(Issue 178)
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Many years ago, Friday got a restraining order that makes Monday stay at least two days away from it at all times. It has become known, in common parlance, as "the weekend". This "weekend" is slightly different to most in that it is double the requisite length. To help you fill all 96 hours of work-free bliss, here are six excellent things you can do. Do them all and win a badge. Hypothetically. 
Custard Factory: Easter Fayre
Bert and Gert traverse the country putting on arts, crafts and vintage markets. But this Saturday, find the Brum brothers on their home turf, at Custard Factory's Easter Fayre. Where you'll also be able to procure all the juniper from The Gin Box's big-lettered van (pictured) and peruse a range of classic films at The Mockingbird, including The NeverEnding Story, finishing at 3.10pm.
Ackers: canoe the city
Launching at Cambrian Wharf (opposite The Flapper), spend two hours making nice with the city from a canoe, and feel rightly worthy after you do. Taking place on Good Friday at 10am, 12.30pm and 3pm, outdoorsy types from Ackers are on equipment, instruction and guideyness. It's £35 for two adults, not including the obligatory post-match beverage. More 
The Orangery: to the country
By the Gas Street Social sorts, be in the first rung of opinions on The Orangery, which officially opens at 12pm Friday, in the Worcestershire countryside. On the site of the Old Rectory House, the team's got bottomless brunching, lunching and steaking, through to Monday. It's the spring cocktails and terrace that has us planning a jaunt though. In an open-top motor we're yet to secure, obviously.
Sandwell Valley: acres of it
Less than five miles from the city, Sandwell Valley Country Park's set in 660 acres of woods, farmland and streams, with hiking, biking and maximum greenness. On the River Tame, it's also got a RSPB nature reserve, where the Japanese practice of 'forest bathing' or 'Shinrin-yoku' is actively encouraged. Decrease stress and improve your you with trees and willow tits and dragonflies.
The Electric: inside immediately
If all this outsdoorsy talk has you less than seated on the edge, The Electric's got specials that can keep you a safe distance from Vitamins D and E. Shock & Gore have a typically festive offering in the form of The Lost Boys, showing throughout the long weekend in a nod to the 30th anniversary of this brilliant blend of horror and LOLZ doing its thing long before genre-benders like Shaun of the DeadTickets


Ch-ch-ch-checkout this terrible headline and intro! Still, don't let our considerable editorial failings put you off what's happening at St Paul's Gallery, in the Jewellery Quarter, where they've taken delivery of a selection of rare and original tour posters ranging from your man Bowie, to the Stones, to the Pistols. A quick scan of who played Meltdown 2002 reveals some absolute belters including the least Google search friendly band name in history: 'The The'. The poster pictured will set you back £250, but if you want it framed in art glass (non-reflective, dead fancy), that'll be £600. Rolling Stones posters include their Bridges to Babylon tour and 2003's Licks, while the Sex Pistols 1996 Finsbury Park-er (which, by all accounts, was not a classic) is also available. Even if you're not buying, St Paul's is a must visit for any music fan. And, if you hadn't noticed, you have a very long weekend to fill. 


Our relationship with carousels has been mixed at best. Aged five, there was an incident, and actually that was it for us. Until The Glee's weekly Comedy Carousel came along and thwacked those pesky levitating horses straight between their unfeasibly dark eyes. A rollicking, reactive show, the line-up changes weekly, with a big screen on which to curate the bestest bits from the online world. And though the stand-up you'll see is always stellar, there's a particular crop of incredible coming up, which is demanding of your attention. Tonight, straight-talking Suzi Ruffell is it, while likeable everyman Steve Williams is in town in a fortnight. On May 18 get most modish Sofie Hagen — as well as Nathan Caton — a consummate gig smasher, who always delivers. Book


The 300th Fast and Furious film arrives this week, but if you’re on the market for something a tad classier – or sober – do check out this, one of the very best films of the year. An elegantly constructed tale of con and counter-con in 1930s Korea, a young thief infiltrates a Japanese aristocrat’s household – but not everything, of course, is as it seems. Full of games of perspective and power, this is a thriller that at once thrills and is genuinely erotic. Oldboy director Park Chan-Wook brings just the right kind of pervy eye to make things sing, but this is far from exploitative – the hottest scene is one of a tooth being filed. Amid all the sex dolls, torture and octopuses, however, it’s the genuine, sweet love story at this film's core that stays with you. Times
Venue: The New Inn, 74 Vivian Road, Harborne; B17 0DJ; website
Choice: Pan fried chicken supreme (£14) Chooser: General Manager

What would win in a fight, a hippo or a hippo-sized lobster? This is the vociferous debate that took up much of the seven sun-blushed hours we spent in the New Inn beer garden, on Saturday. And though the highlight can only have been the weather, their new summer menu is really rather wonderful. The GM picked out two beautifully plated dishes — the saffron arancini with asparagus puree and poached egg (£12), and the chicken supreme with sautéed potatoes and pea emulsion — to duke it out. The winner was the chicken, but both were immaculate, show-stopping dishes that fit into that frustratingly bare middle ground of everyday eating that Jay Rayner rightly pointed out is a little lacking in this town. Wash whatever you choose down with Birmingham Brewing Company's Pale Brummie, which they now have on tap. And if the hippo debate has you flummoxed the answer is the hippo-sized lobster, on points. Menu
  • Tickets are now on sale for Birmingham Horror Group's haunting happening also known as FearFest,  on May 28
  • Sicilian Street Food Saturdays are a thing at Annexe. Get four-courses and Bella Vita style jazziness for £19.95 each
  • Birmingham Civic Society's in the market for a new logo to mark its centenary, 100 years after its inception funnily enough. The open competition closes April 28. Entry brief
  • Matilda The Musical is coming to a Hippodrome near you. The first UK tour of the RSC’s West End/Broadway award-smasher, just save a selection of dates between July 3 and September 8, 2018(!)
  • Win an overnight stay for two at the lovely High Field Town House, including a drink and brekkie next door. You need only be subscribed to our sister e-mag Bell & Smokey on April 27 to be in this race
"I don't know where I'm going from here but I promise it won't be boring." - David Bowie
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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew LowryTom Cullen
IMAGERY: The Old Crown (The Gin Box), Andy Mabbett Wikimedia Commons  (Cambrian Wharf), Andy Hay (Sandwell), Jack Spicer Adams (Glee), Ace O. Cullen (The New Inn)

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