Archive for February, 2007

Gumtree Birmingham Meetup

It’s a little late notice, but: Gumtree, an up-and-coming noticeboard website similar to (but slightly more professional looking than) Craigslist is throwing a little party over at Walkabout on Broad street tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7:30pm. They’re also doing some sort of exhibit in the Bullring during the day (although I’m not sure exactly what they’ve got to exhibit…). Gumtree’s come in handy a few times for selling some old junk, and they don’t charge any fees for listings!

So if you’ve got nothing else to do tomorrow evening then head on over to the Walkabout bar (in the downstairs area) for some drinks, a chat, and karaoke!

The Stirrer

I’ve just added The Stirrer to the Birmingham Metblog blogroll, after reading Pete Ashton’s latest entry on his Brum Blog. I’d forgotten all about that climate change event over at Millenium Point last night :(

Metblog #53: San Jose

Just another quick service announcement: San Jose has just joined the Metblog network. That’s four five metblogs in California alone!

And now back to our regular broadcast….


48% Think Manchester is England’s Second City!

A recent poll has revealed that nearly half of those surveyed think that Manchester is England’s second most important city. Actually, I didn’t find this very surprising. I myself was caught out when I first moved here. Manchester just seems like a more glamourous place. In sports it’s home to one of the world’s biggest football clubs (Manchester United). Birmingham’s got… Aston Villa. Manchester was host of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Birmingham does play host to several “major” sporting events, however none of these come close to something like the Olympics, or the Commonwealth Games. In the music business, Manchester is home to bands such as the Smiths, Oasis, the BeeGees, Doves, and The Stone Roses. Birmingham also has a few big names (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, UB40, Duran Duran), however they’re well past their peak. Things look a bit better in terms of the “younger generation” music scene: Birmingham has “Air”, a club which plays host to Godskitchen, and the Global Gathering festival is held just down the road near Stratford-upon-Avon.

I guess part of the problem is that Birmingham just doesn’t seem to promote itself very well, and only seems to be in the news for all the wrong reaons (terror arrests, riots, murders, etc.). As Jon Bounds, founder of BirminghamItsNotShit, says “we ought to get out and promote ourselves a little bit more.” If we can start doing that, then perhaps we can start to shift the public’s opinion of this great city!


It seems the city centre is in gridlock as commuters try to get home through the latest layer of snow. It took one of my co-workers around 50 minutes just to get from Brindleyplace to Five Ways (a distance of less than a mile)! I’ve heard that trains are also affected. The Litchfield – New Street line is a limited service, apparently not stopping at many of the smaller stations.

Why does snow cause such a disruption in this country?!?

Update: Here’s the BBC News Article

Update 2: A “Lee Jordan” gives some good advice in one of the Birmingham FlickR Group threads:

“If anyone is reading who is ok at home and know the family is ok, would you mind wrapping up and going out there and lending a hand? Obviously don’t get in the way but myself and my dad have been pushing cars which have been struggling to get over a slight gradient and thus helping to keep one of Birmingham’s main A roads moving. Pretty useless effort if it’s just one or two people, imagine if everyone pitched in. You got drivers who can’t move cos the car in front is stuck, what’s wrong with parking getting out the car locking it and pushing the car in front?

2nd gear to go uphills, 1st gear gets you to wheel spin, tell people, signal to wind the window down and have a chat.

The situation with the snow is easing so the roads are looking better than they did at 4pm, but it’s still mayhem out there. Warning or no warning now is not the time to start moaning, or having a go at the council, now is the time for community spirit.

Mom put out a message on the radio asking anyone who is in a position to help, to help. Hot drinks, got any empty coke bottles, fill them up with tap water and send them out. Know of gridlock just ahead of where a driver is going, tell them about it and advise a different route.

If you can help please do, stop uploading photos, start pushing cars, a lot of people haven’t dealt with conditions like this before, so maybe pass on some experience”

PS The trains are all back on schedule, so if you’re thinking of driving to Birmingham tonight: take the train instead!

Terrorism Suspects Formally Charged

Although three of the nine men arrested over the alleged plot to kidnap a Muslim member of our armed forces were released without charge, today police have formally charged five of the others. One still remains in custody.

I was half-expecting all of them to be released without charge, as in the case of those men arrested in London the other month. But it would have been very costly for the police to make such a mistake again, and would have caused even more damage to the relations between them and the muslim community. Therefore they must have been very confident about the intelligence they had gathered before making their move, right?

Mayor Caught On Double Yellow

Pete Ashton wrote an entry the other day regarding a photo taken by a Birmingham photographer of the mayor’s car apparently parked on a double yellow line. Too bad I couldn’t get there in time to slap on one of those stickers I mentioned earlier.


The Friendly Snowman

Originally uploaded by g4z.

Snow! And what a lot of it! My fears of major traffic went unwarranted. Driving to and from work today was easier than most normal days… I guess most people took the day off to enjoy this wintery goodness. I saw many a snowman lining the streets around my house, so I had to join in and put together this masterpiece. Anyone else got some snow sculptures to show off?

Security Alert at the ICC

As police to continue to investigate a series of mail bombs around the country, a suspicous package was spotted in the ICC resulting in convention centre being evacuated and roads in the surrounding area being closed… just the sort of thing you want to happen in the middle of a major city at rush hour on a cold and frosty evening! Fortunately, as I was leaving the area at around 9pm, traffic seemed to be back to normal.

Hopefully people will be driving a bit more slowly / carefully with this cold snap so that there aren’t any major accidents on the roads tomorrow morning, but I don’t think they will. I’m gonna leave for work an hour or so early tomorrow, just in case…

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