Despite the live performances of more recent years, most of Bristol’s music -Massive Attack, Smith And Mighty, Reprazent- is created by posse-type groupings, not bands. They rule the roost at a scuzzy yet vital club called The Dug-Out where rastas, punks and B-boys share Red Stripe and spliff, though a tiny knot of tension is always to be found.
Video games, New York street style, Star Wars and trainers are the obsessions of the time, and The Wild Bunch hang out in a cafe called Special K’s, where Mushroom picks up his nickname from a video game he constantly plays.
Instead of guitar, bass, drums and voice, the posse, or gang, is a loosely shifting association of rappers, DJs, soundmen, graffiti artists and singers.
It is similar to the Jamaican sound system unit that consists of huge speaker stacks, DJs, rappers and singers and therefore easily understood in a town as dominated by reggae as Bristol.
Glastonbury Festival, just down the rood, has an infrastructure run by people who live in Bristol.
Punk and reggae, styles of music with attendant uniforms, lifestyles and structures, both thrived in the town and hip hop hit harder, with all its trimmings.
It’s a city of dreamers and chancers that lives on its wits and its deals, a beautiful town surrounded by lush countryside that can be as mean and introverted as it can be warm and lovey.
Hip hop replaces the central unit of pop music with a new grouping: the posse.Music, service industries and a big chunk of the BBC, including the Natural History department, pretty much wraps it up. Live in Bristol for a couple of years and you’ll know half-a-dozen people wherever you go, yet it’s cliquey and shuns outsiders. It’s deeply schizophrenic about the active role it played in slavery, even today.