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We’re fairly confident that we’re not the only people to have noticed Brum’s burgeoning bevy of silly-good photographers. You’ll most likely find them fighting for their balance and that allusive aspect on the edge of something precarious, or lugging a tripod and a minimum of two large lenses across whole swathes of the city. And this week, we’ve been going all Bernstein on relative newcomer, Tom Bird and his Infinity Project. Here’s why...  
It’s 2am. And not for the first time, Tom is in a car park. With the stultifying rigour of full-time corporate photography behind him, Tom can capture imagery whenever circumstances conspire to draw him to a subject. And this shot, taken from St Jude’s Passage NCP, is no exception. Arrestingly angular and with a raw, boxy composition, Clydesdale Tower could be anywhere. But it’s not just anywhere. It’s moments from the epicentre of the city at Holloway Circus and the overcast sky, coupled with Brum’s night-glow light pollution makes something stark and square, buzzy and luminous.  
Since taking the decision to dive in to the world of freelance photography full-time in November of last year, Tom has enjoyed more opportunities to take inspiration in and around the creative hubs of Birmingham. A wander round the Custard Factory led to the immortalisation of the faceless silhouettes above. And while a remote control was required to capture the image (to avoid Tom’s head making an in-shot appearance), that’s where the Mission Impossible parallels end. Apart from the really, really obvious one.  
Entering Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery through its Edwardian tea rooms rather than as the museum directs, it was the stencilled yellow accent work around BMAG's glass dome that had Tom prostrate within moments of noticing the striking feature. And he’s keen to return and capture more of the building’s domes as one of many projects the ambitious twenty-somethinger is looking to progress. In fact photography is just the entry-point when it comes to his umbrella concept, the Infinity Project. In the medium term, Tom is looking to foster a hub encompassing like-minded aesthetically-led types including illustrators, typographers and graphic designers. Did somebody say Brumhaus / Infinity Project collaboration? Just a thought.
One of Tom’s nighttime misadventures and an interesting interpretation of the meaning of a cone cordon led to this gritty image, taken in the Queensway Tunnel (when the underpass was receiving one of its ever-popular facelifts). In an act of self preservation, Tom did pick the tunnel without workmen and vans journeying in and out before entering. And having stumbled upon this sinister, urbanite, shot, we’re rather pleased he did. With an expanding repertoire in lifestyle photography and freelance commissions coming in, we're pretty sure Tom's just getting started. Prints, from £48, here.


The best Brum snow-fall we’ve seen this year wreaked appropriate amounts of havoc at 1am on Saturday. All evidence had evaporated by the morning. In case you missed it, above is basically how it looked, save for the get-me-on-a-ski-trip-immediately mountain top and one of Norway’s most prominent artists (pictured). A K Dolven’s new exhibition please return opened at IKON this week and between now and 19 April, we seriously suggest you take a look. Through a multi-sensory attack including film, sound and painting, Dolven takes an ethereal approach to the majesty of natural forces. And the results are damn right awe-inspiring. Don’t miss Vertical on my own (2011). Made with 16mm film, the video installation depicts a long eerie Arctic shadow, cast against gleaming white snow.


It’s easy to forget that Martin Luther King Jnr, however exceptional, was a flesh and blood man as much as he was a saintly civil rights icon. This terrific look at one of his key campaigns is at pains to stress the backroom deals that made him a hero as much as the soaring rhetoric that made him a legend - although there is plenty of that, in speeches that crackle off the screen. Sadly relevant now as much as ever, this is a bracing, powerful film that educates as much as inspires, cleverly demystifying King’s achievements but somehow making them all the more impressive. Brit David Oyelewo (pictured) delivers a likely career-defining performance as King, as compelling taking out the bins as he is at the pulpit, and with luck BAFTA will correct the ludicrous oversight of him being denied an Oscar nod.

What do you get when you mix flawless Michelin-starred restaurant, Adam's, with flawless Brum-made luxury gin, Langley's No.8, and throw in a dash of oft-flawed but ultimately well-meaning email magazine I CHOOSE Birmingham?  The answer is, hopefully, one of the finest and most exciting dinners to grace our fair city. In a meeting of great minds (plus us) a five course menu cooked by the man behind Brum's newest Michelin star, Adam Stokes, has been devised. The twist? Each dish is inspired by gin and served with a paired cocktail made by the invariably waistcoated people from Langley's. Fear not, this doesn't mean every dish has a thoughtless lug of gin thrown in. What it does mean is an impeccably thought out menu matched with stunning cocktails from Birmingham's only distillery. And although you won't be dining until February 25, this could make for a rather lovely get-out-of-jail Valentine's gift. Pictured is Adam's chocolate, mandarin and olive oil dessert which will be served alongside a Langley's Negroni, and you can check out the full menu, with accompanying cocktails, here. Book as soon as is humanly possible online (click February 25) or by calling 0121 643 3745. This is a one-off event that will sell out fast. Price: £115 per head.     
Venue: Bar Opus, One Snow Hill, Birmingham, B4 6GH; baropus.co.uk
Choice: Slow braised pork cheeks (£11.95) Chooser: Gareth Wayt, Head Chef

Is there anything more rakishly lavish than that much-lamented institution, the long lunch? Okay, we’ll swoop in and help you out on that one; the answer is a long lunch at Bar Opus. Between the instantly-beloved Brixham Bay Bouillabaisse and the smooth yet punchy hit of the Vanilla and Rhubarb Metropolitan, we already thought this week’s You Choose was going to be a tough call. Then the eight-hour braised pork cheeks happened. And we knew what we had to do. Served with root vegetables, nutty smoked chunks of bacon, cheddar mash and Alsace jus, it’s the jus that moves this rich and satiatingly gelatinous dish into foodie must-try territory. A four-day simmer, 40kg of veal bones and a generous glug of the best Alsace grog that Opus can spare goes into the sticky, flavour-filled reduction. The results are utterly sumptuous. Full menu, which is now also available in the evening, here.
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"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" - Martin Luther King Jr
IMAGES: Vegar Moen (A. K. Dolven on location)Jack Spicer Adams (Adam's), Clive Reeves (Opus)
WORDS: Katy DrohanAndrew LowryTom Cullen
ADDRESS: I CHOOSE Birmingham, Office 211, 43 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5LS

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