Over the last couple of months I've been doing Birmingham-specific posts to see if a weblog about Birmingham is a viable thing. Given that I've just launched brumblog.co.uk it's safe to say I think the answer is yes!

[Update] Also worth noting that Created in Birmingham has moved to the much more relevant createdinbirmingham.com freeing up birmingham.nu for a much more suitable project (which, I hasten to add, isn't one of mine but it's a good one - more later in the year). Redirects are in place but please update your bookmarks and feed readers.

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The Grassroots Channel at Podnosh is currently running a series of short podcasts interviewing people involved with the Birmingham Community Empowerment Network about what they're passionate about.

The Redditch Standard has a surprisingly long list of What's On In And Around Redditch in January. Who'd've thunk it?

A rather alarmist article in Wolverhampton's Express & Star (C-charge 'will destroy jobs') alerts me to proposals to introduce a congestion charge in the West Midlands as a pilot scheme prior to a national roll out. A Guardian report from September is a little more even handed. Naturally the newspapers don't link to the actual government reports themselves but it would appear to be coming from the Commission for Integrated Transport who have a handy Road User Charging portal page should you want to investigate this further. Personally, as a non-driver, anything that reduces the stupid amount of traffic on Birmingham's roads can only be a good thing though I do have major qualms over the black box satellite monitoring. Still, expect to see giant red circled C's on the roads in a few years.

Andrew Dubber's The Wireless blog has transformed into an mp3 blog which also functions as a podcast if you drag this link into iTunes (or similar). One song a day is promised with extensive commentary. Also, Dubber and Spoons, of Buscast fame, are allegedly making a comeback. More news as it emerges...

It looks like local band The Twang are about to hit whatever counts for the Big Time these days judging by their reaching second place in the BBC's Sound of 2007 poll of 130 critics and broadcasters. While Phil &co might not be doing anything radically original they're doing it well with passion and humour and above all don't come over like a bunch of cunts, which counts for something in my book.

Birmingham Central Library holds all manner of curious stuff in its archives, some of which isn't related to Birmingham, just collected by local figures and donated over the years. Paul alerts me to Robert Welch's Ireland photographs from the late 19th century, 400 of which were collected by industrialist and politician Benjamin Stone whose own work comprises over 22,000 prints some of which have been integrated into the Digital Handsworth project. All this sort of thing can be found in the Local Studies and History deparment on the 6th floor of Central Library.

As ever, bloggers are doing the What's On thing well. The Gig Slut has gigs for this week lined up and RussL's Things to Do in January listing, while short, is always worth a perusal.

Over in Oldbury, starting this weekend, is the 31st Annual Smethwick International Exhibition of Photography which looks rather impressive. The launch is at 3pm Saturday and I might pop along (if I can figure out how to get to Oldbury...). Prints are on display and there are slideshows throughout the week at these times. (Thanks Mike)

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is one of those cultural organisations that takes a lot of public money to prop up and while it's well worth the investment it does mean they have a significant outreach remit. An impressive fascet of this is the CBSO Podcasts, very professionally produced half hour shows of a quality you'd expect to hear on Radio 3 or Classic FM which give an insight into the workings of the orchestra as well as educating you on specific aspects of classical music. They're monthly at the moment with four in the archives. (via)

B:INS link of the week: Nick Owen of Midlands Today has a blog on MySpace.

This has been an edition of the Brum Blog. Click on that link for the archives.

If you have news, links or whathaveyou that might be relevant for this blog, email me using the address in the top corner of this page.

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Heritage Corner

I'm a bit ambivalent about the Blue Plaque scheme whereby buildings are marked according to what notable person from history lived in them. There's something rather superficial about them, especially when the original building has long been demolished. That said, some nice patterns do emerge, even if they don't really mean anything. Take for instance William Hutton's plaque. He opened a bookshop in Birmingham in 1750. Where his house stood is now the location of High Street Waterstone's branch. Which is, y'know, interesting in a psycho-geographical echoey kinda way.

Still, it's no doubt a good thing to bring the history of the city to the surface and even if these plaques don't say much on their own they do build an awareness of what has been. For more information the Birmingham Civic Society runs the local scheme and has a big list while BirminghamNet has a photo gallery.

Also noted: In a Previous Life is a neat thread that's developed on the Birmingham Flickr group where members research the history of buildings in the city.

Wheel News

According to icBirmingham the recently departed wheel of Broad Street is now overlooking the amusingly similarly named Broad Beach in Brisbane, Australia. Here's a photo:

stolen from icBirmingham without permission

Also of note from that article is that Broad Street is know as "Birmingham's Golden Mile" which will come as news to those who call it a "Boschian Fleshpot of Despair".

BiNS Orgy

Jon Bounds of Birmingham: It's Not Shit has had a productive couple of weeks. His review of the year is a must read and the Brummie of the Year award went to Jason Furnell, a cricketer by all accounts, with Danny Reddington of the recently closed Reddington Rare Records came in second.

Brum Blogwatch

Some local blogs new on my radar:

Pete Lewis "a research student, photographer, skier, free software advocate, balti-eater and aiming-to-be all-round friendly guy, living in Harborne"

Brum Project isn't about the city per se but stands for Birmingham Re-Usable Materials and is connected with Birmingham Uni's Information Services department. So pretty niche then.

The Wireless is Andrew Dubber's (of New Music Strategies) music blog. Currently he's running down his top 30 albums of the year.

Antonio Gould is a new media consultant pushing the Long Tail ethos and social software usage in that area.

The Deplorable Word is Tom Martin's blog that I've been following for a while so it's not really new to me. Might be new to you though. Primary focus is interactive media stuff but strays into other things, as you do.

News News

Trinity Mirror are trying to sell all their Midlands-based titles including local behemoths the Post and Mail. A leakage of revenue to online advertising is blamed. The fact that they're shit newspapers isn't mentioned. I've got a case of the schadenfreudes.

This has been an edition of the Brum Blog. Click on that link for the archives.

If you have news, links or whathaveyou that might be relevant for this blog, email me using the address in the top corner of this page.

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Gig news

Since I'm not planning another Brum Blog for a few days I feel I ought to point to the just posted Silver Footed Gig Slut issue 10 in which our host goes through all the gig listings, links to all the bands and adds commentary and recommendations to each evening's choice. And there was me worried that I hadn't done any gig stuff this week. Distributed blog networks are great!

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Today's Photo
horses01
Matt Murtagh at the Pantomime Horse Grand National

Narrowcast News

Podnosh is a podcast station based in Birmingham that I stumbled across recently. I like that this pretty established outfit with high aims exists outside of my awareness - it implies there's even more happening online in the city for me to discover. I'm particularly taken with the Grassroots Channel which "is here to provoke and inspire anyone who thinks they just might want to change the world around them". For a quality sample check out this interview with Soweto Kinch, a jazz saxophonist and rapper from Handsworth who recently released an CD set in a tower block in B19, samples of which can be found on his MySpace page. Given what he says in that interview I intend to investigate Mr Kinch further.

Legacy News

Over at the music blog The Art of Noise they're running a series of debates on whether some aspect of music is deserving of praise or whether it really a bit shit. This week it's Birmingham's Musical Legacy and my opinion might surprise you. All votes are valid and will count towards the final verdict so get over there.

Sports News

Congratulations to Birmingham: It's Not Shit's Airbiscuit which won this year's Pantomime Horse Grand National. I didn't make it on the day but by all accounts it was fucking mental. B:INS has a good report with many photos.

New Blog News

The Hearing Aid is a relatively new blog from Daron (who, as it happens, formed the basis of this post) which concentrates on gig reviews in Birmingham at the smaller venues. Needless to say this is right up my alley but I'm delighted to add the writing is really good. Now, if we had another, say, 20 blogs of this quality...

Things to Do department

Speaking of people who review too many gigs for their own health, Russ L's Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands In December post appeared over the weekend and it's frightening in it's hugeness, though there is a lot of boxing in there. Actually, the boxing stuff has me intrigued. Perhaps I should tag along with Russ to one of them.

I've no idea how I got on the mailing list but every month Birmingham City Council send me a What's On email. It's very mainstream not really straying from the big ticket stuff but worth a scan I find. I see that there's a Christmas Craft Market on at the moment in Chamberlain Square (that's the one by the library if, like me, you tend to get your squares confused) which is notable for only having stuff that's produced locally. Might be worth a shufty just to see what's actually being done in the area as much as to buy "handmade soaps".

Choir Correction Corner

Andy Pryke emailed to point out that the Complaints Choir of Birmingham, as featured in the last Brum Blog, was actually the first one. There's now an international Complaints Choir website which has a good history of the project and BBC Birmingham ran a feature where it's revealed they're going to do a second one.

This has been a link-heavy edition of Brum Blog.

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Today's Photo

Longbridge-sunset
Longbridge Sunset by Kate Drew.

Music

When I heard that the NME had done a feature on the music scene of Birmingham and surrounding areas under the knowingly awful banner Best Midlands I knew I had to buy it, partly because some of the bands I like were mentioned and partly just to see how the magazine would deal with a scene I've had something of an eye on these last few years. I've often said that one of the paradoxically nice things about Birmingham bands is they're pretty resigned to not making it big quickly and so they concentrate on being good instead. If they want to be famous they'll fuck off to London which is why when I lived in London I never went gigging. It was too depressing. That said, I'd love for some of the genuine talent in this city to get the recognition it deserves and, for good or bad, things like the NME are what makes that happen. And at the very least this features means that a few hundred folk in the area can now put a face to some of the dozens of bands playing at the Jug or the Flapper and might well check them out. That alone can only be a good thing.

Since the NME is quaintly printed on paper and sold in shops for one week only before being recycled into pulp and doesn't keep a digital archive I've take the liberty of scanning this historical document and uploading it to the internet on their behalf.

NME
(Here's the 1.7mb readable version.)

And here are the bands themselves with handy MySpace linkage. Those I can recommend are in bold and those I haven't seen but intend to check out soonish are asterisked.

Ripchord
The Enemy
The Twang
Untitled Musical Project
The Ripps
Envy and Other Sins*
Deluka
Murdoch
The Gravity Crisis*
The Big Bang
Vijay Kishore*
Sunset Cinema Club*

When you consider the paper could have picked all the sub-Oasis clones and Libertines wannabes that plague our city this is not a bad selection all told. The paucity of women does cause one to pause but it is regrettably representative of the guitar-based scene. We really need a decent Ladyfest-style movement and soon.

Campaign News

I was sorry to miss the blockading of Gas Street Basin this weekend by dozens of narrowboats protesting the £7 million cut to British Waterways' budget. Birmingham's canal network has benefitted hugely from this investment over the years and it's hard to believe they used to be no-go areas. While a case, however pitifully weak, could be made that the bulk of the work has been done and it's just a caretaking job now, the scale of these cuts and the 180 redundancies that inevitably come with them are pretty shocking. From a purely tourist point of view the canals are a valuable asset to Birmingham not to mention providing essential cycle routes into the city. And it strikes me that £7m isn't actually that much compared to other investments made by government agencies on our behalf. coughIraqcough

[Update: Photos of the protest on Flickr from Martin.O'C]

On a more petty note Andy Pryke was telling me about singing in the Complaints Choir of Birmingham the other month and I had no idea what he was on about. Seems I should have paid more attention as it's become something of a YouTube phenomena. After the (admittedly superior so don't watch it yet) Complaints Choir of Helsinki some wise folk in Birmingham decided we needed one too...


YouTube link.

If there's a story behind this worth retelling I shall endeavour to provide it to you.

Transport News

From the unlikely source of LiveJournal's Birmingham department I learned that bus fairs are going up again in the new year to £1.40. That's an increase of 17% which seems a little high. The last increase was, if memory serves, in the winter of 2004/2005 and then it was from £1.10 to £1.20. It would appear the vile and unavoidable-unless-you-sit-right-at-the-front-upstairs TV screens aren't proving the revenue earning devices it was hoped they would be. That said, and allowing for my relentlessly optimistic attitude to such things, I don't think the bus service is that bad in the city. Not a patch on London's (oh for a night bus system of such glory!) but better than most cities I've seen. The only problems I can see with it are all the fucking cars that get in the way. Oh, and the arseholes who think I want to listen to their shit music pumped through the tinny speakers of their git-phones. Other than that though... I can't find any confirmation of this on the spangly new Network West Midlands site but that wasn't a big surprise. However while googling around I did stumble across this review of the Birmingham transport system from 2002 which raised a smirk.

Back to robbing the BBC for stories, it seems the campaign to rejuvenate New Street Station has picked up steam again with a bunch of the great and good petitioning central goverment to kick start a £500m scheme. Everyone's favourite local historian Lord Carl of Chinn is quoted as saying "If we as a region do not grasp the need to be part of the transport revolution of the 21st Century, we will continue to lose jobs." Which will come as news to those of us unaware we were in the middle of a transport revolution or that having a shiny new train station would have kept Rover open. What I did find notable about the current proposals is that the entrance to New St will be flanked by two giant phalluses. Lovely!

Recommended Gigs

Briefly, as it's getting late. Go see the following if you can.

Wednesday 29th: Rumblestrips at Academy 2.
Thursday 30th: Mr Bones and the Dreamers at the Sunflower Lounge

Nonsense

The Pantomime Horse Grand National returns this year on December 3rd. Last year Jon of BiNS came last. He hopes to improve on this. No idea where it's actually taking place - if anyone knows the comment box is below...

From the BiNS newsletter:

Victoria and Chamberlain Squares
Sunday 3rd December 2006

1.15pm Parade of Horses to The Bullring
1.45pm All horses in Parade Ring for build up to the event
2.30pm Colts - Heat 1
3pm Colts - Heat 2
3.30pm Fillies Final
4pm Colts Final
4.30pm Prize-winning presentations

This has been part of Pete Ashton's Brum Blog experiment to see if a weblog dedicated to Birmingham is a viable thing. Here are the archives.

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Baywatch in Birmingham

(YouTube link for the RSS people, via the complicated life of Adam Nazir Ahmed Teladia.)

Bugger all to report today, mainly because I haven't been looking. A new project is on the horizon. It's Birmingham related and it's rather large. More info next week.

In the meanwhile go read issue eight of Diary of a Silver Footed Gig Slut. It's very good.

This has been part of Pete Ashton's Brum Blog experiment to see if a weblog dedicated to Birmingham is a viable thing. Here are the archives.

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In which I give bullet points a try...

  • The musician, artist and accidental superstar blogger Momus held a lecture in Birmingham recently and, naturally, presented his impressions of the city on his blog Click Opera in two posts, Breakfast in Brum and Panspermingham.
    The church that stands opposite the blob, for instance, what is its spire but a long stone finger pointing out into space in the vague direction of a supernatural deity? And me, I've arrived in a plane to give a lecture here. I'm from space too. When you think about it, even the industrial revolution which gave this town its core identity was really a series of tools falling from the sky, rather like the bone the monkeys in "2001: A Space Odyssey" threw up in the air -- and which came down as waltzing spacecraft. The spinning jenny, the steam engine, they must have seemed like spores when they arrived, changing everything.
  • The 24 Hour Museum's Birmingham City Guide is a bit of a gem, bringing together museum, gallery and general heritage information with some original material of its own like city trails. It's also nice to see a site like this that understands the important of linking - browsing through their pages leads to all manner of interesting stuff. such as...
  • Digital Handsworth is one of many slick online local history resources produced by a variety of individuals and organisations under the auspices of the Council's culture departments and the Lottery people, leveraging the expertise of the city archives department and the knowledge of the actual people of the city. It's a wonderful resource, going from the 14th century to the present day, and contains many gems such as the extensive galleries of Vanley Burke who's been photographing the people of Handsworth since 1967.

    There are a number of online initiatives like Digital Handsworth which deserve wider awareness and which I'll be bringing to your attention over time.

  • I popped past the burnt out shell of Edwards (see Brum Blog #1) on Saturday to grab some pictures before the somewhat inevitable demolition and noticed this stuck to the railings:

    Flowers for Eddies

    Bunches of flowers like this usually signify the site of a road accident or murder, but these were for the club. Obviously this (along with the makeshift memorial plaque) don't constitute a public outpouring of grief but I did find it significant. While I'm generally positive about the rapid redevelopment of the centre of town (which I touch on in this thread) it's notable how people can get attached to areas of the city that, in town planning eyes, are a blight.

    Finally, I neglected to check the Edwards forum where, amongst the expected reminiscences, I found news of a Deposit Fund to raise money for the "rebuild" of the club.

  • Do you want to go see Misty's Big Adventure and the "anthemic nerdcore" of the ZX Spectrum Orchestra at the Glee Club on December 6th? For free? Since it's being broadcast on Radio 6's Freak Zone they ain't charging but the Glee Club isn't huge so get there quick. While Misty's play regularly in Birmingham (there's a gig at the Jug of Ale on Wednesday) a set from the ZX Spectrum Orchestra is a rare treat indeed.
  • BBC Brum has details of a mass Sleep Out in a Digbeth car park on Friday November 24th, organised by St Basils to raise money and awareness of youth homelessness in the city.
  • BiNS link of the week: Made in Birmingham - one man's attempt to record every company based in the city. It's somewhat mad but does contain some real gems. I particularly liked the entry for Coronet cameras as I'd picked up one of their models (a Twelve 20 Box) for a couple of quid purely because I liked the typeface. Turns out it was made here.
  • Later in the week I want to do a Birmingham Blog roundup to start building a list of the quality end of the local blogosphere, so consider this a call for submissions. The comment box is below.

This has been part of Pete Ashton's Brum Blog experiment to see if a weblog dedicated to Birmingham is a viable thing. Here are the archives.

Permalink | Posted in Brum Blog on Sunday, November 19 2006 | Comments (3) ?subject=[Weblog] 191106: Brum Blog #4" title="email me about this specific post">Email

TODAY'S PHOTO

Cold water
Cold Water by Rob Gillespie ©.

SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND

Music
On Saturday I'll be popping along to see Una Corda, Mothertrucker, upcdowncleftcrightcabc+start and Haxan at Chapter 11 at a gig put on by It's Just Noise. Where's Chapter 11? Good question. It's in, or maybe even is, the King Edwards Inn by Aston University. Here's a photo and here's a map. The flyer promises variations on the theme of post-rock with a stoner edge. And some other stuff. Plenty of quiet-loud-quiet instrumental soundscapes and noodling guitar-based noise I'd imagine. Personally, and as someone who's not really a rock/metal kinda guy, I've thoroughly enjoyed the Una Corda and Mothertrucker gigs I've been to and am intrigued by upcdownc, so for Four Pounds this is a no brainer. Doors open at 7.30pm.

Food
The annual Frankfurt Christmas Market starts this weekend in Victoria Square. Here's hoping they have that giant ugly Santa again this year.

Art

Patrick Hughes' Superduperspective is currently on show at the Waterhall in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. You'll know his work if you've ever been there before - one has been on display in the entrance for years now. From his website:

Reverspectives are three-dimensional paintings that when viewed from the front initially give the impression of viewing a painted flat surface that shows a perspective view. However as soon as the viewer moves their head even slightly the three dimensional surface that supports the perspective view accentuates the depth of the image and accelerates the shifting perspective far more than the brain normally allows. This provides a powerful and often disorienting impression of depth and movement... The illusion is made possible by painting the view in reverse to the relief of the surface, that is, the bits that stick furthest out from the painting are painted with the most distant part of the scene. This is where the term reverse perspective or Reverspective comes from.
This is apparently "the largest ever UK exhibition of his three-dimensional paintings and prints" and it runs until 11th Feb.

Film
Outside of the multiplexes, The MAC has the fascinating looking Cinema of Prayoga, an exhibition of experimental Indian film from 1913 to 2006, split over 3 programmes starting at 12.30pm. This actually looks pretty unmissable, especially the 4.15 show "Indian Video Art: Between Myth and History".

CREATIVE INDEX

An ongoing attempt to catalogue the various organisations, collectives and ramshackle groupings in Birmingham that are dedicated to pursuing and promoting the interesting. Starting with the blindingly obvious...

Capsule - music gigs, mainly at the Custard Factory, with an experimental / metal bias. Producers of the annual Supersonic Festival.

7 Inch Cinema - dedicated to underground, low budget, independent or just plain different moving pictures, they do regular nights at the Rainbow in Digbeth along with the annual Flatpack Festival, the next one being in February. They also have a What's On page "in the absence of a sparky listings zine/website for the West Mids." We're working on it...

Ten4 Magazine is based in the West Midlands and covers the creative industries along with giving advice to aspiring artists such as grant applications and so on. Alongside this they have a blog which I've found pretty useful.

More, much much more, to come (and let me know of anything relevant to this section in the comments below or by email.)

UPDATES

BBC Birmingham has more on Mark "Dead Soldier" McGowan with some nice reactions from the public and links to radio interviews.

Permalink | Posted in Brum Blog on Friday, November 17 2006 | Comments (1) ?subject=[Weblog] 171106: Brum Blog #3" title="email me about this specific post">Email

ARTS NEWS

snarfed from the BBCArtist Mark McGowan has begun a week long performance piece entitled "Dead Soldier" where he's lying on the ground on the corner of New St and Needless Alley (clever...) dressed in uniform for 10 hours a day to "raise questions about the horrific nature of conflict". Or at least he was. Possibly because of inevitable outrage from The Sun, or maybe just because of "safety" reasons, the police have asked him not to continue, according to the BBC. Naturally he's rather annoyed about this. "What am I supposed to paint, pictures about nice things? Well, things right now are not very nice." There's a long interview with him here, a catalogue of his recent stunts and a retrospective of his work is on display in the International Project Space at the Bournville Centre for Visual Arts from November 16th to December 16th.

Congratulations to Stuart Whipps who has won first prize in the Observer Hodge Photographic Awards for his documentary photographs of the deserted MG Rover plant in Longbridge. He receives £5,000, a camera kit from Olympus and an assignment from The Observer. You can the series on his site, one of which a reproduced below, and an exhibit of the winning photographers' work is at the Guardian/Observer's Newsroom on Faringdon Road, London, until 19th January. (via Ten4)

(© Stuart Whipps)

Brilliantly Birmingham, running from November 16th to December 23rd, is an international festival of contemporary jewellery with exhibitions, workshops and fairs taking place in venues across Birmingham and the West Midlands, with an emphasis, naturally, on the Jewellery Quarter itself.

MUSIC

Podcasts come and go, the initial enthusiasm weakened by the inevitable drudge of producing the darn things on a regular basis, but Birmingham based music promoters ColdRice have gotten off to a good start with weekly half hour shows containing the kind fo eclectic mix you'd expect from the people who once brought Guitar Fucker to the Birmingham stage. Drag this link into iTunes or whathaveyou and enjoy.

TECH NEWS

Apparently there's going to be a square mile of WiFi in Birmingham city centre next spring, offering access to council services and run in conjunction with BT and Digital Birmingham. According to the press release (PDF) "the portal will give... free access to information on health, transport, events and schools. People will also be able to buy vouchers or subscribe to services such as BT Openzone." Interestingly the signal will be transmitted via existing lamp posts and will stretch from Brindley Place to Millennium Point. I'm not sure this is quite the "groudbreaking innovation" they claim but it's a notable development. It'll be interesting to see exactly what they charge for normal internet access and whether there'll be any content filters in place.

Permalink | Posted in Brum Blog on Wednesday, November 15 2006 | Comments (9) ?subject=[Weblog] 151106: Brum Blog #2" title="email me about this specific post">Email

Eddie's on fireGiven that Edwards No 8, which burnt down on Saturday, was frequented on the whole by those of the goth / rock persuasion it's not that strange to find a lot of mentions on the Google Blog Search, and while most of them can be summarised with "OMG! Edwards burnt down!" there were a few poignant comments, not to mention a couple of first hand accounts.

Best of the bunch is Silver Footed Gig Slut (who I'll be keeping an eye on I think). Scroll down half way for the tribute, of which this is but an excerpt.

"Moving on... to the back of this room, through the sea of emo, was the room known as the Hair Metal room, even when there was no Hair Metal playing. It had paintings of a sexy Snow White and demonic seven dwarves on the walls, and too many shot based drinks for its own good. Or ours, anyway. And a sticky floor. Anyway, reversing out away from Glenn's wildly flailing hair, we'd go upstairs to the 'other main' room. This would be the goth stomping ground; literally, you know that one-two sideways stomp they do because their boots are too big and heavy to get any flexibility round their ankles. Awesome."

More blog posts and one from UCE's RockSoc which says there's a wake being held at Scruffy Murphy's "next Thursday". There's also a thread on the LiveJournal's Birmingham community which I've found myself contributing to.

I hadn't been to Edwards for years (and sorely regret not making a pilgrimage of late) but it did provide some of my best nights out in the mid 90s. My housemates, you see, were goths. In fact they wound up running Goth Soc at Birmingham Uni for a while and I even DJ'd a couple of their club nights at Eddies. That was where I discovered, to my amazement, that The Sun Always Shines On TV by a-ha is the best goth record ever record ever made. Yes, really. Despite my liking for black clothing I was never a goth, nor much of a metalhead, and found the whole thing kinda funny, but even if the music sucked the nights themselves, coupled with the insane dedication to dressing up, were tremendous fun. And I sprained my wrist dancing like a drunken loon in the indie disco there on my 23rd Birthday.

On the Sunday after the fire I happened to be in town for the Flickrmeet and passed by the area to see what could be seen. Not much, since it was still cordoned off, but there were small gatherings of folk looking sad, some young, some old. And I felt a bit sad too, though oddly pleased that the stench of smoke had made it all the way to the Bullring. That seemed fitting somehow.

Right now the front page of the says "We hope to be up and running again either in the club or at an alternative location ASAP... For now we have had to cancel all upcoming gigs, however we are seeking an alternative venue. So be optimistic, and lets all look forward to the club's return in the not too distant future."

Photo

remembrance05
Remembrance Sunday in Centenary Square, taken by Matt Murtagh


Music

News to me, but we're half way through a massive music festival in Birmingham at the moment. With 100 performances in 19 venues over 3 months and most of them for free Birmingham Rocks looks like the sort of thing everyone should at least have heard of. Here's the lineup which runs until the end of the year. (via BBC Bham)

Links


The Birmingham Post has a long article on Stripsearch, the comics outreach program run by local comics luminaries John McCrea and Hunt Emerson with the Hi8tus project. (via Ten4)

Last week Jon Bounds of Birmingham: It's Not Shit scored high with a piece in the Guardian pushing those areas of the city that aren't on the marketing radar. Expect to see some new faces at Mr Egg and the Nature Centre.

BiNS also draws attention to a public meeting to save Moseley Baths, one of only three Grade II* listed swimming pools still in use in the country, which is apparently under threat. The meeting is on November 27th.

Again with Moseley, the Telegraph covered the area in their guide to the best regional food with an emphasis on the farmers market and local independent shops. (via Jez)

Permalink | Posted in Brum Blog on Wednesday, November 15 2006 | Comments (0) ?subject=[Weblog] 151106: Brum Blog #1" title="email me about this specific post">Email

Okay, after those one, two, three posts on blogging about Birmingham it's time to actually start doing something with the idea.

Some notes before hand though.

1) I have no real concrete idea how this is going to work in the long term. This is not a problem. Currently my vision of Birmingham is limited to that which I know. As I start to write about and explore the city this will change and hopefully grow. So no predictions about content.

2) At the same time, no wild expectations on the outset. I don't expect to be doing anything radical to begin with - that will come with time.

3) No trying to set up a group blog. Given the above it'll be hard to lay down commonly agreed rules and guidelines so best not to bother. That's not to say some kind of collaboration might emerge in the long term though. Also, I've become aware of other people planning vaguely similar things. Hopefully we can spur each other on and develop a community that way.

4) There's a rather nice paradox to this whole thing. My motivation for starting this is that there isn't a decent site that tells what's going on in Birmingham. However, to produce one I need to know what's going on in Birmingham. But the reason I want a site like this to exist is because I don't know what's going on in Birmingham. Hello brick wall. Then, assuming I get over that brick wall and find myself knowing exactly what's going on in Birmingham, what is my motivation for continuing the site? (The latter is, of course, silly talk - I'll never know everything and it's always changing, but the former is something of a stumbling block.)

So here's the plan. I'm going to start blogging about Birmingham on this blog. This will initially be in self contained posts comprised of a few links, a bit of commentary, some news and other bits and bobs. Some of this I've been doing already (such as the occasional upcoming gigs posts) but there'll be more of it and it won't just be about music and photography. Okay, initially it's just be music and photography but I intend to expand out from that.

Each post will be suitably flagged (so non-Brummies can ignore it) and normal Pete-blogging will continue alongside. So don't all un-subscribe just yet. This is just an experiment, running for a month or so, to see if this might be viable and to force me to hook into local activity I'm not aware of.

If it is viable then I'll spin it off into its own blog, with all that entails, some time in the new year.

Actually, in a moment of pure coincidence, Diamond Geezer's recent Cultural Update for London is pretty much the sort of thing I was thinking about. (As well as being the best thing he's written for a while.)

It all starts, ooh, some time tomorrow I guess. right now!

Permalink | Posted in Birmingham, Blogging, Brum Blog, Site News on Wednesday, November 15 2006 | Comments (3) ?subject=[Weblog] 151106: Blogging Birmingham" title="email me about this specific post">Email
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