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Today, no doubt you're aware, is a very special day... Yes, indeed, the second season of House Of Cards lands on Netflix and if you haven't seen the first then you won't understand the stirring love affair that Kevin Spacey's character, Frank Underwood (below), has with barbecued ribs.

I share that love, however, unlike Frank who has his ribs exclusively for breakfast, I prefer mine at night. Hence, I was more than a little drawn to Birmingham's new foody venture: Rib Nights.  
The concept is simple. Two barbecue specialists, from anywhere in the UK, are invited to go head-to-head and cook for dozens of diners at the The Church, in the Jewellery Quarter. Guests are presented with three or four ribs from both chefs, some fries, corn bread, slaw and a pickleback. Without knowing who cooked which, you vote - ribs A, or ribs B. And a winner is crowned.

Some 85 tickets for Round 2, which took place on Sunday, sold out within 24 hours and, when 10 more seats were put on sale at 7am, days before the event, there was only one ticket left by 12 seconds (not minutes - seconds) past 7. I know because I bought it. 
The food is absolutely incredible. Loughborough-based Miss Piggy's BBQ (current UK and European Barbecue Association champs) deservedly picked up the Round 2 award and, without putting too fine a point on it, served the best ribs I've ever eaten. Smoky as hell the meat hurled itself off the bone like a Premier League player looking for a penalty. 

The atmosphere? Well, it's wonderful. Banquet-style tables mean you strike up chatter with those you sit next to, while Rib Nights founder, Ahmed Kage, makes for a brilliantly impassioned host. Oh and the magician, Gavin Parsons, is horribly good. Steer well clear of his witchcraft.   
Tickets for the third round - which is on Sunday April 13 and will, for the first time, consist of an afternoon and an evening seating - are on sale now and are destined to sell out. They cost £20. The Church's resident food team Soul Food Project will be taking on multi-award winning Swindon-based Bunch Of Swines. The only excuse I will possibly accept for not trying to get tickets is vegetarianism. Buy them here.


It doesn't get much easier than this. To be in with a chance of winning six tickets to The Giant Screen at Millennium Point, all you have to do is 'like' our Facebook page. Just click here, then click 'like'. If you win, why not take 5 friends to The Lego Movie which, God help us, we genuinely can't wait to see? The Giant Screen is the largest independent cinema screen in the UK - a 72 ft by 41 ft monster. That's some big Lego. (If you already 'like' our page you're already in the draw. Tickets must be used by March 31. Other terms and conditions apply.) 


Following the success of their Eve Arnold exhibition of Marilyn Monroe imagery, a new collection of iconic photographs of the model and actress are on display at Castle Fine Art, in the ICC. The images are from the collection of Edward Weston who built his portfolio over five decades and the snaps follow Marilyn through her career, from her beginnings as a model in 1948, to her final photo shoot in 1962. The collection includes shots taken on Tobay Beach, New York, by Andre De Dienes, like the one pictured. See a gallery of shots, here.
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Phew... Got through the whole thing without a single mention of Valentine's Day. 
Photography: Jack Spicer Adams
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