Portishead’s Geoff Barrow labelled ‘wind-up merchant’ in spat with mayor of Bristol

Musician gets involved in row with local mayor over plans for a £40m arena in the city

Geoff Barrow of Portishead has become embroiled in a row with the mayor of Bristol, in which the mayor called him a “wind-up merchant”.

The pair began communicating via Twitter, where Barrow operates under the name @JetFury. Discussions over the plans for a £40m Arena in Bristol, which recently failed to secure financial backing, led to a heated debate between the mayor and the musician which culminated in Ferguson blocking Barrow from his account.

Barrow had questioned why the Mayor had not spoken to the Bristol rep for Metropolis Music concert promoters regarding the venture. Barrow then wrote that Ferguson was never “to ever use my name to promote his vision of Bristol’s future,” and alerted his 15,000 followers to the fact that Ferguson had blocked his account “for asking questions”. Barrow later got in touch with NME to confirm that he had taken issue with the Mayor’s whole campaign, adding:
“I never said I was the only one in the town to be able to fill an arena.”

In return, Ferguson called Barrow a “wind-up merchant” and wrote: “He was trying to wind me up – they weren’t genuine questions.” However, the mayor did admit that the Portishead founder was “great culturally for Bristol” and has subsequently unblocked him and invited him to meet face to face to discuss the plans for the arena.

Earlier this year, Geoff Barrow claimed that The Weeknd illegally sampled Portishead on his track ‘Belong To The World’. The R&B singer, real name Abel Tesfaye, hasn’t publicly responded to the allegations that he copied the band‘s 2008 track ‘Machine Gun’ without their permission, despite numerous requests, but Barrow has now published a post on Twitter suggesting that The Weeknd has commented privately on the matter.

‘Machine Gun’ featured on Portsihead’s 2008 album ‘Third’. The band recently headlined one night on the Other Stage at Glastonbury 2013.