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WELL, COLOUR US HAPPY

Congratulations. It's Friday. You've fought off another week. Now then, what prompts a committed Londoner to devote swathes of her life to the discovery of buildings beloved, belittled and battled over by us Brummies? Other than great judgment and the two million reasons we have recounted in our modest yet distinguished e-mag history, linocut printer Jennie Ing was able to share a little of what attracted her here. And before you ask, yes, her prints are for sale.  
For years Jennie’s sole connection with Birmingham was to pass through the Spaghetti Junction on her way to see relatives. That was until art fairs and good friends heralded the discovery of what Jennie talks fondly of as “another Birmingham, a proper place where people live, work, shop, entertain, and enjoy themselves”. Since 2011, Jennie has been trading at Brum's craft markets and has found “a city the local people are proud of”. She's been bowled over by the our approach to architecture and in particular “the whacky new buildings going up amongst the old, well loved ones”. Whacky? We’ve no idea what she's talking about.
Jennie creates linocut prints using the reduction method. You know the reduction method, right? Using a single, flat block of lino, Jennie draws on the outline of a design and cuts away the relevant area - a sharp tool and malleable lino is key to this stage of the process. Having selected her first colour, Jennie inks the remaining area of the lino, printing the results onto paper. Leaving plenty of time for the various layers to dry, Jennie utilises these steps for each colour, persevering until the finished print is achieved. But you already knew that.   
“Working through the layers for my prints I then really discover the buildings,” she says. "I have to make decisions about what to put in and what to leave out. With my style of art it is important to never overdo it.” It takes 5 to 6 days for Jennie to complete a design and when you include drying time, this figure instantly doubles. Oh, and one mistake can render the whole lino unusable. So, no pressure.
Finally, the prints are prepared for sale in a window mount to fit a 40cm x 30cm frame and price tagged at £90. Conveniently enough, Jennie will be at the Mac's Christmas Craft Markets on December 6, 7, 13 and 14. And word on the linoneum-printing street is that Jennie is likely to come armed with new prints of the old library and the University of Birmingham. Skills.  

LET THERE BE
(JAMJAR) LIGHT 
 

We don’t want to get all heavy and spiritual on you - it’s Friday and you’ve earned some uninterrupted I CHOOSE perusal time, but if we were going to be reborn, we harbour a serious suspicion that it would be as a magpie. We love shiny things and they don’t get much shinier than JamJar Lights’ sparkling new Southside store, whose grand opening is this very night (November 28). After 18 months of success which includes Grand Designs, the transformation of Boo Boo Coffee and, wait for it, an appearance on This Morning, the bubbly JamJar Team has decided it’s time to give you beleaguered Bristol Road commuters something to look at on your way home in the form of the most alluring lighting shop we’ve ever seen. Eminently reasonably priced and specialising in bespoke requests, check out some of the current offering here. Or see it for yourself at 86A Bristol Road.

MOVIE PICK: 
I AM ALI
 

The presence of box office behemoths Interstellar and The Hunger Games has meant that most distributors have run a mile. The week’s biggest offering, Horrible Bosses 2, is a shakey retread of an already wobbly original, so why not dip your toes into a nice documentary? Muhammed Ali is a gift to documentary-makers – in his heyday, he was seemingly incapable of being anything other than electrifying in front of a camera. This isn’t news, so I Am Ali takes its place in a crowded field of films on the man born Cassius Clay. It's set apart by focusing just as much on Ali’s life outside boxing as it does on him in the ring, and by including previously unheard tapes of him talking with his daughters. It’s all a little uncritical of a man who had his flaws, but these problems fade away thanks to the real fascination of hearing Ali speak in his ‘off’ moments, expressing a vulnerability far from the legend.

THERE'S JUST 24 GINS UNTIL CHRISTMAS


Here are some facts: Monday marks the beginning of December and the beginning of December marks the beginning of advent. You should have a Cadbury's choccie calendar as standard (no other confectioner will suffice), but also may want to consider the somewhat pricier Ginvent Calendar, from Selfridges. The downsides are that the name "Ginvent" really doesn't work and that it costs £110. The upsides are that it comes complete with 24 different 30ml samples of mother's ruin. They also do beer, whisky, cognac and rum advent calendars. Presumably they even do advent advent calendars too. Although this is not a guarantee.  

LAST CALL: WIN A NIGHT AT THE ROTUNDA


This evening we'll be announcing the winner of a really rather wonderful competition. One I CHOOSE Birmingham subscriber, old or new, will be picked at random to win a night at the Rotunda's penthouse courtesy of those rather flash folks at Staying Cool. It's a big old space up there, with two double bedrooms, so the winner will be allowed to invite up to three people to join them. We're also throwing in a bottle of Champagne. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is subscribe, free. Chances are you already have, but if not head over to our homepage and rectify, stat. Yawnsome terms and conditions apply.
Venue: Epi at The Courtyard, Satchwells Yard, High Street, Bromsgrove, B61 8AQ; epirestaurant.co.uk 
Choice: Leek and Potato (as part of five course tasting menu, £35)
Chooser: Owner and Head Chef

Bromsgrove. We hadn’t been there before either. But three little unassuming words made us just about the right side of smug that we made the journey (which, it turns out, really isn’t that far). With a November tasting menu showcasing pan-fried hake, roasted breast of partridge and the best damn bread sauce we’ve ever tasted, we’ve almost surprised ourselves by agreeing with Head Chef, Nathan’s choice of Leek and Potato as the course deserving of You Choose distinction. Any connotations of soup and leftovers are squarely exorcised with a light, playful and creative dish which includes outrageously tender braised leeks, a smooth and satisfyingly salty leek puree, duck fat roasties and to bring it all together, velvety goats cheese of Brock Hall Farm repute. A trip well worth taking. December's tasting menu: here.
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"My only fault is that I don't realize how great I really am." - Muhammad Ali
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew LowryTom Cullen
ADDRESS: I CHOOSE Birmingham, Office 211, 43 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5LS

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