Archive for September, 2005

Apocalypse Soon

This weekend there’s going to be a series of events and workshops aimed at helping people through the days of peaking oil supplies, climate change and resource depletion. As petrol prices are approaching

Catch The Arsonists

A couple of days ago there was an arson attack on some train signals between Birmingham and Warwick which caused quite a bit of disruption on the day (it took a colleague of mine an extra 2 hours just to get in to the city centre to get to work). Now Network Rail is putting up a

A small resturant review -b one

‘b one’ recently opened on Newhall Street and as I walked past last night one of their employees rushed out to shove a menu in my hand. As I work literally just accorss Great Charles Street from the resturant I thought I’d give it a try this lunch time (about 12:30).

The menu lists typical chip shop fare (fish, chips, batterred sausages, saveloys, pies, kebabs &c) plus sandwiches (hot and cold), jacket potatoes, soup and Panini. Being partial to a kebab I popped in and joined the queue. And waited. And waited. And waited.

I’d really like to comment on the quality of the food, but I can’t. After about 20 minutes of waiting in a queue that hadn’t moved forward at all (other than due to people in front of me giving up waiting and leaving), I gave up and went to buy a sandwich from the newsagents just down the road. My first thought was cannabis use amongst the staff was causing lethergy that was responsible for their inactivity in serving customers. This was contradicted by the fact that they were shouting and arguing with each other, obviously a much more fun activity than actually serving customers.

I realise that here in the UK we don’t put as much emphasis on the word ‘fast’ in the phrase “Fast Food” (many places don’t really pay much attention to the word ‘food’ either, the McDonalds in Broadstreet (opposite Old Orleans) bothers with neither word) as many countries do, but 20 minutes without serving a single customer when there is a queue nearly to the door is not on. One can only hope that the owner will whip the staff into shape (a whip may be the only thing that will get through to them) else the resturant will surely fail quickly.

‘b one’ is located at 58 Newhall Street, City Centre (0121 200 2662) and is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm on Saturday, closed Sunday

Helicopters in the Night?

It’s approximately 1am. For the past hour i’ve been kept awake by the sound of a helicopter hovering around very near by. Why is a helicopter hovering around Five Ways at 1am on a Thursday night, I hear you ask? Good question. I don’t know. I went out on the balcony to see for myself, but after looking around in the direction I assumed the noise to be coming from I couldn’t see anything. So I went back inside. The sound carried on. So i went over to the windows (which face in the only direction i can’t see from the balcony)… still nothing. But SOMETHING is there and SOMETHING is making noise! So I go back on the balcony and continue to stare. It’s only once my eyes get accustomed to the dark that I notice there IS a helicopter there, hovering in place about 300ft above what I’m guessing is the same building in which Tesco is located. But it doesn’t have ANY lights on. If it wasn’t for the noise it would be COMPLETELY unnoticeable (unless you’ve got a radar or something in your closet).

So: what the hell? Does anyone have ANY idea why a helicopter would be hovering above Tesco in the middle of Birmingham city centre for an hour in the middle of the night without any lights on???

Hmmm the sound has just faded away, so I guess he’s gone off to do some price-comparisions at Asda or something. I’m gonna get some sleep.

Earth From The Air Replacement

Now, I know we all loved Earth From The Air, and we’re all very sad it’s gone. I have been reliably informed that it’s been replaced with “funny pictures of animals”. I haven’t seen it yet myself, but I think the world needs more funny animal pictures.

Also, what’s with the Krispy Kreme renaming of the doughnuts? The strawberry filled ones were my boyfriend’s favourite, but now they’ve been renamed ‘Straw-baggy Delight’ (I think), he refuses to eat them. And I think the blueberry one has something to do with Bluenose. I wonder how many people use the strange Birmingham-ised names, and how many people just point and say “that one”? I like the cinnamon apple doughnuts, which have thankfully kept their original name.

You daft racist.

Reading about this and seeing stuff on local news about segregation should probably be shocking, but it’s hardly a new thing, is it? There’s areas of Brum that are heavily populated with asian famliles, and areas where there’s more white families. It’s not like this has suddenly happened since September 11th/July 7th (which seemed to be one explanation on the news). Hell, back in junior school in Ladywood I was the only white guy in my class throughout. Not that this is a bad thing; I really didn’t/couldn’t care less whether my schoolmates/friends are black/white/yellow/purple (I’m sickeningly liberal), but like the article says it’s not good, is it? I dunno how it’s like in other places in Brum, I’ve pretty much spent most of my life in Ladywood.

I’m in Bearwood now, and there seems to be a lot more white familiies. The schools are full of blonde, white kids, and whenever my Indian or Chinese mates come round they actually get stared at. I shit you not. Perhaps my road is just stuck in some weird Twilight-Dickhead Zone.

And yet walk ten mins down the road, and BAM, nothing but asian families. It’s bizarre.

Standing by the bus stop about an hour ago, and some old lady is spouting off some random crap about how the bus driver wouldn’t stop for her but would for some ‘nigger man’. Eurgh. I would’ve done something, but I feared being rushed by her five elderly friends. That, and I promised the police I’d stop attacking old ladies.

What can you do, eh? All I can say is that despite the above, my friends have never (to my knowledge) been racially abused, and I never saw much of it back when I was in school. My mother works in a junior school in Ladywood, though, and she tells me some horror stories about the self-segregation and the fighting and abuse all the kids get involved in. It’s mostly poor Iraqi kids that get picked on, and I was told about a seven year old girl who wanted to kill herself because of it.

Something’s gotta be done about this, but it doesn’t seem like anything will.

Pictures of Bournville Station

Bournville station is my local station, and where I get the train to work from. I took these pictures a few weeks ago, when it was a nice day, and I was waiting for a friend to arrive.

It’s quite nice having the canal right next to the station, in the summer there’s loads of canalboats. It’s also nice having the Cadbury factory nearby too, you can smell the chocolate in the air, if the wind is blowing towards the station. Hmm, that reminds me, I’m hungry…

Whoopsie!

This notice is a little late, but the ultra-observant among you may have noticed a new link in that menu on the left over yonder to the (almost) brand-spanking new Metboards.com discussion boards! Feel free to join in the conversations with folk from around the world, or stick a little closer to home and post a message under the Birmingham category. Rah!

This is My Jerry Springer Moment

The Opera

Despite various protests against it Jerry Springer: The Opera WILL continue its tour around the UK, coming through Birmingham via the Hippodrome next February! I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Mr. Springer (although the shows can be hilarious) but I am definitely against such censorship.

On a somewhat related note, some of you may remember last December when the Repertory theatre over in Centenary square tried to put on a production of the award-winning play, Behzti (Sikh for “Dishonour”), only to be forced to stop the showings when the Rep was stormed by angry protesters who claimed the play “mocks their faith.” Obviously I don’t take my religion as seriously as some people, but I cannot believe people can get so worked up by a PLAY (especially when it’s ENTIRELY ficticious). Sheesh.

Then again… I wonder if any of this falls under the new laws against incitement to religious hatred?

LOL! Actually, upon reading the FAQ linked above, I noticed question 6 which DIRECTLY answers that very question. Guess that answers that.

Best of Birmingham (BoB): Got the Blues? (NOT related to Birmingham FC)

Going along the same lines as Liz’s “Favourite Things About Birmingham” posts, i’m gonna start doing some “Best of Birmingham” entries… the only problem being that since i’m relatively new to Birmingham (approaching my 1st anniversary!) I haven’t really visited THAT many places. But what hell… I can always amend / append / delete the entries at a later date, right? Also please feel free to add comments / opinions / recommendations for future readers to find. The more the merrier!

So… the topic for this first post will be blues music! My girlfriends parents are coming over from Norway to visit in a few weeks, and they’d love to go to a blues bar, concert, or anything like that, but I have no idea where to take them. I guess I’ll include jazz-type venues in this search as well.

The only place I can think of off the top of my head is the Jam House which is suppose to be quite good, but a little pricey (2 courses

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