Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is an annual event, which started in 1979 and is usually held in early August. Participants from around the world come to take part in a series of mass ascents over a period of four days to the delight of the crowd which in recent years have been in excess of 500,000 over the whole event.

Few experiences can match the breathtaking beauty of the City of Bristol seen from the viewpoint of a hot air balloon. Hot air balloons have always captured the imagination and the majestic scene of hot air balloons cruising over the countryside without a sound is a sight to behold.

Ascents are typically timed at 0600hrs and 1800hrs, with up to 150 hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes gracing the skies above the Ashton Court Estate, the home of the Fiesta. The highlight of the event are the nightglows which occur on Thursday and Saturday nights. This involves approx 30 balloons lighting up their balloons whilst tethered, which is perfectly complimented by a stunning firework display and music in the background.

Balloons of all shapes and sizes attend the event with special shaped balloons such as Rupert the Bear and the Tesco Trolley having been some of the spectacular designs on show in previous years.

Family entertainment is also provided with delights such as fairground rides, an arts and crafts fair, local music as well as the world famous Red Arrows all in attendance.

Full details of the event can be found at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta website.


Bristol Shakespeare Festival

Minuteman Press Bristol is delighted once again to be working in partnership with the ever expanding Bristol Shakespeare Festival. The festival is an established feature in the Bristol social calendar, and has proven popular with locals and visitors alike.

The Bristol Shakespeare Festival 2018 Programme features a broad variety of performances and educational workshops; presented by a proliferation of theatrical companies experienced in delivering Shakespearean performances of Globe Theatre worthy standards.

To ensure another successful festival year, the Bristol Shakespeare Festival required a full package of promotional marketing materials. Minuteman Press Bristol were commissioned to produce physical printed marketing product designed by Bristol Shakespeare Festival’s own highly talented Bristol based Programme and Brand Designer Afshin Walker.

The Festival Programmes were printed lithographically, on Forest Stewardship Council certified uncoated stock; to combine the client’s vision of the product, make it tactile and give it the unmistakeable smell of ink on paper! The programmes having been printed, collated, stapled, folded and three edge trimmed, were distributed to multiple locations throughout the city of Bristol and beyond; for onward dissemination to prospective audience members.

Large format A0 (841mm x 1189mm) posters were giclée printed, together with smaller A3 (297mm x 420mm) digitally printed posters to promote the festival; appearing in the windows of venues, hostelries, offices, homes and other locations anticipated to deliver high visibility.

Flyers (A5 148mm x 210mm) were also produced for prospective audience members to pick up, take away and discuss at leisure.

The printed package would not have been complete without the production of scripts for cast members; namely for 1599.

The Bristol Shakespeare Festival 2018 includes the world premiere of 1599: A Year in the life of William Shakespeare. The awesome play was inspired by the best-selling book 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, by Professor James Shapiro (Shapiro, J. 2006, Faber and Faber; ISBN 978-0571214815). The Bristol Shakespeare Festival performance of 1599 was written and directed by Ed Viney and was produced by Jacqui Ham.


Folding Fleet for the Street

Mark Bradshaw Freego 640x480

Minuteman Press Bristol have commissioned a third folding bicycle to promote and facilitate the team’s commuting to work, client meetings, supplier meetings and deliveries throughout the day, in the Bristol area.

Minuteman Press Bristol commenced its bicycle delivery service in 2007 using a folding human powered Mezzo and in 2011 added a folding electric Volt Metro bicycle. In 2015, with the support of Bristol City Council and the Travelwest Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), Minuteman Press Bristol have been able to add to the fleet with a folding electric Freego bicycle and Burley Bee trailer, locally sourced from Atmosphere Electric Bikes in BS1. The Burley Bee trailer will provide school-run facilities for two children and make possible larger deliveries during the working day.

In addition to commuting via walking, train and bus, Minuteman Press Bristol have been able to move to a vehicle free business model; deliveries outside of the Bristol area provided by Deltec International in BS3 (a four minute cycle ride).

Bicycles have proven themselves of great value at Minuteman Press Bristol over the years and the increase in cycle usage is gratifying. Many more organisations should review their transport policies and encourage employees to try alternative methods of travel.

Special thanks are recorded to Sara Sloman (Business Engagement Manager, LSTF) for her help and support throughout the application process and beyond.

Councillor Mark Bradshaw (former Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member) is pictured handing over the keys to Peter Wise (Director at Minuteman Press).


Big Commuting Challenge

The Travelwest Big Commuting Challenge takes place throughout June and July 2015; a part of the Bristol 2015 European Green Capital programme of activities. The objective of the challenge is to increase sustainability and reduce congestion in Bristol and the surrounding regions.

Throughout the two month period all journeys will be meticulously logged. Data will contribute to league tables generated by the criteria of organisation size (assessed by the number of personnel).

All of the team at Minuteman Press Bristol are committed to participating and are evaluating different more environmentally beneficial methods of transport. The envisaged legacy of the challenge is that having reviewed and experienced alternative modes of transport that the new proven approach will remain the choice method of transport for commuting, local business trips and deliveries.

The likely winning transport candidates are walking, bicycle, electric bicycle, train, bus, car share; the losers solo car and motorbike.


Derren Brown – The Consummate Showman

There is no escaping the fact that Derren Brown fascinates people with his illusions and mental trickery. Derren studied at the University of Bristol and it was during his time in Bristol that he became inspired to become an illusionist, mentalist or trickster, call him what you will, by virtue of a visit to a show about hypnotism. This was the beginning of the Derren Brown phenomena, which is being witnessed today.

Since then Derren Brown has become a published author and his shows are frequently sold out. He has created and starred in several curiously titled television shows such as Trick of the Mind and Trick or Treat. His first programme, which brought him national recognition, was Derren Brown: Mind Control, which aired in 2000 and which captivated its UK audience, due to its stunning showmanship and skillful mind deception that confounded everyone. Considered an enigma in some respects, his brand of irreverent showmanship has become his trademark.

In terms of how Derren manages to confuse and conjure what appears to be unbelievable feats of mental trickery, he openly admits to using forms of suggestive content, psychology, misdirection and “magic” itself. Many recognise the fact that much of his work revolves around Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), which is a technique that is regularly used by hypnotherapists worldwide to help with a range of psychological disorders.

NLP is a form of communication developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, in the 1970’s in the USA. NLP uses subliminal forms of suggestion, which are subtle, but which have the sole aim of creating a particular desired effect. The approach offers an insight into the thought processes of an individual by watching for potential “cues”, which can then be responded to by using specific language patterns to illicit the desired behavior. Derren certainly appears to be a skilled practitioner of NLP.

One of the most renowned elements of his act, is his self-confessed use of misdirection. A well known and documented system, in which the individual or audience are guided to focus on a different element or aspect, to enable him to create the “magic”, which is the desired outcome. In addition, he constantly tries to endear himself to an audience by explaining how tricks are done. This is often part of the show.

An interesting and frequent part of Derren’s shows is where he debunks psychic methods, used by some to potentially extort money without any real benefit. This includes the realms of psychic communication, mind reading as well as medium-ship or communicating with the departed. His method for debunking psychic methods, many of which are relatively well-known to the general public, is to reproduce the results achieved without any recognised form of psychic skillset. When performed in front of an audience this often elicits the appropriate response of bewilderment and surprise.

Whatever the methods used by Derren Brown, the fact is that his shows mesmerise his audience and his showmanship adds a different dimension to his act, which in many ways is unrivalled within the current arena of performers.

Images created and supplied by the wonderful artist Jody Thomas at Digital Fire (creator of the Derren Brown mural featured).


Bristol City Stadium

Since plans were first proposed in February 2009 for the new Bristol City Stadium, it has been a story of ups and downs.

Bristol City Football Club has been based at Ashton Gate Stadium for more than 100 years and many people felt that for Bristol City Football Club to progress, as it deserved to, it needed a larger ground.

The site at Ashton Vale was chosen carefully to comply with the wishes of the people of Bristol and took into account the fact that for continuity it needed to be close to the historic site of Ashton Gate.

The new stadium will have seating for 30,000 spectators and is nearer to the significant A370 access road. Its main environmental feature, though, is that the location (earmarked early in 2002 in a pre-feasibility study) is ground that was previously used as land-fill and therefore of no use for residential purposes. This means that the new stadium will not only bring much needed revenue to South Bristol but will also tidy up a previously unattractive piece of land.

A year after the first plans were released for public consultation, Bristol City Council gave the go ahead and, although not everyone approves, it is generally agreed that the new Bristol City stadium will be an asset not only to the football club but to Bristol in general.

Despite some opposition, Bristol City Football Club was given approval to sell the Ashton Gate site to Sainsbury’s, gaining the funds they needed to build the new stadium. This brings the proposed opening of the new stadium in 2013 into the realms of reality and soon Bristol City Football Club will have a splendid new home.


Paul Dirac

Paul Dirac, Nobel Prize winner and famous theoretical physicist, was born in 1902 in Bishopston, Bristol.

His Swiss father (Charles) and Cornish mother (Florence) met in Bristol when Charles was there teaching French, and Florence was working as a librarian. Paul was one of three children and they were brought up in a very unhappy home. Charles was very strict and controlling; he named their Bristol house after the Swiss Canton where he was born and insisted that only French was spoken at the dinner table (with any grammatical errors being dealt with severely).

While the other children tried French but made mistakes and were banished to the kitchen, Paul’s analytical thought processes were clear even when he was a child; he chose silence and was therefore allowed to eat with his father. In later life, with Bristol behind him and having found success in theoretical physics, Paul told a friend that he had no idea that parents were supposed to love their children – he had assumed his unhappy childhood was normal.

Paul was lucky to have an education at Merchant Venturers’ Technical School in Bristol, where Charles taught French. Unusually for the time, the school had strong links with the University of Bristol and there was a lot of emphasis on science. Had Paul gone to other schools in the city, he would have followed a mostly classical path and the world would have lost a ground breaking theoretician.

After leaving the University of Bristol with a BA in Applied Mathematics, Paul went to St John’s College, Cambridge where he conducted research into general relativity and the new science of quantum physics: a field that remained his interest all his life until his death in Tallahassee, Florida in 1984.


St Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol

The first thing that strikes anyone approaching the church of St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol is that the building seems to soar to the sky, with fairytale like buttresses and beautiful tracery in a pale stone. There has been a church on the spot since Saxon times, when Bristol first became an important port. And the church that stands today is the fourth or fifth to do so.

Its construction spanned almost 100 years from 1292 to 1370, meaning the architecture also shows an array of influences. Although the first plans were in place before the building began, the masons adapted these as they went to accommodate changing styles. This means that although the south aisle and transept is Decorated Gothic, the rest of the church is Perpendicular, as you would expect in a church of mostly 14th Century build.

Bristol is fortunate to have such a beautiful church standing unscathed, as we were badly hit by  Second World War air raids. The only evidence of the bombings on St Mary Redcliffe is a rail from the tramway that was thrown through the air and became buried in the churchyard, where it remains.

The church spire was struck by lightning in the 15th Century and was not repaired for 400 years, and the spire is not at the centre of the cross-shaped building. Even with this damage, when Elizabeth I visited Bristol she called St Mary Redcliffe “the fairest and goodliest parish church in England”.



Banksy in Bristol Review

For many years, Banksy (or Robin to friends) was the scourge of Bristol and in particular Bristol City Council. Banksy’s stencil artwork caused much debate, some Bristolians appreciated Banksy’s work and were eager for their properties to be adorned with a Banksy original, but other Bristol residents were less enthusiastic, and annoyed at the abuse of their property.

In 2009, Banksy gave Bristol an exhibition by way of a thank-you for his roots, ideas, beliefs, attitude and paint supplies.

Following a conformist queue, the Banksy exhibition visitor was faced first with a Glastonbury festival toilet cubicle reconstruction of Stonehenge. Every detail was meticulous. Entering the first hall of Bristol Museum, a torched ice-cream van appeared. The sights and sounds were remarkable, every sense was exploited.

A series of famous statues, including the Angel of the North and Michelangelo’s David, were shown with various twists. Further displays included a lion who had consumed his trainer and a Metropolitan Police officer getting nowhere fast on an automated rocking horse.

Moving to the second large hall, a display of ‘Unnatural History’ was revealed including grazing chicken nuggets, a Banksy swimming fish finger and Tweety Pie with an attitude. The experience was made all the more convincing by the effective use of light and sound.

The Bristol Museum temporary display gallery had been adorned with Banksy artworks, some old and some new… showing images as you would not expect.

Exhibits and displays on other floors in the museum had also been enhanced. Banksy had introduced the War of the Worlds to one master, added a penis to the museum’s stalactite collection and a stuffed muzzled lamb to the natural history display. The dinosaur vomit could have been real!

The Bristol Museum upper galleries had become a treasure hunt for Banksy enthusiasts. Some hunters stopping to look at the other work from the permanent collection, others racing by and seeing the world through a view finder. Banksy had pulled the crowds into Bristol Museum, but it is a shame that so much else that Bristol museum had to offer was ignored by many.

The final gem was ‘Jerusalem’ by Tawfiq Salsaa. A scale model of Jerusalem carved from olive wood, purchased by Banksy and value added with the addition of soldiers and a lonely terrorist.

The Bristol Museum exhibition staff had embraced the role of authority figures that Banksy had highlighted the shortcomings in for so long, being keen to stop the queue inexplicably, tell off visitors if they looked too closely at an exhibit, used flash photography (despite a complete absence of signage to that effect) and had loud conversations on intercoms with volumes set at an excessive level – well, I suppose it kept them off the streets. Or perhaps the over enthusiastic Bristol museum staff were part of the exhibition!

The Banksy exhibition was fantastic, although in several instances quality control had lapsed in favour of a weak joke.

The exhibition entitled ‘Banksy Versus Bristol Museum’ ran until August 2009. Bristol Museum is located on Queens Road BS8 1RL.

“He’s like Batman only better” A Bristol resident.


What The Frock!’s Going On?!

There’s something funny going on, and Minuteman Press Bristol couldn’t resist putting our heads around the door to see what it was.

Up at the Square Club in Berkeley Square, What The Frock! has taken up a monthly residency in the lower deck bar, showcasing the very best of talented female comedians.

A recent Minuteman Press Bristol staff night out at What The Frock! coincided with What The Frock!’s first birthday party… and our director Peter Wise gallantly stepped up when comedian Jayde Adams (who grew up only footsteps from our Bedminster studio) called for a volunteer.

It’s safe to say Peter left the stage looking more like webbed superhero Spiderman than the respectable director we usually see, as our photo proves!

Minuteman Press Bristol is pleased to have supported What The Frock! in a number of ways since it launched in 2012. We’re proud to have subsidised the printing of their posters and flyers to help this great new Bristol business get off the ground.

Find out more about What The Frock! on the website: What The Frock! Comedy.