(Issue 148)
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Running from September 8 to 18, Birmingham Heritage Week is — on no measure we understand — a week in length. But we'll forgive the lackadaisical title in view of the 200+ events which have required the extension to all the culturally culturedness. Our pick of those experiences you can still get a place at forms this week's cherry on top of your Birmingham sundae.
What? Flying Scotsman at Tyseley When? September 16 to 18; various times
Crawl through the tender corridor of the Flying Scotsman, which was completed in 1923 and named after the London to Edinburgh train service, which started daily in 1862. Now paying a three day visit to the Tyseley Locomotive Works, the centre's own collection of locomotives will also be in steam and on display, giving shuttle rides, turntable demonstrations and a locomotive cavalcade (a procession kinda vibe, but with trains). There'll be plenty of refreshers, plus the chance to get a cream tea aboard the Pullman (£35, on Friday, and you'll need to act rapidly). More
What? Zero Carbon House When? September 10; 11am - 4pm
Fancy a nosy round a private family home? Us too, and this particular Balsall Heath dwelling happens to be the UK’s first and only retrofit house to ‘zero carbon’ standard, so your entry is all totally above board. Generating all its own renewable energy, using no CO2-generating fossil fuels, the construct has won multiple design awards including a RIBA Architecture Award and Civic Trust Commendation. View the house and garden, a display of the building materials and technologies used, as well as architect’s drawings and that sorta thing. Talks throughout the day. More
What? Get into Stirchley Baths When? September 11; 11am - 4pm
After 25 years of neglect, this grade II listed former Edwardian swimming pool and wash house has been drained and boarded over, creating a community space which preserves a number of original features. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to go below ground into the pool’s deep end and tunnel system, in small groups, running every 30 minutes. There'll also be an exhibition on local history, activities and an organic veggie cafe on sustenance. Minutes from Bournville station. More
What? The Birmingham Oratory When? September 8 to 10; 1pm & 2.15pm
Fun facts about The Birmingham Oratory: 1. J.R.R. Tolkien was a parishioner there for nine(ish) years; 2. The church was built around 1910, replacing the original structure – a simple barn-like church with a roof transferred from an abandoned factory; and 3. The Baroque style structure is known as ‘Little Rome in Birmingham'. Join a guided tour and make the tour guide feel really uncomfortable by recounting these whimsical nuggets. More
What? Birmingham's gunmaking heritage When? September 11 to 18
A week-long look at the gunmaking industry taking place at The Gunmakers' Arms (see what they did there?) — production thrived in Brum from the seventeenth century and contributed hugely to the advance of precision manufacturing nationally and internationally. There'll be an exhibition all week, with a talk from academic, Professor David Williams, about why Birmingham dominated the industry on Wednesday 14, and an up-to-date look at the picture now from bespoke shotgun manufacturer, Steve Horton on Thursday 15. Much more


Parts of this animated comedy have to be seen to be believed – a shame, then, that it’s not quite as clever as it thinks it is. Seth Rogen co-writes and stars as a sausage named, of course, Frank, a key player in a Toy Story-esque world of sentient supermarket foods, convinced that being bought sends them not into a stew but into a nirvana-style afterlife. Once Frank picks up that this may not be the case, he, and a few friends, embark on a quest to escape. This is frequently very funny, but the sweary comedy has been done better by South Park, and the crazily meta climax is a tad irritating. Times


A film installation, dialogue and an original score composed in a hut alongside a Norwegian Fjord may not be your average Saturday night out, but the CBSO is hardly your average orchestra. Collaborating with The Rep for the world première of Cold Calling: The Arctic Project, a 20-piece chamber orchestra will perform alongside actors, against the backdrop of other worldly cinematic Arctic landscapes in an exploration of loss and loneliness and love. Hugs all round for afters. Sept 16 & 17, tickets are from £25.


Observation Deck remains an incomplete artwork until the audience joins in. Closing on September 11, lie on a horizontal platform and slide partially out the window of the Ikon Gallery, playing with that instinctive sense of vulnerability which comes from suspending the usual senses. Observation Deck was exhibited for the first time at MoMA PS1 in New York nearly 20 years ago, and has had a number of iterations since. Ikon offers the only currently installed version of the work in the world — all of it. More


You're more likely to recognise Foka Wolf from some of the legally questionable paste-ups that have been appearing across the city over the last few weeks than from his alternative take on the city's skyline. Penned whilst completing a uni course in visual communication at BCU, the artist and illustrator took a break from street art after finishing his studies and only recently got round to presenting the substantial body of work he's created. "I make it, then sometimes completely forget about it", he says, "I'm really restless and am always thinking about the next thing". Which essentially sounds likely to be a mixture of 3D modelling, furniture doodling, cap design and vintage porno illustration. Naturally. Get a limited edition print of this menagerie of a cityscape on your wall for £30 right here.
Venue: Bardolino, Level 6 at The Cube, B1 1RN; website
Choice: The Italian Job (£11) Chooser: Waiter

The good: the airy, attractive interior at Bardolino replaces a bizarre cafe that wasn't at all sure what it was. The service is on the right side of friendly, given the laid back all day atmosphere of this newbie. And the pricing? Well it's about as affordable as it gets when it comes to new ventures — pizzas start at £7.50, with the most expensive hitting £9. The wine too is refreshingly affordable and simultaneously quaffable. The less good: given that Bardolino holds itself out as, primarily, a pizzeria, we were expecting more from the central offering. A little dry and lacking in any flavour bold enough to hold the attention throughout the 360 degrees of dough, we favoured the simple sharing starter - The Italian Job - which includes authentically authentic Italian cured meats, sun blushed tomatoes and perfect mozarella. Simple platters are an easy win for kitchens but about as balls out as it gets when it comes to showcasing ingredients. Executed staggeringly poorly so often, the team have evidently got their sourcing down with this moreish combo. Menu
  • It's Reggae Caribbean Cookout Sunday at the Coffin Works. From 12pm, 876 Street Food is manning the jerk pan. More
  • Millennium Point is geeking out with a day of comic themed occurrences. From 10am until 4pm on September 3
  • The full schedule for Birmingham Literature Festival has been told. Running Oct 2 to 8, we fancy Secret Storytelling
  • Following a summer 2015 residency, Grand Union & Millennium Point are hosting a solo exhibition of new work by Mitra Saboury, the artist's first outside the U.S. From September 2
  • Bibendum Wines are hosting a weekly wine club at Bar Opus from Sept 6. Learn about five wines, over an hour. Classes are £10.
"Little by little, one travels far." - J.R.R. Tolkien
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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew LowryTom Cullen

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