Archive for October, 2005

Lights Out!

When I parked over in the Euro car park near Five Ways this morning I noticed there were no lights. The elevators were out of service, but then again I haven’t EVER seen them working so that was nothing strange. But over in Brindleyplace the lights were also out.. and the elevators.. and the water systems… and the air conditioning… and all the computers (which kinda limits what I can do as a software developer).

The exact cause for this outage is not yet known, but the power came back on here at about 10:30am, so now I just have to wait for the servers to get back online so I can get back to work… joy.

Fireworks @ Pype Hayes Park!

Wooo! Guy Fawkes night is next weekend! In “celebration” of the occasion there will be a supposedly massive fireworks show over in Pype Hayes park. If anyone else is heading over that way then give me a shout!

A Load of Rubbish

In the city centre rubbish collection wasn’t an issue as the apartment block had a communal rubbish room which we could go down and visit whenever we needed to. But when we moved to a “proper” house we had no idea what day of the week the rubbish collectors would come along. We monitored our street every morning for a week but we never noticed anyone else putting anything out (we must have chosen a week in which all our neighbours decided to go on holiday… or maybe just eat their own refuse). One quick trip to birmingham.gov.uk gave me the number to call for all rubbish-related problems! So, for anyone else that’s looking for that number, it’s (0121) 303 1112. Just tell them Gaz sent you!

PS Oh yeah, and it turns out it’s Fridays!

Lozells

Talking to someone who knows people personally and at a friendship level from Lozells said that, a rumour was spreading around that the black riot people are waiting for the Holy month of Ramadan to end before they launch attacks on the Asian community. How much truth this rumour holds is unknown and sounds very Unlikely, as life seems to be getting back to normal around the Lozells area. Only a few police patrol cars can be seen other than that nothing of the unusual or bad is happening.

Lets all pray this has ended.

Return of the Gaz

Woo! I’m back online at last!

So my girlfriend and I are finally settled in to our new pad up in Pype-Hayes. It’s sooooooooo much more peaceful out here compared to living on top of Broadway Plaza (who would have guessed? :P)! And we have a nice big house to ourselves in a quiet neighbourhood. On the downside it’s now takes 20 – 30 minutes to navigate through the carnage that is rush-hour traffic on the A38 (Aston Expressway) every morning, and it’s gonna cost a bit to get a taxi home after a night out in the city centre, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Actually I’ve started hatching a plan to beat the morning traffic jams AND get in shape at the same time by buying a bicycle of some kind (probably a hybrid). The Birmingham – Fazeley canal passes fairly close to our house, so I could nip down there on a bike then follow the canal all the way to the centre, practically right beside where I work! Bonus! How pleasant it will be to cycle 6 miles along a muddy canal path in the cold, pouring rain of an English winter remains to be seen… but then again I probably won’t get around to buying a bike until next spring anyway.

Anyway… so I guess the big news from the city lately is these race-riots going on over in the Lozells area, but I haven’t heard or seen anything about these riots other than what has been reported on the news and by our resident Metblogger, Stephen!

More on Lozells

Talking directly to people who observed the events of the weekend I’ve discovered a few things.

The man stabbed to death on Saturday night was Isiah Youngsam, an employee of the city council’s Business Solutions and IT section. As has been reported in the media he was attacked as he and a group of his friends and relatives walked home from the cinema. A large group of youths, wearing balaklavas to hide their faces, pulled up in cars and leapt out to attack them with knives and other weapons.

As a mark of respect the IT helpline, where Isiah worked, was closed today.

What has not been widely reported in the media is that his cousin, who had also suffered serious injuries, had to carry him to city hospital as apparently the ambulance service were not allowed into the area by the police.

Whilst the police and media are still maintaining that the rumours of a rape are just rumours there seems to no doubt at all in the local Black community that it did take place. There has been a lot of anger from the community that the police seem to have just ignored a rape because it happened to a black girl in a deprived area. To quote one person: “If it had been a white woman in Sutton Coldfield or Solihull, the police would have been all over it.”

The BBC have pictures of events.

Riots in Lozells, again

A number of people have been arrested, and one died, following riots in Lozells. The trigger for this series of riots seems to be claims that a 14 year old West Indian girl (reported, by Channel 4, to be an illegal immigrant from Jamaica) was sexually assaulted by a group of South Asians. Such reports are currently unsubstantiated, no formal complaint of sexual assualt has been made and the teenager in question has apparently not come forward.

The Lozells road, in Perry Barr, has been a magnet for troubles for over 30 years, fueled by the long term deprivation of the surrounding areas of Aston, Newtown and Handsworth. During the 1980s it suffered rioting due to the actions of the National Front, Combat 18 and other race hate groups against the largely immigrant population of the area. This latest round of rioting seems to have been largely between West Indian/African and South Asian groups.

Almost half of the population of Birmingham is non-white, the black population is expected to exceed the white within the next 5-30 years (the wide disparity in dates is largely due to the different views on what peoples the term ‘Black’ encompasses). Of all the cities of Europe, Birmingham probably is probably the most racially integrated, whilst areas exist where most residents are from certain ethnic groups they are less distinct and lack the ghetto atmosphere found in many such areas in other cities.

It is perhaps a bitter irony that these riots happened during Black History Month.

Pebble Mill getting knocked down.

Pebble Mill Demolition Photo Gallery

French Market

Who’s been yet? I went last Sunday, I got some potato casserole thingy (I’m not entirely sure what it was, all I know is that it tasted nice). We were going to get some honey or jam, but we didn’t, haha. And the huge bunches of grapes were tempting. I’m not sure when it finishes, but if it’s still there, I think you should go.

I also took some pictures of the Pebble Mill demolition, but I can’t find the cable for my camera to transfer the pictures over, so you’ll just have to wait, haha.

Linux in Birmingham Libraries

For some months, as part of the Open Source Academy, a small team in Birmingham City Council’s Business Solutions and IT section have been investigating the use of Linux, as an alternative to Microsoft Windows, in the Libraries Service. The project is currently in the live pilot stage.

Tommorow night, Thursday 20th, the first public report on the project will be delivered to the South Birmingham Linux Users Group at Birmingham University. The meeting is open to anyone so, if you’re interested and can get there feel free to show up. The venue is on the train station side of the campus.

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