Oh how I love Bristol!
It’s my new Wellington.
It’s arty/musicy, just like Wellington… It’s hilly/viewy, just like Wellington… It’s a bit grungy, just like Wellington.
Plus it’s a university town. So the people are extremely attractive.
And because the university is at the top of the hill (nice planning. Hats off.) both the males and the females have disproportionately nice ‘upper thighs’ (just like Wellington).
It’s also where Leondom and Monique wisely live.
So James and I went and visited them the other weekend which was awesome.
Seriously, this is my kinda town.
- It’s on the Avon river -which I like because I am a nerd
- It’s in a region that is older than England
- It’s Wales-adjacent
- It has some of the earliest evidence of human life anywhere in Western Europe
- Parts of it were once owned by the Templars and there are still ruins that attest to that around town if you can be bothered finding them (I was)
- It’s equidistant from Merlin’s birthplace (in Wales) and King Arthur’s (in Cornwall)
- It only need cost five pounds (on a pikey bus, admittedly) to get there
And like another city beloved by me for bizarre reasons, it has strong historical connections to the slave trade.
Not only are some of the large houses on the hill built with slave trade profits, but there is a pub which James and I spent hours getting hammered at that is associated with the very beginnings of the Abolition Movement.
Whilst there, Monique kindly road-tripped us to a place I have wanted to visit for more than twenty years. Avebury.
One of the things that interested me about moving to Britain -indeed probably the single determining factor- is that I wanted to go somewhere where I was Maori.
I never wanted to ‘go to London’. It’s just a city. They have great galleries and you can buy heaps of shit there. But if I wanted that I never would have left Sydney for NZ.
Instead, what I wanted was a cure to the weird little mindfuck that is learning history in the colonies.
In both Australia or NZ, you go two hundred years back -then you jump cultures- then you carry on learning. Now, I frikking loved learning Aboriginal history/prehistory at school. It’s one of the great stories of human migration/colonisation.
But there was a sense -I hope people understand what I mean here- that Aboriginal history was “real” and mine was somehow… imaginary? It was quite jarring to stand on the soil and know that you have a cultural relationship with it that is only a couple of hundred years old and then it switches to someone else.
Somewhere in the back of my brain there is a piece missing out of my ‘cultural identity jigsaw’.
And if I’m completely honest this sense that there is a ‘piece missing’ has informed a large part of all the adventures of my life… Shooting a documentary about a vanished culture… Forcing another country to ‘adopt’ me, greedily and wholeheartedly consuming it’s own cultural story… Then this particular move…
Avebury is important because it’s part of that.
And the fact that the whole area (South Wales/Severn Valley/Cornwall) have evidence of occupation going back 700 000 years.
Well I’m well and truly Maori there.
What I am saying is that the trip was brief but… Important.
And that I’m still processing it.
There’s video of it and other Bristolean things but that will have to wait.
There are also some more -potentially quite exciting- stories I want to tell about Bristol but can’t at this late stage.
How do you like that?
If you’ve read this far I started off talking about 18 year old asses -then got borderline racist- and finally ended up demonstrating my connection with 700 000 year old early paleolithic remains.
Who rocks you like I do, baby?