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Bristol Stuff

Jack O’Sullivan: Family issue appeal after 23-year-old son remains missing after one month in Bristol

 

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Jack, 23, was last seen at around 3.15am on Saturday, March 2 in the area of Brunel Lock Road/Brunel Way of Bristol

CCTV images have revealed the last known whereabouts of Jack O’Sullivan, who was reported missing one month ago today. Jack, who has turned 23 since he went missing on March 2, was last seen at around 3.15am in the area of Brunel Lock Road and Brunel Way after attending a birthday party in Hotwells.

Speaking in the exact spot Jack was last seen, Jack’s parents said: “We’re here to appeal for any information regarding our son Jack O’Sullivan who’s no been missing for 31 days. He was last seen in this exact spot, just behind us.

“I would just ask if anybody has any information or sightings around 3.12am in the morning on Saturday, March 2 – you may have just been in the area and just noticed something that was slightly out of character, somebody wandering around. We’re just asking because we really need to find him.”

Also speaking at the site of Jack’s last confirmed location, senior investigating officer DI Jason Chidgey said: “This is an incredible difficult and distressing time for Jack’s family and friends and we are continuing our efforts to try and find him. It has been one month since Jack was last seen down in the Cumberland Basin area and we continue to appeal for anyone who may have been driving along these roads and may have seen something, or have dashcam footage if they did not see it themselves.

“If you live in the area and have CCTV or video doorbells, please check back to Saturday 2 March and see if you notice anything or anyone meeting Jack’s description. The smallest bit of information could make a huge difference in our investigation so, even if you don’t think it is important, we encourage people to still get in touch with us.

“We are keeping an open mind about where Jack is but this is very out of character for him and we have been working hard to track his movements that night.

“Detectives have carried out extensive CCTV trawls, house-to-house enquiries, we have deployed a specialist dive team to search the basin and the wider River Avon – due to Jack’s proximity to the river when he was last seen – and have been looking at his phone and why that was active after his last confirmed sighting.”

A map showing the route Jack took before his last confirmed sighting at 3.15am (blue arrow).

Jack is described as white, around 5ft 10ins tall, of slim build, with short, brown hair. He was wearing a quilted green/brown Barbour jacket, a beige woollen jumper, navy chinos and brown leather trainers with white soles when he was last seen.

Speaking to BristolLive previously, mum Catherine O’Sullivan said she stayed up and waited for her son to return from a night out with friends in Hotwells, but fell asleep after he texted at 1.52am that he would get a taxi home. Avon and Somerset Police said he then tried to call a friend who remained at the party at 3.24am.

When the friend returned the call 10 minutes later, he answered but only managed to say “hello” before the line cut out. However, officers said his phone remained active on the Find My Friends app up until 6.44am.

If you see Jack, please call Avon and Somerset Police immediately on 999 and give the reference 5224055172 to the call handler. If you have any other information about his whereabouts, or have some footage which could aid our investigation, please call police on 101 or through the website at www.avonandsomerset.police.uk

Bristol’s reggae sound system tapes digitised to preserve history

Bristol’s reggae sound system tapes digitised to preserve history

 

Ashish Joshi (centre) with Norton Stewart 'Snoopy' (left) and Maurice Gayle 'Skyjuice' (right)
Ashish Joshi (centre) with ‘Snoopy’ (left), Unique Star Sound System and ‘Skyjuice’ (right) Enterprise sound system

A reggae enthusiast has said digitising and publishing live recordings of sound systems from the 1970s and 1980s will help preserve the genre’s history.

The sound systems movement saw huge banks of speakers built into houses and on the streets in St Pauls, Bristol.

Ashish Joshi has been collecting “dozens” of tapes in Bristol and other cities before they “disappear forever”.

He said videos and audio tapes allow people to see and hear the music in its heyday and “feel what it was like”.

The reggae sound systems movement is understood to have influenced different artists including locals Ronnie Size and Massive Attack.

Mabrake photo
Mr Joshi said the sounds tapes were a staple diet for Reggae fans

“As it was developing in the 70s, 80s and 90s, the music was so special, the music came from the heart and a lot of that music you don’t hear nowadays,” Mr Joshi said.

“It comes from centuries of oppression and was basically put into an audio art form that people could feel.”

He said it is one thing filming veterans from back in the day, and them telling you how great it was, but young people can appreciate what the vibes were like if they can hear the music and be virtually transported back in time.

Jah Lokko sound system
Mr Joshi said it is vital young people get to hear the original tapes

With mainstream radio not playing much reggae music, and before the advent of Bristol’s Black pirate radio stations during the latter part of the 1980s, Mr Joshi said reggae sound tapes were an important source of keeping up to date with the latest releases.

“They were basically live recordings of reggae sound system dances on tapes, recorded by owners of the sound system and captured the atmosphere, sounds, dance and music played at functions,” he added.

“You can hear the sound system guys talking to the crowd as well as introducing the tunes being played and also rapping over the tunes… it is an authentic experience of reggae music at that time.”

Tapes were copied and passed between friends and families, offering a cheap way of hearing the latest Reggae music at a time when unemployment was high in the Black community, Mr Joshi said.

DJ Snoopy
DJ Snoopy said the reggae sound system culture gave him a focus and helped keep him out of trouble

DJ, operator and mic man Snoopy said the movement helped him through life and “kept me out of trouble”.

He played in the city in 1976 after seeing “one on my cousins with a speaker in his hand… [and I knew] I just wanted to get involved”.

“Bristol was the talk of the world,” he said. “You had the Bamboo club and wherever people were in the country they all wanted to come to Bristol for the sounds and the Bamboo club.

“Just walking into St Paul’s… [was] pure energy. It was like being home. Like your motherland. The beat of the drum, the tone and the chorus… music was a message and it kept people on the straight and narrow,” he added.

Skyjuice
Skyjuice said hearing the music in the 80s was like being on a journey “it’s like freedom”

DJ Skyjuice said sound systems are a “mobile music discotheque and about the hype, the amplitude of the music we’re playing and the vibe”.

“It’s not just how it sounds, it moves you emotionally. You’re on a journey… it’s like freedom.”

With about 800-1,000 watts in one speaker, that is banging out the bass notes, bottom notes, he said.

“Most stereos aren’t going to give you what a sound system is giving you. It gets people in a funny way. It’s excitement,” he said.

A picture of men taken during a reggae session
Mr Joshi wants young people to experience what the atmosphere and vibes were like back during the heyday of Reggae sound system culture

Mr Joshi, who has self-funded collecting, digitising and publishing the sound systems, said: “Sadly a lot of these sound tapes have been thrown away since many people haven’t got the equipment to play them anymore.

“So if I hear there’s a tape someone needs restoring or putting on digital file or video, I’m there like a shot.

“Reggae sound system was the beginning. The guys that were into Drum and Bass and the rave scene and house music all got their roots in the reggae sound systems [and] people like Stormzy.

“So the sound systems are an important historical record of reggae sound system culture in the UK,” he added.

The St Pauls Carnival legend ready to bring Ghetto Force back

Selecta Watson looking ahead to the return of St Pauls Carnival 2023
Selecta Watson is looking ahead to the return of St Pauls Carnival 2023

A stalwart and legend of St Pauls Carnival has spoken of his excitement that the iconic Bristol event is back for the first time in four years.

And Selecta Watson has confirmed he will be bringing his Ghetto Force sound system to the stage in Portland Square, where thousands will party the day and evening away on July 1.

It’s the first full-scale St Pauls Carnival since 2019 – the pandemic stopped the party in 2020 and 2021, and last year’s was a series of smaller community events. And for Selecta, it will be a triumphant reconnection to something that’s been a huge part of his life for 40 years, and a return to his natural home – curating and MCing some of Bristol’s top talent in a wide range of musical genres on the day.

 

Selecta has been involved in carnival for as long as he can remember. He went from a child helping out at a family stall to being a key member of the organising committee, and staging the most popular and enduring sound system.

“I think the first time properly helping and doing something for the carnival was when I was about nine or ten,” said the St Pauls Carnival legend, who is now 49. “My uncle ran a stall on Brighton Street back then, and I would help him all day on that.

“I kept to that until I was maybe 18 or 19, and I was starting to get more and more into music. I was playing at christening and weddings and parties. My uncle’s good friend Rene ran a sound system called Godfather Sounds, which was always set up outside the Inkerman’s pub, and I think in about 1990 or 91 he said to me ‘why don’t you play with me at St Pauls Carnival?’ he asked me and I went along that first year, and started doing that every year,” Selecta said.

Looking back now, Rene was mentoring Selecta to take over what at the time was an already well-established and important sound system at carnival.

“He was an old guy back then and he took a step back a bit, but he was so important for me. He taught me how to set it all up, doing all the wiring, create a good sound system, and he showed me how to do things. I have just got so much love and respect for Rene. He said to me he wanted me to keep things going, and I promised him I would. He would just be so happy if he could see how it’s grown now,” he said.

The Ghetto Force stage at St Pauls Carnival in 2013
The Ghetto Force stage at St Pauls Carnival in 2013 

Selecta took over in the early-1990s, and in the mid-90s he joined famous Bristol pirate radio station Ragga FM, and for two years used the stage at the Inkerman as a platform for Ragga FM DJs.

By around 1998, it became the Ghetto Force stage, and for the past 25 years that’s been the name now synonymous with Selecta, through music nights at venues around Bristol and beyond, and there’s even a range of clothing with the GF brand.

An image from the police helicopter taken in 2012, showing the scale of the crowds at Selecta Watson's Ghetto Force stage outside the Inkerman in St Pauls at St Pauls Carnival
An image from the police helicopter taken in 2012, showing the scale of the crowds at Selecta Watson’s Ghetto Force stage outside the Inkerman in St Pauls at St Pauls Carnival 

“The stage has had changes over the years,” he reflected. “Back in the 2000s we were the only ones doing competitions, the dancehall king and queen, and I built it up so we had a national reputation – artists would want to play on the Ghetto Force stage. When I first started we had maybe ten people dancing in front in the street, and I remember that vividly. Now, we have thousands,” he added.

In the 2000s, Selecta got involved in running the entire event, and was a prominent figure in the carnival organising committee for many years. “I knew that it wasn’t enough for me to just do my stage, that if the event was to happen, then it needs people to step forward and help, so I did,” he said.

The carnival went through a few turbulent years in the 2010s, and has since been taken forward with a new organisation and board, but Selecta will still be heavily involved on the day, but in a different location.

After 2017, such was the crowds of previous years, organisers re-jigged the spaces and decided that Ghetto Force was so popular it needed to be in Portland Square. So in 2018 and 2019, thousands danced the day and evening away in the stage’s new location, only for the pandemic to cut the party short since then.

This year, Selecta is back with the motivation of three missed years to make up for, and determined to make the Ghetto Force stage the place to see Bristol artists shine.

“It’s all about giving Bristol artists a platform, and showing the people what Bristol is all about. I want to get Bristol artists to a certain level, and it will be a wide range of music, we’ll have reggae, R&B, hip-hop, Afrobeats, garage, drum n bass and jungle, and be a good mix of MCs, artists and DJs,” he said. “Portland Square is going to be crazy.”

Selecta Watson and rap star K-Ners, looking ahead to the return of St Pauls Carnival 2023
Selecta Watson and rap star K-Ners,

The list of artists already set to appear on the Ghetto Force stage includes K*Ners, Asher Simmons, Rass Kelly, Frilla, Dash Villz, reggae singer Alicia Scott, from Cardiff, Bristol’s top drum n bass and jungle syndicate Urban Front Sound, and other sound systems and artists. “It’s going to be amazing. I know Rene would just be so happy,” said Selecta.

 

‘Banksy is still keeping us going’ says Bristol youth club years after mural sale

It was one of the priciest art pieces ever to appear on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow
It is understood to have sold for more than half a million pounds

It was one of the priciest art pieces ever to make its way in front of the experts on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, and the sale of a Banksy mural is still said to be supporting a Bristol youth club nine years later. Part of The Riverside Youth Project, Broad Plain Boys’ Club in Easton gained international attention when it sold a Banksy work with the artist’s blessing, after finding it on a boarded-up doorway outside.

Dennis Stinchcombe, who has been the club leader for 47-and-a-half years, was the first person to find the creation, which showed two lovers embracing while both are staring at their phones, but believed it was the work of vandals. He only discovered the artist behind the piece – entitled Mobile Lovers – was Banksy, after fans and film crews descended on the building.

It’s understood that Bristol’s elusive street artist was a former club member – and this was his attempt to help keep the project alive after a lack of funding meant it could be forced to close. Dennis later took the artwork onto the Antiques Roadshow, where it was valued at £400,000 but later sold for a reported £563,000 to a philanthropist.

Speaking about the legacy of the sale, Dennis said this week: “Banksy was a member of the club when he was a young boy of 14 or 15, you see. I believe he saw our appeal for money to save the club and wanted to give back. I wouldn’t ever reveal what his name is and who he is, but he went to the club and grew up around here.

“When there was a lot of publicity for it, there was a man outside who told me to take the painting off the door so it didn’t get damaged – to this day, I believe that was him as well.

“We still have about £20,000 left of the Banksy money in our account, so it’s still keeping us going. It’s not just the money that helps us; having his name behind us helps us enormously to keep us going.”

Dennis’s wife Edna, 66, who also runs the club, added: “We’re very grateful [to Banksy]. He’s become a major part of our lives, and just having his name behind us has given opportunities to thousands of children in Bristol. It’s amazing.

“I must say if he ever wants to help again, it would be nice if he could do it on my house next time so we could have a nice retirement!”

Broad Plain offers boys the opportunity to participate in sports and recreation activities to help them “realise their full potential”.

Dennis said  “Established over 128 years ago, the youth club I run is one of the oldest in the country and keeping it going has been my life’s work.

“We help hundreds of children every year, providing a safe space where they can go and keep them off the streets, and I’ve helped run it for 46 years – so I was devastated when financial troubles threatened to close us down.

“Things came to a head in 2013 when I had a triple-heart bypass and spent six months in recovery. Looking back, I think, in part, this was caused by the stress of constantly trying to secure funding to keep the centre open.

“We were six months from closing, and once I was better, we started a new fundraising campaign. Banksy – who, unbeknown to me, had been a member of the club when he was around 14 – must have read about it.”

The 67-year-old said he was with his son when they spotted the artwork on a door outside the club. He said: “I thought it was amazing, but didn’t for one second think it was a Banksy – until suddenly, two days later, loads of people descended after the artist himself had posted a photo of the piece on his website.”

Dennis admits he “thought there’d been a murder” because of the number of cameras and film crew outside, and while he was thrilled to have an authentic Banksy etched on the door of his club, a fight then broke out with the council over who owned it.

Luckily, the artist himself settled the dispute. Dennis says: “Banksy sent a letter to me confirming it belonged to me, and it was stored in the museum for safekeeping.

“It was valued at £400k and later sold for £563k. I can genuinely say it transformed and changed the lives of so many.”

Dennis and his team donated £96k to other youth groups in the area, which he says has helped thousands of young people access youth work. They were also able to buy two new minibuses, as well as install central heating and replace old equipment.

Dennis told the Sun: “Most importantly, we were able to keep going. In monetary terms, the art was sold for hundreds of thousands, but to us, it was absolutely priceless. To us, it was priceless – I can’t thank Banksy enough.”

The transformation of Bristol Temple Quarter is one of the UK’s largest regeneration projects

Temple Quarter will become a world-class gateway to the region that unlocks our city and the West of England’s potential. A series of well-connected and thriving mixed-use communities will benefit new and existing residents, employees and visitors with new homes, jobs, infrastructure and opportunities.
With Temple Meads railway station at its heart,

Temple Quarter will reflect Bristol’s past, present and future to become a blueprint for sustainable and inclusive city regeneration.

 

Temple Quarter sits at the heart of Bristol, one of the UK’s most productive and fast-growing regions and a focal point for the West of England’s £39bn economy.

Temple Quarter will transform over 130 hectares of brownfield land over the next 25 years into a series of thriving, well-connected mixed-use communities. The regeneration of the area will deliver 10,000 new homes in a mix of types and tenures, including much-needed new affordable homes. 22,000 new jobs will be created, bringing inclusive economic growth to the city and new opportunities for Bristol’s citizens, alongside £1.6bn annual income to the city economy.

Tackling the challenges posed by the climate crisis and a changing employment landscape head-on, the regeneration will build on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to put low-carbon, climate-friendly homes, jobs, and opportunities at the heart of the city, alongside new green spaces and an 18-hour economy, where visitors and residents can live and work and spend time.

A refurbished Temple Meads Station will build on its role as the region’s largest transport hub. Work will preserve the heritage of Brunel’s historic station while creating a gateway to Bristol and the West of England that is fit for the 21st century. Works in and around the station will be a catalyst for change, unlocking opportunities for new homes, jobs and public spaces in St Philip’s Marsh. Public transport, walking and cycling will all be made easier, creating a greener, better-connected city region.

Communities and businesses – new and existing – will co-exist within residential, commercial, leisure and cultural areas, supporting a thriving 24-hour economy that works for everyone.

The new University of Bristol Enterprise Campus will bring cutting-edge innovation, education, and skills to the area, boosting Bristol’s reputation as a centre of knowledge and enabling world-leading research and development to link with and work alongside local and regional businesses.

Temple Quarter will have social value at its core, contributing to a fairer and more equitable city that benefits all communities during and after construction; helping to create a city region in which everyone has a stake, and no one gets left behind.

To make this happen we will be ambitious and work together. The project partners, Bristol City Council, the West of England Combined Authority, Network Rail and Homes England, have come together to create this vision and we will work collaboratively with Bristol’s citizens to help shape a successful future for Temple Quarter that showcases what can be achieved by public sector organisations working in partnership.

Bristol: Reggae orchestra launches Windrush Choir

Ms Rose said working with the choir was “just an absolute joy”

An orchestra has celebrated the 60th anniversary of Jamaican independence from the UK by launching a Windrush choir.

Bristol Reggae Orchestra recently launched the Windrush Reggae Choir, led by voice coach Gena Rose.

The six-month project will learn from the Windrush generation and their descendants, using funding from the government’s Windrush Day Grant Fund.

Ms Rose said the singers were “absolutely brilliant”.

The choir is one of 35 projects across England given a share of £500,000 to deliver projects which commemorate the history and contributions of the Windrush generation to British culture.

The orchestra has been awarded funding through the Windrush Day Grant Fund to bring together a reggae choir
American-born Gena Rose rehearsed with the choir in St Agnes Church in Bristol on Wednesday
Leader Becky Scott said: “Lots of people in the community like to sing and wanted to get involved.”
The project will culminate with a gala event on 22 October

Funeral details of Bristol civil rights activist Roy Hackett released

They will lay the Bristol Bus Boycott organiser to rest on 16 September

Relatives of civil rights pioneer Roy Hackett are inviting the city to celebrate his life during a day of remembrance next month. The community activist, who helped organise the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott which paved the way for the Race Relations Act 1965, died on 3 August aged 93.

Mr Hackett was made an OBE for his lifelong fight against racism in 2009, an honour followed up with an MBE in 2020. His high-profile fans included Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said the Bristol Bus Boycott “should be taught in every school”.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1928, Mr Hackett travelled to Britain in 1952 as part of the Windrush generation. He lived in Liverpool, London and Wolverhampton before settling in Bristol.

There, he found that the owners of boarding houses would not rent to him because of his colour, and he spent his first night sleeping in a doorway. In 1962 his wife Ena applied for a job as a bus conductor with the Bristol Omnibus Company and was refused, despite being qualified.

Inspired by Rosa Parks’ actions in America, Mr Hackett formed a pressure group with Owen Henry, Audley Evans and Prince Brown to fight the colour bar on Bristol’s buses. Supported by senior Labour party politicians, their action was successful when the bus firm announced an end to their ban on non-white employees.

The “born activist” continued his work as a community leader and mentor to Bristol youths, establishing the Commonwealth Coordinated Committee and the St Paul’s Carnival – one of the biggest of its kind in Europe.

His remembrance event will take place at Elim Church on Jamaica Street from 11am on Friday September 16, followed by burial at South Bristol Cemetery and a wake at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.

Anyone seeking further information about the day is asked to telephone Adams Funeral Directors on 07860555133 or email craig@adamsfuneraldirectors.co.uk.

Small independent Cafe opens in Cristol Bristol.

Small independent Cafe opens in Cristol Bristol.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-bristol-61094211

Bristol man’s garage is now tiny coffee shop measuring 3ft by 6ft

A Bristol man who opened a tiny coffee shop inside his garage says he hopes it will contribute to his neighbourhood’s growing sense of community. Rob Savage sells cakes, coffees and cups of tea from his garage, which measures just 3ft by 6ft in size.

The enterprising neighbour converted the space along Lancaster Street, on the border of Redfield and Barton Hill, during the lockdown. Named ‘3ft 6’ after it’s dimensions, Rob opened last month and believes the eaterie is one of the smallest in the UK.

Despite its compact size he says the does a roaring trade and even offers seating on the paths outside his terraced home. One reviewer on Google raved: “I bumped into the coffee shop rather accidentally while walking around.

“They make superb cappuccino. Cakes also were very fresh.” Another reviewer wrote last week: “Great coffee and friendly owner, welcome addition to the neighbour and opposite the [Netham] park.”

Open on weekends between 10am-3pm for the moment, Rob built the tiny cafe out of his garage that he uses as a workshop with limited resources. Rob, who is also an artist and designer, said: “It’s very much about being a neighbourhood cafe.

“I made it in response to a demand that became apparent during lockdown where basically there was nothing around. I realised that actually there was something lacking in the area for the local community.

“We came up with this idea of making a small takeaway coffee and cake place for the neighbourhood.” The cafe took around a year to construct, opening in March 2022, and is described as being a “little bit like tetris” behind the counter.

Rob said: “I’ve been here for nearly 20 years and I’ve seen a massive change in people caring. There’s a real sense of community, a real sense of neighbourhood – and hopefully this adds to it.”

 

Teachings in Dub – JAH SHAKA Soundsystem

Teachings in Dub – JAH SHAKA Soundsystem

TOMORROW AT 10 PM – 5 AM

Tickets here.

We couldn’t be more proud to announce the next chapter of Teachings in Dub. We have the honour of hosting the one, the only, king of sounds, the mighty JAH SHAKA! The Zulu Warrior will be heading to Bristol’s Trinity Centre on the 29th April and bringing his renowned soundsystem. Shaka has played sound system for the past 50 years, don’t miss this rare opportunity to take in this night of history!
Tickets won’t last long so don’t sleep…!

HELP – A War Child UK Benefit Concert

HELP – A War Child UK Benefit Concert

DLES, Portishead, Billy Nomates, Katy J Pearson, Heavy Lungs and Wilderman will play a one-off benefit gig for War Child.

The HELP! concert will feature an extraordinary bill of uniquely Bristolian artists – both up and coming and globally renowned – coming together to celebrate the music of the city and to raise much needed funds for Ukraine.

IDLES will be joined on the night by Portishead, unarguably one of the city’s most revered and inspirational groups. This one-off HELP! show will be their first live performance since 2015 and their only show of 2022.

Also performing on the night will be Billy Nomates, Katy J Pearson , Heavy Lungs, Willie J Healey, Wilderman and DJ Boca 45.

Proceeds raised prior to and during the six-hour special will go to War Child UK, helping them to continue their work supporting children affected by war and conflict around the world.