Monthly Archives: February 2012

Experience Days giveaway

Experience Days have offered to provide one reader of the blog with a £50 certificate for one of their adventures. Some adventures available in the south west include a Make-up lesson, a Chocolate Workshop, a Helicopter Buzz Flight and some Grand Prix Indoor Go Kart Racing.

To enter, just add a comment to this post so I can know who you are and then I will randomly draw a winner using The winner will need to send me their name and address and I will then pass on this information to Experience Days who will send them the voucher directly.

Note: No payment or benefit is provided to the blog. The winner will be drawn on Sunday, March 4 and posted soon after. You will need to reply within two days of being contacted or I will choose someone else. Good luck.

Update – the winner was Rosa who has now been contacted.

Does anyone know what a Bristol mayor will do?

Described by Lord Beecham as one of the localism bill’s ‘stupidest notions’, the idea of elected mayors is struggling to make itself reality.

In May 2010, the Coalition set out its commitment to creating directly elected mayors in the 12 largest English cities outside London, subject to confirmatory referendums and full scrutiny by elected councillors. They enshrined it in the Localism Act and have been busy with consultations while society has been busy with debates.

Bristol had its own Question Time-style debate at the Bristol Council house on February 22 with the audience armed with electronic voting mechanisms and the panel there to answer questions. There was George Ferguson, founder of the Tobacco Factory and Mark Weston, deputy leader of the Conservatives in support; while Barbara Janke, council and Liberal Democrat leader, and management consultant Deborah Hallett were against.

This was a local event geared towards building up interest in the new potential arrangement. The initiative is nationwide to the extent that referendums will take place on 3 May 2012 in 11 cities – Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.

Leicester already has an elected Mayor in Peter Soulsby who has been in power since May. Soulsby runs the city council and makes decisions on how it delivers services but he cannot make any decisions on licensing or planning issues nor set the budget. Apparently he is seeking more areas to influence such as transport and the ability to decide which buildings are compulsory purchased.

This is not to say, however, that the Bristol mayor will have the ability to set bus ticket prices since each location will be encouraged to find its own way to determine its own powers.

So what will the mayor do?

The government have suggested the mayor will have ‘visible’ and ‘democratically accountable’ leadership (source).

What powers would the elected mayor have?

A consultation has been run by the government about what the mayor can do for us. The responses suggested that the mayor could have powers in areas such as: planning, transport, employment, economic growth, health and policing.

The mayors are being introduced, where wanted, in order to aid decentralisation. How this will happen is up to them so the voters do not know the practicalities for which they are voting until after the fact. The mayors decide what they do once they are elected. All the people know is that it will cost £400,000.

The consultation, What can a mayor do for your city?, suggests ” the Government does not intend to reach any view about specific powers that might be devolved, or about a council’s scrutiny and accountability arrangements”.

It is a lot to take on faith so it will have to be a very trusted candidate voted for by those who have lost their trust in the current local government arrangements. Note that Manchester have decided they do not need one and Stoke have gotten rid of theirs. The London mayor seems to be a world on to his own and there is a whole section in the Localism Bill about all the new powers that role will achieve so I won’t mention that one.

The Space, digital art for the public

The Bristol Old Vic will be involved in one of the largest digital arts programmes in the UK as part of The Space which is commissioned by the Arts Council of England and helped by the BBC. This is a project that will create hundreds of hours of original arts material between May and October 2012.

The BBC is contributing to the partnership by developing the technological solutions and providing ongoing support through mentoring, production, training and skills development.

According to the announcement made by the Arts Council, Tom Morris, Director of War Horse and Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, will present a unique and interactive way of replicating the emotional experience of watching live performance using the pioneering techniques developed by the BBC Natural History Unit.

As the Bristol Old Vic told us “For some time now, our Artistic Director, Tom Morris, has been interested in developing groundbreaking ways in which to present live theatre onto the digital platform and, in doing so, replicate the atmosphere and experience of being an audience member sitting in the auditorium.”

“Techniques developed in natural history programming and the coverage of certain sports, will be combined with elements such as ‘red button’ technology, allowing viewers the choice of determining their own unique perspective.”

“Without funding from The Space, Bristol Old Vic would have found it difficult to explore innovative ways in which to share its work with such a diverse, potentially global, audience.”

53 successful applicants were announced yesterday out of 750 who applied. A couple of other successful commissions include the following:

Faber & Faber – 60 Years in 60 Poems a digital journey that invites the nation to discover the past from the BBC and Arts Council archives through the prism of 60 new works from major poets in poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s Jubilee Lines anthology.

London Review of Books – in Re-imagining the Literary Essay for the Digital Age the London Review of Books will work with a leading writer and an experienced digital developer to create a new kind of multi-layered literary experience.

The full list is available from the Arts Council’s site. They make up a set of exciting events that will happen in the next few months.

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop (Feb. 18-22)

I am once again taking part in Leeswammes famous Literary Giveaway Blog Hop. Nearly 60 blogs are taking part and they are all listed below. All are giving away books of some literary merit – no Young Adult or romance genres, for example, and most are posting worldwide so everyone can join in.

From February 18 to 22 you can visit any of these blogs and enter. I am giving away Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

To enter just leave a comment so I have your email address and I will draw a winner at random ( at the end of the blog hop.

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Curiosity Killed The Bookworm
  3. Lit Endeavors (US)
  4. The Book Whisperer
  5. Rikki’s Teleidoscope
  6. 2606 Books and Counting
  7. The Parrish Lantern
  8. Sam Still Reading
  9. Bookworm with a view
  10. Breieninpeking (Dutch readers)
  11. Seaside Book Nook
  12. Elle Lit (US)
  13. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  14. Tell Me A Story
  15. Living, Learning, and Loving Life (US)
  16. Book’d Out
  17. Uniflame Creates
  18. Tiny Library (UK)
  19. An Armchair by the Sea (UK)
  20. bibliosue
  21. Lena Sledge’s Blog (US)
  22. Roof Beam Reader
  23. Misprinted Pages
  24. Mevrouw Kinderboek (Dutch readers)
  25. Under My Apple Tree (US)
  26. Indie Reader Houston
  27. Book Clutter
  28. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (US)
  29. Lizzy’s Literary Life
  30. Sweeping Me
  1. Caribousmom (US)
  2. Minding Spot (US)
  3. Curled Up With a Good Book and a Cup of Tea
  4. The Book Diva’s Reads
  5. The Blue Bookcase
  6. Thinking About Loud!
  7. write meg! (US)
  8. Devouring Texts
  9. Thirty Creative Studio (US)
  10. The Book Stop
  11. Dolce Bellezza (US)
  12. Simple Clockwork
  13. Chocolate and Croissants
  14. The Scarlet Letter (US)
  15. Reflections from the Hinterland (N. America)
  16. De Boekblogger (Europe, Dutch readers)
  17. Readerbuzz (US)
  18. Must Read Faster (N. America)
  19. Burgandy Ice @ Colorimetry
  20. carolinareti
  21. MaeGal
  22. Ephemeral Digest
  23. Scattered Figments (UK)
  24. Bibliophile By the Sea
  25. The Blog of Litwits (US)
  26. Kate Austin
  27. Alice Anderson (US)
  28. Always Cooking up Something

Things I find when looking for love

Things I find when looking for love

Love is… snowflakes, lavender, smiles, cuddles, dolly, cupcakes, coffee, …

snail love | when you can't say it, show it!/search/%23love

I think: “what’s ur angle mutha f’er?! I will f you up!!” I say: “Son, please dont pee on the carpet!” #love #vodka


At Home by Crystal Fighters (link)

At Home


Hooters gone?

Open in October 2010 to much protest and curiosity, Hooters now appears to have closed down. There is a ‘Closed’ notice on their doors and an explanation from Gallus Management company that ‘Hooters Bristol “Restaurant is Now Closed”‘. Staff at the nearby Tesco on Cathedral Walk, seemed as unaware as the passerbys at what happened as they were open yesterday.

Updated: 16:53, February 7

The original post about Hooters’ opening.

Preview: Guardian Open Weekend

The one event this year that I would love to attend but can’t afford to, is the Guardian Open Weekend. On March 24-25, the Guardian newspaper is opening its doors and holding a host of sessions about its operations and general newsy stuff.

There is a session on gender inequality and more importantly two of your favourite crossword setters will be there on the Saturday to talk and answer questions: Paul (John Halpern) at 12.30pm and Araucaria (John Graham) at 1.45pm (details at and respectively).

Actually, I only have one favourite and it’s Araucaria.

So catch it while you can. There are only 2500 passes for each day.
Saturday £40;
Sunday £30;
Weekend pass £60.

Follow them on Twitter, @GdnOpenWeekend, and if you go please take a photo of Araucaria and post it to me.

The Bristol Pound

What is it?

It’s Bristol money. You can exchange pounds sterling for Bristol pounds at exchange points. You can deposit pounds sterling into an account at the Bristol Credit Union and receive Bristol money.

It is backed by the Bristol City Council and the Bristol Credit Union.

It’s real money backed up by the FSA and all money is secure up to £85,000.

How can you use it?
You can pay with cash, online or via mobile.

Where can you use it?
You can only use it with certain independent businesses who are involved with the scheme. As the BBC article says:

Already more than 100 firms are signed up. A family bakery, the Tobacco Factory Theatre, the Ferry company, dozens of small cafes – even Thatcher’s Cider will accept Bristol pounds.

If you are a business you can use Bristol money to pay your local business tax rates.

What you can do
Use the money; help choose a figurehead for the notes; help design the new currency.

I think it’s a great idea that will help people not only spend in independent shops but also learn more about which shops aren’t national chains. There is a local feel to it and anything that supports your own community must be a positive thing.

The website is convoluted and tedious. There is meant to be a directory of businesses involved but I can’t find it. Let me know if you do. The website says @BristolPound but the real Twitter account is at @TheBristolPound.

Playing On The Side, North St

Young Kato at Cribbs and the Fleece

I occasionally get press releases for music and this band called Young Kato have a catchy name. It’s not much of a reason to post, I know, but I like them.

They are playing an instore, full live session at noon today, at Jack & Jones at Cribbs Causeway.

They are also playing at the Fleece on February 17.