I am back in Bristol, my new favourite city, and this time we meet at The Bank of Stokes Croft.
It’s not a bank anymore, of course, in the the way that nothing is what it used to be. It’s a bar and pizza place. And Dave does the honours and Dawn takes the orders and there’s no sign of Faith or Hope, though Charity refuses to give a man 40p to buy a drink. What’s the use? At least he’s honest, but he is still getting nowhere. Maybe he thinks the place is still a bank.
And outside on the wall there’s a Banksy and a whole house across the street is graffiti-pink, and there’s art on the gates and fences and there are printing presses and galleries, and it feels like a special place here.
And down in the square at 3:30am the people are gathering. But this isn’t Cairo, there’s no day of reckoning or explaining or leaving, no – I’m a dictator get me out of here – moment. Not now, not yet. It’s just another night of emptiness and drink, drink and emptiness.
And down in the square at 3:30am the people are gathering round the burger van, doing a deal on the meat and chips (a snip at Â£4, that’s ten donations to our gentleman friend). And the girls totter and the boys wobble and the boys and girls bundle and fall into the taxis queued up on College Green.
And up the hill, outside the Washington, there’s a blackbird singing. And after the night on the Boom Boom it’s the most beautiful sound. and I say hello, but he doesn’t reply. So some things do stay the same after all.