(Issue 129)
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Take a stroll up to Chamberlain Square and you'll find a constant cluster of a dozen Brummies, phones in hand, snapping the tangled wreckage that was once Birmingham Central Library. But photographer, Tom Bird, was given unique access to the other side of the fence. Probably best sit down while you assess the damage.
"The Central Library had been there for decades," says Tom, flicking through his shots. "It was documented throughout the years by countless people, and its replacement will, no doubt, survive for decades too. But the building, as it is now, in this transitional phase, it's like one second in a day of the library's life. That's why I asked to get on site. I wanted to capture it now, from every angle."  
"Unlike many, I have no real emotional connection to the library. I respected its form and its place in history, but this isn't a paean to what's being demolished. It's not a homage. To me it's just a moment in time. What was perhaps a little ironic, was the older buildings peering on. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Town Hall watching, as a far younger building slowly vanishes." 
"It's like a war zone on site, it really is. Quite haunting in a way. I'd find myself staring at entire sections, trying to work out what was there only a few months, maybe even weeks ago. It's a little disorientating at first, how the memory fades, but your brain pretty quickly catches up and fills in the blanks. Here I found the whole juxtaposition of the Town Hall, library and street art fascinating."  
"This shot [above] is perhaps the pick of the lot. It's actually a panorama, you can tell by the curvature on the tower in the top right. That should be a straight line. This is probably the angle by which most will remember the old library and is perhaps the most powerful because, though recognisable, it's so far removed from its former self." See all of Tom's images here. He would like to thank Carillion and Birmingham City Council for site access.


When is a paella not a paella? When it's an ELEPHANT! But also when it's a Fideuà de Marisco — the Catalan take on the Spanish staple, which is created with hollow noodles rather than rice. One of the new dishes to appear as part of El Borracho's menu shake-up, the fidueà (£7), is made with homemade fish stock, plenty of seafood and topped with toasted alioli (because apparently alioli can get better). The product of head chef Ignacio Castells, "Nacho" was raised in Barcelona—the epicentre of Catalan cuisine—where he completed his first placement at two Michelin starred Neichel, experience which comes through in the combinations found in the kitchen's new dishes. El Borracho is now encouraging BYO on Mondays — a rather reasonable excuse to sample its new wares.


The sun is coming out more, the birds are singing more, and the movies are getting goofier: as spring dawns, the multiplex is reverting from steak to fast food. No matter, if the offerings are as gleefully trashy as Bastille Day. Leaving aside any questions of taste in watching a film about terror in Paris so soon after last November’s attacks, this is a perfectly serviceable post-Bourne thriller with just enough moments of dorky inspiration to be worth your time. Brits Idris Elba and Richard Madden are both cast as Americans, the former a CIA agent and the latter a pickpocket who inadvertently plants a bomb. It’s worth it for Elba Neeson-ing his way around Paris – he’s a beast in this one – and, for bonus points, he sings the Fatboy Slim-produced theme song. You already know yourself if you’ll enjoy this one or not. Times & trailer


You're intrigued, aren't you? Feral is an award-winning piece of visual theatre that was conceived in Edinburgh and quickly secured a Scotsman Fringe First (which you will be more than aware of if you're an Edinburgh festival type). The combination of puppetry, film, animation and live sound has travelled the UK and Europe to suitable amounts of applause and has finally reached an auditorium near you (at the mac to be precisely precise). Witness the creation and destruction of a world through the eyes of Joe, who looks back at the town of his childhood. Bright, vibrant and idyllic the world resembles a haven of comfort. But as Joe journeys on, walls and lives are peeled back and the story of a community's fall unfolds around him (and you, care of a digital camera and big ol' screen). It all goes a little something like this. Happening just once, at 8pm on April 27, tickets are £12. More


In an event which is set to play out much like The X-Files theme music (but with those almost offensively attractive chaps from Hidden Spaces taking the lead roles), Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is giving after hours access to its city centre headquarters for but a night. Join Hidden Spaces for one of two torch lit tours of the gallery, which first opened in 1885. Part of the UK-wide Museums at Night festival, the probably (*possibly*) paranormal perambulations are at 8.30pm and 9.45pm on May 13. Tickets are £12 and given that Hidden Spaces haven't put on a tour yet this year, we predict a riot (and a sell out).


If you thought Brum had avoided a big freeze this year, put plainly, you were wrong. An ice cave is coming to Centenary Square and to gain free entry (and a cape - it's around three degrees inside), you'll need to book. In the interests of full disclosure, the cave (and bar) is run by Coors Light and as per an email exchange that wasn't at all awkward—we checked—they won't be serving any other brands. They will however be serving Coors Light Mountain Cocktails, whatever they may be. May 20 to 29. DJ included.
Venue: Kinome at Kitchen Garden Cafe, 17 York Road, B14 7SA; website
Choice: Black cod (£40 as part of a seven course menu)  Chooser: Chef

There's something uniquely wonder-making about getting dishes you can't obtain across the rest of the city, or indeed much of the world. Kinome is a pop-up by Sachico Saeki, who made the 5,918 mile journey to Koya-San temple complex, to add Buddhist shogun ryori fare to her mightily impressive Japanese arsenal. It was this experience that led to Sachico sharing her knowledge with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on River Cottage Veg Heroes. And the pick of her tasting menu? Without doubt the miso marinated black cod. Sweet, salty, sticky and cooked with obvious skill, audible noises of contentment made it clear when each table tasted the fish, which is accompanied by grilled tender stem broccoli, gobo (a vegetable from the Burdock family) and a calming tofu cream. An intermediate dish of sea vegetables and forelle pear was an unexpected triumph and came at the ideal moment within the Kinome journey. On various dates until the end of June, book the fish or veggie menu. Probably right now is best.
  • The wine bar is making a resurgence in God's own Moseley. Cheval Blanc (by the people behind the Prince of Wales) opens late May
  • Artist, John Gage, has launched a new website. Get 10% off his novel city wares if you order before May 1
  • Live blues, whiskey and smokehouse food are converging on The Dark Horse for one glorious night of Spit & Sawdust. Tickets are from £10. This Saturday (April 23)
  • It's not too late to fulfil that new year's resolution. Birmingham School of Jewellery has launched its summer short courses. Get 10% off if you secure your spot by May 3. More
  • Yumzee is coming to town. Following the Parisian trend of truly one-off supper clubs, sign up to host or be a guest
"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge" - Pablo Picasso
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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew LowryTom Cullen
IMAGES: Jack Spicer Adams (El Borracho)
I Choose Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA
Copyright © 2016 I Choose Publishing Limited, All rights reserved.

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