The dead centre of town


Factoid of the day: apparently Witton Cemetery, just around the corner from my house, is the largest cemetery in Birmingham. I guess you could say everyone’s dying to get in… hah! Wikipedia also claims that the 2-mile long surrounding walls are the longest brick walls in the West Midlands.

I’d better keep my chainsaw handy in case the corpses get a little restless, coz that’s a lot of bodies!

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Birmingham and Nantech

For those who aren’t technically inclined, nantech is basically a form of bio technology, with a few centuries of time added on. Technology that operates in harmony with people’s bodies, and in some cases pheromones. I REALLY ADVISE that people grab their hands on a book called “Queen City Jazz”. I was blessed enough to find a copy in a second hand bookstore in backstreet Nisswa, Minnesota.

It’s a twisted conception of how civilisation could turn out if (or when) this technology takes over. A civilisation that starts off as Utopia, but under a microscope is actually a dystopia. A giant Hotel California, which falls under the natural laws. Normally that’s a bad thing, but you can already see this happing in Birmingham. It’s like everyone falls out fo the world of the living dead every time the sun shines!

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The Green Room

How many people reading this enjoy people watching? Nobody really realises just how multicultural Birmingham is, or how great its sphere of influence is.

Sitting at the Green Room (Opposite the Hippodrome) you will see a range of people going past, doing different things. International tourists, exploring the city, national tourists, looking for a place to enjoy the sun. It’s a perfect place to go to for inspiration, and each person going past tells a story. The place itself is laid back and relaxed, probably something to do with the mellow yellow walls.

If you’re meeting someone who’s not from around here, it’s a perfect base to start. In front of the green room you have culture, to the left you have the village (the pub on the corner is a great place to go no matter what your sexuality, it’s laid back too), to the right you have the Maharajah, voted the best indian restaurant – by Indians! Behind you have the Arcadian, which needs no introduction, and behind that you have the Bull Ring! It’s a very underestimated place.

A Tribute

This happened a few months ago, but I promised I would make him a tribute.

It was the rainy season (we don’t have winters and summers anymore). I was waiting on the bench while my friend Dina lit up (a cigarette, not herself). The cold went through me, and my coat didn’t help. It was dark and gloomy, and everywhere I looked, the faces of people just wanting to go home, not wanting to be bothered by the predators lurking around on the sides of New Street.

The Big Issue guy, who was given a hot beverage, threw it towards the bin after he finished. It didn’t quite land in the bin, but before it hit the ground, in came the hero. It was all in his eyes, headstrong but compassionate (he was also hot). In an instant he spotted the litter, picked it up before it touched the ground, put it in the bin and carried on.

He expected no recognition, he received no thanks and he confronted nobody. He carried on. I was completely inspired. I was completely taken aback and couldn’t believe what I saw. There really are good people in the world. Can more people learn to be like that man?

The BEST gadget to date

Ever wondered when they’d invent bio technology for Cars? It all seems light years away – but the revolution has started here in Bilston! It’s finally here, an immobiliser that starts the car only if it recognises the fingerprint of the driver. It’s going into production soon, and costs £350 to install onto your car, and for the almost guaranteed safety of your car (unfortunately nothing is ever 100%) I would get spending. But I don’t have a car :(

But most of all let it be known that it was first invented in Bilston, the BLACK COUNTRY, which I SUPPOSE comes under Birmingham. How great are we brummies?
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I Canali della Birmingham

Everyone boasts about Birmingham’s canals but does anybody actually use them? Beyond Brindley place and the Mailbox I mean. I used to commute to Birmingham every day from DUDLEY and it was the best Bike Riding I ever did. Ironically I never physically felt any change, except exhaustion, but you can learn a lot about Birmingham if you take a walk (you’d be better off Biking it) into Birmingham you’d save yourself a lot of time travelling. Biking was actually faster than taking a Bus, or a train (especially from Dudley) and it’s so calm and serene.

Please start using the canals! It’s essential to their survival, and the greater the demand the greater the possibilities…

Byron Wins B&Q Contract

“Automated Home” reports that Bromsgrove-based electrical products producer Byron has won a contract to supply B&Q with a range of home automation products from it’s “Home Easy” range. The products should start appearing in all 330 B&Q stores nationwide, starting from September 17th.

I’ve had my eye on various methods of home automation for a while now, using X10 modules for a few different trivial tasks. So far I haven’t tried rigging up anything more adventurous than remote control light switches & fans. I’ll have to take a look at the Byron stuff once it hits B&Q and try something new!

Birmingham vs Culture

They knocked down the HP Building! Can you believe it? Once again people are moaning about how the culture of Birmingham is being lost to advancement.

But isn’t this what Brummies voted for all those years ago?

While they’re all wondering where to hang up the HP Sign, I just can’t help but wonder where all that culture is gone. I was wandering in WHSmith, and ended up in the vintage section. There was a book with loads of pictures of Birmingham before the second world war. It was actually quite beautiful. It still is. It was only then that the next time I walked along the tree lined New Street, instead of looking ahead at what was worse than Gucci for sale at a flea market, I looked up at the buildings. It’s all still there. Actually it all still reminds me of New Orleans.

The next time you’re in the city centre, look up at the buildings. Sure enough a lot of the old buildings were knocked down, but the old (and very subtle) layers of the city are still there, so take time out to remember the efforts that created our home.


Hello Everyone! I’m new to this new fangled moveable type technology, but it’s so amazing! It really is!

Well Gareth, I’m honored to be part of something that is so big, and still has potential. I’ve travelled to many places on the earth, wherever the FCO tells me not to go I love it more. I’ve lived in DUDLEY, where I grew up, but found the greatness that is birmingham starting 2003. I’ve moved to Birmingham, started off living in the City centre, which was great, but missed the colour green so I now live in Quinton.

Throughout my brummie life I’ve experienced all the extremes and everything in between, so, watch this space!
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Fresh Blood!

phew… apologies for the lack of updates around here. I’ve just bought my first house, up in Erdington and currently in the throes of moving stuff in and getting it organised. But hopefully it won’t just be up to me to keep this place active, as I’d like to introduce the Birmingham metblog’s latest blogger: Jeevan Singh. Jeevan has lived in Birmingham for a couple of years now and tells me he’s done quite a bit of travelling in his time, so I’m sure he’ll have an interesting take on what’s going on in and around Birmingham.

Welcome, Jeevan!

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Le geek, c’est chic! Geek out!

BiNS brings word that a new gaming centre, Omega Sektor, is due to open soon (August 10th) in the city centre over near the Priory Shopping Centre, I think.

With over 400 dedicated PCs, a console gaming section, and a “chill out” cafe this is sure to attract the dedicated gamers in the area for some fragging action. I hope they have a powerful air conditioning in place; LAN parties aren’t usually easy on the olfactory nerves!

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BOGOF @ AMC Broadway Plaza!

With the long list of summer blockbusters for 2007 (not to mention the terrible weather we’ve been having lately) there’s never been a better time to visit the movies. Think cinema tickets are a bit pricey? Well I stumbled across a BOGOF offer for the AMC cinema at Broadway plaza. Woohoo! The only catch, as I discovered today, is that you can’t use it to book tickets in advance (the showing must be the same day that you buy the tickets). Doh!

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Greater Birmingham

Over on Brum Blog Pete Ashton brings to light an article from TEN4 Magazine entitled “Why can’t Birmingham do it like Manchester?” The article raises some good points, primarily focused on music festivals and the performing arts, however it is the comment by “Jean-Luc Fournier” which catches Pete’s attention.

Rather than me reprinting the comment I encourage you to pop on over to either BrumBlog or TEN4 to check it out. The gist of it is the great idea that we should unite the “West Midlands” area under the new title of “Greater Birmingham.” As you can see in the comments to Pete’s blog entry, not everyone agrees with the idea, but personally I can’t see how it would hurt. I can understand why local areas want to remain distinct rather than being thrown under the big Birmingham umbrella, but it’s not as if the history or character of any particular place is going to be erased or rewritten. “Greater Birmingham” would make the area much more easily identifiable, which can only help to increase awareness globally. Then again, perhaps that’s something people don’t want / care about.

*Fast Forward to the London Olympics, 2012*
Scenario A
Tourist A: Hey, let’s go to the Black Country Museum!
Tourist B: Great idea! Where’s that??
Tourist A: Hmm, “Greater Birmingham”…. hmm… Birmingham’s not too far away, so yeah, let’s go!

Scenario B
Tourist A: Hey, let’s go to the Black Country Museum!
Tourist B: Great idea! Where’s that??
Tourist A: Hmm, “Dudley” in “The Black Country”…. eh?? Where the frell is that? forget it.

Live Earth 07/07/07

“Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned;
Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”

– American Indian Proverb

And there’s coverage from around the Metblog network, over in London (where one of the biggest concerts is taking place in the new Wembley stadium!) and Lahore. The guys over in LA have also pointed out that Al Gore’s son has been busted for speeding and illegal possession of drugs, but at least he was driving a hybrid, right?

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Postcrossing from Birmingham

I recently came across, a simple yet fun idea for a site in which the users send postcards to each other. Once you’ve created an account you’re allowed to request up to 5 addresses to which you must send a postcard. You can write whatever you want on the postcard, as long as you include a unique code by which to identify the card. Upon receiving a card, the receipient enters the code on to the website which then makes your own address eligible to receive a card.

In the couple of weeks that I’ve been a member I’ve sent postcards to Finland, America, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Malaysia and received two from Germany (both from Saxony… what are the odds?). It’s quite a nice change to slow down and write an actual letter (albeit a brief one) as opposed to all the speed-of-light communication of daily life.

There’s a Postcrossing FlickR group with pictures of the cards people have received. Let’s get some more Birmingham ones on there!

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