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Welcome to the first ever issue of Un- tional places in the city. However, we der The Concrete, a free 26 page digital at UTC wish to prove inspiration can magazine based in Birmingham. be taken from just about anywhere. To tap into imaginations we had as a child, So who is our magazine for? Unlike a having the ability to fabricate fantasies lot of commercial magazines, our target and invent stories in seconds. From just audience is not defined by age or gender. two photographs, we have concocted an One of the groups we hope to reach out elaborate, playful narrative, both visual to are the commuters, people who regu- and written referencing the early 1980’s larly travel in and out of Birmingham. versions of Nintendo’s classic video Commuters are constantly exposed to game – Mario Bros. We chose this game soulless adverts and tacky media de- in particular as original the story was sign; all photographs featured in Under that the two characters were sent down The Concrete have been taken within to the sewers of New York to defeat nas1.5 miles of New Street and Moor Street ty creatures. And where are sewers usurailway stations. The reason for this be- ally? Yep, under the concrete. Like our ing is that we wanted our readers to thinking? recognise some of our shoot locations – when presented with our photographs, We stumbled across our name Under most (if not all) of those who live/work the Concrete by chance and we haven’t in Birmingham announced rather ex- looked back since. It describes our magcitedly that they recognised the location azine beautifully and just reading those but couldn’t pinpoint precisely where it three words starts to evoke fantastic imwas. I really enjoyed this, it reminded agery. After viewing our magazine, we me of trying to remember a dream but hope you leave with a more positive, the more you try and recall the details, creative outlook as regards to this conthe more they seem to fade away. crete city. If just one person sees a building not as a shabby, abandoned pub, but The two original photographs shown as a haunted tavern where ghouls play in our main feature were shot under a scrabble when the clocks strike twelve, tunnel where Moor Street railway line we will feel as though we’ve achieved travels directly above. To most people, our mission. There at UTC, the words especially those who may walk or drive concrete and dull just don’t ever go topast this scene most days, the location gether in the same sentence. Enjoy! might not top the list of most inspira-


Image of person standing by wall not shadowed and story writing

It was a typical November evening, cold. I looked up. Even the stars had shunned

just come out of the station. A grey day at the office and an even greyer walk hom in a day? It was particularly quiet today, probably the calm before the storm that w corner scrunching my face as the wind hit me. I instantly felt uneasy. I stopped and this bridge twice a day, five times a week, why would I feel edgy now? Even my heart around, I was trying to move and I was frozen still. I desperately tried to justify it, m of strange things to a man. Somebody is going to walk past soon and wonder what spiked? There is always one on the tube who looks like they have the cold, dead eyes o wondering if I was in any sort of control at all. A fierce, bright light was shining in my time hadn’t come already‌

the world today. It was half past six and I had me, just how many shades of grey can one take will be the Christmas retail frenzy. I turned the d turned, nobody was behind me. I walk under t was beating a little faster. I couldn’t turn back maybe it was stress. Yes, stress can do all sorts the hell I’m doing. Could my drink have been of a killer. My arm twitched, and I span around my eyes cancelling everything else out. Surely


Standing by wall shadowed

...Parts of the street where emerging from the darkness. My eyes were starting to focus and I could see the bricks which formed the bridge were indeed bricks and not pixels. I subconsciously slouched against them but quickly shot up fearing I’d be swallowed into some warped dimension. It was clear nobody was aware that something insane and unexplainable had just happened. Absolutely no one was paying me the slightest bit of attention. My knees felt weak. Who is going to whole heartedly believe me when I tell them I was killed off in a gaming sequence by huge vampire bats halfway through level two? Would I believe them? No chance. I began to walk

unaware that I was heading the wrong way. I wondered if there was any chance of justification this time. Stress can cause hallucinations and I had been feeling under pressure recently, countless targets to meet at work, my mother being ill. I’ll book an appointment at the doctors, get it sorted. I looked at my watch, not only had it been a whole hour since leaving the station but my hands were transparent. I say hands, my whole body was doubled, one outline slightly darker than the other. I was like an apparition. A woman over the road was staring, her eyes like Disney saucers, she turned on her heel and hurried away not looking back. What was I going to do?




After watching the film Inception I started thinking about if we could control our dreams subconsciously and do we do things that alter what we dream about. Does living in Birmingham mean we are more likely to have a certain dream simply because of our culture and lifestyle. I believe that reality can shape our dreams and our dreams can often cause us to change reality. When researching dreams, there effects and how we could be inspired by them visually in our magazine I came across lucid dreaming. A lucid dream is one that you are aware is a dream while still dreaming. Some dreamers know they are in control of a dream and can therefore intervene and take he dream in any direction they desire. However, sometimes these types of dreamers choose to observe and let the dream take its natural cause. The perception of time was another interesting area I found out about while looking into lucid dreams. In 1985, someone named LaBerge performed a study which concluded that time in a lucid dream was about the same as time in reality. He got lucid dreamers to count to 10 while dreaming, the end of the count was signalled with a pre-arranged eye signal. This pre-arranged signal was possible because when a person is dreaming, there eyes move rapidly. Some research has suggested that this eye movement could correlate to where the dreamer is looking in the dream.

However, in 1995 a study concluded that lucid dreamers could have varied time spans and the length was determined the by dreamer. What felt like 20 seconds in the dream could actually have been an hour of real time dreaming. Another interesting, and somewhat scary, thing I have found was about a false awakening. This is when you think you have woken up in the dream, but in reality are still asleep and dreaming. If the person was a lucid dreamer they would carry out there normal morning routine until they actually did wake up. Even more worrying than this happening once though, is that it can happen multiple times in one dream. You may ‘wake up’ and go about your normal routine three times but still, in reality, be asleep. Many horror movies play on the fact of these types of lucid dream to give a sense to an audience that it could actually happen to them. Although there are no known cases and may not seem plausible, someone could feel like they have lived the majority of there life in a dream. Time can be altered by the dreamer subconsciously so 20 years in a dream could be played out over just 8 hours sleep. In your dream you would wake and sleep as usual and maybe even have dreams inside of your dream. While this may sound very far fetched, nothing is impossible in the normal occurrence of the phenomenal dream. Déjà vu anyone?

Under The Concrete Issue One  

First Issue of our magazine

Under The Concrete Issue One  

First Issue of our magazine