Friday, 29 April 2011

Stokes Croft

I was thinking of other things I should post, but really this seems more important.
A little background
Stokes Croft is a part of Bristol (UK) which is known as a  bit of a dump (drugs, violence, empty shops/houses), but which also is full of 'alternative' culture (graffiti art etc) and has an incredible amount of community spirit. There's even a group called The People's Republic of Stokes Croft! It's stuff like this which makes Bristol such an interesting, fun, diverse city to live in.
A little more
Tesco wanted to open a shop in Stokes Croft, despite there already being loads in the surrounding area. Local people objected, they submitted formal complaints, they struggled for several years (see ) but Tesco gained consent and opened a store there last week (exact date?).
Last week
Last Thursday night there was a riot, which stemmed from police going to a disused council building at 9.15pm to arrest some squatters. That much is absolutely definite. There have been so many accounts written, lots of misreporting from various news outlets, lots of details filled in by Social Media, and lots of anger directed both at police and protesters. There's been mention of petrol bombs. Police behaviour has been heavily questioned, it's been asked how the arrest of four people escalated into a riot involving police from several neighbouring forces which lasted until at least 5am, and where the tip off came from in the first place.
This week
On Wednesday people gathered in St Andrews Park (nearby) to watch footage of the riot and talk about it. Police tried to stop them and confiscated their screen, so they moved to a private house and continued in peace.
Last night
People tried to hold a peaceful protest against police behaviour in Stokes Croft, but somehow it all kicked off again. Other accounts have more and better detail than me. When the boy and I came home from a party at around 2am there were lots of people at the bottom of his street (who'd presumably been moved on or blocked out of Stokes Croft) and the police helicopter kept him up and was still there in the morning. A road a few blocks down was apparently "trashed".

I find it hard to know what to think, it's hard to know what's going on as the few media reports there were last week all had gaping inaccuracies and this week everything has been swamped by the royal wedding*. Kudos to all the people who went down there, saw for themselves, took photos, videoed it, blogged it, and generally are spreading information. Without them we'd only have the police line on it all, and that's not a comforting thought.

I don't think I know enough about what happened either time to form a coherent opinion but I think that it's important to read several different accounts, what one takes as gospel is hotly denied by another. Here're a few that I've found particularly useful:
  • Has been aggregating things throughout
  • Jonathan Taphouse's awesome photos, they deservedly made it into several national newspapers
  • Re the disrupted screening
  • Police take on that:
  • Chris Bertram's summary:
  • Avon & Somerset Police Operation page for the original thing:
  • Dru Marland - another take & an excellent sense of humour:
  • Bristol Flickr Group - photos & angry discussion:
  • Also I recommend searching for #stokescroft on Twitter
Bristol, you can be scary sometimes. But your spirit is part of why I love you.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Back In Bristol

I missed it. What I miss most when I'm at home (apart from that nice boy) is independence. I live in the depths of the countryside where there's almost no public transport and very little phone signal. This and the fact that I share a car with my two sisters makes it very hard to see my friends or do what I want to do. Add to that my Dad's constant (often counter-productive and usually irritating) nagging, and you've got a recipe for boredom and frustration. I do like my family and it's always nice to be bought things and cooked for but once you're used to living away from home it's not easy to go back for any length of time. But I'm back in Bristol now, yay!
I've gone and spent my first 24 hours not being very productive in terms of work, but I feel a lot better than I did when I was home. I've been for a walk, made my own tasty dinner, done my own food shopping, been to the pub with nice people and unpacked all my stuff.
Now some pictures!

 Lovely cherry blossom at Trevarno in Cornwall, last week.
 Last nights tasty (and healthy?) dinner, cooked in my new frying pan (I was going to buy one saucepan that cost £6 but then I found a set that contains one of those, a slightly larger one, a milk pan and this frying pan on sale at £6.60!). Also this was Bank Holiday bargain chicken :)

Playing with the boy's new Polaroid back for one of his big exciting cameras, didn't go terribly well to start with! Apparently it's ok now though :) I claim that these two are art.
I got waylaid by Oxfam on my way home this morning & bought this pattern for 99p, they had a whole box full! Hopefully it's a normal sort of size 14, guessing I'll find out by measuring pattern pieces? I'm no seamstress which is why I picked one with EASY written on... I was very tempted to buy a purple bedsheet for £2.99 to make into this. After exams I think...
I've appropriated the skirt section of one of Mum's handmade maternity dresses which she separated into skirt & shirt. I need to adapt it to be wearable now! Needs some elastic or a decent waistband, I really love the pattern & colours. It's a sort of soft cotton I think.
Thyme & basil on the kitchen windowsill. Thyme grown by Mum from a cutting I believe, basil from Sainsbury's, thoroughly abused by me. They're sitting on wonderfully ugly little brown saucers I bought from St Peters Hospice this morning for 25p each. So many of the other charity shops had priced ugly little saucers at well over a pound each :s

Easter bunnies! I had a Lindt Easter Egg this year and it had a cut-out-and-stick bunny basket on the back of the box...