fri 19/08/2022

The Museum of Stokes Croft, Bristol | reviews, news & interviews

The Museum of Stokes Croft, Bristol

The Museum of Stokes Croft, Bristol

A cabinet of urban curiosities marks a thriving alternative arts scene

Banksy's imposing mural, 'The Mild Mild West', is Stokes Croft's main visitor attraction

Bristolians were invited to make history last weekend. The city saw the opening of the Museum of Stokes Croft, a one-room cabinet of contemporary urban curiosities that includes fake neighbourhood relics and archaeological finds, an early Banksy T-shirt, a large, totemistic multi-coloured bear full of mirrored surfaces by street sculptor Jamie Gilman, a cheap plastic urn containing the ashes of “Bear” - a popular homeless street poet who died last year - evocative children’s drawings of local landmarks, quirky fragments of oral history, politically tinged poems, and a map of Bristol’s world-famous underground music scene drawn by Japanese fans, complete with red pencil improvements from “Fat Paul” Horlick, a local music impresario and owner of the Croft, a cutting-edge nightspot a few doors down.

Bristolians were invited to make history last weekend. The city saw the opening of the Museum of Stokes Croft, a one-room cabinet of contemporary urban curiosities that includes fake neighbourhood relics and archaeological finds, an early Banksy T-shirt, a large, totemistic multi-coloured bear full of mirrored surfaces by street sculptor Jamie Gilman, a cheap plastic urn containing the ashes of “Bear” - a popular homeless street poet who died last year - evocative children’s drawings of local landmarks, quirky fragments of oral history, politically tinged poems, and a map of Bristol’s world-famous underground music scene drawn by Japanese fans, complete with red pencil improvements from “Fat Paul” Horlick, a local music impresario and owner of the Croft, a cutting-edge nightspot a few doors down.

Banksy’s imposing mural The Mild Mild West features a cuddly teddy bear flinging a Molotov cocktail at a posse of riot police

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Posting you a sonnet you might like for the Museum, which I wrote for a course, hope you like it - [CAVEAT: I am not advocating painting things on Tesco for which you would most likely get arrested!] Think local, think Turbo, it’s the Wild,Wild West/ where organised chaos brings riots of colour to startle and dazzle, surrounding the viewer with vibrant creations, street-art at its best. It’s a rock-shocking ride, it’s the way to arrest the attention of many a passing consumer, show that living’s more pleasant with wit and good humour./ It’s resistance to Tesco at this here address. So the people objected when those doors came near,/ they marched, they protested, daubed every spare space./ ‘We’re a People’s Republic, don’t want your lot here,/ We’ve got all we need and you’re in the wrong place.’/ If you want to fit in, if you want us to cheer, Let us paint you with planets, transform your bland face.

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