(Issue 162)
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Admit it, 2016 has gone on for so long it feels like Peter Jackson directed it. Next year, we promise, will sail by and you can mark each of the 365 days of guaranteed* bliss with a calendar forged by one of Brum's very bestest photographical types.
(*This is not a guarantee)
Verity Milligan (£12.50 with p&p)
As likely to be found shrouded in Snowdon fog as workshopping burgeoning shutterbugs in central Brum, Verity's made an impactful impact on the Midlands' snapping scene over the last half decade. Get The Beauty of Birmingham for mighty fine landscapes of the urban persuasion, and the right amount of bluebell action thrown in at the appropriate season. Buy it at BMAG's Great Western Arcade pop-up, or right here.
Ross Jukes (£14.50 with p&p)
Ticking off autumn with this leafy kaleidoscope of pretty (pictured) the first run of Ross's calendar had sold out entirely before we even reached December. But after striving to find a printer with which he was happy, another order is winging its way to Brummingham in time for Chrimbo and you can get one for keepsies right here. It's worth it for the silly good sunrises and sunsets alone, with August standing out in the stunning stakes.
Owen de Visser (£12.99 with p&p)
Highly commended in BrandBrum's recent photographer of the year competition, Owen decided to go full-time with image capturing three years ago and is Cheshire Cat content by the move. He's got winter more wrapped up than that coat-clad cold girl in your office, with his frosty look at Cannon Hill Park (see top), and Centenary Square in its full twinkly regalia above. Owen's calendar is stocked at A Painted Room, mac Birmingham and also available online.


"In 1982 I was aboard the Sir Galahad when it was destroyed at Bluff Cove in the Falklands Islands. I suffered 46% burns to my body and went on to have numerous operations. However, I was one of the lucky ones. I survived." Much more than survive, 70 surgical procedures later, Simon Weston CBE has gone on to do remarkable amounts with, and for, charities. From a proudly working-class Welsh town, he's also used his experiences to build up a huge rep for public speaking. The awe-instilling Welsh Guardsmen recounts his struggles and successes to motivate and encourage those, who like him, have got waves still to make in this phenomenon which is life. Simon's at The Bramall on January 26. Tickets


It’s that time of year again — and one of the more welcome festive happenings is the annual wheeling-out of this particular classic. Does it deserve its perennial status? You betcha – people returning to It’s A Wonderful Life after a few years are regularly taken aback at how hard-edged and cruel it is, with the closing scene’s flight of emotion lasting seconds and still somehow providing absolute catharsis. You know what it’s about, you know who’s in it — this is your chance to see it on the big screen, without distraction and with a hushed audience, which will drive home the feels even more. And everybody needs to top up their Jimmy Stewart impression, right? Times & trailer
Venue: Peels, Hampton Manor, Hampton-In-Arden, B92 0EN; website
Choice: Wagyu beef brisket (£60, part of tasting) Chooser: James Hill

It takes a minimum of five days to prepare the wagyu beef brisket — three days of brining, followed by a barbecue charring, two days in a 60°C bath, a crucial caramelising moment in a pan, then the Suffolk reared, marbley goodness is brushed with soy butter. That's at least 120 hours of nurture for one element, of one dish. Peels received a Michelin star this year, and it's really rather easy to see why. From the kitchen's clever beetroot and goat's cheese beginnings to the moment we drank the sauce accompanying the mallard main direct from the jug, this is a menu of hits, with no patience for misses. And despite its location at the end of a winding drive behind a classical facade, drinking sauce from a jug is entirely acceptable — encouraged in fact. For this is not a manor house of yesteryear but a beautiful boutique hotel fifteen minutes on the train from Brum, with a young husband-wife team surely in some way endorsed by Duracell, working continually to ensure that Hampton Manor — and its dining room — is synonymous with a good time in real life, as well as on paper in a guide. Menus


Getting more than you paid for. It's a pretty difficult to argue with kinda deal. And if you've got £40 to part with over the next few weekends, TOPSHOP and TOPMAN's Bullring behemoth's got kickbacks including illustrations, beauty treatments, denim tattooing and barbershop services that are yours for the comp'ing. This weekend, receive personalised piccies on your shopping, on card — or in bauble form — all penned by the rudely talented Miss Magpie. Next weekend's about getting Chrimbo party ready, with express manicures or lip applications for the top shoppers, and Kings Heath's Black Market Barber trims for the top men. Details/T&C: TOPMAN; TOPSHOP


For all those occasions when opening the fridge door seems like too much bother, Roger Hiorn's latest exhibition — which launched at Ikon last night — has a solution. Centring around the transformation of materials and found objects, this actually isn't a functional fridge you can purchase. And we really want to put our hand in it too. From the Brummie who plans to bury a Boeing 737, on pre-ordained afternoons throughout the exhibition, art will be made flesh, with a naked man moving through the second floor gallery. Continues until March 5. More


We ain't never seen an elephant fly. But we've seen one float. An exhibition by newly-formed artist collective Bermuda, Alcoholism 1965 begins an ongoing project which transposes themes and graphic elements of 1960s and 70s Pelican Books onto the landscape of contemporary Brum. In case you've mislaid your collection, Pelican deals in short texts that aim to capture social systems of the moment, and were integral in bringing mid-20th century knowledge and ideas to the masses. Taking its inspiration from the Pelican title of the same year and name, the centre piece of the new exhibition is the pink elephant made famous by the front cover — transformed into a giant raft — which recently took its maiden voyage on the Grand Union canal (pictured). The waterway is a significant location, as it's along these canals that the collective has observed many alcoholics seeking refuge from society. At Birmingham School of Art until December 20, the ideas within the exhibition are explored further, through various works including a book and a series of limited-edition prints and postcards. More
  • Miss Moneypenny's is back. And being as 90s home Bonds nightclub is now a wasteland, they've upgraded to the Symphony Hall. Expect significantly more classical music than you remember. Details
  • Papercraft workshops are occurring at Stirchley Baths on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. From 3.30pm to 6.30pm, origami your way to baubles, cards and lanterns. It's free
  • The Bierkeller Birmingham opens tomorrow. No guesses and no prizes for identifying their specialism
  • Carol at The Coffin Works this Saturday. Performances are at 5pm and 6.15pm with a licensed bar to keep you mulled and minced
  • We love The Destroyers. Love them too at Glee on December 21. It's £11.25, and if it doesn't make you ecstatically enthused with life, you'll get your money back (you won't)
"All you can take with you is that which you've given away" 
- Pa Bailey, It's a Wonderful Life
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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry
IMAGERY: Fridge, youth (Courtesy the artist and De Hallen Haarlem © Roger Hiorns. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2016); Fjona Hill (Peels, Hampton Manor)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Alcoholism 1965 was produced with support and input from Rope Press, Frederick Hubble, and Vik Chandla

I Choose Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA
Copyright © 2016 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.

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