Issue 210
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BABS, BLINDERS AND BRIBERY: 
A CHAT WITH STEVEN KNIGHT

Last night the second episode of season four of Peaky Blinders aired, and the city of Birmingham lost its collective mind. If you don't know the premise then, frankly, you're beyond help and there's certainly no getting you up to speed. For everyone else, here's an interview with the show's creator and all-round Brummie demigod, Steven Knight, in which we offered him a really rather sizeable bribe. In unrelated news, lend us £50,000?   
From one Brummie to another can we spend the duration of this interview calling you bab?
I'd be disappointed if you didn't.  
You’ve got that Adrien Brody bab in the new season of Peakys. Have you got A-listers knocking down your door to be in the show?
The great thing is that we now hear from agents over in the States — we get a message that so-in-so loves the show and wants to be in it. Now, we don’t want to turn Peakys into Celebrity Spot The Star, but occasionally it works out. And in the case of Adrien, well, we were looking for an American adversary. I’ve always thought Adrien was fantastic and we knew he was willing, so that’s how it happened.
(Adrien Brody plays Luca Changretta) 
How would I go about getting a walk on part in season 5?
Win an Oscar.

I’ve been nominated twice, but no dice. Is season 5 really the last one?
Well I know how the show is going to end. I know the sequence will involve the first air raid siren in Birmingham. But I don’t know yet, for definite, if that’ll be at the end of season 5, because this beast simply will not die. It’s getting bigger and bigger and we aren't saying, categorically, that season 5 is the final one.

And the bigger it gets the more a film beckons, surely?
Yeah, well we’re trying to work out what the best sequence for these things is. We’ll definitely do season 5 next and then possibly do the film, and then possibly carry on. We have lots of options. As long as everybody’s loving it, why not?
Do you think any characters lend themselves to spin-offs?
They do definitely, but whether that means we will do it or not, I don’t know. Normally I wouldn’t entertain the idea of a spin-off, but what seems to have happened is that a world and an outlook and a sensibility seems to have developed. Peakys seems to be an entire world now, so there really is room to explore it.
Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby 
Last time we spoke, bab, you promised us you’d get the King Kong statue back to Brum.
I’m still working on it! I’m working on getting this [film] studio developed in the region…

How’s that going?
We’re getting there. It’s been a slow process but the slow bits are hopefully done. I’ve got a big meeting on Friday actually to talk about the next stage. And it’s looking very, very good. Now if we get the go-ahead, we will get him out of his predicament, and to the studio.

Where would you put him? Right out the front?
Yeah, or why not right on top of it? Surrounded by planes!

Where’s the studio going to be?
I can’t say I’m afraid.

What if we give you £50,000 in unmarked, non-sequential bills?
Then the studio will be in your back garden, sir! You can find out very easily where it'll be, but it can’t come from me. It’s in an obvious place.
What do you make of people grabbing the show and running with it. Have you tried the Peaky Blinders beer by Sadlers Ales, for example?
I’ve tried that, it’s lovely. I was sent a case of it. It’s not just in Brum either. People are embracing the show all over the world. It’s bizarre but very flattering.

There’s street art and printed art work now, have you seen that?
I have and I think it’s incredible. The street art is amazing. The people having tattoos done — that’s fantastic — you see trucks and vans with Tommy on it and all sorts.

Have you helped to make Birmingham cool?
I think Birmingham is cool and if I’ve helped alert people to that fact then that’s no bad thing. Our collective problem has been that we’ve allowed other cities to bang their drum and give themselves an image and a place in the global concept of what England is. And in Brum, because we are quite self-deprecating — we don’t do it and we need to start. We need our place as the second city to be confirmed and we need to earn it. All we have to do is make more noise.

Right I better let you go. Thanks for promising me a role in season 5. 
Is that what happened?

Yeah, for sure. My people will call your people, bab.
Okay.

Peaky Blinders, Wednesday, 6pm BBC2. Now available on 'Catch Up' with Seasons One and Two on Netflix   

APRES SKI. MINUS THE FLIGHT.


One of the best things about skiing is apres ski. Its less good traits include a. cost; b. injury potential; and c. cost again. Get the apres without the (a)-(c) at The Old Crown over three weekends in December. Think wooden ski lodge, fur-lined benches, piste maps, lanterns and falling snow (apparently). And drink mulled wine, spiced cider, mugs of proper hot chocolate, cocktails and obligatory ill-advised Schnapps. The Bournville Waffle Company are a permanent feature, while other rotating street food traders are on cold-weather feasting like raclette, and hot dogs have their own menu. Individual tickets are £12.50 and include reserved seating in the lodge, plus live musicalness. Groups of five or more can opt for fondue and waffle inclusive tix (£22.50), so probably get calendarising.
 

FILM PICK: BATTLE OF THE SEXES


Over 90 million people watched Billie Jean King's hugely hyped match against former tennis star Bobby Riggs. The "Battle of the Sexes" came off the back of debate over the lack of equal pay in tennis, and Riggs, by now 55, being a chauvinistic arse. In a film depiction which is as much about the personal struggles of the pair as the final match, Steve Carell makes a compelling Riggs, who you hate yourself a little bit for secretly quite liking. And there's probably a whole text that could be scribed on his seventies tracksuit game. Strong, vulnerable and strong all over again, so believable and watchable is Emma Stone as King that by the film's set-piece ending, your emotional investment in her is total. Also contains a squealing piglet. Times & trailer

MY DAD WROTE A PORNO...

...Okay, he didn't. Though side note: he does cultivate mushrooms of questionable legality. But we digress — a chap called Jamie Morton's Dad actually did write a porno, it became a podcast of more than 100 million downloads, in which Morton reads a chapter of the text each week, and the rest is history. Except it really isn't. Along with best buds James Cooper and Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine, Jamie will read the 'lost chapter' from the Belinda Blinked saga, and he's doing so live at the Symphony Hall, which seems excellently incongruous to us. The original podcast began when, at a family birthday, Morton's father presented him with chapters of a rather particular novel he'd been penning under the name Rocky Flintstone (in his garden shed Mrs Morton wouldn't allow porn to be created in the house). Levine then had the cazillion dollar idea of turning Belinda Blumenthal's tales into a podcast. Easy. If you're as swift as a gazelle, tickets for the live show on April 25 are available on pre-sale here. And then on general release from 10am here.
Venue: The Botanist, 14-16 Temple Street, B2 5BG; Website
Choice: Gambas Pil Pil (£7.50) Chooser: Waitress

There's roughly 79 'dessert only' restaurants in Birmingham and we've been inside exactly none of them. While we're not dead against dessert, it quite regularly finishes fourth in our top three courses list. And so enamoured are we with starters that we rather boldly
announced our intention to launch a 'starters only' chain of venues across Brum. Until that happens (earmarked for 2052 if you're lucky) it might be worth popping over to the Botanist where the entrees were so good that we're now using them as a 100% unofficial tapas menu. MVP was the pil pil gambas — big prawny dudes cooked in chilli, garlic and olive oil. It's unheard of that enough bread has ever been brought to an I Choose Birmingham table on the first time of asking and so wintry and wondrous was this sauce that we were ordering a restock barely halfway through the first basket. The calamari (£6.75) also found itself being dunked deep into this fab elixir, while the gambas that wallowed in its encapsulating warmth were plump, fresh and Frankfurt Market avoidingly filling. If you insist on mains then opt for the pork belly kebab, but a safari through the seafoody starters — the smoked haddock fondue (£6.95) was wicked n'all — is where it's at. Menu
 
A chance at £500 of Resorts World vouchers tickling your fancy? Subscribe to
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Greg Sestero's coming to MAC on December 18. Tickets go on sale here at 10am today. Being Thursday — because you open every issue the day it hits your inbox, right?
Get inside Perry Barr's Canterbury Police Station before it's sold. For one day
only — tomorrow. The deets.
The Village is going full Harry Potter, turning itself into The Great Hall for three courses of feasting on December 5. Tickets are £30.

Here's a picture of when we went axe-throwing. Sign-up for Whistle Punks' axe-throwing league, starting January 17.


"Who's gonna stop us, eh? Nobody."


Arthur Shelby, Peaky Blinders
 


 
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WORDS: Tom CullenKaty Drohan
IMAGES: Klein Borrill (My Dad Wrote a Porno)


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