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

K Was at Work with a Saw on the Lock to the Bike he Claimed to Own.

K Was at Work with a Saw on the Lock to the Bike he Claimed to Own.

Kay and I had a chat while he tried to hacksaw through a bike lock. I was intrigued to learn if anyone had asked him if it was his bike. He said no but some had suggested better methods of getting his lock off the bike.  We had a chat about what that might indicate about the people of Bristol. He supposed that they might be highly optimistic, I proposed that perhaps people were selfish and we have lost the ability to interact, if we ever had, at this social level.  We both parted company with food for thought.

Mike Was a Wonderfully Photogenic Dude Who Didn't Want His Photo Taken.

Mike Was a Wonderfully Photogenic Dude Who Didn’t Want His Photo Taken.

I then met Mike the architect. We had a look the building in the photo and he explained to me all the reasons why he was absolutely sure the building had an architect. Mike is an agnostic. I asked him if it was sensible for him to assume the building has a builder even though he hadn’t met him and if it was equally sensible that the created order he sees around came about by the work of the Creator? He acknowledged that indeed that seemed rational.  Another good day in the world logic!


Jake conceived and launched Bristol52 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

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.

Mary, in blue, is producing a short documentary about autumn traditional activity in the UK. We met while she filming the Pipe Walk see: Bristol Culture.  Mary has no defined belief, she said that she doesn’t really know what she believes.  We spent some time examining liars, blasphemers, thieves and adulterers and she gave the impression that these issues need to be graded on a scale.  She also made the point that she didn’t buy into the particular ethical agenda we were considering making it, in her view, of no consequence.  Hopefully she’ll send me a link to her documentary.

Rich wants stuff made in Great Bristol.  Rich believes he can bring transparency to Bristol politics that will end to millions of pounds squandered on consultancy fees and the channeling of desperately needed funds into the manufacturing industry.  Rich and I met in his old local, the Windmill, and he shared with me his beliefs and vision for a Great Bristol.

If you want politicians with real life experience, this forty eight year old, father of one eighteen month old baby, is the mayor for you.  He has:

Experienced death having been stabbed 24 times by a crack addict and lost his spleen

As a manic depressive had a patient’s eye view of psychiatric treatment

Had a lucrative career as a designer

Survived cancer…twice

Experienced mundane factory jobs

and today he lives in a council house

Rich is motivated by a desire to provide work and purpose for the next generation.  He detects a prevailing ambivalence to politics and reckons that our society rests on a knife edge.  As a result he wants to impose tighter reigns on those who govern us and be a civic leader with the will to challenge conventional wisdom.  He’s concerned for the poor and is tired of seeing them take the blame for the country’s economic woes.

Rich sees health and safety legislation crippling and hindering the launch of new business.  As mayor he would liberate business from the shackles of rules that prevent growth and set at zero rates for establishing manufacturing enterprises in their first few years.  He would utterly revise flawed council schemes, cut money wasted on consultancy and get sensible solutions in place:

“everything Brunel did went over budget and worked. As mayor I’ll have a Brunel ‘get on with it attitude’, to see Great Bristol as the hard working manufacturing city it could and should be”.

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:  


Max is that rare breed of open minded older man.  Boy, does he like to talk.  He caught my attention as he practiced his rudimentary Italian in Cafe Nero on Queen’s Road.  When he sat down I asked him about the Roman Catholic Crucifix he was wearing.

Max’s opening gambit was to counsel against over intellectualising matters of belief.  Without prompting he gave me a history of a protestant mother and Roman Catholic father and how he appreciated the ambience of the Roman Catholic services he attended.  Max reckons when you die your body and soul rise to heaven.  Interestingly he qualified this by saying that he was also attracted to the Hindu teaching of reincarnation – Max has a mixed bag of beliefs.

As for being good ‘enough’ to get into heaven he said we cannot know and these things are decided when we die.  Max does his best.  He agreed to the good person test.   It transpires that he’s guilty as charged of lying, blaspheming and adultery at heart!  He was keen to emphasise that our hearts and motives will be judged which is the reason why we do our best ( we didn’t examine the irony of that statement).  Max blends BIble quotes into his conversation and explains how he believes that faith will preserve him when everything else is taken away.  He sees himself living as an exile in footsteps of Adam and Eve who were sent from the Garden of Eden.

Max said that the last ten years had been the steepest learning curve of his life.  He seemed to enjoy our conversation, he was a joy to be with, laughed and smiled with ease and had a wonderful outgoing personality.