College Green flowers

22 02 2013

If Bristol had a front garden, it would be College Green. Our back garden would be the Downs, with parks like Greville Smyth its window boxes. Yesterday, new flowers were planted on College Green – presenting a neat and tidy view of Bristol, just like a front garden should.

College Green flowers

Snow in Bristol

18 01 2013

Bristol woke up to a thick blanket of snow this morning, with the flurries due to continue falling throughout the rest of the day. Over on Millennium Square, boy poet Thomas Chatterton had taken insufficient measures to protect himself from the white stuff:

Thomas Chatterton in the snow Millennium Square Bristol

Bristol Cathedral and College Green look majestic:

Bristol Cathedral and College Green in the snow

And this is the Lord Mayor’s Chapel looking up towards Brandon Hill:

Lord Mayor's Chapel Bristol in the snow

College Green carnage

17 01 2013

Only a few months after College Green was completely re-turfed following the Occupy Bristol protesters’ almost total destruction of the grass outside the Council House, the greenery was once again destroyed by Golf Apocalypse, whose outlines can still be clearly seen, meaning more re-turfing is necessary:

College Green Bristol mini golf damage

Then earlier this week, more tents appeared as a show of solidarity with asylum seekers. They too have made a mess of the once pristine lawn as the saturated ground becomes a muddy bog:

College Green Bristol tents damage

Cheerful Christmas trees

9 01 2013

As forlorn Christmas trees litter the pavements of Bristol with their pine needles still on living room carpets, several have been gathered together on College Green to present a more cheerful visage. This friendly piece of foliage has even got two legs, two arms and two wonky eyes:

Christmas trees on College Green

Golf Apocalypse in Bristol

11 09 2012

Crazy golf as you’ve never seen it before has arrived on College Green with Golf Apocalypse. Featuring nine holes included ones navigated through an airplane fuselage and on the baize of a pool table, Golf Apocalypse has arrived in Bristol having spent the last few weeks entertaining visitors to ExCel in London where many of the Olympic and Paralympic events took place.

Dave Lovatt the course designer is a theatre director by trade, and delighted to be bringing his vision of the apocalypse, golf-style, to his home city of Bristol, even though on first sight it might look like the Occupy protesters have returned and dumped a new load of rubbish onto College Green.

“Golf Apocalypse is definitely one of the craziest crazy golf courses ever and I’ve visited over 500,” proclaims professional crazy golfer Richard Gottfried (is there such a thing?) on the official website.

I too have played on a a good number of courses, although not as many as Gottfried, with the scenes of my finest successes on French campsites as a nipper.

Golf Apocalypse certainly doesn’t include the traditional windmills. Its most difficult hole is named Burning Rubber, featuring a challenging 360-degree loop around a tyre.

To finish, your ball must first cross a bridge – a homage to the bridge spanning the first and 18th holes at the Old Course at St Andrews – and disappear down the crater of a volcano, certainly not a feature on a typical Scottish links.

Nine holes costs a rather steep £4 for an adult (£5 at weekends), but be nice to the staff and they might give you a second go free of charge. I carded a first round 37, but my second round of 23 remarkably topped the early leaderboard.

Golf Apocalypse is due to stay on College Green for the whole of September.

The Parlour Showrooms

26 07 2012

Two empty shops on College Green have seen a variety of different activities happening within their walls over the past year or so, from a pop-up cinema to cafes, but now the newly spruced-up spaces have been rebranded as The Parlour Showrooms and are open for business looking for new ideas for inside one of Bristol’s most versatile locations.

The Parlour Showrooms is the pet project of The Shop Floor, Alice Tatton-Brown, Hannah Sullivan and Martha King, three creative practitioners and producers who manage the day-to-day running of the spaces.

The offices of The Shop Floor are based in The Parlour Upstairs, shared office and rehearsal spaces located above The Parlour Showrooms, made possible by the Capicity Bristol scheme.

“We are extremely excited about the potential of The Parlour Showrooms and would love to share this excitement and engage in conversations that can ignite some terrific ideas” the trio say.

“We want to offer an alternative space for creative exchange and participation, in the centre of the city.”

To kick start the new programme of events, two new exhibitions are currently taking place. In the Big Room (on the right as you look from College Green), art+power is resident in the spaces and working with a core group of artists.

In the Small Room, The Lost Art Projects presents Rare and Unseen, “a collection of art that no longer exists in its original form”, including peeled potatoes and an Etch A Sketch.

Upcoming events include and a pop-up cine sauna as part of the Encounters Film Festival in September, the hub of the Bristol Festival of Literature in October, as well as several art exhibitions.

Dizzy’s Cafe

15 07 2012

Spartan and utilitarian is the look in Dizzy’s Cafe, marooned among empty premises in one of the buildings on College Green we can thank the Germans for. The bare white walls might soon be decorated with something more vibrant, because Bristol’s new cafe is still finding its feet.

Bare walls or not, however, it is still extremely uninspiring. When I asked if they had any pastries on Tuesday morning this week, I was pointed in the direction of chocolate bars. My flat white was also very poorly made, so much so that I did not finish it.

Dizzy’s Cafe obviously isn’t the place for pastries and pretentious coffees. Instead, full English breakfasts are served all day, and £6 for a chilli con carne is the most expensive item on the menu, which also includes omelettes, jackets and toasties.

Over the last two weeks I have visited two exceptional cafes, of a standard that Bristol doesn’t yet have: Six Eight Kafe in Birmingham and Federation Coffee in Brixton, south west London. Book your train tickets now; they are that good.

If only Dizzy’s could hold a candle to those two exceptional cafes. It cannot; and its family owners have wasted a huge opportunity in this prime Bristol location.

Dizzy’s Cafe, Unit 3, 39-43 College Green, Bristol. 0117 929 4999.

Feeding the 5,000 in Bristol

12 05 2012

Think that there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Tell that to Fareshare South West, the organisers of Feeding the 5,000 which is taking place today between 1pm and 5pm on College Green. The aim is to give a free lunch to thousands of people using food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

The first event of its kind outside London will feature demonstrations from chefs including Tom Herbert from the Fabulous Baker Brothers of Hobbs House Bakery in Chipping Sodbury , Tom Hunt from Poco and chefs from the Thali Café.

Jacqui Reeves, Project Director at Fareshare South West, said: “This event has got ‘Bristol mentality’ written all over it. A free fun day, a free lunch, plus we get to show the food industry how the four million tonnes of food they throw away can easily go to people who really need it.”

UPDATE: Click here to see photographs from Feeding the 5,000 Bristol

College Green reopens

4 04 2012

College Green reopened today after being closed for several months in order to repair the damage to the grass caused by the Occupy Bristol protesters. I can report that the grass is very green and springy underfoot, and the contractors have done a better job repairing the surface than I have done with the shaky video below.

College Green reopening soon

27 03 2012

With its new turf now looking verdant in the glorious spring sunshine, College Green is almost ready to reopen to the public following Occupy Bristol’s, um, occupancy. Sadly, on the new blades of grass, there is already some litter. Let’s hope that a bit of pride in one’s surroundings can reduce the rubbish that is always a problem on College Green in the summer months. Let’s also hope that rather than simply removing the fencing around the grass, a game of cricket or croquet can be officially organised to inaugurate the new turf. How brilliant would that be?