week too).
  • Behind the Scenes of a Gin Distillery (Sat 16th, £25)
    Head out to Thornbury for this special tour of 6 O’clock Gin’s distillery to find out more about how their delectable spirit is made (with plenty of tasters along the way, obv).
  • Shroomshop (Sun 17th, £30)
    Get some hands-on tips about mushroom cultivation at this workshop in St Werbs.
  • Thyme Trail (Fri 15th, £15)
    Visit various vendors in Wapping Wharf, hearing the stories behind the businesses and getting tasters as you go.
  • TimeZone: Eat Your Way Around the World (Sat 16th, £4)
    Try a range of international cuisine in Easton, including Jamican, Indonesian and Spanish.
  • Eco day at Hartcliffe City Farm (Sun 17th, Free)
    Try your hand at pond dipping, searching for bugs and other activities.

Bristol Food Connections

Educate yourself

It’s not just about filling your face with food, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn a new skill or hear some interesting perspectives on the food we eat too:

Fantastical feasts

Some seriously special dinner events from well-known chefs and local producers…

  • FUTURE: FEAST (Mon 11th, £25)
    Star Trek meets Come Dine With Me in an ‘immersive dining experience’.
  • A Summer’s Feast (Fri 15th & Sat 16th, £30)
    The next generation of Bristol chefs serve up a seasonal feast.
  • It’s a Bristol Ting! (Sun 17th, Free)
    Celebrate Bristol’s Jamaican community with rum & jerk chicken at Lakota.
  • Chocolate Gala Dinner (Mon 11th, £35)
    A special dinner to kick-off festival week, with all 3 courses featuring chocolate.
  • Summer Dine & Vine Feast (Thu 14th, £30)
    A three-course tasting menu paired with bio-dynamic wines.
  • Homegrown Collective Supper Club (Fri 15th, £35)
    Three-courses of local, seasonal food accompanied by music.

 

There are also loads of free talks and demos at the Festival Hub (next to Watershed) throughout the week, so it’s worth stopping by to see what’s on!

 

See the full Bristol Food Connections Programme

 

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