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SNOBS: A PAEAN TO A DEPARTING FRIEND

At 3am, give or take, on Monday September 22nd, bouncers at Snobs will usher out the last patron, before closing and clicking the doors on the nightclub's 40 year, Paradise Circus residency.

Paradise. A strong word when associated with Snobs - the unapologetically imperfect jewel of Birmingham's nightlife crown. I haven't been for over a decade and yet I'll miss the place terribly.    
Pockmarked, dated, humid, pungent, on paper it has no business having a sizeable home in my heart. But Snobs made its weaknesses its strengths. With decades of revelry danced deep into the sticky floors and threadbare carpets comes charm, character, palpability, honesty. There's no standing on ceremony at Snobs, no pretension, just wall-to-wall, warts-and-all enjoyment. Take it or leave it.     
Last week, photographer Jack Spicer Adams was given rare daytime access to take these glorious goodbye snaps of the gnarled nightspot. Tills from yesteryear that still work, the names of the Snobs faithful scribbled and scratched into the surface of the tables that supported countless Carlsberg. Call me a sentimental old twerp (please don't), but they tell a delightful tale.
And everyone has their own Snobs story. Everyone. One of my favourites is that of writer Johnny Cullen who, during a night of the usual jamboree, dutifully handed in a set of keys he'd found to the nightclub's lost property. It was only once he'd returned home, in the early hours of the morning, that he realised he'd handed in his own keys.

There are thousands of tales like it: Booze-powered, Stone Roses-stoked, calamity and comedy. It wasn't about the music. It was about the fun the music fuelled.  
For me, it's goodbye. I toyed with attending the final weekend, but I wouldn't be walking down those steps, past that eerie wall of faces and into that hot fog with the friends that I used to. We're scattered across the country now and, on balance, our Snobs was 15 years ago. Many people's Snobs is much older.    
But it's not over, and neither should it be. Snobs moves to Smallbrook Queensway and a new era. A flash new look with the same old music. And it's up to the current Snobs regulars and the next wave and the wave after that to chip and scar and scuff their own 40 years of frivolity. I'll raise a sticky glass of frighteningly cheap vodka and Red Bull to that. And regret it in the morning.

Ta-ra old friend. 


(See all of Jack's photos here. Tickets to Snobs' closing and opening nights here)

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: PRIDE


It’s a rare film that’ll please activist bloggers and those in need of a pleasant Friday night alike, but this first film from theatre don Matthew Warchus is one of the most genuine and least cynical crowd-pleasers in years. Looking at the all-but-forgotten true story of the alliance between a group of gay rights campaigners and a Welsh mining village, both suffering under the impact of Thatcherism, it hails the virtues of solidarity and fellow-feeling but never slides into preaching, with far more laughs on offer than clenched fists. A strong cast (Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Imelda Stauntion, Dominic West) show up to offer a parade of beautifully dignified and warm performances, and lend weight to one of the most uplifting climaxes in years. Times: Electric, Odeon, Cineworld

DEFINITELY (MAYBE) PRINTS 


See that glass of wine on the bottom right corner of one of modern music's most iconic album covers? That's not wine, dear reader. It's Ribena. We know because we've been on a fact-finding machine to St Paul's Gallery, in the Jewellery Quarter, currently home to rare signed prints of Oasis's Definitely Maybe. Limited to just 195 prints (£425 each), they boast the John Hancock of photographer Michael Spencer Jones who took the snap in guitarist’s Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs house. The room was very small so a wide angle lens had to be used in order to get both walls and the ceiling in shot, but by doing this the floor space was accentuated and needed filling. Somehow Michael persuaded Liam Gallagher to lie on the floor. Problem solved.  

CONTROL YOUR INNER MAGPIE


We’re excitable. Like a puppy. Korean art colossus Lee Bul’s first UK solo exhibition has landed at Ikon and you’ve got until November 9 to find out what the big deal is. Here's the big deal: Large scale installations together with early drawings, studies and intriguing sculptures have taken over both floors of the gallery, and it's provocative, eerie and (dare we say it?) seductive stuff. Commissioned especially for this exhibition, After Bruno Taut (Devotion To Drift) is astonishing. Dripping with bling, chains and oh-so-shiny beads, the suspended chandelier-like sculpture (pictured) houses the remnants of deserted tower blocks and forgotten worlds, and positively begs to be touched. Don't touch it. There are rules, people. The exhibition is free. More info.  
Venue: Le Monde, 10-12F The Waters Edge, Brindleyplace, B1 2HL; le-mondebirmingham.co.uk  
Choice: Pair of King Prawns (£11.95)  Chooser: Chef 

Ever seen a prawn the size of Simon Cowell's wallet? Nor had we until our new favourite person (that’s you, Chef), served up not one, but two truly unctuous beauties, positively oozing with garlicky goodness. What happened next was less than elegant. The devouring process is not for the faint of heart (or - insider tip - first dates). We found ourselves in a reassuringly messy state when the lovely waitress - and she really was lovely - came to restore order in readiness for the theatrical, fillet-at-the-table, sea bass a la plancha: Brixham’s finest baked in salt. De-lish. Six weeks young, Le Monde - together with its giant, fresh fish counter - is a happy addition to the landlocked shores of Brum, exuding a quiet yet assured confidence in advance of its many years. Full menu here. Simon Cowell's wallet here
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"Sure I love Liam. But not as much as I love Pot Noodle."
- Noel Gallagher
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry, Tom Cullen

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