Here’s one of my favourite things to do with Mayfest shows: pretend that they apply to people from various parts of Bristol. For example, while walking down East Street the other week I wondered how the people walking through there would react to Hook, Skip, Repeat: being invited to use brightly coloured rope and a giant crochet needle, to help weave eye-catching spider’s web-like creations. It’s free.
Imagine if your well-thumbed, outdated guidebook could talk. Think of the stories it would tell about the places it’s been, the characters encountered and narrow escapes along the way.
Through this intimate installation you are invited to investigate a series of clues hidden within a guidebook that magically come to life as you turn the pages.
How do books act as repositories of treasures and triggers of memories? When we read a book, do we leave something of ourselves in and on its pages?
I imagine that it would be magical for everyone although I may be a little biased as it is taking place in the library.
There’s something about some art installations or plays that make me think that it’s all designed for white middle-class audiences and then I read their program and realise that I am more than white and middle class.
Without trying to sound pompous (and failing), the human experience beyond labels is what the artists find as well and it was Brand New Ancients I thought of I as walked passed betting shops
The gods are in the betting shops, the gods are in the café,
The gods can’t afford the deposit on their flat …
Winged sandals tearing up the pavement,
Me, you, everyone, Brand New Ancients.
Cookbooks are the one print media that I can’t imagine disappearing into a collection of electronic means. One look and touch of the Ethicurean cookbook reaffirms my belief that you need solid pictures, bigger than the screen of your phone or e-reader, to see beautiful creations come alive just ingredients away. You also need the space just to appreciate the style in this book and text big enough and a medium robust enough to be able to leave it next to the stove as you cook.
Divided into seasons, the recipes are scattered throughout with stunning accompanying pictures. Maybe too stunning, they were certainly a distraction from my search for sticky toffee apple pudding, more recently served at the restaurant with warm cinnamon infused cream, and duck confit. The former wasn’t in there but there was a section for confit which I found when I glanced through it for a second time. There was also the guessing game of whether Jack Bevan would be bearded or not in the next shot (or what he would be doing).
Aesthetically it is more than pleasing but it’s the food I’m interested in. My daughter’s dad waxed lyrical about how he thought it was so beautiful that he wouldn’t want to harm it by using it in the kitchen and having it get dirty. He doesn’t cook that much yet and I think it can only get better through use. I would have it dusted and greased and pollinated by all the ingredients I would surround it with. (Some of them are flowers.) I would write in the margins the date and names for who I cooked the meals and leave bookmarks scattered throughout for my favourite recipes. What’s the point of a book if it’s not for the beauty of its content.
So, yes, it’s beautiful because everything the Ethicurean seems to do is done well. My daughter and I have celebrated some our favourite events there with her father over the last two years and she has run around the gardens and fallen asleep in my arms while we’ve enjoyed coffee and cider and sticky toffee apple cake with cinnamon cream and looking over the garden and the valleys of Wrington.
We’ve been very grateful to the four friends who set up this restaurant in an enchanting Victorian walled garden in the Mendip Hills. With an ethos of seasonality, ethical sourcing of ingredients and attention to the local environment it is no wonder they have already been awarded the Observer Food Monthly best ethical restaurant in 2011, a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2013 and the Bristol Culture best restaurant of 2012.
Get 20% off if you travel there by bus. There are 120 exciting recipes in this book and I aim to cook most of them (apart from the rabbit ones).
Tickets went on sale last week for folk singer Roy Harper playing Colston Hall on 27 October 2013. Here’s a link to an interview which Sam Saunders from Whisperinandhollerin did with him in 2011. He talks about music, women and death. As you do.
Roy Harper: “Well, playing with others has been sometimes inspirational and sometimes bloody awful to be honest.”
We went to Grillstock on Saturday and left it a little too late. The tasting table was being packed away, the chili eating contest had finished and people were more merry than social. We still had a nice time wandering around.
I don’t think George Orwell was talking about the afternoon tea on May 19 in Bristol when he said the following but you never know:
“If you look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points. “This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.” – George Orwell
Klauren are holding their first event at 40 Alfred Place on May 19. They are hosting a pop-up afternoon tea, the tea itself will be served alongside something bubbly, lots of cakes and lots of sandwiches. It’s also BYO, so personally, our afternoon tea will be accompanied by more Prosecco.
If there is to be peace in the world,
there must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
there must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
there must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
there must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
there must be peace in the heart.
I read the above on peace this morning and I didn’t know what to post alongside it. I wasn’t sure what to say about it and didn’t want to promote any practice such as meditation even though this is what I would have instinctively gone for.
I wondered over it as I went about my day and it was on the way home from the playground with my daughter that I remembered about Zakia Zaki and being killed alongside her daughter. We were crossing the road and it was empty but I imagined some motorcycle riding up on the sidewalk and doing a u-turn and careening into us. “Mother and daughter the unsuspecting victims of crazy rider” is what the papers would have said although that barely sounds like a proper headline and we may not even have made the paper. How many mothers and daughters have died, I thought. Poor Zakia Zaki.
Zakia Zaki, head of Radio Peace in Afghanistan, was shot dead in front of her child in 2007. Some stories say that she was shot while in bed with her 7-month-old son and others say it was in front of her 8-year-old child. She was working for peace and that isn’t necessarily about staying still which is what I usually associate with it.
Zakia Zaki, a prominent female Afghan journalist has been gunned down inside her home near Kabul, the second such slaying in five days. Unidentified gunmen fired seven bullets into Zakia Zaki, head of a local radio station, [in the presence of her eight-year-old] old son last night. She died instantly.
The Cider Shop hosted a cider festival at the Southbank Arts Cafe over the weekend and if I’d known how good it would be I would have posted about it beforehand. I started to write while at the festival and then M fell asleep in my arms and I was busy eating a hot dog and drinking two halves of unknown origin cider. One was quite honeyed and pear-tasting and the other dry and not too heavy. Both were pleasant. The queue at the cider purchasing part of the festival was so long that M’s dad picked up four and came back inside.
The festival was put on by the Bristol Cider Shop and the Southbank Arts Cafe was an excellent location. There was a beer garden out the back which quickly filled up and kept everyone away from the spacious indoor pub-like room. We managed to sit on the comfortable sofa and stuck it out there for a bit.
Just before we left I had a coffee from a most intricate coffee-making contraption I’d ever seen. I was dubious of the product and kept saying ‘it smells funny’ although no one listened. The coffee’s aroma was aromatic and nutty and the flavour was sweetish and smooth. Not a hint of acridity or bitterness. I took a photo but didn’t think to ask its origin.
The Southbank Arts Cafe was lovely and a great setting for cider and the large crowd. On Saturdays they have a family children’s session from 9.30 to 12.30 where they show children’s movies. I don’t think M would sit still in a movie yet but the place generally was great.
If you’ve not yet discovered the unparalleled joys of Open Culture then I thoroughly recommend it for its most delicious offerings. Other days have seen links to Philip K Dick stories, David Foster Wallace reading lists and utter delights including jazz snippets, free university courses and free Hitchcock films.
One of the latest posts features 10 rules for drinking tea as published in 1941, in the middle of World War II, and still relevant today.
Some of the rules:
1) In general, store tea leaves in an airtight container, preferably away from cheese, soap, spices and other items with strong aromas.
2) Also keep the tea off of the ground and away from walls.
3) Always use a good quality tea. You’ll spend a little more money, but you’ll actually get more bang for your pound.
4) Use fresh water. Stale water makes stale tea, which no one needs, especially in wartime.
5) Make sure you warm your teapot before adding hot water and tea leaves.
We have Banksy and created Ribena but it’s not always great things that come from Bristol.
Two lobbyists from Bristol-based Imperial Tobacco met with government officials to warn them that changing cigarette packets to plain packaging could cost “several hundred millions” and over 70,000 jobs, according to the Independent.
A Police beat surgery is held in Bristol central library twice a month. The police urge anyone with any queries or questions for them to go along. They will also provide crime reduction advice. The dates and times of upcoming surgeries are as follows;
Monday 13th May 2013 – 10:00am-11:00am
Thursday 30th May 2013 – 18:30pm-19:15pm
Monday 10th June 2013 – 10:00am-11:00am
Thursday 27th June 2013 – 18:30pm-19:15pm
Monday 8th July 2013 – 10:00am-11:00am
Thursday 25th July 2013 – 18:30pm-19:15pm
Monday 5th August 2013 – 10:00am-11:00am
Thursday 22nd August 2013 – 18:30pm-19:15pm