We love to send Danny Smith into the heart of the action. The big heart , obviously. But this time he’s sent himself. Here are some direct live What’s Apps from up town, where he’s now wrangling kids for the day job.
[9:02 am, 29/07/2022] Danny Smith: Being in town is weird, uncomfortable… This is exactly how I felt when Diana died… Everybody caring so much and me not giving a solitary shit… Civic pride is odd, what have we actually got to be proud of? The same bars and restaurants as every other major city… Highest portion of kids on free school meals (Northfield)… Knife violence… Homelessness… University’s that have essential priced out local students and now are funded by foreign students? I’m tired of celebrating how mediocre we are… Great things happen in Birmingham despite of the city and these should be celebrated like any flower that can grow between the cracks in concrete.
[9:06 am, 29/07/2022] Danny Smith: You know that photo that everybody takes, the one of the fountain in front of the council house? ‘Gosh Birmingham your [sic] looking good today…’ Did you know there’s a security guard on that square, his job is to move on any homeless, stop the skate boarders from using the space and stop kids from splashing in the water. The square is pristine because the money bastards that now own it don’t want you to use it.
[9:10 am, 29/07/2022] Danny Smith: The city centre is a fucking golem and the word written in its head that animates it is ‘money’. The soul of the city is diffused to the suburbs and lie in the working class people holding their communities together with sheer force of will. Lucky the tourists won’t go there so the city council, doesn’t have to slap a vinyl sign over it to hide the shame of having bits they haven’t sold to corporate interests yet.
[9:12 am, 29/07/2022] Danny Smith: As much as last night was a knockoff of 2012 and full of bullshit. It seems that it was also a ritual. An exorcism of our middle child syndrome… Sincerely hope we use it to move on from the old narratives of heavy industry and cars move on as a city of solidarity and love.
Last night the opening ceremony did lay a lot of ghosts, and literally started with us banging a drum for Birmingham. It also featured lots of shouting loudly about ourselves, and although we had to import someone from Worcester, who played the violin, and make a puppet from them: we blew our own trumpet.
Maybe that can be enough, we can move on from boosterism to real celebration. We can mourn the past, as well as we organise for the future.
“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. “
W.H.Auden (from York, but did actually grow up in Brum)