Issue 200
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Stick with this because it's brilliant. Phorm is the name of a new platform for Birmingham's creatives. A roaming but ever evolving exhibition, two years in the making, it's the creation of Birmingham-based photographer Tom Bird. Phorm's first expo goes live on September 22 at the stunning Tramshed, a 19th Century former rolling press, in the Jewellery Quarter (above). That exhibition is called BHX'IT. Everyone keeping up so far?   
Don't read too much into the name. A play, of course, on 'Brexit', it's more a meddling with a word that's now imprinted in our lexicon than it is any sort of political point-scoring. But that doesn't mean the art isn't thought-provoking. In fact that's exactly what it is. Take Imbue, one of those exhibiting. This is a guy who created a sculpture of Jesus nailed to Facebook's famous 'f' logo. He'll be showing 'Are We Nearly There Yet?' (above). Make of it what you will.    
"We need to celebrate the city more than we do," says Bird. "Celebrate its creatives. It's artists, its designers, furniture makers. All and any creatives. In London this sort of work is pedestalled. The talent is here, it's just not championed enough."

Also on display will be the brain-bathing visual bliss that is Plume Collective (above). Their artwork focuses on organic processes using high-speed photography to capture ink in water. It'll melt your mind, if you let it.    
"All of those on display have an angle in their art that is quite unique to what anyone else is doing," explains Bird. "They provoke debate. That comes down to way more than just raw talent. Way more than being handy with a paintbrush or a camera."

Birmingham-based Pryce Lee has only ever exhibited in Amsterdam and New York. Until now. Laughing in the face of seven years bad luck he be displaying something not dissimilar to his paper plane cracked mirror (above left). Sign-writer Atelier Zoot (above right), meanwhile, will display an old traditional frame housing art that blends gold leaf on panes of glass, petrol and white spirit erosion, and enamel written typefaces. Nope, we've no idea what that means either.
"I came across Filfury [above] on Instagram," says Bird. "What he manages to do with familiar objects — reconstructing them as he does — is nothing short of extraordinary." Heavily influenced by a 90s childhood, hip-hop, UK garage and an addiction to sneakers, expect real, tactile sculptural pieces probably involving footwear moulded through immaculate cut and sew, into a bird.
And expect Tom Bird, himself. Probably fair enough that he shows something of his own. For over a year he's been photographing shop or factory shutters, in Birmingham. "The city is sometimes lacking in colour, I think. And sometimes the colour that punctuates is found in the most unexpected of places."

Find the above and more, under one roof, September 22. There'll be beers and OPM on burgers. RSVP here, just to give Tom an idea of numbers. You should go. Such is his commitment he personally spent fours hours pressure-washing the venue. 


We're a little bit obsessed with Man on Wire — a documentary capturing the story of Philippe Petit's wander on a wire illegally rigged between the World Trade Center’s twin towers. As part of Brum's forthcoming Still Walking Festival, join the Bullzinis (pictured) as they seek out a spot for a future Brum high wire walk. At High Wire Connections on September 23 (£5, book), the circusy husband and wife will lead a walk combing the city, commenting on potential locations, technical challenges, permissions, wind conditions, and optimum audience view points for walking in the air. On September 24 they’ll also do some low-level slack rope walking in the grounds of St Philips Cathedral. It be free.


Been a while since you’ve seen your mum? Why not take the old girl out this weekend to see this – trust us, she’ll love it. We’re in 1887 England and Queen Victoria is bored out of her mind by her toadying court. Adbul, sent from India to present her with a coin on her jubilee, snaps her out of it with his lack of care for traditional protocol, and a pair of brown eyes you can just swim in. Judi Dench as terrific as Her Maj of course, and if this all sounds a bit like Mrs Brown, that’s because it is – only much broader, and surprisingly sitcom-like. Handsomely mounted, this is history as knockabout pageant, and plenty of fun if you can overlook the awkward politics of the whole thing. Trailer and times


Kanteen launches for brunching and lunching in the Custard Factory tomorrow. After dark, the scandi-feeling spot will be all about pop-ups, including Two Cats next thaaang: Salt & Earth. Expect a small but perfectly formed menu, with plates ranging from £4 to £8. There'll be a Peruvian sea bass ceviche, a Latin American beef stew and the octopus, onion and ponzu dish pictured, as well as puddings involving things like shiso and chilli. For two weekends only, book from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on October 5 to 7, and 12 to 14. Reserve your spot by emailing Who knows where you'll see the team again? Well we do actually buuuuuuut...
Venue: The Indian Streatery, 21a Bennett's Hill, B2 5QP; Facebook
Choice: Pakora dunked in any curry (£4.95) Chooser: Front of House 

Week day lunching can be the trickiest of games. What time do you fold? Desk-based, park-based or are you eating in? Are you going old and trusted, or taking the kind of chances that made you who you are today? And where are you on queue to quality ratio? From 11.30am until 2.30pm The Indian Streatery pulls out half its tables and offers around six simple dishes rather than its galleons of evening options from a canteen style set up — so it's speedy. Menu hack, life hack, hack hack: get a pakora and dunk it in any of the curry sort of options. It's that simple. This is a method that worked with lentil curry and chicken curry but our number one collab was a slathering in the cauliflower and potato hot pot, which is served with ginger, coriander, and rice or chaat. Simple, honest street food at simple, honest prices, all served up with the loveliest of smiles from the family team. Sample lunch menu


The Old Crown's going full German on its beer garden. Over two weekends, expect a heated Bavarian beer hall, German twists on street food, plus German gin and wine in addition. It's £20 to get a spot and your first stein (which holds two pints, if this is your first rodeo) is included. This year draft beer comes care of ABK brewery, which dates back over 700 years, using the same locally grown Hallertau hops and grains its always used. On September 29 and 30, when OPM is on snackage, plus on October 6 & 7, when it's Baked in Brick — tickets.


The annual Chilli Fest is back at Brindleyplace this weekend. In amongst a sea Carolina Reapers and Trinidadian Moruga Scorpions (they weren't messing about when they named those chillies, huh?) expect foodie challenges, a rock-climbing wall, fire-breathers, live music and abseiling. It'll take place between 11 and 7 on Saturday (September 16), with some of the market stalls opening a day earlier. This is your moment to restock the larder with sauces, preserves, curries and marinades. They've also promised a dragon. Hopefully Game of Thrones style, Khaleesi. More 
  • Like art? Like legally snooping around people's houses? Birmingham Open Studios is holding its first annual event and 29 artists will be exhibiting from their homes and studios in Moseley and Kings Heath.
  • In one of the weirder events on record how about the chance to build your own mini-car out of scrap material, and then watch some Brum-based kids TV? Birmingham On Film II has you covered.
  • You know Clink — that ace craft beer place in the Custard Factory that everyone thought wouldn't last long? Yeah, they've now got their second venue. Paper Duck soft launches in Harbs on Saturday. Hurray for beer! 
  • Instructions For Humans sounds like the sort of alien-enforced ultimatum we all sort of deserve right now, but it's actually a new BOM exhibition exploring art in times of mass surveillance.
  • You know those times when you just have to eat at the newest Bulgarian restaurant in town? Well, here's the newest Bulgarian restaurant in town. 
"Our day will come" - Amy Winehouse
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WORDS: Tom CullenKaty Drohan, Andrew Lowry

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