(Issue 124)
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What's the job offer you've secretly pre-written your resignation for? Food critic or travel photographer? As we spend an inordinate amount of time restaurant sampling, we're going to have to go with the latter. And when it comes to the competition, this weekend you can join us in seeing precisely what you'd be up against, with the National Geographic Traveller Winner's Photography Exhibition. Snappy name, no? Here's but a cruel teaser of what to expect.
Fisherman on Inle Lake, Burma - Jeremy Flint (Grand-prize winner)
A leg rowing fisherman (yep, that's a thing) demonstrates his technique whilst balancing on the waters of South East Asia. Seen through a cone-shaped fishing net, the image shows the strength, balance and paddling skill required to navigate the lake, mastered by fishermen from childhood. The conical nets are submerged in the water to catch and spear fish (through the hole at the top), which are later sold at market to the local Intha people. You've forgotten all this already, haven't you? 
The Harsh Life of the Arctic - Agnes Proud
After some debate in the gold-plated offices of I Choose Birmingham, we decided that whilst kind of on The Revenant side of the gore-dar, this chillingly calm shot of a polar bear guarding his kill, was at its core an awe-filled look at survival and deserving of a spot. Sealing the fate of a bearded seal, the young male fell asleep after this scene was captured, in the pack-ice north of Spitsbergen, the only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway.
Sunrise & Stupas - Gail Henshaw
If you think you're winning at phone photography, you're yet to meet Gail Henshaw. Snapped from her mobile, she took a tuk-tuk at 5am, to capture some sunrise shots of the sacred city of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. Other than spying a local fisherman checking up on his nets, the UNESCO World Heritage Site was completely quiet. The sacred Buddhist dome (stupa) of Ruwanwelisaya is far right and the broken stupa of Jetavanaramaya towards the centre of the image. But then, you knew that.
Looking over to Urquhart Bay Harbour - Margaret Soraya 
Part of a series of four images taken at Borlum Bay in Loch Ness, Margaret Soraya wanted to show the atmosphere and serenity of the Loch through her Nikon D800. To achieve images that go beyond a mere recording of place and capture the essence and spirit of the location. Soraya waited for low mist on an early October morning with minimal wind, to allow the mist to linger.
Catch the National Geographic Traveller - Winner's Photography Exhibition in partnership with CEWE Photobook and Capture Birmingham at Hotel du Vin's Krug Suite on Saturday March 19 between 11am and 4pm. Free entry


First things first - beyond the title - this has next to nothing to do with 2008 creature feature Cloverfield: best to think of it as a different entry in an anthology series. After a car crash, Mary Elizabeth Winstead wakes up imprisoned in a bunker with a creepy John Goodman (as evidenced), who claims an apocalyptic event has poisoned the air above. Naturally, not everything is as it seems (or is it?), and while first-time director Dan Trachtenberg’s debts to his influences are pretty hefty, he does craft plenty of armrest-gripping moments. That said, a willingness to go for a higher rating might have helped this linger in the memory more. Trailer & Times


It's going to be April 13 sooner than you think. And that's important because - when it reaches that innocuous sounding date - you're going to want to be watching Gary Delaney. And you'll need a ticket to do that. Along with a triumphal troop of funny (Pete Firman, Jarred Christmas and Sean Hughes will also be in situ) the All-Star Stand-Up Tour will be a lot like watching a one-off mash up between the BBC, Channel 4 and Comedy Central, such are the telebox credentials of the foursome. We can count on one finger the number of seats left in the front row (who are you people?) and the circle (where you'll find us) is sold out. You know what to do. Tickets (£20).


If it's a refined evening you're in the market for, look away now. But if a performance which is equal measures of chaos and cool sounds more like your thing, Birmingham Opera Company's new production of Dido and Aeneas (DnA) is compulsory viewing. Last year's maniacal show - in a disused chemical factory that became an airport - bagged International Opera's new production of the year. It was vivid, violent and cruelly beautiful. From March 18 to 23, at the former site of The Ballroom (formerly of The Clash and Bob Marley repute) tickets are £5.


Last month we launched a booze-focussed events company called Crushed & Cubed and then, this month, we realised with horror that we should probably put on a booze-focussed event. Scouring the entire city top to bottom we stumbled upon a cinema that's, literally, 30 metres from our office, who were keen to work with us and with an incredible new Polish vodka by the name of Toruńska. Owned by two Brummies, this high-end voddy (think Grey Goose but not mind-numbingly dull) will be providing every attendee with a perfectly made Martini, before the Mockingbird Theatre screen ultimate man movie Swingers. Toruńska will also be making a post-movie cocktail and Crushed & Cubed will be bringing some added freebie tomfoolery, too. All this (movie, two cocktails, guaranteed smiles - March 30) for £5. And there's plenty more where that came from. Tickets
Venue: 11 Brindleyplace, 2 Brunswick Square, B1 2LP; website
Choice: Salmon and Eggs on toast (£4.95)  Chooser: Manager  

Question: What's the quickest way to ruin an issue of I Choose Birmingham that features some of the greatest shots taken by some of the planet's best photographers? Answer: Let I Choose Birmingham publish photos of their own breakfast in the same issue. Yep, we're not going to win awards for it, but new Brindleyplace restaurant Friska shouldn't lose out due to our woeful shutterbuggery. Pitching itself in or around Leon territory there's a happy vibe coming from the staff that feels natural and not at all - you know - American, making it an ace place for an informal business meeting. Even the chef poked his head out of the open kitchen to say hello and they had no idea we were there to review. Perfectly poached eggs, when poked, popped silky yolk all over the fresh, smoky salmon and bountifully buttered toast. We weren't hungover - which sometimes happens - but if we were that hangover would have been running for the Lickey Hills. Menu
  • Tickets to TEDx Brum are now on sale. Part of a global platform for some of the world's most inspired thinkers, the all day event is occurring on June 11 at the Town Hall
  • Easter Sunday is in ten days. The Chocolate Quarter have created three newbies - including the Hot Cross Bun egg - in celebration
  • Bournville Book Fest is this weekend and full of lots of activities to keep the small people entertained. Full programme
  • Greek myth meets Welsh council estate in Iphigenia In Splott, which won the UK Theatre Award 2015's Best New Play. Until Saturday at The Rep. Tickets (at £13.50) right here
  • Call for entries: RBSA's annual competition to find new art is open to all until March 23. First prize is 100,000 pennies. Details
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"You got these claws and you're staring at these claws and your thinking to yourself, and with these claws you're thinking, "How am I supposed to kill this bunny?" - Trent, Swingers
WORDS: Katy DrohanAndrew LowryTom Cullen
IMAGES: David Godfrey (puffin)

I Choose Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA
Copyright © 2016 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.

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