As a Clifton resident for 25 years, poet David C Johnson knows the middle-class district as well as anyone, but it was when he left behind the comfortable latte-sipping, knit-your-own Audi world of Whiteladies Road, to explore one of the most economically deprived parts of the city, that he found inspiration for a new poem.Oh, boy..!
Clifton to Easton contrasts the lives of the wealthy Cliftonians with the down-at-heel cheerfulness of Easton folk.Does it include chirpy chimney-sweeps too?
Now a short film of the poem, produced by Diana Taylor of Redcliffe Films, has won a coveted place at the Berlin Zebra Film Festival – the world's leading festival for poetry films.Who knew such a thing even existed?
"It's quite an achievement to get the film shown in Berlin," David says.
"Only around one in 10 poetry films submitted for the festival is actually offered a place, so we're delighted to have been chosen.
"I think there is probably something universal about the poem that works for people across Europe, or indeed the world – it's not just about Clifton and Easton. Every city has the dramatic contrast between the wealthy middle-class areas and the economically deprived areas, and often they're very close neighbours. "Indeed. Sometimes uncomfortably close, with predictably horrific results.
"I have to admit, I'd felt a bit nervous about going down to Easton alone with a digital video camera and filming people," says former BBC producer Diana, who lives in Redland. "But when I went down there one weekend I was so warmly welcomed.
"When I explained about the film I was making, strangers on the street guided me around the area to show me the best greengrocers shops, cafes and mosques that I could film to give a real sense of what life was like in Easton – economically deprived compared to Clifton perhaps, but warm, colourful and ethnically diverse."Maybe you should ask your ex-colleagues about the benefits these areas bring, Diana?
"It may only be three minutes and 56 seconds long," David says. "But I hope the film encapsulates something quite profound about the way lives are lived across the economic divide, right here in our own city.
"Clifton people would generally be afraid of visiting Stapleton Road and walking around its shops, but that's a real shame, because they will find some wonderfully exotic experiences – from greengrocers that sell six different varieties of yam, to religious studies shops selling Muslim prayer mats and ornate copies of the Qur'an.
"It's an enriching part of a multicultural city, and I think it's a shame that people miss out on seeing it."That’s their choice, though. Just like my choice is to avoid like the plague any poetry and poetry-related films.