Issue 313
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Remember when you actually left the office for the annual team building sesh? And everyone didn't dash back from weirdly tactile trust exercises to check their inboxes before a thrilling presentation on, oh we don't know, data protection, presumably? We're bringing back away days — the sort you'll actually want to go on. From sessions suitable for two people to 250, read on, then forward to your boss-slash-boss's-amazing-PA.
Where: 200 Degrees, Colmore Row
Capacity: 4 to 25
Price from: From £150 for half-day room hire
What: Did you know 200 Degrees has a downstairs? A downstairs with both a barista school and a meeting room, that seats up to 14, with room for 25 standing. Your team can combine hardcore Excel-style bizness chat punctuated by latte art or coffee tasting. And you're bound to make some sort of revelatory commercial plans given how caffeinated the unlimited coffee and tea — which is included in half and full-day meeting room hire — will make you. Breakfast baps, buffets and cakey sort of options are all available to keep the troops marching. For even more deets, chat to More
Where:, Custard Factory
Capacity: Around 15 is ideal but GA can come to your office if the group is bigger
Price from: £250
What: We know, we know, defacing public property might be a bit of a hard sell when the company's coffers are responsible for that invoice. But unsurprisingly, the lovely lot at have got workarounds involving a criminal count of zero — in fact they explain where the law stands on all things graf, as you're calling it by now, as part of your intro. Come down to their Custard Factory workshop to learn about tags, lettering and filling in, before you all don boiler suits and masks so you can enter into a spray paint-fuelled war. This could involve using lettering that focusses on a keyword relevant to your company and takes place on the walls of GA's graffiti-approved courtyard. At the end of your arty sesh, let the team hook you up with beers at a nearby venue like Birdies. Or Baked In Brick is metres away. More
Where: Ackers Adventure, Small Heath
Capacity: Up to 250
Price from: Around £59pp for a half-day, £99 for a full-day
What: Choose from old school team activities like raft building and problem-solving. Or opt for one of the gazillion outdoorsy happenings available at the 70-acre site, which is less than four miles from town. Skiing, climbing, canoeing, kayaking, archery and tubing are all on the table, with access to meeting rooms of various sizes, projectors, WiFi, free parking and lunch in terms of the corporate box ticks. They've even got flip charts for Brent's sake. More
Where: Staying Cool at the Rotunda
Capacity: Up to 12 seated. Up to 30 standing.
Price from: £399 for venue hire
What: See the city from its best-side, with 1,100 square feet worth of penthouse, floor-to-ceiling windows and a big old balcony. Use the space at the top of the Rotunda for team planning, workshopping or brainstorming with intent before getting in caterers, or some sort of Ents for the fun portion of the day. The team at Staying Cool can stock your private kitchen with drinks and snackage before you arrive or help you to pre-order food or arrange a private chef. Brands like Converse have run showcases in the space, which is ridiculously well located for New Street Station if you've got people travelling for the meet-up. More
Where: Everyman Cinema, The Mailbox
Capacity: Up to 141
Price from: £500 for screen hire, plus £100 minimum spend on food/drink
What: You don't need us to tell you that Everyman's right proper lush. Getting there on work's time and work's dollah? That sounds like something of a dunk and a slam to us. And though there is a trio of screens to pick from, your team should consider for number three, which gets you a dedicated bar and private lobby space. In addition to actually watching a film, there's a stage in the screening room for presentations, awards or whatsoever your team may desire. Everyman has dealt in everything from intimate screenings to full-on catered away days with drinks receptions and red carpets. They have particularly good availability in the mornings. Get chatting with for the skinny. More


Pretty much everybody who’s anybody in British acting shows up in The Personal History of David Copperfield, a crowd-pleasing adaptation of the classic Dickens novel that we all kind of half-remember. No, this isn’t the one with the little boy wanting more or the old woman in a wedding dress – this is the madcap origin story for a character suspiciously close to the real Dickens himself. Dev Patel is spirited in the lead, and Peter Capaldi, Tilda Swinton and Ben Whishaw stand out in the cast of dozens. Who knew director Armando Iannucci, he of the cynical Thick of It and Death of Stalin, had such a crowd-pleaser in him? The weather may be grim and the change in seasons may feel a long way away, but this is one to put a spring in your step. See it at Cineworld at Resorts World. Times


After the most parsimonious of starts to 2020, those two hallowed little words are back: "pop" and "up". For the booking this week? Former Man Behind The Curtain chef, Kray Treadwell, is hosting a series of tasting menu sort of suppers in the JQ. Though the precise menu won't be released until the food is served, what we know is that the eight-diner affair will involve eight courses. Based on previous performance, you'll be lingering over dishes like Cuban chicken thigh, served up with paprika emulsion and burnt sweetcorn (pictured). We're also fairly obsessed with learning more about these cured belly pork tacos but we're all in whatever chef decides. Find Kray at La Mariposa, the soon-to-be restaurant of the Selina hotel, every Monday in Feb. It's £59.98 a spot. Book


Dark, isn't it? And you've got 66 more days until those clocks do their thing and we all get to remember what evenings look like. But rather than dwelling, the Festival of Light is maximising. Opening tomorrow (Jan 24) at 5pm, expect a lorra lorra lights, including Birds Fly Around With You, an interactive sculpture on Rotunda Square that illuminates as you step inside its 360 degrees worth of electric aviary. A few steps away you'll also get to see Neon Angel Wings, a piece created by artist, Carla O'Brien, that's definitely been photographed in more countries than our entire team combined and doubled. It's almost like the organisers were thinking about Instagram when they came up with this whole shebang. Until February 2 and completely free, get yourself to St Martin's Square to spy the other three installations.
Venue: Koba-Ko @ The Juke, 16 York Rd, Kings Heath, B14 7RZ; website
Choice: Agedashi tofu (£6) Chooser: Reader, we ate the whole menu

999: What’s the emergency?
ICB: Yeah hi Janet, me again. I've just eaten the full menu at Koba-Ko and I'm now too heavy for my own knees.

Look, two people shouldn't be eating the entirety of the offering from The Juke's Japanese kitchen residency. Four would make more sense, but sense is something we lack in abundance. We tested chefs Sam and John's skills a year ago and they were good then. Since, they've been on a month-long food tour of Japan, and they're now producing truly fabulous fare almost uniformly across the pared-back, nine-item menu. Firstly the skip-able. The pork neck tonkatsu was a bit on the heavy side and a little too vinegary for our taste. Now then. The rest. At every restaurant in Japan the guys visited they ordered smashed cucumber with plum sauce and sesame (£4). Their take is mercurial in its light, yet sweet hues of red and green. Elsewhere the fried tofu, ginger dashi and pickled shimeji mushrooms (£6, pictured) proved meat just isn't needed to register firmly on the flavour scale when the cooks are this honed. Fish options were sublime with the mackerel (£7) sending one of our number into a high not felt since Glastonbury '98. Sashimi? Good. Grilled artichoke? Really, really good. Ramen (£10)? The best in the city. Made from a secret bouillon of chicken and fish — obviously, the almost as flavoursome veg option isn't — this bowl of rich, deep broth is stockier than a Broad Street bouncer and despite being served last, and with the emergency services on speed dial, was lift-and-slurp-until-gone, good. Until April 26.


Long story short, there's a child in that cycle car. And the father isn't the guy in the saddle. Taking babysitting to anxiety-inducing levels, this is Danny MacAskill and his pal's daughter Daisy out for a light bike ride in Scotland. Danny Daycare — see what he's done there — is one of over 20 short films coming to the Town Hall as part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, in Birmingham on March 21 only. Other highlights (and on a rather more sombre note) include The Imaginary Line, a ten-minuter made during the longest government shutdown in American history, when a team from Mexico and the US assembled to establish a slackline that crosses the border between them. Tickets are £13, with two sessions of different collections of shorts to choose from at 2.30pm and at 7.30pm.
It's a BHX takeover. Some of the most wallet-friendly*, direct, return options a-here:
Challenge a local to chess at the utterly swoon-worthy Szechenyi Baths. Get to Budapest from £65 —, Wizz Air
Castles, palaces and parks are the order of the day in the proper working city that is Warsaw. Get there from £63 — Ryanair, Wizz Air
Land in Dubrovnik for easy access to the southern islands of the Dalmatian Coast. If you don't know where to start, maybe Google Korcula. Get there from £105 —, TUI
Where do you reck the heaviest building in the world is to be found? Bucharest is the correct answer, where the meekly named Palace of Parliament comes in at a scale-busting 4,098,500,000 kg. Fascinating to tour, get there from £85 — Blue Air, Wizz Air
Untouched during the raids of WW2, Krakow's Rynek Główny is a proper good people watching square. The food and drink game in Poland's second city is also well worth delving into. From just £32 — Ryanair,, Wizz Air

*Prices correct as at midday on January 21, 2020

"Get the guitar"

David Brent

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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Tom Cullen
PICTURES: Sam Frank Wood (Koba-Ko) 

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