Tag Archives: Random Family

Top five personal favourite places in Bristol

I posted on my top five favourite places in Bristol over on Bristol Culture and it crossed my mind that there are lovely memories for me within other stretches and corners of Bristol that wouldn’t make sense to other people. I thought I would post these second set of favourites which are slightly more personal.

6. The street with the trees opposite the BRI

Urban, gritty Lewins Mead Upper Maudlin Street is my ultimate autumn street. I first moved to Bristol to start a PhD and I would walk along from Colston Street to the Galleries in order to buy a coffee and start my day. Grey and cinnamon and windy and rainy. This part of Bristol makes me happy.

leaves autumn

7. Starbucks in Borders on Queen Street (gone)

During a truly miserable time as a PhD student I would find the only reprieve at Starbucks in Borders where I would browse some books on Zen and then sit with a vanilla latte and write in my diary. Comfy and tasty and available late at night. Perfect for solitary nightbirds.

8. Christmas steps
I have slid down them in the snow and soared over them like starlings along with Elbow and tried to capture them in photographs without getting the light poles in the way and sat down on them and mostly climbed them. My memories of the Christmas Steps are nearly always of dark mornings heading for the train station.

9. St Michael’s Hill

The first hill that my then boyfriend and I climbed in Bristol and the one I used to climb during all stages of pregnancy to get to my midwives including an emergency rush to the hospital at 29 weeks and on the night I went into labour I walked down it while having contractions but wasn’t dilated enough to be kept there.

10. The Croft, Stokes Croft

Listening to the Random Family and the Miserable Rich in a beer-soaked room with punters who found it more fun to come in and out of the room rather than stay and listen to the music. The night was full of distractions and the people were consistently talking and one guy with long white hair reminded me of the guy from Dinosaur Jr. I walked home in the rain.

The Random Family

One of my favourite gigs last year was at the Croft to watch Random Family, The Miserable Rich and Babel. The venue itself wasn’t exactly impressive being one dark and dank room at the back of the pub, and all the bands were running late. The crowd seemed kind of restless with people coming in and out of the performances.

The Random Family were on first and they had comfy and friendly banter about driving down from Liverpool in the same car. The band is made up of four colourful members who play lots of instruments (!): Joe Keelan – vocals, guitars, mandolin, banjo, harmonica; Kathy Halter – vocals, flute, wooden flute, clarinet, tambourine, gloc (plinky plonk), harmonica; Paulie Riley – vocals, double bass; and Billy Lazareni – vocals, guitars, mandolin, ukulele, bouzouki.

As they say on their Myspace page, the Random Family combine traditional folk instruments and arrangements with modern approaches to song writing. They utilise four part harmonies, acoustic guitars, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, tenor guitar, double bass, flute and clarinet to create their unique style and varities of arrangement.

They were a random find as I had originally gone to the Croft to listen to the Miserable Rich, however, I ended up preferring the first act. My two favourite songs are Lullaby and Dreams of You which are acoustic little folk creations that are lyrical and melodic set to a gentle rhythm. I love them and they are two of the loveliest songs to get lost to.

They are currently recording their first album so look out for that. Until then you can visit their web site to hear their songs http://www.myspace.com/therandomfamily1.