Tag: history

In 2006 Nicole Blackman created a walking tour of Digbeth called “Stay Away From Lonely Places” that was inspired by the true and not-as-true-as-they-could-be stories of Digbeth- stories that I only half remember involving a lost ring, a Hell’s Angels Wedding, warring industrialists and the possible site of the first English Martyrdom of the Marian Persecution: John Rogers- bible editor, bible translator, bible commentator and martyr. Blackman reflected that “Marian Persecution” would be a good rock band name, I vividly remember on the corner of Floodgate Street and High Street Deritend reflecting that it would be a great name for a drag queen- you can take that fact to the bank. Blackman was unsure the Birmingham Civic Society had it right saying that Rogers had been martyred in Birmingham, it was Smithfield in London. Already Rogers’ story is getting away from me; I’ve spoiled it by giving …

John Rodgers: The heretic from Digbeth Read More »

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I woke this morning to a few tweets informing me that today is the 41st birthday of the Gravelly Hill Interchange, better known as Spaghetti Junction. Within these birthday messages lay a joke, a myth about Junction 6 that lies at the heart of many an outsider’s knowledge of Birmingham. This is the myth that traversing Spaghetti is hard.

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Last Tuesday Jon sent me to cover the BBC WM public forum debate about the Kraft takeover of Cadbury, it was held in Bournville. Bournville, for those of you that don’t know, was built by the do-gooding Cadbury family who thought booze was the devil’s piss. Subsequently it’s dryer than Gandhi’s Black and Decker belt sander. Jon sent me for three reasons; one, Jon is a cruel bastard; two, he had a strong idea that I would find it a boring waste of time; and three, if he and Carl Chinn actually meet the universe will turn inside out and reality itself’ll get torn a new arsehole. The reaction to the news across the the media has ranged from the predicable hysterical cloying nostalgia of ‘oh no they’re going to make wispas taste of Stilton and and shoot curly wurlys into space, how dare they mess with …

Up Bournville Boulevard Read More »

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Anglo-Saxon England was a horrible violent place with different kings and fiefdoms slaughtering for land, old gods, and, when the Danes landed, shits and giggles. Not unlike Newtown (except the bit about the Danes – I’ve never seen a Dane  in North Birmingham). Another thing worth stabbing your neighbouring villagers up the arsehole for, was gold. Not the tatty mass produced Elizabeth Duke crap the third generation crack-babies are killing each other for at present. Beautiful, hand crafted gold unique items; normally it was used for decorating the weapons you yourself used to rob people for their gold, thus making you more attractive to rob. You can see why it escalated. To keep it safe they buried it, and The Staffordshire Hoard was discovered last year in the West Midlands; if you mean the ‘West Midlands Region‘ which pretty much covers everything with buildings between London and …

Surge Domine et dissipentur inimici tui et fugiant qui oderunt te a facie tua* Read More »

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The Electric, Birmingham Originally uploaded by new folder A cosy evening at The Electric with a ‘This Is Your Life’ of Britain’s oldest working picture house in the company of owner Tom Lawes to celebrate its 100th birthday. Opened in late 1909 it was, we heard, one of the first opened with knowledge of what the 1909 Cinematograph Act would require — which is one of the reasons cinemas had to be specialist buildings. It kicked off with this (DW Griffith!) very early public information film: We then had some top flight silent physical comedy, when one of the technicians fell off the stage in the dark, and also a bit of Laurel and Hardy accompanied by a organ played by Steve Tovey, the last full time cinema organist in Britain. A real treat was footage of the re-opening of the cinema as a ‘Tatler News Theatre’ …

100 years of The Electric Cinema Read More »

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The Siren (in which this excerpt is taken from) About Harry Palmer Harry Palmer is an eccentric archaeologist who has, for many years, actively explored places, spaces and people, circumstances and situations. From early work from the mid 1990s as a reverse pedestrian world record attemptee, through to conversations with Catfish specimen masters and friendships with allotment champions, Mr Palmer has taken it upon himself to joyfully roam and enquire (within) here on planet earth for a sustained period since his birth… Harry is the co-founder and research editor-in-chief of The Eccentric City newspaper – the world’s first dedicated eccentric tabloid newspaper Forthcoming events: Eccentric Treasure Hunt across Birmingham (UK). Also, touring talks and visits. For more information and updates www.eccentriccity.co.uk Harry Palmer’s Life and times of a Submerging Artist 1990-2009 pending www.harrypalmer.co.uk

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Birmingham Music Archive is teaming up with BiNS to find out What has been the best gig ever to take place in the city and what was/is the best venue. Jez from the BMA is kicking things off, argue the toss here and in the forum. My favourite gig was The Cramps at the Birmingham Odeon. My memory is not what it was but the gig was either April 25th 1984 or April 30th 1986, I’m tending to go for the 86 one due to me age, but anyway.. For those of you who don’t remember the Odeon before it became a 400 screen cinema, selling 2 tonne bags of sugar to kids who need no encouragement whilst showing Rambo 55, it was a fabulous art deco music and cinema hall. For the gigs, there was a huge orchestra pit which doubled as the mosh pit (well …

Cramps? Best Brum gig evah? Read More »

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We mentioned the Type Tours before, but I couldn’t pass up a chance of a private mini-tour for myself: Ben Waddington is one of those people who wants others to appreciate their surroundings. An exiled Manc, he’s been running tours of some kind round Brum for a couple of years – I went on Ben’s tour themed around John Baskerville last year, and was impressed with his research and amiable guiding if not our city’s treatment of Baskerville’s legacy. If we must have a new library (when the current one works, no matter how you consider it looks) then it should feature some tribute – it will be on Baskerville’s old land after all. As part of the Plus International Design Festival, Ben is running his Baskerville Tour again – as well as ‘Type Tours’ of Digbeth and the city centre. A man who knows Brum well …

Signs of the times Read More »

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