I lived in City Centre and realised that it’s actually better than Stoke Bishop
Controversial af but it’s the truth
It's the age old question for proud Bristol freshers, one with the potential to start a civil war. Which is better: Stoke Bishop or City Centre? How could anyone possibly answer without living a double life in both?
Well thanks to 7 weeks in temporary share at Churchill (yeah I legit spent freshers in a bunk bed) before moving to Colston Street (the one that burnt down), I am one of the lucky few who’ve had the pleasure of experiencing both.
Is Stokey B really ‘where it’s at’? Is City Centre as dead as Lounge since its Gatsby-esque Makeover? Does it make any difference at all? Here’s my first-hand account of what it’s been like for me…
Churchill- Stoke Bishop
First day. After spending a good ten minutes trying to park the Ford Fiesta amongst scores of vintage Jaguars in Churchill Hall’s car park, off I went to B block. I opened the deceptively heavy wooden door to what looked like a poorly decorated youth hostel. I was therefore surprised to bump into a rather dashing Home Counties chap dressed head to toe in Ralph Lauren with blonde floppy centre parted hair and a radiant, healthy tan; undoubtedly owing to his recent return from his house in Monaco. What was he doing choosing to live in a building with decor suffering from a 1950’s hangover? Maybe he just didn’t get into Wills…
Well within a few hours I was to find out that this well-bred sort was common in both Churchill and Stokey B. But don’t fear if you’re not familiar with this look- I found that it’s pretty easy to fake with a pair of flares, some white Stan Smiths made dirty from your gap yah whilst helping the orphans, hoop earrings, puffers from Depop and a pack of Cutters Choice in your hand at all times (NEVER Marlboro straights- pretending you’re poor and seeming edgy is an important part of the Stoke Bishop ethos and this would be the worst way to blow your cover).
When asking people why they choose to live in the somewhat remote location of Stoke Bishop I usually heard answers along the lines of "it’s more sociable", "I can’t cook and can pretend I’m still at boarding school" or "I dunno, just got told it’s where it’s at’. I can’t argue with those. You’ll definitely have friends here- you’re literally in a village filled with nothing but freshers… and yes, going to meals means you have to sit down and ‘socialise’ whilst eating some suitably bland beige mound that makes you reminisce over the days of your likely private school education.
But then again, I can't help but think to myself whether all of this is worth being an unreliable U1 bus journey away from normality? Surely you’re not doomed to be a friendless workaholic with no social life outside of your lectures just because you live a 10 minute walk away from Woodland Road? Well, I was soon to find out. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about moving. But for me, the brand new flat equipped with a kitchen, city skyline views and a mere stroll away from EVERYTHING was just about enough to convince me the move was worth the risk. I mean, what’s more important- a hall bar or a 24 hour Co-op round the corner?
Colston Street- City Centre
Well, it’s now February, 4 months since I left the hub of lit social lives and endless pre-drinks. You’ll be surprised to know that I still have friends. I don’t spend hours locked alone in my room mourning the mad nights at Stoke Bishop, nor do dedicate my life and soul to the library. I get to wake up an hour later before my lectures and go to bed an hour earlier after a night out. Bliss. And oh yeah, I do wear my lanyard everywhere. Something I would never have even contemplated whilst living in Stoke Bishop. Social suicide.
On the flipside, I can probably count on one hand the people I know here outside of my flat. People do keep themselves to themselves here. You wait for the lift with baited breath, hoping that you will be the only one in it as the idea of human contact is terrifying. But the thing is, it’s the same in Stoke Bishop- the only difference is that here you can get away with it.
So, a conclusion. If you like flares, smoke rollies and are not opposed to the idea of waiting an hour for the U1 after a night out then Stoke Bishop is amazing. If you love being in the heart of vibrant city life, cherish an extra hour of sleep and are happy to accept that your social circle may not span outside of your flat then you’ll have the best time in City Centre.
But at the end of the day, they really aren’t that different. It’s what you make of it. Most of us would be more than happy in either. I was, and am. Maybe I should have just gone to Clifton instead.