Issue 379
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A regular Brum celebration of all things animation is gaining traction, with the next event taking place at Nortons, Digbeth, November 24. Overlap attracts creators from the cartoony world, but also people who are up for a night of something a bit different — and knowing ICB readers, that probably includes YOU. It's a show and tell sort of a set-up (you don't need to show or tell anything) with animators talking through their (often wild) work. Then there's a special guest, an animation performance or some live music. "The point of Overlap is to overthrow any of the awkward networking-y vibes people might associate with animation nights," says founder Louis Hudson, who makes an often chilling costume for each event (see above). "The theme for this night is 'Fall'. I'm going to be dressed as a kind of leafy acorn and there will be a prize for the most impressive fall off the stage, but I haven't told Nortons that yet."
"Birmingham has animation studios that pull together the wide ranging skills of people to make their brilliant work, like Second Home Studios, Yamination, Character Shop and Ragdoll (Based in Stratford but they count. They made Brum!). The city's animation scene is, ummm, very Birmingham. People just getting on with it. But there are individuals who are making films like nobody's watching. Die hards whose work is unmistakably theirs. Before I started Overlap I thought I knew everybody who was making interesting animation in Birmingham. I was a bit worried there wouldn’t be enough talent to keep a night going. Turns out I was very wrong. The beauty of Overlap is that it keeps drawing incredible artists out of the woodwork. I still don’t know who’s going to appear next. But come one, come all. It's free."

Below are just five of the dozens of Brum animators who have helped make Overlap a sleeper hit with a few words from Louis about each. Giz them a follow...
"Fraser is an incredibly low-key pro making top industry level work. He blends the lines between animation styles, motion graphics, and visual effects to craft impactful stories. Born and raised in Tanzania, Fraser came to study at BCU and never looked back. He still gets hassled by Londoners asking when he’s going to move down. Not gonna happen, bab. His film To Get Her, originally commissioned by B:Music was influenced by rallying around during lockdown to combat loneliness. It’s now starting it’s international film festival circuit."
Follow Fraser on Instagram
"Birmingham-born/Stratford-dwelling Greg is one half of BAFTA-winning Brothers McLeod. He’s been nominated twice for a BAFTA Film Award in the Best British Short Animation category. His short film Marfa had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival. He has produced work for director Edgar Wright, comedians Stewart Lee, Adam Buxton and Sara Pascoe as well as with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Aardman, Disney and the Tate. He’s currently directing a Channel 5 kid’s show Circle Square, that he and his brother Myles created. In-between all of this he drums in bands and regularly pumps out new animated experiments. If you think there’s not enough hours in the day to do all of this, you’d be right. Greg’s bouts of insomnia seem to only add fuel to the fire."
Follow Greg on Instagram
"Brummie Jessica is a multidisciplinary artist working in animation, moving image, performance and installation. Her work focuses on creating experimental narratives that explore gender, identity and race, using traditional animation techniques. She is a BAFTA-winning animator (Scotland), and MA Animation graduate from the Royal College of Art. Her work has been supported by Animate Projects, Jerwood Visual Arts Bursary, Arts Council England, UK Film Council and Channel 4's Random Acts. Jessica’s films have been exhibited in over 60 film festivals internationally, including The Edinburgh International Film Festival, London Short Film Festival and Encounters Short Film Festival".
Follow Jessica on Instagram
"Martin is a proper artist. You'll find him using phrases like, “My practice explores different avenues of expression as a means to reflect upon the nature of experience, it usually manifests with a fixation on progression, change, mutation and transition.” ​ I don't know what that means either. His work includes illustration, animation, filmmaking, sculpture, design, and teaching all of the above. His film Excerpt (below) was commissioned by Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, with the brief to explore their online digital collection. The finished film is mesmerising."
Follow Martin on Instagram
"Ollie is a prolific music video maker smushing together all forms of animation. He’s an openly geeky student of 80’s cinema, and carries that through his work. He directed the Prodigy’s Nasty, parts of which were filmed in Digbeth. More recently he’s made an epic trilogy of films for the Australian band Psychedelic Porn Crumpets."
Follow Ollie on Instagram
Ross is a psych-influenced underground scamp pioneering the genre of gammon-core — something he invented to provoke, you know, 'gammons'. Originally from the Highlands/Essex (work that one out), he studied at Edinburgh College of Art. Eventually, he found himself in Birmingham and kept coming back. His favourite thing about Birmingham is that all of the Londoners haven’t haven’t worked out that it's a great city yet. Shhhhh. Below is an excerpt from a piece he did called Eamonn Holmes Gives Birth To A Swan. So, you get a feel for his *thing*"
Follow Ross on Instagram
Follow Louis on Instagram and check out his website here


The groundswell of social media support that followed news that Manchester-based German Bier Palace, Albert's Schloss, will open in Brum told its own story, civic rivalries put aside by those in-the-know. The I Choose Birmingham feeds were inundated with a tidal wave of love, open-armed welcomes across the board for the brand that'll launch only their second venue, at Paradise, on December 6.

If the mentions were overwhelmingly positive, then a recent press trip north sent my emotional fuel rods jumping about uncontrollably: Albert's Schloss, from the team behind Rudy's Pizza, is unlike anything we have. Named after Prince Albert, the Anglo-Bavarian prince and husband of Queen Victoria, the new Albert’s has room for 500 guests and will serve up cracking food from ‘The Cook Haus’ — indulgent Bavarian-Alpine dishes with schnitzel and schweinsaxe, washed down with the best Munich lagers like Paulaner and Augustiner. Fresh unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell will be delivered three times a week direct from Plzeň in the Czech Republic and the difference in taste was startling. An in-house bakery will produce artisan bread, pretzels, pastries and pud alongside daily roasted coffee.

And although the food and drink was superb, it was the entertainment that blind-sided me. The trip was on a Tuesday night and the Manchester venue was pumping. Jumping with a wildly mixed clientele enjoying — in all the right ways — a cabaret show of world class quality. It was the sort of show that got me, a 41-year-old prude, standing on a table, arm around a guy I'd only met three hours previously, trying to start a can-can. I was literally the last customer to leave, completely writing off Wednesday in the process.

Brum's Albert’s Schloss will operate over two floors with three bars (the largest of which is over 100 feet long) and a huge outside terrace complete with a restored Citroen Van bier bar. Their very own ‘study’, that can host up to 30 people seated, will be available for private hire, while a vermouth and Schnapps bar with shuffleboard and Ski Lodge board games, named Ludwig's tavern, can be found on the mezzanine and can host 60. Open seven days it will, along with neighbour Dishoom, contribute massively to Brum's awkwardly quiet Monday and Tuesday nights, as well as being home to first rate entertainment every other night of the week too. Albert is coming, Birmingham, and the best way to prepare is to subscribe to his A-List, here, to be the first to be in-the-know for specials, one-offs, supper clubs, offers, guest lists and more.


It's been a hell of a year. We've all been just about keeping our heads above water at some point during this pandemic. Now, in England, one in six experience a common mental health problem — such as anxiety or depression — every week. But some pretty decent art can come from struggle — see Bo Burnham's Inside on Netflix and comedy Twitter during any crisis — and Birmingham has a talent for harnessing this for great things. BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival is back in 2021 and celebrates visual art, film, performance and music through the lens of mental health and wellbeing. Running for 10 days from tomorrow (November 12) to November 21, live performances across various Birmingham venues are complemented by online events and workshops. Consulting with professionals and those with lived experience of mental health issues, some events focus on themes exacerbated by Covid lockdowns, others look more widely at mental health issues, such as Everything is Absolutely Fine — our most uttered phrase of 2020 — a comedy musical about anxiety. Pictured is Sink or Swim, a short film in which Charlotte Edmonds explores the effects of mental health and depression in an underwater ballet — an almost literal portrayal of someone battling to keep their head above water. There's an emphasis on the experiences of different people and groups during the pandemic and an opportunity to collectively evaluate the past 18 months across our community, our collective psyche and our own experiences. Explore the full list of events here. Prices vary but many events are free, particularly online. 


Not had enough of fireworks yet? Get your fix and beckon in the Christmas good cheer at the Jewellery Quarter’s biggest ever Christmas Lights Switch On. Step into Christmas (😉) on Friday 19th November from 5pm to 7pm and enjoy what is promised to become a Winter Wonderland, with food and fireworks signalling the start of the Christmas drinks marathon (not a sprint). Enjoying its new JQ home, Hockley Social Club will be providing food for the evening, with Buddha Belly and Confection on the roster. Local venues, Rose Villa Tav, Lunchi and Urban will be plying you with the tipples; all suitably seasonal enough to order another ‘because it’s Christmas’. There will also be live music and not one, but two 30 foot trees to marvel at, all wrapped up with the big Christmas switch-on and what’s assured to be the biggest bling in the JQ: a huge, illuminated diamond ring. While you’re there, get your steps in and wander the Christmas window trail, showcasing the various businesses in the Jewellery Quarter. You can vote for your favourite and get discounts by visiting the participating shops. And if the kids (and adults – let’s not pretend) want even more excitement, you can meet the 2022 Commonwealth Games mascot, Perry the Bull – although photo ops of biting his JQ-made gold medal are off-limits. More 


Running for just seven episodes on Channel 4 from 1997 to 2001, Chris Morris's Brass Eye was an unrelentingly whip-smart takedown of celebrity, keying itself ballsily into off-limits topics like sex and drugs. In equal parts excruciating and ground-breaking, it left viewers dumbstruck and changed television permanently. It received a new lease of life in 2017 after it's director, Michael Cumming, released a 60-minute film of unbroadcasted material from the making of the series, giving extraordinary insights into the cult classic. The film will only ever be screened at live events and comes with Morris's approval. Oxide Ghosts: The Brass Eye Tapes screens at the MAC on March 14 and, costing £10, comes with a pre-movie intro and a post-movie Q&A with Cumming, who will both build and shatter Brass Eye myths, as the show celebrates its 25th anniversary. This will sell out quickly.  


'You eat with your eyes', they say. Messy, but true. Old sayings aside, you won't get a choice when it comes to letting your peepers inform your taste when Eating Without Eyes lands in the JQ, next week. A gastronomic pop-up from Mumbai-based Jashan Sippy (with Brummie Kaye Winwood), it'll include a blindfolded menu of ten courses all aimed at engaging the senses — smells, tastes and textures getting all the exercise, with sight benched for the evening. It's an intimate experience for just 10 diners seated together within Gulp’s private dining room, on Spencer Street. The event aims to stimulate lively conversation, and guests will be given ample time between courses and at the end of the experience to discuss and process their thoughts. Previous menus have included dishes like 'zero waste carrots' and 'Miso chocolate ganache, with seaweed fox nut praline'. November 16, £80. Email to book.
Venue: Le Petit Bois, 145 Alcester Road, Moseley, B13 8JP; Website 
Choice: Confit duck leg (£18) Chooser: Ben (chef founder) 

I think I speak for all of Birmingham when I say the closure of Little Blackwood, the most Moseley of restaurants for all the right reasons, was an unexpected punch to the city's gastronomic gut. But out of the wreckage comes Le Petit Bois. Translating as 'The Little Wood' it replaces Little Blackwood in name and style but, remaining thankfully under the management of Ben and Zsofia, it has changed in essence by zero. Gone are chef Ben Taylor's often Eurasian dishes, and in their stead French, French and French options — Ben being classically trained. The menu will please if not surprise, with Zsofia's front-of-house warmth even more remedying now that the dishes hit a homelier note than in the previous incarnation. Classics, they may well be, but in many ways that tests the chef more than Little B's leftfield creations of yesteryear — there's no hiding when you're putting out dishes like these and the kitchen need hide not a jot. Which is apt given chefs were, themselves, bringing out dishes, something that always inspires confidence especially when one of them is in the final of the British Culinary Federation's Young Chef of the Year award. Moules marnière came in a the kind of deep, white wine and garlic sauce that would leave an emotional crater on even the most versed of Parisian diners, the ballsy saltiness demanding a slurp of white as companion. The wine, by the way, comes in carafes or bottles poured direct from key kegs. Key kegging means the wine arrives as fresh as is humanly possible from the vineyard, side-stepping the barreling and bottling processes which expose the wine to air. Grenache and viognier were the house options, but a Beaujolais comes in this week. Being as the idea of having to eat snails again is more terrifying to me than dying alone, I passed them up, but they were coming out of the kitchen hard and fast, a rate that suggests they won't be coming off the menu any time soon and neither should they. The French onion soup (or, as they call it in France, 'onion soup') appeared cauldron hot, the elixir bubbling around the gruyère croûte, creamy cheese rolling about in the heat. When it cooled, 48 hours later, it was outstanding example of the classic, the beef stock alone a three-day culinary process with the onions undergoing one hell of a caramelising and enriching process to come out so sweet. So immersive, cosying up against the acidity of the sparkling Crémant in which they've stewed. On mains the confit duck leg with haricot blanc casoulet and sauce verte was the champion. Snug, earthy, robust, it's the kind of dish that winters were made for. Filling, but not so filling that you won't be asking for more bread to wipe the bowl, the cuisson on the duck just where you want it, pink inside but the exterior crisp and naughty. It's worth having a look at the sharing plates with the fruit de mer a show-stopping platter that requires two days notice, the seafood arriving fresh, 6.30am every day. They're not messing about on sourcing, by the way, one trout last week arrived in restaurant just three hours after being caught and Moseley's Maison Mayci are baking the bread fresh, daily. A joy to have these two back and behind a neighbourhood restaurant that requires cherishing. All they need now is a rave broadsheet review. Bet you a tenner it happens by Christmas. Menu

Le Petit Bois have a special four-course Beaujolais inspired dinner on November 18 and they are taking bookings for Christmas Day too, right now.
Bookings are now live for reservations from December 14 at Chapter, the incredibly exciting new Edgbaston Village venture from the team behind Opus. Get in early. 

Jack Whitehall and his parents Hilary and Michael have added an additional live show (with a mild Christmas feel) to the Brum promo of their best-selling book How to Survive Family Holidays. December 12 is their extra Utilita Arena date. Prices vary (wildly).

Maybe this is something that could only possibly interest me (I guess that's true of everything in this godforsaken email) but the maquette (mini sculpture from which an artists work to achieve a much bigger finished product) for Antony Gormley's currently holidaying Iron Man (1991), is on display at Ikon. See? 

The ten day Birmingham Film Festival starts next week. More

The UK's first self-service bar and café does too! Exact date TBC, but Autobrew will open in the Custard Factory, next week, deffo.

The Wilderness is celebrating six years of existence by bringing back some old and infamous dishes for two nights only, Nov 16 and 17. That dish that had ants on it is back. We'll never hear the end of it. Details 
Charity, Baby Aid Birmingham, who provide emergency support to families with young kids across the city, have launched some Brum-themed Christmas cards. 10 for £5
WORDS: Claire Hawkins, Tom Cullen
PHOTOS: Louis (Jack Spicer Adams)

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"Urgent news – Karla has started to ingest her own head. Her dung pump mechanism has blown. There’s bloody vegetable gas everywhere. For God’s sake, help us pull her trunk out."

Wolf from Gladiators [on Karla the elephant with her trunk stuck up her bottom], 'Brass Eye' (1998)

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