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arronP1010193

Aaron loves his music. He’s been singing and playing guitar in Somerset and recently moved back to the big city to study music business management. Aaron had an epiphany two weeks ago and has determined that he is going to walk the Pennine Way. He’s enjoying settling into Bristol where he’s soaking up the community and culture. He loves real music, organising events and entertaining. We had a fascinating chat about life’s reason and purpose.  He kinda sorta believes that the world came together in a great cosmic accident.  I really hope he takes the opportunity to go to the open mike night at the Star and Dove.

Sam and Work

Sam and Work

Ever been to Turkey and had a hot towel shave? When now you need travel no further than fresh cuts on Stapleton Rd. My Kurdish barber’s name was Rim and worked alongside the business’s owner, Sam, who is from Istanbul. The enterprise, that has been up and running for 4 months, was thriving when I visited for a close shave.

A Thriving Enterprise

A Thriving Enterprise

A Local Institution.

A Local Institution.

There is no better place to meet real Bristolians than the Star on Stapleton Road. Ruth was  basking in the spring sunshine while John the landlord cleared butts from the previous night’s festivity. He said that the Star is a proper, ‘boozers pub’. The boarded window is from Sunday night when thieves broke in and made off with a wad of cash. According to the police this was one of a string of thefts in the area over recent weeks. John says that it’s not even worth claiming the insurance because of excess.  And he seemed kinda sceptical that the perpetrators would be apprehended, tried and punished.

The Star

The Star

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Jake conceived and launched Bristol52 http://bristol52.tumblr.com/ His motive? To provide a means for his hometown’s enterprises and businesses to flourish.  It’s an idea that started in Sweden.  He reports a good year and has ideas bouncing around for the next.  Bristol52 is a personal project and he told me how it’s had a great year, including a wonderful story from the Youth Charity, Off the Record http://www.otrbristol.org.uk/

Jake was born in Bristol, studied at UWE and is now providing business to business services in one of the city’s leading corporate enterprises.  He clearly loves his city and is keen to see it’s eclectic range of businesses flourish.  He’s the genuine article; he was born, schooled, and married here and his wife has only recently given birth to their first daughter.

Don came to visit us during Art on The Hill with a story.  He’s a member of the Withywood University, a group of ‘eccentrics’ who gather each Thursday in the Old Bungalow.   The founder is Sir Anton Bantoc, an historian and philanthropist.  His friends include Simon Cowell and Max Clifford, Don is one of those ‘crazy Christian’s’, who accepts the Bible as God’s Word and Jesus Christ as God entered into human history on a rescue mission to take punishment we all deserve for our sins. You can see him on Britain’s Got Talent on this link:  

Andy the Plate Man

Andy and I met on the M5 entry ramp at Exeter.  He is in the vehicle delivery business.  He has no problems getting rides when hitching, one time he got a lift all the way from Edinburgh to his home town of Myrthyr Tydfil.  There are all kinds of interesting folks to meet. Last week a vicar gave him a BIble and told him it contained the answers he needed and a week earlier a Christian born again type gave him a lift and claimed she had, ‘sensed’ she needed to speak with him.  I on the other hand sensed he needed a lift because he was standing on the side of the road with his plates asking for one!

Andy believes all kinds of stuff, including reincarnation.  He is convinced there is more to life than the merely physical because of his repeated experiences of knowing places that he has never been to.  His folks and sister are Roman Catholics.  Andy failed the good person test and happily confessed his guilt as a liar, thief and adulterer at heart however, he was not inclined to accept the idea of divine justice.  He depends on being a good person, and resisting the urge to knock people out, he’s a big unit and when in the Army played rugby in the pack.

Andy has been through a traumatic season.  He’s seen hell and would not want his worst enemies to share his experiences.  I asked how the idea of just punishment through a place of torment and fire after death didn’t concern him given his brush with suffering.  He was kinda circumspect.  Being with Andy was a delight.  He sang songs from the Rhonda valleys, recited Max Boyce poetry, and shared a song he had composed for his teenage daughter’s college band called, ‘It’s Tough being a Teenage Girl.

Magic Ingredient The Hickory Wood Chips

A glorious sunny day, and 40kg of pork barbecued and sold off in an hour and half!  This is a businessman who loves and believes in his product.  Inspired by TV and American friends he launched Grillstock .  Three years later he has set up a business in St Nicolson’s Market Bristol which has all the attributes necessary to be a roaring success.  This is pedigree entrepreneurialism.  John used  to be a marketing dude and an enthusiastic home cook.  He’s partnered with a branding and signage buddy and they are off. Look out.