Sometimes when I’m striding around Bristol, the sheer deadness of an area kills whatever vibe I’m tentatively carrying with me. It feels like walking into a restaurant that you suddenly realise is empty even though it’s 8pm on a Friday - there is something definitively wrong here. And these places are not shit, like say, The Galleries (which is a brilliantly shit shopping centre, and a place I love to go). These places are awful because they’re totally devoid of any character whatsoever. Not a bad atmosphere, just a complete vacuum, a black hole from which no ambience can escape. In all honesty, they make my skin crawl. Enjoy.
Bonaparte’s, Bristol Temple Meads
I hate money as much as the next left-wing embarrassment under the age of 40. I hate not having it, I hate having it, it makes me feel sick, it makes me feel great, blah blah blah - but if anywhere needs an injection of capitalism, it has to be Bristol’s central train station, Bristol Temple Meads. The food choices, are, honestly, pathetic: there’s an Upper Crust, a vile subterranean Starbucks, scalding hot and stinking pasties from ‘The Pasty Shop,’ WH-fucking-Smiths, and an AMT coffee cart. The booze options are even worse. Imagine the scene: upon arriving at the station fifty-five minutes early because you’re attempting to get to London Paddington without paying (or you’re just really anxious), you’re positively sweating for a pint to delay your GWR-induced tension headache. The only place you can go is Bonaparte’s - Platform One’s questionable answer to a pub, where you can pay five quid for a flat lager and to watch the ITV News on mute while subtitles crawl along fifteen seconds behind. The high ceilings loom above you. It’s freezing. The tables are filthy. And, freakishly (although you’ve had your peripherals trained on the departures board this whole time), you’ve just missed your train.
I reckon this could be such a good space, but there’s just so much echoey nothingness alongside so much stuff cluttering it up. This duplicity of bleakness gives it a strange spaceship-type feel, particularly when the big screen is reverberating across the ever-wet and shiny floor. It gets even more dystopian when there are kids in the shallow water bit and tourists taking photos in the giant globe, because it makes me feel like I’m missing something about the enormous weirdness of the Square that everyone else is embracing. Sometimes you do get to see unskilled skaters stack it hardcore - so that gives Millennium Square one point out of a possible million points (on my internal scoreboard).
That bit where Tesco Express is and like Anchor Road is?
This corridor of doom (apparently named Millennium Promenade) seems to have a new storefront somewhere along it every week. And no wonder - I’ve personally never heard anyone make plans to go there in my life. I wonder what it is about that location that slurps the lifeblood from any restaurant or bar. In theory, it should be great: independent businesses set in the city centre. Me, an absolute quirkster - I should be going for mad for it! In reality, it shrieks of a cold sterility that puts me all the way off.
Why does no one ever walk around Paintworks? You can go there, sit in the car park with a can and not see a soul for hours. So many businesses are supposedly based there, and every other pavement in Bristol is packed - so why are people driving directly to Paintworks, running full-pelt into their offices and staying put in their seats for eight hours straight? I guess there’s actually nowhere to go even if you did want to walk somewhere. When I worked there (for one day), the only sandwiches nearby were sold by the cemetery over the street, which probably indicates something eerie that I don’t want to know about. Everyone that works there probably stays inside for the same reason. Apparently people live here too, but I think that’s an urban legend.
Now this is the kind of vibelessness I can get into, baby! When right-wing columnists slag off the stereotypes of millennials that they believe exist, this is just the kind of place they have in mind. While penning something for The Spectator, they picture us swinging down there with overdrafts burning holes in our pockets and spending the day stuffing £15 tostadas, and gabbing about how much we hate wars. And you know what? Sometimes I do bloody well do that. And I buy a stupid little plant from the stupid little plant shop and I drink a stupid little beer flavoured with stupid little marshmallows, too. Fuck it!!!!!!!!! Let the abyss consume me as I consume myself!!!!!
Tiny distractions from mortal terror: notable stuff I’ve absorbed recently
Videos by Latte ASMR, who is the best to ever do it
The HMRC hold music, right now
The Queen’s Gambit which is fun and makes me want to go and watch live chess?? I’ve not finished it yet, because my brain is rejecting finishing everything atm
SO MUCH of The Final Table, though I don’t care as much about it now there’s only men left
On that note, how the fuck dare they do Hermine so dirty on Great British Bakeoff
On Masterchef: The Professionals now they have one of the judge chefs in a back room to give their feedback through an earpiece now, which is better because they’re much meaner
Below Deck has rotted my mind. I’ll have to write something longer about it because it’s wild
I’m still reading The Body Keeps the Score, which I’ll also have to write something longer about
I’ve almost polished off the main story on Zelda: Breath of the Wild and I’m upset tbh
What would you add to my list of vibeless places? Can you recommend me ANOTHER reality cooking show/coping mechanism? Reply to this email, bb!