10 Things I Hate About Bristol – And Why You Should Stop Relying on Journalists to Tell You What’s Best

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The love for Bristol, its residents, its culture and independent spirit is unending.

It would be a rather difficult task to find another city where inhabitants are more proud of the ground they built their lives and homesteads on than Bristol. And you know what? Bristol is great. It has many amazing things other cities don’t have and with a record breaking low in unemployment and with its own infamous, international anti-things-public property-defacing artist, well, what’s not to love?

Precisely, so do most journalists think.

Most recently, it was named by The Sunday Times to be the best city to live in Britain.

That might be a surprise to a lot of people who have never visited Bristol before, but really, it’s no surprise at all if you have followed the media in recent years.

In February 2012 it was named the best place to live in the UK

In October 2009, Bristol was named England’s best by the BBC.

And now we got yet another poll, list, survey, whatever you may call it, putting Bristol on top position.

Being a Bristol praiser and former citizen myself, I’d like to give you an alternative view on this pirate city, just to balance things out, with views only people who actually lived here will be able to observe and not those “journos” in their London flats who once visited Bristol to visit the Banksy exhibition to fervently wank out another article on how radical yet ironically obliging the whole show was.

Here is the list, written with as much honesty as I could muster:

1. There are no fucking taxis anywhere, ever.

Ever tried to get a cab from Temple Meads in the evening? Or else waited for about an hour in a queue at a taxi rank? For what? Paying £4 upfront without moving a millimeter, then seeing it ticking away as you stand yourself forward in Bristol’s terrible road system?! Other people seem to think the same…

As well as my own experience:

bristol taxi

Hippodrome taxi rank

2. Bristol’s one way system, designed to make you late, every day.

It must have been a deeply consuming game. You know, when the Bristol council was playing poker with Satan and lost, lost its efficient road system and had to replace it with a plan of which I found the blue prints:

Bristol road plan

Arrrrrrr, It’s one way!

3. No ATMs when you REALLY need them

Okay, I get it, we shall support local businesses, buy our veg from green grocers and our weekly quinoa from the grains bin in Stokes Croft. But hold on, NONE of these businesses accept cards and some only reluctantly when you spend over £10. But I don’t need £10 worth of chia seeds! Well, you are screwed because some parts of Bristol are totally void of ATMs, in fact, I once walked from Bedminster to Old Market without encountering one once.

4. Clifton

While Bristol might be overrun by hipsters (and I use this term very loosely and will get into it later), certain parts of this city is full of what I call the stuff you scoop off when you boil a chicken. But then serve it atop a nappy flavoured ice cream you just paid £6.95 for. It’s the elite or better, the would-be elite. Those who live in Hotwells and call it “Lower Clifton”. The aspiring assholes who clog up Boston Tea Party on a Sunday to catch up with people they hate. Those who buy artisan bread to brag to their friends they met through a neighbourhood meeting. The fakers, essentially. But luckily for the rest of barefoot Bristol, they keep to themselves on the hill.

5. Swing Bridges

You know what you don’t need when you’re in a hurry? A bridge that will make it physically impossible for you to continue your journey and watches you wait there like a prick with no life for approx. 15 mins.

And if you think it’s only one small bridge, what’s the rage? Well, Bristol has four of them. Four opportunities to test your patience. Four bridges that will make you feel like you’re a brain hungry zombie, standing with your comrades on one side, about to run across this bridge like your life (or death?) depends on it.

6. FIRST and most certainly last.

Public transport is the bane of everyone’s existence if they have to use it frequently. But there is something quite special about First buses in Bristol. While Abus, a different company operating in Bristol, tend to stick to their timetables, have a friendly demeanor and have cheaper fares, First are matching their prices in an upward trajectory to their staff’s rudeness level. Do you dare get on the bus with a tenner and no change? I doubt it and if you do, congrats madam or sir, you have bigger balls than me.

For a service that is consistently late, or doesn’t show up at all and is rude to their passengers, they should count their blessings that they aren’t a restaurant which doors would have closed decades ago. People don’t usually like paying for a service they don’t receive and then to be shouted at when they try and do so.

7. Foodies

foodies

“This is Kimchi, you probably haven’t heard of it”

I have a problem with “foodies” because the only people who would call themselves foodies would be bell-ends. Those who like to stick a label on themselves because purely enjoying a thing isn’t quite enough, you have to be it. By giving it a name, you also put yourself above the rest. And Bristol has a lot of these foodies, they seem to think Bristol is the capital of locally sourced food. They’d be right to think that the city is overwhelmed by very good eateries, mostly independently owned but by frequenting those establishments, they are really not doing the businesses a favour. I’d rather not dine next to the person loudly announcing they only eat food sourced in a radius of 2 meters of their own person, thus making it difficult to find “honest” food unless he stands in the middle of someone’s vegetable patch somewhere in Windmill Hill.

8. Pint prices

The pros of having lived in Bristol is when you go to London, you tend to pretty much spend the same amount of money to have just as much crammed-in-a-popular-bar fun. Pints for over £4? It’s not an unusual one. The saddest thing is that I am not even talking about special craft beer prices, nope, normal pint prices. Support your local pub and all, but I am not quite sure how they came up with these prices unless they just threw darts over their shoulders on a board full of random numbers starting from 4.

9. Seagulls

I once saw a seagull eating a pigeon, it’s literally a bird eat bird world out there.

10. Hipsters, Bristol hipsters in fact.

beard glasses

Personality template for Bristol males

Hipster is such a broad term that simply putting that label on a group of people is not enough. Bristol hipsters are a special breed, and, dare I say it, the men in Bristol are miles worse than their female counterpart? While Bristol girl hipsters are of a common breed found in most major cities, the Bristol male hipsters are men who think they were born with the pussy magnet strength 10 (out of 10) simply because they managed to grow a half decent beard, play in a semi-locally-known band and work in media. The sad truth is that beyond the exterior, there seems to be a distinct lack in beliefs and conviction and they therefore have to top it up with as much craft beer and pulled pork they can gather from Grillstock.

Every city has its drawbacks but if you haven’t actually lived there, how can you judge?

Disclaimer: I fucking love Bristol.

For more regular nonsense, follow me on Twitter:

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99 thoughts on “10 Things I Hate About Bristol – And Why You Should Stop Relying on Journalists to Tell You What’s Best

  1. I was going to leave a comment, but reading all the others has tired me out. All I can say is, good on you. It’s refreshing to read an article that has a dig at Bristol. After all, it’s just another city…

  2. I just moved to Bristol and you are so right about everything!
    I just moved from central London and I’m loving the slower pace of life here. But one thing that I think is also v strange is that for a city that is so rich in music there are hardly any actual well-paid jobs in music. Maybe I just don’t know the city well enough yet but there are tons of media and advertising companies but hardly any music? V strange.
    Anyway, great read!

  3. The bus service in Bristol is diabolical,always late, and why is it that the the buses going to Clifton area,and the Bath service have really clean modern buses ? class distinction ?

    • Shoulder chip much? It’s probably because that’s where the suspension bridge, the zoo, one of the universities, the museum, and most of the touristy things people will have heard of are. Tourists arriving at Temple Meads are probably a pretty hefty cash cow for First.

  4. I’m Bristol born and bred but I’ve been in NZ for the last 5 years, but despite all those truth’s I still miss home!! This is crack up, couldn’t help but read all that in a Brizzle accent!!

  5. I’ve relied on Bristol buses for two and a half years now and since they dropped the prices to a standard 1.50 it’s been brilliant! I’ve lived in all corners and I feel the service has greatly improved in the last year. I live in totterdown now and the very regular 2 is great because it links wells road, temple meads, with union st, park st, the triangle and whiteladies road for the epic shopping trip with ease! Also always use V cars and never blues, unless I flag one. And yes I do miss Cardiff taxi now I do to live there anymore!

    • But they stopped doing returns (because they were ‘simplifying) their fares’) so now it’s actually more expensive if you want to get home again 😦

  6. We do have some good independent restaurants and cafés ( mine is one of them, and no, I’m not modest, it’s true) here, but Bristol is populated with more chains than you can shake a locally produced lambs tail at – depressing. And foodies, yes, completely agree, hateful term.

  7. I’d add wonky pavements… But you don’t realise they’re wonky until you’re pushing a pushchair! They are ridiculous in some places. You’d need a pushchair with tracks like a tank to navigate some areas!

  8. Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Bristol – And Why You Should Stop Relying on Journalists to Tell You What’s Best | Sayz What?

  9. I think you should have mentioned the fashion (and opinion) victims that are the hippies. Full of them, their attempt to look as ugly as possible, and full of their neive opinions. They need to be rounded up, and dumped far away, so that they can create their ‘utopia’ which seems to be everything that isn’t the world they currently live in.

    • You forgot to mention that majority of them are loaded and can afford to live like they do only thanks to mummy and daddy’s funds.

  10. I love this! Have lived in Bristol the majority of my life and still cower upon entering a bus without the correct change! The lack of taxi was always a good reason you were late home when I was young and I met some ace people in those queues but you are spot on about the hipster brigade!

  11. I too like some people have lived away from Bristol for some yrs, recent one being NZ, but I am Bristol born, and the one thing Ive always seemed to hate about this city is the volume of traffic…not just rush hour times, but Alllll day in and around the inner/outer city suburbs. Their literally cant be a worse city in the UK for traffic congestion, and how badly designed the roads are in the city. There has never seemd to be any direct routes to get from A-B in Bristol, and always seems to be roads used by other traffic. Take a f*cking leaf out of other cities in the UK. Infact take a leaf out of other cities around the world where there seems to be a rail network that connects every suburb in mostly every city. Where do our trains go to? Oh yes through Lawrence Hill, and the stupid likes of Redland and Montpellier near Glos rd! No use at all if your in Kingswood or Filton or Whitchurch or….I could just go on and on. Bristol city council…what a joke! And the other thing no one has seemed to mention is a proper Staduim for hosting all kinds of events. We’re the biggest hub in the south west, and what do we have to show for it stadia wise…F*ck all!

  12. I lived in Bristol for a couple of years, and more, and I honestly found it to be an incredibly OVERRATED city, that didn’t live up to all the hype that the media portrayed it as… whatsoever. I didn’t get anything from Bristol, that any other city hasn’t already got. And I felt, to a degree, that most of Bristol’s appreciation was more about attachment to identity politics, and stockholm syndrome, than it was anything objectively great about the city in isolation.

    I tried to get into it, I did, but I just think the city tries too hard, now it’s losing it’s spark and failing to truly cover up that the city is flawed. Now it feels like it’s gotten to the point where people praise Bristol, not because they necessarily like something in it, but because they don’t really know anything else that’s better. I knew people completely stuck for reasons why they liked the city, and ended up resorting to flimsey replies like “because it has a suspension bridge!” And I think “Really? You chose to live in a shitty riot attracting crime ridden street, in a overhyped city, because you MAY OR MAY NOT take 1 day trip out of the 365 days in a year to visit one bridge? Please.”

    I understand if Bristol is someone’s hometown, because there’s always an emotional attachment to your home town. But for everyone else, there’s no excuse.

  13. Coming back to live full time in Bristol after lots of travelling I love it here! Bristol used to be so boring when I was young and is soo much more interesting and vibrant now! Wouldn’t want to live anywhere else! That said I do agree about the traffic system and the buses – the 40 route is a joke! Remember us Brits love nothing better than a good moan so much fun to grt it off your chest!

  14. As a life-long resident (norn & bred etc) please understand that Clifton is NOT Bristol. It’s almost a gated community which regards our parts of Bristol as some part of Africa and never ventures there for fear of catching ebola.

    And don’t get me started about “our” university (Bristol) which regards itself as being a part of Bristol but really not. Pretentious, elitist and full of rich kids sent by mummy and daddy in Surrey, because they can’t get into Cambridge. UWE however is much much better and tries very hard to engage with our city..

  15. I recently visited Bristol for the second time…. I couldn’t find a parking space near to the venue on a Sunday night – Found a car park – Which immediately I drove out of when we realised most of the vehicles had people sitting in their cars and we couldn’t decide if they were scoring or selling drugs….Parking was made even harder by the one ways system. We were 30 mins late to the gig and nearly on empty! With only two brief encounters, I do feel I cannot make a huge comment. Still willing to go back again though and try a third time! The hippies didn’t put me off – they did remind me of Norwich folk though…. lol

  16. I’m not even going to read this. Seriously, even if every point you’ve made is valid and I complain about each and every one of them every day whilst I’m going about my life, in Bristol….why on earth do you feel the news to point them out? To write them down? Nobody needs encouragement to be more negative! What is wrong with you? Focus on the positives and be thankful for all of them every day!

    • Why do you feel the need to express your opinion? What is wrong with you? There’s enough negativity in this world and blog post (which I realise, you haven’t read), so I think you should focus on the positives of my other blog posts such as How to write a good online dating profile and maybe be thankful about the fact you are free to comment, despite not having read the post and demanding that any negative opinions are best kept to myself. Have a positive day!

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