Editors: David O’Coy & Kerry Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org | @davefused email@example.com | @kerryfused Writers: Lyle Bignon, Choncey Boddington, Louise Byng, Joanne Davies, Tajinder Hayer, Sally Watson-Jones, Sophie Lloyd, Matt Nation, Vicky Osgood, Karen Patel,William Ralston, Kiran Samra, Danny Smith, Maryam Snape, Megan Thomas, Ross Timms Front Cover: Martin Pickard Content Image: Martin Pickard Illustrations: Louise Byng, Newtasty ADVERTISING The Culture Guide is monthly/bi-monthly and Adverts cost just £190 for a 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.
AREA Culture Guide tel: 0121 442 6663 www.areacultureguide.co.uk www.fusedmagazine.com @areaguide / @fusedmagazine Facebook.com/fusedpublications This guide is produced by Fused Media
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 2013 © Area Culture Guide 2013.
WELCOME So why is it you came to study in the fine city of Birmingham? Maybe you heard it was a really friendly place? That it is cheaper than the capital? Maybe because it is easy to get to what with it being smack in the middle of the country and all? Maybe you didn’t get your grades and went through clearing ending up doing some random course you’d never dreamed about? Whatever your reason for choosing the city what you now hold in your hands is an insiders guide. A go-to little pocket magazine that will help you navigate the city and it’s many (way too many) quarters. From its music, food, venues, shopping and history you’ll know the city inside out. What’s more you’ll be able to impress your new fellow student friends with your knowledge, and importantly not waste time hanging out in the wrong places. You arrive at a really exciting time for the city. Its shopping mecca, The Bullring, has just turned 10. Birmingham City University has just opened the amazing Parkside Campus next to Millennium Point. The music scene is kicking off (it happens every few years) with bands being praised around the rest of the UK. The stunning Library of Birmingham (yeah a Library - but a really cool one) is ready for you to sit down with your iPad and get that much-needed study time in. 2013 is probably the best time to be in the city and look - you’re here too.
We know you’ve just got your AS levels and left mom and dad for the first time. We know you don’t know anyone yet really apart from maybe that weird bloke you sat with awkwardly eating your Coco Pops next to in the hall’s communal area. It is a daunting time but our message to you is this: embrace the city. Take it in and enjoy it. Like everything, the more you give the more you’ll get back. Expect to find a wealth of fun and opportunity at those fresher fingertips of yours. Have fun! How to use this guide: If you like the sound of any of the places mentioned in our totally independent guide then head to the directory at the back for address and website information.
THE PROVIDE GUIDE TO DIGBETH 06
As you are reading this Student Edition of Area Guide, chances are you’ve just moved to Birmingham, or like me you’ve only been living here for a year or two. I’ve grown very fond of Digbeth and its inhabitants since PROVIDE opened last September, so I wanted to share some of the things I love about the area with you. Visually, Digbeth is characterised by the railway arches that run through the heart of it, and is punctuated by empty warehouses and street art wherever you look. Like so much of Birmingham, it used to be a thriving industrial area, but today only a fraction of that industry lives on. Some people try to compare Digbeth to trendy parts of other cities (you know what I mean - neighbourhoods that consist solely of skinny people drinking skinny lattes in skinny jeans) but the gentrification hasn’t quite taken off here yet. There is a real DIY culture, which makes the area much more exciting than those neighbourhoods where everything is already established and new ventures struggle to make an impact. The people who choose to live, work and party here tend to be open minded and open armed - there is always something new going on and everyone’s invited. The focal point in Digbeth is the Custard Factory, on Gibb Street. Once the manufacturing place of Bird’s Custard powder, the buildings now house several hundred artist studios and creative businesses, from PR firms to web designers and fashion stylists, and the ground floor is made up of independent retailers, salons and galleries. Start your explorations here, but make sure you check out all the back streets from Fazeley Street to Cheapside to uncover loads more hidden gems.
Here are a few Digbeth fixtures that get the PROVIDE seal of approval... Nights Out The Rainbow Venues Hands down one of the best places to go clubbing in the UK. It’s always worth checking what’s on as they regularly host some of the biggest names in music. A PROVIDE favourite here is FACE, every Saturday from 9pm. Spotlight Located underneath a railway arch, Spotlight is a relaxed venue with a varied music policy. Make sure to check out Digbeth Dining Club, every Friday from 5.30pm when the best street food vendors from the West Midlands and beyond can be found serving up top quality food outside the venue. We also love first Saturdays of every month when Moschino Hoe, Versace Hottie brings the finest in 90s Hip Hop to a rowdy crowd of beautiful people. The Old Crown This is PROVIDE’s official boozer. A beautiful Grade II listed building with the best bar staff in the world and one of Digbeth’s nicest beer gardens. If you’re in the area, it’d be rude not to stop in. And if you’re nursing a hangover on a Sunday, their carvery is affordable and is sure to pick you up. 07
Shopping Provide That’s us! As well as our in house line of graphic tees and accessories, we have a great selection of books on topics ranging from art and design to philosophy and business advice, and independently published magazines that continue to prove print is not dead. And hot sauces. If nothing else, come for the hot sauces. Stag Barbers This was the first place I had my hair cut when I moved to Birmingham, and now I won’t go anywhere else. You couldn’t find a better trim for twice the price. Ladies, check out The Depot across the street, home to Bad Apple Hair and Nails by Rosie, two brands leading the way in their fields. The Bench Birmingham’s go to spot for graffiti supplies, they have everything you need to make the world a brighter place, as well as some great books and streetwear.
Cheap Eats Best Baguette This is the kind of place I hope is still here when all the cool kids have moved in in a few years’ time. Fry ups, bacon baps, and just about anything you can put in a baguette. It’s not pretty, but it’s cheap and it feels good. Blue Marlin Five minutes further up the road from The Rainbow, tucked away underneath a railway arch, Blue Marlin serves fantastic Caribbean food. With everything from sexy juice and Guinness punch to curry mutton and jerk chicken, if you go once, you’ll be hooked. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what makes Digbeth great. I’ve given you a head start with some of my favourite places, but you need to take the short walk from town and do some exploring of your own. Links: provideshop.com, digbeth. org, ilovedigbeth.com
Matt Nation owns PROVIDE and is always up for a chat.
BIG STUDENTY DAY OUT IN THE JEWELLERY QUARTER 010
A beautiful conservation area with over 200 listed buildings the JQ is a stunning area to visit. While the draw for many is to pick out that beautiful diamond ring to celebrate an engagement lets face it you’re a few years off that yet. However there is still plenty of reasons to head there as ex-students and local residents Vicky & Jo can attest. First Thing: Brewsmiths Coffee & Tea (£2 Filter Coffee) First thing… Coffee! Every good day out starts with a Java, and where better to enjoy a cup than Brewsmiths? With a great selection of locally sourced food and a choice of tea and coffee available – you might end up staying for more than one. Mid Morning: Museum of the Jewellery Quarter (FREE / £4 Concessions) A visit to the Jewellery Quarter isn’t complete without a trip to the museum. Named as one of Tripadvisors “Top free attractions in the UK”, it’s up to you whether you want to fork out the £4 for the tour or just have a look around the exhibits (which is free). Make sure you check out the times for the tour beforehand! The workshop is a real slice of history and worth the meagre price tag!
Lunch: Deli Heaven (£3.95 based on daily special brie & bacon salad & juice drink) If you just fancy a quick stop this friendly little café has a great selection of baguettes, salads and drinks. A very popular choice with the working crowd in the area! There is a small seating area or take your lunch away to “goth it up” outside St Paul’s square at the bottom of the road. Afternoon: St Paul’s Gallery Home to the world’s largest exhibition of signed album cover art from greats such as Pink Floyd as well as and a unique range of graphic ‘soundwave’ depictions. The staff are really chilled and knowledgeable and happy to chat about the artwork and the bands they’ve met. It’s completely free. Prints aren’t cheap but there is no pressure to buy whatsoever.
Images: Lee Haynes
Afternoon: Pen Museum (Free – Donations Accepted) If you fancy learning a little more (after your enlightening trip to the JQ Museum), check this place out. It’s not much to look at from outside, but once you enter the building you are surrounded by more history then you can shake a quill at. As well as lots of exhibits to do with the history of pen making and it’s connection to the area, you can have a go at making your own nib and writing with various different types of pen. Seriously, more fun than you might think! Early Evening: The Brown Lion (£1.70) The Brown Lion is one of the last few “Old Man” pubs left in the Quarter. It’s not stylised and achingly hip, and as a result of this; it’s a great place to grab a quiet pint. They have a good lineup of free music on in the week and a good selection of drinks. A pint (depending on what you want), can set you back as little as £1.70. 011
Dinnertime: The Rose Villa Tavern (£8.50 based on 2-4-1 fish and chips and a cocktail) The Rose Villa is a pub full of character in the heart of the Quarter. This beautiful looking building holds many a secret inside (including a phone box and a tree growing from the ceiling). Depending on the night you frequent, there are food offers on Monday to Thursday. The food is locally sourced, filling and there is a wide selection of cocktails to accompany your dinner for £4 (between 4pm – 7pm). Blue Orange Theatre (Free / As per listings) This theatre is a real hidden gem in the area. Housed in a unit beneath an apartment block, you could run the risk of walking by without realising it’s here. The Theatre has a weekly schedule of regular events including “improv” theatre and “open mic” nights, but also puts on a weighty schedule of varied productions. Many of the events at the theatre are free or pay what you can, but plays are charged as advised on the website. All in all, our day set us back less than £20 each. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to the Jewellery Quarter area, but hopefully inspires you to pop on down and have a good look around our beautiful neighbourhood. 012
Happy Wandering! VO & JD
Imagine a place where a barefoot Crocodile Dundee-like man; a Roman soldier lookalike pushing a toy monkey in a pram, or the owner of a delicatessen are all venerated and worshipped as gods. A place where keys to a magical hidden park can be purchased for a modest sum. Where grimy kebab shops sit snugly next to patisseries and pet centres, and where twentysomething hipsters share pub garden tables with toothless drunks and city councillors. Welcome, my friends, to Moseley (B13) and Kings Heath (B14). The bohemian wonderlands, nay suburban utopias, have been desirable areas of Birmingham for many years now, due in part to the high concentration of Birmingham’s immigrant, creative, left-leaning and student population resident here. Yep, B13 and B14 have the same types of problems as most major conurbations and are surrounded by neglected inner-city areas. But compared to other parts of the UK’s second city, the varied cultural and mix in these two postcodes makes for something of an intriguing and cosmopolitan experience. Whether its weekly naked people with alcohol in an Irish pub (Life Drawing at Patrick Kavanagh B13, every Tuesday, £), traditional English
storytelling lessons (Kitchen Garden Café B14, monthly, £), regular screenings of classic films in God’s own house (All Saints Church Community Cinema B14, monthly, £) or some of the best curry houses in the country – it’s all here. That Moseley and Kings Heath have a helluva number of places in which to hang out and party and more than a whiff of bohemia about them is no coincidence. There are 14 pubs in 1.3 miles for starters, and that’s not including the various bars and eateries dotted around the same stretch of Alcester Road. For music fans, The Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath (York Road B14) is an old boozer with a strong line-up of events all year round spanning tech-funk, metaljazz, space-rock, glitch hop and everything in between, plus the odd spoken word night, creative meetups and free live sessions. Given its just is a short bus ride or taxi journey from Selly Oak, don’t leave it too late to visit. Sister venue The Bull’s Head, just down the road (St Mary’s Row B13), hosts plenty of clubnights and gigs including one of the longest-running live reggae nights in the city (Jam Jah, Mondays, free) and a sonic showcase featuring hot new artists and DJs (Freestyle, Friday, £).
MOSELEY & KINGS HEATH
The Prince of Wales (Alcester Road B13) - is not a music venue as such but you’re likely to find regulars strumming Beatles songs on battered old acoustics out in the garden or a surprise stripped down gig taking place there, as well as the occasional festival after-party set or one-off performance. There aren’t many other drinking spots in Birmingham boasting real ales, snug rooms, a cigar hut or tiki bar complete with an extensive cocktail list either. Between them, The Fighting Cocks (Alcester Road B13), The Sun at the Station (Alcester Road B14) and Loco Lounge (Alcester Road B14) offer good pub quizzes, beer gardens and decent menus too, while coffee culture seekers might like to check out the new-ish Cafephilia (Alcester Road B13), Maison Mayci (Alcester Road B13 and Poplar Road B14), Java Lounge (Alcester Road B13) and Manic Organic Café (Poplar Road B14) for a good brew. Wanna get a tattoo, haircut or Chinese herbal remedy? Of course you do! Moseley and Kings Heath is pretty self-contained when it comes to eating and shopping - small indie clothes boutiques like People (Poplar Road B14), Benjamin’s and Top Banana (both York Road B14), plenty of decent charity shops, arts/crafts/spiritual products in Pottery & Pieces (St Marys Row, B13) and Zen (Alcester Road, B13), and music (Polar Bear, York Road B14) are all within around twenty minutes walking distance of each other. Fill your student face with food from one of the many awesome Indian or Pakistani restaurants – Kababish (Woodbridge Road, B13), Deolali (St Mary’s Row, B13) and Imlee’s (Alcester Road, B13) all come recommended (some are BYOB), or take a punt on the newly opened Tipu Sultan, sitting on the site of legendary Moseley music haunt The Jug of Ale (Alcester Road, B13). The cliché that Birmingham is a melting pot of cultures is perhaps more apparent in Moseley and Kings Heath than anywhere else in Brum. Hungry bunnies can eat Caribbean (Carib Grill, St Mary’s Row, B13), tapas at Byzantium (York Road B14) or La Plancha (Alcester Road B13), Thai at Sabai Sabai (Woodbridge Road B13), veggie at the Kitchen Garden Café (York Road B14), Moroccan at La Fibule (Woodbridge Road B13). Or if you’re feeling a bit dirty, try one of the many fast food joints littered around. Walk off your lamb bhuna in one of the many well-looked after green spaces: Kings Heath Park (entrances on Vicarage Road, Avenue Road B14), Highbury Park (entrances on Alcester Road, Moor Green Lane, Dad’s Lane
B13), Cannon Hill Park (entrances off Shutlock Lane, Russell Road B13), Moseley Bog and Swanshurst Park (entrances off Yardley Wood Road B13) or the relatively secret space of Moseley Park and Pool (pictured - entrances off Alcester Road, Salisbury Road, Chantry Road B13, £40 for yearly access) are all good for exploring, running, biking and picnics. With such a lively mix of lifestyle stuff (boring-but-essential stuff like supermarkets, garages and chemists are all here too), and a history as a base for artists (both bona fide, and piss), it’s little surprise that the areas have given birth to well-known sons, daughters and characters of all types, including Anthony Pratt (inventor of Cluedo), Mr Nima (of Nima’s Delicatessen), Toyah Wilcox, Pete the Feet, members of the bands UB40, Duran Duran, Ocean Colour Scene and The Guillemots, and Kings Heath Monkey Man. Moseley and Kings Heath aren’t quite Camden, nor are they the Northern Quarter, Stokes Croft or Temple Bar. But the areas 2 and 3 miles south of Birmingham city centre are pretty cool and charming in their own sweet ways. Just visit with an open mind. LB
Love live music? Birmingham has a lot more to offer than sprawling sit-down arena concerts. The UK’s second city has a plentiful array of music venues that you will want to pay a visit to during your time here. THE INSTITUTE The former HMV venue, in the heart of Digbeth’s seemingly never ending High Street, may have ditched its prefix earlier in the year when the chain (briefly) went under but the quality of the bands that continue to pass through its doors has been kept at a giddy high since its opening in 2010. Boasting three different rooms – The Institute, The Temple and The Library – the old building accommodates for a huge range of music lovers looking to get their sweat on at a hardcore show or prop up the bar watching the biggest chart-topping artists. 02 ACADEMY All Birmingham music purists remember the glory days of the old Carling Academy on Dale End. The smell of chlorine coming out of the vent where you had to queue for the main room gigs, the ease in which pre-pubescent youths were served beer and the obligatory after show MacDonald’s. My first ever concert was at the old Academy (Avenged Sevenfold - awesome) so it was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to it in 2009 when AMG invested £5.5 million into the new venue on Bristol Street. It may be a little further out of town now, but the bands still swarm to the Academy to play in one of three venues to more than 3,000 punters.
THE SUNFLOWER LOUNGE The Sunflower Lounge may well be one of the smallest venues in the city but this little gem has played host to some of the UK’s best and brightest indie bands, including Sheffield’s Bromhead’s Jacket and garage-punk Devonians The Computers during the past few months. It’s also a stone’s throw from New Street station, which can make for a handy getaway when you need to grab the last train home. Expect an intimate setting, a quality live sound and affordable beverages.
RAINBOW Make your way past The Institute and The Custard Factory and you’ll eventually end up at The Rainbow, an unassuming pub nestled in the heart of Digbeth with a Tardis in the front window. However, a lot like the Doctor’s time machine, it’s only when you’re inside The Rainbow – a myriad of different venues – does it reveal its’ true colours. The interconnecting Warehouse, Garden and Courtyard venues have long entertained deep-house revellers and chunky bass ravers, with the ground-breaking club night FACE, flying the flag as the pinnacle house night in the city since 2009. A band playing a half-full Warehouse gig still packs more punch than most other venues anywhere else in the country. YARDBIRD JAZZ CLUB Following on from where the Jewellery Quarter’s Jam House started off in the late nineties, The Yardbird has been the city centre’s premier jazz and soul venue since it opened its doors in early ’07. During the following half a decade it has been busy hosting some of the scene’s top musicians and creating fresh, funk-fuelled clubnights. There’s something going on pretty much every night of the week, a lot of the time for free, so there’s no excuse for not checking it out. It also happens to be one of the few places this side of Brindley Place with a large outdoor seating area where you can take your drinks when you get a sweat on from all the skanking. HARE AND HOUNDS It may be a bus-ride out of the city centre, but King Heath’s Hare and Hounds is well worth the commute. The two upstairs rooms – one slightly more intimate than the other – has proved a revelation and regularly tempts gig-goers away from their local haunts in the city. The pub downstairs isn’t too bad either, with a bountiful selection of Purity cask ales and Chesterfield sofas, you can easily get carried away indulging at the bar and accidentally miss the first support. RT 019
WHAT THE BANDS SAY... We asked some of favourite Birmingham bands where they recommend you check out during your time in the city. If you like what they say maybe you should hot-foot it down to one of the city’s venues and make sure you catch them live...
Superfood superfoodjunk.com | facebook. com/superfoodjunk I’d (Carl) drink at Sunflower Lounge. Obvs. Also i’ve been to the Rose Villa Tavern a few times recently and that’s got some ‘schweet vibes’ going on. Eat and drink at Temple Street Social cus da burgers are sooo good and they have a sick new cocktail menu (and I now work there, ha). And standard hit up the Hare & Hounds, The Victoria and The Rainbow for some bad ass gigs.
Table Scraps facebook.com/tablescrapshq Cherry Reds in Kings Heath is killer for food or drink (or both), with outside seating that everyone you have ever known in Birmingham seems to congregate. If you like chips (of course you do) go to King Kebab in Kings Heath and don’t forget to add salad and chilli sauce. For dancin’, Jack Parker’s nights at Talk are fun and cheap. His after-parties keep town going well into the night and we hear there has been free stickers. The Hare & Hounds is a big go-to for live music, Sylvain Sylvain from the New York Dolls gigging there was surreal. The two Top Bananas are the best place in Birmingham for clothes, let alone vintage, and have released all sorts of gems into the city from leather jackets to old American cheerleader uniforms. I will forever try to mash my feet into the pointy 60s sports plimsolls. Bands-wise, we’d have to champion the heavy stuff Female Smell and God Damn. 023
Silvershores facebook.com/silvershores | soundcloud.com/silvershores If you fancy a relaxing pint the Jewellery Quarter gives a chilled out break from the rammed city centre pubs and bars. The Lord Clifden has possibly the best beer garden in the City with an outdoor bar, BBQ and a range of pub games and plenty of atmosphere, not to mention monthly soul and Motown nights. The Red Lion do great burgers and tasty roasts. The Rose Villa Tavern is a good date pub and does a great quiz night. The Church has a great food, music and a brilliant roof terrace and is sooo ‘hot right now’. Despite what you may have heard, Birmingham has a brilliant and thriving music scene. Head to The Victoria for DJ’s downstairs and upstairs, live music and regular Indie nights like Come Together and Mardy Bum. The Actress & Bishop, Sunflower Lounge and Flapper have DJ’s and bands on pretty much every night of the week to see you through to the early hours of the morning. Fridays and Saturday nights at Sun On The Hill are always a good crack and if you feel the need to drink and dance till the earlier hours head to the Adam and Eve in Digbeth for an all night party!
High Horses highhorses.co.uk | facebook.com/highhorsesmusic The Post Office Vaults have some very special beers. Dancing is always good at one of the 60s soul nights at the Sun on the Hill on a Friday or at one of the Moseley Arms do’s (especially played by our very own Adam Adam). We prefer to listen to live bands at the more intimate venues such as the Hare and Hounds, The Rainbow, The Yardbird and The Glee Club. Good shopping is spread out around Brum really but shops off the beaten track like at the Custard Factory have some quirky stuff to get hold of and great food can be had at places like Bodega for south American grub, Fleet Street Kitchen at Summer Row for top nosh or the Homemade Burger Company at Brindley Place for proper meaty suppers. The canals are a great link between the cultural hotspots of the second city; including the Mailbox, St Paul’s Square, Brindley Place which offer a more relaxed way to get about the city. There is always something going on in Brum and we love being part of the city.
that see’s loads of nights put on and is available for hire. If Adam’s in say hi and ask him how his dog Buddy is for me (a regular at the rooms).
When in the town centre I try to avoid all the main bars. My favourite bar I frequent when I do stumble into town is The Wellington. It’s had a bit of a makeover from the last time I went but it still has the TV screen displaying all the best ales and ciders they have available of which they have loads. You do get a lot CAMRA types but that can only be good thing. Also if you like a game of arrows you’re in luck. If you are a band/group/vegan/ crunk DJ etc and need a place to rehearse then go to Muthers rehearsal and recording studio. We pretty much live here. There is a well stocked bar (if we have hit it, maybe not), well maintained hourly rooms and lockups available. They also have a great venue room in the back with a second bar
If you like skateboarding and great garms then it’s Ideal Skateshop. Love the guys, love the threads, love the fact that they have a mini ramp hidden out the back even if I feel a bit too old and decrepit to use it now. Also if you ever need a bit of cheering up Bobs your man… could be your uncle for that matter. Need some thumping/ thrashing/flowing/dank tunes to listen to? Milque and Mhule is run by the lovely Nathan, formerly of Tempest and Polar Bear Records. Catering for all your noise/grind/metal/punk/ post-punk needs; What this man doesn’t know about music you don’t need to know. Want clothing with a bit of history? Top Banana is full of vintage fashion. From that Fred Perry you always wanted to the 70’s dress you have to have. These guys also stock Birmingham’s very own BRUMSDALE t-shirts from the brummie design hub Urgent History. A must have classic. facebook.com/femalesmell
Where are your favourite places to go out in Birmingham? The Rainbow, Sunflower Lounge and the Adam and Eve. Great things happen at the Rainbow. Where is your favourite place to play in Birmingham? Zack’s garage. Are there any other Birmingham/West Midlands bands we should keep an eye out for? Laced are great, sort of show gaze Dinosaur Jr vibes, our friend Tom has a band called Juice. And then there’s the stuff everyone already knows about Jaws and Superfood. There’s so much great music coming out of Birmingham. facebook.com/SWIMDEEPUK 027
GAY BIRMINGHAM Many of us have been there, new city, new uni, new gay scene. It’s daunting but of course, exciting so here’s the lowdown on Birmingham’s best LGBT venues. First things first, get yourself down to Hurst Street in the city’s Southside district, this is the main street in Birmingham’s Gay Village. Taking pride on the middle of Hurst Street, is Sidewalk, a well respected favourite within the gay village. Chilled out by day, you could easily be deceived into thinking the venue follows this attitude through to the night. You couldn’t be more wrong; with dance-offs, chart music and decent drink prices, you’d think you’d fallen into camp heaven. Post partying and maybe a little hungover the next day have one of their burgers with a cheeky hair of the dog. If that’s not your thing, don’t worry, their menu is very hearty with several meat options and appetising vegetarian choices. Be sure to join your university’s LGBT group. This is like buying a ticket to three years worth of great nights out and it’s a really easy way to meet people. One of the first bar crawls I went on with my uni’s LGBT ended in the one and only Nightingale. You’re going to want to go here on a Thursday night which is dedicated to the 028
student population. You’re pretty much always guaranteed a loud, happy and tipsy crowd with three different floors offering a whole abundance of music genres, so you can take your pick. The Nightingale is also home to local drag favourite, Miss Marty, who you can catch singing all the old favourites every Thursday. If you like camping it up, which we all do sometimes, head down to The Village Inn, based near the end of Hurst Street. They play host to a whole array of different drag artists with a dedicated night to tackiness on Tuesdays, very fittingly called ‘Tacky Tuesdays.’ The Fox is a lesbian bar, located on Lower Essex Street (parallel to Hurst Street). Although aimed at the female demographic, male friends are more than welcome. With three whole happy hours everyday, where better to have a cocktail? If you’re now sitting, reading this and thinking: ‘this all sounds great, but where can I pre-drink?’ Then have no fear, the Loft Lounge is where you need to be. With delicious food (for lining your stomach, of course) and a dreamy atmosphere, the Loft Lounge is perfect for a drink with friends. So, head down to Birmingham’s local gay village and explore! Soak up the glittery atmosphere and enjoy yourself. You’ll be a local in no time. MT & KS 029
WHERE TO GO? WHERE TO AVOID?
I’ve worn many hats in my life (figuratively of course my massive head is ill suited to actual millenary). One such is of ‘Artist’, not that I don’t admire artists, even I, a mighty ninth level word paladin recognises the value of communicating without words. It’s just that I never sat well in the art world. My networking gland withers in favour of my medulanotgiveamonkeys cortex becoming raging and swollen in any situation that involved me playing nice. One of the areas of art I did end up exploring later was that of psychogeography. Basically the idea is that everybody experiences the concept of place differently, because we all have different experiences, expectations, and memory tied up in the maps of our mind. Psychogeography is an attempt to map that personal landscape. Now many of you have moved here from places rich with personal psychic landmarks, plonked bare in the middle of our magnificent city navigating the best you can with free magazines you found in the canteen because you haven’t made many friends yet. A person’s relationship to a city is by its very nature unique and the result of several factors, you’ll end up with yours after a week and it’ll be very different to the one you have at the end of your three years.
Thinking about a persons relationship with place as those with people is a handy device. If you’re anything like me the places you’ll become closest too are pubs. Consistent goto’s in a fluctuating landscape of activity, and solid rocks in an ever changing stream of possibilities.
Broad Street: The popular kid that bullied you at school but you made friends with briefly because he looked old enough to buy beer and could get you into parties to meet people drunk enough to be willing to taste your tongue. Now a Facebook friend you feel vaguely guilty for keeping because you only do it so they can see how cool you’ve become. Good for: Bovine sexuality, herd aggression, kickstarting misanthropy. Price of friendship: Lots of money (although some student nights are cheapish), dignity, clean STI record. Snobs: The friend that would be the first to get absolutely hammered. The mate that would turn an innocent barbeque in a five day pagan bonfire, a pint after work into a night spent in the cells, or a christening tea party into a trip to Vegas. No matter how drunk this guy comes alive on the dance floor, not exactly graceful but so full of joy it’s hard not to join in. Carries with him nostalgia for days gone by, that one night where you all hugged on the dance floor and sang Mr Brightside. Good for: Anthem dancing, dripping walls, no frills silliness. Price of friendship: Toxic hangover from cheap spirits and foreign energy drinks, gaps in your memory, mystery bruises.
Sunflower lounge: Your friends older brother, the one that got you into the Cramps and Smiths and ignores you if he sees you when he’s out with his mates. But still always introduces you to fantastic bands and will look after you when he finds you a little too pissed after you wandered off from your mates. Good for: Steadfast coolness, sweaty gigs, guest list nods. Price of friendship: Left hanging for a high five occasionally, half your mates will hate him. The Victoria: The friend that went to art school and spent his gap year ‘travelling’. Has a T-shirt business and enthuses about American TV box sets everyone else bangs on about too. Good for: Makes a mean cocktail, being seen, all ten fingers on the pulse. Price of friendship: Debit card regret, bar wait frustration, having to talk to the type of person that wears a pork pie hat. The Flapper: The friend that’s always there. The one that will always answer your text message ‘be there in five’. The only other person at the party as drunk as you. Good for: Long days in the sun, blurry games of pool, remembering everything up till when the headliner comes on. The price of friendship: Watching mates bands, a nasty illness from illadvised canal jumping contests. DS
MUSIC IN BIRMINGHAM Music in Birmingham. Holy cowbell - where to start? It’s difficult to summarise the colossal music offering this city has into just a thousand words or so. As with most metropolises of similar sizes, artists, scenes, labels, venues, projects, collectives, festivals, events and other parts of the great music machine here are constantly shifting, vanishing, reappearing and evolving. Popular artists and bands like Black Sabbath (blacksabbath.com), Dexys (dexysonline.com), Joan Armatrading (joanarmatrading. com) and Editors (editorsofficial. com) represent Birmingham on tours around the globe. The city’s Conservatoire (bcu. ac.uk) – one of eight in the country – consistently produces acclaimed musical talent, with alumni such as Albert Ketelby (albertketelby.org. uk), Jim Moray (jimmoray.co.uk) Laura Mvula (laura.mvula.com) and Raffertie (raffertie.com). Contemporary jazz, folk, world and roots music performances take place across the city in a variety of spaces on an almost daily basis, from a converted printworks (ortcafe.co.uk) to two of Europe’s best concert halls, Town Hall and Symphony Hall (thsh.co.uk). 032
A new generation of Birmingham-born MCs and producers, including but by no means limited to Trilla, Sox, Kelakovski, Sigmund Frued, Lady Leshurr, Sox, C4 and producer Preditah, are slowly drawing grime and hip hop away from London via online clashes, releases, collaborations, beat battles (louisden. com), showcases (facebook.com/BrumTownPresents) and leftfield nights (itsfantasticdamage.com). We have one of the world’s best orchestras in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (cbso.co.uk), and an opera company (birminghamopera.org.uk) that last year delivered the undeliverable – Stockhausen’s epic opera Mittwoch Aus Licht, which involved four actual helicopters and a dancing camel. Electronica in a multitude of forms is produced in the city; bass glitch (betabirmingham.co.uk), DnB (breakthrusound. com) and house (habitclub.co.uk), amongst the choices, with countless all-night raves and all-day sessions supporting on the live front. With one of the youngest and most diverse populations in Europe, Birmingham has a metric fuckton of incredible music taking place within its physical boundaries and online too. Some, but not all, is anchored to the city’s music heritage, which is way juicier than you might think. In the 1950s, Birmingham saw the first waves of immigrants from the Caribbean, Pakistan and India arrive. Whilst the cultural impact of the new residents would not be felt for at least another two decades, the musical traditions which travelled with them would go on to have an everlasting influence on Birmingham’s sound. The ‘Brum Beat’ scene in the early 1960s, via the chart successes of bands playing US rock n roll inspired guitar pop like The Applejacks, The Spencer Davis Group, The Moody Blues and The Move, didnt didn’t quite take off as much as it’s more popular cousin ‘Mersey Beat’, but it did give way to something bigger, darker and arguably more powerful: heavy metal.
The story goes that following a factory accident in which he lost the tips of two fingers, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi downtuned his guitar to make it easier to play. This, coupled with the band’s raw blues and pysch-rock influences plus a sombre approach to lyric writing, led to the creation of a new sound. Led Zeppelin, featuring a young singer called Robert Plant from up the road in West Bromwich were making similar noises too, followed by pioneering local outfits like Judas Priest, Godflesh and Napalm Death. It’s difficult to see how big hair guitar solos, punk, stoner rock or bands like Nirvana might have eventually come about had Birmingham or heavy metal not existed. The flipside, of course, is that we might be to blame for Nickelback. Sorry about that. And while Ozzy and co took the world by storm, another musical revolution was taking hold in their home city thanks to the influx of musical influence from the small West Indian island of Jamaica. The success of black acts like Millie Small, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker and Bob Marley helped to pave the way for ska and reggae coming out of the Midlands, with groups like the hugely influential Steel Pulse, Aswad, Beshara and UB40 burning a hole on the national music map with an baseball bat sized ital spliff. Simultaneously political and feel-good in nature, the short-lived blast of 2-Tone had roots in the city too, with chart-topping bands Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Beat flying the flag for Brum alongside same-era punk bands The Au Pairs, The Killjoys and The Prefects. We’ll also claim bhangra, thanks very much to musicians and bands – notably Balbir and Dalbir Singh Khanpur, and Malkit Singh - mixing traditional Punjabi folk music with Western instrumentation and melodies resulting in a whole new genre and eventually a golden age for ‘bhangraheads’. Yes, Birmingham is responsible for Musical Youth, Duran Duran, The Streets and Love Fungus (really!), but we did give the world ELO, Fyfe Dangerfield and Broadcast. And so what if our music heritage isn’t as well-known as perhaps that of Bristol, Manchester or Sheffield. Brum has played a central part in shaping the sounds and styles of international music genres as much as any other UK city – we just don’t shout about it that much. 034
Which is probably why the recent ‘B-Town’ phenomenon took us by surprise. In the past twelve months, Birmingham’s profile as an incubator for new music has been given a massive lift by artists, most notably the major label signed Peace (peaceforever.co.uk), Swim Deep (swim-deep. tumblr.com) and JAWS (jawsjawsjaws.com), in addition to a whole host of other bands including Troumaca (troumaca.com), Wide Eyed (www. facebook.com/YDYED), Superfood (facebook. com/superfoodjunk) and Heavy Waves (heavywaves.co.uk). What began as a term dreamt up by either a record label exec or music journalists to describe a small but vocal social group of musicians and friends - defined by the pubs, clubnights, after-hours hangouts, sounds, style and influences that bound them together has now taken on a life of its own; B-Town has become an ambiguous term for writers across media to describe guitar-orientated indie or altrock produced in the city. These days, genres like metal, reggae, punk and bhangra are very much alive and kicking in the city thanks to an established network of promoters, artists, venues, labels and fans. There’s always room for more of course, but with experienced hands like The Catapult Club (thecatapultclub. net), Friendly Fire (friendlyfiremusic.com), Punks Alive (punksalive.co.uk), SonnyJi (sonnyji.com) amongst the experimental like Capsule (capsule. org.uk), the adventurous This Is Tmrw (thisistmrw. co.uk), the curated Freestyle (facebook.com/ freestylebirmingham) and the expansive Birmingham Promoters (birminghampromoters. com) you’ve got a lot happening on the regs to get you going. Just don’t mention Jamelia. LB 035
APPS FOR STUDENT LIFE The university year is just around the corner and it’s almost time to hit the books. While being a student means that some work needs to be done, here are some apps to make your life easier and to enjoy when you just don’t feel like work - either because of the hangover or that afternoon lull.
Soundhalo Social/Music: Missed your favourite band’s latest gig? Student loan won’t quite stretch far enough? Or you simply want to share that gig with all your new friends? Soundhalo has you covered. From the stage to you, soundhalo delivers a high-quality video straight your desktop, smartphone or tablet for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home. Thom Yorke just switched his music from Spotify to soundhalo - this app is going big! Download free from soundhalo.com Shazam Social/Music: Unless you have been locked in a cave for the last decade, chances are you’ve already got Shazam or have at least heard of it. When you hear that catchy beat or those smooth lyrics in the Student Union, Cafeteria or even in the grocery aisle, if you are anything like me you will want to add it to your eclectic mix of songs and mixes you call your ITunes. Activate Shazam on your smartphone, hold it up to the speaker and let this wonderful app do the rest. As it becomes remarkably fast and accurate, Shazam is a must have for any music-loving student. Hint: Combine with a Spotify account and each tag will be automatically downloaded to your playlist for endless listening pleasure.
Mint.com Personal Finance: University has a clever way of making your money disappear - trust us on this one. So use this budgeting app to track where it is disappearing to. While managing your finances may not be the most exciting activity, at least Mint.com makes it look good with a crisp, clean interface for keeping track of your expenses and accounts. You can even get e-mail and text alerts when it’s time to pay those bills. Venmo Personal Finance: ‘It’s like Facebook and Paypal combined,’ they say. But Venmo is better than both of those things. It allows you to exchange payments with people in your social circles via your smartphone. Link it your debit card and all data is sent over a 256-bit encrypted connection and transactions are protected by the Federer Deposit Insurance Corporation. Expenses among friends are displayed in a Facebook-like stream, although if you wish you can choose to keep transactions private. The beauty of Venmo is the utter lack of drama. It only takes four clicks - including opening the app - to send or receive a payment from one of your Venmo contacts. What a great way to split the bills! IStudiez Pro Studying: When you begin university, the timetable can be dizzying. Rather than relying on your crushed-up, coffee-covered piece of paper dictating when and where your next class is, this app is a simple way to input and arrange your schedule. The app aims to be your digital student planner, letting you track which classes you’re taking, your Professor’s contact information and all your assignment due dates. It simply makes your like a whole lot easier and once you have it you’ll wonder how you lived without it! WR 037
BIRMINGHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL
3-12 October, 2013 www.birminghamliteraturefestival.org @BhamLifFest
There’s a silence every reader experiences from time-to-time. A cold silence which you sit through; frozen, passive, reflective. It’s a silence which inhabits you and renders you speechless for hours: this is the consequence faced by the reader of a good book. So many books drive us to this incredible state; they leave us fulfilled yet hungry, complete yet lost. Books give us so much, yet we take for granted their existence for our pleasure and rarely consider how they came to be. Books give us so much because someone gave us that book; its author. Without even making eye-contact with us, writers are capable of spinning us through a turmoil of emotions and set our hearts and minds racing with new thoughts and perspectives. The beauty of book festivals is that they give readers an opportunity to connect with the mind behind the literature they love so much. At the Birmingham Literature Festival, readers will have the opportunity to meet the great mind whose works have made them cry, laugh, think, and dream. This wonderful ten day event from 3-12th October 2013 will decorate Birmingham in bookish splendour with famous writers becoming the cherries to the city’s literary cake: the newly opened Library of Birmingham. 038
As bees to their hive, book lovers, as they swarm into a book festival, create the most soothing nectar to nourish a cultural community. Readers can be found sitting in the most obscure places, propped up against stone columns of the town hall or lying on the rim of the fountain in Victoria Square, all balancing a book to the most comfortable reading position they can find, disregarding any peculiar glances they receive from passers by. As music festival goers adapt their footwear to weather conditions, the bookworms adapt their bookmarks to their location: from train tickets to coffee shop receipts. This year’s Birmingham Literature Festival features an astounding collection of groundbreaking authors, including some of the most powerful and influential voices of social and cultural identity: Germaine Greer, Australian journalist and author of The Female Eunuch, poet and writer Benjamin Zephaniah (pictured) and UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Other names include Will Self, author of shortlisted The Man Booker Prize 2012 novel Umbrella, former local schoolboy and now nationally acclaimed author Jonathan Coe, New York Times bestselling author and journalist Lionel Shriver and many more. The writing community is one of the friendliest, warmest, loyal and inspirational of communities to be part of; it’s certainly easy to find yourself lost in interesting conversation with someone you’ve never met before! Book festivals brings together people who all burn with sincere passion for literature and relish in discussing it. The Birmingham Literature Festival is open to anyone, whether you’re an avid bookworm or someone who hasn’t picked up a book in years. Events aren’t lectured talks primarily focussed on authors and their work, but vary from lively discussions about literature in general, offering a fantastic insight into a writer’s thought process and opinions, to South Asian dance performance which will be used to illustrate the reading of Daljit Nagra’s Ramayana. And why should the writers have all the fun? The festival will allow everyone to pick up a pen and discover their creative self through a series of workshops such as writing horror, poetry and translating, and poetry sharing events hosted by the delightful UK Canal Laureate Jo Bell. Being home of the biggest library in Europe certainly makes Birmingham the laureate city of literature, and this year’s literature festival should mark the coronation of this wonderful city’s new crowning glory. CB 039
BIRMINGHAM FESTIVALS Festivals are a great way to mainline a whole load of culture in a fairly short space of time. Where else but a festival will you discover that esoteric music act that combines yodelling and a lot of paint that you can name drop to impress your friends who still think The Vaccines are radical. Birmingham has plenty of great cultural and music festivals throughout the year to give you a taste of the best fresh and cutting edge culture out there. 040
Fierce Festival 4 – 6 October 2013 | wearefierce.org A festival of live art, Fierce is in its 15th year and shows no sign of calming down. The best in live performances from the local area including theatre, dance, performance art, music, installations, public interventions and digital and interactive practices. They promise wild parties and agenda setting performances, so if you want to be at the forefront of the art scene in Birmingham, this is the ticket you need. As well as the main festival weekend, there are also lots of events taking place from the end of September to midOctober. Bring to Light 25 – 27 October 2013 | capsule.org.uk/project/bringtolight This festival from Capsule, the curators of Supersonic (which returns in April 2014), is part of the Discovery Season to celebrate the brand new Library of Birmingham which opened at the beginning of September. The highlight is Dinos Chapman, one half of contemporary art duo The Chapman Brothers. Now a “sonic performer”, Chapman combines experimental electronic music with videos produced to accompany his new album. Experimental, or perhaps challenging, is the watchword for all the acts appearing at Bring to Light festival. Other acts include Shangaan Electro, Josephine Foster, Masaki Batoh, Robedoor, Zomes, High Wolf, Kogumaza, Richard Dawson, Sarah Angliss, Delia Darlings and Hordes. Eye Candy Festival 31 October – 3 November 2013 | eyecandyfestival.co.uk This visual festival (pictured) looks at all things illustration, art and design. There’s a great calendar of events including live art, meet ups, interventions, a programme of talks with industry insiders and some real big hitters plus workshops to get your desire for design kick started. If you like to look at things then this is the festival for you. Check out the website for details of venues, spaces and times. Flatpack 20 – 30 March 2014 | flatpackfestival.org.uk 2014 will be the eighth year the Flatpack film festival hits Birmingham. From documentary to animation, feature length to shorts, every celluloid marvel is celebrated at Flatpack. In between now and March there are film showings and live events from the Flatpack team check out the website for more upcoming film showings and performances and ticket prices. 041
Other festivals worth a peek: Frankfurt Christmas Market 14 November – 22 December 2013 | birmingham.gov.uk/ frankfurtmarket This market (pictured above) is all about buying expensive wooden things you can’t fully identify a use for, gulping down German sausage, drinking beer outside then warming yourself up with a mug of gluhwein (hot mulled wine). A Birmingham institution. Food Festival Summer 2014 - date TBC | birminghaminternationalfoodfair. co.uk Sample great food and drink from over 140 stalls. BASS 2014 date TBC | punch-records.co.uk/tag/bass-festival BASS is the UK’s annual black music festival and the only one that commissions new music from up and coming artists each year.
Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival 4 – 6 July 2014 | mostlyjazz.co.uk This local festival is getting bigger every year, and 2013 saw a triumphant performance from Nile Rodgers. Also check out the sister festival, Moseley Folk. SWJ
THE ALTERNATIVE ARTY FRESHER’S WEEK “Down it Fresher!” they chant as you tip back a freshly ground cup of coffee at a Poetry night. You nod to a waiter as he serves you your pick-a-mix on a plate with a glass of wine as you recline on a leather sofa whilst watching a film in the Electric Cinema. During a theatrical performance you stop the performer and stand up on stage alongside them to add your twocents to the audience watching them at The Joint Stock Theatre. Let’s be honest, that doesn’t sound like a typical fresher’s week. Arts and culture is fine and dandy for those who can afford it, but you’re a freshman, and for the next few years you’ll find yourself quoting Herman Melville’s Moby Dick as you pull out your student card and explain that you have ‘little or no money in my purse’. But what if I were to tell you that this isn’t a fresher’s package for the privileged? Just because you’re strapped to a student budget for the next few years doesn’t mean arts and culture is off the cards. No indeed my friend, for I introduce you to the secret, little indie culture gems that Birmingham has to offer for you to experience an arty, alternative fresher’s fest. Need perking up? Well, The Urban Coffee Company offers the most cultural coffee experience in the city. Glorifying both Church Street and the Jewellery Quarter, these urban coffee shops, constructed of an eclectic mix of rustic, hand-made touches to steel spiral staircases and graffitied wall art, are more than mere indie hangouts supplying sugar and caffeine fixes in the form of scrumptious cupcakes and divine coffee: they’re shops which feed the culturally hungry. Spend a lunchtime chilling with your mates on a leather sofa to live acoustic music, or spend your evening indulging in poetry at one of Beatfreeks’ poetry nights, heck, even go up and perform yourself! 044
Missing your traditional Sunday dinner with the family? Start a new tradition with your university chums and see who’s the most economic student in a game of Monopoly at one of Urban’s board game Sundays Afternoon Play. With film night dinner clubs, German language sessions, daytime writing classes Pens and Gems, Bicycle club, Book club and even Feminist and Spiritualist group sessions; Urban Coffee Company is a Java fuelled friendly and cosy haven for cultural indulgences. If Urban Coffee Company isn’t fulfilling enough to your grumbling arty stomachs, then you can take a nibble at either Yorks Bakery Cafe on Newhall Street who hold monthly poetry nights and feature local artists’ work for either your perusal or your own featuring, or pop down to hear some live music at Boston Tea Party on Corporation Street. But perhaps you’re not a coffee lover and are somewhat more inclined for wining and dining? Then I would highly recommend having supper and a show at Birmingham’s Glee Club located in The Arcadian. No, this isn’t a club for giggly cheerleaders and hunky footballers, but is the heart of intimate, high quality comedy gigs and live music performances! After an evening at The Glee Club, all future fine dining experiences will pale in comparison. In the future you won’t be able to enjoy your steak burger without choking on it in hysterics
or appreciate good wine without it sputtering out of your nose thanks to your experience of dining in the presence of great comedians such as Felix Dexter, Shappi Khorsandi and Joe Lycett. Or you’ll find cheesy tortillas won’t ever taste as indulgent as they did whilst you were watching Emma’s Imagination, Luke Concannon or Boy George perform. Now we come to the ultimate cultural hangout; a place where you can begin your day browsing an art exhibition, munch on a picnic lunch in a scenic park, spend your afternoon watching a foreign film or craft making, and end the evening watching a theatre, comedy, live music without- all without leaving the building. Impossible? Such a word is forbidden in mac Birmingham, the heart of culture in the city. Not only is mac the Mary Poppins’ handbag of cultural activity, it also houses regular participatory festivals which feature clothes designing to animation workshops, singing, dancing and acting, and with a cafe, peaceful, friendly atmosphere and comfy seats it’s even a great alternative place to study! So dear Freshman I present to you the alternative arty fresher’s package: economical, enjoyable and sustainable for longer than a week. CB
IllustrATions: Louise Byng
EATING OUT Soulful and social; Brummies sure love their food. Amidst all the branded eateries a true food revolution is occurring, with independent restaurants, cafes, diners and markets capturing the true taste of the region, each in their own unique way. The mixing pot of people here makes for a city with endless choice when it comes to experiencing food, but here is some of the finest and friendliest food in the land to get your adventure started. 046
Digbeth Dining Club Every Friday a selection of the region’s finest artisan food vendors descend on Digbeth, bringing a unique atmosphere to Spot*light’s already characterful warehouse walls. The perfect place to celebrate both local food and local music, DDC harnesses the true spirit of Birmingham through its eclectic social vibrancy. Offerings include Jabberwocky’s twisted toasties, Soupremes Soulfood’s dreamy dumplings and lovely cloudlike trays of sweet deliciousness from Bourneville Waffle Company. If you’re looking for a street food fiesta to take you from eats to beats then this is for you. Fazeley Social Fazeley Social is another of Birmingham Eastside’s hidden gems. Upon first stepping through those big blue doors you will scarcely believe you are still in Digbeth; a feeling of Narnian wonder hits as an unlikely Victorian chapel opens up before your eyes. A fresh and stylish café bar with its own courtyard patio, Fazeley Social makes for the perfect place to take some time out from the pressures of studying. From veggie soups and wraps to cheese chili dogs, you can pick up their delicious daily specials for a fiver or less. Edible Eastside EE is putting inner-city agriculture onto Birmingham’s map, encouraging transformation of urban space through the simple yet important acts of growing food and making art. There is a real sense of community spirit here with anyone being able to rent a plot in order to grow, cook and eat their own fresh fodder. Regular purveyors of food and frolics, upcoming events at Edible include Rude Food Fiesta and Fierce Festival, as well as a recent project asking ‘If Digbeth was a pie, what flavour would it be?’ 047
The Warehouse Café With the student diet notoriously a disgraceful one, a trip to The Warehouse Café is good for you in more ways than one. This sustainable café is built on a tradition of delivering the best in vegetarian cooking and blends British comfort food with innovative contemporary international flavours to make food that makes you feel warm inside (case in point the Digbeth Daal). With vegan and gluten-free options available, Warehouse burgers will also tempt any carni away from their meat, guaranteed. Six Eight Kafé Cakes, cushions and coffee, this intimate little shop in Brum’s business district boasts the city’s best cup of joe. If you’re peckish they have tempting homemade sandwiches and cookies, as well as selling lovely illustrated goods. In the daytime the free wi-fi and excellent music selection make it a great place for casual meetings or catching up on some work. At night 6/8 hosts all manner of creativity within its walls; poetry nights, live jazz and Birmingham’s very own film club Inner City Reel. Bodega bar & cantina Another favourite with creative types is Bodega bar and cantina. Bringing homemade South American cuisine to the city centre, Bodega transports you 048
to a land of promise and party. Alongside burritos and nachos, delicious light bites include seafood tacos and marinated halloumi. You can also get a bodega selection for £20 to share with mates. Basement bar Sugarloaf hosts student favourite Lucha Libre, a free-entry night playing latin, soul and classic hip hop tunes. They also mix an incredible array of tequila-based cocktails. Ming Moon Buffets are a notorious student mecca; the perfect test of whether your neglected stomach will stretch as big as your voracious eyes. There are countless allyou-can-eat restaurants in Birmingham’s Chinatown, but Ming Moon offers particularly high-quality Pan Asian food, with live cooking dim sum, sushi and a rather spectacular dessert selection included in the price. Cheaper earlier in the week, this is a great place to celebrate a birthday, getting your results, or just for when you’re really really hungry. Munchies of the Bullring A Birmingham student staple is the worryingly cheap baguette bars letting you truly eat 4 less, but I would urge savvy shoppers to visit this brilliant little sandwich van down by the Rag Market. With cups of tea for 60p and generously filled breakfast baps, Munchies is the ultimate hangover cure. LB 049
WHERE TO SHOP: BIRMINGHAM Where to shop: Vintage Love the feeling of a one of a kind vintage find? Then Digbeth is the place for you! The Custard Factory is home to many independent retailers, with a special emphasis on Retro clothing. Each store focuses on a distinctive aspect of vintage style. Urban Village specialises in showcasing attire from the 1960s and 70s. Ginger Meg’s brings an element of the modern fashion world to Birmingham, with vintage inspired shoots and cat walk shows. They also host nostalgia themed events, such as tea parties. Only a stone’s throw away on Digbeth High Street is student favourite COW, selling interesting items sourced from around the world. If you have visited one of COW’s other shops throughout the country, there is still plenty to discover, as each store has its own individual take on vintage apparel. Where to shop: Luxe Are you more into designer goods than high street duds? Then stomp your expensively clad feet over to the Mailbox where you can shop a variety of well-known designer brands such as Emporio Armani, Harvey Nichols and Jaeger. If you stop over at Selfridges department store in the Bullring, you’ll be combining an exciting
high end shopping trip with a visit to a national landmark. The iconic building was designed by architecture firm Future Systems in 2003 and is synonymous with the Selfridges brand. Inside is equally as impressive, with designer brands including Alexander McQueen, Victoria Beckham and Marc Jacobs. Where to shop: Alternative If your style stands out from the crowd then the Oasis Market is the place to find individual and eye catching outfits. The alternative bazaar pride themselves on being ‘Birmingham’s only truly unique independent fashion store’. Opening with a parade down Corporation Street over forty years ago Oasis is still going strong, despite persistent rumours that they are on the verge of demolition. With its eclectic mix of shops Oasis Market can’t be beaten for diversity. If you see yourself as a bohemian, Hippy Buddy has specialised in ethically sourced clothing for thirty years. Want your own customised graffiti art apparel? Dark Arts will hand spray anything you can possibly imagine. If you feel like doing something wild and getting a piercing, then Dolly Rockers are one of the most reputable body jewellers in Birmingham. Top this off with a wide variety of alternative clothing shops and music stores. Where to shop: Old World Charm Amidst the hustle and bustle of Birmingham’s modern city centre it’s easy to forget Birmingham’s Victorian heritage. For refined sophistication find the elegant Great Western Arcade. Built in 1876, this graceful slice of old world charm houses independent boutiques and knowledgeable specialists, with a scattering of high street shops to remind you that you’re still in the 21st century. Here you’ll find men’s apparel at The Liquor Store and the most beautiful shoe stockist in Birmingham; Agnes & Norman. Where to shop: Everything ELSE Still can’t make your mind up where to spend your cash? Then you can’t go wrong with Birmingham’s signature shopping emporium Bullring. With everything from super-brand high street retailers such as Topshop and Forever 21, to Superdry, French Connection, All Saints and COS the Bullring is a modern day shopping extravaganza. Have a photo with the bronze Bull statue, or chow down at Selfridges’ famous food hall. With access to the main High Street and New Street, you are in close proximity to other big names like Primark and Waterstones (you do need to spend some of that loan on books you know), as well as an assortment of independent cafes to enjoy a cup of coffee and to rest your weary feet at the end of the day. SL 051
MENSWEAR IN THE CITY Recent years have seen a boom in great, new menswear retailers in the city. Menâ€™s fashion is a diverse world, and guys are more brand savvy than ever before. The market has thankfully reacted to this, offering greater range and price than we have been used to. Here is our pick of some of the best places to shop, a little off the beaten track, independent and that offer something different from the high street. Liquor Store Stocking a mix of heritage and next generation brands, including but not limited to APC, YMC, Oliver Spencer and Levis, the store is a great mix of classic, modern and timeless pieces with great prices and fantastic staff that will take the time to get to know you and your needs. Denim is a specialty here, and the store prides itself on being the cityâ€™s top destination for jeans, with a wall being devoted to an array of brands, many of which cannot be purchased anywhere else in the city (Edwin, Nudie Jeans and APC denim).
Urban Village All products at Urban Village are Grade A vintage, sourced from suppliers around the world and the store and its staff live the
1960s lifestyle as well as wearing it. Cool, laidback and one of a kind, it is a great place to go to pick up one off pieces at crazy low prices. This season, for men, there is an emphasis on 60s mod tailoring and a fantastic range of Italian polos and knits which will have you looking like you have stepped straight off the screen from a vintage movie. The Candy Store This is the place to go for young, street looks at a student friendly price point. A unique endeavor, built as a tranquil place for guys to go to, The Candy Store stock many designers that are only available online and certainly not anywhere else in the city. Rascals, Supra, 10 Deep and Diamond Supply Company are just a couple of the exclusive names. Atoo Menswear Hidden away on Ethel Street in the city centre, it is another haven of great designer brands and the place to go to when you want to be wearing something that some other guy doesnâ€™t have on too. Everything is limited in quality, ensuring exclusivity for the achingly cool. If you are really into brands, you will love A Too, as they have Jean Machine, Comme des Garcons and a whole league of other big names that live that simple, clean, alternative and fresh look that is so hard to find. TH
NO WAY BACK No Way Back is a Birmingham based clothing brand offering a range of limited edition, hand-printed, ethically sourced t-shirts and sweatshirts. Helen and Chris created the brand from a mutual passion for music and design. Helen (AKA The Lovely Helen) has DJ’d up and down the country and had a residency at the legendary Birmingham club, Wobble. Her background in fashion retail and her love of music led her to set up No Way Back with Chris - a graphic designer and artist. No Way Back’s top 3 Birmingham must visits: The Rainbow, Digbeth - one of the finest venues for all that is happening in the underground dance scene. Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath - a fantastic venue showcasing an eclectic mix of live acts and DJs – often a rare chance to see big names in an intimate venue. The Plough, Harborne - always great food and atmosphere. Check out their 2 4 1’s on Mondays and Tuesdays. Visit No Way Back’s website at nowaybackstore.co.uk or follow them on facebook.com/NoWayBackStore. If you are interested in fashion and design their Pinterest board is full of cool stuff: pinterest.com/nowaybackstore. No Way Back’s blog regularly updates on all the cool happenings in Birmingham and beyond. They also post regular mixes and design/art/music related niceties.
WIN £150 in vouchers Tell us which club did Helen DJ in? Send your answer along with your name, address and date of birth to competitions@fusedmagazine. com. Deadline for entry is the 18th October, 2013.
FASHION&SHOPPING ASH Wedges BrandAlley.co.uk £85
New Look £45.99
iPhone Case £19.99
iPad Case £34.99
New Look £54.99
New Look £19.99 Superdry £99.99
New Look £49.99
Troumaca - The Grace, out now
Ted Baker, £4.10 each
Rocawear NIKE Air Max £95 yukka.co.uk
BIRMINGHAM REP If you love the theatre, Autumn is a great time to be in Birmingham. After closing over two years ago, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre (or REP) has finally reopened its doors alongside the launch of the new Library of Birmingham. It’s hard to believe that the iconic theatre has been closed for so long; the REP has kept audiences ticking over by producing work for various venues across Birmingham. Even so, the city hasn’t been the same without the REP and it will be good to have it back. The new REP The new building includes the same main theatre (now called ‘The House’), and a new 300 seat studio theatre (‘The Studio’) which is shared with the Library of Birmingham. It is hoped this new shared space will enable more productions and open up more opportunities for collaboration. The Door is still there and will continue to be the place for smaller productions and workshops. The House opened on 3 September showing ‘People’, a new comedy by Alan Bennett. On 12 September The Studio will open with The Legend of Mike Smith, the new production by the award winning jazz rapper and adopted Brummie Soweto Kinch. The Legend of Mike Smith The Legend of Mike Smith is both an album and a production. Soweto has toured the country already with performances, but the theatrical piece was premiered at The Studio at the REP. The album is an epic 40 tracks and tells the story of a young MC and his struggles with vice and temptation, told through the seven deadly sins. The standout track is the rap Invidia, which The Guardian have described as ’a lasting 21st Century recession anthem’. The question ‘when will I be getting mine’, asked repeatedly with a tangible frustration that most can relate to. 056
The theatrical performance sees Soweto’s brother Toyin OmariKinch in the lead role, with choreography from Jonzi D and Soweto’s unique combination of jazz and hip-hop with interpolations of classical. Soweto says: “This concept really allowed me to push myself to stylistic extremes, light years outside of my comfort zone. This project represents the first time I’ve fully been able to integrate my loves of jazz, hip hop and theatre.
“Many of my albums have had narrative qualities yet working with Jonzi, dancers and musicians in this way has allowed me to really expand these ideas and pushed me in a new and exciting direction”. The Legend of Mike Smith at The Studio, Birmingham REP 12-28 September. Tickets £10-£15 (concessions available) www.birmingham-rep. co.uk / 0121 236 4455. KP
WIN PALLADIUM LTD EDITION BOOTS
Launching in early September, these limited edition boots feature premium suede leather uppers in a unique camouflage pattern created by renowned Japanese designer Sk8thing, best known for his work with street wear legends including Billionaire Boys Club, Bape and Hiroshi Fujiwara. The boots bare the BBC logo, laser-etched onto a leather patch on the tongue, as well as the brand’s astronaut mascot, imprinted on the boot’s interior footbed. Palladium’s signature rubber outsoles, combined with cushioned sock liners, offer durability and a comfortable stepping ground. The Palladium x Billionaire Boys Club capsule will be available on September at www.palladiumboots.com and select Palladium retailers… HOW TO ENTER We have a pair to giveaway. To be in for a chance of winning just tell us: In what year was the Palladium boot launched? Send your answer along with your name, address, date of birth and shoe size to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for entry is the 18th October, 2013. About Palladium Palladium was founded in 1920 to make aircraft tires for the aviation industry. In 1947, after the end of WWII saw demand for tires dry up, Palladium put their canvas and rubber expertise to use by making boots that were as hard wearing as their tires. Palladium soon became outfitters of the legendary French Foreign Legion with their classic canvas Pampa boot. Over 60 years later the timeless design of Palladium’s signature Pampa boot is as relevant as ever and available once again for explorers worldwide. For further information, please visit www. palladiumboots.com. 058
WIN RUNNER RUNNER MERCH Richie (Justin Timberlake), a Princeton college student who pays for school with online gambling, bottoms out and travels to Costa Rica to confront the mastermind, Ivan (Ben Affleck), whom he believes has swindled him. Ivan sees a kindred spirit in Richie and brings the younger man into his operation. When Richie comes to fully understand the deviousness of his new boss, he tries to turn the tables on him. HOW TO ENTER To celebrate the release of the thrilling Runner Runner on 27th September, starring Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck and Gemma Arterton, we have some fantastic merchandise available including: A Bottle Opener A Credit Card Case Sunglasses A T-Shirt Poker Chip USB To be in for a chance of winning just tell us: In what state is Princeton college? Send your answer along with your name, address and date of birth to email@example.com. Deadline for entry is the 18th October, 2013. 059
CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF SOUL
This AW13, the iconic Northern Soul brand, Gabicci proudly celebrate their 40th year in business, since opening their basement door in Maddox St. London back in 1973. To mark the occasion the brand have gone back to its roots and unearthed the archive design books from the very beginning. In addition, to mark this incredible milestone, the brand has also produced a limited edition archive collection with the legendary DJ, Norman Jay MBE, to create a very unique collection that reflects his personal and nostalgic memories of the brand. This exclusive collection features all of the original and iconic detailing you would expect from a signature Gabicci piece, defining their look throughout the 70’s and 80’s. Suede panelling, heavy knitwear and gold detailing feature 060
the heavy Gold ‘G’ that remains such an iconic symbol in so many circles today. This soulful look is as strong as ever today, with a new generation seeking out heritage brands to fulfil revival trends. Following in the footsteps of the mods, rude boys, suede heads, Rasta’s, northern soul and acid jazz boys, demand for the brand is at an all time high. As part of there 40th year celebrations Gabicci have given us a selection of clothes to give away so you can be the sharpest dressed fresher in town. HOW TO ENTER
heavily with a smart casual nod to Northern Soul. To complete the look each piece comes with special labelling and Norman’s signature embossed on every hang tag. The definitive Gabicci ‘look’ incorporates Italian inspired styling with an air of authority and class. Attention to detail and originality is always at the forefront of every collection. Loved for unique fabrics, buttons and most significantly
To be in for a chance of winning just tell us: What is the name of the London Street where the Gabicci brand started? Send your answer along with your name, address, date of birth and size (S, M, L) to competitions@ fusedmagazine.com. Deadline for entry is the 18th October, 2013. 061
eyecandyfestival.co.uk | @eyecandyfest
31 October - 3 November, 2013
Venue Directory BARS/CLUBS/MUSIC VENUES Actress & Bishop 36, Ludgate Hill, B3 1EH Bodega 12 Bennetts Hill, B2 5RS bodegabirmingham.co.uk The Brown Lion 18 Hall Street, B18 6BS BULLS HEAD 23, St. Marys Row, Moseley, B13 8HW bullsheadmoseley.co.uk Cherry Reds 16 York Rd, B14 7RZ cherryreds.com The Fighting Cocks 1 St Mary’s Row, B13 8HW thefightingcocksmoseley. co.uk The Flapper Kingston Row, B1 2NU Fleet Street Kitchen Islington Gates, Summerrow, B3 1JH fleetstreetkitchen.co.uk The Fox Bar 17 Lower Essex Street, B5 6SN
The Glee Club The Arcadian, B5 4TD glee.co.uk
Post Office Vaults 84 New St, B2 4BA postofficevaults.co.uk
HARE AND HOUNDS 106 High Street, Kings Heath hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk
The Prince of Wales 118 Alcester Road, B13 8EE theprincemoseley.co.uk
Institute 78 Digbeth High St hmvinstitute.com
The Rainbow Venues 160 Digbeth High Street therainbowvenues.co.uk
The Lord Clifden 34 Great Hampton Street, B18 6AA thelordclifden.com Muthers 14 Rea Street South, B5 6LB muthersstudio.co.uk O2 Academy 16-18, Horsefair Bristol St, B1 1DB o2academybirmingham. co.uk The Old Crown 188 Digbeth High Street theoldcrown.com Patrick Kavanagh 142 Trafalgar Rd, B13 8BX
The Red Lion 95 Warstone Lane, B18 6NG theredlionbirmingham. com The Rose Villa Tavern 172 Warstone Lane, B18 6JW therosevillatavern.co.uk Snobs 29 Paradise Circus Queensway, B1 2BJ snobsnightclub.co.uk Spotlight Unit 2 Lower Trinity Street facebook.com/spotlightdigbeth
RETAIL Atoo Menswear 11 Ethel Street, B2 4BG atoo.co.uk The Bench The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, B9 4AA thebench504.com
ART GALLERIES Birmingham B2 5HU liquorstoreclothing.com Mailbox 61 Wharfside Street, B1 1RD mailboxlife.com
The Bullring Birmingham, B5 4BU bullring.co.uk
Milque and Mhule The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, B9 4AA milqueandmuhle.co.uk
The Candy Store 16 Lower Temple Street, B2 4JD thecandystoreclothing. com
Oasis Market 110-114 Corporation Street, B4 6SX theoasisfashionstore. co.uk
Clements & Church 22 Church Street, B3 2NP www.clementsandchurch.co.uk
People 50 Poplar Road, B14 7AG thepeopleshop.co.uk
Great Western Arcade Colmore Row, B2 5HU greatwesternarcade. co.uk Ideal The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, B9 4AA idealbirmingham.co.uk Liquor Store Great Western Arcade, 064
PROVIDE The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, B9 4AA provideshop.com Stag Barbers The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, B9 4AA Top Banana 14 York Road, B14 Urban Village The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, B9 4AA
A3 Project Space 2 Bowyer Street, B10 0SA a3projectspace.org Barber Institute Univeristy of Birmingham, B15 2TS barber.org.uk BM&G Chamberlain Square, B3 3DH bmag.org.uk CUSTARD FACTORY Gibb Street, B9 4AA custardfactory.co.uk The Drum 144 Potters Lane, Aston, B6 4UU the-drum.org.uk EASTSIDE PROJECTS 86 Heath Mill Lane, B9 4AR eastsideprojects.org Grand Union 19 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, B5 5RS grand-union.org.uk THE HERBERT Jordan Well, Coventry, CV1 5QP theherbert.org
Ikon Gallery Oozells Square, B1 2HS ikon-gallery.co.uk The Lighthouse The Chubb Building, Fryer Street, WV1 1HT light-house.co.uk MAC Cannon Hill Park macarts.co.uk Museum of the Jewellery Quarter 75-80 Vyse Street, B18 6HA bmag.org.uk/museumof-the-jewellery-quarter Pen Museum Argent Centre, 60 Frederick Street, B1 3HS penroom.co.uk The Public New Street, West Bromwich B70 7PG thepublic.com St Paulâ€™s Gallery 94-108 Northwood Street, B3 1TH stpaulsgallery.com Stryx 13 Minerva Works, 158
Fazeley St, B5 5RS stryx.co.uk
Street, B18 6AD blueorangetheatre.co.uk
Vivid Projects 16 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley St, B5 5RS vividprojects.org.uk
HALL GREEN LITTLE THEATRE Pemberley Road, Acocks Green, B27 7RY hglt.co.uk
WARWICK ARTS CENTRE University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry CV4 7AL warwickartscentre. co.uk Wolverhampton Art Gallery Lichfield St, WV1 1DU wolverhamptonart. org.uk
THEATRE VENUES AE HARRIS 110 Northwood Street, B3 1SZ aeharrisvenue.co.uk BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME Hurst Street, B5 4TB birminghamhippodrome.com
NEW Alexandra Theatre Station St, Birmingham alexandratheatre.org.uk CRESCENT THEATRE Sheepcote Street, B16 8AE The Old Joint Stock Pub and Theatre 4 Temple Row West, B2 5NY oldjointstocktheatre. co.uk THE OLD REP Station Street, B5 4DY oldreptheatre.org.uk RSC Waterside, Stratfordupon-Avon, CV37 6BB rsc.org.uk
BLUE ORANGE THEATRE 118 Great Hampton 065
Trinity Street, B9 4AG digbethdiningclub.co.uk
Edible Eastside Warwick Bar, 122 Fazeley Street, B5 5RS edibleeastside.net
Ming Moon 16 Hurst Street, B5 4BN mingmoon.co.uk
Fazeley Social 191 Fazeley Street, B5 5SE fazeleystudios.com
Munchies of the Bullring Outside St. Martin’s Market, B5 4QL
Java Lounge 115 Alcester Road, B13 8DD javaloungecoffee.com
ORT CAFE Moseley Road ortcafe.co.uk
FOOD Best Baguette 180 Digbeth High Street Boston Tea Party 190 Corporation Street, B4 6QD bostonteaparty.co.uk BODEGA 12 Bennett’s Hill, B2 5 bodegabirmingham. co.uk Blue Marlin 26 Coventry Road Brewsmiths Coffee & Tea Unit 16, Queensway Arches, B3 1EU facebook.com/ brewsmiths Cafephilia Alcester Road B13 Deli Heaven 22 Caroline Street, B1 3UE deliheaven.vpweb. co.uk/ Digbeth Dining Club Spot*light, Unit 2 Lower 066
Kitchen Garden Café 17 York Road, B14 7SA kitchengardencafe. co.uk Loco Lounge 32-34 Kings Heath High Street, B14 7JT thelounges.co.uk Maison Mayci 148 Alcester Road B13 & 8 Poplar Road B14 mayci.co.uk Manic Organic Café 46 Poplar Road, B14 7AG
Six Eight Kafé 6/8 Temple Row, B2 5HG sixeightkafe.co.uk Urban Coffee Co 30 Church St, B3 2NP urbancoffee.co.uk The Warehouse Café 54-57 Allison Street, B5 5TH thewarehousecafe.com Yorks Bakery 1 Newhall Street yorksbakerycafe.co.uk