Category: art

Last bin day, we went out to see if the bags had been collected outside PC towers and instead found a package addressed to us. It contained the master tape for a song with more hooks than we have different types of bins to sort our recycling into. No other details were provided, it’s like the bin made a record. So we’re putting it out, and leaving it out. (I’ve Lost All My Respect For You) Since the Bin-Men Went On Strike is the first release on Paradise Circus Records. The way the strike has been covered in the media has created a bit of a bad smell with a lot of rubbish spoken, recycled with dumb opinions all over social media. No-one goes on strike lightly, it’s always a last resort for workers to give up pay to protest, and we felt that they needed to …

Do they know it’s bin day? We release charity single in support of bin strikers Read More »

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A dark force is at work in industrial Birmingham. The evidence is there before us in our streets, in our museums, in the halls of power, our entertainment venues, our dark mills. Yes the devil himself pervades the fabric of Birmingham culture. Nowhere is this presence felt more than in the imposing effigy in the main atrium to the Museum & Art Gallery in Chamberlain Square – the Civic focus of art and tradition in Birmingham. It is the first ambassador to welcome the casual visitor or tourist to the culture of Birmingham.

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With cover by 101 Things Birmingham Gave the World artist Mark Murphy, Peter Bourne’s new novel is an ambitious and very real book. We’re happy to share an excerpt. Set against defining 1980s events like the Falklands War and the Hillsborough disaster and the ever-changing landscape of Birmingham, Into the Blue is the story of a family tree decayed by betrayal, revenge and suspicion. More info here, or buy on Amazon right now.   Carl’s a man of few words. And even fewer on the telephone. The Talking Clock has a wider range of conversation. Carter has never been able to digest his father-in-law’s slow, ponderous and thick Small Heath accent without diverting his brain elsewhere. If Carl was an animal, he’d be a city pigeon. If he was an image, he’d be a monotone visual of a 1980s roundabout. If he was a sport, he’d be crown …

Into the Blue Read More »

The excuse for talking to Stephen Duffy is the release of the first Lilac Time album in ten years, but that really is just an excuse: we could listen to him forever. Paradise Circus is more named after the Lilac Time album  of that name than even the traffic island. That said, No Sad Songs is a wonderful collection that you should head out and pick up right now. “Yes, we have always been guilty of self mythologising,” Stephen Duffy tells me, so allow me to build my own. I’m talking to him not sitting on the grass near Nick Drake’s grave, nor in a dappled Digbeth pub where our words would be lit with dusty spikes of light though the stained glass, but over the phone. He’s at home in Cornwall, I’m in an almost quiet enough corner of a conference centre in London that will …

No sad songs, an interview with Stephen Duffy Read More »

Flushed with the success of our 101 Things Birmingham Gave the World Kickstarter, for which we thank you all, we’re thinking of expanding into other types of merchandise. Impressed by Anna Burles’s Literary London Map, we’ve taken stock of all of our city’s artistic heritage and produced our own.   “A fine art print map of the borders of Birmingham featuring characters from art based in Birmingham. The famous and infamous. And also the less well known. Those with an amazing moniker or brilliantly conceived nickname who are a credit to their creator. Each character has been plotted in the corners of the city they most liked to roam or chose to call home (sometimes on Her Majesty’s Pleasure). Combining hand-drawn typography and illustration, the posters are available now, framed for £29, unframed for £13 (both + P&P).” See it in all it’s glory:

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Remembering the Super Prix is a fiction within a fiction. Going to my Nan’s flat, 180 Elizabeth Fry House, just to hear the roar and grumble of the cars from her balcony. A simulcast of first and second-hand experiences. Being there but not being there. Watching the race on TV with the fringes of town shown as a kind of alternative, patched up, Monaco, but never making it to see the actual event. Thinking I’d only been on the No. 8 earlier that week, along that same stretch of road, sitting upstairs on the front seat of the bus, no less. The No.8’s route was an adventure into the forbidden space of the Super Prix. The excitement started when the bus deviated from the orbit of the inner ring road, on to the Hagley Rd. First, passing the Oratory with the raised disc of Five Ways at …

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I’ve been playing around with slit-scan photography lately and at the tail end of a long and boring coach journey I thought I’d try recording the journey into Birmingham as a slit-scan. The app I was using was limited to 2044 pixels so I couldn’t do the whole thing at once but these five pretty much cover the view from Birmingham Airport to Digbeth Coach Station. (click for full size) A bit of explanation is probably in order. The camera (in this case an iPad) is held firmly against the coach window. Any movements are those of the coach itself. It was set to take eight 1x480px photos every second and stack them in a row. So what you’re seeing is sort of like a movie, and sort of not at all like a movie. When the coach is moving quickly you see a lot of noise …

Birmingham Airport to Coach Station in pixel-width strips Read More »

Struggle to identify the areas, suburbs, Quarters, Triangles or Miles in Birmingham? Struggle no longer with our official infographic: Click to embiggen.

Discovery is subjective. When Europeans discovered the Americas, they didn’t let indigenous races spoil their narrative: that continent was discovered and it would stay discovered, damn it. They say that every generation of teenagers thinks it’s invented sex. The moment we become sexually active we reinvent the wheel (you ever tried it? I’d advise you stretch first) and simultaneously project our parents into a sexless hinterland (a bit like Telford, where fittingly Philip Larkin worked), denying them a sexual history despite being embodied evidence of it. Brummies have an Americas: it’s the King Kong statue, a monument forever being discovered.  

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For a time, this was an allowable method of attempting to staunch the flow of disappearances. But it soon extended much further than one shelf of the ‘D’ sequence. In fact within a year everything was gone. This is the story of that encroaching nothing.   So what happened next? Add to the collaborative story with the next steps. Answers on a postcard to: Paradise Circus C/O Jon Hickman, B322 Baker Building, BCU City North Campus, Perry Barr, B42 2SU Try Touchnote as a quick and cool way of sending them.

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