Issue 226
View this email in your browser


We interrupt your inbox to bring you some seriously fetching Birmingham imagery that you won't see anywhere else, ever. How do we know? Because last week we were part of the judging panel for In 'Side, a collection of photographs taken by Ross Jukes, to document life in and around the Southside district. And these are just four of the stunning shots that didn't make the cut.  
Ross took 2000 photos over the course of a year and they needed whittling down to just 32, covering four categories: Places, People, Street Art and Festivals. Those 32 shots will be on display at the Hippodrome from April 27 to May 6. "This was one of my absolute favourites shots," says Ross. "And I was sorted of gutted it didn't make the cut. I wandered past the Spotted Dog pub and the door was slightly ajar and the sun was streaming in. It felt like a lovely snapshot of everyday life. A fleeting moment — this guy having a pint, on his own, in the quiet. He was oblivious to me, lost in thought, and I think that's probably how he'd prefer it. My photography prior to this collection has always been bigger, broader, landscape shots of our city and this project forced me to come in close. It was difficult at first and I wonder if this picture — taken from behind — shows I was a little apprehensive from time to time."
"Conversely, this one shows that I got used to it. I retrained my eye to capture people head on, and curbed my shyness somewhat. I got bolder. This photo is by no means technically perfect, but none of them are. That's what happens in street photography, you have a hundredth of a second to capture the scene, before the scene is gone. Perfection goes right out of the window. I found this guy fascinating. You create stories in your head for people and for this butcher I envisaged as a guy who's job it is to be loud and at the centre of the attention, when he's drumming up trade in the markets. A larger than life character having a solemn moment. A rare, quiet five minutes. I might be completely wrong, of course, but it's nice to have a narrative."
"I walked miles and miles, just following my nose. It was very uncommon for me to have any structure to where I went. I certainly skirted the boundaries and dipped in and out of the Southside area. The street art was universally beautiful, with moments of colour punctuating the urban space. I love how this piece of art sits in a car park — something as mundane as parking your car is given a real flourish of energy. I really like how the brickwork comes through the paint and I find her eyes captivating. I admire how Digbeth and the Southside have given street art a place to exist and those artists seem to understand where they can and can't ply their trade. There's a mutual respect thing going on."  
"Perhaps the overriding feeling I got from this experience was how utterly multicultural Southside is. Everywhere I went there was a rich mix of races, nationalities, sexualities. But when Pride comes to town you know you're going to get vibrancy, so it was one of the rare occasions where I actually planned where and when to be, and tasked myself with actively trying to avoid the obvious flamboyance Pride brings. As colourful and as tempting as it was, I really wanted to capture those more interpersonal moments of the festival. Those brief segments that aren't for show, they just happen. I walked past these two as I was heading one way and they were heading the other, and I span round to grab what I think is a really heart-warming moment."

In ’Side is sponsored by Rockspring, the owner of The Forum. The exhibition is free and will run April 27 to May 6, 10am to 7pm, at the Hippodrome.


There's something a little bit wonderful about seeing your city on the big screen, especially when Steven Speilberg is the guy behind the camera. Despite its dystopian setting, Ready Player One is on the smoltzier side of the cinematic tracks (and the book on which the film is based). Watch Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) navigate a fantastical VR treasure hunt, where the prize is essentially control of the future of how we live. Help comes in the form of avatar 'Art3mis' (Olivia Cooke), who may or may not end up making an appearance in real life too. In terms of visuals, and pacing, absolutely see this busy, good-looking film at the cinema. And know that you won't be the only one beaming when Livery Street turns into Digbeth before you get eyes on The Shakespeare. Lovely stuff. Times


A street closure of street art, streetwear and street food. This is Street runs from midday on Sunday (yes, as in Easter Sunday), and if we say ‘street’ one more time, we’re absolutely going to get P45’ed. Only Jerkin are owning the festival's 'backyard' with an afro-beat and reggae sound system — think steel drums and plenty of rum. Beneculture’s got Brum’s best indie streetwear down, international sorts Secret Walls will be battling hard through the medium of live black and white illustrations. And as this is a Digbeth Dining Club deal, the food offer is fifty shades of filth, though we’re most excitable about Sonora Tacos because we ain’t never tried them. April 1. Some £5 tickets are still available. It’s all happening around Lower Trinity Stree… damn it!


A lot like Woodstock but with chicken wings as its subject matter (and an achievable 2018 date) Wingstock is occurring. Five restaurants are undertaking a kitchen-based wrestle, to secure the title Heavy-Weight-Wing-Champion-of-the-World. As part of the build-up to the Colmore Food Festival, you'll try chicken wing variations including smoked beer sauce at Purecraft Bar & Kitchen, BBQ at Bureau, salt and chilli at Chung Ying Central and smoky butter and habanero sauce at Nosh & Quaff. Wing HQ is Bar Opus where you'll start off, get your voting forms, and get busy with some jerk wings. From what we hear this is looking like a very competitive one, and venue-bribery is being actively encouraged. On April 18 from 6pm, it's £20 a ticket, which will get you five portions of wings and a probable place in Brummie wing folklore.


Whether you originally know Andi Peters from the Broom Cupboard, from Live & Kicking (raises arm), or Celebrity Masterchef says more about your age than we need to get into. But the point is, you know him. Sort of. Get to know him for reals at Hampton Manor on May 3. Over canapes and four courses, the Hampton-regular will be talking about a career and life in business which has seen him as exec producer of Top of the Pops, owning a modelling agency and co-hosting a cookery show. On May 3, it's £75 to get a spot at the dinner, which includes a drink. There's an optional wine flight (£35). Book

Venue: Little Blackwood, 145 Alcester Road, B13 8JP; Website
Choice: Spiced mushroom wantons (£6) Chooser: Ben, Chef/Owner

Looking at a menu and wanting to try everything — as starts go, it's strong-like-ox. Where Cheval Blanc used to stable, Little Blackwood quietly opened up last weekend for brunching, lunching and full dinns. Interiors-wise, we got to a score of no more than three in terms of the differences between Warwickshire-born chef Ben Taylor's newbie and Cheval. But in terms of food, something genuinely different has arrived in Moseley village, informed by Ben's time at Celtic Manor's Cen. The mushroom and lemongrass broth was full of delicate flavours — sweet and salty feels with a hint of spicy, plus two perfect mushroom wontons on top and a smoked onion purée for depth. We beamed throughout the crab mac and cheese, which comes with a little crab beignet for texture, plus a tomato gel to cut through the richness. In fact, our waitress had to pause when clearing as we used our fingers to dig the very last bits out of the dish, and three days on we're still not embarrassed about that. A ballotine of chicken main did rather less in terms of flavour than the dreamy start, but the coriander puree and sake jus that sat beneath the dish was another example of the clever, confident combinations that are going to challenge the competition and get us back through the door on the regs. A seriously welcome addition to Brum's on-going food voyage.

The Bike Foundry and Loaf have started a monthly Breadfast Club. The first ride is April 29 so you've got plenty of time to get cycle ready.
Flatpack Film Festival starts April 13 across The B'ham, and the programme looks utterly and completely awesome.
Local filmy sorts are doing the whole Kickstarter thing to fund the making of Padawan Rising, a short film set in the Star Wars Universe. Help them?
The next Independent Birmingham Festival is on July 21 & 22, this time at that hall down Aston way (so Aston Hall then). Tickets are £10.
Birmingham Brewing Company is open for your bank holiday beering. Bournville Stout is new to the keg.
The Butchers Social is in town. On May 3, find them at Harvey Nichols — it's £50 for 3-courses and a cocktail. Or join the team at the bar for wings on May 2.

"You aren't taking poison acid. The acid's not poison. It's just badly manufactured acid. You are not going to die. We have treated 300 cases and it's all just badly manufactured acid. So if you think you've taken poison, you haven't. But if you're worried, just take half a tablet.

A festival announcer speaking from the stage, Woodstock (1969)

Subscribe free
WORDS: Tom CullenKaty Drohan

I Choose Birmingham, 18 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham B2 5HU
Copyright © 2018 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences