Issue 114
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Why do less when you can do more? This year, we've given up precisely nothing by way of new year's proclamation but have been jumping, boarding and allowing ourselves to be thrown across fitness-related things, with a view to shedding all evidence that December took place. Here's six of the lesser known methods by which you can do the same.
In true Ronseal style, the teachers are ex-military and they help you get fit. Taking place across six parks around Brum, expect more exercises involving logs than you previously thought possible, a goodly measure of mud and some military style encouragement. Not shouting. Never shouting. More.
The clever Circus Mash crew have now developed their skills classes into a fitness programme which involves a whole lot of hanging entirely the wrong way up. Choose from aerial hoops, silkercise fitness (pictured), and a six week handstand course. That must be some handstand. From £10 for a one hour drop in session. All classes.
Snowboarding will raise your cool-dar by precisely seven points. Throw yourself down 170 metres of real snow over at Tamworth's purpose built dome of dreams. If you've got a reasonable idea of what what you're doing already, you can board for £30 an hour. If you're more padding than pro, sign-up for two hour group lessons from £44.
Lindy Hop is a thing. And it's a thing you can do at Moseley's Dance Workshop on Thursdays at 8pm. The partner dance originated in the American swing era and takes influence from the Charleston, jazz and tap. And if you're more Strictly than vintage, you can also have a go at the Argentine Tango or Ballroom. From £7.
Often likened to a game of human chess, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art which requires brain power as well as brawn. Get a free introductory class, join an advanced programme, or go for one-to-one sessions at the internationally recognised Gracie Barra Birmingham school, located next to Five Ways station. More.
Get the endorphins of clubbing, minus the morning after. Drum'n'bounce is a frenzied dance workout set to big bass lines, a disco ball and strobe or two. The sessions (at £5) are followed by a 'dubstretch' warm-down. Mondays on Broad Street and Wednesdays in Moseley. Your first class is free. More.


Ever the experts in representing all that cinema devotees hold dear, The Electric is exhibiting an intergalactic array of new Star Wars artwork at its upstairs gallery. The fourth exhibition proffered as part of the new space, the pick is Robert Lockley's limited edition print (pictured), which re-imagines Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a Penguin Classic. Originally created for Poster Spy’s alternative movie print competition (in which Lockley was shortlisted), the Brum-based graphic designer's abstract representation is the newest addition to a portfolio which features subjects as gleefully random as Ron Burgundy, Everton FC and Taylor Swift’s Sick Beets. At the time of publication, only three copies of the print remained (insert 'First Order / ordering first' joke here). Yours, unframed, for £30.
Venue: PAUL, Grand Central, 68A East Mews, B2 4XJ; website 
Choice: Croque Florentine (£3.95 (out)/£4.95 (in)) Chooser: Supervisor

At Terminal 2E of Paris Charles de Gaulle, there is one food-based concession, a PAUL. And if it's good enough for Parisians you'd better believe it's good enough for us, good enough and - for the first time - close enough, with a sparklingly new boulangerie at Grand Central. The out-and-out choice for PAUL's supervisor, Rebecca (as well as our pick), the Croque Florentine is that special thing for a grilled sandwich - the right amount cheesy. What could be an overpowering duo of goat's cheese and Emmental is given respite and texture from walnuts, spinach and a thoughtful smattering of honey. And if you're in the market for a January upper, PAUL's got Galette des Rois (King's tart). Celestial layers of flaky pastry are filled with a nutty frangipane cream, in this definitive bed-fellow to your afternoon tea leaves, which is traditionally eaten on Epiphany but can be enjoyed throughout January. Menu.


It's January, which means it's physically impossible to make out a cheque without having to correct the final digit in the date section. It also means that you've either joined a gym, or you're definitely, probably, almost about to. If you fall into the latter category, The Club and Spa's got a long weekend where you can trial the outfit's wares (think super techy gym, 47 classes a week, climbing wall, pool, sauna and steam rooms). Get a completely free pass to The Club from January 22 to 24 by contacting the team. And if you need a modicum of encouragement, probably best find yourself a chair before you learn the news that you may well see us there. In a move that's got our closest friends questioning everything they thought they knew, we've joined The Club and we've also started a blog about the experience, which you can read here.


Want to feel old? Talk to a young 'un about Quentin Tarantino, and appall yourself at how he’s now entered into the ranks of directors the kids can’t remember not being around. Middle age hasn’t shaved off a single one of his edges, though, and his new film is probably his most pessimistic and goriest, which is saying something. Eight ne’er-do-wells are snowed in in post-Civil War Wyoming, and what follows is a strange blend of Sergio Leone and Agatha Christie, which is tough to summarise without spoiling. Lines touching on contemporary racial issues in the US leave no doubt about Tarantino’s fury at how little progress there’s been in 150 years, but they’re swamped in endless and over-wordy monologues that can at times test the patience. He’s one of the greats, to be sure, but few artists have been more in need of an editor. Trailer and times
  • Three courses and a cocktail for £20 is one of the reasons you should probably get round to trying Harvey Nics' restaurant as a matter of urgency. Glynn Purnell continues to curate the menu. More
  • A new staging of Macbeth comes to the Rep from January 26 to 30. John Heffernan (RSC and Luther) leads. Tickets here
  • Pho has released two new green-tastic dishes which are almost guaranteed to immunise you against winter. From £8.25
  • King Kong's taken up residence at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Nicholas Monro's three foot statue is part of a pop art exhibition, showing until August
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"Movies are my religion and God is my patron... When I make a movie, I want it to be everything to me; like I would die for it." - Quentin Tarantino
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Laura SmithJordyn Newton, Andrew Lowry
IMAGES: Flickr Commons: Roland Tanglao (Lindy Hop)
I CHOOSE Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA

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