Birmingham is the most romantic place in the world. You only have to look at the ‘love locks’ on the bridge from the back of the Mailbox to Gas Street basin to see that. They are all about permanence of affection, put there by young lovers to represent the unending commitment and ties to Capita of our city council.
Greetings cards were popularised by a man called Cole (underling to our 101 Things Birmingham Gave the World star Sir Rowland Hill, inventor of the stamp and the post) – he pioneered it with Christmas cards, but it was Valentine’s Day cards that were really to benefit from the anonymity of the postal system. So, without Birmingham you would be forced to do your wooing face-to-face with all the intendent problems that creates (for us Brummies mostly the inability to sound sincere or sexy – known as the Mark Williams effect).
So, from poetry, through lovelorn graffiti, to the thrilling heartache of the futile gesture, Birmingham is the home of romance. Here are ten romantic moments — covering every romantic trope — that wouldn’t have got out of the starting blocks without the ‘big heart of England’.
To celebrate our love for you lonely people we’ve halved the price of the eBook version of 101 Things Birmingham Gave the World until Valentine’s Day — the lucky in love can buy the paperback as a delightful gift.
The 70s. When men were real men and real men were Brummies.
As Finger, Birmingham’s Stephen Bill stole several scenes in Mike Leigh’s 1975 Play for Today film, ‘Nuts in May’. This five-minute clip of his loud, brash, and gloriously Brummie entrance into the idyllic campsite atmosphere previously enjoyed by Keeeeeeth, Candice Marie, and a compliant Ray, is notable not only for the staggering amount of innuendo it contains, but also for the precience with which it draws a picture of a modern-day Brum: For Keith and Candice Marie, see the nu-hipsters colonising many of Brum’s suburbs with their folksy bullshit, and for Finger and his bird, Honk, see the indigenous Brummies who have to put up with having their local boozers host Streetfood nights, or screenings of ironically hip 80s movies.
Keep an eye out for the line at 1m53s: “Look at all them bleedin’ bluebells. There’s millions on ’em”, which serves as Finger’s heroically bucolic opening salvo in his attempt to take Honk up the Ackers in a poorly erected tent.
Use your own bleeding helmet. Eh. Eh. Just hold it. If I peg this out here. Hold it hold it hold it hold it. If I peg it out it it’ll hold it up
The 70s. When men were real men and real men were Brummies. Trevor Eve, of Sutton Coldfield, may have been working on a shoestring but this is a class gambit. The video below will start just at our highlight (15mins in), but try to make time to watch it all so that you can enjoy Christopher Biggins, Toyah, Linda Bellingham, a young Pete Beale and Gary Holton (later of Auf Wiedersehen Pet) – and also so you can see if he takes him up the Ackers.
You’ve got a nice collection there, wife doesn’t object then?
The 70s. When men were real men and real men were Brummies. Here’s a professional pick up line from Martin Shaw, of Erdington. You’ll find it at around 42 seconds into this video but try to make time to watch it all so you can see if he takes her up the Ackers.
I Stopped at a café on this road once.
The owner kept telling me about this fantastic new sink he’d just had installed. Kept insisting I tried it. Filled it up. No problem. Washed my hands and face. Fine. Pulled the plug out. And the water ran all over my shoes.