Call me Russ L

Heritage not hate

Posted in Food, Modern Living, Music by Russ L on 24 November, 2008

(Or “A post linking different things in a very tenuous way”.)

We went to the Black Country Museum on (remember remember) Wednesday the Fifth of November. The initial plan was just to go for the evening bonfire (in honour of this country’s annual Catholic-burning ceremony, naturally), but we decided to pop over during the day too.

It’d been many-a-year since the last time I’d been there, but I love the place. Some folk would find it boring, but then again some folk are boring. ‘Museum’ is perhaps misleading – it’s a huge park-type-thing with restored buildings from The Olden Days, allowing you to actually walk through them and see how things once were. I do love that sort of social history lark. There’s also a pub, kept as 1909-authentic as possible. Louise asked for vodka & coke. I tried not to snigger at her as the barmaid explained that neither thing was in regular supply in the Dudley of the time.

Between going in the afternoon and returning for the bonfire, we visited a few pubs in Tipton. I mention this mostly because that genuinely is another important part of local heritage. In The Fountain I learned for the first time of the existence of the 19th century bare-knuckle boxer William “The Tipton Slasher” Perry, and now I really am intrigued; in Mad O’Rourkes Pie Factory I learned that they don’t actually start serving food until 6pm. We’re gonna have to go back, though. Two-for-the-price-of-one on pies on Wednesdays can’t be argued with.

Local heritage of a very different kind was illuminated by Capsule’s “Home Of Metal” thing the following night. Irrespective of whether you like or dislike heavy and/or metal (or even – shock horror – decide whether you think bands are good or not by actually listening to them instead of just reading the genre name), most areas of the Earth justifiably tend to shout from the rooftops if the roots of a style of popular music grew there. This is not the case with our ever-diffident regions of Birmingham and the Black Country. Capsule want to make it a bit more visible and are starting their campaign by having open days at local museums, at which people can donate memorabilia to form the beginnings of an archive.

I hadn’t been to any of them, but then again I don’t actually have anything to donate. I was more than keen to turn up for the evening of the 6th of November one at New Art Gallery in Walsall, though, as Einstellung were playing a set ‘inspired by Black Sabbath’ for free. I didn’t finish work till eight, but happily the gallery is less than five minutes from my place of work. I could already hear them thundering away as I walked down Park Street.

I got there to see that they’d expanded around the middle, with some Mistress members joining them. I’m not completely sure howso it was meant to be Sabbath inspired: they did have a more metallic texture than usual (what with the extra guitars ‘n’ such), but still sounded like themselves. Their repeat-repeat-repeat rising Krautrock groove is not a bad way to sound, though. It’s a good way to sound. I might even go so far as saying it’s a very good way to sound.

Also: I avoided being silly with the free wine that was available, so hurrah for me.

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4 Responses

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  1. Tom Podmore said, on 27 November, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I’m distantly related (I think he is my Great Grandad’s Uncle – no idea what that is to me!) to Tom Paddock, who fought William Perry for the Heavyweight Championship of England in 1850.

    Although he lost to Perry, Tom was the bare-knuckle champion of the country at one point.

  2. Russ L said, on 27 November, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    What, this fella?

    Haven’t seen you around online for a while, Tom. I hope all is going well for you up in Yorkshire.

  3. Tom Podmore said, on 29 November, 2008 at 12:19 am

    That’s the fellow, Russ. I’m thinking of writing a book on him and the other Midlands bare-knuckle champions when I have the time – probably three years.

    I’ve been off the Midlands scene since July, I suppose. I’m back for three weeks in three weeks and hoping to get to one or two shows, if there are any on in the area at least, over that period.

    Yeah, West Yorkshire is a quality place and am thinking of moving up here permanently post-Uni.

  4. Russ L said, on 29 November, 2008 at 10:08 am

    I’d buy such a book. There was one written about Perry, apparently, but it’s now out of print in the way that small-budget local history books so often end up.

    Glad all is well, anyway.


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