Monthly Archives: April 2011

Stokes Croft, and why Northcliffe should wish for a riot in Clifton

banksy sniper

I keep bumping into blog posts about the riots that took place in Stokes Croft this past Thursday and the one before that. I don’t have much of an impassioned opinion on the events themselves. I live maybe 15 minutes away by foot and feel it’s local story but I can’t really relate to the events with as much interest as others. See Kerry MP, Don’t Forget The Sun, Nancy Knits, Tigerlilyquinn, Bristol Culture, Eugene Byrne and Something Doing among others.

The thing to which I do relate and enjoy is the way the conversation about Stokes Croft took place. Crises are one of the best ways to get people talking to each other and not only because we all have the same thing to talk about but that helps.

I heard about it on Twitter first where it all became very lively. People were taking pictures and getting involved in a way which, had it taken place on a Northcliffe hyperlocal site, would have counted as a success. Anyone ready for Stokes Croft people yet?

I chatted to the guy in the lift on the way to Swinky’s the next morning. It made for conversation over coffee and cupcakes, then over lunch, then over the next few days.

Twitter kept updates going even when the BBC and the Evening Post failed to report. The UK bombs Iraq and we get instant coverage but at 1.30 in the morning there was apparently no one in the office to cover a riot just down the road (or close enough).

All the talk is a positive sign. I once sat in the central plaza in Amsterdam while the government drove by to resign and no one had any idea what was going on. I found out when I returned to Athens.

At university, during exam time, people were the friendliest and most communicative than at any point in the year. External stresses that bind us together are even better than drugs at making a social atmosphere and there’s no come down.

To tap into rational choice theory again, the ties that bind us together socially are theorized as the concept ‘social capital’. It’s the value we place on our relationships with others. There are weak ties and strong ones and various researchers have defined these in numerous ways but it all comes down to that distinction, pretty much.

Strong ties can be found in close knit communities and can be good and bad. Good because there can be reciprocity and support and bad because it can be hard to break out. For example, the ghetto sections of England where ethnic divisions are reinforced by voluntary segregation, i.e. areas that are predominantly Pakistani or Greek communities whose members interact only with each other. A great example of the latter is My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the difficulty in bringing in a non-Greek to that group. Exaggerated somewhat, obviously, but not by as much as you’d think.

Going back to the topic of Stokes Croft, all the elements were there to bind people into a community. External forces, such as Tesco and the police; lack of media coverage which meant the conversation wasn’t redirected; and the violent attack against protestors and the police.

As I mentioned before, there are hyperlocal sites set up by Northcliffe which are designed to get people talking but they don’t have the same vibe as Twitter did on both those Thursdays. I could take a guess as to why but what do others think? Will it take a riot in Clifton?

Arnolfini, Bristol Artists Book Event 2011

Just when you wondered what else could possibly be happening on this extended bank holiday, it turns out that the Arnolfini will be playing hostess to a chill out event post- royal wedding frenzy, the Bristol Artists Book Event 2011.

Spread over three floors and two days there will be more than 80 artist bookmakers, dealers and small presses from Bristol and around the world showing and selling their work.

BABE provides a relaxed and friendly space to meet and chat to artists about their work and buy works of art. Prices start from just a few pounds.

It is an event organised in conjunction with the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England.

Events
Sat 30 Apr, 11am – 6pm
Sun 1 May, 11am – 5pm

Free entry

Imi Maufe: World Atlas
Also, if you get a chance you can take part in creating a World Atlas from memory during the BABE weekend. This work in progress will be on view during the weekend, before being bound into a book at the end.

Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA, +44 (0)117 9172300 / 01
boxoffice@arnolfini.org.uk, http://www.arnolfini.org.uk

Melbourne, all the memories ‘Eat Me’ didn’t write about

My lovely friend Martin came back from London recently and brought me a magazine with a feature on Melbourne. Now bear in mind that I haven’t been back ‘home’ since the Sydney Olympics and nostalgia doesn’t take long to hit.

The writer, Ruby Rockwell, spent seven days documenting her eating adventures in a lovely little article. I think I could have done a better job, so any editors out there, if you’re looking to commission a piece then feel free to get in touch: joanna@ephemeraldigest.com.

The following is a list of only some of the things that I could add.

Melbourne Airport – I practically grew up there. My mother was station manager at an airline and my sister and I would spend our Saturdays or Sundays there. I once found a game of Frogger with unlimited credit and had the most amazing afternoon.

Lygon Street – Pizza by the metre and New Zealand waffle cone ice cream. On hot muggy nights, we would drive to Lygon Street and just get out and about.

Carlton – a particularly European area and I know we visited many family friends there but can’t remember if we stayed in a flat on top of someone’s shop for a while in between moving houses.

The alleyways in the city centre make up some of my favourite memories. Book stores, boutiques, jewelry stores, domed roofs and amazing tiles. Coffee shops and restaurants and windows with displays of lingerie.

Bourke St, Melbourne

By 小强@Melbourne

St Kilda with its Luna Park where I’ve been at least once and ridden on the roller coaster. I also went to a Simply Red concert with my sister just near there.

Queen Victoria Market is where my dad used to take us and we’d come away with a box of manderins and Spanish donuts. There were so many aisles and so much food

China town. Swanston Street. Westfield. Chadstones with my grandparents. Phillip Island to see the Penguins (not quite Melbourne obviously but still).

Myers, David Jones and the food hall for the fudge and random treats. Brunch on Keilor Road. Coffee at Pellegrinis.

Brunswick Street in Fitzroy became cool only after I left in 1993 but my sister showed me around and we went for a drink at a bar on a terrace. Smith Street has much the same feel to it, nothing to me, but plenty of cool for others. Vague familiarity with Clarendon Street in South Melbourne.

loving the light

By mugley

A quirky thing about Melbourne that could keep me entertained for days was the price of petrol. There is no (or at least there was no) blanket pricing schedule with slight variations. There were dramatic differences between service stations and days of the week. Petrol could be 70 cents a litre at one station and up to 90 or down to 50 cents in another.

Another Melbournian peculiarity is that pizza from local places has a layer of ham – not flat slices but small cut up bits. Bizarre.

Favourite memory of going to the independent Cinema Kino and watching Gas, Food, Lodging and then having lattes in small water glasses, as was the fashion, somewhere in the city with my sister. We also saw My Mother’s Castle.

Eat Me on Facebook and on Twitter.

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From the ground

Ephemeral Baby: a week of posts

Sunday: little M not quite getting there yet.

Friday: Sweet, yes. Dessert, no.

Tuesday: A review of one of the best and most child friendly restaurants in Bristol.

Monday: The Bristol 10k is taking place in three Sundays from now but not sure I’m ready to run yet.

Sunday: Not as many lonely times as you’d expect

Scheduling my time

Last September I decided that I needed more structure in my writing so I chose three subjects which I knew somewhat and posted on them three times a week.

I lost interest in transport as soon as I stopped commuting so the Transported column pretty much drifted away. The data column disappeared when I couldn’t find the motivation for writing about a subject which I spent all day looking and analysing.

The only subject that kept my interest was the baby column and that really took over most posts so I moved it to its own home.

So here I am, seven months later and all the routine and structure I had attempted has disappeared.

I think it’s a good time to set up a new routine and a useful way to work towards some goals.

My last opportunity for NCTJ exams is in November and I need to work on my shorthand, portfolio and studies. I would like to write a novel or at least publish a book. I plan to go back to posting more photographs and I also want to write at least one review – of something cultural – once a week and keep up with the read-a-long I have been doing.

First attempt at setting a schedule:

Monday: something to do with the NCTJ course, not sure what yet; photograph;
Tuesday: photograph;
Wednesday: novel update? Writing? Photograph;
Thursday: not sure
Friday: um.. opinion piece on something political maybe?
Saturday: book related post;
Sunday: cultural review.

I’ll finalize the schedule and play around with it until May, then follow it for a month and see how it works out.

Any thoughts or suggestions, dear readers?

I also want to post one question to you each day. I am terrible at interviews so this will be a chance to work on that too. I hope you don’t mind being part of my experiment.

Thoughtfully yours, as ever.

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Bristol: looking through