(Issue 136)
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[Note to ed: Remember to insert tenuous excuse for featuring collection of beautiful images, here.] [Note to deputy ed: Do we need one?] [Note to ed: Maybe not. Shall we leave this conversation in the intro section and see how long it takes subscribers to realise we had intended to do so all along?] [Note to deputy ed: Deal. Let's pretend we forgot the subject line, too.]
Chris Fletcher picked up a DSLR for the first time in 2011. Since that moment, he's been obsessed, racing sunrises for first light and waiting hours for shadows to recede. Chris' image of Gas Street Basin (above) first put him on our radar. And it was a shot he felt lucky to get. "As soon as it snowed I knew I had to get up there... Amazed I was the only person around, I took full advantage".
Most comfortable capturing the natural, colour-filled world, Chris has made a conscious effort to get into the city over the past couple of years and frame some more urbanscapes. "I have begun to get more drawn to black and white photography and this shot was perfect to use that process — the hard lines along with the soft winter light was made for monochrome."
Originally from Redditch, Chris is a particular fan of two things — sheep and mist (aren't we all?) — so this ethereal image, snapped at Baddesley Clinton, probably sums up where he is most comfortable photographically. "I love shooting in mist and I also love shooting sheep as they simply make great subjects, whether in a flock or on their own. Being docile helps (the sheep, not me)".
Always on the hunt for new subjects and vistas, Chris is particularly keen to find his way to the top of Alpha Tower or the Radisson Blu in the coming year. And looking further afield "anywhere mountainous really — I have always dreamed of going to Peru." Chris' prints are available, unframed for £17 right here.


It can be a challenge to find a respected restaurant in Brum that doesn't source the vast majority of its fish from M&J Seafood. Find out what's got the Midlands' chefs so waxy and lyrical at Opus — which sells more wild fish direct from British harbours than any other restaurant in Birmingham. Ann and the team are putting on five courses of the British Isles' finest, plus an apéritif, wine with each course and a demonstration from M&J on how to clean, fillet and debone different fish like the pro you know you were born to be. Taking place on June 17, the experience costs £75 and includes intel on how Opus goes about sourcing the most sustainable fish from the dockside auctions and supports the British fishing industry. Call 0121 200 2323 for a seat — it's a crucial bit of dinner enabling kit. More


Panic not. You've still got over a week until the big man's going to be expecting something material (a hug stopped counting when you were three). And sympathetic with the perils of Father's Day gift buying, The Chocolate Quarter has given the molten stuff a thwack of testosterone for the occasion in the form of three new limited edition flavours, available as their own box or as part of a mix. Introducing Smoked Bacon, Jewellery Porter and The Renaissance. The choccies are ardently local and include collaborations with Hard to Find Whisky, Two Towers Brewery and a truffle containing salty bacon and a dash of Laphroaig single malt to give good ol' pa a smoky, deep kick in the mouthbuds. A box'll set you back £13.50, which is a pretty reasonable trade for the giving of life.


Nope, they're not giving the choir of St Philip's a siesta, the classical rabble rousers will be conducting choral evensong, entirely on their backs, scattered across the cathedral's knave. The first major off-site project between Birmingham born artist Roger Hiorns and Ikon (don't pretend you hadn't already worked out Ikon was involved), the unconventional format of the service is designed to raise important questions concerning the aesthetics of faith and worship in modern life, playing with perceptions of life and death and sleep and consciousness. Directed by Canon Marcus Huxley, with the congregation seated in the aisles and galleries, tickets are free but need to be reserved for this absolute one-off. Alright, it's a two-off. You can go at 5.30pm on Wednesday June 15 or Friday June 17 but that really is it.
Venue: The Smoke Haus, Brindleyplace, The Water’s Edge, B1 2HL; website
Choice: Mississippi mud pie (£3.95) Chooser: See below

In a confusingly considered mishmash of framed photographs, decidedly average dude food and graffiti, The Smoke Haus opened on Monday. And while we were expecting to tell you about a combination of ribs, burgers and steak (the mixed grill, at £31.95, comes with brisket, pulled pork, pastrami with a ‘Haus chilli dog’, and a full rack of pork sheet ribs), none of the classics or combos were available when we ventured up the stairs of the team's third opening. Good things: the house BBQ sauce, bottles of beer arrive in buckets, there's a roll of kitchen towel on every table (probably a necessity rather than something you'd seek out as part of dinner) and the Mississippi mud pie is, to borrow the precise wording of our guest "Not a dish you would book a table to try, but if you found yourself here, what you should order". The service was — a bit like a well meaning sheep dog in training — friendly but not yet effective. If you're going to go here, give the team a few weeks to bed in. Vegetarians, pescatarians and meat-suspicious-atarians, look elsewhere. Menu
  • Catch the first film screening at Millennium Point in 18 months. To launch Inspired Festival, Pulp Fiction is showing tomorrow (June 10). Your £4 ticket includes a meal, drink and popcorn. Good, right?
  • Until June 30, join Bitters'N'Twisted's cocktail trail, taking place across its nine venues. The fifth drink is on them. More
  • Get to the Symphony Hall on Sunday for the most access the team has ever given. A full (and free) programme including beatbox and a giant music lesson is taking over the stage, docks and loading bay
  • The Saturday sesh at Birmingham Beer Bash has sold out. But you can still get inside on July 23 via Brewsters' Brunch, hosted by beer sommelier Annabel Smith with food from Peel & Stone
"When I was 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." - Mark Twain
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WORDS: Katy Drohan
IMAGES: Marin Szymczak (Ikon - courtesy the artist & Ikon)

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