Issue 199
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An entire ocean of entertainment that you probably don't know about is lapping at Birmingham's landlocked shores. Jump on board the good ship I Choose and let us show you the where, the when, the why and the who. Starting, like all good emails should, with axe-throwing
Urban axe-throwing is a legit thing not involving arrest warrants — with instructors, enclosed lanes and a points system. An alternative to the public house — it's a zero alcohol zone for the obvious reason — sessions are run on three lanes, with 12 players and an instructor per lane, Miyagi-ing the goo-ganglies out of your technique. And there's a knockout, tournament-style finish to proceedings, so you'll want to listen to make it through. At the same place as Rage Room, book an hour and a half of throwing for £25 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5.45pm. And no you can't throw an axe at a picture of person. That's an actual FAQ.
Admit it. The best bit about golf is being outdoors and the worst bit about golf is the golf. So why not play golf where there's no golf clubs, no golf balls and none of that sneery golf snarkiness. Blast a football around nine-holes of Harborne's finest, putting your boot through it at tee-off and side-footing when you reach the green. The hole, for the record, is rather a lot bigger than standard golf. It's £6 at Harbs and you'll also find courses at Becketts Farm and Cocks Moors Woods. Note: Post-putt Roger Milla celebrations are obligatory but most courses run a "no shirt removal" policy. Who do you think you are, anyway, Ronaldo? 
Get very new takes on Pac-Man, Super Mario and Space Invaders with arcade-style gaming, before getting all virtual reality at Vortex — a shiny, new gaming centre that opened at Resorts World on Saturday. The Omni Arena (pictured) is the tips of the tops in VR, including treadmills which make you feel even more virtual and even more reality than headsets can. Survive waves of robots by shooting attackers before they destroy various power cores, along with your best bud — this is two player gaming so you'll be needing a third musketeer for ridiculous photo capturing purposes. No need to book at the moment. It's £5 a pop to try Omni Arena.
Mini golf, cocktails, street food, graffitiness and hip-hop will be the order of the day (well, probably more night) at Ghetto Golf. Latest estimates are an end of September, possibly first week of October opening, with the team working on the Custard Factory site six days a week, 16 hours a day, directors included. But you can get on the list for your Chrimbo party now, by emailing And you can get your fill of teasers on social media. A lot like the Liverpool iteration (pictured), it'll be an 18-hole affair but with holes, the food and the art looking full-on Birmingham. Because it would be pretty weird to make it Liverpool themed.


Like taxes and Arsenal underperforming, clowns being terrifying is one of life's few constants. That said, our editor is a big brave boy, and he loves it when you tweet him pictures of them. This new adaptation of Stephen King’s horror classic isn’t as faithful as the 1990 miniseries, and its version of Pennywise isn’t quite as impactful as Tim Curry’s malevolently scathing version of the demon clown-thing, but what it is is scary. We’re not talking the kind of dread you get in The Ring, but instead a metronomically precise engine for delivering jump scares. This means it can be a little in one eye and out the other – much of the richness of the book is jettisoned for time – but take a date along, and you’ll both enjoy(ish). Times


Little known fact: Calthorpe Estates is 1213 in dog years, equating to 300 human years. Edgbaston Tricentenary Festival is the relevant birthday party to which you're cordially invited — whether you were that lovely kid, or that really horrible one, at school. The afternooner is set around the Botanical Gardens and includes vintage rides, beekeeping demos and plenty of activities to keep any mini humans entertained, while you give your full and undivided to The Prosecco Van (pictured). Picnics are totally permitted, or put yourself in the hands of pop-ups from local restaurants like The High Field and some familiar street food visages like Holy Moly Macaroni. From 12pm until 5pm on September 17, it's free but do book your spot. More


Birmingham Heritage Week starts today and basically gets you into the nooks and the crannies of the city that are usually closed to the public, or you'd probably never think to visit. Awkwardly we hadn't even heard of the exquisite looking Lazarica Church (pictured) until researching this feature, and it's less than a mile from our front door. The first purpose-built Serbian orthodox church in the UK, it was incepted by exiled Serbs with the support of the Cadbury family. On September 9, get inside its beauteous Bournville walls to learn more about the church, and take in some traditional Serbian dancing, culture and food. Or help keep Moseley Baths open. Or join Flatpack for some floating cinema shorts. Or learn about letterboxes at 1,000 Trades. Or tour a cemetery. Or enter Middle-earth at Sarehole Mill. And that's just one day.
Venue: Dezhou Style Braised Chicken (that's the actual name of the restaurant), B109, Arcadian Centre; Facebook  Choice: Dezhou Style Braised Chicken, obviously  Chooser: Whoever named the restaurant

The first time we heard banging coming from the kitchen, we assumed it had everything to do with the quantity of chickens on order. But after opting for noodles, we heard it again — lip smacking levels of noise — the kind that makes you know every decision you've taken in your life to get you to this point has been right. Get the Dezhou style chicken with noodles in soup (£8.80), and shovel chilli on top. The birds are braised overnight, while the noodles are literally made after you've placed your order, which still arrives in about ten minutes. The slurpy, salty, sating bowl is big time yum town, and reassuringly hard to eat — all the remaining napkins were gifted to us when we essentially started dropping food on the floor. Tucked away on the same pedestrian passage as the original Cafe Soya, the neatly named Dezhou Style Braised Chicken is unlicensed, but you can totally bring your own. The service is completely lovely. Just like YOU! Menu


At our best friend's wedding, the groom gave over half his speech to explaining gravity. Thanks, David. But as he'll only be getting married the once, you've missed that chance. Don't miss your other chance. A combo of dance, theatre and science, Loaded is coming to The Old Rep. Its performers use everything from pulleys to planks to explore how bodies and structures learn to bear loads — or fall apart. Expect demonstrations and facts, but plenty of creativity too. Directed by Olivier-nominated Sinéad Rushe, it's on Oct 5 and 6. Tickets are £12.


Cards on the table, Birmingham hasn't always been ace. For those of us who grew up here in the 80s and 90s it wasn't the prettiest of sights. Still, at least the bins got collected. Anyway, back then there was one particularly wonderful put-down that made tolerating the grimness much easier. If a school pal were to ask you for your phone number you'd get started with "Sure, it's 0121..." and they'd jot that down, before you casually drop in "do one" and walk off chuckling. Buy the t-shirt. It's niche, but very real.
  • Heal's and are Brum-bound, with large, physical (as opposed to digital) stores coming to the Mailbox at the end of October
  • Modern Europeanites, Grit, are taking over the reigns, the kitchen and the ever so attractive crockery at the now cruelly defunct Two Cats, from October 17. Dishes from £6 to £18
  • Beer or wine? You decide, with the help of four paired courses at Hampton Manor tomorrow night. The taste battle is £45
  • You may not have gone back to school but a new term has sprung at mac Birmingham and they've got lots of lovely courses for you to get in on the learning action
  • Liam Gallagher sounded heart-filling at Glasto this year. And he's heading Brum-side this December. Tickets for the single date go on sale tomorrow (Friday) at 10am here
"I suppose I do get sad, but not for too long. I just look in the mirror and go, `What a f***ing good-looking f*** you are.` And then I brighten up." — Liam Gallagher
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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Tom CullenAndrew Lowry
IMAGERY: Foot Golf, Ghetto Golf

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