(Issue 108)
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NEW OPENINGS: VOLUME I

In what's already been a deliriously busy year for Brum, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd seen the last of the city's openings. But, like a mardy mule, Birmingham's kicking off again, this time with launches including a men's lifestyle brand, a modern European dining room and a pinball hang out. And there'll be more where this came from before you're pretending to know the words to Auld Lang Syne.
The Epicurean, 8 Chad Square, Edgbaston, B15 3TQ; website
Put yourself in the hands of Alfonso, patron of Edgbaston's newest squeeze - The Epicurean. European fine dining using affordable cuts, if you're in the mood for a depth charge, try the ox tail cannelloni (£7.95) which comes in a bread-moppingly full Priorat (Spanish wine) sauce. In terms of mains, the lamb's neck (pictured) took gold on looks but for its textures and use of the trusty carrot, it was the hake with clams and sautéed, puréed and foamed accoutrements (£15.95) that was the ultimate champion. Heritage cutlery, bare tables and an intimate setting, defer to Fonz (you'll be calling him Fonz by this point) when it comes to wine. Menu.
No. 18 by P&Co, Great Western Arcade, B2 5HU; website
Literally conceived on the back of a napkin (okay a series of napkins), Brum-born P&Co is now a global lifestyle brand, dealing in denim, leather, coffee and wildly original t-shirts. And from tomorrow, it'll have its first physical store. In an opening which raises the Great Western Arcade's cool-dar to a solid twelve, No. 18 will stock P&Co's newest wares, which will include premium Candiani selvedge denim and faux fur for the first time, as well as plenty of new leather accessories. The launch party is tomorrow night (Friday 13) - expect drinks, DJs and an unusual concentration of bearded men. The Gentleman Barbers will also be in situ. See, men can multitask.
Tilt, 2 City Arcade Birmingham B2 4TX; Twitter
In a massive coup for the oft overlooked City Arcade, Tilt represents Brum's most hipster happening. And although we may not have the requisite geek specs and fixie bike, we absolutely love it. Five pinball machines including rare Addam's Family (the film) and Kiss (the band) options meet an enviable craft beer menu. Gamma Ray by Beavertown is available on tap, while of the 45 bottled beer highlights include Green Flash's Soul Style IPA, Omnipollo Bianca Mango Lassi Gose (which is so hipster the entire label is just a purple feather) and Cloudwater's Hopfen Weisse. Cakes by Bake and coffee by Five Elephant makes this an equally tempting day time haunt.  
Frock on Vintage, Unit 13, The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, B9 4AA; website
If the prospect of rifling through 'pre-loved' garb in search of a gem brings you out in something akin to a cold sweat, we have the antidote. Frock on Vintage has launched its first retail store and the trend-led vintage outfit is all about high-end minimalism, with a light, bright store which allows each piece of its handpicked, globally sourced collection to stand out. With stock suited particularly to svelte ladies, this season is all about texture - leather, fringing and fur to be precise. Darker hues and monochrome are the palate de rigueur, though you'll find sparkles too. Refreshingly affordable, join a customer list which includes Ella Eyre from 10am til 6pm, Monday to Saturday. More.

BRUMBOUND: JAZZ FROM THE BIG APPLE


Three is the number of Grammys Maria Schneider has won. Seventeen is the number of world class players in her orchestra, which is known for including the New York jazz scene's top brass. Zero is the number (negative number? natural number?) of times Maria has appeared in Brum. Which leads us neatly on to Thursday, November 19 - when Maria will be making a rare appearance with her collective, for a night of evocative big band that combines the best of traditional jazz with a contemporary openness and drive built around the excellence of the band members. Tickets are £25. But you can get them - together with a Manhattan from the foyer bar - for £15 by using the code: ICHOOSEWIN. Show your ticket at the bar to receive your cocktail.

INCOMING:
DAY OF THE DARTH


In just under 36 days, The Force Awakens and Brum's Pin Game has come up with a way to make those days feel a little less long. The team's latest pin is an heroic mash-up incorporating the Mexican national holiday - Day of the Dead - which you have heard of (remember the opening sequence in Spectre?) and the greatest villain in cinema history. Day of the Darth, the second original pin from the four-strong team, is limited to a run of two hundred pieces and costs £6. And as Pin Game's first piece - the Libertarian - sold out in under a week to customers as far flung as LA, probably best to secure your own before forwarding to your entire address book. Buy the 1.25" hard enamel and silver tone pin here. Distinctly sinister promo video here.

THIS MORTAL COIL: DEATH & ART


Death drawing is a thing. And it's a thing that you can do as part of This Mortal Coil - a season of exhibitions and live events exploring death and the macabre. Pen your own designs, sketching skeleton figures, nude flesh and bone, as live models pose in theatrical tableaux. Alternatively you can talk theory with academics and artists, or, discover the illicit labours of music-mad bootleggers from Soviet Russia, who re-purposed used X-ray film as the base for records of forbidden songs. X-ray Audio: Forbidden Soviet Music on the Bone includes original X-ray plates obtained from hospitals and engraved with the grooves of copied gramophone discs and runs until November 21 at Vivid Projects. Tickets for death drawing, death talking and other death-related things here. Carpe diem and all that.

TAPAS WITH YOUR CHRIMBO LIGHTS?


We enjoy a good set of yuletide bulbs - really we do - but the woeful extras that accompany Christmas lights switch ons are further down our list. Until Edgbaston decided to right that most egregious of wrongs. Expect outrageous amounts of comp'ed tasters, including the comforting clove and cardamon of hot buttered rum (with a recipe dating back to 1946) from The Edgbaston, as well as Cotswold pork sausage rolls with cranberry and sage from Norjske. After you've checked out the reindeer (there'll be reindeer) and the surrounds of St George's Church betwinkled and glowing, head to El Borracho, where there'll be tapas, sangria and beer. Also at a cost of nothing. Available from 5pm tomorrow (Friday 13), we're taking a half day to ensure we're not late. More.

MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
STEVE JOBS


Even if you see Steve Jobs as more of a high-class toymaker than the Moses of the digital age, there’s a lot to relish in this high-end quasi-biopic. Cashing in his post-Social Network chips, writer Aaron Sorkin chooses a bold three-part structure, running through a frazzled 40 minutes before the three key product launches of Jobs’ life – a theatrical device which unsurprisingly leads to a stagey feel, but does conjure some of the jamboree vibe these events must have had. Michael Fassbender is an unlikely choice for Jobs, but he convinces as a petty tyrant clueless about mere human emotions – and as a bloke who legitimately thought he was changing the world. Which side of that debate you fall down on will ultimately decide your enjoyment of this. Trailer & Times
Venue: Faculty, Piccadilly Arcade, B2 4HD; website
Choice: Long black (£2.30) Chooser: Guest blogger

Naming the best cup of coffee in Brum is - happily - becoming an increasingly problematic task. But at the moment, our go to is Faculty's long black. A great equaliser, the long black is an ideal test of the quality of the bean, because it's a coffee with nothing to hide behind. Square Mile’s Red Brick Espresso, which is a regular feature at Faculty and the basis of the long black, changes seasonally but on this occasion was a beautiful, busty blend of Kenyan, Guatemalan and Costa Rican beans, boasting a full, plummy body, with a hint of marzipan and a citrus finish. Added to only a small amount of hot water and retaining its crema (the thin foam layer on top), this is a long black that gives you sufficient supping time and a creamy finish, without compromising on intensity. The consummate pick me up.
  • After last year's Thanksgiving party at The Church, wrapped in the Stars and Stripes, we danced so hard that we broke our wrist. Go to the banquet (on Nov 26). Don't break your wrist. Tickets (at £25) here
  • From massage to manicure to a flash facial, oh so central At One Day Spa has started an express range of treatments which take less than thirty minutes. And relax
  • The Emma Press is a small but perfectly formed Brum-based independent poetry publisher. They're open for submissions of poetry and prose until December 13. Guidelines
  • And absolutely nothing involving a singing moose is happening across Victoria Square and New Street from 10am today, right through until 9pm on December 22. Nothing at all
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"It's better to be a pirate than to join the navy." - Steve Jobs
WORDS: Katy DrohanAndrew Lowry, Rob AtkinsonTom Cullen
I CHOOSE Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA

Copyright © 2015 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.


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