The 2008 culture weekender #1

Bristol 2008 logoWith the news that the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum is to leave Bristol for the more lucrative environs of London, now seems like an appropriate time to reflect on that bid, five years ago, for Bristol to become the European Capital of Culture 2008.

Then we were assured by city culture boss Andrew Kelly that no money was wasted because, “we are committed to making Bristol a capital of culture and will deliver on the projects we have proposed.”

A promise that is looking increasingly thin now that we’re just two months away from 2008. For not only is the city losing the British Empire Museum next year, it has already lost another couple of centrepieces of Kelly’s doomed bid.

The @t Bristol complex shut down two-thirds of its operation earlier this year while The Bristol Old Vic theatre has closed – officially – for refurbishment although it’s unknown if it will ever open again after its gormless trustees squandered huge amounts of money supplying a couple of ponces from London (surely cutting edge metropolitan artistic directors? ed.) with seemingly open-ended and unmonitored production budgets.

Anyway to kick off The Bristol Blogger’s special 2008 Culture Weekender, here’s a sample of Kelly’s now defunct and thoroughly hacked Bristol 2008 website to enjoy:

In 2008, culture will reach the heart of every community, with cultural activity in homes and offices, shops and streets as well as cinemas, theatres, galleries, concert halls, parks and squares. The aim is to get more people acting, dancing, singing, playing, climbing, watching, reading, writing and swimming .

The Festival of the Sea will be the centrepiece of a year long programme of festivals in Bristol 2008. Nautical vessels of all shapes and sizes from across Europe will gather at Bristol’s historic floating harbour in a packed maritime entertainment programme that will include music, performance and exhibitions.

If anyone’s seen any sign of any of this happening please do get in touch. In the meantime could we suggest that if Andrew Kelly, Business West and the city council are serious about us experiencing some culture next year, they start block booking the coaches now to get us up to London.

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2 Responses to The 2008 culture weekender #1

  1. Bluebaldee says:

    I sincerely hope that the cretinous failure Kelly no longer holds a position of power or influence in Bristol’s cultural life?

  2. thebristolblogger says:

    Baldee, this is Bristol. Therefore Kelly was rewarded for failure with a pay rise and is now ensconced at Business West’s HQ in Leigh Woods earning £70k a year as head of the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, who organised the Brunel 200 yawnfest.

    His job is supposed to be to “deliver the 2008 Capital of Culture bid promise” (sic). Although he’s gone very quiet indeed of late and there’s little advance publicity – let alone discussion or consultation – about what our cultural guru actually intends to deliver after all the big talk and the big wages.

    Indeed the hub of Kelly’s enterprise – the Creative Bristol website – doesn’t appear to have been updated for over a year as far as I can see.

    Therefore expect the usual cash handouts to the usual “local artist” suspects; a few glossy leaflets; a couple of conferences at the Watershed; a couple of press releases reprinted word-for-word in the Cancer telling us how amazing our year of culture is and finally a report written after the event by Kelly’s missus – also on the BCDP payroll doing a never advertised job – telling us what a startling and significant success it all was.

    Why the city’s cultural life is dominated and dictated by this couple of unaccountable apparatchiks at our expense I don’t know.

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