city slicker; Bristol
Monday 04 September 1995
Etymology: The city's name is believed to have transmuted from its original Saxon, Brigstowe, due to the local habit of adding an "L" to final vowels ("Good morning, moi lover, oi'm from the Encyclopaedial Britannical").
Most common Christian names:
Dirk, Hayley, Isambard, Kingdom. (The latter two are after the revered 19th-century engineer, Brunel, who built the Clifton Suspension Bridge.)
Tippler's Bristol: Celebrated for its trading links with Bordeaux, Jerez, Oporto, and the home of both the prawn cocktail of the beverages world, a schooner of Bristol Cream sherry, and its low-life cousin, a pint of scrumpy (rough cider).
Regional cuisine: The faggot, a succulent tennis ball of minced pigs' intestines in caul, traditionally eaten tapas-style with a schooner of well-warmed Bristol Cream, or as a plat de resistance, with plenty of chips and curry sauce, accompanied by a bone-dry litre or three of scrumpy.
Music: The "Bristol sound" of Massive Attack, Portishead et al is now so famous as to be passe. (Recently, I bumped into a Japanese record executive in a Hong Kong night-club musing wistfully as to how Tokyo could ever aspire to produce a Bristol sound.)
Restaurants: Bristol has produced its fair share of good ones - Keith Floyd's highly laudable Harvey's, Markwick's and Hunt's - but Bristolians are traditionally suspicious of innovation, subtlety and the necessity of opening their wallets, leading some of the best newcomers, such as Mario and Franco's up-market trattoria and Mulligan's excellent fish and chip brasserie, to go under.
Last year, the husband and wife proprietors of Lettonie - one of only six Michelin two-star restaurants in the country - complained in print that they couldn't survive on the local trade they were getting, thus unleashing what the Bristol Evening Post described, under the headline "city's sour taste for top diner pair", as an "eating-out row".
Mini-celebrity spotting: Bristol's institutions of higher education are a magnet for society offspring. For the forward-looking paparazzo, Bristol is a gold-mine, with the likes of Stephanie Beacham and Lesley Caron dropping into town to visit their kids. Until very recently, Haiqa Khan (nee Jemima Goldsmith) could often be espied at chucking-out time, deep in discussion of Islamic jurisprudence over a table full of non-alcoholic scrumpy tankards in the Prophet Mohammed lounge at the Albion, in Clifton.
Wheels: Cut a dash in the M32 traffic jams in a Range-Rover and customised trailer, bearing the legend "[your name] Financial Services Balloon Team". Or capture a more retro mood, at the wheel of a sleek 1950s Bristol 403, product of the city's very own bespoke automobile company.
When to visit: In 1997, when the celebrations commemorating the great dual anniversaries - 500 years since John Cabot discovered America and 40 since Russ Conway released the Party Pops LP - are expected to make Rio Carnival look like a wet Monday night at Lettonie.
Ending it all: Hastings may be Britain's suicide capital, numerically, but Bristol is streets ahead style-wise. Georgian garret blow-outs may be due for a comeback, in the manner of the 18th-century poet, Thomas Chatterton, but most still opt for the classic jump off the Clifton Suspension Bridge. If you're wavering, check in to the once-magnificent Avon George Hotel, overlooking the Bridge, and let the tawdry corporate bungle that has brought the fine old establishment low, tip you over the brink.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Amy Winehouse film director: 'I wanted to show the fun, bright-eyed girl we didn't know'
Wireless 2015: Nicki Minaj 2 hours late to main stage due to 'travel issues'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director Jack Bender hints showrunners 'communicate closely' with George RR Martin
Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Family Guy, BBC2 - review: The Simpsons crossover highlights gulf between the cartoons
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture