Issue 205
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GOLF, MEET DIGBETH. DIGBETH, THIS IS GOLF.

"I don't know what to look at," says our designer, wide-eyed and jaw-dropped. He's equally in love and in shock. He can't process the visual delirium. His head is shaking in disbelief, but his smile betrays the overriding emotion that we're all feeling: Unmitigated joy. We're being shown around all 18-holes of the new Ghetto Golf venue, a dystopian brain-blend of two owners, one art co-ordinator, and over 150 individual street artists. Where to begin? Where the hell to begin?
Here. A leather clad statue is draped over a wooden block outside a re-imagined, disused Blockbuster video store. A tribute to the movie Pulp Fiction, 'The Gimp' is about to be caged, holding him in his new home, which opened at the Custard Factory yesterday. His permanent view? A small patch of crazy golf on which thousands of Brummies will soon play their way around their childhoods, around their nightmares, around their fears and around their dreams. The term 'crazy golf' isn't crazy enough. This is golf from the minds of the wildly berserk and brilliantly mad.  
Over £4000 has been spent on spray paint alone. Only a little less was spent on an actual working bus through the middle of which Hole 3 is carved. It was driven down from Liverpool to Digbeth. From the home of the first ever Ghetto Golf to the home of the second. "We earmarked a few cities to launch venue two," explains co-owner Daniel Bolger. "But when we saw Digbeth, we knew." The two creators are lifelong friends and master-makers. Rummaging through skips and trawling Facebook Marketplace, knocking on doors and making calls, they've created an indoor golfing experience that features retro gaming characters, ten pin bowling alleys, chicken coops, basketball courts, skate ramps and bathtubs. One hole is a working pub at which you can stop and have a pint, while you watch fellow golfers hole-up. 
Expect ramps, twists, turns. Putt through tunnels and have your ball spat out onto an entirely different level. On one hole, we sh*t you not, there's a motion sensor that recognises you're reaching for your putted ball and it'll trigger a ghost train-esque pop-up that'll scare the bejeezus out of you. "We've got a tribute to Mr Egg coming," says Christopher 'Kip' Piper. "We had no idea what Mr Egg was, but when all the local artists told us all about it, we knew we had to work it into the course somehow."
Some of Brum's best street artists have assisted with the decor. So popular was working on Ghetto Golf to Digbeth's graffiti crew that a rota was required to add some order to the arty chaos. "They're given a lot of freedom," says Kip. "But we do have our art co-ordinator, Mark Sergeant, who adds a loose narrative to proceedings. Every now and again I'll catch Mark looking at a single wall for 15 minutes, lost in his own creation. There's a neon area that's basically Mark's brain in wall form. It's such a popular section of the course that we've had to keep the holes short so people don't while away hours in there. Lost in Mark's weird mind." 
"When joiners come in to help us," adds Dan showing us one of the few unfinished holes, "the first thing we tell them is to forget everything they know about joinery. You won't need that spirit level here, pal. We don't want perfect corners or smoothed edges. Save that for Auntie Phyllis's new en-suite."

Ghetto Golf is £10 per person/per round. Book here. Drinks menu here, food by Slim's BBQ Express — menu here

TOTAL SIGNAL FAILURE


One November morning, in a town far far away, Tom Jeffreys set off from Euston Station with a walking stick in hand and an overloaded rucksack. His aim was to walk the 119 miles from London to Birmingham along the proposed route of HS2. He failed. But he did write a book about the experience (Signal Failure, £9.99), which also considers the impact of HS2 upon Birmingham and beyond. Catch him and two other Brum authors who will be discussing their recent attempts to read, reflect, and re-imagine this here city through people, architecture, industrial history, and transport. On October 28 from 2pm in the Ikon Events Room, register your interest in the free happening here.
 

NEPTUNE AND CHILL


Nesting season is indisputably upon us, and rather than yamming on about the elements, we're fully embracing hygge, lagom, and that other one that's big in Japan, by cosying up our casa. Interiors heroes Neptune have opened in Edgbaston Village, and we're moving in immediately. Across two restored Edwardian townhouses, a mix of display rooms have been created for you, to avoid the need for any actual decisions. The new Autumn/Winter bedroom (pictured) includes Neptune's colours of the season — charcoal, smoke and fox (the latter is orange to you and me). Neptune's open daily, and includes kitchen, dining, bedroom, living, garden and accessories for the purchasing.


NEW OPENING: THE VANGUARD


There's been a lot of chat about who will be launching in 1,000 Trades' upstairs. Delete all that you've heard. The correct answer is The Vanguard, a cocktail bar and real-life meadery. Following a refit, Sam Boulton, who returned to Brum after stints in London and Newcastle to launch Harvey Nics' bar, is opening that which he feels the city lacks — a bar that though majoring in cocktails, gives relaxed neighbourhood feels rather than complicated menus and dress codes. And drinks with personality like Vintage Tonic (pictured), which involves strawberry-infused, Buffalo Trace White bourbon. On the subject of the lesser known, The Vanguard will be big on the somewhat forgotten world of mead, with plenty of honeyed beers and wines for Sam to make your new cold weather fave. With a projected launch date of Nov 30, follow the team's progress on the 'gram or Twitter.
Venue: Fumo Selfridges, Bullring, Birmingham, B5 4BU; Facebook
Choice: Open ravioli with langoustine (£14.95) Chooser: Waiter

What's better than having one Fumo in Brum-town? That would be having two. And if you're wondering what your motivation is to journey the whole 0.4 miles from the Waterloo Street original to Fumo Selfridges, two is the magic number again. Firstly, life-changing amounts of money have palpably been spent on the interior, which looks seriously smart. Secondly, a number of the dishes are exclusive to this lustrous addition to a part of town which can feel a bit Chinese Quarter or bust. And one such dish is the pick — the utterly bite, suck and slurp-worthy
open ravioli is served with Scottish langoustine, in a rich, Autumnal, tomato-based Venetian sauce. Don't give up until you've got every succulent last meaty morsel out of the shellfish, even if people look at you like you're going too far. Also rich, but well worth the order is the fresh Porcini and white truffle risotto, which comes in half a wheel of Parmesan (£19.95 for two). Cooked al dente, there was just the right amount of fresh truffle on top, and the dish was seasoned exactly like it should be.

MALAYSIAN [SUPPER] CLUBBING


Penang-born Chef Norman Musa’s been featured in Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes, Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and Malaysian Masterchef. And for his next trick, find him at Urban Church Street for three November nights. It’s a bit of a best of a Malaysian classics in menu terms — think chicken satay and beef rendang done very right. You’ll get four courses plus canapés for £30 and can book a spot November 16 to 18. Here be the full menu for you enthusiasts.

IMPORTANT CINEMA


Screening Rights is the Midlands' big thinking International Film Festival of Social Justice. The festival director's pick of the screenings, Q&As and panel sessions is Ghost Hunting — which features a group of Palestinian ex-prisoners who build a replica of Al-Moskobiya, the Israeli investigation centre where they were all imprisoned. However, as they were always blindfolded whilst there, none of them really knows what the place actually looked like. At mac Birmingham from October 26 — full programme.

AN ORIGINAL PATTY, MAAAN


Burger nirvana — every time we think we've reached our ultimate patty, something comes along and brings with it a whole other blissful realm. For one day only, Original Patty Men are putting on the ICB special. We're the only civilians to have sampled it, and if we died right now, we'd wouldn't feel cheated. Get braised ox-cheek on top of a 32-day aged Longhorn patty, crispy beer-battered onion rings, blue cheese (the creamy kind, not the frightening kind), horseradish (the frightening kind not the creamy kind), and rocket. A combo that's as bold as it is brill, if you haven't ox-cheeked with horseradish of late, it's the winning bite of a burger full of victories. The special is £9.50, but get 15% off by showing this email when you order. The very limited run is available from 11.30am on Saturday. Best of luck to everyone.
Mowgli opened in Grand Central on yesterday. This could be the menu (it is the menu).
Butchery and all things porkie are occurring at Loaf. Twice. Book an all day class on October 26 or November 16, led by Lap-fai Lee and that lovely Steve Rossiter.
Go clubbing without going clubbing this Saturday. Higher is a show exploring the cathartic power of dance as a form of prayer and celebration of existence. Starts at 10pm. Amen.
Digbeth's got even more new — The Ruin's big on ale and big on happy hour, which lasts for two hours Tuesday to Friday from 5pm. 
Been lumbered with sorting Chrimbo? Bit of good news, Jekyll & Hyde's got Salt & Earth (formerly of Two Cats) from Nov 27, keeping the trads and modernists happy. The deets.


"If you think it's hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball." 


Jack Lemmon



 
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WORDS: Tom Cullen, Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry
IMAGES: Ghetto Golf — Andy Smart (exterior); Tom Bird (interiors)


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