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UPGRADE YOUR TABLEWARE

Cold, right? And wet. Allow us to warm your bones with the charming work of silversmith, goldsmith and all-round creative creator, Victoria Delany, who's taking over the design world one precious metal at a time. We’ve been down to her live-work studio in the JQ to muse on what could have been had we only taken Art GCSE and, you know, had a speck of her talent.
With another stellar year at the London Design Festival behind her, Victoria’s range of hand-crafted pewter plates are a big deal in the design world. Working with Digbeth manufacturers A. E. Williams (est 1779), Victoria crafts small batches of her made-to-order plates (they start at £90 for a small plate, email her to enquire), which she cuts, shapes, imprints, smooths and brushes by hand, making each a one-off.
Influenced by traditional methods of manufacture, Victoria’s best known for her ability to re-create traditional items and transform them into captivating, contemporary pieces. And you won’t find Victoria’s beauty-in-function works in the shops. Except for these CandleStacks (above), which you totally will. Heal’s loved them so much that they asked her for a licence to make and sell them (£41). Originally designed in sterling silver and wood, you can stack and re-stack your candlestick in whatever order you like. Adult's Lego! And you know how much we like lego.
With a move to the Coffin Works on Fleet Street in early 2015 heralding Victoria’s first workshop-cum-showroom, get following and liking - we suspect there's endless brilliance to come. For starters Victoria is on the lookout for a collaboration with a chef or restaurant, where it'll be not just the food that's showcased, but the tableware too. Collaboration and innovation also underly Victoria’s desire to “keep traditional small scale manufacturing going by creating contemporary desirable function pieces", as she did with the hand forged coat pegs, above.
Changing Rooms’ loss has been Birmingham's considerable gain with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s nineties interiors initially drawing Victoria toward the world of interior design, before a blacksmithing course had Victoria hooked on hammering metal instead. When Victoria isn’t bashing, brushing or generally beguiling metals with her medieval array of implements, you’ll find her helping future Mr & Mrs’ design and make their own wedding rings - she does that too over at The Quarter Workshop. Horribly talented. 

DEBUT FOR BRUM
BURGER BATTLE 
 

You may have heard about Rib Nights? Best not to admit, if not. The concept is simple - two barbecue specialists, from anywhere in the UK, are invited to go head-to-head and cook racks of ribs for dozens of Brum diners, who blind vote to crown one champion. Well, the people behind that meat-fest have lined up their first ever Burger Battle. It's the same drill, but this time the weapons of choice are buns and patties and the action has moved from their usual home in the Jewellery Quarter to Spotlight, home of Digbeth Dining Club. Hereford burger specialists The Beefy Boys will take on Princethorpe-based Flying Cows, with every attendee receiving a burger from both teams, so arrive hungry. Tickets start at £20 and go on sale at midday today (November 14), right here. It's guaranteed to sell out, so synchronise watches. 

MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
THE IMITATION GAME
 

It’s an underwhelming week at the pictures, with big-name disappointments in the shape of The Drop and Third Person. Luckily, The Imitation Game is here to keep things shipshape. Benedict Cumberbatch capably heads a top-notch cast (Charles Dance, Keira Knightley and Mark Strong all appear) as Alan Turing, the genius who cracked the ‘unbreakable’ Nazi Enigma code, and in the process essentially invented the modern computer – only to face pitiless post-war persecution for his homosexuality. That’s a corker of a story any way you slice it, but throw in Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) and both his flair for suspense and curious eye for the intricacies of the stiff upper lip, and you have the rare prestige picture that wears its awards ambitions lightly.

WIN A NIGHT IN THE ROTUNDA'S PENTHOUSE SUITE

They say you make your own luck in this game and if you're already subscribed to I CHOOSE Birmingham that could well be the case. If you're not, you really should subscribe now, because we're giving away a night in the Rotunda's 20th floor penthouse, courtesy of Staying Cool. One subscriber, picked at random, will be welcomed with up to three guests (there's two double bedrooms up there, people). The prize includes a bottle of Champagne, too. If you'd rather not pin your hopes on lady luck we're still offering 15% off all January bookings, when you use the code "ichoose" in the rate code box. Winner picked on November 28. T&C apply.

SILENT NIGHT III: COMING TO A CATHEDRAL NEAR YOU


Panic not. This isn't a feature about a horror-film franchise involving primary school children and carol concerts, though, as the Autumn term comes to an end, we do wonder if there's something in that. In fact it's all aboard as the CBD and Flatpack Festival pop up at Birmingham Cathedral, November 20, with a Chrimbo showing of Steamboat Bill Jr, a 1928 stunt-studded silent movie, and they’re even throwing in canapés. Acclaimed cinema pianist, John Sweeney, will be overseeing proceedings, so if you’re bringing a date, no need to worry about awkward silences. Mulled wine served from 7pm, when the doors open. Tickets are little more than the deposit you’ll need for your obligatory pre-cinema, Christmas Market glühwein and are available here.

SPEND TONIGHT 
IN A CAR PARK


About Town is exactly the sort of event we should all attend. Bold, interesting, fun and free, if we don't go, the Ikon and the Hippodrome are in danger of just not bothering to do them any more. Video art installations have been set up in various unusual urban spaces in Brum's Southside. Included in the six venue set up are three vids found on three floors of one of the Back to Backs. The houses of yesteryear are eerie anyway, but combined with the footage you'll find on the middle floor, it all gets a bit batty. More gleeful goings on can be found at Gallan Car Park which is inhabited by colossal screens (pictured) showing the works of artists like Swiss Beat Streuli. Pick of them is by Gillian Wearing - she of this new statue fame - featuring revellers on Broad Street, in 2001. Details here.
Venue: Bun & Bowl, Unit 11, The Cube, B1 1RS; bunandbowl.com
Choice: Bloody Mary Shot Chooser: Us. Yeah, you heard.

As our quest for Birmingham’s culinary Holy Grail continues, we must warn you that we are about to embark on some pretty flagrant rule-breaking. You know the routine: There's a venue, we eat what said venue tells us, then we tell you about it. That was until we came face-to-face with this punchy little number - that we picked for ourselves (there's your rule break, right there) - and which, if we haven't exhausted our word count entirely, [which you have - Ed] will be the subject of this week's recommendation. Absolut Blue, Tabasco, Worcester sauce and a pinch of celery salt are shaken with a reassuringly thick and tart tomato juice and served in a chilled, celery-salt rimmed glass. Given the imagery, you're probably a step ahead of us here, but what happens next is genius. Dip whole grilled prawn in Bloody Mary and enjoy. It's not on the menu, so you'll need to ask, but it's an absolute must for all Bloody Mary enthusiasts.
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"The 'L' in my luck has been replaced with an 'F'." - Unknown
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry and Tom Cullen IMAGES: Jack Spicer Adams, Beat Streuli (New Street)

ADDRESS: I CHOOSE Birmingham, Office 211, 43 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5LS

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