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…
Most ridiculous taxi queue at Temple Meads Station – creates such a bad impression pic.twitter.com/qZyG3WOnSL
— StephenHilton (@StephenHilton) December 18, 2013
Temple Meads not a single taxi Bristol Fail pic.twitter.com/JbG2s3Pd
— Pete Gilbert (@pete_gilbert) February 12, 2013
As well as my own experience:
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:
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.
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.
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.
I once saw a seagull eating a pigeon, it’s literally a bird eat bird world out there.
10. Hipsters, Bristol hipsters in fact.
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.
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