Bristolians are often derided for their farmer-come-pirate accents, and have never been though of as the classiest of folks. This is probably due to their lack of class.
However, something has happened to Bristol over the past 10 years or so. Coffee shops, micro-breweries and organic food stores are springing up everywhere, ‘hipsters’ are filling the streets and there is a sense of a city really coming in to its own. But beneath this veneer of textbook, overdone hipster pretentiousness is the same Bristol of old, where the West Country sportswear knight yokels spew out their own unique interpretation of the English language and the estates surrounding the city are looking more and more like the bad parts of Mogadishu.
The centre of town revolves around Cabot Circus (the most mispronounced place in England- it’s pronounced like Cabo). This admittedly decent shopping facility has come at the cost of destroying the rest of the city centre by sucking up all of the council’s money like a sponge and pulling shoppers away from the traditional high street.
The Debenhams is now drab and crusty, the CEX smells like hangover urine mixed with wet dog, and the shops are closing down faster than you can say ‘Bristol is gross’.
The accent is something that I believe holds Bristol back. If you take away the accent, Bristol could almost manage to fool you into thinking it is a really classy place (well some parts of it anyway). Picture this: you head into Bristol for a day out. Young, fashionable university students line the cafes sipping overpriced coffee, white people with dreadlocks and goatees walk briskly about their business and clouds of vape fumes fill the air. You notice a quaint little cafe with cool furniture and salads costing £14, it must be good right? You take a seat, expectations are high. A suave, trendy looking waiter with black rimmed glasses and designer stubble strolls over;
“ALRIGHT MOY LUVERRRRR, WOT CAN I GET FOR YOOOO?”
I seem to have lost my appetite . . . . .
On a more serious note, let’s talk about the ‘gentrification’ issue. As with many English cities, London, Manchester, Oxford, Birmingham, Leeds- Bristol boasts about how it’s less savoury areas are transforming into vibrant, multicultural paradises where you can buy a locally made, organic Panini for £7.95 (bargain right?).
The only problem is- this is complete BS. What is really happening is that the posher areas such as Clifton are becoming even posher, trendier and less attainable for the ‘lower’ classes, whilst other places on the outskirts continue to decline.
Some advice to Bristol: Graffiti, expensive sandwiches and hordes of hippies do not a pleasant city make.