In Harry Bastard’s impressive ‘Spots’ guide (2001) he takes a rather cursory look at Bristol, providing a double page spread of black and white photos, and a double page spread of Bristol locals (London is dealt with over 12 pages, and features more local faces). The short look at Bristol is down to the epic scope of the project. Throughout the book he travels to over 33 different scenes and takes tons of individual photos, splicing them together for larger spots, such as Lloyds, to create panoramas. The book was a two year labour of love – a fact that resonates with us, the grateful readership. When I read it in the mid 2000’s it offered up a wider UK scene, from the bus stations of Milton Keynes to the brick quarters of Portsmouth.
The panorama of Lloyds sews together 7 photos, showing the space well. In 6 photos, near the end of the book, is Yate’s Lloyds replica three set. The photo shows the now removed needle thin and kerb high rail that ran down the set (until, as rumour has it, a rollerblader got hurt on it). When I last went the steps had been plumped up with a fat flat coping which was raised above the ledge by some dodgy cement work.
The Deaner is also pictured, without the newer DIY modifications, and there is a passing reference to College Green as a meet up spot. On the left side is a neat map, emblazoned with a 5050 logo and letters marking each spot.
In the preface Harry Bastard encourages us to travel the UK so that we may meet other people and skate different spots. He also asks for our contributions, to be sent in via self-addressed postcards on the back page. The book is now 15 years old and I wonder if the Brighton postal address is still correct. Perhaps there would be some additions to make, and even some defunct spots to omit.
And so, in this nostalgic mood, we spent a rainy Sunday shooting skate spots in an effort to update the entry on Bristol.
Fire Hydrant Dream Ledge
One addition to the book would have to be Bristol’s premier faux US plaza ledge spot, which is just off Bath Street and should have a busy year. So far, in small groups we have managed ten minute sessions there, so long as you approach in stealth mode. The seemingly functionless red fire hydrant offers the perfect American backdrop to the ledges, willing our suspension of disbelief on into the sunset.
Daveside, Cumbo, St Paul’s, and M32. If the DIY modified cycle path were to feature in an updated Spots it would surely have to be photographed with the Clifton Suspension Bridge behind it, and with Hotwells urbanely tottering down the hillside. The only problem with said path is that rarely, cyclists get knocked into the bushes as they cannot seem to predict how skaters move. One time I saw this happen and a lady came out of the bush with thorns in her chin.
St Paul’s Four
When we went here we met a young, pale boy who asked us if we wanted to see a knife. He then went to a bush and pointed, repeating the question. We said no, and left, not wanting to make a horror film style mistake.
A bust at most hours, but fun. When they drain bits new ledges emerge, Atlantis style.
Bristol’s take on the NYC bump to bar – the bump to boat tie.
Located along the waterfront, make sure board blockers are in place and alert.
Recently got a ledge installed. Plenty of flat land and wooden objects.
Cabot bench spot
Must pop in and out over a gap, BMT style.
Lots to explore around here, offering a nice stop off point between Lloyds and St Paul’s.
And finally, College green
As Harry Bastard himself says, a “good meeting spot”.
This piece hopes to modernize the ‘Spots’ guide, and is not a comprehensive list. Please send any suggestions you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any spots you feel we should include.