Issue 248
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Like a titanic-sized tin opener Birmingham Heritage Week pulls into harbour today with the sole purpose of cracking open your city. There's 100+ walks, talks, workshops and events on offer and here's just a handful that we'll fight you to the death for a place at. DON'T TEST THAT CLAIM! 


Christopher Columbus may have discovered the Americas, but we've discovered the Museums Collection Centre, so we'll call it even. The 1.5 hectare site contains over a million items that aren't on display at any of Birmingham Museum Trusts eight public venues right now. From fire engines to the first payphone used in Birmingham to the skeleton of a zebu, the MCC's almost as cool as Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and unlike anywhere else we've been, has a similar vibe. Get into the marrow of this trove on September 13, with a cocktail from Tamdhu Whisky and a live New Orleans-style brass band. Tickets are £12. Or stop by in the day on September 16 when the venue will be open to one and all, free of charge. 


Join Brum illustrator Milan Topalovic for a 2.5 hour sketching sesh. Start at the National Trust's Roundhouse before taking to the towpaths and waterways of B-Town's canals with the help of a heritage narrowboat. Tickets are £12. 


That's House of Fraser, and like so much of modernist Brum, who knows what's going to happen to it? Go and see what post-war optimism created in the city's retail sector while you still can. Meet at the back-a-Rackhams. Tickets (£5)


Plans for lunch next Tuesday? George Shaw was a Brum chemist who is said to have produced the first ever photograph. Bring your camera or just your mobile for a free 1pm walk and shutterbug tour starting at Victoria Square, using the CBD as your set and Shaw as inspiration. Register


A rare chance to get inside the JQ's new Assay Office, find out how the institution has stayed relevant since it started testing and hallmarking silver in 1773 through ten objects from its collection. Tix are £15, which also gets you a look at Brum's private silver stash. 


That Hampton Manor doesn't do things by halves, if it did it would just be called Hampto and that's a terrible name for a manor in Hampton. Case in point, Anarchy and Beauty, their new cocktail menu. Inspired by William Morris (a nineteenth century design dude who was a member of the Birmingham Set) it's the best-looking drinks list we've seen in years. Page after pretty page is packed with cocktails that are landing creator, bar manager, and probable wizard Loic Cretel, awards. Just back from representing the UK in Copperhead's Alchemist Experience world cocktail finals, the drink that got Loic there is Natural Harmony, a delicate balance of savoury and sweet, including beetroot, jam, tonka (the bean, not the toy), kombucha and Copperhead Gin. The drink is an ode to Morris' belief in the harmony of nature. Try it along with the rest of the pretties in Fred’s Bar, Tuesdays to Saturdays from 4pm. Tables by reservation only, with optional grazing boards. Call 01775 446 080 to book.


This is the fourth spin-off from The Conjuring — not a bad innings for this cheap ‘n’ cheerful, no-fuss franchise. This time around, we're in Fifties Romania for some spooky goings-on in a convent as the scary nun from The Conjuring 2 gets her own origin story. History fans will be disappointed to hear there’s little examination of the newly minted Communist regime, but horror fans will be in their element as director Corin Hardy rolls out every religious horror cliché with the kind of affection only a true genre head could muster. At this point, you know what you’re in for: this isn’t much fancier than someone creeping up behind you and yelling ‘boo,’ but there’s no denying it’s effective, and likable in its no-frills commitment to giving you a scare every ten minutes. Times & trailer


Level 2 on the recorder. Played a solo at the Four Oaks Infants Christmas show, if you're asking. That's the sum of our musical talent and nobody can take that away. Anna Meredith, on the other hand, is one of those people who can pick up any fluffing instrument, be it a recorder or a Celtic harp (probably), and just play it. Her cross-genre musical abilities are heading Town Hall-ward and those that know about her will presumably already have tickets. More of an experience than a gig, more of a ride than a performance, it's a challenging, jaw-dropping spectacle of venue-shaking talent. But what do we know? That recorder has been picking up dust since 1994. Anna's in Brum October 5, which is a Friday so you can make a night of it. Gins? Tickets are £20.50. Vids and deets
Venue: Asia Asia Food Hall, 10 Pershore Street, B5 4RX; Website
Choice: We'll have to get back to you when we've tried it ALL

So good they named it twice, Asia Asia Food Hall is — in the most conventional of turns — an Asian Food Hall. Across two floors, choose from Cantonese, Thai, Japanese and even food from the Uyghur region of China — the western, Muslim part. Or much better idea: don't choose, take a crew, and order from all the independent traders, eating together on the communal tables. We got slurpy over Sakumen's pork and prawn wontons in soup (£7.80), while we sent our +1 off to navigate the Asian beer bar. On top of the names you've already tried, happy, hoppy Snow was the surprising pick, not by us, but rather, the whole world — it turns out it's been the best selling beer globally since 2008. Via duck rice (£7) from
Phat Duck and lamb skewers (£4) from Afandim, our biggest hit thwacked us respectfully in the mouth and continued to do so until our final bite. Bangkok Cafe's pad kaprow (£7.50) is a right-amount-spicy stir fry with holy basil and the crispiest of fried eggs. It's the best Thai street food we've tried in the region and the closest we've got to what Thailand actually tastes like. But whatever you fancy, from teppanyaki to a matcha macaron, go and support this unexpected innovation on the Brum foodscape. Take cash to load up the card you order with. And the best advice we were given: do a full circuit before you order anything. Cheshire Cat sort of stuff.
We spent every Wednesday of the 90s in Stirchley Bowl, (£1 a game, £1 a beer) and were chapfallen to see it shutdown. That said, when you start shooting adult movies in a ten-pin facility, your time's well and truly up. Anyway, the point we're making is that we're purists. We liked ten pin back when you had to score with paper and pencil, so we were somewhat hurt in the heart when we walked into Lane7 (which looks every bit as cool as its Allstar Lanes equivalents in London) to see that the pins come attached to strings. This will mean exactly nothing to 85% of guests, but we're not buying the theory that the strings don't interfere with the physics of a pin hit by a 22mph ball. That aside, this is easily the city's most exciting bowling facility, with perfectly polished lanes and balls that — and we didn't know this was possible — don't have great hunks missing from the surface. There's beer pong, shuffleboarding, karaoke, very good service and a real energised buzz about the place. And after four rhubarb gins, you're not hitting any pins anyway, strings attached or not.
Urban's JQ gaff's got a Greek night coming up. Get oodles of mezze, dips, pud and proper Turkish coffee for £24.95. It's on a Friday so... insert witty comment about raki [here].
Tickets for Fatboy Slim's single Birmingham date, on February 19 2019, go on sale at 10am tomorrow (Friday). Get 'em here, then.
Kings Heath Street Festival is this Sunday from 12pm until 8pm. Dim Sum Su, Circus Mash and free entry are three reasons it looks like a little bit fab-o.
Watch Sideways and drink wine. You *can* do it at home, but you'll like it more at The Electric with wine whizz Tony Elvin guiding you through the pairings. On September 23, tickets from £24.
Wingmans chicken wing wonder makers are at TAPS — a festival of beer and street food — on September 21 & 22. For that reason alone, buy a ticket.

Indiana Jones: "He's got a two day head start on you, which is more than he needs. Brody's got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan, he speaks a dozen languages, knows every local custom, he'll blend in, disappear, you'll never see him again. With any luck, he's got the grail already." 

[Cut to the middle of a market somewhere in the Middle East, Marcus Brody wearing bright suit and white hat, looks totally lost]

Brody: "Uhhh, does anyone here speak English?”
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

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WORDS: Tom CullenKaty Drohan, Andrew Lowry
RESEARCH: Amanda Chan

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