Highlight of the week was my visit to Bristol, where I was shown round burgeoning artists quarter Stokescroft, before making my way down to the monolith that is Cabot Circus. Run by a collective, the ‘People’s Republic of Stokescroft’, the area is becoming an artdoor gallery, distinguished by beautifully hand painted street signs, murals and street art. Stencilling street names onto council signs is illegal but it is hard to see how this can be an offence. Chris Chalkely, a leading light in the ‘PRSC’, was a wholesaler in the potteries and he bought the old lithographs, setting up in a warehouse and creating a local industry, with handpainted china on sale in local shops.
Five minutes walk away, the concrete roundabout complex cuts through and provides a boundary line between Stokescroft, the old modernist shopping centre and Cabot Circus. This gleaming ‘mall without walls’ of private streets, CCTV and security guards was more reminiscent of an airport than a part of Bristol and reminded me exactly of the identikit anonymity of Liverpool One.
I was in Bristol to give a talk at the Arnolfini, with Carolyn Steel, author of Hungry City, a great book which shares many themes in common with Ground Control.