September 2008 Archives
Aren't we lucky? The Tories are in Brum.
It appears that we have arrived on the political stage, able to hold our collective head high with the mighty conference towns of Blackpool and Bournemouth, two destinations that people respectively go to for binge-drinking and to die.
But a word of caution: Tory leader David Cameron says Birmingham is on trial as a conference destination. If we foul it up, he's naffing 'orf back to the seaside.
Welcome to Brumcast Lite Show 4.
A few gems for you this edition, the show kicks off with a classic piece of psychedelic garage rock from Betty & The Id, followed by a brand new track from Mayday. We have an exclusive track from Silent Space, and news of Sunset Cinema Club's impending album release. Enjoy!!!
A late-night cabaret put on by a girls' school doesn't sound like a particularly hot ticket, does it? But what if I tell you the show is being staged by pupils and staff of the Marcia Blaine School? That sounds much more intriguing.
For that's the school featured in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the spectacularly successful show currently wowing audiences at Northampton's Royal and Derngate.
Apparently I'm involved with a charm offensive, and yes I know that doesn't sound too likely. According to PR Week "the Conservative Party is trialling a local blogger charm offensive at its annual conference in Birmingham". Which means they emailed me and asked if I wanted to go.
I've never been to a party conference before, so I said yes. It does help that it's only a short bus ride away too.
It's an interesting idea really, one that's already got people talking, at the very least it's always nicer to be asked if you'd like to go to something than not. Unless it's a gathering of people who need to do something about their BO.
Once we (there are apparently ten local bloggers, I know who about 5/6 are I think) were asked then there was a complex system of security to get through to get the required ID. It was tougher than getting a passport -- not least because you needed your passport to fill in the forms. Then you had to get someone to vouch for you, which was hard because it meant explaining why you were going to the Tory conference -- which is as complex as explaining Twitter, without being able to get Boris Johnson to say hello over the interwebs to prove it's a communication tool.
Is get down to the Old Wharf, Oxford Street, Digbeth to see 'Miss Halliwell' who I consider to be one of Birmingham's finest groups.
The gig is totally free, so even in these hard times of the credit crunch you can get your hearing damaged with a clear conscience.
Miss Halliwell have been wowing me for some time now and their most recent release 'Pre-dateoralbum Launch Party' has cemented their place as a true Brumcast favourite. Seriously get your hands on a copy today!!! it will appeal in particular to fans of 'The Fall', indeed the legendary Mark E Smith himself was so impressed with Miss Halliwell that he asked them to support The Fall when they played at the Barfly last year. Support comes from The Clouds and The Mallory Heart so I won't be an evening for the faint hearted!
Oh and BTW a new Brumcast Lite will be coming to these pages soon!
There are a few specials in the pipeline, but Dr Who is not coming back to the regular Saturday night slot until 2010. Meanwhile, the Tennant-shaped gap in the Saturday evening schedule is being filled by Merlin. It's Harry Potter meets every Disney Channel high school sitcom you've ever seen.
It's utter rubbish, but, accepted at its own level (like Mamma Mia) is hugely enjoyable. Once you get past the young wizard calling the soon-to-be Once and Future King 'a prat' and phrases like 'No way' being bandied about, there are pleasure on offer.
Last night I dreamt about rice.
Nothing to do with 'All You Can Eat' Sunday lunch buffet specials, but more to do with people, statistics, world hunger, awesome events and a sense of common purpose with other Brummies.
I've seen a few Stan's Cafe shows over the years but Of All The People In All The World had taken on almost mythical proportions as friends and colleagues told me with pride that they'd seen the original shows in Coventry and Birmingham in 2003. Since then it's travelled and wowed the world, adding more weight to the idea that many Birmingham organisations are better regarded and celebrated outside of the B postcode catchment than within it.
Anyway, I'm not going to tell you much more about the show because, quite simply, you have to go. Don't be like me and spend the next five years kicking yourself that you didn't see its last local airing.
If you leave without being moved, you'd be inhuman. It should be compulsory for all politicians, local and national. In fact, we should try to get all delegates at next week's Tory Party conference to take an hour out of their drinking schedule - sorry, busy conference diary - to nip over to the Jewellery Quarter and see it.
My highlight? Some interesting stats on the number of British female MPs ever, set beside a sheet where three of our local female MPs - Lynne Jones, Clare Short and Gisela Stuart - were each represented by a grain of rice. Except there were only two grains.
One of our MPs is missing.
Over the summer, I attended the Arts Marketing Association's conference where I caught up with some old friends and clients. I've been going to AMA conferences for nearly 15 years now, back to the days when marketing was called publicity, and there were probably no more than 100 people there. So it was with a mix of pride and frankly feeling very old indeed that I surveyed the 600-odd other arts marketers gathered for our annual bash, held this year in Newcastle.
One of the speakers was a futurologist, who posed some very interesting thoughts about life for cultural organisations, and society in general, in the years to come. However, almost straight after that session I saw two friends who both, in different ways, showed me that it's hard to predict the future.
One told me that the husband of a mutual friend had been made redundant earlier that week, something that came out of the blue to him as he was a high flyer in his company's HR department and had assumed, therefore, that he would always have some advance notice of any cuts to be made. With one small child and another on the way, this wasn't in their life plans.
And then I caught up with my other friend, who I hadn't seen for about a year, our last contact being just before her wedding last autumn. Four weeks later her new husband died from a blood clot, completely out of the blue. What do you say to a woman widowed at 30?
A new movie seems about to make considerable ripples around the world. Wave is the story of a real-life social experiment in an American high school when a teacher brainwashed students into becoming fascists. Ironically, the film version has added punch by being made and set in Germany with all its overtones of a Nazi past.
It's been done before in a rather more nuanced and thought-provoking way by novelist Muriel Spark. Her fictional creation of a Scottish school teacher obsessed with the regimes of Franco and Mussolini, is one of the great creations of modern literature.
I don't like weeks like these - weeks when investment banks have to be rescued by Governments, stocks are in free fall and pensioners queue outside their former building societies to ask if their savings are safe.
I don't like it because I just don't get it. It is, apparently, the end of global capitalism as we know it. (Is this such a bad thing?) It is, we are told, a financial black hole into which all our mortgages, pensions and savings will be sucked.
It is cataclysmic. It will affect us all. And yet I can't even get to first base in understanding it.
I understand mortgages, or at least I thought I did. That was before I knew there were people who packaged them up and sold the debt on to somebody else.