Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Innocent Smoothies and the PRSC

No, not a bizarre band name (got loads if you want any though?), but a couple of groups I like: Innocent Smoothies, and the People's Republic of Stokes Croft.

Innocent Smoothies kickstarted the whole flood of little smoothie bottles in supermarkets, corner shops, even pubs. So what? Everyone does a smoothie now. Shell will probably come out with an eco-friendly socially-responsible one any time now (pahahahahaha- ahem). What marks Innocent out? Well, here's something on one of their cartons:

"Have you ever considered joining a cult? We know a man who actually did it. He ended up burning all his stuff and changed his name to Lime-harp.
Of course, if you fancy joining a cult that isn't so demanding, maybe you'd like to join ours. You just sign up and we send you some nice emails and the odd present. No name change required. In fact, less of a cult and more of a family, and all are welcome. Even Lime-harp.

What kind of self-respecting company writes this on its product? Innocent's honest and amusing approach to it customers and business is one thing that drew my attention a few years ago, and still they stand out. Big companies can churn out all the smoothies they want, they would never dare put something on their products more from Eddie Izzard than business school.

Not sure where this pic is from - click for full size to read the writing.

Meanwhile, the People's Republic of Stokes Croft are a community group on a mission. Stokes Croft is a part of central Bristol with a mixed reputation, shall we say, but the PRSC are determined to put it on the map as Bristol's "cultural quarter":

"The well-executed decoration of public space is to be encouraged, and will engender pride and identity in our area ... The relative "poverty" of Stokes Croft has meant that its character has remained unique, and has not been swallowed up by the forces of mass media and consumerism ... The mission is to take control of the visual amenity of Stokes Croft, borrowing ideas from the past, welding them into the present, working within the framework of the historic fabric of the area to create the World's Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery."

PRSC have a crucial point in their inclusive community approach: that graffiti as public art can be warm, beautiful and create character - the complete opposite of gang "tag" graffiti. Below are some wonderful pictures from the area, check them out.

Stokes Croft is infinitely more dangerous than Chelmsford where I live now - stabbings do actually happen there, and someone was shot a couple of years ago outside Club UK (now renamed I think). And yet here is a positive public attitude to their own public spaces, with an aim to promote and unify the area and give it a character nowhere else has. A big thumbs up, and more than a slice of jealousy.

All following images stored, linked and nicked from www.prsc.org.uk - check out the galleries.

This is actually a shop (Mural to the rear of Sofa Riot, Nine Tree Hill)

Underground Dance Music shop on Stokes Croft Junction

Wall of Full Moon pub

And hey, it wouldn't be Bristol without a Banksy

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