Why Bristol Depressed Me, and Other Stories…


It’s not that I feel that Bristol is an intrinsically bad or depressing place. My attitude to it was coloured by the fact that I was a little tired of travelling, tired in general and didn’t entirely want to be there. Also, and this is the key fact, I’d just got back from Iceland. I liked Iceland a lot, despite the twelve hour days I felt almost no stress the entire I was there. There’s something very chilled about the place, and there was almost no traffic congestion, even considering that we drove through the middle of Reykjavik every morning during hush hour. But there’s something else.

I talk quite a bit about how safe I feel in Edinburgh. I’ll walk the length of the city at 3am, no problem. Not that this place is perfect. On my very first night we had to take a diversion on the way back from a night club to avoid a murder scene. But… the last time I tried to walking home after a few drinks back in Maltby a gang of around fifteen guys tried to start a fight with us, and then we had to hide out at a friend’s house and get a lift home in case they were waiting for us further down the road. This wasn’t even in a bad part of town, this was on High Street. Our actions weren’t out of the ordinary, we were just following the drill. Do you get the picture?

It’s not something I generally feel I have to worry about in Edinburgh, sasanack as I may be. In Reykjavik, though, we managed to… hhhmmm… how to phrase this without making myself and my colleague look like complete retards… nope… don’t think it’s possible… leave our belongings unguarded, unwatched and open to theft in an area of town, which, though out of the way, was frequented by the boy racer crowd. Nothing was stolen or even touched. The response we received to our astonishment regarding this: “Well, no… of course it wasn’t.” I didn’t see a single person I would describe as a Ned or a Chav the entire time I was there. Apparently they’re closing prisons down. It was nice.

Then I arrived in Bristol and found my self literally sounded by signs saying “Warning: bag snatchers operate in this area.”, “Pickpockets operate in this area.” and “Remove all valuables from your car.”

That’s what depressed me.

Enough of this talk, though! Here’s some more Jonathon Coulton for you:

I really wish I had a girlfriend right now, ideally one who was also a programmer, so I could giver her these. I’d probably get my arse kicked for it, but damn it would make me laugh…


Flip side

Two updates in one day shocker!

The last one was a little downcast, though, and I felt a need to pass on something awesome by way of balance. Here it is:

Perhaps you’re thinking “Huh? Who’s this guy?” or “What’s with the cake?”. You’ve been missing out if that’s the case. Jonathan Coulton (for that is the man’s name) is a computer programmer turned unlikely rock star (You scoff? He has a song in Rock Band. I’m having trouble thinking of a better benchmark), who’s become something of a geek standard thanks to the somewhat unlikely nature of his subject matter (one song has Pluto’s moon singing its condolences regarding its loss of planet status).

The song itself is the song over the closing credits of the game Portal, which is, quite frankly, an absolute fucking work of art. You probably know that I’m several different flavours of nerd and so JC’s* stuff appeals to me on a fairly base level , but I’m not a hardcore gamer. I have above average social skills, leave the house regularly and I prefer making love to playing computer games. There. I said it, and with a completely straight face. But that game is complete genius, through and through. I think Valve do amazing work in everything they do, and the fact they got JC* to write the song for the closing credits of one of their games makes me grin from ear to ear.

Check out some more of his stuff, it might make you smile. If you do and it does, leave a comment telling me about it, because that would make me smile**.

Update: His website is here http://www.jonathancoulton.com/ And you can buy (and download for free) all his music there.

That is all.

* No, not that JC

** At the risk of me smiling so widely that the top of my head falls off.