Bristol

More Bristol borkage

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Yesterday’s trip into Bristol’s Quarter of Mammon (aka the city’s central shopping district consisting of the dire post-war Broadmead centre, Galleries and Carboot Cabot Circus. Ed.) yielded another example of borked technology to add to the collection begun last week on my visit to the City Museum & Art Gallery (posts passim).

Corporate graffiti, better known as advertising is all-pervasive and intrusive, but there’s no way I’d stand on my heads in the rain to read this bullshit. 😀

advertisement displayed upside-down in Carboot Circdus

Borked in Bristol

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The last time your ‘umble scribe visited Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery was before the first pandemic lockdown over two years ago. There’s always lots to see and the first thing I observed was the major changes to the art exhibits. Local talent features prominently in these, including the 19th century Bristol School of Artists and prominent portrait painter and local lad Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA. Furthermore, the ceramics section has a fine selection of ware from the late 17th and early 18th century Brislington Pottery.

However, the excellence of local art and crafts was not matched by local artefacts from the period of Roman occupation, being limited to the Thornbury Hoard (although 3,000 Roman coins on display is quite impressive. Ed.), one Samian ware bowl and a solitary drinking vessel, which is pretty poor considering the major influence and changes wrought by the Romans during the three and a half centuries that Britannia was a province of the Roman empire and ample evidence of Roman settlement and economic activity in the area. These include. for example, Abona Roman port at the confluence of the River Trym and Bristol Avon, visible remains of of Roman roads, villa sites, plus the 2 Roman pigs of lead found in 1865 in Wade Street in St Judes whilst excavations were underway on the old bank of the River Frome).

On the other hand, the museum does have a fine natural history section, especially in respect of extinct fauna – the giant Irish elk skeleton with its antlers spanning a width of 3 metres is most impressive – and fossils and dinosaurs in particular.

As is well known, generations of children have displayed a passion for dinosaurs. Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery has catered for this passion by installing interactive displays. Nevertheless, any child currently wishing to learn more of the life and times of Doris the Pliosaurus would have been disappointed at the time of my visit as Doris’ display was – to use a technical term borked.

Windows 7 not behaving for an interactive museum display Close-up of Windows 7 screen and options

The bottom picture clearly clearly shows Microsoft’s Windows 7 misbehaving, a not uncommon undocumented feature of the Beast of Redmond’s alleged operating systems.

If anyone desires to see more borkage in public, your ‘umble scribe would refer such readers to The Register IT news site, which has a dedicated bork section/archive.

Colston Four Road disappears

What a difference a couple of days make.

Just yesterday this blog reported on the unofficial renaming of Slaver’s Road in Easton, Bristol (posts passim).

Today your ‘umble scribe ambled past the end of the road and observed the following where the “Colston Four Road” unofficial street sign had recently been installed.

Here yesterday. Gone today. Note the screw holes where the unofficial sign was affixed.

Officially changing a street name is a long, involved process in which an overwhelming majority of the property owners have to agree to a proposed change.

Changes are much swifter in the unofficial world.

Toppled Road renamed

Nearly half a year ago, your ‘umble scribe reported that Colston Road in Easton, a road named after Bristol-born slave trader, insider share dealer, financier, religious bigot and former Tory MP for the city had been unofficially renamed as Toppled Road (posts passim).

On the other side of the road from the crudely painted Toppled Street on the side of a house, a new more official-looking street name sign has appeared in recent days.

Colston Four Road

The original street name sign is painted out as a token of the regard in which Eddie the Slaver is held locally.

The new unofficial sign commemorates the acquittal by a Bristol jury of the so-called Colston Four who were tried for criminal damage when Colston’s statue in the centre of the city was brought down and dumped in the city docks during the course of a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June 2020.

Local residents have been uneasy for years about living in a street named after a so-called philanthropist who made his money from kidnapping, trafficking and exploiting to death thousands of unwilling Africans and have long campaigned for it to be changed, along with other reminders of the late Victorian Cult of Colston.

Speaking to Easton councillor Barry Parsons yesterday, your correspondent asked him for an update on how the name change was progressing.

He responded that the whole matter of street renamings was one of the topics handed over to the We Are Bristol History Commission, which has just recently issued its recommendations in respect of Colston’s statue, backing the general public view it belongs henceforth in a museum.

However, any words of wisdom from the Commission regarding the fate of Bristol’s street names commemorating Eddie the Slaver have yet to be uttered and it would appear the matter has been (so to say) kicked into the long grass.

In a final twist, the Bristol Post/Bristol Live is claiming that some of its less perceptive readers are “outraged at the change of name, with some actually believing the new sign has been erected by the city’s perfidious council, even though the sign’s design is clearly different to that used by the local authority, whose standard modern street name signs all include the first 3 characters of the road’s postcode

No ifs, no butts

On 21st January, Clean Up Britain launched the most comprehensive anti-cigarette litter campaign with a pilot in Bristol. Clean Up Britain eventually hopes to extend the pilot campaign to the rest of the country.

Image courtesy of Clean Up Britain Campaign

Background

Anti-cigarette butt littering publicity from Clean Up BritainCigarette butts are the most littered item on the planet. Even in Britain some 27 billion cigarette butts littered in Britain every year. These dropped dog ends allow toxic contaminants to seep into the environment causing significant environmental pollution to watercourses and soil. Moreover, there are now three million e-cigarette users (aka vapers. Ed.) in Britain and e-cigarette waste is also very serious since it produces plastic, nicotine salts, heavy metals, lead, mercury and flammable lithium batteries, again endangering the soil, wildlife and watercourses.

Clean Up Britain states it will be providing a comprehensive programme of behavioural change interventions in Bristol aimed at reducing cigarette butt littering at its source, by encouraging adult smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts properly. This will include various campaign publicity messages aimed at deterring the casual disposal of smoking waste.

Your correspondent wonders if this initiative is being undertaken in isolation as there is no mention of it on the newsroom section of the Bristol City Council website or indeed on the wider city council website.

How well or even whether this programme will work remains to be seen. Your ‘umble scribe will watch developments with interest.

Geographical confusion plagues local Reach title

If there’s one thing that characterises Reach plc’s regional newspaper titles it is lack of attention to detail, whether that is their use of English, captioning of photos, geographical location and so on.

Earlier this week visitors to the Bristol Post website (aka BristolLive. Ed.) were treated to an exemplar of this poor quality media production.

It’s not unusual for newspaper sites to encourage their visitors to sign up for newsletters as a marketing tool and thus increase their traffic.

However, the Bristol Post’s latest effort, which is posted on a page that seems to be syndicated across several different regional titles, appears to have been mistargeted, landing a direct hit on the banks to the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber estuary, rather than the banks of the Bristol Avon.

Screenshot of Bristol Post web page inviting readers to sign up for the HullLive newsletter

Hull – Bristol’s newest suburb?

This is not the first time (and definitely won’t be the last. Ed.) that Reach titles have played fast and loose with geography. Four years ago, the Bristol Post magically transformed into the Manchester Evening News (posts passim).

This action raises a number of questions, i.e.:

  • Is Hull Bristol’s newest suburb?
  • Are HullLive readers being invited to sign up to the BristolLive newsletters in the interests of balance if nothing else?
  • How many seconds would the average modern Reach employee have survived in post if magically transported back to the days when all regional newspapers employed sub-editors?

If you know the answer or can provide further elucidation, please comment below. 😀

Bronze lives matter

On 7 June 2020, the statue of slave trader and religious bigot Edward Colston, which had blighted the centre of Bristol for well over a century, was assisted off its plinth and taken for a walk for a bath in the city docks near Pero’s Bridge (a bridge named after a former slave. Ed.).

Yesterday in Bristol Crown Court a jury of their peers found the defendants Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford, Sage Willoughby, and Jake Skuse – the so-called Colston 4 – not guilty of criminal damage as a result of Eddie the Slaver ending up in the drink that afternoon a year and half ago, as The Bristol Cable reports.

The verdict has not gone down well with some right-leaning culture warriors and those whose view of history is coloured more by the propaganda extolling the virtues of the British Empire instead of the brutality of its crimes against humanity, theft, violence and exploitation. This tweet from the Save Our Statues account is a typical example.

Tweet reads: A disgraceful verdict that gives the green light to political vandalism and sets a precedent for anyone to be able to destroy whatever they disagree with. This is not justice.

The sense of outrage is not confined to social media. In the vanguard was the outrage of the Daily Express (which some still call the Express. Ed.) with the headline below today’s front page.

Headline reads: statue 'vandals' cleared... but where will it all end?

Just above the headline a small matter of media hypocrisy comes into view. Note the promotional flash for the glorious National Trust 2022 calendar. Not so very long ago the Express was one of those right-wing newspapers that were condemning the National Trust and accusing it of being woke (whatever that’s supposed to mean. Ed.) for the organisation’s efforts to learn more about the history of its properties, resulting in the Trust publishing a report last year that found 93 of its properties had connections with colonialism and slavery.

Furthermore, it was just right-leaning social media accounts and media that were outraged. Members of Parliament also joined in the outrage.

Step forward Robert ‘Honest Bob‘ Jenrick, MP for Newark and formerly Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Jenrick took to Twitter yesterday to pontificate as follows:

We undermine the rule of law, which underpins our democracy, if we accept vandalism and criminal damage are acceptable forms of political protest.
They aren’t. Regardless of the intentions.

Tweet reads: We undermine the rule of law, which underpins our democracy, if we accept vandalism and criminal damage are acceptable forms of political protest. They aren't. Regardless of the intentions.

It is encouraging to see such strong support for the rule of law from Honest Bob, a man who when occupying his lofty Whitehall perch was found by the High Court to have acted unlawfully in approving a £1bn east London development by former publisher and Tory Party donor Richard Desmond.

The Colston 4 verdict and the verdict of unlawful action Jenrick’s planning decision clearly do not sit well with the likes of Honest Bob.

However, he and others need to remember that justice – especially as perceived by juries in their verdicts – does not always match everyone’s expectations, especially where concepts of lawful and/or reasonable excuse are involved.

Justice is not like Woolworth’s Pick’n’Mix sweet counter and the likes of Honest Bob are in no position to lecture the masses about the sanctity of the rule of law.

In conclusion, here’s a wee photo for Bob, the right-wing press and social media accounts to think about. 😀

Photo reads: If pulling down a statue of a slave traders 'ruins your way of life' you are either... a) racist b) a pigeon

Christmas cancelled?

It’s that time of year again, when the rumour circulates that Christmas has been cancelled to avoid upsetting members of other faiths.

This is of course pure nonsense whipped up by fearful and over-sensitive right-wing commentators in the media and has been debunked every time it’s been mentioned.

Who’s to say that adherents of other religions don’t enjoy the Christmas celebrations as much as followers of Christ? Jesus was after all born Jewish and under the name of Isa, is regarded as one of the twenty-five prophets of Islam

As proof that this year’s Christmas has not been cancelled by the anonymous PC Brigade, here’s a shot taken of the window of my nearest butcher in Roman Road, Easton. Please supply your own stuffing and cranberry sauce. 😀

Poster reads place your fresh halal turkey order now

Cancelling Christmas has a long history in this country, stretching back to the mid-17th century when, following the English Civil War, the the Commonwealth of England was governed by a parliament dominated by Puritans, who objected to certain practices they viewed as unbiblical, including the long-established feast of Christmas. In 1647, the English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas, replacing it with a day of fasting and considering it “a popish festival with no biblical justification“, as well as a time of wasteful and immoral behaviour. Protests followed: pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and indulged in other practices bound to annoy the killjoys who have been with us ever since.

All of which brings us to the infamous Winterval. Frequently cited as the ultimate Cancel Christmas event, Winterval was nothing of the sort, but a mere two events held in successive winters in November and December 1997 and 1998 to encourage people to return to the newly rejuvenated city centre. These featured secular and religious events marking religious and other occasions, including Christmas, during those two months. Winterval has since become popular shorthand for misrepresented events to “rebrand” Christmas so as not to exclude non-Christians.

Vowel movement on the buses

Bristol Post/Live, the city’s warped newspaper of record, seems to regard accuracy as minor matter coming well down the list of priorities topped by enticing readers to embrace clickbait and serving up advertising.

There are times when the quality of copy that is turned out contain such basic errors that one would only expect them from a child moving from primary to secondary school, of which today’s online edition displays a fine example as per the following screenshot.

Headline reads First Bus cuts ticket prices in Bristol to as law as £1 ahead of Christmas

The comments below the piece really highlight how the title’s more perceptive readers regard its ability to reach any standard exceeding low.

That decision made by Post owners Reach plc some years ago to dispense with sub-editors – those whose specific job it was to check copy for accurate grammar, spelling, tone and content before publication – is continuing to pay reduced quality dividends, isn’t it?

‘Concrete’ Mike pwned

Your ‘umble scribe is not a listener to Rupert Murdoch’s TalkRadio channel, being as it is top-heavy with right-wing presenters and commentators.

Furthermore, its audience compared to other national broadcasters is tiny, with Rajar figures revealing an average national number of listeners of 433,000, i.e. less than the current estimated population of Bristol.

One of those right-wing presenters had a bad day at the studio yesterday.

Step forward one Archibald Michael Graham, otherwise know as ‘Iron’ Mike, former editor of the Scottish edition of the Daily Mirror and former assistant editor of the Daily Brexit (which some still call the Express. Ed.).

Yesterday he’d invited Insulate Britain spokesperson Cameron Ford, onto the TalkRadio breakfast show, where he is currently deputising for the dreadful Julia Hartley-Brewer, ostensibly to discuss Insulate Britain’s latest protest action, but more likely so that Ford could give him a good verbal kicking for the entertainment of the station’s none too large audience.

However, matters did not progress entirely to plan, leaving Iron Mike’s carapace pitted with rust as he ended up displaying his own stupidity, which has now gone viral around the English-speaking world.

Graham’s stupidity was so egregious that the hashtag #ConcreteMike is trending on Twitter today.

The interview, which lasted less than one minute in total, starts with no style at all. Graham launches straight into an ad hominem attack on his guest – a carpenter by trade – claiming that wood is not a sustainable product, before trying to assert that concrete is a sustainable product, before being politely corrected. There then follow a period of silence before Graham ends the interview thinking he’s embarrassed his guest, whilst not having the nous to realise he has opened his mouth and inserted his foot up to the ankle, as per the video clip below.

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