AREA GUIDE Food & Drink issue 2015

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BHAM INDIE FOOD FAIR Pages 5-28 Editors: David O’Coy & Kerry Thomas | @davefused | @kerryfused Writers: Gemma Corden, Laura Creaven, Paula Dunne, Heidi Murphy, Vicky Osgood, Kimberley Owen, Jennie Sandford, Duncan Stanley, Ross Timms Cover Image: Courtesy of Spice Kitchen, Content Image: Courtesy of Birmingham Independent Food Fair

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AREA Culture Guide tel: 01384 837 362 @areaguide / @fusedmagazine 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 2015 © Area Culture Guide 2015. 03


A year is a long time. Especially in the Birmingham food scene. Since 2014’s food fair, the city’s appetite has evolved and expanded, with many new trends, tastes and traders taking the stage.

Image credit: Matthew Grocoot

Street food has gone from a novelty to a way of life. But it’s not just about burgers and pulled pork anymore. Birmingham’s street diners now demand the exotic.


This year at Millennium Point, food fair visitors will be taking a trip around the world - no passports required. All you need is your tastebuds to enjoy street food dishes from Malaysia, Morocco, Spain, Jamaica and the American South. And who foretold the rise of gin? The vintage spirit is now quite literally the toast of the town. Enter The Jekyll and Hyde, hosts of our Gin Garden, where you can explore a whole range of popular and emerging gins. Local producers will be showcasing handmade chocolate and artisan bakery, while independent restaurants will cook up French, Chinese and Indian food. We’ve got milkshakes, fresh juices, ice cream and more sweet treats, plus a grassy outdoor picnic lawn perfect for relaxing, eating and enjoying the live entertainment. You’ll also find a Craft Beer Bar by The Cellar Door, wines from Loki Wine and a few special treats for cocktail lovers.

Ahmed Ahmed Editor, Dine Birmingham

Get tickets to Birmingham Independent Food Fair at 05


FOOD FAIR DIRECTORY Turn up hungry and with plenty of time to spare! The 2015 festival has something for all tastes. Look out for Japanese crepes, Turkish flatbreads, gourmet mac and cheese and flavoured vodka. As well as a range of exotic and unusual treats to try, all the old favourites will be there, with sizzling paella, craft beer and fine wine all on the menu.

THE JEKYLL & HYDE GIN GARDEN Birmingham’s gin specialist showcases a range of gins THE CELLAR DOOR - CRAFT BEER BAR Craft beer and real ale from the Midlands and beyond

BAR - first floor gallery

AL FRESCO BAR - outdoor picnic park

Vegans and vegetarians will find plenty to choose from, while a broad range of juices, milkshakes and non-alcoholic drinks means everyone can get in on the action.

LOKI WINE Fine wines and tasting masterclasses JELLEY’S VODKA English vodka infused with elderflower U-JUICE Freshly blended, health-inspired juices


ALL GREEK DELI An authentic range of Greek produce and snacks LEWIS’S DELI Italian aperitivi matched with drinks PIP’S HOT SAUCE Spicy chilli sauces made to original recipes SPICE KITCHEN Expertly blended spice mixes VINATASTY Vietnamese snacks and produce

DESSERTS - ground floor atrium

DELI - ground floor atrium


BAKE Handmade cakes and baked goods CENTENARY LOUNGE Cakes and other cafe treats HENLEY CHOCOLATES Handmade chocolate boxes, bars, truffles and gifts KIMMIE’S KITCHEN Home baked cakes and sweet treats KNEAL’S CHOCOLATES Chocolates, sea salt caramels, truffles, bars, mini bars MRS MILLS MAKES CAKES Granola bars, salted caramel brownies, lemon posset, carrot cake and fruit cake 07

HOT DRINKS - second floor gallery


QUARTER HORSE COFFEE Artisan roasted coffee beans quarterhorsecoffee. com SIX EIGHT KAFE Independent coffee shop and pop-up venue

RESTAURANTS & HOT FOOD - ground floor atrium


AMANTIA Spanish tapas from the family-run restaurant CHUNG YING CANTONESE RESTAURANT A range of dim sum and hot noodle dishes CLAUDIA’S KITCHEN Jerk pork scratchings, Caribbean curry goat, rice and peas GREENS VEGAN CATERING Delicious range of 100% vegan dishes THE HORSESHOE Authentic Indian hot dishes LE TRUC CAFE French-inspired hot food including braised pig cheeks MRS PATEL’S Chicken, lamb and chickpea curry, tikka wraps and chaat VIVAANTA Spicy seafood dishes inspired by Indian cuisine WRAPCHIC Mexican burritos with Indian fillings






outdoor picnic park JAMROCK Sweet chilli chicken, lager and jerk pork burgers, homemade coleslaw

THE PENANG LAKSA CO Laksa (spicy noodle soup), mee rebus (noodle dish) and pad thai.

KURBSIDE KITCHEN Chilli meat and burger dishes

PLATINUM PANCAKES Freshly made crepes topped with chocolate sauce and more (pictured below)

MOORISH BAR Middle-Eastern treats including falafel wraps, meat pastries and Moroccan salad PAN PIANO Chargrilled fresh flatbreads topped with feta, meatballs, pomegranate, halloumi and more


THAI MINI KITCHEN Thai rice and noodle dishes

MAMA ETI’S Indonesian curries, nasi goreng (fried rice), spice pastes and sauces NIBBLES CORNER Gourmet mac and cheese with locallysourced cheese and luxury toppings PENANG ISLAND CAFE Malaysian barbecue satay, noodle dishes and desserts SPEEDOUGH Classic pizzas made with homemade dough and fresh ingredients

SHAKE THAT TING Fruit smoothies, milkshakes, popping candy and ice cream TAMA CREPE Japanese-style crepes filled with savoury (meat, salad) or sweet (fresh fruit, whipped cream) THE INDIAN RASOI Punjabi street food including chicken and lamb tikka chaat (marinated in home-mixed spices) THE VEGAN GRINDHOUSE Range of 100% veggie-friendly street food mains and desserts (pictured left)



CRAVE DE TASTE Caribbean-influenced cuisine catering for vegetarians and meat eaters

FYBIN & LOIN Street food inspired by British classics and fine dining PAELLA PAELLA Authentic Spanish paella al fresco THE SOUTHERN OVEN Cajun jambalaya, sweet iced tea, pralines and po’boys (Louisiana sandwiches).


Entrance from car park





Check in here



Food Fair Map


Second floor gallery

Ground floor atrium



First floor gallery

Street food

Main Entrance



Al fresco bar


Demo kitchen

Picnic Park



AT THE INDEPENDENT FOOD FAIR Here’s your chance to dive deeper into your favourite food or drink! We’ve rounded up some of Birmingham’s best experts for a series of masterclasses exploring everything from craft beer to chocolate, from wine to gin. See one that takes your fancy? You can book your place when buying your tickets to the food fair. 014


GIN-TRODUCTIONS: GETTING TO KNOW GIN (WITH CARL HAWKINS) Saturday 12th, 2.00pm / Sunday 13th, 2.00pm £12.00 Gin is a glorious spirit! Join Carl ‘Gintleman’ Hawkins (pictured) - one of Birmingham’s master mixologists - for a tasting of special gins. You’ll also learn a bit of light-hearted history and background to the vintage drink. (3 gins, 45 mins) CHOCOLATE TASTING (WITH KNEALS CHOCOLATES) Saturday 12th, 12.30pm / Sunday 13th, 12.30pm £7.50 Award winning local chocolatier Kneals Chocolates returns to the fair for a second year with a chocolate tasting masterclass. Join Neil Hughes to taste through a series of hand-crafted chocolates and learn how the delicious treat is made. (45 mins) BEERS BOOT CAMP (WITH DAVID SHIPMAN) Saturday 12th, 2.00pm / Sunday 13th, 2.00pm £7.50 Get a liquid education with four beers selected to explore the four main ingredients used in brewing beer - water, malt, hops and yeast. David Shipman (Birmingham Beer Bash, Otherton Ales) explains the brewing process and how each ingredient adds to the finished product. (4 beers, 45 mins) 015


STREET FOOD: HOW TO SET UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS (WITH NCASS) Saturday 12th, 4.00pm / Sunday 13th, 3.30pm £5.00 Could you take your food to market? NCASS, the association with 28 years’ experience in mobile catering, are giving a tutorial for just £5 (normally £150). Learn how to set up and succeed in street food. (Talk, 45 mins) WINE FOR BEGINNERS: HOW TO TASTE WINE LIKE A PRO (WITH LOKI WINE) Saturday 12th, 1.00pm / Sunday 13th, 1.00pm £5.00 Everything you wanted to know about wine, but were too afraid to ask! Loki Wine, Birmingham’s premier wine retailer, will take you through three wines and give you the knowledge to examine, taste and judge wine like a pro. (3 wines, 45 mins) WINE FOR ADVENTURERS: IF YOU LIKE THIS, TRY... (WITH LOKI WINE) Saturday 12th, 4.00pm / Sunday 13th, 3.30pm £7.50 Bored of Merlot and Chardonnay? Try something new! Loki Wine guides you through a tasting of unusual alternatives to everyday picks. Add new wines to your repertoire and escape the cycle of repeat-buying the same old bottles. (3 wines, 45 mins)

HOW TO BOOK INTO A TASTING OR TALK Book your food fair tickets online and when you get to the checkout, look at ‘Additional Items’ and select the session or sessions you want. Easy! 017


MEET THE PARTNERS This year, Birmingham Independent Food Fair has teamed up with several brands and organisations, all of whom are helping to make the event a success. Get to know our key supporters over the next few pages‌ CELLAR DOOR Cellar Door Drinks is an independent drinks shop and tasting room on Clarence Rd in Four Oaks. Look out for their Craft Beer Bar at Birmingham Independent Food Fair. Run by Simon Clarke and Jen Saunders, the shop specialises in gin and craft beer with a sharp focus on stocking products from innovative independent producers. Their well-curated range of craft beer features brews from all over the world, with exciting beers from UK producers and emerging regions for craft beer like Italy and Japan. They also offer brewery-fresh cask ale, craft beer on tap and draught scrumpy cider from their chilled cellar. You can simply swing by, taste what’s on, fill your flagon and take it home. Check out their tasting events every week including Gin Masterclasses, Meet the Brewer and World Whisky. 019


THE JEKYLL AND HYDE The Jekyll and Hyde is home to over 90 of the finest global gins. Make sure to visit their outdoor Gin Garden at Birmingham Independent Food Fair. Located within the Colmore Business District, The Jekyll and Hyde is an old boozer on Steelhouse Lane was taken over in 2009 by Bitters n’ Twisted, the people already behind Birmingham venues Island and The Victoria (alongside Bodega, The Rose Villa Tavern, The New Inn and Marmalade). After a renovation, a new menu and a big dash of imagination, The Jekyll & Hyde was born. They offer a wide range of drinks, from the classic G&T to a cocktail menu of inventive concoctions – served alongside a fresh, homemade food menu. Living up to its name the venue has two personalities – Mr. Hyde’s Main Bar and Dr. Jekyll’s Gin Parlour. Then there’s the Wonderland Courtyard – an intriguing city centre hideaway...

SIX EIGHT KAFE Six Eight Kafe is a legendary independent coffee shop, with branches on Temple Row and in Millennium Point. Check out their coffee and barista skills at Birmingham Independent Food Fair. Founded by Devinder Dhallu in January 2011, Six Eight Kafe have built a reputation purveyors of fine coffee and was named as one of the UK’s top 50 coffee shops by The Independent in 2013. They were also voted Best Coffee In Birmingham (2014) and have reached the semi-finals of the U.K. Barista Championships twice. The cafe expanded into the arena of fine food earlier this year with a series of restaurant pop-ups by guest chefs including Niki Astley of Two Cats Kitchen. During the food festival, Six Eight Kafe will be serving up fresh coffee and hot drinks on the second floor of Millennium Point, as well as showing off the barista skills that make them famous. 021


FOODCYCLE FoodCycle Birmingham works in partnership with Birmingham Settlement to provide a weekly community meal every Sunday. They will be collecting food donations and signing up volunteers at Birmingham Independent Food Fair. FoodCycle volunteers create delicious three-course meals from food that would otherwise have been wasted, to help vulnerable people and bring our community together. They’re always looking for helping hands to come along, and everyone is welcome to get stuck in, no matter what your ability in the kitchen! They’re also on the lookout for new Hub Leaders to join the FoodCycle Birmingham team, helping to not only run the weekly cooking sessions but also taking the lead in managing all aspects of the FoodCycle Hub, from co-ordinating other volunteers, managing relationships with food donors, and community fundraising, to community engagement, marketing, PR and social media. 022

VISIT BIRMINGHAM Visit Birmingham is the city’s official leisure tourism programme, part of Marketing Birmingham’s destination marketing strategy. As one of the top visitor cities in the UK, attracting 34 million visitors a year, Birmingham is a must-visit leisure destination for all. This autumn is set to be of the city’s busiest and most exciting periods in recent history. New or revamped schemes will launch, including the £600 million New Street Station transport hub. And 2015 marks major cultural milestones in Birmingham, including the 25th anniversary of Birmingham Royal Ballet and the tercentenary of Birmingham Cathedral. Birmingham has a growing reputation as a food lover’s haven, with nearly 60% of visitors making their way to the city each year to experience its unique gastronomic offering. With an award-winning street food scene and a plethora of independent festivals and markets, Birmingham’s culinary credentials are now more exciting than ever.


BIG LOTTERY FUND The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. They are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invest over ÂŁ650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004 they have awarded over ÂŁ8 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.


CHEF DEMO KITCHEN Housed in a marquee on the front lawn, the FoodCycle Demo Kitchen will feature a series of cooking demonstrations and activities, hosted by local business champion Vicky Osgood (pictured inset). A popular face around Birmingham, Vicky is known for her exuberant personality and support for the city’s independent cafes, bars and restaurants. She recently launched Brumderland, a new lifestyle and events blog devoted to celebrating ‘the wonderland of Birmingham’. Vicky will be introducing and presenting the various cooking demonstrations planned for the Chef Demo Kitchen at Birmingham Independent Food Fair. “Birmingham Independent Food Fair is a unique event as it focuses on the

heart and soul of the foodie scene. The places that you just can’t get anywhere else.” Comments Vicky. “Birmingham is an exciting place to be. Our chefs are fearless, the choice of cuisines available is bountiful and our foodie heritage cannot be denied.” FIGHTING FOOD WASTE The demo kitchen is in collaboration with FoodCycle Birmingham, the charity that combats food waste by cooking community meals for vulnerable people, with food that would have been thrown away unnecessarily. Find their stand within the marquee on the front lawn, where you can learn more, donate food and volunteer to help out in their kitchens.



BEARWOOD PANTRY | @Bearwoodpantry Fair priced milk for farmers hit the headlines recently, and as consumers we are increasingly being asked to be aware of where our supermarket purchased produce comes from and whether it is being sourced fairly. The team at Bearwood Pantry had this on their mind for some time and decided to do something about it. One of its founder members, Jennie, tells us more... Describing the Bearwood Pantry to people sometimes leads to puzzled looks. It’s not a hard concept to grasp but perhaps people think ‘why bother?’. Let me explain why we bother. Put simply, the Bearwood Pantry is a food buying group. We have a great relationship with a cooperative of farmers and producers in Herefordshire. Our members order food online or by email every week and all the food is delivered to one of our houses in Bearwood by organic farmer and all round food hero Simon Cutter of Model Farm (, to be collected by members in a matter of hours. If most of your food comes from a supermarket this might seem a bit of a faff. But if you want to make informed, sustainable decisions about the food you eat - where it comes from, how it’s treated, how it gets to your door - you could easily form your own buying group. It’s so simple and so rewarding, we think everyone should try it! 029

We started Bearwood Pantry five years ago. A group of women: Erin, Mel, Jo and me, Jennie, struggling to find the sort of food we wanted to buy on our High Street and sick of trudging round supermarkets searching for overpriced ‘organic’ food. We talked about finding ethically produced and traded food. We were keen to support sustainable farming methods and lower our carbon impact too, all worthy goals, but more than anything we wanted to create a community around food. What we’ve built is something social and importantly for us, affordable. A weekly, multi-generational gathering where we can catch up with neighbours while the kids play, all focussed on wholesome food, bought at a discounted price, direct from the producers. As well as Simon’s Model Farm, over the years we’ve discovered many interesting producers who share our values and maybe even our slightly chaotic natures. People like Albert Smith (, Birmingham’s much loved South African baking comedian and producer of the most authentic street food we’ve experienced; Martin and Maggie of Mother’s Garden (, who produce arbequina olive oil with a village cooperative in the mountains of Catalonia; and experimental grocer Kate Rich of Feral Trade ( - a global trading network working with people’s incidental carrying power, lugging highly addictive coffee across borders in rucksacks and suitcases.

We’ve also brought our own unique take on food to many events around Brum. We’ve made ‘glory hole pies’ for food provocateurs Companis and their Rude Food Fiesta. We’ve sold salads of epic proportions at the Bearwood Shuffle and cakes and bakes at Edible Eastside. And then last year we hosted the first Bearwood Food Festival. We gave ourselves six weeks to organise a food festival from scratch and somehow pulled it off! Even we were surprised by how quickly momentum grew. We wanted to celebrate our community’s diversity and togetherness through a shared love of edible goodness. We had hot food stalls, wine importers, local traders, home bakers and artisan producers as well as a food swap and recipe collection. We welcomed the local food bank and persuaded musicians to pitch up and create a truly wonderful atmosphere. We set up a vast communal table, opened the doors and the crowds kept coming all day. And so, we’re now planning our next event. We’re not part of the current street food scene and we’re not a farmers market. We just love food and we’re interested in ideas: about slowing down, simplifying life and cultivating community. The second Bearwood Food Festival takes place in and around Bearwood Road and Bearwood Baptist Church Hall, Rawlings Road, B66 4HA, from 11am-4pm on Saturday 19th September 2015. We’d love you to come and join us. 031


To paraphrase Friends’ Joey Tribbiani, ‘burgers…what’s not to love; meat good, bread good’. Birmingham seems to have embraced this philosophy wholeheartedly. It also helps that local burger champions have been clearing up when it comes to awards, with Backyard Brummies taking first place for burgers at top BBQ competition Grillstock, and street food outfits like Original Patty Men winning best burger at the British Street Food awards last year. It seems, burgers are big in Birmingham. We asked Full to the Brum’s Laura Creaven ( to pick her top five purveyors of fine quality burgers in the city that are worth getting your chops round… 032

ORIGINAL PATTY MEN @OringinalPattyM I can remember the first time I had an Original Patty Men burger; it was Sunday 16/12/12. The burger encased in a glazed donut had been something I’d been hearing about in America but here in front of me was the real deal. And rather than just a gimmick, the Big Vern’s Krispy Ring, as it’s known now, was a revelation in sweet, salty burger goodness. It’s a classic you’ll see on their menu often, but their constant drive to bring something new and interesting is also worth checking out. THE CHURCH @churchjq Home to Soul Food Project HQ, the Church’s Deep South dining has been celebrated across the land by Giles Coren in The Times and ShortList magazine. Their jambalaya is a Birmingham institution, but if you fancy something different their burgers are pretty special. Plus there’s a vegan option with one of the best burger names I’ve seen in a while; Shia NoBeouf. Check out the UK Burger Battle (@ukburgerbattle) on 12th September at Spotlight, Digbeth.

THE MEAT SHACK @themeatshack The Meat Shack is practically an institution within the city. Like the pied piper of burgers, the Meat Shack team bring a queue of people wherever they go and for good reason – these burgers are something else. Expect to make a mess but know that you won’t care, they’re that good… even when they do pop ups in fancy places like Carters of Moseley. THE LORD CLIFDEN @thelordclifden There are not many places that will convince me to go veggie when burgers are on the menu, but the Lord Clifden’s Temper burger, with its perfectly cooked breaded Cajun halloumi and generous red peppers, can do precisely that. That said their beef and chicken burgers are also pretty magnificent and it’s worth checking out the Clifden Burger of the Week special too. THE VICTORIA @TheVictoria Everyone knows the Vic for its cracking cocktails and nights out, but their food offering has never really made the same impact. This should soon change as the team have been holding regular burger and music themed events and they’ve been…good. The inaugural event, burgers and hip hop, saw a superb Smoke Cheese Every Day burger which is a match for some of the better burgers in the city. 033

TOP 5 EXCITING BIRMINGHAM FOOD PRODUCERS Birmingham is fast shaking off its concrete jungle reputation and while it is still a mecca for the big chains if you aren’t in the know it’s easy to feel that the city lives in a food vacuum. Fortunately, there are an exciting number of artisan producers and organic farmers in the region and we’ve got the best of them right here.

PEEL AND STONE Arch 33, Water Street, B3 1HL | @peelandstone Peel and Stone is a hidden gem, you wouldn’t even know it was there unless you were looking for it. But in an assuming spot near Snow Hill station, bread and other baked delicious aromas sneak down the city streets. We recommend the apricot scones if they’re in stock. If they’re not in stock, we recommend buying everything else and having a picnic whilst they bake you apricot scones! (Pictured behind).


LOAF 1421 Pershore Road, B30 2JL | @loafonline Whilst Peel and Stone gives out an aura of opulence and exclusivity, Loaf started life as a bake to order community bakery back in 2009. Now they’ve opened a shop in Stirchley where they serve anyone who passes. They also run courses and supply breads to local cafes, such as the P Café which sits directly across the road. We recommend the ciabatta. (Pictured left).

LOG HOME FARM Oldwich Lane West, B93 0BJ @loghomefarmorg A working farm complete with farm shop, everyone is passionate about meat at Log Home Farm. They stock a variety of butchers and shops around Birmingham, but you’ll only understand the love this company has for the land if you go and see them yourselves. We recommend trying one of their pedigree options and the free range eggs, which are by far some of the best eggs we’ve ever tasted. QUARTER HORSE COFFEE 88-90 Bristol Street, B5 7AH @QTRHorseCoffee Quarter Horse is one of the few cafés in the country who have their roaster in full view of the shop floor, this allows a beautiful immersive experience that somehow makes the coffee taste even better. They’re both proud and passionate about the coffee they produce, and are more than willing to take the time to discuss the perfect coffee purchase with you. If you can’t make it down to their shop, they stock a number of independent cafés around the city, or you can buy the coffee direct online. (Pictured right).

URBAN HERBS Only available at craft shows and markets around the West Midlands Urban Herbs are incredibly exciting; not only do they grow using organic methods, but they also offer fantastic quality on a huge selection of plants at shows around the West Midlands. From thyme to blackcurrant sage and everything in between for the price of a supermarket living pot that will die as soon as you get home. Everyone in the team is a growing expert, meaning that they’re more than happy to give you tips on how you can best care for your herbs.

Words: Heidi Murphy

HAVE YOU TRIED...? You would have to be walking around blindfolded not to have noticed that Birmingham is brimming with new, exciting venues at the moment. From the boutique chains to the new individual independents of the City, you have no excuse to book the old favourites this weekend. To save you the hardship of trying everywhere yourself we asked Brumderland’s Vicky Osgood ( | @Brumderland), a regular ‘gal about town’, to get busy and pound the streets in search of some of the hottest new ventures to spend your well earned slack hours... Here’s a round up of five to get you started on your gastronomical adventure! ALUNA | @AlunaUK I was pretty heartbroken to see The Oriental disappear from the Mailbox, however, I quickly dried my eyes when I saw that a new independent cocktail bar had graced the plethora of canal-side venues. First thing to note, it’s slick. I am a sucker for anywhere with interesting interior design and Aluna well and truly nails it. I love the wall of mirrors, mishmash of quotes, wings and colourful (but tasteful) furniture adorning this little gem of a venue. Let’s not forget the important bit though, eh? The drinks! This new venue has tried something quite different and given a proper mad scientist edge to it’s cocktail menu. Dry ice? Check! Lighting things on fire? Check! Science equipment used in mixology? Check! My top tip? Don’t just order to your table. Go and check out these guys mixing it up to get a sense of the magic! Price range: Cocktails range from around £7+ Food: Yes but we’re yet to try it out Ambiance: Slick, but not pretentious

AMANTIA @RestAmanita Tapas is pretty big business in Birmingham but Amantia offers something a little different to your average chain restaurant fayre. The venue is family run and brings an authentic taste of Spanish sunshine to the burgeoning Bennett’s Hill. The interior is smart, modern and stylish (in shades of purple and gray), but the real star of the show here is the service and the food. I am slightly ashamed to admit that since this place opened, I have already visited four times and not once felt like I wasn’t treated like the only person in the room. Whilst Amantia does offer a more traditional menu of starters, mains and desserts – my recommendation is to stick to the Tapas and try a bit of everything. As a top tip, go for the Datiles con bacon (dates filled with almond and wrapped in bacon). Trust me, after one bite – I can almost guarantee you will order another serving! Price range: Tapas starts from around £6 per dish Drinks: The venue boasts an amazing selection of gins and now do Happy Hour weekdays between 4pm-7pm Ambiance: Smart casual dress recommended for a friendly, but smart experience (pictured behind)

BUTCHERS SOCIAL harborne-kitchen @ButchersSocial Chicken. Wings. Need I say more? Well, I’m going to anyway. I am a sucker for a good chicken wing, but I never imagined that Harborne would be the kind of place that I could go to enjoy a plate of salted caramel chicken wings in a pop up restaurant situated in an old butchers shop. They offer a generous brunch menu throughout the day (which is stunning, apparently), but the star of the show for me is the Wings served here 5pm daily (with brunch being offered from 10am). The menu changes every week, so if you spot a flavour you really fancy – you’re best to hot foot it down there immediately. The venue has been known to sell out of the most popular varieties, so consider yourself warned. With a range of toppings from “Cola, Chipotle and Bacon” to “Spicy Harrisa and Cashew”, you could spend a whole week just trying each variety and not get bored. Price range: Wings are £10 for a whole kilo or just £6 for half. Brunch options start from £4 Drinks: What’s the perfect accompaniment for wings? Beer. These guys serve mostly local ales Ambiance: Don’t expect the ritz, but do expect to have a fun evening in a laid back venue 037


NOMAD / NO RULES @nomadbirmingham When Brum based chef Alex Claridge announced he was embarking on something new for the City, I was more than a little intrigued. Having ventured to Nomad #NoRules (a series of intriguing pop-up dining nights in different venues around the city), I was uber excited to give their residency at the Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath a go... Well, I experienced a culinary delight through 7 courses of locally sourced and foraged foods. Have you ever tried sea buckthorn, cocoa nibs or tree mallow cheese? Neither had I. It was definitely an eye opener for new and exciting flavours and sensations and thoroughly recommended if you’re a culinary adventurer. The venture has been so successful, Alex and his head chef (Brian Smith) are now planning on opening a city centre bar and bistro very soon. Keep an eye out for their social media for more details. Price range: £45 for a 7 course set menu Drinks: Yes, as it’s a pop up these are picked and priced by Nomad (beers and wines only) Ambiance: Relaxed venue, but serving luxury, local sourced food

COSY CLUB @CosyClubBrum The only venue on the list that isn’t independent, I still reckoned it should get an honourable mention for being pretty darn good. Cosy Club already had 8 venues based around the UK before they got to Birmingham, but that shouldn’t detract from it at all. Situated in the old Midland Bank (just a minutes walk from Pigeon Park and the Cathedral), this venue is as stunning on the inside as it is on the outside. When you walk in through the big oak doors, you will immediately look up. With it’s high ceiling, fabulous cafe alcove towards the back of the venue, balcony and bar (smack in the middle of the venue), it has a open, airy and spacious feel to it. I love the seating area by the bar, but the cafe area out the back is definitely the most chilled out area if you just want to actually get cosy. Now, I have only tried a few bits and bobs from the menu, but their selection of ales, lagers and cocktails should satisfy even the fussiest of customers. Go and check it out... I think you might actually be a little impressed. Price range: Brunch options start from around £4.50 and their burgers come in at the £8 to £9 mark Drinks: A pretty decent selection of ales and lagers (from £3.60 per pint), Cocktails start at £6.25 and your cheapest bottle of wine is priced from £15.50 Ambiance: Keep it smart casual, but it’s always fairly relaxed


MEAT-FREE EATS IN THE CITY For a city as diverse as Birmingham it’s fair to say that the food scene has been a little slow off the mark when it comes to vegan offerings. But the last few years have seen a welcome explosion of pop-ups, bistros and indies with more bite than you can shake a chopstick at and, enhancing the city’s sprinkling of long-standing favourites, Birmingham should now be a hot destination for veggie and vegan foodies as Gemma Corden finds out. CAFE SOYA @CafeSoya A well-loved fixture, this lot are mad about soya (the clue is in the name). Cafe Soya delivers a massive range of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine informed by a family tradition of making soya products. Vegans are well catered for through a range of mock dishes - meat and fish made from soya and vegetable fibre. THE WAREHOUSE CAFE @warehouse_cafe Another stalwart, this homely place offers a chalkboard menu inspired by seasonal fruit and veg. There’s the classic veggie cafe set up - you have to ring the doorbell of the Friends of the Earth headquarters and walk through their office to find the restaurant. Once inside expect wholesome British food with an international flavour mix. If it’s on, try the Kreissler Pudding - sugar free bitter raw food mousse made from banana, avocado and me on this one. Last orders 8.30pm and bring your own bottle. BISTRO 1847 @bistro1847 Exposed wood floors, retro filament lightbulbs, trendy aprons; Bistro 1847, brought to Birmingham by a Manchester-based entrepreneur in 2013, is the perfect place to impress a date. Nestled away in the stunning Victorian arcade, it delivers dramatic food quietly. Think Instagram-worthy concoctions complete with edible flowers. The staff are so efficient they’re almost invisible. You can almost forgive the tiny portions and higher price tag. (Pictured right and over). 040


THE VEGAN GRINDHOUSE @vegangrindhouse This dynamic husband and wife team bring the Midlands just what it was missing Americana vegan street food and desserts. Think chilli dogs and shakes - only 100% plantbased. They even make their own fudge - what’s not to love? DEEPALIS @DeepalisFood This family run establishment offers totally vegetarian Indian cuisine - dosas, curries and street food with vegan options available. There’s loads to choose from - to eat in or takeaway - with brilliant prices and generous portions. CANALSIDE CAFE 35 Gas Street Higgledy-piggledy rustic gorgeousness complete with rickety chairs and fairy lights, this cafe is perfect first date fodder. Not really a cafe though, more of a pub. Expect lots of tourists it’s setting on the canalside between Brindley Place - and The Mailbox is a draw as is the comfort food fayre with a veggie twist. Vegan options available. 042

BLUE PIANO @bluepianobham Now is the time to make the most of this SouthEast Asian bar and restaurant’s garden. There’s live music on Friday’s throughout the summer, if you like jazz with your prawn crackers. Lots of veggie curries and stir fries - ask the calm staff for their vegan and gluten free options. You must try the Jackfruit and Rambutan Red Curry with exotic fruits. THE BRITISH OAK | @British_oak Rather incongruously (or not, when you consider that Stirchley is apparently the new Kings Heath) this crumbly old man boozer sports a dedicated vegan food menu alongside a vegan drinks menu too. They deliver honest pub grub like Vegetable Wellington, Steakless Pie and Fishy and Chips. There’s a beer garden too...what more could you want? Vegan Lemon Cheesecake, anyone? LOCO LOUNGE | @Loco_Lounge Part of the Loungers chain of cafe bars, this branch is the absolute best. An attentive and knowledgable team of staff who can’t do enough for you ensure a relaxing trip out that feels like home-from-home. Special vegan menu, freshly squeezed orange juice and board games to boot. VEG OUT | @CafeVegOut This friendly Kings Heath bolthole does a mean vegan breakfast. The coffee is all organic, naturally. Microwaves are wholeheartedly banned and if you’re looking for something deep fried - bad luck! The Lebanese flatbreads are delicious. There is a dinner menu available on Fridays and Saturdays, when they remain open until 10.00pm. 043

THE BEST BOOZY BRUNCHES IN BIRMINGHAM It’s a scientific fact that brunch is the best meal of the day. And what makes every meal that bit better? Alcohol! The beauty of of weekends is that you’re allowed to order a champagne cocktail or a bloody Mary at 10am, because its not only allowed – it’s encouraged. Here’s a few fine establishments in Birmingham which will feed you good food and quench your need for an early tipple. YORK’S BAKERY CAFE @YorksBakeryCafe York’s is the go-to brunch spot for guaranteed quality ingredients and first-class beverages. Start your day with the Arabian buttered eggs or avocado and feta smash, both served on sumptuous sour dough bread, while sinking a bottle of Maisel’s Weisse or two. Everyone around you may be sitting sipping their beautifully crafted flat whites and delicious loose leaf teas, but you can sit smug in the knowledge that they’re only staring at you because they know they made the wrong drinks choice and definitely not because they’re judging you for drinking at 10am. 044

BAR OPUS | @BarOpus If you’re one of ‘those’ people who powers out a couple of miles on the cross trainer and dead lifts to their heart’s content on a Saturday morning instead of recovering from an almighty Brewdog hangover, then maybe a Bar Opus Protein Punch may be best suited to you. A four egg omelette served with your choice of maple cured ham, Montgomery cheddar or mushrooms, is pretty much the equivalent of a protein shake, right? Have a mango bellini while you’re at it. Go on, it’s the weekend and you’re making everyone else feel bad about themselves. GAS STREET SOCIAL @GasStSocial The addition of the first independent establishment to the Mailbox’s artillery of restaurants and bars has been just one of the many reasons why Birmingham’s food and drinks scene is booming in 2015. It’s also probably a reason why at the weekend, between the hours of 9am and 1pm, you may well see a lot more people stumbling around the canalside in close vicinity to the Gas Street Social. A two our session on bottomless bellinis for £25 and attempting to make your way through the social breakfast on your own – meant for 4/5 people – will do that to anyone.

CHERRY REDS | @ilovecherryreds There’s something about Cherry Reds’ fluffy, American-style pancakes which warms your heart and makes you feel like a kid again. Order them alongside a warm cinnamon fruit compote and whipped cream and you’ll be kicking yourself for usually only eating them on Shrove Tuesday. They’re available all day too, meaning you have ample chance to sample them with one of their extensive range of draught and bottled world beers – a dark and sweet Westmalle dubbel will complement the cinnamon spiced fruit like no other.

ONE TRICK PONY CLUB @1trickponyclub The One Trick Pony Club is one of those pubs where you lose all sense of what time of day it is. Its dark and cosy atmosphere, comfy sofas and hearty soul-food mean you can wonder in at midday to partake in a swift half and one of their hefty breakfast burgers - beef patty with smoked bacon, a fried egg, Emmental cheese and potato hash - and before you know it you’re sitting in the beer garden well into the afternoon surrounded by empty bloody Mary glasses. The ever changing seasonal draught range keeps the beer geeks happy too.

BOSTON TEA PARTY | @BTPcafes Bread is just so much better when its insides are sodden with scrambled eggs. Boston Tea Party’s around the country have been perfecting their sour dough eggy bread of late (topped with smoked bacon and avocado), so much so it’s now a mainstay on all their menus, with the branch on Harborne High Street being no different. As well as their French toast, they’ve also been mastering the art of temptation. There must be many a customer who goes up to order with the intention of purchasing a healthy, freshly squeezed glass of orange juice and be greeted with two or three craft beers on tap that are nigh on impossible to avoid. As top drawer as the coffee is, a pint of Wiper and True amber ale just ticks all brunchtime boxes. Words: Ross Timms


Images: Gitte Kabai

STREETFOOD BRUM Have you heard about Birmingham street food revolution? Well if you like the sound of it but have no idea where to go to find the best stalls and vendors then here’s Brum Yum Yum’s Duncan Stanley (@brumyumyum on twitter and facebook) to explain more... roll the tummy grumbling noises... In just three years Brum streetfood has gone from one ground-breaking burger stall on a car park, to a national success story. Our city is now the proud home of many of the hottest names on the UK scene and some of the busiest and best events in the country. Digbeth Dining Club laid the foundations in autumn 2012 with low-key gatherings of a handful of likeminded foodies, and by the spring of ‘13 when Brum Yum Yum launched KIngshEATh, the city’s first fully-fledged streetfood market, it was clear that the streetfood revolution had arrived. From its humble beginnings, DDC quickly rose to claim the crown of Best Event at the British Streetfood Awards in ‘13 and ’14 and KingshEATh has grown into the biggest and busiest market of its kind outside London, with twenty traders serving up amazing streetfood, live music, the British Bus Bar and those famous Brum Yum Yum vibes. Now part of the fabric of the city, these events have provided a stage for Birmingham’s freshest food talent. And what talent has emerged!


Brilliant streetfood always punches above its weight and some of the hottest names in food are not working in the million-dollar kitchens of Colmore Row and the Cube, they’re plying their trade from popup tents and vintage vans.

From backstreet food heroes to household names; Buddha Belly, Low n Slow, The Meatshack, Original Patty Men, Manilla Munchies, Pietanic, The Vegan Grindhouse and many others have huge, loyal followings who turn out in numbers wherever they serve. So far, this year has seen around twenty new traders burst onto the Brum scene, each bringing new flavours and food styles from around the globe. These days Birmingham plays host to several streetfood events every week, with many new players putting their own twist on the scene. And when Brummies plan a wedding, birthday bash or a corporate event, they call in the streetfood crews. It’s not just Birmingham for Brum streetfood, last year Original Patty Men were invited to Burgers & Hiphop in Berlin and Buddha Belly were shortlisted for the prestigious Young British Foodies awards in London. The whole BYY crew went down to the capital last May where they entered London’s first intercity streetfood fight, FlavaClash. And the growth continues back home, with UK Burger Battle, Street Banquet and Seasonal Markets all innovating, keeping the standards very high and doing Brum proud. Streetfood has now entered the mainstream, with Brum Yum Yum catering for Festival of Code at the ICC recently and Digbeth Dining Club making an appearance at Selfridges. And now BYY are popping up all over the city, with our new monthly StrEATmarket on the Jewellery Quarter’s brand new Golden Square, Nosh Up In A Brewery at Two Towers HQ, all-barbecue bash Cypress Grill, competitive cookup Lord of the Wings, invitation-only Streetfood Speakeasy and BYY Supperclub, plus a weekly Friday night party in Harborne launched in August. Coming to the city and soon to be announced are Birmingham FlavaClash Festival, the largest gathering of streetfood crews the UK has ever seen, and a permanent, indoor venue in the city centre that will bring streetfood, casual dining, drinking, dancing and independent retail together under one roof and shake up the scene once more! The real strength of Brum streetfood is in the incredible public support it gets. Brummies turn out to the best events in serious numbers, with their inquisitive palates and friendly vibes. That’s why Birmingham is the UK city of streetfood. 047

MARSTON’S BREWERY Burton upon Trent @MarstonsBeers Many breweries have taken residence in Burton due to its water containing a chemical composition perfect for beer making. Marston’s Pedigree is the only beer that’s still brewed using the famous Burton Union system – where double rows of wooden casks mounted on a frame with a long trough running above are used to ferment the beer and create its unique taste.

HOPPINESS IS... The number of breweries in the UK has topped over a 1,000 and quicker than you can shout “cheers” new ones are springing up all over the place. No longer just the beverage of choice for ‘flat capped or sandal wearing old men’ as often assumed, the appeal of beer is widening by the thirstquenching minute. You don’t have to be an aficionado to appreciate the raft of flavourful offerings from our Midlands based beery friends. Beer fan Kimberley Owen has compiled a handy hit list of breweries that you should definitely hop along to and some beers to sip o’plenty. 048

TWISTED BARREL BREWERY & TAPHOUSE Coventry @TwistBarrelAle With a tagline exclaiming: “we’re more folk than punk”, this newbie on the scene certainly suits its surroundings at Coventry’s eclectic Fargo Village. A fully functional brewery throughout the week, its tap house is only open FridaySunday with five beers on tap ready to sip. Become a beery nerd by trying out its ‘meet the brewer’ evenings.

TOWER BREWERY Burton-on-Trent This brewery has tons of character and is a great setting for a gig or a party, which is perhaps why you can hire it for just that. John Mills established the brewery in 2001 with the help of his family and he lovingly restored its mighty tower, known as Walsitch Maltings which was originally built in the 1870s. Not just an eye-catching visit, its beers are worth a try too – grab a mini keg of Imperial IPA while you’re there. FREEDOM BREWERY Rugeley @FreedomeBrewery This Staffordshire based gem of brewery is based in idyllic surroundings and it runs regular brewery tours where you can check out their handcrafted beers for yourself. This microbrewery uses pure limestone spring water from beneath it and also matures each beer for an optimum length of time, during which the beer’s flavour profiles develops and significantly improves to give you a top quality pint. So grab yourself a pint of its Freedom Organic lager and bag a ticket for the tour now.

BEERY HIT LIST Beadeca’s Wall, Thornbridge - If you haven’t tried a Thornbridge ale then you’re missing out – this brewery has received over 350 beer awards. This smoky and strong porter is a must if you prefer a darker ale. Lady Godiva , Warwickshire Ales – with its biscuit malt and reliable flavour this is certainly worth a regular chug and your dad will love it too. Lawless Lager, Purity – Now also available in a can, this gem of a lager is brewed using a blend of Hallertau Northern Brewer, Eldorado and Styrian Goldings hops and is perfect paired with delicately spicy foods like Seafood Paella for an epic summer combo. Elsie Mo, Castle Rock – Although the label is a little retro for some it’s a great golden ale for Summer with its slight lemony tinge and hoppy exuberance. Shipyard American Pale Ale, Marston’s – Yes this is cheating but due the Maine based brewery’s longstanding partnership with Marston’s to make this classic and refreshing pale ale available in the UK, so it’s allowed. 049



Throughout Birmingham City Centre @BhamWeekender 25-27 September Birmingham’s ‘Super September’ comes to a finale with the Birmingham Weekender and a stunning gathering of performance, visual arts and street food alongside the opening of the city’s revamped train station and shopping mecca; Grand Central. Over the weekend visitors will get to experience a whole host of exciting events for free including the Birmingham debut of a largescale outdoor spectacle and the city’s very own family-friendly Day of the Dead fiesta (pictured). Here’s our pic of must-see events taking place over the weekend.



TRANSE EXPRESS: MAUDITS SONNANTS Friday 25 & Saturday 26 - performance time: 8.30pm Centenary Square Presented by Birmingham Hippodrome, Maudits Sonnants is an exhilarating, adrenaline-inducing, awe-inspiring production featuring actors, trapeze artists, acrobats, bell ringers, dancers, percussionists, singers, string quartets, welders, technicians and forgers with bewitching performances played against the night sky. The French company have constructed a lotus like metallic structure of 17 meters diameter manipulated by a telescopic crane. It is lifted high into the air carrying with it musicians and trapeze artists. As it slowly spins the sound of bells will ring out across the city.

EYE CANDY PRESENTS: MUCHO BRUMCHA Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 - 11am6pm Parade 5pm on Sunday Centenary Square Vibrant colour sweeps through Centenary Square as families are invited to join Birmingham’s very own Day of the Dead celebration. To get chiquitas and hombres in the party mood they’ll have live music (Sunday), DJs (all weekend) tasty street food, performers and dancers. Get dressed up with your own wrestling and sugar skull masks or make a flower garland head dress and get your face-painted as you march through the streets for a funtime fiesta. On Sunday at 5pm the event will come to a close with a ‘Día de Muertos’ Parade lead by the amazing Voodoo Love Orchestra (pictured) - join the march through the streets of Birmingham in your newly made costumes while you shake your own customised maracas.

IKON GALLERY: BLACK COUNTRY VOYAGES Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 12pm-4pm Brewmaster Bridge, Brindleyplace Ikon Youth Programme take over Ikon’s Black Country Voyages canal boat for Birmingham Weekender, with performances from local young people on Saturday and drop in creative workshops on Sunday.

BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET: SWANNING AROUND Saturday 26 - 1.15pm, 2.45pm, 3.45pm Bullring, Lower Level outside Debenhams This is your opportunity to see artists from Birmingham Royal Ballet perform the famous pas de deux from Swan Lake. Watch as two of the company’s dancers perform an extract of ballet’s greatest love story, and be swept away by the beauty of this worldfamous work. 053

ROGUEPLAY: SHOP ‘TILL YOU DROP Sat 26 & Sunday 27 - 12-4pm Corporation Street, near House of Fraser Witness the joys and perils of shopping through circus and acrobatics with an uplifting soundtrack. With worn-out aerial mothers laden with shopping bags, acrobatic couples dressing for dinner and young people playing in shopping trolleys, this show has it all. Accompanied by an uplifting soundtrack and followed by participatory workshops for adults and children alike.

CITY OF BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 (Check website for times) The Mailbox For Birmingham Weekender Birmingham Symphony Orchestra take up residency in the Mailbox and split into a selection of mini musical supergroups - from brilliant brass and pulse-pounding percussion to delightfully delicate strings. Over a dozen very different ensembles of CBSO musicians perform up close and personal, for the ultimate in musical variety, including magnificent Mozart and blockbuster movie tunes. 054


Throughout Birmingham | @thebighoot2015 Until 27 September If you’ve been in and around Birmingham’s centre and suburbs over the last few weeks then you might have noticed a few new additions to the usual cityscape. The city has become home to 89 colourful owls which are part of The Big Hoot and are helping raise money for the Children’s Hospital. Decorated by illustrators, graffiti artists, printmakers and graphic designers visitors are being encouraged to follow the feathered trail and enjoy beautiful open spaces, inspiring buildings and Birmingham’s cultural heritage along the way. Help is on hand with the free ‘The Big Hoot’ app which you can use to keep track of the owls and unlock rewards. Each of the unique sculptures has been given its own style and character by the artists and includes cartoon owls, night owls, wise owls, and celebrity owls to owls that celebrate Birmingham’s landmark architecture, history, people, places and cultural diversity. At the end of the trail the owls will be auctioned on Thursday 15 October to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital. You can also support the hospital by texting HOOT to 70099 to donate £2. Visit The Owltlet in Great Western Arcade to get your hands on a wide range of Big Hoot merchandise, buy your own mini owl or pick up a map. 056

FIERCE FESTIVAL Venues throughout Birmingham 7-11 October

Eight UK premieres form part of this year’s Fierce Festival which includes a signature mix of ground-breaking live art, music, dance, installation and parties. Audiences are invited to ‘Sleep with a Curator’ at Eastside Projects; bring a sleeping bag and spend a night in the Digbeth gallery before enjoying a communal breakfast. Curator Gavin Wade will join in the sleepover, reading a selection of bedtime stories and cooking bacon pancakes in the morning. In Happiness Forgets, performer Season Butler will re-enact the opening sequence of all seven series of 1990s TV classic The Cosby Show, which feature the Huxtable family doing a series of dance moves. The DJ Who Gave Away Too Much Information sees the Canadian company PME-ART sharing personal stories connected to their vinyl collection during a ‘listening party’ at COW Vintage clothing store in Digbeth.


2015 marks the last year for the festival Directors Laura McDermott and Harun Morrison who are moving on to new things. “This year’s Fierce Festival will have a celebratory feel to it.” Commented Laura. “We are making our Festival Hub at BOM, a really exciting new space for art, science and technology near New Street Station. Across the city there will be dance on a car park roof, parties in warehouses and a chance to sing karaoke to a video made by a Turner Prize winning artist.”


53 STATIONS OF THE TOKAIDO ROAD Wolverhampton Art Gallery Until 21 November Works by 19th century artist Utagawa Hiroshige, showcasing the landscape along Japan’s major highway between the cities of Edo and Kyoto, are visiting Wolverhampton Art Gallery courtesy of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road features travellers and Samurai warriors journeying along the famous route and offers a rare chance to see some incredible Eastern artworks. The images, made from woodblock prints, were ground-breaking at the time due to their depiction of Japan’s striking landscapes, its quirky travellers and the variety of weather extremes people encountered along the route. 060

SPIRITUALIZED Rugby born neo-psychedelic Spiritualized frontman Jason Pierce (aka J. Spaceman) is touring the world again and making a headline appearance at Birmingham’s Moseley Folk Festival in September. Pierce spoke to us about his thoughts on festivals, his eighth album in the making and his creative process for making music.

You have spoken in other interviews about how festivals are no longer about art but are part of the ‘entertainment industry’... Well that’s coming back to haunt me... Actually, I should qualify that sentence shouldn’t I? I said that ‘festivals are the death of art’. I’ve said that for years not wanting to disrespect festivals or anything but I have said for a long time; that the bands are used to draw people in being the biggest thing on the posters and advertising the festival. The festival is more about who you live with and who lives in your city and trying to get in for free from that, so it’s not really about the bands. But then what I find weirder is you walk onto a stage you’ve never been on with a sound system you’ve never heard before with amplifiers that have been hired on for the occasion and it seems like the worst call to come and see these bands. It’s more of a complaint about that, not about festivals per se. You’re headlining Moseley Folk Festival; do you not think that people are going to these festivals because they want to see Spiritualized? I think the bands are a bit large on the advertising but I think it’s about getting the hell out of what you do for the rest of your year to see people who live in your city or what’s going on in your city. I think there are many more bases for

people going to these shows than bands. You have played with people like Patti Smith and Daniel Johnston, is there a person you have collaborated with who has been the most memorable? All of them, some of the collaborations came about by accident like I just happened to be at the right place at the right time with some people but I always have this thing where people could always say no. Like you could send them the track and they play it and I’m always really shocked when people say ‘yeah I would love to do it’ or ‘I really like what this is about’ so I kind of follow that dream. It’s not hard to ask a favour off somebody. I am still shocked that some of the people have said yes but there’s obviously something there that resonates. With Patti we were just in the right place at the right time and I wanted to play guitar so yeah probably. You know I’m a big fan of these [people] and there’s a saying isn’t there; ‘never meet your idols because they’ll always disappoint’ but it should be: ‘never meet your idols because you’ll always disappoint yourself’ to get your words out and to not just be in awe, but you know generally it always works out. Is your new album still in the process of being completed in Spain this year? 063

That’s way, way off. Hopefully next year - though it’s not about finishing the album, it’s about finding a place to put it out. There’s a lot of stuff to put in place but hopefully we are still looking good for early next year. How will this new album be different from your previous albums? I get accused of writing the same songs for the whole of my life. It’s the evolutionary flow like any evolution. I think the songs I have been doing are really quite amazing and I just want to find a record that justified that. I just wanted something that went right across the board again which maybe the last time that kind of worked in a record was ‘Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space’ where that covered the basis. There was a line in a TV Show where he says that you have to record an awful lot of music to get to the good stuff and I think that’s the deal you know you have to keep trying things and keep putting things down that’s worthy of making a record. Your last album was more of a pop album wasn’t it, so are you going to go for something a bit different with your new album? I just don’t really know. There’s some stuff on the new album that is pop but in a kind of ‘walk on the wild side’ kind of way but looking back there is a lot of different ideas. I like to make records that challenge people and aren’t immediate and people can find a way into. It’s something with 064

a lot of music where you can hear music when you’re 16, 17 or 28 or whatever, and that doesn’t even touch you, but ten years later it can mean the world to you. What about your creative process for writing songs, where do you get your influences from? All over. I am about the laziest person that I know so I certainly don’t work hard at it. I get an idea for a tune that I think is worth pursuing. It’s a difficult thing because having a great line is one thing, but then writing inwards and outwards from that and getting a chorus takes time. I read that you sing your idea for a song into a tape machine and then work out how to play it afterwards? Yeah, I’ve done a lot of that actually. My rational behind it is that you’re not limited by your abilities. Even if you don’t sing well. You can sing an idea down like these are the notes you want to hear but it’s really hard to play that, so this is the way I have gone to write parts. When I came to do strings and horns I was at a real disadvantage so it’s good to get it down and then transform that into music. MOSELEY FOLK FESTIVAL, Moseley Park, Birmingham 4,5,6 September. Words: Paula Dunne

VENUE DIRECTORY ART VENUES A3 PROJECT SPACE Unit A3 2 Bowyer Street, Digbeth, B10 0SA | @ A3projectSpace BARBER INSTITUTE Univeristy of Birmingham Edgbaston, B15 2TS 0121 414 7333 BILSTON CRAFT GALLERY Mt Pleasant, Bilston, WV14 7LU BM&G Chamberlain Square, B3 3DH | @BM_AG CUSTARD FACTORY Gibb Street, B9 4AA EASTSIDE PROJECTS 86 Heath Mill Lane, B9 4AR, 0121 771 1778 | @eprjcts GRAND UNION Fazeley Street Birmingham B5 5RS | @grandunionltd 066

THE HERBERT Jordan Well, Coventry, CV1 5QP 024 7683 2386 IKON GALLERY Oozells Square, B1 2HS 0121 248 0708 | @ikongallery THE LIGHTHOUSE The Chubb Building Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT 01902 716 055 MAC Cannon Hill Park VIVID PROJECTS Minerva Works, 16 Fazeley St, B5 5RT WARWICK ARTS CENTRE University of Warwick Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry CV4 7AL 024 7652 4524 WOLVERHAMPTON ART GALLERY Lichfield St, WV1 1DU 01902 552055

THEATRE VENUES BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME Hurst Street 0844 338 5000 birminghamhippodrome. com BIRMINGHAM REPERTORY THEATRE Broad St, Birmingham, B1 2EP 0121 236 4455 RSC Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BB OTHER VENUES BRAMALL MUSIC BUILDING University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, B15 2TT LIBRARY OF BIRMINGHAM Broad St, B1 2EP MILLENNIUM POINT Curzon Street, B4 7XG SYMPHONY HALL Broad St, B1 2EA

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