Observer Travel LIZ BIRD and JAMES BEDDING sip and stroll their way through the latest releases Sunday May 23 2004 The Naked Guide to Bristol Streakers and strippers beware: you won't learn a lot about the naturist scene here, but you will find a warts-and-all account of Bristol, underbelly included. The first volume in the new Naked Guide series carries all the background history, listings and sightseeing you would expect, along with some unusual suggestions: 'You can have an interesting afternoon touring the vintage public loos of Bristol,' we learn. Most illuminating, however, are the essays and sketches on local life - including language tips (in postcode BS3, for example, 'Soider oi up lanlawd' will get you a pint of cider in a pub); affectionate sketches of local 'characters' such as The Singing Lady on the Stoke Bishop Bus, and Leather Jockstrap Caveman ('a beautiful sight'); and biographies of famous Bristolians: 'Two-thirds of Bananarama'; Nipper the HMV dog; and Julie Birchill, who wrote of 'having a bad dream... It's called living in Bristol'. The Naked Guide to Bristol by Gil Gillespie (Naked Guides) is GBP6.95. The Observer Books Service 0870 836 0885. Bristle Magazine Autumn 2004 (issue 17) Bristol's a city of expanding real estate opportunities, a global player in cutting-edge modernization and with a heritage ripe for rebranding. Luckily this book is refreshingly off-message and doesn't push any of that bollocks. Instead Gillespie takes us by our little clammy hands and leads us through the streets of a more authentic Bristol. Therin he shows us a city that, despite being blighted by perpetual regeneration, retains enough of that blend of groovy experimental noise, nobbly old follies, angry malcontents, dimly-lit real ale pubs, Victorian pissoirs and boxes of organic vegetables, that combine to creat the gurt lush place we all know and love. Nor does Gillespie airbrush out the creeping gentrification, authoritarian restrictions and anti-social crime that so often fuck it up. I've been living here for two years and jotted down 31 things to check out that I haven't got round to doing yet. P'rhaps I should stop scribbling for seditious magazines and get out a bit more? A deep affection comes through in this guide which is probably more of interest to locals than tourists. There are sections on the Bristol Beat, Gay Bristol, Street Art and Radical Bristol (penned with Ian Bone's help). But the real political punch is often in the asides which poke a sharp stick at such evils as the Temple Meads ticket barriers, the post war destruction of Kingsdown and the greedy corporate hands of Sovereign Homes predating upon the cherished Clifton Open-Air Pool. And do we get a mention? 'bristle seems to have gone so far underground that we've not been able to dig one up for a while'. Hmm, we'd better unearth a copy of the shrieking mandrake that is bristle in time for the second edition. Bristol Evening Post A controversial guide gives a warts-and-all account of Bristol aimed at both city-dwellers and tourists alike. New guide tells the naked truth about city. Bristol Evening Post, Seven Magazine BY CRIS WARREN Saturday 24 April 2004 In 1373 Edward lll gave the city of Bristol county status. This single act, following a donation of 600 marks to Edward's French war chest (there's no such thing as a free county), made Bristol independent of political influence from Somerset and Gloucestershire, allowing it to set its own agenda. We might not actually be a county any more (first we were scoffed up by Avon in 1974, then chewed up and spat out in the 90s to become the rather unpalatable sounding "unitary authority" - despite what the signs on the city boundaries may say) but Bristol is still a city very much on its own, and proud of it. We might not get the same attention as, say, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds but Bristol can match them on every level from cultural to criminal. From the melting pot of races and culture that exist within the city since its earliest days as a trading centre, Bristol has developed a unique character that's sometimes hard to get a handle on. And not just for the hundreds and thousands of tourists who visit each year. What it actually is that makes Bristol tick is just one of the aspects of the city that journalists (and Bristolians) Gil Gillespie and Richard Jones have covered in their excellent new guide book The Naked Guide To Bristol. It's a witty, exhaustingly informative look at Bristol, and a must read for tourists and locals alike. "It's a celebration of the city as it was, as it is now and where it's going," says Richard from a window seat in the Watershed, looking out towards Pero's Bridge. "What we've done that differs from a lot of official guides is to show the city in context and how the city and the perception of it has changed, over the years, in some cases quite rapidly recently. "We've highlighted things like The Dug Out club, the Ashton Court Festival, and of course Massive Attack. They've really put Bristol on the map culturally as an international city in the past few years, more than any new building developments or council initiatives. "But it's also about what Bristol means to the people who live here and the issues that are happening in the city now. "I think the book gives a unique perspective. As a tourist guide it points out, alongside the usual suspects, a lot of more unusual but quintessentially Bristolian places to visit that are missing from a lot of guides to the city." The Naked team are more than qualified to write the guide. Gil was brought up in the city from an early age (in fact I was mates with his sister Rhian at Henbury school in the early 80s, and her brother was well known even then for his insight of and connections to the Bristol music and club scene). It's perhaps why he's central to an old North Bristol adage that if you were born in Bristol in the past three decades there's never more than six degrees of separation between yourself and Gil Gillespie. Richard's family, meanwhile, moved to the city when he was six. Both have since distinguished themselves as journalists writing extensively on Bristol and beyond for local and national magazines and papers. "There's a sort of an occasional narrative running through it, based on my experiences growing up here," says Gil, "but it's by no means a biography. Maybe a few 'dear diary' moments that have been worth repeating." The guide is split into three sections. First there's a look at the city as it is, with an in-depth tour of the neighbourhoods that make up greater Bristol, from Westbury-on-Trym to Knowle West. Section Two traces to source the ticking sound that Bristol makes by trawling through the city's history. There are profiles of everyone worth knowing about in Bristol, today and yesterday, from Mad Ernie of The Shakespeare in Totterdown, to Precious Mckenzie, Nick Park and even Nipper, the HMV dog. Then there's Bristol's musical heritage and a guide to what's happening on the music front now. There's a guide to the make-up of its political scene, and information on the place's architecture. Then there's an extensive list of days out to be had in town and beyond, mostly for free, aimed squarely at families with children. Section Three is a selection of the best the city has to offer culturally and socially, with seeringly honest reviews of pubs, restaurants, tourist attractions and events. What's so lively and refreshing about Naked Bristol is the way it captures the city's character so succinctly, casually and, most important, honestly. Both Gil and editor Richard clearly love the city. But they refuse to shy away from the sort of information you won't get in the tourist office, including 'The five worst toilets in Bristol' and the selection of truely terrible pubs and mugging hotspots. "We don't concentrate on the negative aspects at all, but Bristol's a major city and if you want to give it an honest look you can't paper over the cracks," says Richard. Unsurprisingly, Naked Bristol has not arrived without some controversy. Its tell-all brief includes a chapter on Bristol's gay scene. Nothing untoward about that in the 21st Century. Or so you'd have thought. In fact it lost the book its distribution deal. The guide was to have been circulated by Southern Maps Distribution but days before the launch Richard and Gil were told they either had to drop the gay references or find another distributor. "It was fairly mystifying, because initially the impression was that they really liked the book," says Richard. "But it turned out that Southern held strong Christian beliefs and didn't want to be seen promoting the gay scene. They said that since the Bible doesn't promote homosexuality they shouldn't. "Our line, which we're sticking to, is that we won't be censored. The guide should carry all aspects of Bristol life and we see the gay scene as an important part of the make-up of Bristol." " - a refreshingly different look at a special and different city."
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gil Gillespie first started going out in Bristol when he was 14 and has enjoyed or endured many thousands of evenings in the pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs of the city ever since. Remarkably, he has also found the time to carve out a career as one of the most outstanding and outspoken magazine writers in the country and has sounded off about subjects including music, football, television, movies, technology, politics and culture for magazines such as Total Football, Venue, Select, Football Italia, Big Issue, .net Directory, Connect, Focus and Comedy Review. He lives in Bishopston with his long-term girlfriend Lucy and their two goldfish called Bobo and Buffon. Richard Jones first came to the public's attention as the fresh-faced pop page editor of the previously unhappening Bristol Evening Post. From here, he introduced the city to exciting new beat combos such as Massive Attack and Smith & Mighty and was one of the first to document the arrival of the so-called Bristol sound. It wasn't long before he was headhunted by Future Publishing and, despite being a lifelong Rovers fan, offered a dream appointment as the editor of Total Football magazine. He now runs his own publishing company. His passions include roots reggae (1973-1985) and bemoaning the poor standard of night-time recreational facilities south of the river. He lives in Totterdown with his partner Maggie and their two children Caitlin and Mena.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.