🎉🎈Issue 300 🎈🎉
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30 THINGS WE LEARNT IN 300 ISSUES

You know how US sitcoms recognise their, say, 100th episode by splicing together scenes from previous shows and repackaging them as an entirely new episode? This is basically the email version of that. Today marks the 300th issue of I Choose Birmingham and to honour three centuries of championing the greatest city on Earth, we've resurrected a logo from yesteryear (above) and compiled 30 sort of remarkable things we learnt (and a few semi-cool things we did) since issue one.
1. Speaking of issue one, it was terrible. You can laugh at it here. It was read by 63 people.  
2. Remember the time we went to a rave at Greggs?
3. The time we had a Central Library pin badge commissioned and Joe Lycett wore it on the telly?
4. The pin badge sold out in three days flat, back in 2016, but we kept five to giveaway here.
5. We went inside New Street Signal Box. They handle more trains a day than Grand Central, New York. When you work your last day, you leave your favourite mug behind. It's been 50 years. There's a lot of mugs.  
6. We went up the air traffic control tower at Birmingham Airport. Yes, we did ask if we could land a plane. No, they did not let us.  
7. We wrote an open letter to Channel 4. Okay, Channel 4 didn't move to Brum but it got shared so much that half a million people ended up reading about why Birmingham is a city we should all be incredibly proud of.  
8. We spotted the most harrowing ice cream truck ever to grace our streets.
9. One of the most powerful things we witnessed was the moment 'Ghost Soldiers' walked into New Street Station as part of the "Where here because" tribute. Verity Milligan captured it rather better than we did on our iPhone. 
10. We discovered the work of artist John Wilson who painted Gas Street Basin in the style of LS Lowry. He also gave the new library the Lowry treatment.
11. We had cocktails in Walter White and Jesse Pinkman's RV.
12. We worked shifts at OPM, Opus and even Wagamama.  
13. We went to the last ever night at Hall Green dog track. It was emosh. 
14. We unearthed six incredible country pubs all reachable by rail.
15. And we invented the Birmingham emoji quiz. We're still receiving complaints.
16. We've rebranded twice, the most recent overhaul got the Temper treatment.  

17. We've reviewed 300 restaurants, between two of us, revealing the city's best pizza, its best scotch egg and its best Sunday roast. Countless more meals didn't make the weekly cut. 
18. We smashed stuff up, (19) played golf on a bus and (20) hurled axes at targets with frightening gusto. You can still do all three in Brum.
21. We managed to laugh our way through the bin strike and (22) invented a phrase that made national news.
22. Chris Ramsey agreed to one of the more ridiculous interviews we've ever conducted.
23. A war time bomb was discovered, closely followed by the best reason anyone's ever been late.
24. We took some snaps of cats. They've been seen by 1.6 million folks. 
25. We discovered the most middle class graffiti ever.
26. We found out where the Iron Man has really gone. And that he has feet!
27. We created the 100% unofficial Birmingham slogan
28. Old Joe was controversially crowned Birmingham's Best Building during our World Cup of Brum landmarks. The tournament had a total of 104,122 votes.
29. Our hashtag #BrumPrimarkFacts trended on the day Primark launched their biggest store to date in Birmingham. If we're to be believed it has its own postcode.
30. And we totally got the Floozie fixed. Yep, we're taking credit for that.
Three things we'd like to see happen in the next 300 issues...
1. The Frankfurt market halved in size and the saved space given entirely to Brum independents at low rates.
2. King Kong's return to Birmingham, ideally with a Steven Knight-led film studio.
3. The return of the Mr Egg version 1. Eating like a king for a £1. Or even £4. Inflation and whatnot. 

MOVIE OF THE MONTH: JOKER


A lot of pearls were clutched when this dropped at the Venice Film Festival, with more than one critic calling it ‘dangerous.’ Well, clearly these bold souls have never been at a bus stop near The Square Peg on a Friday night. What we have here is a fairly straight blend of Taxi Driver and King of Comedy, the Scorsese vibe set off by a version of Gotham City that looks a lot like 1980s New York. Joaquin Phoenix — blistering — is a mentally-ill clown who falls through the cracks and discovers a taste for mass murder, becoming a strange folk hero in the process. Nihilistic and dark, this is the grim obverse of a Marvel movie, in a DC universe. Even if you never shake the sense that it’s the movie equivalent of your teenage cousin who’s just discovered Misfits and Camus, this against-the-odds hit is still the movie everyone’s going to be talking about. See it at Cineworld at Resorts World. Choose from 42 screenings this weekend alone. Times & tickets

NEED FOR MEAD


For The Vanguard's latest trick, they've only gone and made a small batch mead with Birmingham bees, Birmingham branding and Birmingham's bull all featuring (have a proper squint at Thomas Parry's label design here). Just 50 bottles of "From the Birds to the Bees" — which uses honey from the hives that sit on top of the Custard Factory — will ever exist, putting the JQ bar and meadery even more firmly on the map when it comes to fermented firsts. It's £35 for a bottle, which you can pre-order for late November delivery right here.
Venue: Chakana; 140 Alcester Road, Moseley; B13 8HT; website
Choice: Scallops, yellow chilli cream, Andean grains (£10) Chooser: Chef

We're swigging tiger's milk. Not literally milk from a tiger — sicko— this is a Peruvian ceviche sauce that cures fish and, it is claimed, "cures" hangovers when drunk. We're hungover and willing to try anything. By jingo this may just have worked! And what perfect timing because to have endured anything other than heaven during this meal would have been blasphemy. Chakana, Moseley's newest darling, is now our darling, and head chef Robert Ortiz — without wanting to over-egg it — might be all of the answers to all of our problems. The bar area with its vibrant pop of cobalt blue has echoes of heyday Cheval Blanc, while the vault based PDR — this was previously Lloyds bank — is surely one of the coolest dining rooms in the city. But what of the food? Father God and sonny Jesus, it's sublime. Ortiz has previous, working at the Landmark in Marylebone and the Four Seasons in Canary Wharf, before taking Lima, in Fitzrovia, to a Michelin star in 2013. You sense he's gunning for another here, in little Moseley, and though it's perhaps some way off a week into its existence, Chakana has launched at a whiplash-inducing trajectory. Buckle in for a joyous, vibrant, fresh menu of achingly pretty dishes that score on substance as much as on style. The scallop dish might have been the pick. A light lick of sealife given perfectly balanced citrus and spice notes, while crispiness from the cereal shows Ortiz mastery of texture as well as taste
. From the cold ceviches to the hot mains, this was a front-to-back pleasure. Menu

FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK CLIMB


Much like the renegade master, the Reel Rock Film Tour is back once again. This collection of extreme sports short films and docs is designed to make sure you don’t look down. I said don’t. Peaking our interest (typo intentional) is The High Road, which sees star athlete Nina Williams getting to grips with every boulderer’s biggest nightmare/fantasy: solving elite-level problems which are up to 50 feet tall, all whilst saying sayonara to the safety rope. More suicidal still, The Nose Speed Record (pictured) features the most intense “race you to the top” since Year 9 was allowed to "tidy up the equipment" at the end of double PE. This time, it’s between rock climbing royalty Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold who scramble up El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The tour comes to Brum’s Crescent Theatre at 7.30pm on November 20. Tickets are £14.50 and come with free vertigo.

Need to dance it out? Toe-tap your way to Tropical Soundclash at the Hare & Hounds this Saturday night for salsa and samba coming together with house, disco and bass to make sure you get enough beats per minute in your weekend.
Italian pop-up, Capocci's, has opened its hatch on Rotunda Square and here's the menu. From Tuesdays to Sundays until Oct 20, we're going to test out how the whole outdoor in October thing works this weekend.
Poetry Jam has nothing to do with fruits, sugar or sterilised jars and everything to do with the spoken word and an open mic night. At Wayland's Yard on the first Thursday of each month (so tonight), entry is free.
Sign-ups for the next HIIT-filled F45 8-Week Challenge are open. Here's how our editor got on when she had a go. And yes, we know, we're obsessed. A two-week trial is £30.
It's officially Sunday roast season and top of our "to try" list? The Edwardian Tea Rooms, which offers two roasts with all the trimmage for £20 (usually £12.95). From the chef who used to have us travelling to The Station at Dorridge for our Sunday fix.
 


"We knocked the bastard off."


Sir Edmund Hillary after summiting Everest


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WORDS: Tom Cullen, Katy Drohan, Robb SheppardAndrew Lowry
PICTURES: Reel Rock — Austin Siadak
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: Tommy "the Floozie" Corners


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