Bristol Culture A cultural meander through Bristol with plenty of stops for food and drink along the way Mon, 13 Oct 2014 05:59:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A beginning and an end Mon, 13 Oct 2014 05:59:56 +0000 B247 square logoFollowing the launch of the brand new Bristol24/7 website today, Bristol Culture will no longer be publishing any new stories.

It’s been almost five years getting this far, with many late nights, early mornings and concerns over misplaced apostrophes, but from this afternoon, all the best elements of Bristol Culture will form part of Bristol24/7.

Every Bristol Culture story will also soon be able to be found on

You might have already seen the launch issue of the Bristol24/7 free monthly magazine, with 20,000 copies distributed across Bristol over the weekend.

This is just a taste of what to expect from the new website and accompanying app.

We want Bristol24/7 to be your first port of call to find out what’s happening across the city with news, features, what’s on listings and everything else in between.

The new project has been brought together by the teams behind Bristol Culture, the original Bristol247, Bristol Listings and Venue, alongside some of the finest freelance writers and filmmakers the city has to offer. There’s also a few entrepreneurs and suits mixed in too.

Thank you to everyone who has read, contributed to and advertised with Bristol Culture since it was started as a blog by editor Martin Booth when he was made redundant from being a reporter at the Evening Post principally for riding a bicycle.

Bristol24/7 will be a fabulous new online and print publication and we are incredibly proud to be playing a part in its long-awaited arrival.


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10 things to do in Bristol this week, October 13-19 Mon, 13 Oct 2014 05:58:33 +0000 Ella Eyre

Ella Eyre

Monday: Ella Eyre,Academy
Having worked with Bastille, Rudimental and Naughty Boy, Ella Eyre – and her unruly mane of hair – heads out on a solo UK tour.

Tuesday: Sunshine Underground, Fleece
Touring a self-titled album which has seen the band leave their dance-punk origins and embracing contemporary club-pop.

Wednesday: Dobet Gnahore, The Lantern
The Grammy Award-winning Ivory Coast artist sings in seven languages and perform a wide variety of musical styles from across Africa.

Wednesday & Thursday: L’apres-midi d’un Foehn, Old Vic studio
“A spectacle of beauty that will stay with you for years to come” is how The List describe Non Nova’s show featuring dancing plastic bags.

Thursday: The Mighty Food Fight, Small Bar
Before Hannah and Isabel introduce Bristol to René, their Citroen HY van, they introduce their all-vegan street food at this launch party.

Friday: New Kids on the Frock, Mauretania
The launch of a new talent and new material night from Bristol all-woman comedy night What the Frock, hosted by Cerys Nelmes.

Friday & Saturday, Tale of Two Trades, St Thomas the Martyr
A coming together of Tom Green (The Flavour Smith) and Richard Tring (Red Light) to create an evening of cocktails matched to food.

Friday & Saturday: Dawn French, Hippodrome
Based on her life and career, 30 Million Minutes is the first ever solo tour by the award-winning actor and best-selling novelist.

Friday-Sunday: Politics Festival
With speakers including Shami Chakrabarti and Owen Jones, and the keynote event a debate about the achievements of the coalition.

Sunday: Apple Day, St Werburgh’s City Farm
Celebrate the humble apple at Boiling Wells with pressing, live music, singing, dancing, workshops, games, and hot food and drink.

Dobet Gnahore

Dobet Gnahore

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My Bristol favourites: Andrew Billingham Sun, 12 Oct 2014 05:59:26 +0000 Andrew Billingham

Andrew Billingham is chief executive of Bristol Sport, the company which looks after the commercial interests of Bristol City FC, Bristol Rugby, Bristol Academy Womens FC, Bristol Ladies Rugby, Bristol Flyers basketball team and motor racing driver Dino Zamparelli.

Here are Andrew’s top-five Bristol favourites:

Ashton Gate stadium
“I would rather naturally say this but I’m not actually just referring to match days. My offices are here at Ashton Gate stadium and it is astonishing to watch the £45m transformation begin. Every day I come in to see something different around the ground, whether it be the demolition of the Wedlock Stand or the new pitch being laid. I know that Bristol has been crying out for a state-of-the-art stadium and I’m proud that Bristol Sport will deliver an amazing multi-use facility for the city.”

Matchday programmes Ashton Gate stadium Bristol


The Downs
“Since I moved from Stoke I’ve spent a lot of time up here visiting friends. I love the fact that it is a free space for everyone to use. I’m always amazed by the amount of sport being played – be it football, touch rugby, running clubs, fitness sessions or just dog walkers. It is such a fantastic space and great that we can live in such a vibrant city and still feel like we are in the countryside. The breathtaking view of the Suspension Bridge at the end of Circular Road never ceases to lift my spirits.”

The DownsPark Street
“I am captivated by how a city can embrace a street and bring it to life with such varied activities. Be it the Park And Slide or A Park On Park Street. Who knows, we might see a ‘play park’ one day where all the great sport that goes on in Bristol gets showcased.”

Park Street Bristol from top floor

Bagel Boy
“I love this quirky take on restaurant dining on St Nicholas Street. Bagel Boy is just so innovative and full of entrepreneurial spirit and drive. I’m constantly blown away by their New Yorker Boy speciality.”

Bagel Boy Bristol

Clifton Suspension Bridge
“It has to be on the list. I know that I’ve mentioned the view of it already but I’ve spent the last six months commuting between Stoke and Bristol and each time I drive in over it, it inspires me. To dare to build something so innovative and unique is truly amazing.”

Clifton Suspension Bridge toll

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Review: Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Bristol Old Vic Sat, 11 Oct 2014 05:59:41 +0000 Dead Dog in a Suitcase Bristol Old Vic

The problem with going to see a Kneehigh production is that if you’ve been to one before, your expectations are sky-high.

From the moment Dead Dog in a Suitcase opened to Punch and Judy, song and live music, the answer was clear.

This is no less than 140 minutes of uninterrupted, in-your-face rock opera brilliance, and has only as much in common with its inspiration, The Beggar’s Opera, as it needs to: a satirical story about recognisable characters.

In the wake of the mayor’s murder by career criminal Macheath (Dominic Marsh), Les Peachum (Martin Hyder) and his hilarious wife (Rina Fatania) vie for the mayoral platform.

With a price on Macheath’s head, the drama unfolds as he escapes the law dodging angry relatives, a string of lovers, and of course dancing babies.

But it isn’t all fun and games. Once Macheath is captured, we see the characters unravel and a dystopic version of the world takes over. The magnificent finale is worth missing the last bus home for.

Of them all, I loved Mrs Peachum, who elicited great delight from the Bristol Old Vic crowd.

Alongside the main cast, a gaggle of puppet characters provided many of the laughs. Other characters were less developed, some of their backstories coming second to the music at times.

Charles Hazlewood describes his creation as a “mongrel score” and in deference to the original opera, it is a hybrid of contemporary take-offs that’ll get stuck in your head.

We’ve come to expect it from Kneehigh, but the talent on stage was still remarkable, with all the supporting musicians gliding between guitar, percussion, brass and vocals.

If only all musicals could be this good.

By Nicola Yeeles

Dead Dog in a Suitcase is at the Bristol Old Vic until October 25. For more information and to book tickets, visit

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Review: Coastal Defences, Brewery Theatre Sat, 11 Oct 2014 05:58:31 +0000 Coastal Defences 1

Last October, the peaceful anti-government protests in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia were in full swing. Despite being Europe’s largest pro-democracy protests since the fall of Communism, though, the 2013-14 Bulgarian demonstrations got little coverage over here.

That same month, however, BBC3’s documentary Booze, Bar Crawls and Bulgaria showed how the nation’s Balkan coastline was fast overtaking Magaluf as the favourite party destination for young Brits.

So while Bulgaria went through seismic shifts in its government and human rights, the images being beamed to us were those of a sun-kissed, anything-goes fleshpot.

Bristol playwright and Balkanophile Tom Phillips has taken this paradox and created a witty, lyrical and – importantly – accessible portrait of a country most of us know so little of.

A cast of three – the excellent Jill Rutland, Nic McQuillan and Chris Bianchi – each play a small handful of characters whose lives interlink, both in the thick of the Sofia protests and at a Black Sea resort at risk of being overrun by those Brit boozers that BBC3 found so amusing.

From a wideboy Black Sea hotelier trying, by means fair or foul, to increase his influence in business circles, to an English lad whose Facebook flirting has brought him unwittingly to the epicentre of the demos, Phillips and director Nik Partridge give us an instantly lifelike array of characters.

They are all dealing, as best they can, with Bulgaria’s slow transition from post-Communist troubles to (they hope) a nation with a more enlightened government and more choice over its own destiny.

Perhaps the most fascinating example of these complex priorities is Bianchi’s dour security guard Boyko, who is prepared to do almost anything for his dream house and garden – even discrediting the demonstrations beloved by his own daughter.

Phillips is a gifted writer, and plenty of the dialogue brings you up short with its lyricism, humour or both. That he has also managed, in around 75 minutes, to give us a picture, both panoramic and intimate, of a little-known country in deep transition, is remarkable.

Coastal Defences is the second in Theatre West’s annual autumn new-writing season, and finds the Bristol company on typically fine form.

Review by Steve Wright. Photos by Farrows Creative.

Coastal Defences 2

Coastal Defences is at the Brewery Theatre until October 18. For more information and to book tickets, visit

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Bristol 2015 European Green Capital announce first events Fri, 10 Oct 2014 05:59:21 +0000 Brandon-Hill-benches-Bristol

With less than three months to go, the first details have been revealed of what Bristol’s year of being European Green Capital will look like.

The news of the events comes surprisingly late in the day and could be an indication of some of the internal turmoil among the organising body, whose head Kris Donaldson departed last week to be replaced by city council chief executive Nicola Yates.

The 40 events to be officially announced today include an international green tech festival, national schools’ programme, a life-size sculpture of a blue whale made from recycled materials and the world’s first modern solar powered balloon to launch at next year’s Balloon Fiesta.

“Throughout next year, Bristol will be home to a wide-reaching programme of activities and events that will showcase Bristol’s achievements and ambition,” said chairman of Bristol 2015, Andrew Garrad.

“Today we have announced the initial programme which will grow over the year. There will be opportunities for all individuals, communities and organisations of all sizes to get involved and now we’re calling on the city to get behind the year by adding their own events to the programme too.”

To view the full programme, visit


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24 Hours in Bristol competition winners announced today Fri, 10 Oct 2014 05:58:50 +0000 No Diving - Catarina Laurenco

No Diving by Catarina Laurenco

Today, the first issue of new free monthly magazine Bristol24/7 hits the streets and the winners of this year’s 24 Hours in Bristol photographic competition will also be announced.

More than 80 prize-winning photos will be on show at the Harbourside Arts Centre from tomorrow. Two of these will be featured on the covers of 500,000 Visit Bristol visitors guides.

Here are just a few of the 800 entries:

Is Photography Art - Doug Jewell

Is Photography Art? by  Doug Jewell

Carlos Blanco - The Old Duke

The Old Duke by Carlos Blanco

Magic Hour on the Docks - James Cossey

Magic Hour on the Docks by James Cossey

Hats off to Bristol - Catarina Laurenco

Hats off to Bristol by Catarina Laurenco

A Straw Please - Simon de Wilton

A Straw Please by Simon de Wilton

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The launch of Made in Bristol TV Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:59:31 +0000 Made in Bristol TV

Bristol’s new television channel launched on the same day as its struggling equivalent in the capital, London Live, secured Ofcom’s permission at the second attempt to reduce its local programming output.

Made in Bristol TV is made by many of the team behind news service South West News.

Its mix of local news, lifestyle and current affairs can be found on Freeview channel 8, Sky 117 and Virgin 159.

“Made in Bristol TV brings together the the best bits of this amazing city – arts, music, food, sport, news, culture and loads more,” says the blurb.

“We’re all over Bristol – from Kingswood to Kingsdown, Bedminster to Bishopsworth. Weston-Super-Mare to Withywood – we are totally Made in Bristol.

“We’re going to do city TV our way. With local news you actually care about, lifestyle programmes that reflect true Bristol life and many more hours of local programmes every week.”

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Pub of the week: The Lamplighters, Shirehampton Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:58:00 +0000 Lamplighters inside

It seemed as if the whole of Shirehampton, young and old, were crowded into the Lamplighters last Sunday afternoon. There was a sense of celebration in the air, and so there should be.

After being shut for four years, there was a real fear that this handsome pub, which dates from 1760 and was originally built as a home for a wealthy Bristol businessman, might never pull a pint again.

But thanks to a concerted community effort, which saw a campaign, petition and work parties to restore the pub to former glories, the Lamplighters has reopened.

Located at the end of a road which stops when it reaches the River Avon, the Lamplighters has the feel of a country pub, with sweeping views across the water and over to Pill.

Outside, the walls have been painted a fetching shade of light blue, while a deal to sell part of the pub’s substantial gardens for homes – a key part in making the redevelopment of the pub work – sees building happening around the back from a terrace wrapping around two sides.

Inside, there is a mixture of carpeted and wooden floor, leather seats and leather upholstered bar stools around the higher tables, and faux antique coloured glass lampshades.

Lamplighters upstairs dining

The mezzanine level (above) is now set up as a dining room, with Sunday lunches popular at the weekend, £9.50 for adults or £5.50 for children which includes a drink and ice cream.

Nothing on the food menu costs more than a tenner, with main courses including faggots, pan-fried salmon, pies and burgers.

Ales on tap when I visited were Spa and Barnsey from Bath Ales, with bottles including Sharp’s Doom Bar,St Austell Proper Job and Admirals Ale. Ciders on tap were Thatchers Gold and Thatchers Dry.

With the return of the Lamplighters to Shirehampton, it feels like an old friend has returned  - and that is cause for celebration.

Lamplighters pub Shirehampton

The Lamplighters, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol, BS11 9XA

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Bringing colour to the Cumberland Piazza Wed, 08 Oct 2014 05:59:56 +0000 This is the Cumberland Piazza today:

Cumberland Piazza Bristol

And this is what the Cumberland Piazza could look like if Bristol wins £120,000 in The People’s Plant Project, a public vote that could bring a flowerbed of colour to this concrete corner of Hotwells:

Cumberland Piazza Bristol with flowers

It’s just one area of the city that will have a pop-up wildflower garden featuring some of the UK’s rarest native plants.

Vote now for the Bristol People’s Plant Collection, up against four other projects, by calling 0808 228 7704 or by visiting

The Cumberland Piazza was the focal point of the local area in the 1960s. With several streets of houses demolished to make way for the Cumberland Basin flyover, the planners of the era gave residents back a park.

It was designed by landscape designer Sylvia Crowe and had fountains, a cafe and a large children’s playground before falling into neglect.

Cumberland Piazza Bristol 1960s

Photo of Cumberland Piazza in the 1960s courtesy of Brizzle Born and Bred

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