Tag Archives: Bristol

Magic Eye Pics #001: Emma Harrison (A4e)

Well, it was time for a new section, wasn’t it? And this seemed natural – there’s just been a glut of wonky-eyed arseholes around recently. Is this nature’s way of warning us?

Anyway, we kick off with slave-trading profiteer Emma Harrison, late of the parish of A4e. I’m sure you are all aware of this whole #workfare malarkey she and her type are embroiled in; if not, shame on you, and go catch up on it at The Void.

In the meantime, those of you in the BSville area may like to make use of Bristol Anarchist Federation’s handy – and, they assure us, up to date – list of local companies exploiting enforced unpaid labour. Just in time for the local leg [FB page] of tomorrow’s national day of action against workfare, called by the appropriately-monickered Boycott Workfare.

Have a good’un!

Bristol Festival of Ideas: What’s The Blogging Story (tonight, Watershed)

Afternoon there.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Things have been rather hectic on the home front, happily so I hasten to add. The reasons why would be clear to anyone who’s endured the photos I periodically throw onto my twitfeed, so I won’t compound the saccharine assault here with further explanation.

Anyhow, I think i shall be getting back into the blogging in coming days. Plenty to rabbit on about – a new Evil Empire, rather a lot of new films (thanks to my eBay penny bid DVD strategy), a vast backlog of screengrabs, local shenanigans, the usual stuff really.

If you are of a blogging persuasion, you may be interested in the Festival of Ideas event at the Watershed tonight. Terrible name (‘What’s The Blogging Story?‘), greatly overpriced (seven squiddlies!), with the wrong names too high up the marquee (Greenslade, Belle de Jour).

But Sarah Ditum from Paperhouse and Anton Vowl from Enemies Of Reason will be speaking, so I think it could be moderately interesting. I may see you there.

Need free legal advice in Bristol? Check the Advice West website

A nifty website that provides info on all sorts of free advice providers across Bristol and surrounding has been launched recently:

Advice West

The West Country’s whitest city? SWRDA thinks so…

Of course, the private sector doesn’t have a monopoly on trying to whitewash Bristol – unaccountable regional policy wonks at the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) fancy trying their hand at it too!

As anyone who has been through the back streets to get to Temple Meads train station will know, much of the area is boxed off with big purple boards, adorned with flashy, laminated adverts promoting all the good works SWRDA is doing for the local area. These, if you have ever been so bored as to look closely, are illustrated with the smiling faces of various people which SWRDA, it seems, believes best represent inner city Bristol. So you’ve got the communications director of an organic Somerset farm, and the Stroud-based boss of an electricity company – both white.

There’s also the touching tale of a ‘romantic rambler’ and his bride-to-be, a rock collector from Bristol (“We chose the ring the next day – I found a beautiful antique jewel which had to be mine. We celebrated by the waterside with bubbly from a local vineyard; the perfect end to an unforgettable weekend”) – again, both white.

In addition there’s various random people populating more generic boards in which the fine work of SWRDA in ‘Temple Quarter’ (“a multi-phase regeneration programme which is reinvigorating the heart of one of Europe’s leading commercial and cultural cities”) is trumpeted to the accompaniment of photos of white-teethed catalogue model types enjoying al fresco lattes or cycling or just generally being busy doing Very Important Things on schematics in offices – and guess what? All white!

Makes you wonder exactly what SWRDA is planning for the much-awaited ‘multi-phase regeneration programme’ in the ‘Temple Quarter’…

Watch out, watch out, there’s a thief about

Casing cars on Wilder Street

Apologies for the crappy photo – I was in a hurry to snap this chap and didn’t have time to put the flash on.

Last night I was turning my pootie off and caught this fellow out of the corner of my eye. He was cycling along the pavement on Wilder Street before circling round this car, ending up by the driver’s side. He had a good look inside whilst straddling his bike, even getting out a torch. Then he wheeled across the road and cased a couple more cars up Brunswick Street. If I see him again I’ll try and get a better shot of his face.

Headline Of The Day: Star Wars Baddie On Big Brother Goody

Green Cross Code Man/Dying Reality TV

From the Evening Post, naturally.

The ‘story’ continues:

He revealed his illness earlier this week on Absolute Radio in an attempt to raise money for the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

Speaking from his home in Croydon, Surrey, he said: ”I now know what it’s like to go through this treatment, and I have sympathy for anyone in the same position.

”Jade should be commended for her achievements, and should be thoroughly proud of raising the awareness of cervical cancer.

”She has done more than anyone else in memory to convince women to go for regular tests.”

Married father-of-three Prowse, who stands 6’7” tall, added: ”If I can do the same for prostate cancer in men, then I will be happy.”

Body-builder Prowse was chosen to play the villain in Star Wars in 1976, but because of his West Country accent the character’s lines were spoken by the deep-voiced American actor James Earl Jones.

He told Absolute Radio’s Christian O’Connell that he was making good progress and felt ”fantastic” despite his condition.

He said: ‘I’m undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, would you believe. I’m having my very last treatment this morning.

”I’ve had two months of radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden. It’s the most fantastic hospital. I feel fantastic, no problems whatsoever.”

Jade, 27, spent Sunday with her two sons Freddie, four, and Bobby Jack, five, her mum Jackiey (corr) Budden, 50, and her 21-year-old hubby Jack Tweed.

She has already made full arrangements for her funeral, which she hopes will be a ‘celebration’ of her life.

Jackiey said: ”It’s not day by day now. It’s more like hour by hour.”

Leaving the sub’s note on spelling in there is a nice touch, adds that gritty realism that the story demands.

Local twittocracy

I came across a project called CllrTweeps earlier today. It intends “to compile the definitive list of UK councillors on Twitter, no more, no less.”

I noticed that there were no Bristol City Council members listed, so I emailed one of my ward councillors, Jon Rogers (LibDem), with the link. I pointed out that currently I know more about Northern Irish municipal affairs via Twitter than I do about what is going on in my own city by ‘normal’ means.

Anyway, Jon has now joined Twitter, so we shall see. I have also emailed local Green councillor Charlie Bolton to see if he was interested.

Obviously neither blogging nor twittering is a substitute for actual local democracy and accountability, but having spent the best part of two months reporting the same blocked drain to the council (officers, not councillors, I hasten to add), I am game to try anything.

ETA

Local councillors, MPs and other politicos now on Twitter:

  • cllr Alex Woodman: CllrAlexWoodman (Cabot ward, LibDem)
  • James Barlow: JamesBarlow (Conservative constituency chairman, Bristol West)
  • cllr Jon Rogers: CllrJonRogers (Ashley ward, LibDem)
  • Kerry McCarthy MP: KerryMP (Bristol East constituency, Labour)
  • cllr Mark Bradshaw: mark_bradshaw (Bedminster ward, Labour)
  • Paul Smith: BristolWestPaul (prospective Parliamentary candidate, Bristol West, Labour)
  • cllr Sean Beynon: seanbeynon (Southville ward, Labour)
  • cllr Terry Cook: terryrobc (Avonmouth ward, Labour)

T766 KCJ, the CTA2008, FIT, NETCU, BJP, Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all

Undercover police in unmarked car T766 KCJ on Wilder Street

Oh look, it’s our friends the undercover coppers! In their amazing undercover family estate once again! Yes, it’s the return of Avon & Somerset constabulary’s shiny unmarked Saab 9-5 stationwagon (registration T766 KCJ), today apparently being used to watch over Wilder Street and Brunswick Street. Information received relating to a daring doughnut heist, perhaps?

I thought they might stay longer, seeing as one of them unpacked his trunk:

Didn't your mother tell you that's disgusting, officer?

Of course, there may not be many more opportunities for further such pictorial mockery of the plod. From 16th February anyone who

(a) elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been—
(i) a member of Her Majesty’s forces,
(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or
(iii) a constable,
which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or
(b) publishes or communicates any such information…

…will risk being accused of committing an offence under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.

As the British Journal of Photography comments:

A person found guilty of this offence could be liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years, and to a fine.

The law is expected to increase the anti-terrorism powers used today by police officers to stop photographers, including press photographers, from taking pictures in public places. ‘Who is to say that police officers won’t abuse these powers,’ asks freelance photographer Justin Tallis, who was threatened by an officer last week.

Tallis, a London-based photographer, was covering the anti-BBC protest on Saturday 24 January when he was approached by a police officer. Tallis had just taken a picture of the officer, who then asked to see the picture. The photographer refused, arguing that, as a press photographer, he had a right to take pictures of police officers.

According to Tallis, the officer then tried to take the camera away. Before giving up, the officer said that Tallis ‘shouldn’t have taken that photo, you were intimidating me.’ The incident was caught on camera by photojournalist Marc Vallée.

"Artist's impression"

“Artist’s impression”

The image above [original picture removed at request of the photographer, Marc Vallée] is of the very incident described in the BJP, with the policeman in the Forward Intelligence Team jacket pulling on the camera cord around Justin Tallis’s neck. Photographer Marc Vallée has blogged in the first person about the incident.

Superintendent Steve Pearl, head of NETCUAnti-police state activist group FITwatch has, meanwhile, called for mass resistance to the act, and pledged to continue publishing photographs taken of FIT, EG and other police specialists. To underline this commitment, it has posted up a lovely photograph of Superintendent Steve Pearl, the head of NETCU, a police unit tasked with smearing political activists as terrorists.

In other news: The House of Lords has ruled that police forces can do whatever the fuck they like, against anyone, on a whim.

Further reading:

Edited 9/3/9 to correct the bloody title! :O

Ashley Road roof protest enters third week

Protesters have been camped out on the roof of 87 Ashley Road for two weeks today.

An open public meeting about the situation has been called for this Thursday, at 6.30pm at the St. Paul’s Learning Centre (or, erm, library).

Here’s the text of a leaflet as posted on Bristol IndyMedia:

On Thursday 27th of November an open public meeting is being held in The St Pauls Learning Centre at 6.30pm to discuss this situation. Supporters of the rooftop protesters will be in attendance to answer questions, respond to local concerns and open a dialogue with PfP.

Places for People are publicly invited to state and openly discuss what their intentions for 87 Ashley Road are. This will help assure everyone that they are in fact going to rehouse people on the housing waiting list.

We hope you can attend.
For further information contact:
Email: 87AshleyRoad@gmail.com
Phone:07722 786 379

Background:

On November 12th 2008 Places for People (PfP) executed an eviction order on 87 Ashley Road, a squatted building occupied by 20 people who have been made homeless by this action. This building was unused by PfP for four years and left empty until May 2008 when squatters working to house as many people as possible moved in.
PfP have refused all attempts to negotiate a mutually benifical agreement, repeatedly submitted incorrect possession claims to Bristol Magistrates courts and threatened illegal eviction. At one stage the sitting magistrate called PfPs representation “a right dog’s breakfast.”

As bailiff’s and builders working on behalf of Places for People entered the property several squatters moved onto the roof to resist eviction and have been there ever since.
As far as the courts are concerned the eviction has been served despite protesters being on the roof.

This press release is being written on the 14th day of continual rooftop occupation and is being sent to community groups and individuals in the St. Pauls area, and Places for People.

Builders have boarded up all normal exit points from the roof, leaving the roof protesters no safe, immediate access. PfP have instructed builders to render the property uninhabitable by removing ALL fixtures and fittings.

There are no planning applications currently under consideration by Bristol City Council for 87 Ashley Road. PfP have been vague about their intentions for the property, however they have mentioned plans that would not benefit anyone on the housing list.

The protest is part of a continuing concern over Places for People’s treatment of empty properties and it’s selling off of rental stock on the open market. PfP are selling properties via the “shared ownership” scheme while not replacing rental properties for those most in need. This will lead to an eventual return to the unaffordable rental market and a worse deal for low-income families seeking decent accomodation.

St. Paul’s: What a gas

Man peppersprayed by Sergeant 2978 on Stokes Croft, 5/11/8

Just after two in the afternoon today I walked up the street to go to the shops. As I turned onto Stokes Croft from the St. Paul’s side, I saw a small gaggle of people on Turbo Island. Walking over the small green towards them I saw a policeman and a couple of plastic pigs. I watched with mild interest as I carried on towards the shop. It appeared to be the Avin’ It Somewhere Constantly‘s recent clampdown on street drinking in the area (which will soon be bolstered by the council’s adoption of a No Street Drinking order over much of St. Paul’s).

Man peppersprayed by Sergeant 2978 on Stokes Croft, 5/11/8

After concluding my business in the shop, I returned the same way. I had left the house intending to also take some pictures of the artwork on the corner of Stokes Croft and CIty Road, so I had a camera with me. As I headed back in that direction, whilst the pedestrian crossing over Jamaica Street turned to the little green man, I could see the copper briskly walking behind one of the Turboheads as he (or possibly she) waddled away from the area. He had his back to the policeman. The policeman raised his arm, and with his hand maybe a foot away from the man’s head, he zapped him with pepperspray. As I was walking across the road I managed to capture the immediate aftermath, with the man screaming in agony, clutching at his face. I could not really hear anything that was being said at this point – things just moved very quickly.

Man peppersprayed by Sergeant 2978 on Stokes Croft, 5/11/8

By the time I got to the other side of the road, the gas-happy cop and the two PCSOs had manhandled the coughing, spluttering, choking man to the ground. The officer with the itchy trigger finger cited section four of the Public Order Act, claiming that “you threatened to break my jaw”.

bloggassing_041

I continued taking photographs as we were all stood (or lying, in severe discomfort) no more than three or four feet apart. It seemed like the only thing to do, seeing as they had applied pressure points to the man’s wrists before cuffing him, and did not appear in a particularly rational state of mind.

bloggassing_051

The proper copper (who by now I could see was a sergeant, serial number 2978) kneeled over him as he radioed for back up. The plastic pigs hovered around, not really giving off the vibe of people who knew what they should be doing. One, a small, youngish blonde woman, did seem to take some pleasure in assisting her mentor in roughly rolling their suspect around on the pavement. Her colleague – older, larger – orbited the scene in what to me looked like adrenaline-fuelled confusion. All three seemed to be keen to look away from the camera as I continued to snap away – turning away from me, bowing their heads, rubbing their faces with their hands. I mostly ignored them and kept my focus on the man on the ground, his faced screwed up in pain, having difficulty breathing, and dribbling a lot.

bloggassing_061

Sergeant 2978, perhaps a little less tunnel-visioned by now, announced to his colleagues that they should step back a little, to ‘let the gas disperse’ or similar (I can’t remember what his exact words were at this point). This gave the jumpy brunette the chance to address herself to me:

Can you stop taking photographs?

She may even have appended ‘please’ to the end, but the tone was not of a polite request.

bloggassing_071

I replied:

Why? There’s nothing wrong with taking photos, there’s no law against it.

bloggassing_081

Provoking the response from her:

But it’s not needed, is it? Stop taking pictures and move on.

bloggassing_091

Sensing that now their quarry was prone and barely breathing on the floor, there was no particular need to provide work for idle hands by standing around and arguing the legal toss with three stooges who found the need to gas someone for daring to drink a can of brew in public, I decided against dialogue, and instead took a long, lingering look at her serial number (8317) and then into her eyes, before carefully repairing to a safe distance, from where I continued to watch the scene, make notes on my phone, and review the pictures I had already taken. The PCSOs under the direction of sergeant 2978 did their best to clear the scene of any witnesses – mostly the brew crew they had initially been ‘talking to’ – citing no powers or authority in doing so.

Go, move on, or I will nick you!

bloggassing_101

With the sound of sirens in the background, and the two PCSOs conflabbing with their alpha male beat teacher whilst all looking in my direction, I decided to head home before the inevitable name-taking, card confiscating and bogus arrest could happen.

bloggassing_111

I uploaded the images to my computer, and after making some basic notes of what was said and done, I returned to Turbo Island within about twenty minutes, only to find no sign of activity – no police, no brew crew, no writhing prisoner.

Whoever that person is, whatever he did or did not do, I hope that he is alright.

===

I am blogging this because it happened right in front of me (I got a faceful of pepperspray too).

I have no idea is the man did or did not threaten sergeant 2978.

What I did see, though, was the man walking away from the police, making no discernible threatening gestures, only for sergeant 2978 to raise up his pepperspray to head height and then gas him at point blank range.

I am concerned on two counts:
The issue of street drinking bans and dispersal orders in my neighbourhood, both in terms of their effectiveness (or otherwise) in actually tackling the issues that supposedly predicate them, and in terms of the police enforcement of them.
The issue of bearing witness to police activity, in light of the concerns raised by photojournalist Marc Vallée and others that clause 75 of the Counter Terrorism Bill will be misused as much as section 44 of the Terrorism Act has been (and, indeed, as they anticipate section 43 will be misused in the future).

[I will return to these themes in the near future, but I have other things I should be doing and I really need to get this blog post up.]

Pigeon out

Saw this poor fellow on Brunswick Street on Sunday, pretty much as flat as you could get.

One Homer who’s not going to get back to Springfield for Thanksgiving.

Inner city lullabys

Tonight the streets here in St. Paul’s have been filled with slowly perambulating clusters of young folk. They’ve been noisy but largely good natured, from what I’ve seen.

Apart from one incident: I think some chaps must have thrown a firework in the road, because there was a loud BANG, shortly followed by a not-so-young woman pushing a pram, who began bellowing at five or six boys who by this time were all shuffling off in the opposite direction from her as fast as their shuffling would carry them, hooded heads bowed, hands in pockets.

And bellow she did; as one might expect of a mother pushing home an infant whose sojourn has been interrupted by pyrotechnics exploding near her. Her bellowing appeared to take the form of a lecture in the Fireworks Code, liberally retooled for the twenty-first century. The more she bellowed, the more they shuffled. A straggler had to pass her to rejoin the group, and I suspect he may have made an inopportune remark, because the bellowing lifted louder, and the instruction in firework safety became ever more broadly interpreted. The specifics were a little tricky to identify, though she was rather clearer with the broader strokes, to wit, the gregarious young gentlemen in question were

Ras claats

and indeed,

Pussy claats

into the bargain.

Given that the young men continued their shuffling with only the faintest of defiant mumblings, and never whilst looking back, all as our stickler for appropriate rocket handling continued her presentation, I like to think that we all learned valuable lessons tonight.

–«– –•– –»–

Some while later, more noise drew me to the window. This time it seemed that two friends were having something of a heated discussion, an argument even; I’m sorry to report it appeared to be over money – like so many fallings out. Except that there was only one man there, and whilst it is entirely possible he was Bluetoothing into a phone, his swift gait, stooping posture and robotically swinging arms all hinted that this was not a member of the laptoperati.

You were wrong! That’s it… Friendship over. No more. You shouldn’t have done that. That was my fifty pence. You can make your money on that fifty pence. Friends no more.

And with that, he was gone, a two-legged test transmission in stereophonic sound, panning from right to left and sinking back into the night from which he had risen in just a few seconds.

–«– –•– –»–

No evening here could be complete, though, without a little mercantile hustle and bustle. The brandy-and-cigars of tonight’s feast of street scenes involved two gaunt fellows and their mute female friend discussing prices, routes and methods of transport in brisk fashion. I may be mistaken, but I think they flagged down a passing motorist, and appeared to negotiate a small fee to carry the trio to an informal all-night pharmacy where the smallest of the three held a store account. After two fifty pees (oh, how I wish neither of these was the fateful coin which destroyed a friendship) were passed over to the driver, our seekers finalised their order by consensus:

Well, I’ll pay for the brown, but what about stone?

We’ll get a stone on the way back.

You sure?

No problem, I’ll pay for that, I trust you.

And with that, all three – brooding cipher, affable guide and treasurer – slid into their chariot and were away, car driving off before even the doors were shut.

Good night, St. Paul’s.

Pic: Worth1000.com

More Carbootballs

Continuing on the Carboot Circus theme, some more links:

Facebook groups:

(Members of 1235hrs 6th October 2008)

[Members as of 2215 hrs 6th October 2008]

<Members as of 1740hrs 7th October 2008>

{Members as of 1917hrs 8th October 2008}

%age = BunKRS effect in change in membership numbers from first mention on this blog to last update.

Other menshes of Carboot Circus:

Headline Of The Day: ENTER THE DRAGON FRUIT TO BRISTOL

Or, ‘Bristol first to sell dragon fruit’:

With fuchsia-pink skin and green scales, the dragon fruit is unlike anything else in its appearance.

And Bristol Fruit Sales, which is selling the fruit wholesale for the very first time, says it has proving a roaring success with customers.

When the exotic-looking fruit is cut in half it reveals an opaque white flesh dotted with small black seeds.

The unusual looking and pretty skin resembles a flower and is inedible. To eat the fruit, the slightly sweet flesh, which is low in calories, high in vitamin C and a good source of calcium, is scooped out.

David Foster, sales manager at Bristol Fruit Sales, at the Fruit Market in Albert Crescent, St Philip’s, said: “It’s been around since the 13th century and a product that has been grown and sold for many years now.

“Before we would get it in by request on special order and air-freight, taking about three or four days.

“We would sell 10 boxes containing 10 fruits a fortnight.

“Now we have done a deal with a Vietnamese co-operative and our first order of 1,260 boxes, containing 10 fruits each, sold within a day. It was really fantastic.

“They are a very versatile fruit. You can use them in salads, they make great sorbets, they are great served with other fruits – some people scoop them out and stuff the skins with a mix of fruit including the flesh. You can even ferment them to make alcohol, which isn’t as healthy, but tastes lovely.

“The world is changing the way we eat – celebrity chefs and cooking programmes use much more unusual ingredients. It’s a healthy, versatile and unusual fresh fruit and we are happy to be promoting that.

“We have sold them mainly to independents, so they will probably retail at about £1.29 each.”

Kate Odey, 50, from central Bristol, sampled the fruit and said: “It’s a bit like melon. It’s very refreshing.

“It’s got a bit too many pips for my liking. I could eat it but don’t know if I would go out and buy it.”

Native to Mexico and Central and South America, the dragon fruit is also cultivated in south-east Asian countries, such as Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

They are also found in Okinawa, Israel, northern Australia and southern China. Also known as the strawberry pear, pitaya or pitahaya, it is the fruit of several species of cactus. Other varieties come with a yellow skin or can have a red flesh with black seeds.

The flowers of the cactus are large and fragrant and only bloom at night.

Pity the fool

I try and make sure all comments on here get published – everything bar blatant spam. Even the mental stuff goes up. The only comment I can remember deliberately not approving was one which did the rounds of Bristol blogs, which claimed to be ‘outing’ The Bristol Blogger.

Then after a week away, I noticed this little gem on the comment waiting list. I’m not prepared to sully my lovely Yuppification section with its ignorant, prejudiced, sub-literate witterings, but for the sake of openness I present it here on the wire for you to marvel at.

A few points:

  • Note the meandering, bitter tone, and the switches of target between the area of Stokes Croft itself and its inhabitants, signs perhaps of an addled liver and a restless (and I use the word in its broadest sense here) mind;
  • Appreciate the erratic use (or absence) of eliding apostrophes (“Its full of”, “You can’t go”);
  • Gasp at the daring omission of letters from words – a triumph of expressiveness given poetic balance by the unnecessary addition of letters elsewhere (“The are whores everywhere”, “heroine addicts”);
  • Applaud the confident yet entirely evidence-free assertions of FACT (“Most residents of the croft ARE claiming benefits”, “There are hostels everywhere”), which are sometimes strikingly specific (“It has a crime rate equal to that of Hackney”, “Most residents are…shooting up in the hallways of the 51º02 block”);
  • Take your hat off to the author’s heroic refusal to be bound by outdated concepts of consistent capitalisation or formatting (“the full moon”, “the UK”, “the croft”, “Hackney”);
  • Revel in the bold failure to connect any of the numbered points to the commenter’s initial statement that “Stokes croft needs to be developed”…

I could go on, but I’m sure you, dear reader, have more than enough meat between your teeth already.