Area Culture Guide April 2012
Welcome to the April edition of Area Culture Guide - a snappy little A6 pocket guide to tell you what is happening in the West Midlands Region of the UK.
Editors: David O’Coy & Kerry Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org | @davefused email@example.com | @kerryfused Writers: Alex Taylor-Beal, Jon Bounds, Ross Cotton, James Drakeford, Charlotte Dudson, Lee Hall, Sarah Ollington, Kaye Patrick, Jonathan Price, Annika Ranga, April Shacklock, Danny Smith, Danann Swanton Front Cover: Stina Jones http://stinajones.co.uk / @stina_jones Content Image: Martin Pickard ADVERTISING The Culture Guide is monthly and Adverts cost just £165 for a page (£85 for a half page). To book call 0121 442 6663 today for early bird offers or email kerry@fusedmagazine. com. Full rates can be found at areacultureguide.co.uk. Our next edition is the OLYMPIC VISITOR issue. AREA Culture Guide tel: 0121 442 6663 www.areacultureguide.co.uk www.fusedmagazine.com @areaguide / @fusedmagazine Facebook.com/fusedmag This guide is a Fused production DISCLAIMER Reproduction of all editorial/images in any form is strictly prohibited without prior permission. We cannot be held responsible for breach of copyright arising from any material supplied. While we aim to make sure all listings are correct we can not be held responsible for any incorrect entries. Readers should check venues before arrival. Views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily the publishers. This is a Fused Publication © Fused 2012 © Area Culture Guide 2012. 03 ART 04 48SHEET Various Venues throughout Birmingham www.48street.com 2 – 22 April Birmingham based art organisation, EC-Arts, is back with its latest project aimed at challenging the perceptions of built up spaces by turning the everyday into the extraordinary. 48Sheet will seek to redefine the notion of advertising throughout Birmingham’s bustling landscape, by turning its plethora of billboards into urban canvas’s, allowing numerous world renown artists to challenge the theme of ‘cultural curiosity.’ The project promises to be a visual spectacle of contemporary art in unconventional spaces, bringing art out of the galleries and to the masses. Artists involved in 48Sheet include renowned conceptual artists Xu Zhen of Shanghai, the MadeIn Collective and New Delhi’s art collective Raqs Media. International artists Madeln Company (Shanghai) and Raqs Media Collective (Delhi), famous for their innovative and inspiring artwork, have been selected to create new work for 45 billboards by the Fourth Guangzhou Triennial Co-Curators and 48Sheet project partners Jonathan Watkins, Director of the Ikon Gallery and Dr Jiang Jiehong, Director of Centre for Chinese Visual Arts, and Birmingham Institute of Art & Design. Supported by The Arts Council England and sponsored by JCDecaux along with NEC Graph Fix, 2012’s 48Sheet follows a successful pilot scheme of the same name that took place in 2010. The billboards in the project have been specifically chosen to create ‘clusters’ of advertising free areas, which will be accompanied by an online map, GPS Google mapping and a printed version that can be used to navigate the works of art on display. With this years event guaranteed to be bigger and better, drawing in a host of international talent and turning Birmingham’s billboards into an urban gallery, 48Sheet promises to be an inspirational project that redefines the concept of conventional art. LH 05 ART 06 ALLOTMENT mac Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH www.macarts.co.uk / @mac_birmingham Until 9 September Far from being the favourite pastime of British granddads, of which Alan Titchmarsh is the poster boy, the ALLOTMENT project is a new initiative from mac designed to cultivate diverse, young artistic talent of all guises and help them flourish. mac’s arena gallery has been split into ten segments of ‘Plots’ with eight of the plots being given to Birmingham based curators and artistic groups to cultivate as they choose over the coming months. The final two ‘plot holders’ were left to an open call and announced at a celebratory event that took place in March, which included a temporary shed serving soup in Milk, Two Sugars cups courtesy of ‘plot one’ holders Trove, ensuring attendees left with their own little piece of art. One of the final plots was awarded to textile designer, lecturer and curator Helen Foot from Shropshire. With her own design company and extensive experience Helen’s work has introduced her to some of the brightest up and coming talent from around the country, with each helping Helen bring a mixture of colour and contemporary style to her plot. The last plot was awarded to a collection of Birmingham artists, who joined with artists from Bordeaux. They will develop the plot under the collaborative name Dialogue, building on a four year relationship with mac. Other plots of interest include plot 5 run by the mac staff and featuring a recreated library from 1974 (the opening year of the Central Library), where visitors can sit and delve into the selection of books. The plot is dedicated to the memory of Birmingham born library architect, John Madin, who passed away recently. With ten plots, a wealth of talent and constantly changing artistic landscape, the coming months are sure to see a ripe harvest of creative expressionism at its best. LH 07 ART STINA JONES http://stinajones.co.uk / @stina_ jones Freelance graphic designer and illustrator Stina Jones is the face behind some very familiar work across Birmingham. From a piece depicting Gilbert & Sullivan in The Victoria pub (John Bright St) to work further afield with HTC mobiles, Stina is a non-stop creative who is always seeking out new projects. Stina often describes her work as “cute, fun and a little bit strange”, something that definitely sums up her work. “I always knew I wanted a career in doing something creative”, says Stina. “There’s a lot of influences in my work. I’d say the surrealist movement and pop culture has had the biggest influence.” Stina has now illustrated for three of the Bitters & Twisted venues across Birmingham, with her illustration in The Victoria kick starting the relationship with these familiar Birmingham hangouts. “The interior design firm who were refurbishing The Victoria got in touch via Twitter after seeing my Daily Doodle 08 project [a project that saw Stina create 365 doodles, raising nearly £800 and counting for the charity Shelter in 2010]”, she says. “They asked if I was available to create a black and white illustration of the composers Gilbert & Sullivan for a last minute fitting next to the bar. The illustration was well received and led to me being hired again by the firm to create one off pieces for both The Island Bar (Suffolk Street Queensway) and The Rose Villa Tavern (Warstone Lane).” Stina also set up her own design agency Creative Elements in 2007, which provides digital design, web development, print design and illustration services to creative industries across the world. “I set the agency up after finding myself out of work and struggling to find any relevant positions locally”, she says. “I’d started freelancing to fill the employment gap and found the response to be very positive. So the natural progression was to set up the agency, with an aim in bringing more freelancers on board, complimenting skill sets and offering a more comprehensive range of services to our clients. We’ve been involved with some fantastic projects throughout the years and look forward to seeing what the next few years hold”, she concludes. RC 09 ART STYLE AFRICA Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Chamberlain Square, Birmingham www.bmag.org.uk Until 2 September, 2012. The Style Africa exhibition will explore the rich textile designs of Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, painting a beautiful picture of West African fashion. African clothing is renowned worldwide for its colourful fabrics and unique designs. In African fashion trends may change, but the use of traditional materials always remains. Earlier this year the Friends of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery supported the acquisition of 26 textiles from West Africa, in addition to two modern updates of traditional designs created in Holland. This free exhibition explores the changing traditions of woven, embroidered, printed and dyed clothing and textiles, and focuses on textiles produced from the early twentieth century up to 2011. The curators from the museum have joined forces with young people to create new ways to present the collection, with a modern Birmingham twist. The exhibition, a collaboration by BMAG, the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) at Birmingham City University and Craftspace, promises to be a truly unique experience for those with a passion for fashion! CD 010 ART LOMOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS Throughout April What better way to explore an area than through a camera lens? Lomography have been hanging out in Birmingham for the past three months where, along with selling some pretty stylish cameras in their Selfridges Pop Up (Bullring) they have also been hosting a series of workshops to help you get accustomed to the analogue cameras themselves. So we recommend you grab your camera, or borrow one if you don’t have your own, and join a group. You’ll come away with some great lomo tips, a new view of Birmingham and the West Midlands and, if you’re luck, some new friends! April 7, 1.30pm Canal Boat Picnic Food? Canal Boats? Sun (hopefully)! Take a stroll to Bragg-worthy Birmingham Brindleyplace and explore the Birmingham canals. Stops along the way are the historic St Martin’s church and Victoria Square; and don’t worry if the weather takes a turn for the worst; friends at the Ikon Gallery are just a stones throw away! Tickets are £10 and include a short presentation, a lend-a-camera, 2 rolls of film plus 10% off film processing and, if the Selfridges squad are up for the task, some homemade Lomocookies too! April 14, 1.30pm Feeling Fishy? Lomowalk to the Sea Life Centre Explore the Birmingham Sea Life Centre with your Lomography fisheye camera for a truly seaworthy experience. Whether you’re creeping like a crab or floating like a flounder you’ll be bubbling over with excitement on this Lomowalk to the deep. The Lomographer that takes the best photo with a fish wins a brand spanking new fisheye camera too! 012 Tickets are £20 and include a short presentation, lend-a-Diana, 2 rolls of film plus 10% off film processing and of course your entry in to Sealife. April 21, 1.30pm Shoot Shakespeare in Stratford This one is a biggy! Meeting at the Lomography shop in Selfridges, you’ll hop on a train to Stratford upon Avon, home of William Shakespeare (you remember him, he’s that saucy devil that wrote all of those naughty plays) to experience spiffing street performers, thundering theatres and classic canal boats. Take a tour of Shakespeare’s birthplace and relive regal settings on one of the biggest Lomowalks in history. Tickets are £20 and include a Lomographic sonnet, lend-a-Diana, 2 rolls of film plus 10% off film processing and the train tickets up and down to Stratford. April 28, 1.30pm Day trip to the Castle and Zoo It’s a 10 year olds dream day out! Meeting with your Lomography tour guides in Selfridges they’ll be roaring into action with a trip to Dudley Castle and Zoo. Become Kings and Queens for a day, exploring the magnificent architecture at Dudley Castle, then on to see lions, tigers, bears and dodos in the incredible zoo nearby. Get snap happy in the zoo for what could be the last Lomowalk in Selfridges! Tickets are £20 and include a short presentation, lend-a-Diana, 2 rolls of film plus 10% off film processing, oh and because they’re so nice a Flake 99 too! Please pop in store or ring 0800 123 400 ext. 56772 to reserve a place. All workshops must be booked and paid for in advance to secure a spot. Workshop vouchers are also available – the perfect present for that budding Lomographer! Check online for our April Lomography competition to win a camera. Enter at www.fusedmagazine. com. 013 ART HISTORY MAKERS RBSA Gallery 4 Brook Street, St Pauls, Birmingham, B3 1SA 0121 236 4353 www.rbsa.org.uk / @rbsagallery Until 13 April THERE IS A PLACE… The New Art Gallery Walsall Gallery Square, Walsall, WS2 8LG thenewartgallerywalsall.org.uk @newartgallery Until 14 April Currently housing an exhibition of vintage paraphernalia and contemporary crafts, the RBSA gallery presents nostalgia and history through jewellery, glass and ceramics. Items from oil cans to forgotten images, postage stamps to pieces of lace, buttons to driftwood, have all been brought back to life through pieces of jewellery, clay, porcelain and whimsical works of art. Image: Katherine Richmond ‘In the Cabinet Drawer’ Necklace There is a place… explores people’s psychic connectivity to the landscapes that shaped their formative years. Through paintings, drawings and prints the artists transform mundane urban and suburban areas of their past and capture in painstaking detail, the spirit of teenage revelry that lingers in the atmospheric images, invoking in the viewer memories that are at once familiar and unnerving. Image: Paul Winstanley, Veil 26, 2010, Oil on canvas. (c) the artist. Courtesy Alan Cristea Gallery, London 014 MADE IN THE MIDDLE mac Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 www.macarts.co.uk @mac_birmingham Until 15 April HAMISH FULTON Ikon Gallery 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HS www.ikon-gallery.co.uk @ikongallery Until 22 April East meets West as craft-makers from the East Midlands join hands with their West Midlands counterparts at mac Birmingham to present ‘Made in the Middle’, the region’s seventh major contemporary craft exhibition. Birmingham-based agency Craftspace has gathered together thirty-five of the best contemporary craft makers from both regions; all of whom are presenting, selling and commissioning their works at this exclusive event. Image: Clare Willard In his first museum show since his retrospective at Tate Britain in 2002, Hamish Fulton displays his new and exciting vinyl collection that explores his fascination for walking and art, often referring to himself as the ‘walking artist’. The elegant and thought provoking nature of his work and new exhibition exudes a lifetimes experience of taking the world in one step at a time and turning the spiritual into the physical. Image: Hamish Fulton, Walking Down the Middle of the Road, 2009. Courtesy the artist 015 LOCALITY Solihull Arts Complex Central Library, Homer Rd, Solihull, B91 3RG 0121 704 6962 www.solihullartscomplex.co.uk Until 21 April YANGJIANG GROUP Eastside Projects 86 Heath Mill Lane, B9 4AR 0121 771 1778 www.eastsideprojects.org @eprjcts Until 5 May Three of Birmingham’s prime realist painters Danny Howes, Rueben Colley and Rick Garland join forces this spring to present a collection of contemporary life paintings at Solihull Arts Complex. This realist exhibition focuses on various aspects of Birmingham and its surrounding area, intending to portray ‘true-to-life’ local subject matter through observational paintings, fine art and landscape pieces. JP Image: Albion Vaults by Rueben Colley Yangjiang Group have designed and built a new large-scale artwork based on a traditional Chinese Tea Pavilion. The Pavilion will function as a canteen for making calligraphy, photographic studio, and display room, along with taking on the unusual role of working as a demountable Cricket Pavilion the size of a house. The wooden structure with plywood panels will include a downstairs dining area clad with a special semi transparent plastic where you can look down on the activities as they take place from above. Image: Meal is Over N0.1. 2010. Photo, 296.61×150cm. 016 RICK DAVIES Black Country Stories The Public New Street, West Bromwich, B70 www.thepublic.com @_the_public Until 20 May FRANK COHEN COLLECTION The Public New Street, West Bromwich, B70 www.thepublic.com @_the_public Until 20th May Viewing the landscape from up high in a cherry picker photographer Rick Davies was commissioned by West Bromwich’s Multistory to capture the local scenery as part of their ‘Black Country Stories’ programme. A selection of Cohen’s acquired pieces will be on show as part of the The Public���s Art of Architecture season - a series of exhibitions that looks at how artists engage with the built environment and influence the world around us. Image: Pudding and Pie (from The Home Unleashed), Miranda Donovan. The series of panoramic images invite the viewer to step in and explore the detail of the landscape in ways we might not have looked before. Davies’ shots display a different view of everyday locations and objects; a view we might never see in our everyday lives. Image: ‘Bescot Market’ by Rick Davies 017 MUSIC CAST Having enjoyed success as the bassist in The Laâ€™s and the creative force behind Cast, you couldnâ€™t begrudge John Power if he wanted to live off former glories. After enjoying a decade out of the loop playing low key acoustic and three piece rocks gigs, the Liverpudlian Britpop band return from under the radar with a fourth studio album Troubled Times and a hotly anticipated national tour. We caught up with the man behind 90s hits such as Walkaway and Sandstorm to find out why this is more than just a fuzzy bout of nostalgia. 018 Was it difficult to get the band back together? I’ll be honest with you I had no intentions of putting Cast back together. I fell out with myself, what I was, and what Cast had done so I didn’t really sing those songs for ten years. After recording Stormbreaker I started writing a couple of songs and I got this little rhythm that you will find on the album with Time Bomb, and I started to get excited by it. I realised it certainly wasn’t a solo thing, so I started to get these feelings about Cast again. The time was right to call the lads individually and see if they were interested. When you left the band ten years ago you said you fell out of love with Cast songs? Time has healed a few personal wounds in my own body and mind. We had probably burnt out at the time. There’s no doubt there’s some great anthemic songs that meant a lot to people and a lot to the band so I’ve rekindled that and rediscovered that but that comes balanced with the fact that I’ve got new material that I’m dead excited and dead happy about playing. What’s the story behind your new single Time Bomb? It’s a personal interpretation. Time ticks like a bomb doesn’t it? We think we’re immortal for so long but it’s just a short passing wonderful journey and I’m just trying to make sense of it in my own way. The rhythm in that song was a cracker that was the basis of the whole album. Very important song. Your new album is called Troubled Times – is this a reflection of you or the world? I wanted to show some of the frustration that I was feeling on a personal level with the way the world seems to be going but without it being a political slogan. I felt that other people were feeling the same across the world. I’m just 019 giving my little chime but it’s all adding up. You can’t help being aware of what’s going on whether it’s in the newspapers, on the news, looking out the window, or walking down the street. It just seems apt that it’s called Troubled Times because when I look out the window or tune into the radio that’s what I’m seeing, and that’s what I’m hearing. So it’s just a myth that musicians are removed from what’s going on in the world? I’m not living in a dream on cloud cuckoo land, isolated in some kaftan playing the guitar drinking tea in an ivory tower. I’m not gonna change the world but I’m just trying to say a couple of things, it’s just a chapter in the book. There’s people getting shot in countries where they don’t need to be, there’s people making far too much money, there’s people that have absolutely nothing. It’s not that long ago that people had ideals, the middle classes were socialists at the turn of the last century, and we’ve got to keep hold of that. I’m not going to be able to make it all better, but at least I can write a few songs about it. Is this a one off album or are Cast back for good? I think Cast are back now. I had no intentions of doing the parody trip and the pastiche of just going out and doing a nostalgic tour –I certainly wouldn’t ever get the band back together for those reasons only. I’m fine-tuning my skills now. I’m not there yet but I feel something’s brewing. After we got this album recorded I was thinking I don’t want to write nothing for a while but it’s funny how it slowly starts to creep back into your life, and you breathe it in like a vapour. I’m starting to pick up the guitar and get that rhythm that was such a novelty. The rhythm from Time Bomb and Not Afraid of the World, that’s becoming the norm. It’s my backbone. So I imagine there will be new albums. Cast’s new album Troubled Times is available now. For tickets to their Birmingham O2 Academy show on April 5 visit: www.casttour.com. JD MUSIC THE LOVELY EGGS Pop-punk, low-fi, indiepop are all words that have been used to describe Lancaster husband and wife duo The Lovely Eggs. It’s probably true to say that at times The Lovely Eggs are all, some or none of these things. What’s certain is that together they play songs with quickwitted lyrics that like their band name are packed with several meanings. Having formed ‘sometime in 2006’ The Lovely Eggs have gone from strength to strength leaving a growing following in their wake and have recently gained recognition from indie DJ veterans Mark Riley and Steve Lamacq. We caught up with Holly before they headline The Now We Are Weekender. You’ve been a bit quiet since your last single Allergies. Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to then? We’ve been really busy in the studio. We’ve got a new single out called Food out on 14 May on 7” vinyl plus a new album out in September. We’re also touring from May and again in September so we’ve got to get ready for that. We’re really excited about the album – it’s a load of songs that no one’s heard 022 before as we haven’t played them live yet so we’re really excited about playing some new songs. It’s great for us to play new songs. As much as we like playing our old songs, like anything it can get a bit tired so this brings a whole new lease of life to playing live. You’ve had singles about people being twats, externalism and the possible abuse that can get shouted at people perceived as different in small towns. Tell us what your new single is about. Food. Well, food, loneliness and sex. Our mam is always saying: “you’re always singing songs about food you two!” So we’ve decided not do anymore songs about food in future. We’ll see how it goes after our experiment with the new album. We are trying to do a ‘clean album’ this time as we’re aware we say twat and fuck all the time. Although this ban doesn’t really work in everyday life – you can’t work miracles. Lancaster probably one of the eeriest places on earth, extremely dark and you’re also greeted by Lancaster Gatehouse aka the former prison as soon as you leave the station. Would you say living in Lancaster influences your songs? I guess thinking about it does in a way. Lancaster council will kill me about saying this but there is not much to do around here. You have to have a certain sort of determination to live here as you don’t have access to amazing gigs and art galleries all the time so you have to draw out what’s in your brain and work with that. The odds are stacked against you to do anything creative and not just end up working in a shop or factory so have do what can about it. I guess we are making it hard for ourselves here as we could have just moved to Manchester or London but we really believe you don’t need to move to a big city to be in a band. I think bands can create amazing music from small or their home towns. I suppose though being in a band we do get to travel and meet new people so we don’t feel so lacklustre when we’re at home. What attracted you to play the Now We Are Weekender? When we were asked we thought that it sounded like a good do but since then we’re seeing some amazing bands being added to the bill all the time. Apart from the great bigger bands such as Misty’s Big Adventure and Art Brut there are some quality smaller bands like The Time Machine playing – they’re from Lancaster so we’ve seen them play a few times and they’re great. It’s also good that something like this is happening in a smaller town. West Brom is often overlooked so it’s good to be playing in a place where locals can see us play rather than having to pay out to travel to a big city. The Lovely Eggs will be headlining The Now We Are Weekender held at the Public in West Bromwich on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 April. Day tickets £10 and Weekend tickets £15. http://www.nowweare.co.uk/. SO 023 MUSIC GIGS BOOKING NOW Bombay Bicycle Club Wolverhampton Civic Hall, North Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1RQ www.wolvescivic.co.uk 17 April Notorious Indie act Bombay Bicycle Club are all set to take Wolverhampton by storm as part of their 2012 headline tour. The band will be performing various tracks from their critically acclaimed third album ‘A Different Kind of Fix’. Lostprophets O2 Academy Birmingham, 16-18 Horsefair, Bristol Street, Birmingham B1 1DB 024 www.o2academybirmingham.co.uk 23 April Lostprophets will hit Birmingham’s O2 Academy for their first headline UK tour in two years, following the release of forthcoming album ‘Weapons’, out 2nd April. Support is rumoured to be from popular dance/ dubstep act Modestep. Rizzle Kicks The Assembly Spencer Street, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV31 3NF www.leamingtonassembly.com/ 26 April The Brighton Boys are bringing their new hip-hop sound to the West Midlands. With their first studio album ‘Stereo Typical’ being released just last year, this is certainly a duo we’ll be seeing more of in the future. With music heavy weights such as Fatboy Slim producing their music, we’re bound to see some of the Brighton vibe hitting Leamington Spa. Happy Mondays O2 Academy, Birmingham 16-18 Horsefair, Bristol Street, B1 1DB www.o2academybirmingham.co.uk 12 May Manchester legends ‘Happy Mondays’ have returned. Since seeing Shaun Ryder collaborating with the Gorillaz, Rowetta appearing on X Factor and Bez on celebrity Big Brother we haven’t heard much from the Happy Mondays gang, but now they’re back and performing all the classics such as Kinky Afro and Step On. Madchester is back! The Horrors HMV Institute 78 Digbeth Highstreet, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DY http://venues.meanfiddler.com 18 May The Horrors have famously segmented themselves as a hard working touring band. Since the release of ‘Strange House’ in 2007, they’ve received critical acclaim from all areas of the music industry. With the sheer volume of effects used in their live music you know you’ll be in for an assault both on the ears and eyes. Keane O2 Academy, Birmingham 16-18 Horsefair, Bristol Street, B1 1DB www.o2academybirmingham.co.uk 25 May From the small town of Battle, Keane have risen to fame and have been achieving success ever since their first album ‘Hopes and Fears’ in 2004. Since then Keane have sold over 10 million albums worldwide and their new album, Strangeland, released on 7 May 2012, will be the hit feature of their tour. Guns N’ Roses LG Arena National Exhibition Centre Birmingham B40 1NT www.lgarena.co.uk 26 May Rock legends are coming to Birmingham! Needing no real introduction with the Sweet Child O’ Mine singer, Axl Rose, taking centre stage to what will be a night that will definitely blow your socks off. Since the band’s formation in 1985, Guns N’ Roses has possibly seen one of the largest turnovers in music history, Axl Rose has performed alongside 20 band members, who have all come and gone in some form. ATB & JP 025 MUSIC 026 THE TOY HEARTS When you think of traditional Americana and bluegrass music, images of old men in the deep south of America resonates with a twinge of redneck and ‘yee-haw’ cowboys. It is considered to be a sound more fitting to Birmingham, Alabama than it is Birmingham, England – yet here we are, sat drinking coffee with Hannah and Sophia Johnson from The Toy Hearts. Two of the most promising musicians in the genre, and they are both talking to me with a broad Brummie twang. 027 “I guess you can understand where those preconceptions come from.” Hannah comments. “We’ve played a lot of the UK country festivals and there’s a lot of dressing up and a lot of line dancing and things that wouldn’t be perceived as chic or cool.” Sophia adds: “It’s like dad says, you don’t want to turn up to a festival where you might find your Uncle dressed as a cowboy, that’s not cool is it?” Sisters, Hannah (lead vocal/mandolin) and Sophia (guitar/harmony vocals) were immersed in the music from an early age by their father (and banjo/ dobro player) Stewart who had always been a professional musician. While all of their friends at school listened to the Spice Girls, Hannah recalls the realisation that she was different. “I remember going to school and having a sort of row with my friend Lizzy. She loved Whitney Houston and was going on about I Will Always Love You but I was like, Dolly Parton wrote that song – and that was in year five. So from an early age I knew about Dolly Parton and I knew what an important songwriter she was as a women so it was different.” The girls had formed The Toy Hearts by the time Sophia was 18, and Hannah was 16, and they decided to ask their dad to join the band as they didn’t know any other banjo players. The thought of being a teenager wanting to go out and party and enjoy yourself but having to take your dad on tour could have been the biggest killjoy of them all, but that wasn’t the case for the Johnson’s. 028 “He’s the worst of the lot of us!” Comments Sophia. “Sometimes we’ve had problems with fans after gigs, all these men, and we’re like ‘dad come and rescue us’, but he just gives us a laugh and a wave. He’s never been like ‘you can’t speak to my daughters’ or ‘they’re not drinking’, it just wouldn’t have worked if that happened – he’s a hippy from the 60s and he’s just happy that we’ve chosen to do this because it’s the music he loves and now he gets to play it full time.” Embracing his laissez-fair parenting, she continues: “If somebody comes down on you like a tonne of bricks then you would want to rebel, but if they say well it’s up to you but if you want to get wrecked tonight, that’s fine girls but we’re leaving at eight in the morning for the next gig whether you like it or not.” When the duo are out to ‘cause trouble’ their drink of choice is Margarita’s and Tequila, and the theme of drinking seems to crop up a number of times with The Toy Hearts. Their last album Femme Fatale featured their favourite tipple with lead track Tequila and High Heels, while their fourth studio album which is currently being completed over in Nashville, Tennessee is called Whiskey. “The new ones got quite a few drinking songs on there!” Says Sophia. “There’s Whiskey, Pass The Jack, we’ve covered a Bessie Smith song called Me and my Gin, maybe we were going through a wild phase when we were writing it?” “There is the tradition with country music, and because this album is different to the other albums we’ve got drums on it, electric guitar, steel guitar, pedal steel and even piano.” Adds Hannah. “It is more Americana than bluegrass but there is definitely a rich history of drinking songs in country music so it fits with our ethos.” Following success over in America and Germany, The Toy Hearts will be returning to Birmingham to coincide with the release of Whiskey. No doubt the drinks will be flowing. The Toy Hearts are set to play Birmingham Glee Club on April 22. For more details go to: http://thetoyhearts.com/. JD 029 MUSIC Image: Laurie Olinder 030 THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC Town Hall Victoria Square, Birmingham B3 3DQ Ticket hotline: 0121 345 0600 www.thsh.co.uk / @THSHBirmingham 13 April Hearing from reports that the atoning hymn ‘Autumn’ was courageously played by the ship’s string band as the North Atlantic swallowed the Titanic on 15th April 1912, composer Gavin Bryars was inspired to create a piece of music which encapsulated the very essence of the Maritime disaster. Interested in seeing what could be the musical equivalent of a work of conceptual art, Bryars primarily recorded the atmospheric piece entitled: ‘The Sinking of the Titanic’ in 1969. It has since been adapted and reconfigured and delivers a meditative sense of heroic nostalgia. Bryars and his ensemble will be performing the piece live at Birmingham’s Town Hall on the 13th April and London’s Barbican Hall on the 15th - exactly one hundred years after the tragedy. Conjuring an ineffable sense of poignancy, the 72-minute composition will commemorate the centenary weekend of the 1912 peacetime disaster. Through an experimental weave of sound and imagery, the performance seeks to create a synced sensory experience by knitting together classic themes of the Episcopal hymn with samples from turntablist Phillip Jeck. An additional thread is interlaced by artists Bill Morrisson and Laurie Olinder through the projection of timely film footage onto the walls of the building; surrounding the audience and submerging them deeper into the composition. This multi medium approach aims to create a rich and all encompassing audible reconstruction of the Titanic’s end. Capturing feelings of broken spirit and compassion, cavernous and oceanic depths and the juxtaposition of nature and engines, this unique experience serves as an indeterminate transportation to a highly evocative moment in time. KP 031 COMEDY ALFIE MOORE I PREDICTED A RIOT Bromsgrove’s Artrix Theatre Slideslow Drive, Bromsgrove, B60 1PQ 01527 572730 www.artrix.co.uk 24 April Some of the worst spats of violent riots caused the debut UK tour of I Predicted a Riot to be delayed back in August as the Sergeant turned stand-up couldn’t turn down the overtime. Now, the star of last year’s ITV programme Show Me The Funny is determined for the show to reach its destination. From the Nika riot in 532 AD through to the latest bout of public dissent last summer, Alfie Moore takes us on a trip through the history of protests and riots while sharing his own amusing anecdotes of his experience on the beat. Like the time he encountered a severed head, but by law was not allowed to pronounce it dead, to the bizarre but politically correct rise in ‘Teletubbies’ and ‘Klingons’ across the UK since the McPherson Report – after eighteen years serving with the Humberside Force, Alfie Moore certainly has a lot of stories to tell. After five years working the clubs, Moore is ready to hit centre stage building on his experience by supporting comedy heavyweights Sarah Millican, Milton Jones and Russell Kane. JD 032 033 COMEDY BRETT GOLDSTEIN I GREW UP IN A STRIP CLUB Bromsgrove’s Artrix Theatre Slideslow Drive, Bromsgrove, B60 1PQ 01527 572730 www.artrix.co.uk 28 April When Brett Goldstein’s father had a mid-life crisis back in 2001 he didn’t buy a superbike, a Mazda MX-5 or even take up golf. In spectacular fashion he left his wife, sold his bookshop, and bought a strip club… in Marbella. I Grew Up in A Strip Club is the devastatingly funny story of every teenage boys dream. Making the trip with his dad this debut national tour tells the true tales of life on the front line – the surprises and frights of the psychotic characters, dealings with the Mafia, and witnessing the drugs, the stripping, and all that goes on behind the scenes. LAUGH at the hilarious antics of the Mafia. CRY at the utter destruction of a young man’s innocence. And CLAP POLITELY at the end as you realise you’ve just sat through someone else’s therapy. This show is guaranteed to make middle aged men feel better about only buying a Ferrari. JD 034 COMEDY THURSDAY NIGHT FOOD & COMEDY SPECIAL The Glee Club, The Arcadian, Birmingham, B5 4TD 0871 472 0400 www.glee.co.uk / @TheGleeClub Birmingham’s home of comedy, The Glee Club promises this will be a night of belly laughs and belly filling food. Running every Thursday night throughout the summer showcasing comedic talent from the up and coming to the internationally known. Each night includes performances from four comedians such as, Gary Delaney (pictured - 19 April) who has written for some of the greatest comedy shows on television, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Mock the Week and Russell Howard’s Good News, as well as Canada’s most outspoken lady, Dana Alexander (26 April), newcomer Clint Edwards (19 April), and much loved Big Breakfast presenter Paul Tonkinson (12 April). The adorable Joel Dommett (26 April) will also be performing, a rising star who has recently diversified into television roles including E4s Skins and ITVs Teenage Kicks. There is also a ‘very special guest’ scheduled, described only as a top TV comedian using this as an opportunity to try out material for a major UK tour. In between one liners you can choose from four delicious dishes, and the bar is as perfectly distanced as the punch lines. Visit the Glee Club’s website to see which comedians are performing on which Thursday throughout the season, be sure to book quickly as Thursday Night Food and Comedy Special is sure to be popular. AS 036 037 COMEDY 038 THE INVISIBLE DOT TOUR Comedy’s New Wave mac Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH www.macarts.co.uk / @mac_birmingham 29 April Creative, ambitious and damn right absurd, are just a few words to describe The Invisible Dot Ltd. The Camden based production company, directed by Simon Pearce, has been a prominent feature at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival since its emergence in 2009. Having worked extensively with cutting-edge comedians Tim Key, Mark Watson, Daniel Kitson, David O’Doherty and Simon Amstell, they have now set out to bring you the next generation of comedians to tickle your funny bone. The ‘New Wave’ tour brings the freshest acts emerging through the Edinburgh Fringe and the London alternative circuit, giving a snapshot of the funniest performers the country has to offer right now. Headlining the tour are Edinburgh award winners Jonny Sweet and Adam Riches. Sweet hailed as Best Newcomer in 2009, has gone on to produce his own Radio 4 series Hard to Tell and star in Channel 4’s Chickens with The Inbetweeners’ Simon Bird and Joe Thomas. Not to be outshone, Riches won the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award 2011, for his fearless show Bring Me The Head Of Adam Riches. Previous winners of the award have included Russell Kane, Lee Evans and Steve Coogan. Along with a hugely gifted supporting cast, the New Wave Tour promises to be an unmissable date in the comedy calendar. CD 039 040 THAT INKING FEELING Being tattooed is a personal choice, an awesome one that will leave you physically stronger, more desirable to the opposite sex, and more likely to die in a machine gun duel. It will however mean that you will never be buried in a Jewish graveyard (unless you have some really good mates with loose morals and access to shovels). First lets clear up a few arguments Tattoo’s are not forever, the human body is nothing if not biodegradable. They are however for the rest of your life which, if the Internet doomsayer and digital slack jawed yokels are to be believed, will probably end later this year when a cougar-headed Mayan god will eat us whole. Secondly the oft cited ‘tattoos on old people look horrible’ argument. Well that’s a matter of opinion and I have to say I have never looked at an eighty year old woman and thought ‘I could really fancy her if it wasn’t for that tattoo’. Old person’s skin is wrinkly, spotty, and weird anyway, a picture of Scooby-do arm wrestling Macho Man Randy Savage on a table of fire skulls is only going to cheer things up a bit, no matter how smudged. Tattooing at its best is the opportunity to commission a piece of unique work of art you will be proud of for years to come. At its worst it’s some guy who had his school book doodles took seriously scratching lazy flash into stupid peoples skin with a machine bought from the back of a magazine. 041 With a good tattooist you are paying for not only the skill of pushing ink into your skin, as well as the hygiene and safety side that all tattooist take seriously, there is a long earned skill in producing thin fine lines and blending colours on the most difficult and varied medium you could think of. But also you are paying for their creative flair, all artists spend their entire lives trying to find their style and voice, a good tattooist has found theirs and is willing to collaborate with you to produce something that pleases both of you, is placed exactly right on your specific body, and has both resonance with you and your gods. The tattooing world can seem a bit closed from the outside, mostly because once you get a tattoo done there is a small sense of kinship that you feel with someone who has made the same commitment of pain and time; it’s just a nod, a smile, a tip of the imaginary hat, but it’s there. The tattoo shop itself though shouldn’t be a scary place though. I spoke to Kurt Marlow of Falling Leaves Studio, a lithe hipsterish man with a warm Black Country accent which belies a sharp and zen-like mind. I mostly spoke to him while he drew a magpie on my chest permanently with a needle. As long as you remember that as well as artist and artisan inkslingers are business persons, turning up late, far too early or not turning up to appointments are not just annoying but cost them money. Here are Kurt’s rules to perfect tattoo harmony. 042 Words: Danny Smith @probablydrunk & Kurt Marlow @kurtmarlow / fallingleavesstudio.co.uk Images: Kurt Marlow 1. Research your tattoo spend a good amount of time looking at various designs and decide which style of tattoo you would like. 2. Be unique try not to follow any ‘fads’. As a tattooist, I am constantly been asked to do tattoos similar to David Beckham’s. Fads have a shelf life whilst unique tattoos are timeless. 3. Remember a tattoo is for life, and life throws many curve balls your way, so make sure you are dedicated to the idea of being tattooed. There are too many young kids wearing tattoos on their hands, neck and face. Although some people may find this desirable at the time, in the long run a huge amount of regret may be something that you have to deal with. 4. Find your artist – your artist’s work must reflect the style of tattoo that you require. A good artist may have a long waiting list, be patient. 5. Is the studio licensed, clean, friendly? Make it a pleasurable experience. 6. Don’t hesitate to travel to your artist, whether they are one mile or 100 miles away. 7. Study your artist’s work thoroughly. Compare his/her work to other artists. Is the line-work consistent? Colours bold? Shading smooth? 8. A GOOD TATTOO IS NOT CHEAP, A CHEAP TATTOO IS NOT GOOD. Cost should not become an issue; budget for your tattoo. Just because an artist has a high cost, don’t let this deceive you. As mentioned earlier, thoroughly check their work. Does their cost reflect their art? 9. Contacting the artist: Please be patient with your artist, tattooist are very busy so you may have to wait for a correspondence. Try to give them as much reference as possible, whether it be your own drawings, print out and photos. The more the better, it will give your artist a good vision of what is expected. 10. Turn up to your appointment on time, most studios refuse to tattoo people that are late. So be prompt, even if you are early. Don’t take friends; a tattoo is a personal experience between you and the artist. You don’t want giggling friends that will get bored sitting around. 11. Trust your artist they have a vast experience in tattooing. Trust their decisions as they will be for the better. But, speak up if you’re not 100% happy with any ideas that they put forward. 12. Be polite. Tattooist are not big scary monsters (well not most of them), you want to have a good rapport with your artist. 13. Enjoy the day. Tattoos do sting, but they are not unbearable. Just remember, you will be left with something that is special. 043 THEATRE SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHDAY Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon Town Centre, CV37 6QW www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk Birthday celebrations: 21-22 April World Shakespeare Festival: 23 April Onwards 044 The streets of Stratford-upon-Avon are preparing to unleash a weekend of pageantry, music and drama in celebration of the 448th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. Popular celebrations have traditionally been taking place in Stratford every April now for almost 200 years, but this time around, the birthday merriments will also mark the launch of the highly anticipated World Shakespeare Festival, a subsidiary of the London 2012 Festival, forecast to be the biggest celebration of Shakespeare the world has ever seen. Thousands of international artists and over 50 arts organisations have joined hands to offer a diverse programme of over 70 productions, exhibitions and activities across the UK, with events ranging from an art collection at London’s British Museum entitled Shakespeare: Staging the World right up to a Tunisian adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth on show at The Sage in Gateshead. Other festival hotspots include Birmingham, Brighton, Bridgend, Newcastle and Edinburgh. The bulk of celebrations will take place in and around Stratford-upon-Avon, with live productions of The Tempest, King John and Twelfth Night hitting the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on the 21st April and a wide range of national celebratory events to follow. The theatrical side of the Festival will to bring together productions from a variety of different countries and cultural backgrounds, including Brazil, Iraq, Japan, Poland and Spain. Productions include Iraqi re-envisioned play Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad (pictured) and an African-American interpretation of Desdemona as seen through the eyes of famous author Toni Morrison. JP 045 046 INTERNATIONAL DANCE FESTIVAL BIRMINGHAM Venues throughout Birmingham www.idfb.co.uk 23 April to 19 May Presenting the senses with a global pick ‘n’ mix of dance performances, The International Dance Festival is soon to sprinkle the streets, halls and theatres of the West Midlands with more Dance than you can shake a leotard clad stick at! Hop, skip and jumping into it’s third biennial festival, the city will be alight with animating eight bar activity throughout May. DanceXchange and the Birmingham Hippodrome will be teaming up with a plethora of performers to produce opportunities for audiences to both spectate and participate with diverse approaches to dance within their local areas. Each and every one of these cosmopolitan delights will be in reach and easily accessible with venues such as the Hippodrome and Cresent theatres, the Town Hall and both the Midland and Warwick Arts Centres hosting a multitude of dance styles from around the globe. IDFB will also partner with arts organisation Punch for Desi Moves (pictured) on the 18 May at Birmingham’s Town Hall. Desi Moves is part of Dancing for the Games, which is inspired by London 2012 and part of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands. The event will see a competitive element showcased at the festival with six dance groups or indviduals chosen to present a fusion dance act with bhangra, bollywood, giddha, streetdance and bashment styles to celebrity judges. The winner will receive £1,000 and the opportunity to perform live at The Dance Show in December at the NEC. Having already danced their way to the title of being one of the largest dance festivals in the world, The International Dance Festival will be providing the region with a dance-bound passport to eclectic choreography and imaginative artists and programmes which range from Cuban, Contemporary and Circus styles to Spanish, Street and South African dance. With Ballet performances alongside Urban Hip Hop, there is a style and a performance for everyone. KP Image: D. Newell 047 FOOD&DRINK Thai Edge 7 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham 0121 643 3993 www.thaiedge.co.uk / @Thai_Edge It’s not every day one gets to dine with international athletes from Indonesia, Denmark and Thailand but our first trip to Thai Edge happens to be one of those occasions. When I say ‘dine with’ that might be a little disingenuous. The teams have been taking part in the annual Badminton Championships and, we’re informed by our waiter, dine at Thai Edge each year. Especially the Thai team who are there most days. And why wouldn’t they? The food is great, the restaurant is warm and friendly and it seems that, along with the international Badminton teams, lots of locals think so too on the busy Wednesday evening we have chosen. As ever when faced with a huge menu of well over 100 items it is hard to make a decision; go for the obvious? A Thai Green Curry? Or try something different? Well, we were lucky enough not to have to make that decision; our waiter recommended we try one of the set menus giving us the option to pick and choose between several courses. We went for the Royal Orchid Menu - a snip at £21.50 per person that includes a platter starter of five choices so beautifully presented it was a shame to eat it but with the smell of sweet Satay drifting past it wasn’t long until the pretty platter was thoroughly demolished. The arrival of the main courses were greeted with pleasure; not too large bowls were placed around the table and even then we struggled to eat them all. The Green Chicken Curry was, as expected, delicious. The Beef in the Mussaman melted away and everything felt amazingly fresh 048 and zesty. Although not usually a fan of Noodles even the Pad Thai was great. Not too much chillli or ginger but enough to hint it was there. We sat with very contended faces indeed. There is an amazing selection of food available at Thai Edge. Vegetarians are very well catered for with a set menu or classic curry’s offered up with vegetables rather than meat. The seafood lover is particularly spoilt with mussels, squid, sea bass and scallop dishes (we liked the look of: ‘Goong Mung Khon Pad Kra Thiem’: Deep-fried Lobster with celery, ginger and spring onion and the ‘Choo Chee Pla Salmon’: fillet salmon in a choo chee curry paste with coconut milk). Meat eaters have choices of dishes including duck, pork, beef, lamb and chicken (how about ‘Panang Gae’: lamb cooked dry in a Panang paste with coconut cream and garnished with lime leaves and red chilli). It’s hard to fault Thai Edge; delicious food, a recent refurbishment offering contemporary and relaxed surroundings and a room of happy diners. If it is good enough for world class athletes then it is certainly good enough for us. Our only issue; what to try next? Songkran - The Thai New Year festival Taking place during the 13-15 April Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year marking the beginning of a new solar system. Thai Edge will be marking the occasion in traditional style over the three day event with firecrackers to send the old year on its way, preparing a feast of food and celebrating in traditional Thai style. Look our for events and festivities at the website along with a specially prepared set menu offer. 049 TRAVEL Northern Ireland Northern Irelandâ€™s (N.I) awe-inspiring rugged scenery and delectable food really can leave one speechless. Whether you are looking for a quiet, romantic weekend away or a wild night out with friends, N.I. provides the perfect environment for every occasion. Only a short flight away with BMI Baby, you can be enjoying Guinness while taking in breathtaking landscapes in a matter of hours. 050 Bespoke-tours http://www.bespoke-tours.com/ +44(0)7912290935 You cannot spend a weekend in N.I. without using Bespoke-tours. The gentlemanly wee Jim Dickson, voted no.1 favourite man in N.I. (by a somewhat reputable sourceâ€Śus) will meet you as you disembark your flight and whisk you away on his tailor-made tour. Not only does he organise your admission to tourist attractions but will even book your hotel on request, allowing you to enjoy your holiday stress free. Using his unlimited knowledge of Irish folklore and local history, no tale or fact is left untold as wee Jim drives you around the countryside and coast. My Little Kitchen Cookery School 162 Gortgare Road, Greysteel, Co. Derry. BT47 3DB http://www.mylk.co.uk/ +44 (0)28 7181 3712 If you are looking for a fun activity for a stag or hen party, fancy yourself to be the next master chef or just want to teach your other half how to cook, Phillip and Nuala Ford will have you cooking up a culinary storm in no time. In the friendly and relaxed yet highly professionally equipped cookery school, we sampled oysters and washed them down with (much needed) Guinness before learning how to cook fresh, locally sourced Glenarm organic salmon, and all without causing a kitchen fire. An amazing achievement and thoroughly enjoyable alternative way to enjoy N.I.â€™s local produce. 051 TRAVEL Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple Mussenden Road, Castlerock. BT51 4RP http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ downhill-demesne-and-hezletthouse/ +44 (0)28 70 848728 Sober up from the Guinness by walking through the National Trust’s Downhill Demesne to Mussenden Temple, a library built by the Earl Bishop, Fredrick Hervey in the early 1770s. This stunning monument is positioned on the edge of a cliff and overlooks some of N.I.’s rugged coastline. If you fail to be overwhelmed by the grandeur and history, the fresh sea air will most certainly clear your head. Giant’s Causeway 44 Causeway Road, Bushmills. BT57 8SU http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ giantscauseway/ +44 (0)28 2073 1855 Words cannot describe the wonder and awe you experience when you first cast your eyes on this famous site. With each scientific explanation for the 38,000 hexagonal basalt pillars emerging from the shoreline, a mythical tale is told to match it. Whether you choose to believe the folklore of Finn McCool the giant or the geographical account of volcanic activity 60 million years ago, is up to you. Whichever account you choose, you will leave the Giant’s Causeway utterly amazed. 052 Bushmill’s Distillery 2, Distillery Road, Bushmills, Co. Antrim. BT57 8XH http://www.bushmills.com/ +44 (0)28 207 33218 Although not a whiskey fanatic, we did not hesitate for long before sampling the famous 21 and 16 year old Bushmill’s whiskey. See the making of N.I.’s famous whiskey, learn the secrets behind the brewing and whether you fancy yourself to be a whiskey connoisseur or a novice like us, you leave a little wiser and far more tipsy than when you first walked through Bushmill’s Distillery’s doors. Lime Tree Restaurant, Limavady. 60 Catherine St., Limavady, Co. Derry. BT49 9DB http://www.limetreerest.com/ Tel: +44 (0) 28 777 64300 Ensure you have an empty stomach before dining at this restaurant. Using locally sourced produce, Stanley Matthew creates mouth-watering food whilst his wife, Maria creates the perfect, relaxing and welcoming ambience in which to dine. The friendly and efficient staff will ensure you have everything you need whilst you sample the modern Irish cuisine, making the restaurant highly recommended. Roe Park Resort Limavady, Northern Ireland BT49 9LB http://www.roeparkresort.com/ +44(0)28 777 22222 Spend your holiday in luxury; Roe Park is home to one of N.I.’s top golfing resorts and hosts a relaxing spa, making this hotel a fantastic romantic venue with something to please everyone. With their large, airy bedrooms and exquisite food, Roe Park Resort will leave you feeling, full, rested and rejuvenated. There is one complaint about the trip; two nights was just not long enough! Northern Ireland, we will see you again soon. Leading low cost airline, bmibaby, offers daily flights to Belfast City Airport (just minutes from the city centre) from East Midlands Airport and Birmingham Airport and a frequent service from Stansted Airport. Flights depart up to 18 times per week with fares starting from just £19.99 one way including taxes. bmibaby offers customers many benefits including allocated seating and online check in. For further information or to book a flight visit, www.bmibaby.com. DS 053 V YE OT S? E BIRMINGHAM’S MAYORAL REFERENDUM You won’t remember this but, instead of weird psychedelia with top bands going ‘gabba gabba’ or gibbering stocky puppet simpletons with screens in their stomachs, kids would happily sit in front of the TV and watch stories about talking animals that had adventures in primarily human settings. One such animal was animated Sunday lunch Larry the Lamb, and when he had exhausted all his mint saucy options he’d go to see the head honcho. “M…M…M…Mr Mayor” he’d say, and a fella in a tricorn hat would sort it all out. Sweet. And decidedly tasty with mashed potatoes. Where do the lambs of Birmingham go when the wool hits the fan? Well, at the moment they’ve no Mr or Ms Mayor to trot along to see—but might well have later this year. This is a round about way of saying that on May 3rd this year there’s a referendum in Birmingham to decide if the city gets to elect it’s own mayor in a similar way that London gets to be presided over by Boris Johnson—although we probably won’t have any blond, bumbling, biking, bonking Borises in the running. A ‘yes’ vote and in November brummies will get to pick their leader, and while we won’t know who’ll stand for a while it’s worth looking at some of the most famous mayors the World has had and see if we can guess what they’d do if we voted them in here. Famous Mayor: Dick Whittington Mayor of: London, three times. Would they work in Brum? Panto fave Richard Whittington was indeed mayor of London three times, and apparently loved his pussy as much as the current incumbent. Dick’s best days are behind him, and once a man has been mayor three times there’s not much chance he has another term in him. Not your turn again, Dick Whittington. We’re one hundred miles from London, puss, and there’s no sign of Dick here. Oh no there isn’t. 054 Famous Mayor: ‘Diamond’ Joe Quimby Mayor of: Springfield Would they work in Brum? Mayor Quimby rules the city where the people are yellow with a rod of wads of notes wrapped in brown envelopes. No method of corruption or mode of bung is too obscure for ‘Diamond’ Joe to have a finger in, even though he only has six. His womanising ways wouldn’t sit well with the Birmingham electorate who are already confused enough by local MP John Hemming’s love life. That said, he his modeled on the Kennedy clan so Brummies could be turned by his celebrity connections— after all we’ve only really got Jasper Carrott. Famous Mayor: Mayor McCheese Mayor of: McDonaldland Would they work in Brum? The numero uno, the big cheese, of McDonaldland, Mayor McCheese has a beefburger for a head and sports a top hat, a diplomat’s sash, and a pair of pince-nez glasses. So far so much like many of the current councillors, and the official McDonaldland Wikipedia page says he is “portrayed as a giggly, bumbling, and somewhat incompetent mayor” so maybe not one we’ll be voting for any time soon. His record on crime (or ‘hamburgling’) is poor. Famous Mayor: Clint Eastwood Mayor of: Carmel-by-the-Sea, California Would they work in Brum? I don’t think he’s played one on screen, but ol’ Dirty Harry himself was the real life mayor of a tiny place in California— voted in by this fellow movie stars and artists. The town has—seriously—a ban on wearing high heeled shoes without a permit, so we’d like to see him tackle Broad Street on a Friday night with his Smith and Wesson. Did he fire six shots or only five? And how many did he fire in Spearmint Rhino? JB V NOOTE ? Famous Mayor: The mayor off of 60s Batman Mayor of: The camp version of Gotham City Would they work in Brum? You know, in Batman with Adam West there was a white haired old gent who stood around looking confused with Commissioner Gordon? His decisions ran like this: there is a problem caused by a supervillan, he’s not really sure what’s going on, Mayor Linseed turns on the bat signal. In Birmingham how would that really work? If an evil genius is draining the canals or turning everyone that touches the canapés in Glynn Purnell’s restaurant to stone, I’m not sure that flicking the switch on a giant lamp is going to do much. 055 FASHION&SHOPPING 056 REHMALI www.rehmali.com Back in February up and coming Birmingham designer (now based in Dublin) Maria Malik showcased her latest collection at London Fashion Week. New to the scene, and showing for just the second time, her label Rehmali made quite an impression with her ready-to-wear sassy women’s clothing and luxury luggage range. The 28-year-old originally took an unusual and somewhat cautionary route to fashion opting to study a BA in Accounting; “Fashion has always been a hobby that I thought I would never get a chance to take on full time”. Comments Maria. “So I decided to do an accounting degree as I am good at analysis and numbers.” And it didn’t seem to do her any harm either... How did you first become interested in fashion? From a very young age (15) I was always known for my statement piece; whether it was a bag, jewellery or shoes. I was always complemented on a unique style. So I decided to take a step into fashion industry and see if it was the right place for me. The fashion industry is a completely different world, a world with diversity, culture and individualism - this is where I wanted to be. As a stylist in my early days (whilst at university), my clients had often told me to design as I knew about the craftsmanship that went in to most garments. Showcasing was a distant memory, as I had no connection with anyone in high fashion. In conversation to a friend I had learnt she had gone into fashion journalism, and was working with LGN Events (a company that promote emerging designers at London Fashion Week). I asked if I had a chance to showcase and a week later I had a phone call to say that they would love to have me feature during AW11/12. I was over the moon and got cracking on my first collection. How did Birmingham inspire you and your designs? Birmingham is a very multicultural city, with all walks of life. Which is fantastic for fashion as every person has a unique way to express the way they dress, which does have an affect on the way I design. My designs are for every woman not a certain class of individual. 057 FASHION&SHOPPING How did your label start? My label started the first time I showcased at LFW in February 2011. I had come up with my label name by combing my middle name and surname together, I wanted the label to represent myself and my unique creativity of fashion. What was the theme for your A/W 2012 collection? My theme is wearable - I create wearable luxury clothing and luggage for everyday women to feel and look fabulous and confident. Where does your inspiration for this line come from? My influences come from my inspiration in everyday situations. Traveling across the global has a great input in my designs. Different cultures and ways of life give me a great comfort in how my designs should balance through the variety of women across the world. What does fashion mean to you? Fashion is a form of expression. No one is the same, everyone is different in the way they show their appearance to the each other. You dress to feel comfortable in your shield, which are your garments. AR Images Alex Hutchinson 058 059 THIS MONTH WE ARE MOSTLY LOVING... 1. 4. 6. 060 2. 3. 5. 7. 8. 9. 10. 01. Steamcream Ltd Ed Marrakech Tin - House of Fraser, Selfridges, £12.95 02. New Southern Comfort Lime, £14.99 03. High Voltage Opaque Nail Colour Topshop, £5 04. Coca Cola Lip Happiness balm Boots, £7 05. Kimboltan Tan Tote - Tusting £295.00, www.Tusting.co.uk 06. Gold Owl Studs by Jana Reinhardt £79.00, www.JanaReinhardt.co.uk 07. Bobbi Brown Rich Color Gloss Shades, £17 08. Brad Pitt’s Dog by Johan Kugelberg, Zero Books, 27 April, £11.99 09. DJ Kicks, Maya Jane Coles, 17 April 10. Electric Guest, Mondo, 23 April 11. Breakin’ OST (aka Breakdance), 9 April 12. Nightingales, No Love Lost, 30 April 11. 12. 061 FASHION&SHOPPING BULLRING STUDENT SHOPPING EVENT www.browsebullring.co.uk/student @bullring #Bullringstudent 26 April, 5-8pm To celebrate the arrival of the summer term Bullring is hosting a student fashion event for one night only with discounts, offers and treats from many of your favourite shops. Students armed with a valid student ID/card will be able to take advantage of a number of exclusive discounts to get you kitted out at ready for the Spring/Summer season (15% off at Schuh and Gap, 20% off at Bank, River Island, New Look, Office and the recently opened lingerie shop, Boux Avenue). Head straight to the Social Hub, located on Bullring’s Lower West Mall (outside Debenhams), where you’ll collect your list of offers and discounts along with your Bullring reward card to give you access to the offers on the night. There will be music and the chance to win a Bullring gift card loaded with £1,000 to spend at the centre. 062 Other treats to enjoy on the night include discounts at concessions and exciting in-store entertainment at Selfridges and complementary cupcakes and a gift with every purchase at French Connection. To finish the evening in style head to Handmade Burger Co. at Spiceal Street where they’ll be offering 30% discount. Remember it’s for one night only so don’t miss out! BRAT&SUZIE FOR WAREHOUSE As fans of cute illustrated animals and a coral coloured tee we were very excited to see this very cool collaboration from high street favourite Warehouse and East End studio Brat&Suzie. Using soft cotton jersey the limited edition designs can be found on vests, tees and sweatshirts. They are in-store now and priced from ÂŁ22. Weâ€™re off to get ours right now! 063 EASTER EVENTS Fierce Festival 2012 Birmingham City Centre www.wearefierce.org Until 8 April This year, Birmingham’s live art and performance festival is set to return to the city for eleven days taking in spaces from Birmingham Central Library to the underbelly of Spaghetti Junction with performers from around the world exhibiting the weird and wonderful. A reproduction of the United Nations populated by sausage dogs will be taking place outside Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery and visitors to the Library will have the opportunity to stumble across live ‘human books’ amongst its shelves. Easter Eggstravaganza at Cadbury World Cadbury World, Bournville, Birmingham B30 2LU www.cadburyworld.co.uk Until 15 April This Easter, popular Birminghambased tourist haven Cadbury World will be hosting a variety of family entertainment activities and events. Jugglers, ventriloquists, magicians, 064 puppeteers and bouncing bunnies will be making appearances and a family orientated Easter egg hunt will be on offer between Good Friday and Easter Monday (April 6-9). Mini Beast Safari Lickey Hills Country Park Warren Lane, Lickey, Birmingham B45 8ER www.birmingham.gov.uk/lickeyhills 4 April, 11am Families and children are invited to take part in a hands-on mini beast and bug safari with park staff providing guidance and small children offered the chance to build a bug house to take home with them. Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club - Rob Rouse The Slade Rooms, Broad Street, Wolverhampton WV1 www.wolvescivic.co.uk 6 April, 6:45pm, £12.00 per ticket Rising television comedian Rob Rouse hits Wolverhampton’s Slade Rooms after various appearances on ITV’s Celebrity Juice, Channel 4’s 8 Out of 10 Cats and Dave’s One Night Stand. The comedian will be performing at this intimate venue outside of his national tour for one night only. Eggcellent Easter Trail Wightwick Manor, Wightwick Bank, Wolverhampton, WV6 8EE www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wightwickmanor 6 – 9 April, 11am - 4pm, £2 per child All the family are invited to join in the fun and follow a mystery Easter trail at Wolverhampton’s Wightwick Manor. Chocolate prizes will be offered to those who manage to find all the clues and families are free to take part in Easter-themed crafts throughout the day. Easter Fun Days Moseley Old Hall Lane, Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, WV10 7HY www.nationaltrust.org.uk/moseleyold-hall 7-9 April, 12pm-4pm, £2 per child Families are invited to take part in Easter-themed activities at Wolverhampton’s Moseley Old Hall. The venue will offer an Easter egg hunt with chocolate prizes and various children’s craft activities. Titanic 100 year Anniversary The Kings Arms, Coleshill Rd, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands B75 7AA www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/38733 14 April, 6pm-10pm The Kings Arms will be hosting a special event to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the tragedy of the Titanic back in April 1912. The venue will offer Roulette, Black Jack and Stud Poker tables along with live Irish Music and all proceeds will go to the RNLI. Costume dress is recommended. Call 0121 4398332 for more information. Rhod Gilbert: The Man with the Flaming Battenburg Tattoo Wolverhampton Civic Hall, North Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1RQ www.wolvescivic.co.uk 15 April and Birmingham Symphony Hall 13 & 14 April. Following several best-selling DVDs and sell-out UK tours, award winning comedian Rhod Gilbert will return to Wolverhampton for an all new live show. Heritage WEEkend Cadbury World www.cadburyworld.co.uk 21-22 April Tourist hotspot Cadbury World will be offering three walks a day around the town of Bournville, providing visitors with an insight into the history and heritage of the area. 065 Venue Directory MUSIC VENUES BIRMINGHAM BALLROOM / THE END 52-54 Dale End, B4 7LS birmingham-ballroom. com Civic/Wulfrun North Street, WV1 1RQ. 0870 320 7000 wolvescivic.co.uk THE LORD CLIFDEN 34 Great Hampton Street, B18 6AA 0121 523 7515 thelordclifden.com The Flapper Kingston Row, B1 2NU. 0121 236 2421 Hare & Hounds 106 High Street, B14 7JZ. 0121 444 2081 hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk ART VENUES The Slade Rooms Broad Street, Wolverhampton WV1 www.wolvescivic.co.uk BARBER INSTITUTE University of Birminham Edgbaston, B15 2TS 0121 414 7333 www.barber.org.uk SUNFLOWER LOUNGE 76, Smallbrook Queens way, Birmingham, B5 The Rainbow 160 High Street Deritend, B12 0LD CUSTARD FACTORY Gibb Street, B9 4AA custardfactory.co.uk The Drum 144 Potters Lane, Aston, B6 4UU, 0121 333 2444 the-drum.org.uk EASTSIDE PROJECTS 86 Heath Mill Lane, B9 4AR, 0121 771 1778 eastsideprojects.org IKON EASTSIDE Fazeley Street, Digbeth ikon-gallery.co.uk Ikon Gallery Oozells Square, B1 2HS 0121 248 0708 ikon-gallery.co.uk HMV Institute 78 Digbeth High St, Digbeth hmvinstitute.com MAC Cannon Hill Park macarts.co.uk O2 Academy 08444 772 000 o2academybirmingham. co.uk Moseley Old Hall Lane, Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, WV10 7HY 066 THEATRE VENUES COMEDY VENUES VIVID 140 Heath Mill Lane, Digbeth, B9 4AR 0121 766 7876 vivid.org.uk Alexandra Theatre Station St, Birmingham 0844 847 2302 alexandratheatre.org.uk The Glee Club The Arcadian, B5 4TD. 0871 472 0400 glee.co.uk Wolverhampton Art Gallery Lichfield St, WV1 1DU 01902 552055 wolverhamptonart. org.uk BELGRADE THEATRE Belgrade Square Corporation Street, Coventry CV1 1GS 024 7655 3055 belgrade.co.uk Wightwick Manor Wightwick Bank, Wolverhampton, WV6 8EE BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME Hurst Street 0844 338 5000 birminghamhippodrome. com CRESCENT THEATRE Sheepcote Street Birmingham 0121 643 5858 crescent-theatre.co.uk HIGHLIGHT 259-262 Broad Street, B1 2HF OTHER VENUES AE HARRIS Northwood Street Birmingham B3 aeharrisvenue.co.uk Cadbury World Cadbury World, Bournville, Birmingham B30 2LU www.cadburyworld. co.uk THE ELECTRIC CINEMA 47 Station St Birmingham, B5 4DY 0121 643 7879 www.theelectric.co.uk The Old Joint Stock Pub and Theatre 4 Temple Row West B2 5NY, 0121 200 1892 oldjointstocktheatre. Lickey Hills co.uk Country Park Warren Lane, Lickey, THE OLD REP Birmingham B45 8ER Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY 0121 605 5116 oldreptheatre.org.uk 067