Preview: Bristol’s St. Pauls Carnival 2011

“Quite simply the jewel in Bristol’s musical crown” according to Don’t Panic, St Pauls Carnival is one of the biggest events on the Bristolian calendar. The day-long festival is a celebration of the mishmash of different cultures and ethnicities that the neighbourhood is home to, with the dominant influences being African and Caribbean. Starting in the afternoon, the streets of St. Pauls are filled with people, music and the smells of traditional food – and the party lasts long into the evening.

The main event for the carnival is the masquerade procession from 1pm: a string of floats and spectacularly dressed dancers, which will follow this year’s theme African and Caribbean Folklore. If you’ve missed the procession, however, there are plenty more (stationary!) attractions on offer – just go for a wander to discover a variety of stages, stalls and activities..

After the day’s celebrations are over, the music really takes off. During daylight hours the many rigs popping up in the area typically play reggae and world music, but after nightfall the tone changes and you can expect to hear drum and bass, dubstep, hip hop and grime. Festival organisers are remaining tight-lipped on many of the biggest acts, which will be released on the day. However reggae legend David Rodigan has already been confirmed to be performing, and the Brighton Street rig is said to have booked some very special guests for a night of old school jungle. What’s more, if an entire day and night’s worth of activities just isn’t enough, you can take your pick from the plethora of afterparties being set up by Bristol’s clubs.

There is far too much happening at the carnival to be covered in one article – this is just a selection of highlights. So if you’re at a loose end on Saturday the best thing to do is get down to St. Pauls, grab yourself some jerk chicken and go and explore it for yourself. St Pauls Carnival is Saturday 2nd July, this event is free.

Written by Lucy, Bristol


Top 10 things NOT to take to a festival

(1) Bicycle- In theory this seems like a good idea, especially at festivals like Glastonbury where you practically need to hike to each area! However a bicycle is not a good idea, there are far too many people and when you get stuck in the mud you’ll be forced to carry it on your back or, in your no doubt inebriated state, you may just choose to leave it. You’ll then wake up Monday morning and realise the only thing you can get to work on is a 12 year old super mario skateboard. Alternative: Opt for a Mary Poppins style umbrella.

(2) Flip Flops- Many many people make this mistake. Personally I think there needs to be a national advertisement campaign to raise awareness of the perils of the flip flop. These cute, easy-to-put-on, foot cushions are lethal when combined with slippy surfaces, mud or socks.  You’ll spend most of your time trying to scoop your submerged flop out of the mud with your big toe which will obviously result in you toppling over, getting caked in mud like and looking like those crazy swamp monsters you see running around eating dirt and drinking out of the portaloos. The rest of the time you’ll end up getting your feet stamped into waffles by the welly brigade, these guys are well organised and travel in numbers, beware! Alternative: Wet suit boots.

(3) Ipod- “Hey guys, I’ll bring my ipod yeah?” Noo, don’t do it! Firstly you’re at a festival, its nice to absorb the atmosphere and hear the music that you’ve paid to hear. Secondly, you’re presuming that everyone will like your music and this is often not the case and could create conflict, violence and even death (of the ipod). Alternative: Learn the Mockingbird song performed by Harry and Lloyd in Dumb & Dumber and perform in unison to your campsite neighbours.

(4) Wallet/Purse- A wallet or purse is usually a fairly standard accessory in our natural habitat. Even homeless people have wallets. However, a wallet or purse on your possession at a festival is like putting all your cash and treasured possessions in a bin and setting fire to it because you’ll lose the bugger. It’ll then be left like a small treasure chest half submerged in mud for the tent erecting gypsies to collect the next day when they scour the site like a team of militant cockle pickers. Alternative: Stash cash in you underwear or opt for a 60s bum bag, genuine leather of course.

(5) Phone- On one level this seems like an absolutely necessary tool as you may lose your friends, need to swap numbers with other festival goers or get trapped in a portaloo. However, similar to your wallet- you will lose this too. Also before you lose it you will spend half the time ringing your mates telling them “LISTEN TO THIS! CAN YOU HEAR IT??! OH MY GOD THIS IS INSANE!!!!” Rest assured they’re at home in bed and can only hear a distorted mess of noise and will probably hang up. They’ll then no doubt be rung later in the night/morning by a stranger who’s found your phone, winner! Then the battery will die or the person will have a change of conscience. Alternative: Use tin cans and string, leave one can at base camp and even if there is no one at the other end you can find your way back.

(6) Canned Food. Sure you’ll need food, snacks will be vital, especially as you’ve already lost your wallet, phone and no way of seeking any other food assistance. Two words- can opener. On a par with the evasive corkscrew, these alien like monstrosities have a habit of not following you to the festival, you are unprepared and you’re left to try and open the tin with a rock. The only exception to these forgetful people is the welly brigade, they will all have can openers, possibly several, but alas they won’t know how to work it either- no one does. Alternative: Cans with ring pulls.

(7) Cool Box. Chilled beers, wine, cocktails maybe even some bacon for the morning. Trust me, avoid the cool box! After carrying the beast from the car to the campsite you’ll be worn out, the beers will then be drunk, wine devoured and the unfortunate bacon will not last the night. Why? Well firstly, the cool box will at some point regress into ‘a box’, sweltering in the summer sun, reminiscing about its former, more privileged life. Secondly, at some point in the night two things will either happen to it. (1) It’ll get stolen and trust me this is the better option because (a) you don’t have to carry it back to the car and (b) you won’t have to contend with the second issue. (2) Someone will use your cool box as a toilet and you’ll wake up in the morning to look for your bacon and will instead find it stuck to a foreign object resembling a large yuletide log.Alternative: Cool drinks prior to festival.

(8) Padlock. There’s a dilemma that faces all festival goers, you don’t want to take your valuables out with you but at the same time a tent isn’t the safest place to leave them either. Some security conscious festival goers now opt for a padlock to protect themselves against the evil thieves. However this is like a beacon to the robbers and is similar to attaching a helium burberry balloon to your expensive phone as your walk home from a night out. Also the physical nature of a tent means that a padlock attached at one end is about as useful as chocolate teapot. Alternative: Opt for a tent of a comic nature, teletubbies, postman pat, power rangers- these will all suffice. Or pre record audio of a large man snoring and leave it playing on loop.

(9) Inflatable bed. You have a few festivals under your belt and you think to yourself, I’m clever, I won’t sleep on the floor- I’ll go all out and get a £5 inflatable bed or a lilo (depending on what shops are available). You might as well have saved that fiver and used it as a blanket because thats about as much use an inflatable bed is going to be. After spending 4 hours of manual inflating, pushing your lungs to maximum capacity and drawing dangerously close to carbon monoxide poisoning, you’ll then lie on it and it’ll either pop instantly or deflate at some point over the night. The ‘bed’ will then become a flaccid, deflated piece of plastic that will be melted to your body when you rise in the morning. Alternative: Sleep on a matt.

(10)  Pets. Do you ever see pets at a festival? No you don’t and that’s because its not a very good idea. Obviously depending on the pet, some may handle it better than others. For instance a guide dog will be over qualified for a festival, after all, it spends most of its days answering phones, buying groceries, paying bills and mowing the lawn. A rabbit, although domesticated, may adapt to a festival environment- large fields, borrows, abundance of food etc. A turtle would be an annoyance, a snake would be dangerous, a fish would not survive and a cat would just sit there completely unimpressed. Alternative: If you insist on taking a pet, take a sloth. These big lazy creatures would be perfect for leaving outside your tent, keeping guard of your cool box, and great for talking to at the end of the night!

Written by James, The Student Channel

So you want to study in Bristol?

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re either thinking of studying  in Bristol or already have your place reserved for September, and want to know more about student life in the city. Well, ask and you shall receive! This ‘Bristol’ section of the blog should soon be brimming with all the reviews, vouchers, tips and tricks you’ll need to find your way around the city.

I do, however, have one small confession to get out of the way… I don’t and didn’t study in Bristol. However, whilst I might not have three years’ experience of Bristol University or UWE, I do have 18 years experience of the city, both as a local and a student (even if I studied elsewhere), which should make me pretty well-equipped to tell you about all the nights out, cheap eats and local goings on that Bristol has to offer.

I’m about to graduate from Sussex University in Brighton, which is very much like Bristol only without the effortless cool. Other cities have a similar feel, but the thing that makes Bristol special is that it doesn’t even need to try. It’s characterised by graffiti, cider, good music and warm people (Bristol is the most smiley city in the UK), so with the right attitude you’ll settle in quickly. And there really is something for everyone – the city is big enough to host some big events, but is also home to smaller, niche interests.

There is a wealth of clubs, pubs and bars to suit every taste. If commercial, mainstream clubbing is your thing, the town centre boasts plenty of big, popular venues such as Oceana, Syndicate and Mbargo. It’s to here that the majority of students seem to flock, taking advantage of the student nights and drinks deals.

Alternatively, if chart music doesn’t appeal, Bristol is home to a thriving underground music scene. Smaller but well-established clubs Lakota, The Black Swan and Blue Mountain will satisfy all your dubstep, jungle and drum and bass needs.


Casual drinking here caters for all tastes and budgets: for the fashionable drinker Park Street is peppered with trendy bars, whilst those seeking something a little more laid-back can find homely pubs on Gloucester Road or The Apple, Bristol’s popular cider boat, in the harbour. Options for eating out are just as diverse, whether you’re looking for a cheap takeaway pizza at 3am or somewhere to take your parents after graduation.

So if you’ve just accepted an offer to come and study here, congratulations! You’ve got all this to look forward to. And whilst I can’t guarantee you’ll get on with your flatmates or get firsts in your essays, hopefully some pointers on what to do when you get here will alleviate some stress…

Written by Lucy, Bristol 

Don’t Look Back Into the Sun…

The student holiday, alongside graduation ball, losing one’s festival virginity and the infamous Gap Yah, are rites of passage upon which we embark, in the fruitless quest to gain some sort of wisdom. Little do we know; the sarcastic, greasy, spot-ridden bodies in which we reside are so pickled with a noxious concoction of Glens Vodka and Bavaria, that we are wholly impervious to even the mere concept of wisdom. Lets face it, our teeth are the only source of so-called wisdom we possess (and even at that we destroy them by trying to prise steel caps off glass bottles with them).

What we do gain throughout these endeavours is experience and character. Not to mention photographic evidence created with the sole purpose of clogging up one’s Facebook feed and, for an unfortunate few, Chlamydia.

There is something curiously satisfying about the stinging of sunburnt shoulders, salty skin, sweaty clothes and sandy hair. I have just returned from Croatia, a country so intoxicatingly beautiful; her bountiful beaches and picturesque towns shine like a beacon of light amongst a sea of trashy tourist destinations loaded with chundering adolescents…

I spent a glorious seven days in the company of four amazing friends. It was an adventure I’ll never forget. While listing off private jokes, comical stories and gory details would bring me immense satisfaction, it would mean nothing to you. This is why I implore you, students, to go. Go now, while you can still get away with living off four quid a day. Go now, as you pass through what will no doubt be the most carefree years of your life. Go now while you have the chance.

Where you venture is entirely up to you. Contrary to nigh on every landlord in Edinburgh, I don’t think that every student is the same. Granted, every student should, on at least one occasion, go on an outright bender and make a complete and utter twat of themselves involving traffic cones and/or shoe polish whilst abroad. There are those among us, however, who seek more than that which Shagaluf and Ios (barf) can offer. Some have the travel bug, while others have a drinking problem. That’s what we call diversity.

For those among you with the passion to see more than a half-naked chick desperately trying not to swallow her own vomit whilst doing a keg stand, I applaud thee. As for those of you who just read an interpretation of your wildest dreams, I envy you. For yours are the days upon which we reminisce; knowing they cannot be recreated after you start taking red wine too seriously.

Regardless of what path you take on holiday (booze cruise or off the beaten track) when amongst friends, with little more to trouble you than module selection and whether you’ll get tickets to THAT gig, you will never forget your student holiday. For there will never be that same combination of pals, all willing to spend their last dime to be around you, with no particular purpose but to have fun, however that my unfold, ever again. Never. Do whatever it takes to make it happen

Around about the time my friends began to book their flights, a sense of panic overcame me. I had just been fired, had no money and Virgin Media had officially announced my bounty. There was no feasible way that I could afford to jet off for a week whilst living on a diet of nicotine and sultanas.  When faced with a choice like this the lucky student can often turn to parental assistance, student loan or savings for such funding. Unfortunately I wasn’t in such a position. Mother dearest had taken this opportunity to teach me a life lesson on prioritising money, my grant had died a death 20 jagerbombs ago, and saving shmavings- what kind of student has savings anyway…?

It was my sister, the explorer, discoverer, adventurer extrordinaire  who came to the rescue. Upon hearing of my ‘super mature’ decision to forgo my excursion in order to find a job for the summer, she promptly told me I was a fool, and to get some nuts. She spotted me the cash to cover the trip. While the sum in itself  will seem irrelevant in years to come, it meant the world to me that day. For this and every other experience she has given me I thank her. Cheers VonVon.

Befriend the locals; convince yourself you’re a mixologist and make some putrid mess of a cocktail. Break into a boat; teach someone to swim and steal a T-shirt for no reason in particular. Buy chavy hats, and wear them. Follow the crazy guy to the illusive beach party. Wrangle some drinks off crazy sailors and run away. Have sex under water. Take cheesy group photos and live on bread and cheap salami.

Wear suncream, but don’t ever be afraid to get a little burnt.

Written by special_k, University of Edinburgh



Live on the Leeds side of life!

Being a Leeds City College student for a full year has given me the whole slice of student vibes and ways. From finding the hottest chilling spots, and the lowest price for a lunch time bargain, I have it all!

With only having an hour lunch, (or the cheeky two) you have to use it wisely. We found that the restaurant ‘Yates’ is fantastic if your running low on the dollar! With just three pounds you can get a full-blown belly stuffing meal, and a coke! With only a minimum wage job, I can still manage a huge meal and spend the rest on some more junk food!

When Leeds decides to crack the flags, it does! So when the sun shines the people of Leeds come out in all their summer gear, and pitch up their bodies for a day in the sun! Despite being in college we still perch ourselves on a nice pitch of fresh smelling grass behind a church near ‘Merrion Centre’. Even though the grass is a small acre, the atmosphere is fantastic! Students play music, odd water fights and happy chilling.

Leeds also has the perfect place to empty your bank accounts, it has just about every designer and high street shop in ‘Victoria Quarter’! But just be prepared to not have any money left! Anyway, it has the  ‘Merrion Centre’ and ‘St John’s’ centre which are full of all typical shops, and the money-saving pound shops!

Leeds always gives you a successful day out, I go there 3 days a week for college and every time I go I come back with something. Being under age I don’t get the taste the nightlife but I get flyers all the time, which advertise cheap shots and entry! So LIVE ON THE LEEDS SIDE 😀

Written by daaaan17, Leeds City College


Festival season is upon us. Try and ignore it if you can, but alas it’s  everywhere. We kick off with Glastonbury, and naturally this weekend we  will be bombarded with images of wannabe hippies jumping around in  mud, some with fluorescent paint smeared across their faces and  shouting at the camera how “freakin’ awesome life is!”

I hate them all.

Perhaps I’m being harsh, and bitter. This is the first time in five years that  I’m not going to a music festival, and there is a distinctive welly-  boot shaped hole in my summer. I’m jealous of these prancing idiots on      television…because they used to be me.

Some of the best and worst things have happened to me at music festivals (Reading, Isle of Wight, Glastonbury, T in the Park) and I’m fairly certain that these stories illustrate the entirety of the festival experience in all its muddy glory.

I started at Reading festival, like most London teenagers do, to celebrate the publication of the GCSE results. This was the year of 2007 (I’m sounding like an old smug hippy):  the year that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were to stun us all and cement their claim to being one of the best bands in the world. As it turned out they were to stumble on drunk, play old songs no one knew and fight amongst themselves on stage.  Reading bore witness to the hiatus and the disappointing anticlimax of the Chili’s reign. Kiedis, I have yet to forgive you, why? Other highlights of that year included being suffocated in a sea of “mosh” watching Bloc Party. Whenever I hear Bloc Party to this day I get shell-shock like flash backs that make me feel like I’m dying all over again; I ended up with a bruise on the face that day.

When Bloc Party ambled off the stage, unaware of the carnage their music could produce in these drunk teenagers, I was ready to force my way out of the crowd and find a patch of grass, maybe curl up in the foetal position and cry it out. The next band was some unknown band to me that I didn’t care about, I just wanted to leave. Unfortunately the Gods of Reading had other plans and decided to make everyone in that crowd made of concrete, immovable. Then the band came on, and I was still stuck in the mosh pit, (there’s normally an interval of about 45 minutes between each band, so this just goes to show how unsuccessful my attempt at escape was). I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to watch this band. The band was Arcade Fire. They are now my favourite band.

That’s one of the beautiful things about festivals, just keep walking and you’ll find a new band to sample. You’ve paid a lot of money and you get a massive choice. There are fans of these bands who would pay that amount of money to see them by themselves at an arena, where as you get about 30 bands for the price of one (albeit a very expensive one). When I gave Arcade Fire “a try” (not through choice), I was blown away. Watching them was like a religious experience, appropriate with their current “Neon Bible” album release. I’ve never seen them since; I love them but they’re annoyingly elusive little buggers.

Reading’s a special festival when it attracts these sorts of bands (Arcade Fire LOVES Reading). Other times it’s terrifying. Sunday night in 2008 was reminiscent of the scene in The Goblet of Fire when the Death Eaters attack the Quidditch World Cup (a nerdy comparison I know). 2008 was the year of the mighty Killers…who I managed to miss. I made the stupid mistake of going to see Bloc Party again, and being smothered by a guy dressed as Scooby-doo is not part of a fun festival experience. This time I managed to escape, losing my jumper in the process. I stood at the back of the field waiting for friends to find me and I managed to attract a crowd of (very burly) men who came and danced around me chanting tribally; when I moved a muscle they screamed gleefully “we’ve got a live one!” and proceeded to try and lead me to supposedly their tent or possibly man-cave. Luckily at that moment my friends found me (though they took their bloody time!)

My experiences at Reading were the start of my love affair with music festivals. Glastonbury is the kind of place you can go to without even seeing any of the music and have a beautiful time: it’s like hippy Disney land. T in the park was so rainy I think I gained two stone merely from coming home water-logged like a sponge.  T in the Park was annoying in that sense; one of the most fun things at festivals is the clothes that you wear; style magazines are full of articles on festival fashion at the moment. I had planned an outfit for every day (girlishly embarrassing I know) but had to wear the same waterproof coat every day. I looked FABULOUS but no one could tell!

So as the first images of Glastonbury come out tonight I’ll be watching with unspeakable envy, and next year I will definitely be attempting to build up on the stories that I already have. <insert festival name here>2012, HERE I COME!

Written by Catherine, Glasgow Uni