Call me Russ L

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands – May 2017

Two months in a row! We can fairly say that the stars have aligned, and not just because it also appears to be Space Rock Month.

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included (although, happily, no-one ever does this anymore).

Monday the 1st – Sing-A-Long-A-Frozen @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – LET IT GOOOOOOOO~! LET IT GOOOOOOOO~!

Tuesday the 2nd – Best Of The BE Festival (various theatre companies) @ Warwick Arts Centre (studio space), near Coventry – Short theatre pieces from last year’s BE Festival, including one about the Hitler salute which (in reading the blurb for this) I’ve just learned is also called the Bellamy Salute. What the hell, David?

Tuesday the 2nd- Justin Wiggins’ “Collapse” @ The Conservatoire, Birmingham – Now that the cruelest month is over, we have a ‘live sonic essay’ melding T.S. Elliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ with noise and doom metal.

Wednesday the 3rd – An evening with Roberto Duran @ The Irish Centre, Digbeth, Birmingham – I dare you to make a “no mas” joke to his face. Go on. I dare you.

Friday the 5th till Sunday the 7th – “Delia@80” @ different venues in Coventry – Lots of stuff happening to celebrate (what would have been) the 80th birthday of Our Lady And Saviour Delia Derbyshire, with the centrepiece being a big concert at the Cathedral.

Friday the 5th and Saturday the 6th – Mark Farrelly’s “Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope” @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – You don’t want to see civil servants naked. I’m near sure of that.

Friday the 5th – “In Tents And Purposes” (Viscera Theatre) @ The MAC (Foyle Studio), Edgbaston, Birmingham – “… just like the gypsy woman said!”

Friday the 5th – Skinny Lister @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Inland sea shanties. Not Craig Charles though, he comes around later in the month.

Saturday the 6th till Saturday the 20th – “The Laramie Project” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre (studio), Birmingham – I’d never heard about this, but it seems like it’s very well known. A play constructed from interviews with the people of the town of Laramie, WY after the homophobic murder of Matthew Shepherd. Sounds like it’ll be enormously harrowing.

Saturday the 6th – Soweto Kinch @ The CBSO Centre, Birmingham – Saxomophooooone. Also emceeing. Is there a Flyover Show this year?

Saturday the 6th – The Comet Is Coming @ The Tin Music & Arts, Coventry – Crazy psych-jazz. (Also: space).

Sunday the 7th – “Ulla’s Odyssey” @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – An opera based in The Odyssey, including puppetry. Also there’s a lovely cat in the one promotional photo.

Monday the 8th and Tuesday the 9th – English Touring Opera @ Warwick Arts Centre (theatre space), near Coventry – Tosca, and some Gilbert & Sullivan thing.

Monday the 8th – Bonfire Radicals @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Unusual pan-European folk instrumentals (well, mostly instrumentals). They were fantastic when they played at the Crescent Theatre the other week.

Tuesday the 9th – Napalm Death @ The Institute, Digbeth, BirminghamYUURWY

Tuesday the 9th – Katatonia @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – It’s all over the front page, you give me Road Rage… no, wait, not that Catatonia. This is the Swedish Katatonia.

Tuesday the 9th – Punch Records’ “Welcome To My City” tour @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham – Five hip-hop/r’n’b/soul artists do a rotating headliner tour through the five cities they’re from. It’s good to see the good ol’ DIY-style gigswap catching on in other styles of music. Brum’s own is Gambimi.

Tuesday the 9th – An evening with Ian McCulloch @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Better known as Echo from The Bunnymen.

Wednesday the 10th till Saturday the 13th – “Little Shop Of Horrors” (MTW) @ Warwick Arts Centre (studio space), near Coventry – I’m just a mean green mother from out of space and I’m bad. But enough about me.

Wednesday the 10th till Saturday the 13th – “Bedroom Farce” (Dudley Little Theatre) @ Netherton Arts Centre, Netherton – Alan Ayckbourne’s naughty people.

Wednesday the 10th – The Hot 8 Brass Band / Hackney Colliery Band @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – All sousaphone, all the time! Well, not really, there are other brass instruments too. Hackney Colliery Band are also doing the Rep in Brum on the 13th.

Wednesday the 10th – “The Soul in The Machine” (Saltmine Theatre) @ St Martin In The Bullring, Birmingham – About the founder of the YMCA, but probably not featuring The Song. Also on at The Albany in Coventry on the 12th.

Thursday the 11th – “A Womb Of One’s Own” (Wonderbox) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A dark comedy, but about the real troubling subject of unwanted pregnancies. Fun trivia: apparently Paul McGann likes it.

Thursday the 11th – Procol Harum @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – They could play the great big organ if they’re doing the Town Hall.

Thursday the 11th till Saturday the 13th – “Am I Dead Yet?” (Unlimited Theatre) @ The Rep (The Door), Birmingham – Death plays #1: Concerning resuscitation.

Friday the 12th till Saturday the 14th – Imagined Isle 2017 @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – “A folk festival of the imagination” is the subtitle, and… no, too easy. Featuring Fairports, Jon Boden etc. The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble are amazing.

Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th – Adam Ant @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – It faintly amuses me that he may actually qualify for his own pension by now.

Friday the 12th – “Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon” @ The Institute 2, Digbeth, Birmingham – I haven’t looked up what “Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon” actually is, because nothing that really exists could live up to that name.

Friday the 12th – British Association Of Mixed Martial Arts @ The Genting Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – I’m glad to see that Ronnie Mann is still going, I always liked watching him. You could have a big weekend of fightsports if you went to both this and…

Saturday the 13th – “The Homecoming – Kal Yafai vs Suguru Muranaka” (Matchroom Boxing) @ The Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham – First title defence for Brum’s first world champ for a century. Stourbridge Sam Eggington is on the bill too, as well as Gamal Yafai, Frankie Gavin etc.

Saturday the 13th – Independent Birmingham festival @ The Bond, Digbeth – Celebrating Brum’s independent restaurants/pubs/etc. It looks as though phrases such as “street food” and “pop-up” and so-on will be used liberally, but if that doesn’t turn your stomach too much then you’ll probably find some lovely things to eat and drink.

Sunday the 14th till Tuesday the 30th – Birmingham Cabaret Festival @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – They sent out an email calling upon you to “See the best that the UK cabaret circuit has to offer in the intimate, decadent surroundings of our theatre”. It is genuinely unclear to me what is supposed to be ‘decadent’ about a plain black room. Nevertheless, ‘How Eva Von Snippisch Won WWII’ sounds fun.

Sunday the 14th – “The Death Show” (Outer Circle Arts) @ The MAC (Foyle Studio), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Death plays #2: Concerning mortality and peoples’ attitudes theretowards.

Monday the 15th till Wednesday the 17th – “Pint Of Science” @ various pubs in Birmingham – Scientists giving talks in the boozer. Probably a lot more accurate than most impromptu physics lectures that I’ve heard or given in pubs in the past.

Monday the 15th – “Sukanya” @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Ravi Shankar’s opera.

Tuesday the 16th till Saturday the 20th – “My Country: A Work In Progress” (The National Theatre) @ The Rep/Library Of Birmingham (The Studio), Birmingham – Carol Ann Duffy’s play (she does those too) featuring testimonial from youngpeople after the Brexit vote. It’s also on at the Warwick Arts Centre between the 25th and 27th.

Tuesday the 16th- Hawkwind @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Space Rock month (OG division).

Wednesday the 17th till Saturday the 27th – “Tommy” (The New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich/Ramps On The Moon) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – Tina Turner was the best in that film. Although then again Tina Turner is the best in everything. Has there ever been a photograph more stage-musical-esque than this? I believe not.

Wednesday the 17th- Natalie Imbruglia @ The Institute 2, Digbeth, Birmingham – Performing songs plus recitations of the great speeches from “Neighbours”. Possibly.

Thursday the 18th till Saturday the 20th – “Home Chat” @ The Old Reader, Birmingham – The recently revived Noel Coward one.

Thursday the 18th – Kathryn Tickell @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – The smallpipe-playing sister of your fella with the long arms.

Thursday the 18th – Jane Weaver @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Space Rock Month (formerly folky division).

Thursday the 18th- “Paradise lost” (Lost Dog) @ Thimblemill Library, Smethwick – A one-man (for solitude sometimes is best society) words/music/dance retelling of “Paradise Lost”.

Friday the 19th till Sunday the 21st – “B-Side” hip-hop festival @ in and around The Hippodrome, Birmingham – Focussed on the dance side of things, by the looks of it.

Friday the 19th till Saturday the 21st – “Legends” jazz festival @ various venues around the Jewellery Quarter and Hockley, Birmingham – Themed around Blue Note, and featuring a few gigs from Bryan Corbett.

Friday the 19th – Leftfield @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – I always get Leftfield and Underworld mixed up. I like both, but I can’t keep ‘em straight in my mind.

Friday the 19th – Alexander O’Neal @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Alex at The Alex, if you will. Or, as the in-joke with origins way back in the mists of time goes, “80s soul nuisance Alexander O’Neal”.

Friday the 19th- Steve Ignorant’s Slice Of Life @ The Castle & Falcon, Balsall Heath, Birmingham – As in your man from Crass.

Friday the 19th – Mozart-related business (Time Zone Theatre) @ The Albany Theatre, Coventry – You have Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Mozart And Salieri”, and then a play called “A Night In Vienna” that seemingly incorporates various bits from Wolfy’s operas.

Saturday the 20th till the 4th of June – Jurassic Kingdom Dinoasaurs @ The Botanical Gardens, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Dinosaurs! In the Botanical Gardens! This is a bad idea, the ones that aren’t eating us will be eating the flowers.

Saturday the 20th till Sunday the 28th – Alchemy festival @ various venues across the Black Country – Affiliated with the Southbank Centre in That London and exploring cultural links between Britain and South Asia. There’s the Bollywood Brass Band and a desi pub bus tour and loads more.

Saturday the 20th – Föllakzoid @ The Castle & Falcon, Balsall Heath, Birmingham – Space Rock Month (Chilean division).

Saturday the 21st – Iron Maiden @ The Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham – It’s your basic Hegel, really. If the thesis is reckoning the Number of the Beast and the antithesis is Up The ‘Ammers, then the synthesis will obviously be running to the hills.

Monday the 22nd till Saturday the 27th – “The Woman in Black” (can’t find the theatre company) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – Prepare to be made to feel uncomfortable and disquieted… (wait for it, wait for it)… and that’s just the theatre it’s being held in.

Tuesday the 23rd till Saturday the 25th – “Tank” (Battersea Arts Centre/New Diorama Theatre/Camden Arts Centre) @ The Rep (The Door), Birmingham – About a 1965 attempt to teach a dolphin to speak English. It didn’t work, but the dolphin did do a double backward somersault through a hoop whilst whistling “The Star Spangled Banner”.

Tuesday the 23rd – Lady Maisery / Daphne’s Flight @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Lots of folky ladies but not both on the same bill. This seems like some really unfortunate double-booking – two separate gigs in the same building on the same night, who will presumably have a fair bit of overlap in audience. Maybe they’ll try to stagger the times so you can see both. I dunno.

Wednesday the 24th – Swans @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – On their last ever ever ever tour. And one day someone will actually mean that when they say it.

Friday the 26th & Saturday the 27th – Joan (Milk Presents)@ The Rep (The Door), Birmingham – Drag Joan Of Arc. With a hobby-horse.

Friday the 26th – Dr Feelgood / Eddie & The Hotrods @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Dr Feelgood are no longer fronted by Wilko Johnson (although he isn’t actually dead). Eddie & The Hotrods have never been fronted by anyone called Eddie.

Friday the 26th – The Specials / Toots & The Maytals / Bedouin Soundclash @ outside the NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – A big outdoor thing, by the lake. It may be worth noting that last time Toots Hibbert came around here it was apparently a right bleedin’ mess, so buyers beware and all that.

Friday the 26th – Klashnekoff @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – He will, y’know. He’ll klash your neck off.

Friday the 26th – Messiaen’s “Turangalîla-symphonie” @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Sakari Oramo is coming back, but conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra. That’ll seem strange, somehow.

Friday the 26th – Shakin’ Stevens @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – This ole hall.

Saturday the 27th and on until the 3rd of June – “The Witches” (Blue Orange Theatre Company_ @ The Blue Orange Theatre, Hockley, Birmingham – Getting a bit Roald Dahl all up in this witch.

Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th – Birmingham Pride @ around Hurst Street, Birmingham – Fifty years since decriminalisation, so this should be a big one. Although sponsored by Manchester Airport, which is just confusing.

Saturday the 27th – The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – …And I asked “Oh Cecil what have you been doing?” and he said “I’ve been eating cabbages”…

Saturday the 27th – Vice Squad @ The Castle & Falcon, Balsall Heath, Birmingham – They weren’t and aren’t currently really the last rockers, but they could be yet.

Sunday the 28th – Funk and soul alldayer with Craig Charles @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Awooga! No sleep till bedtime!

Sunday the 28th – Slade convention @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Including, endearingly, a Slade quiz.

Sunday the 28th – Wolfgang Flur @ The Dark Horse, Moseley, Birmingham – I didn’t think he was particularly interesting when he played in Brum last year, but I’m not going to argue with someone who was in Kraftwerk.

Sunday the 28th – “Birmingham Fearfest” @ The Gunmaker’s Arms, Birmingham – “Celebrating all that is spooky in the second city”, which will presumably include [insert reference to local politician of choice].

Monday the 29th – Tim “Ripper” Owens @ The Robin 2, Bilston – I do tend to feel sorry for the singer who replaces the famous singer and then ends up getting edged out when said famous singer comes back. See also Bailey comma Blaze.

Tuesday the 30th – David Campbell @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Scion of the famous folk/pop-reggae/soup family.

Tuesday the 30th –“Dogs Don’t Do Ballet” (Blunderbus Theatre) @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – I know at least one dog who would beg to woofin’ differ.

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands – November 2016

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, Films, Food, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 30 October, 2016

Well we all collectively never – it’s a “Lots” post! For the first time in a very long time! Judging by the things that are happening, November 2016 will apparently be remembered both as “Goth Month” and as “Pride And Prejudice Month”.

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included (although, happily, no-one ever does this anymore).

Currently and up until Saturday the 12th – “What Shadows” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep/Library Of Birmingham (The Studio room), Birmingham – About Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech. I swear this better not be an apologetic, not right now.

Monday the 1st and Tuesday the 2nd – “Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons” (Walrus Theatre) @ The MAC (Foyle Studio), Edgbaston, Birmingham – A play about what would happen if there was a limit to the number of words you could say in your life. If that was the case then I’d say ‘banana’ a lot rather than ‘lemons’, and squeeze more syllables out of the quota.

Monday the 1st till Wednesday the 3rd – ‘Emerge’ theatre festival @ Warwick Arts Centre, near Coventry – I don’t know if there’s a theme, but there are polar bears and dolphins and allsorts more.

Monday the 1st till Friday the 5th – “Heads Will Roll” (Told By An Idiot and Theatre Royal Plymouth) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – Inspired by the search for El Dorado, and featuring “live music from one of Barcelona’s most unique musicians”. That could mean a lot of things, really.

Monday the 1st till Monday the 14th – Coventry Peace Festival @ various venues in Coventry – On one hand I like the idea of granting ‘peace’ an ontological status beyond ‘the absence of conflict’. On the other it seems a bit glib. But still! Lots of different stuff to see and participate in.

Wednesday the 2nd – Andy Irvine @ The Red Lion, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Your man from Planxty. Not that one. One of the other ones.

Wednesday the 2nd – “Gothic Tales” (European Arts Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – GOTH MONTH. Although in the ‘gothic literary tradition’ sense rather than the ‘kohl’ sense, in this case. Adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” (I just went to see another one of those, funnily enough), H.G. Wells’ “The Red Room” and Charles Dickens’ ”The Signalman”.

Wednesday the 2nd – The Mouse Outfit @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Nine hip-hop mice, nine hip-hop mice, see how they rap, see how they rap…

Thursday the 3rd – Echo & The Bunnyman @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Not part of goth month as such, but certainly affiliated.

Thursday the 3rd – Flamingods @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham – Psycho-rhythmic freakouts with a bunch of interesting different instruments. It took me a while to realise that the name was mean to be as in “flamingo” rather than as in “on fire”.

Thursday the 3rd – “The Collector” (Kathryn Barker Productions)@ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – A Iraqi translator working for American interrogators encounters a committed supporter of the old regime.

Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th- Capsule’ “Supersonic 2017 Launch Party” @ Centrala, Digbeth, Birmingham – There’s gonna be a Supersonic Festival next year! Wa-hey! And this is a harbinger of it. Two nights of varied stuff, headlined by Xylouris White – Jim White of The Dirty Three in collaboration with the Cretan lute player Giorgos Xylouris.

Friday the 4th – The Specials @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Bernie Rhodes knows: don’t argue.

Friday the 4th – Smoove & Turrell @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – I’ve seen ‘em live before and I still have trouble believing that his voice comes out of his body.

Friday the 4th – Politics And Theatre Symposium @ The Rep/Library Of Birmingham (Studio), Birmingham – I think it’s more-or-less exactly what the name suggests.

Friday the 4th – “Coulrophobia” (Pickled Imaged Theatre) @ The MAC (Foyle Studio), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Why is everything clown-related lately? Clowns this, clowns that. It’s like that period in the late 90s/early 2000s when people suddenly started saying ‘monkey’ in every other sentence. But I digress. I don’t think the clowns in this play are clowns for your kiddies.

Friday the 4th – “Maddy And The Invisible Band Of Groovers” (Invisible Flash Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Probably the best title for a play that I have ever seen.

Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th – The National Pet Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I’m gonna go and get me an ocelot.

Saturday the 5th – “Midlands Calling”punk alldayer @ The Wulfrun Hall, WolverhamptonSham 69! Subhumans! Also Angelic Upstarts, UK Subs, GBH, 999, Drongos and loads of others.

Saturday the 5th – Elaine Paige @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Nothing is so good it lasts eternally/perfect situations must go wrong. Entropy, they call it. Wasn’t it good? Oh so good.

Sunday the 6th- Saxon @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – I should bloody well hope that the band will play on, if you’ve paid for a ticket and all.

Sunday the 6th – The Mission @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – GOTH MONTH. Apparently it’s their 30th anniversary tour. So many years, so much dry ice sacrificed for the cause.

Sunday the 6th – David Essex @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham (and also at Wolves Civic on the 27th) – I’ll brave your cries of “WHAAAAT? NOOOOO!” and acknowledge that I don’t actually think the thought of a David Essex gig is an exceptionally interesting thing. I just wanted to self-indulgently tell an anecdote. Up until about a-year-or-so ago, I’d managed to never have heard of this Joey Essex figure who’s apparently a big telly star nowadays. When I heard tell of some of his exploits (I forget precisely what he was supposed to be up to), it didn’t make any sense at all to me. It just wouldn’t compute that he might be doing this. Naturally, I was thinking of David Essex.

Sunday the 6th – The Skull @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Ex-members of Trouble and so on, but the main thing here is that you’ve got a doom metal band called “The Skull”. They know what the flip is going on.

Sunday the 6th – Eliza Carthy @ The Warwick Arts Centre (theatre space), near Coventy – There’s a hole in my bucket, dear ‘Liza, dear ‘Liza. I imagine that she won’t play that.

Tuesday the 8th till Saturday the 12th – the Welsh National Opera come to town @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – The theme this time around is the obscure playwright Billy Shakespeare. You have Verdi’s Macbeth, Andrei Tchaikowsky’s (not P.I. Tchaikovsky. I am certain you know that, but it’s confused me in the past) The Merchant Of Venice, and (moving diagonally sideways into the world of musicals) you have Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate.

Tuesday the 8th till Saturday the 12th – “Pride And Prejudice” (Regent’s Park Theatre) @ The Rep, Birmingham – PRIDE AND PREJUDICE MONTH. Starring the man who played The Definitive Lenny at this very venue many yeas ago, Matthew “You Bet!” Kelly.

Wednesday the 9th – Chas & Dave @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – A few years ago I wondered if C&D’s “last ever tour” of the time was reeeaaaally actually going to be their last. I was assured that it was. Heh.

Thursday the 10th till Sunday the 13th- “The Seventh Wave” electronic music festival @ various venues in Brum – Including gigs from :Zoviet*France and Wolfgang Flür o’ Kraftwerk, a conference, and allsorts.

Thursday the 10th till Sunday the 20th – Shout festival @ various venues in Birmingham – You know you make me wanna… have a festival of queer arts and culture. There’s loads happening, have a look.

Thursday the 10th till Monday the 28th – BASS Festival 2016 @ various venues in Brum – This year’s theme is “Hip Hop 360”. Loads of things happening including gigs from Jazzy Jeff and Slick Rick, but the absolute can’t-miss one will be The Robert Glasper Experiment playing at Brum Town Hall on the 20th.

Thursday the 10th – An evening with Glen Matlock @ The Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton – “Sacked me, they did. Got this other fella in, instead. Needless to say I had the last laugh.”

Friday the 11th – “Nabucco” (Ellen Kent International) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – You could do a Verdi Double this week if you wanted, between this and the WNO’s “Macbeth” performance. A Verdouble, if you will.

Saturday the 12th – The Wailers @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – I was about to say that it’s basically Aston Barett plus backing band nowadays, but upon inspection it looks like he isn’t even with them anymore. But still, they’re playing.

Saturday the 12th – the Singha Grand Slam Of Darts @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Sports that you play outside are stupid.

Saturday the 12th – Roni Size @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – It’s a DJ set, but I see a lot of appeal in the idea of charging around the place and insistently demanding “WHO… TOLD… YOU… you could do it like… THIS?” of people.

Satuday the 12th – Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” (Opera Anywhere) @ The Botanical Gardens, Harborne, Birmingham – I bet this’ll be nice, amongst the flowers.

Sunday the 13th – Billy Bragg & Joe Henry @ The Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, near Coventry – Touring following their joint album themed around railroad songs. They’ve added some great lyrics to “The Theme From Thomas The Tank Engine”, I’ll tell you.

Sunday the 13th – Lacuna Coil @ The Institute 2, Digbeth, Birmingham – Another not-quite-goth-month-but-definitely-affiliated event.

Sunday the 13th- New Model Army @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Nuts to Cromwell, though.

Sunday the 13th- The Low Anthem @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Used to be called The High Anthem, but age has its effect on the vocal chords.

Wednesday the 16th till Saturday the 19th – “Beautiful Thing” (can’t find the theatre company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – I wasn’t really aware of this but apparently it’s famous. And even more so after the Stan’s Café folks plugged it.

Thursday the 17th – Alabama 3 @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Apparently their 20th anniversary tour. It’s all about the anniversaries nowadays.

Thursday the 7th – The Skatalites @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – With the original vocalist, which (if I’m to be honest) I wouldn’t have expected.

Thursday the 17th – The Hollies @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – All they need is the air that they breathe, and food, and shelter, and clean water. And to love you. Possibly jam on it as well.

Thursday the 17th – “Against Prejudice – Ira Aldridge In Coventry 1828” (Warwick University’s Multicultural Shakespeare Project & Belgrade Theatre) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – So apparently an under-21-year-old black man became the manager of a theatre in Coventry… in 1828. This will feature a documentary about him followed by a trip to the site of the actual theatre, as well as excerpts from the plays he put on.

Friday the 18th – Public Image Ltd @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Yes, I agree that Lydon is a tosser. But still.

Friday the 18th – Roachford @ The Kasbah, Coventry – Now and forever: There’s no fog!

Saturday the 19th – Laura Mvula @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Songs that can lift your spirits, songs that can jig your foot.

Saturday the 19th – “Going For Gold” boxing card (UKO Boxing) @ The Town Hall, Walsall – I have no idea about the local boxing scene anymore, but it looks like Martin Gethin is still going so good luck to him.

Monday the 21st till the 10th of December – “The Wind In The Willows” @ The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Be careful before you book a ticket, though – word reaches me that Mr Toad may have been sacked for punching the producer. The pompous oaf.

Monday the 21st still Wednesday the 23rd – “Shakespeare, His Wife, And The Dog” (Bated Breath Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – Bill and Anne have lost their dog.

Monday the 21st – “Pride And Prejudice” @ The Albany Theatre, Coventry (and also at The Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton on the 23rd) – PRIDE AND PREJUDICE MONTH.

Tuesday the 22nd – Sisters Of Mercy @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – GOTH MONTH.

Tuesday the 22nd – She Makes War @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham – It’s styled as one of your “An evening with…” affairs (if you look here), so there may well be more chat than usual. She was very funny when I saw her and apparently she has done comedy in the past.

Wednesday the 23rd – Terrorvision @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Playing “Regular Urban Survivors” all the way through on yet another of those anniversary tours. Dog chewed t’handle.

Thursday the 24th till Sunday the 27th – the BBC Good Food Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – “Good food? But that’s my favourite type of food!”

Thursday the 24th till Sunday the 27th – The Trip To Birmingham Tradfest @ various venues in Birmingham, mostly Digbeth – Irish folk festival, with tooralooraloo and maybe a tooraloorali as well.

Friday the 25th – Bus Station Loonies @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – A surprising venue for this band to be playing. But there we are.

Saturday the 26th – Future Of The Left @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Some of the best song-titlers of our times. My current fave would have to be “Robocop 4 – Fuck Off Robocop”.

Saturday the 26th – An Audience With Lesley Garrett @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – Look, sod off, I like her.

Saturday the 26th – Goodnight Lenin @ Muthers Studio, Digbeth, Birmingham – They used to be a West-Coast-American-folk-rock type band. Nowadays they have keyboards and riffs and allsorts. We live in crazy times.

Sunday the 27th – Mark Kermode @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – God, Kermode, your hands are massive.

Tuesday the 29th – The Damned @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Another goth month affiliate.

Wednesday the 30th – Shalamar @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – They’re gonna make it (wait for it, waaaait for iiiiiiit) a night to remember.

A small selection from the Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands – July 2015

Posted in Food, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well by Russ L on 1 July, 2015

This will be even less use than my effort last month, but there we go. It’s too hot. Far, far too hot. Don’t take the fact that I’m melting into a little puddle as any sort of hint that there aren’t a whole imperial sack-full of things going on beyond this small selection.

‘Festival’ quick hits (because everything that ever happens in Birmingham calls itself a festival, as well as some things that happen outside of it)The Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival between the 3rd and the 12th; The Colmore Food Festival on the 3rd and the 4th; The Godiva Festival between the 3rd and the 5th; The Black Country Festival on the 14th (with other activities going on all month); the Belgrade Theatre’s July Festival between the 8th and the 19th; the Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival between the 10th and 12th; The Cradley Women Chainmakers’ Festival on the 11th and 12th; the Birminghamfest theatre festival between the 17th and the 2nd of August; the Walsall Town Festival between the 18th and the 26th; Simmer Down on the 19th.

Gig quick hitsBurt Bacharach at Symphony Hall on the 1st; Mary J. Blige at the NIA on the 3rd; Fleetwood Mac at the NEC on the 4th and the 7th; The Wonder Stuff and The Twang and Rhino & The Ranters at The Wulfrun on the 5th; Bette Midler at the NIA on the 9th; Cannibal Ox at The Sunflower Lounge on the 10th; Beres Hammond and Bunny Wailer at The Academy on the 18th; The (‘official’) Drifters at The Wulfrun on the 24th;
Badly Drawn Boy at Brum Town Hall on the 25th; The Bus Station Loonies at The Rainbow on the 26th; The Sonics at The Institute on the 28th; Otis Gibbs at The Kitchen Garden Café on the 29th.

Theatre quick hits (please also pay particular note to ‘Birminghamfest’ above)“Me At The Zoo” at Brum Rep on the 7th and 8th; “A Greek Chorus” at The Old Rep on the 8th and 9th; “Greywing House” at The Old Joint Stock on the 10th and 11th; “You Are The Jury” at The Drum on the 12th.

Opera quick hits – Opera North’s “The Flying Dutchman” at Symphony Hall on the 5th; Midland Opera’s “The Thieving Magpie” at The Crescent Theatre between the 15th and the 18th.

I also want to plug this just because the very existence of it probably winds up serious football fansThe National 5s League at The NIA on the 29th. Now I’m going to admit in advance that I don’t have the clearest idea what the flip this is. Nevertheless: football is a boring sport, I’m sure that we can all admit that. A really boring sport. They all run up one way for a bit, then they all run up the other way, then they all run back again. A ball flies around between them but they don’t seem to have a fat lot of control over it. Once, twice, or maybe three times per game someone will score a point. No-one hits anyone else. Utter bullshucks. Here, though… here they purport to mix football with “music, dance, monster trucks and pyrotechnics”. I don’t know if it’ll be any fun to watch, but it’ll be sure to make the purists’ piss boil and that is a worthy aim in itself. Don’t think that your protests have cancelled this forever, football fans. It will return, harder and stronger and more ridiculous.

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: March 2015

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, Films, Food, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage by Russ L on 28 February, 2015

There’s always loads in March – Crufts, Flatpack, Frontiers, the WNO coming around, St Padraig’s, loads. March this year is no exception, and has plenty of non-regular delights too (Sooty, sousaphones, loads). I was going to waffle on here (in my usual grumpy fashion) about the NIA now being ‘The Barclaycard Arena” (I see the NEC Arena has changed names again, too), but I cant be bothered anymore. Sod ‘em. Sod ‘em all.

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.

Sunday the 1st – “Hercules” (The English Concert) @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Handel’s oratorio, so more your ‘tale of jealousy causing strife’ than your ‘twelve labours thereof’.

Sunday the 1st – “…And This Is My Friend Mr Laurel” (Finishing Touch Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Stan visits the dying Ollie. Shame that this couldn’t have been performed at The Bartons Arms, really, with its L&H connections and all.

Tuesday the 3rd and Wednesday the 4th – “Nursing Lives” (Vamos Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Last month I wrote “Stories of nurses, performed by “the UK’s leading full mask theatre company”. Presumably not just surgical masks, then.” This month I can’t be bothered to think of anything extra to write.

Tuesday the 3rd – “Adorno and Art” talk and book launch @ Eastside Projects, Birmingham – One Dr James Hellings has written a book of that title. I expect the “Adorno took our symphonies away” view will be thoroughly debunked therein. Dunno, meself.

Wednesday the 4th till Saturday the 7th – Welsh National Opera @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – The Welsh National Opea company rolls into town for one of its mini-seasons, although there doesn’t seem to be a theme this time around. You do, nevertheless, have a gala performance with the lovely Lesley Garrett on the 4th, Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” on the 5th and 6th, and Humperdinck’s “Hansel And Gretel” on the 7th.

Wednesday the 4th – In This Moment @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Every time I hear their name, I think involuntarily of Martine McCutcheon’s “This Is My Moment”. That’s quite different, musically speaking. I would like to hear her have a stab at melodic metalcore, though.

Wednesday the 4th – John Renbourn & Wizz Jones @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Folk guitarerarering, and plenty of it.

Wednesday the 4th – Barbara Dickson @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – She knew him so well.

Wednesday the 4th – Mellow Peaches @ The Hare & Hounds, Birmingham – Excellent rootsy bluegrassy country-bluesy type o’band. I think they’re first on the bill with other artistes at this one, but apparently it’s only a pound to get in.

Thursday the 5th till Sunday the 8th – Crufts @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – HOUND CONVENTION.

Thursday the 5th – Janáček’s “Glagolitic Mass” & Berlioz’ “La Mort de Cléopâtre” (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – An interesting combination.

Friday the 6th till Sunday the 8th – Bandage Live @ various venues in Birmingham & Sutton Coldfield – Various benefit gigs for Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The website isn’t exactly a thorough listing, but I know that a Paul Murphy gig is part of it.

Friday the 6th – Hawkwind / Focus @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Or the current version thereof, you know how it goes. I’m sure this’ll be mindbending nevertheless.

Friday the 6th – “Elephant Man” (Fourth Monkey Theatre Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – He is not an elephant. He is a human being.

Friday the 6th – Mob 47 @ The Adam & Eve, Digbeth, Birmingham – I swear that they used to call this sort of thing “Discore” rather than “D-Beat” when I were a lad. If neither of those terms mean anything to you then I’d take a wild flying guess at saying that this gig probably won’t be your type of thing.

Friday the 6th – “Ideas Of Noise” @ Minerva Works, Digbeth, Birmingham – An evening of ‘noise used creatively’. Sarah Farmer seems to be putting it on but I’m not sure if she’s actually performing or not. I like the sound of a “harsh noise ballet” by Justin Wiggan and Genevieve Say.

Saturday the 7th till Saturday the 15th – Birmingham St Padraig’s Day Festival @ all over Digbeth, Birmingham – The parade (3rd largest in the world etc.) is on the 15th, this year. The closest thing to any listings that I can find for the fringe festival is this.

Saturday the 7th – Revolt @ The Coal Vaults, Coventry – Amazing-beyond-amazing feminist and LGBTQIA+ postive punk night. This time you’ll have Liines, The Ethical Debating Society, Big Joanie, and Bad Horse, as well as there being DJs and spoken word and zines and all sorts of lovely stuff.

Saturday the 7th – Grant Nicholas @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – Yer fella from Feeder. Believe an old man when I tell you that Feeder actually used to be alright before they became really boring.

Saturday the 7th – Whisky Birmingham @ The Bond, Digbeth, Birmingham – Whisk(e)y is the life of man, as The Clancy Brothers taught us. I dunno, I don’t even like it all that much. See also the 27th.

Sunday the 8th – The Unthanks @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – Folk music and clog-dancing. The new mania that’s sweeping the nation.

Sunday the 8th – The 2015 Soul Acoustic Tour @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Headlined by Carroll Thompson, and also featuring Raheem Bakaré (I got there too late to see him supporting D’Angelo a few weeks ago, which is a shame since he seems like he could be quite interesting).

Sunday the 8th – “Pathways & Places” (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Stan’s Café) @ The CBSO Centre, Birmingham – A BCMG family concert, with the always-amazing Stan’s Café people providing visuals. There are also “activity cafes” an hour before each performance, in which you can contribute to the music that will eventually be played.

Monday the 9th till the 30th of April – BOM Fellows Show @ Birmingham Open Media, Birmingham – A work-in-progress sort of exhibition, with the ten ‘Fellows’ of BOM showing ideas in development. Includes Pete Ashton’s meditation about the overuse of the word ‘mighty’ on Instagram.

Monday the 9th till Saturday the 14th – “Jeeves And Wooster in ‘Perfect Nonsense’” (some sort of production-specific touring theatre company) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – Starring Robert Webb as Bertie and Christopher Ryan as… Seppings? Apparently. I can’t remember who that is.

Monday the 9th – Clean Bandit @ The Academy, Birmingham – I’d seen the band name ‘Clean Bandit’ around for a good while before I realised that they were that-band-who-do-that-‘doodly-doo-doo-do’ song, but I was always amused by it. ‘Clean Bandit’. I don’t know why that tickles me so much.

Tuesday the 10th – Idlewild @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Believe an old man when I tell you that Idlewild also actually used to be alright before they became really boring.

Wednesday the 11th – “One Man ‘Breaking Bad’: The Unauthorised Parody” @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Dunno about this. It surely requires at least two people to do the best bits (i.e. Badger & Skinny Pete routines). (Also on at Warwick Arts Centre on the 14th).

Thursday the 12th – An Evening With Arthur Brown @ The Robin 2, Bilston – ‘An Evening With…’ rather than ‘The Crazy World Of…’, so I assume he’ll be telling anecdotes more than he’ll be setting fire to his own head.

Thursday the 12th – Pharoahe Monch @ The Oobleck, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – Simon Says Fuck You.

Thursday the 12th – “Ways of Something” @ Vivid Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – A screening of a remake of John Berger’s “Ways Of Seeing”, in which 60 second clips of contemporary artists’ work are spliced in. It’s very important that you watch to watch the original series too, of course. And to read Walter Benjamin’s “The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction” as well, while we’re at it.

Friday the 13th (whooooo) – GoGo Penguin @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Penguins, in my admittedly limited experience, don’t need much encouragement to act. They will go at the very slightest provocation, whatever going might entail. Also here you have some twinkly-piano jazz-come-electronics.

Friday the 13th (whooooo) – Dan Walsh @ The Woodman Folk Club, Kingswinford – The instrumentals are always the best when it comes to clawhammer banjo music. They always sound like the background theme to a chase scene.

Saturday the 14th till Saturday the 21st- “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Younger readers might be amused by a joke using the phrase “Ratched-ass girl” but I don’t know anything about all that.

Saturday the 14th – Lionel Richie @ The Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham – Q. How does Lionel Richie answer the phone? (Aaaaalltogether now…) A. He says “Lionel Richie speaking”.

Saturday the 14th – Europe @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – It’s not the penultimate count-up. No sirree. That’s absolutely not what it is.

Saturday the 14th – The Sooty Show with Richard Cadell @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – I didn’t know there was such thing as post-Corbett Sooty! Little Cousin piggin’ Scampi appears to have buggered off, too, so there’s plenty to celebrate.

Saturday the 14th – Zun Zun Egui @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham – Indie-rock by way of Afrobeat, and you can hear their new album in its entirety here.

Saturday the 14th – “La Traviata” (Ellen Kent Opera & Ballet International) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – The only one of these Ellen Kent productions I’ve ever been to see was an absolutely shambolic attempt at “La Boheme” at The Grand, a couple of years ago. They had some bad luck, though (as well as being in a horrible theatre). I’m sure that not absolutely every performance they do of an Italian opera set in France is like that every time.

Saturday the 14th – “Tear Up At The Tower 7” Muay Thai @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Good luck to Si Whitehead and everyone from K-Star Legacy.

Sunday the 15th – The Strawbs @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Actually it’s a triple-bill of Carl Palmer (of ELP fame), Martin whatjacallhim (of Wishbone Ash fame), and The Strawbs (of The Strawbs fame). Unlikely bedfellows.

Sunday the 15th – Chris Wood @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Folk music. Yeah, that’s right, I’m bored of thinking up wood/tree/forest puns every time Chris Wood does a gig.

Sunday the 15th – Hirax @ The Asylum 2, Hockley, Birmingham – Thrashthrashthrash!

Monday the 26th till Friday the 27th – Frontiers Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Two weeks of unusual contemporary music. There’s a you-name-it selection of stuff: Jonathan Harvey’s “From Silence”, everything in Beethoven’s 5th played by one woman, Indonesian Gamelan, jazz themed around intra- and inter-state conflict, I-don’t-even-know-what themed around the number ‘108’, you name it…

Tuesday the 17th till Tuesday the 31st – The Young Rep 2015 Festival: ‘Manifesto’ @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – The youth theatre festival based around ‘punchy’ political ideas. Including a cut-up version of Hamlet, Pies, British Values, and loads and loads more.

Wednesday the 18th – Alabama 3 @ The Robin 2, Bilston – I’m in a lonely room, Hank Williams sings a lovesick tune. I’m sure it won’t be a lonely room for this gig, though. I expect it’ll be quite busy.

Thursday the 19th till Sunday the 29th – Flatpack Film Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Flatpack! Brumagem’s primary festival of film and film-related activity. It’s another you-name-it job: the biggest one for me is a Richard Dawson gig, but there’s also Peggy Seeger, the Swedish Monty Python equivalent, the Odyssey done with cardboard cut-out characters, cats, more cats, I felt sorry for that cat, air guitar, you name it…

Thursday the 19th – Spandau Ballet @ The Genting Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – Yes, they’re playing there. It’s… TRU-WOO!

*** Pick Of The Month~! ***
Friday the 20th – Fanfare Ciocărlia @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – At least some of the people reading this are likely to be fans of The Destroyers, and to those (and everyone else, actually) I would recommend Fanfare Ciocărlia. This gig does seem to be seated, though. If any gig at the Town Hall ever begs for the seats to be taken up, it’ll be this one. People are going to want to have a Balkan Boogie. They have two sousaphones! Two!

Friday the 20th – Stiff Little Fingers @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Don’t leave anything lying around at the gig. The venue might end up being evacuated if they find something that get mistaken for a sus… sus… sus… suss us sussuspect device.

Friday the 20th – Warpaint @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Now that I think of it, ‘Woad’ would be a good band name.

Sunday the 22nd – Dropkick Murphys / The Mahones / Blood Or Whiskey / Resistance 77 @ The Academy, Birmingham – The ‘Celtic Punk Invasion’ tour. Once I would have made a joke about the massive total of one of the bands being from a Celtic Country, but it did eventually dawn on me that this would be close to breaking the “you never, ever get to tell anyone else what their identity is” rule. And I do that that’s a very good rule to live by.

Sunday the 22nd – Seth Lakeman @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – His name always makes me think of the old ‘spaceman’ joke. What do you do if you see a Lakeman? Fish in it, maaaaaan…

Sunday the 22nd – Malcolm X Film Festival @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – Accompanying events nationally. I continually find myself irritated by those who purport to forget the definition of the word ‘necessary’ when trying to find reasons to dislike Malcolm X.

Monday the 23rd till Saturday the 28th – “Arcadia” (English Touring Theatre & Theatre Royal Brighton Productions) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – The best English language play of our times, sez me. Also you can nick bits of the dialogue to explain entropy to people.

Tuesday the 24th till Wednesday the 1st of April – “A Passion For Birmingham” (can’t seem to work out the name of the theatre company) @ Birmingham Cathedral and The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Jesus in Brum.

Tuesday the 24th till Saturday the 28th – “All My Sons” (Talawa Theatre Company) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – See the next entry, if you would.

Tuesday the 24th till Saturday the 28th – “The View From The Bridge (Touring Consortium Theatre Company) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – Given how far in advance theatres make their bookings, you’d have thought that they would have avoided having two big Arthur Miller Productions in the same area on exactly the same dates. Or maybe it’s deliberate counter-programming? If they’d both been in Birmingham then someone would have called it ‘Millerfest’.

Tuesday the 24th – Usher @ The Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham – I remember the time when he got mistaken for one of the venue’s actual ushers. Oh, the hilarious sitcom-style misunderstandings that occurred.

Tuesday the 24th – Oysterband @ The Robin 2, Bilston – I condone any folk act named after seafood.

Friday the 27th till Saturday the 11th of April – “Blood” (Belgrade Theatre & Tamasha) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – Anglo-Asian Romeo & Juliet.

Wednesday the 25th till Saturday the 28th – “Alice” (Crescent Youth Theatre) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – A modern version of Alice, with your Wonderlandy characters helping her with bereavement.

Friday the 27th and Saturday the 28th – Midlands Whisky Festival @ The Town Hall, Stourbridge – See also the 7th.

Friday the 27th – Cara Dillon @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Her fiddle player’s “bit scared” story absolutely cracked me up when I saw her.

Friday the 27th – Prince Phillip @ The Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham – “It’s all the fault of the bleddy Chinese, don’tchaknow…”

Saturday the 28th – Ameriie @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – *DRUMS* Na-na-na-na-na-no…

Saturday the 28th – The Selecter @ Warwick Arts Centre (Student Union Copper Rooms), near Coventry – It’s just a simple show gig on my radio at Warwick Arts Centre.

Saturday the 28th – Professional Boxing (TOP Promotions) @ The Holte Suite, Villa Park, Aston, Birmingham – Hey, Lee Jones is back!

Monday the 30th – “Collidoscope” (Freshold Theatre & Untitled Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – Anna deals with upset in her life by becoming Madeleine Carroll. This is a genius idea and I’ll have to try it myself.

Tuesday the 31st till Sunday the 26th of April – “Shrek – The Musical” (Dreamworks Theatricals) @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – I wonder if they work “It’s Not Easy Being Green” in there, since it’s a musical?

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: February 2015

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, Food, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well by Russ L on 31 January, 2015

Soul month!

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.

From the 31st of January all the way up to the 11th of April – “Birmingham Show” @ Eastside Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – An art exhibition that concerns itself with three questions: ‘What is the art of Birmingham?’ ‘Is there an accent to Birmingham’s art making?’ and ‘How is Birmingham useful for the production of art?’. Potentially very interesting – I often feel like there are common threads that I can’t quite put my finger on amongst local stuff.

Sunday the 1st – Joe @ The Academy, Birmingham – Soul month! I’d call Joe ‘alright’ rather than ‘great’. I might not have mentioned him here were it not for A) the respect-worthy lack of effort that went into his stage name, and B) that concept album he did that was set in Possilpark.

Sunday the 1st – “Gaza: When Fire Rained Down From The Sky” @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – A talk from Musheir El-Farra, who recently wrote a book of the same name about victims of Israel’s 2008 campaign.

Monday the 2nd – Jefferson Starship @ The Robin 2, Bilston – The current touring version of Jefferson Starship, doing the music of Jefferson Airplane. I’ll leave you to decide whether that’s a retrograde step or not.

Tuesday the 3rd till Saturday the 7th – “The History Boys” (Sell A Door Theatre Company) @ The Belgrade Theatre, CoventryGordon Alan Bennett. (Also on at The Alexandra between the 23d and the 28th).

Wednesday the 4th till Saturday the 7th – “The Glass Menagerie” (Warwick University Drama Society) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio), near Coventry – Tenner C. Williams. Tenner him? I barely know him.

Friday the 6th till Saturday the 21st – “Harvey” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre (The House, Birmingham) – Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit etc.

Friday the 6th – “The Tell-Tale Heart” @ The Spotted Dog, Digbeth, Birmingham – Readings and film showings and stuff hidden under the floor, all in honour of Edgar Allen Poe’s birthday.

Saturday the 7th till Saturday the 21st – “Only A Day” (Belgrade Theatre Company) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – A fox and a boar watch over the birth of a mayfly. For children aged seven and over.

Saturday the 7th – “Inside” (Strawberry Blonde Curls Theatre Company) @ The MAC (the Hexagon), Edgbaston, Birmingham – About Stockholm Syndrome. You know, that one where you fall in love with your pet moose.

Sunday the 8th – “Only Fools And Boycie – An Evening With John Challis” @ The Old Rep, Birmingham – I saw him as the voice of The Book in that touring version of Hitchhikers the other year, which was interesting casting. This, I assume (and sort-of hope), will consist of him doing this for an hour and a half.

Tuesday the 10th till Saturday the 14th – Matthew Bourne’s “Edward Scissorhands”(New Avenues) @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – They won’t let me have scissors. Not the sharp ones, anyway.

Tuesday the 10th till Saturday the 14th – “Forever Young” (Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company & Oldham Coliseum Theatre) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre), near Coventry – Aging pantomime actors try to prove that it isn’t all behind them. That’s a plot description. I’ve no idea if it functions on a meta level as well or not.

Tuesday the 10th – Kenny Garrett @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Jazz sax-o-mo-phone. I expect that a lot of people get him mixed up with Kenny G. I also expect that he doesn’t like that very much.

Wednesday the 11th – The CBSO’s “Shostakovich Uncovered” @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – The 11th symphony (“In The Year 1905”) with an explanatory talk/performance attached. It’s also being done as part of the ‘War And Revolution’ programme on the 15th, and if you like Shosto then there’s also first piano trio on the 26th.

Friday the 13th (whoooo) – Macy Gray @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Soul Month! I know “I Try” got really flipping irritating the first time around, after it was projected into every semi-stable bit of air in the entire world non-stop for about two years running, but listen back to it now – it’s lovely. There has, presumably, been some more stuff since then too. Maybe I should try to hear some of it.

Saturday the 14th – Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – My first thought when I heard the name was a reflexive “Oh yes, and what precisely is quite so postmodern about it all?”, but they do actually appear to be applying signifiers out of context to see what they end up doing. So…

Saturday the 14th – Gruff Rhys @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Star of “Not The Nine O’Clock News” and “Alas Smith & Jones”, latterly more well known for larking about on boats. What?

Saturday the 14th – Fascinating Aïda @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The Cheap Flights song absolutely cracked me up.

Saturday the 14th – Professional Boxing @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Ah, I have no idea who the local boxers are nowadays. The balcony in The Civic is a great place to watch fighting sports, though – you get a great view of the ring. There’s also boxing at the Holte Suite at the Villa ground on the 20th and at Bescot stadium on the 21st, but again I dunno.

Sunday the 15th and Monday the 16th – “The Snail And The Whale” (Tall Stories) @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – A snail wants to see the world and so hitches a ride on the back of a whale. You don’t know how much I’d like to do that.

Sunday the 15th – The Dublin Legends @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – “Will they ever be called ‘The Dubliners’ again?” (Wait for it, wait for it) No, nay, never, no nay never no more…

Sunday the 15th – “UK Burger Battle Valentine Special” @ Spotlight, Digbeth – You get to eat two burgers from two different chefs and judge them. The winner gets… I dunno, indigestion I expect.

Sunday the 15th – Echo & The Bunnymen @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Rescheduled from last year, due to illness. I think one of the Bunnymen was poorly. Echo was notably annoyed about having to cancel gigs.

Monday the 16th till Saturday the 21st – “The Honey Man” (Birmingham Rep Theatre & Judy Owen Ltd) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – An old Caribbean beekeeper is harassed by the daughter of the his landlord. This one has been well-regarded for a long time now. (It’s also on at The Arena in Wolves on the 24th, and… y’know, I swear I saw it on somewhere else in February but I can’t quite seem to locate where. Sorry).

Tuesday the 17th till Saturday the 21st – “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time” (National Theatre) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – With the usual caveats about representation. And the usual caveats about The Grand Theatre.

Tuesday the 17th – D’Angelo @ The Academy, Birmingham – Soul Month! I like this trend of famous artists releasing albums on two-minutes notice, it’s fun. Particularly when, like Dang (as he is known to the non-boring), you’re famous for hardly releasing albums at all.

Tuesday the 17th – “Alice In Wonderland” (Box Tale Soup) @ Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton – A puppetry version, which actually does strike me as a very good medium for it.

Wednesday the 18th – The Decemberists @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Any band that do a video based in a scene from “Infinite Jest” are alright by me.

Wednesday the 18th – Hey Colossus @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Doom-come-post-rock sorts, who were something beyond amazing the first time I saw them and then a bit dull the second time.

Friday the 20th – Sleaford Mods @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – I’m not entirely convinced that he’s not just a pub bore moaning about other pub bores, but I’m open to be persuaded.

Friday the 20th – Mitch Benn @ The MAC (Theatre Space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Like Jeremy Hardy, tours mostly to prove that he exists in the corporeal world and not solely on the radio.

Friday the 20th – St Patrick’s Day Charity Event @ The Irish Centre, Digbeth, Birmingham – It seems that the Birmingham Saint Padraig’s Day parade (3rd largest in the world etc) has had its funding cut. Money is being raised, and this here is a benefit gig with loads of Irish music (including The Father Teds).

Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd – “Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus” (Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio), near Coventry – Good advice for living, as well as the title of this play for children three and older.

Saturday the 21st – Earth @ The Oobleck, Digbeth, Birmingham – Yer contemporary drone band, not Black Sabbath under their original name. Or Earth, Wind & Fire. Or Manfred Mann’s Earthband.

Saturday the 21st – MMA (British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Wolves council had a bit of a “ban this filth” fit over MMA a few years ago and cancelled an event that was due to take place at the Civic (in spite of the fact that MMA fights had already taken place there, on a kickboxing card. I know, I was there), so I’m glad that’s all settled down. This card features mega-prospect Tom Duquesnoy, and (as I mentioned above) this is a good venue for fightsports. One Paul Taylor is fighting, too, but sadly it’s not that Paul Taylor.

Saturday the 21st – Pete Rock @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – CL Smooth’s mate. They reminisce they reminisce.

Sunday the 22nd – Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – The second most famous folky from Barnsley and the second most famous folky from the Lakeman family, making something first class when combined.

Sunday the 22nd – Mahler’s First Symphony by the CBSO Youth Orchestra @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – And if you like Mahlo, there’s the sixth symphony on the 26th and the 28th.

Sunday the 22nd – “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – With Jack Dee and the surprisingly corporeal Jeremy Hardy and all o’them other fellas. Mornington Crescent.

Monday the 23rd – “Woyzeck” (Splendid Productions) @ The MAC (the Hexagon), Edgbaston, Birmingham – I always forget that this was a play before it was an opera.

Wednesday the 25th till Thursday the 7th of March – “The King’s Speech” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company & Chichester Festival Theatre) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – P-p-p-p-p-p-poker F-f-face, Granville. With Jason Donovan! Wow.

Wednesday the 25th and Thursday the 26th – Selina Thompson’s “Chewing The Fat” @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio), near Coventry – I can’t help but chuckle about the fact that Warwick Arts Centre’s page for this comedy/theatre performance about weight/body image finishes with “Theatre Supper: Enjoy a post-show supper in Le Gusta…”

Wednesday the 25th – The Jesus & Mary Chain @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Doing their vaunted “Psychocandy” album. Feeding the feedback back.

Wednesday the 25th – Michael Chapman @ The Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Fun fact: between September 2011 and February 2013 I saw Chappo and his bluesy fingepickin’ guitarin’ five times, which seems (to me) like quite a high times-to-time ratio for seeing someone non-local. I’ve not seen him before or since.

Wednesday the 25th – “The Cloth Of The World” (The Fetch Theatre Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – A puppetry performance inspired by Hereford Cathedral’s Mappa Mundi, which is an intriguingly mad concept. Includes mermaids, mandrakes, and gold-digging ants.

Thursday the 26th till Sunday the 28th – “Ava’s Wedding” (students of Birmingham Conservatoire) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – A new opera, by Michael Wolters of the Conservatoire. The libretto (by Alexandra Taylor) is apparently influenced by soap operas, making this a soap opera-opera. If you will.

Thursday the 26th – Rick Wakeman @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Keyboards and capes.

Thursday the 26th – “Broke” (The Paper Birds Theatre Company) @ The MAC (theatre), Edgbaston, Birmingham – About debt. There’s a lot of it about.

Friday the 27th – Richard Herring @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – I used to love “Fists Of Fun” and “TMWRNJ”, but I’m afraid to go back and try to watch them again. I have a faint worry that it might just turn out to have been a load of wacky-student crapola.

Friday the 27th – Syleena Johnson @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Soul month! It’s really not clear to me whether she’s supporting Faith Evans, or they’re doing some sort of joint tour with ‘em all together on stage at once.

Friday the 27th – Fairport Convention @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The soirée at the just harbour town (‘Fair’,’port’… geddit?).

Friday the 27th – “Nursing Lives” (Vamos Theatre) @ The MAC (theatre), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Stories of nurses, performed by “the UK’s leading full mask theatre company”. Presumably not just surgical masks, then.

Friday the 27th – Mark Thomas’ “Cuckooed” @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre), near Coventry – The tale of how a friend of his turned out to be informing about his activities to BAE systems. I suspect the same thing is happening to me. Only BAE Systems don’t care about me and wish that this person would stop bothering them.

Saturday the 28th – The Black Keys @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – I have a vague memory of being more-or-less indifferent to the odd songs of theirs that I’ve heard (maybe. I dunno, I’m reasonably sure I’ve heard their own stuff but I have no distinct recollections), but that Dr John album that their frontman helped him out with is really good so maybe they are worthwhile after all. Or perhaps it was all just Dr John. He has a sazzle of gris-gris in his hand, as you know.

Saturday the 28th – “Bag Lady” (Hidden Gems Productions) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – Eve the bag lady is angry. This play would seem to be about why.

Saturday the 28th – Broken Bones @ The Adam & Eve, Digbeth, Birmingham – Your band that grew out of Discharge. Finish your Soul Month (!) with some thrashin’ punk.

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: November 2014

Posted in Combat Sports, Films, Food, Linklog, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage by Russ L on 29 October, 2014

And with this post, I prove to myself that I am still capable of writing one of these posts. The James Brown Rule appears to be writ large this month – if you really want to see them and they’re particularly old, then make sure that you definitely do go to see them when they come to your area. Because they die. They all die.

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.

(Throughout the month, I think) (EDIT: Nope, it actually finishes on the 1st. Prior to me editing this, then) – Erica Nockalls exhibition @ Havill & Travis Gallery, Harborne, Birmingham – Yer lady who is now affiliated with The Wonderstuff and whatnot. This is a combined-arms operation, where you can bring a pair of headphones (standard mini-jack connection, I’m assuming, but I don’t know about these things nowadays) to examine her paintings and hear her new album at the same time.

Up until the 15th – George Saxon & John D. Briscoe’s “A Record Of Undying” @ Vivid Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – An exhibition showing the ways in which Mr Saxon (consensually) documented Mr Briscoe’s dying and then death. I’m sure there’s a higher-minded way of saying this, but it sounds morbidly fascinating.

Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd – Dawn French @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – Weird sidewards thought provoked by this – I can’t think of any other comedians with the same name as a nationality. There must surely be loads, though.

Saturday the 1st – “The Hundred Years War” (B2 Stage) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – 40 war poems written between 1914 and 2013. With music and images. This sort of thing is probably very important, given that this year various right-wing types seem to have decided that WW1 was actually quite fun after all.

Saturday the 1st – “Clamber Up The Crucifix” (not sure about a theatre company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A telegraph operator in the trenches. Possibly giving another meaning to the latter part of the old lineman’s adage of “Up poles and down holes”. Again, I will say that this sort of thing is probably very important given that this year various right-wing types seem to have decided that WW1 was actually quite fun after all.

Sunday the 2nd – Holst’s “The Planets Suite” (CBSO Youth Ochestra) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Just play “Mars” so we can all go home. (Disclaimer: I don’t really mean that).

Tuesday the 4th till Saturday the 8th – “My Perfect Mind” (Told By An Idiot, Young Vic & Theatre Royal Plymouth) @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – Lear, as learned by an actor who had a stroke halfway through. Decay portrayed through decay? Form and content, you see.

Wednesday the 5th till Sunday the 9th – Wagner’s “Ring” cycle (Mariinsky Opera) @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – A full Ring cycle by the Mariinsky opera in Birmingham! Alas, it costs like you’d expect it to (although there is a thing for cheaper tickets here).

Wednesday the 5th – Pam Ayres @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – Her teeth are actually fine, you know.

Wednesday the 5th – Billy Idol @ The Academy, Birmingham – After much thought, I have come to the conclusion that I must have some sort of semi-conscious fetish for popular music artistes named “Billy”.

Wednesday the 5th – John Mayall @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The man who gave Eric Clapton his first big break. That was a long time ago, though, so don’t hold it against him.

Wednesday the 5th – Lacuna Coil @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Spiralling nothingness is an excellent synonym for a goth-metal band name. I’m still looking for a drummer for my Lacuna Coil/Black Sabbath/Carina Round tribute band, who will be called “Lacuna Sunrise”.

Thursday the 6th – Bo Ningen @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Utterly utterly nutterly Japanese pysch-rock loonies. On the bill with Band Of Skulls, who are a quite-good 70s-influenced hard rock band and might be worth seeing too.

Thursday the 6th – Motorhead @ The NIA, Birmingham – What are Motorhead doing playing at the National Indoor Arena, I mean really now. This is going to be uncannily like the “four people and a dog” scene from “Bad News”.

Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th – “This Was The World And I Was King” (Hook Hitch Theatre) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Children use folk music and Robert Louis Stevenson to cope with their father being away at the front. As is becoming my mantra, I will say that this sort of thing is probably very important given that this year various right-wing types seem to have decided that WW1 was actually quite fun after all.

Friday the 7th – “Collector Of Tears” (Gobscure) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Tears are collected from various people over the span of four hundred years. That is genuinely a very striking thought.

Friday the 7th – British Sea Power @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – With a brass band in tow. I really can see that working well.

Saturday the 8th till Sunday the 16th – The Grand Slam Of Darts @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Obvious YouTube Link is obvious. Is Barry Hearn still alive? His son deals with the boxing now.

Saturday the 8th till Saturday the 15th – “King Lear” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre Company – Cordelia? I barely know ‘er.

Saturday the 8th – The Wailers @ The Academy, Birmingham – Doing “Legend”. On the one hand, this nostalgia-do-an-album-tour bit has gone a bit far when they’re even doing ‘em for best-of albums. On the other hand, it’s The Wailers doing “Legend”. Choices to be made.

Saturday the 8th – The Neville Staple Band @ The Oobleck, Digbeth, Birmingham – This’ll be probably be good, but The Specials themselves are playing later in the month…

Saturday the 8th – Mark Steel @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – So this is a “Back In Town” tour one rather than an “In Town” one, which I think means one with comedic observations about towns in general (such as I saw at The Mac the other year), rather than comedic observations about the specific town you’re in (such as you’d hear on the radio). I think.

Saturday the 8th – Louis Robinson’s Damba La Bamba @ The Symphony Hall foyer in the ICC, Birmingham – I didn’t know about this, but apparently there are a series of musical picnics for 0-7 year-olds, and this is one from your erstwhile Destroyers fella. Damba La Mamba (soy capitan?).

Sunday the 9th – Bellowhead @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Spiers And Boden aren’t together as a duo anymore (which is a shame – I saw them in May and they were ace) but you can still see them as part of Bellowhead, with a cast of thousands of other band members too.

Monday the 10th and Tuesday the 11th – “Not About Heroes” (Blackeyed Theatre Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Yet again, I will say that this sort of thing is probably very important given that this year various right-wing types seem to have decided that WW1 was actually quite fun after all.

Monday the 10th – “The Trial” (Music Theatre Wales/The Royal Opera/Theater Magdeburg/The Scottish Opera) @ The Rep Theatre (The House), Birmingham – Philip Glass’ opera, built out of Kafka’s “The Trial”. There’s nothing in that sentence that I don’t like.

Wednesday the 12th till Sunday the 16th – Slava’s Snowshow @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – This really is visually astonishing. Worth borrowing a child for an excuse to go and see it, if you don’t have one. And I hate children.

Wednesday the 12th till Saturday the 15th – “Miracle On 34th Street – The Musical” (Coventry Youth Operetta)@ The Albany Theatre, Coventry – I dunno if this is your post office version or your bank note version.

Wednesday the 12th till Saturday the 15th – “Othello” (Frantic Assembly/Theatre Royal Plymouth) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – Here sold under the name of “Shakespeare’s Othello”, just in case you were confusing it with… Verdi, I suppose.

Wednesday the 12th – Hannah Silva’s “Schlock!” @ The MAC (Foyle Studio), Edgbaston, Birmingham – The female body reconstructed by means of ripping up and then combining “50 Shades Of Grey” and Kathy Ackers’ “Memoriam To Identity”.

Wednesday the 12th – Ben Frost @ Eastside Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – Yer man who did the opera version of “The Wasp Factory”, doing an improvised (I think?) bit in collaboration with one Greg Fox of Liturgy, who I know nothing about.

Thursday the 13th – Lady Gaga @ The NIA, Birmingham – Per-per-puh-puh-poker face, Granville.

Thursday the 13th – Cockney Rejects @ The Robin 2, Bilston – I always get them mixed up with Cock Sparrer. With semi-hilarious consequences.

Thursday the 13th – Street Eaters @ Talk Bar, Birmingham – Ferocious punk/post-punky stuff from Californ-I-A. Apparently many of their gigs have been “dense basement shows in the Midwest that turned into swamps; shows in haunted German schools-turned-squats, medieval French catacombs, smoke filled Japanese practice rooms, and abandoned Hungarian aluminum (sic) factories”. I expect this may seem a bit boring to them in comparison.

Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th – Mark Thomas @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – The “Cuckooed” tour, in which he relates the story of BAE Systems employing people to spy on him.

Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th – “Dorothy Towers” / “Only On Sundays” @ The Rep Theatre (The Door), Birmingham – A double-bill with the LGBT residents of a tower block, and the most laddish laddest lad falling in love.

Sunday the 16th – Focus @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Yodeedodleay yodelaey yodelaey etc. etc. etc.

Sunday the 16th – Dr John @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – I am really really looking forward to this one. They call him Doctor John, the… night triiippuh…

Tuesday the 18th till Saturday the 22nd – “Oh What A Lovely War” (The Arcadians theatre group) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham) – This sort of thing is probably very important given that etc etc etc. Alright, you’ve heard it already. It disgusts me, though. I really, really hate that stuff. Shame on them. Also, here’s a play.

Tuesday the 18th – The Roy Wood Rock’n’Roll Band @ The Robin 2, Bilston – It is nearly Christmas.

Tuesday the 18th – Charlie 2na @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – You can tune a hip-hop, but you can’t tune a fish.
Wednesday the 19th till Tuesday the 2nd of December – “The Pool” @ outside Warwick Arts Centre, near Coventry – Big concentric circles that you can jump on to make it light up with different colours. This sounds amazing.

Wednesday theFs 19th till Saturday the 22nd – Welsh National opera @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham – I’m not sure what the theme of this season is, but you have Carmen on the 19th and 20th, Mosè in Egitto on the 21st, and Guillaume Tell on the 22nd.

Wednesday the 19th and Thursday the 20th – “Islands” (Caroline Horton & Co/China Plate/Bush Theatre) @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Studio Space), near Coventry – About offshore tax havens. I don’t approve of them.

Wednesday the 19th – John Shuttleworth @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Oof!

Wednesday the 19th – The CBSO’s “Spirit Of ‘45” @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Not as war-celebratory as the title might suggest. This is a programme of music including Shostakovich’s 9th and the sea interludes from Britten’s “Peter Grimes” (AKA the best opera that they’ve yet come up with).

Thursday the 20th – The Specials @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – It’s not quite as exciting as it was a few years ago, when they came back and we were all thrilled that we’d get finally to see The Specials (maybe ‘again’, for those older than I), but still – The Specials~!

Friday the 21st – Robert Plant @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Robert Plant walked past me once. He looked confused. This is a true story.

Saturday the 22nd till Sunday the 29th – “The Judas Kiss” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – David Hare’s play about Oscar Wilde’s life and thoughts after dear old Bosie knifed him in the back.

Caturday the 22nd – The Supreme Cat Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Catcatcatcatcatcatcat.

Saturday the 22nd – Jim Moray @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – It took until the third time that I’d seen Jim Moray before I could remember anything at all about him. I loved his folksy business from thereonwards, though. So I suppose we all win in the end.

Sunday the 23rd – The Gaslight Anthem / Deer Tick @ The Academy, Birmingham – Two very different visions of Americana.

Sunday the 23rd- “Madama Butterfly” (Ellen Kent International) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – The Ellen Kent production of “La Bohème” that I saw about a year ago was an absolute shambles, but let’s assume that they’re not like that every night.

Tuesday the 25th till Saturday the 29th – “To Kill A Mockingbird” (specific touring cmpany?) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Embarrassing admission #381: I spent a long time assuming that Harper Lee was male, for no reason whatsoever.

Wednesday the 26th – Delain @ The Academy, Birmingham – Noun, Dutch symphonic (sic) metal band. Very definitely not the gerund verb, slowing something down.

Wednesday the 26th – Sharon Van Etten @ The Institute (Library Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Wonderful singer-songwriter type with a name that always seems really verbally dissonant to me, although I can never understand why. Biblical Dutch forests or somesuch?

Wednesday the 26th – “The BFG” (Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company) @ The Rep (The House), Birmingham – The Big Fu… no, sorry, The Big Friendly Giant.

Thursday the 27th till Sunday the 30th – The BBC Good Food Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I’m really looking forward to the BBC Bad Food Show, which will presumably follow.

Thursday the 27th till Sunday the 30th – Birmingham Tradfest @ various venues in Birmingham, mostly in Digbeth – Loads of Irish folk gigs. Includes Frankie Gavin, but not the one you’re thinking of. Although he might be knocking around, who knows.

Thursday the 27th – Dreadzone @ The Institute (Library Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – This’ll probably be good, but Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry himself is playing about twenty miles over…

Thursday the 27th – Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry @ Warwick Arts Centre (Student Union Copper Rooms), near Coventry – Nothing that I could possibly type here would be adequate.

Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th – “Choose Your Own Documentary” @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – As the name might suggest, a documentary in which you get to pick between options about what happens next. YOU are the narrative etc. etc.

Friday the 28th – Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – It is still hard to imagine that the fella from The Housemartins is the fella from The Beautiful South, but I do like both.

Friday the 28th – Chas & Dave @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – So, a few years ago they announced their last ever tour.

Friday the 28th – Eliza Shaddad @ Ort Café, Balsall Heath, Birmingham – Folk-blues type in “Doing a gig whilst not being on the same bill as Michael Chapman” shocker.

Satuday the 29th – Revolt @ The Coal Vaults, Coventry – Amazing feminist/LGBTQ gig-come-club-night that everyone should go to. Your line-up for this time is over here.

Saturday the 29th – Goodnight Lenin @ The Institute (Library Room). Digbeth, Birmingham – The launch gig for their long, long-awaited album.

Sunday the 30th – Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo’s “The Movie Doctors” @ Warwick Arts Centre (theatre space), near Coventry – Hello to Jason Isaacs etc etc. I don’t actually like films, y’know.

Just a select few things to see and do in the West Midlands, out of the Lots Of Things that are happening

Posted in Food, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 14 February, 2014

In the absence of a LOTTSADITWM post (there’ll be one for next month, definitely. Possibly. Hopefully!) I thought I might list just a few things that look like they could be fun in the latter half of February. Usual disclaimers apply.

~ This is so deliciously bizarre that I couldn’t possibly fail to give it a shout somewhere: the 18th sees The Birmingham Bullring Fishmongers Championship take place at the Birmingham indoor markets. Apparently there are competitions for the best fish display, and for feats of knife skill. The fact that this is a thing that exists in the world is a fact that makes me smile.

~ The 19th of February will be blessed to see Bernadette Russell’s “366 Days Of Kindness” be performed at The Arena Theatre in Wolves. I saw this in December (briefly making mention of it somewhere in the murky depths of this post) and loved it – Bernadette spent a year making sure that she did something kind for a complete stranger every day, and chronicles it in this. It’s definitely worth seeing.

~ Over in Coventry, the fifth Revolt will be taking place at The Coal Vaults (née Taylor John’s House) on Saturday the 22nd – a DIY feminist/LGBTQ based gig/clubnight/space. (Post-)Punky sorts (Hooker) are your headliners, but there are more bands and spoken word artistes and zines and all sorts of what-all.

~ Abie’s Miracle Tonic are doing the Folk For Free bit at The ICC/Symphony Hall foyer on the 27th, and they’re a huge amount of fun. I can damn-near guarantee you that you won’t get any other chances to see a free gig by a great band who mix folk, skiffle and advertising jingles anywhere else that night (you just watch now, there’ll turn out to be another one…).

~ Finally, Castle Gallery in The ICC has an exhibition of pictures of Marilyn Monroe. There are a massive number of reasons regarding why this is a good thing, with the applicable ones depending on the angle you want to approach it from.

That’s just a few things to hold you, then. There’s loads more going on, of course. Have a look around yourself! I’ll always still be here if you need me.

End-Of-Year-Count 2013: Talks, films, music that doesn’t fit into ‘pop’ or ‘opera’, exhibitions and attractions, sport, animals, barbeque, miscellany

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, Films, Food, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 6 January, 2014

Hey, there’s been more stuff too.

(more…)

Lots Of Things To See And Do in The West Midlands: November 2013

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, Films, Food, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 30 October, 2013

I have managed three of these in a row! Hooray!

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.

Friday the 1st till Saturday the 16th – “Tartuffe” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Molière, played in this instance by Peterson/We Wanna Be Tergevva. Apparently he was in Harry Potter too, if you must.

Friday the 1st till Thursday the 14th – The Coventry Peace Festival @ various venues in Coventry – I can already imagine the tedious jokes that some will make about there never being any peace in Coventry. Lots of things are happening so clickedy-click for the line-up.

Friday he 1st till Saturday the 9th – “Bedlam: A Festival of Mad Ideas” @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – A series of mental-health-themed events, with both theatre and practical talks/workshops. [Rare moment of non-flippancy]I’m always happy to see any sort of awareness-raising like this[/Rare moment of non-flippancy].

Friday the 1st – “The Tell-Tale Heart” (Little Earthquake Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Thump-thump, thump-thump. Can’t say I’ve ever had a problem with the body parts I’ve put under the floor myself, but it takes all sorts.

Friday the 1st – The Full English @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – A supergroup (if you feel like you’re in a position where you, in point of fact, will) of folksy sorts with Martin Simpson (see also the 27th ), Seth Lakeman, and loads of others. They’ll be performing bits from the Full English, which is apparently a new digital archive of traditional music.

Friday the 1st – “Risk” @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – A weekend of jazz and unusual music. It’s in Birmingham and they didn’t call it a festival! I am amazed.

Friday the 1st – Slade / The Sweet @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – Glam! Maybe possibly a few original members!

Friday the 1st – “Dinosaur Zoo” (Erth Visual & Physical Inc.) @ Warwick Arts Centre (theatre space), near Coventry – Is it just me or do there seem to be loads of dinosaur shows for kids lately? Not that it’s a problem. Kids love dinosaurs.

Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd – Peaky Blinders-themed walking tours around Digbeth @ starting outside The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – I got bored and gave up halfway through the telly series (visually spectacular, of course, but then that is the most boring sense), but I suspect that this’ll be very interesting.

Saturday the 2nd – Youngblood Brass Band @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – SOU. SA. PHONE. (Chant with me now). SOU. SA. PHONE.

Saturday the 2nd – Revolt @ The Coal Vaults, Coventry – DIY feminist gig/club night, including bands and spoken word and the making of a communal zine that everyone present can contribute to.

Saturday the 2nd – Paul Merton’s Impro Chums @ The Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – Ian Hislop isn’t a chum, presumably. Nor Boris.

Saturday the 2nd – Charlemagne Palestine, Rhys Chatham, and The Ex Easter Island Head Large Guitar Ensemble @ The Library Of Birmingham (studio theatre), Birmingham – The only chance in the UK to see/hear this Charlemagne Palestine collaboration. I suppose you would need a large guitar if you were a massive stone head.

Saturday the 2nd – English Dogs @ The Adam & Eve, Digbeth, Birmingham – Proper punk. I’m still not entirely clear whether they became Janus Stark for a few years or whether that was actually a different band.

Sunday the 3rd – Eddie Reader @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – What she doesn’t want is a half-heated love affair. At the very least, three-fifths of a heart will be required.

Sunday the 3rd – Mark Lanegan @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – You have to wonder what he did to the poor trees.

Sunday the 3rd – The Stylistics @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – On the off-chance that there are any original members left, they’d probably love you to make them fell brand new.

Tuesday the 5th – “The Ghost Ship” (Rumpus Theatre Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolvehampton – Is it me or are a lot of Joseph Conrad things getting adapted for stage just lately?

Tuesday the 5th – Enablers @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Post/indie-rock poetry , and an amazing live band.

Tuesday the 5th – Xhumed/Dead Good (not sure which of those is meant to be the name of the event) @ The Library Of Birmingham, Birmingham – Six people give speeches as six (late) people from history – J.B. Priestley, H.G. Wells, Mary Shelley, Erasmus Darwin, Andrew Carnegie, Geraldine Cadbury, Matthew Boulton, and John Baskerville. There seems to be something of a local slant there.

Wednesday the 6th and on into next year – “The Science Of Sound” @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – For the kiddies, like. They can learn about acoustics in the acoustically amazing Symphony Hall.

Thursday the 7th till Saturday the 9th – “The Anatomy Of Melancholy” (Stan’s Cafe) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – As I always say when it comes to anything regarding them, it’s Stan’s Cafe and so it’ll be brilliant. I actually read Robert Burton’s “The Anatomy Of Melancholy” this year. I genuinely have no idea how they’re going to turn the blighter into a stage work, but that just makes it more exciting.

Friday the 8th till Sunday the 10th – Cake International @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham– Cakes o’the world.

Friday the 8th – The Hollies @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – All they need is the air that they breath, food, water and shelter.

Friday the 8th – Billy Joel @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – I like him (nuts to you), but he seems to protest too much sometimes. He didn’t start the fire, he says. He’s an innocent man, he says.

Saturday the 9th till Sunday the 17th – The William Hill Grand Slam Of Darts @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Arrers!

Saturday the 9th – Esoteric @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – The doom band from Birmingham called Esoteric, rather than any of the other bands from elsewhere called Esoteric. They’re good but when I saw them the singer completely failed to make use of the Madonna-styled headset mic. No dance moves at all.

Saturday the 9th – The Festival Of Children’s Literature @ The Conservatoire, Birmingham – That’s right, get the little bleeders reading. I approve.

Saturday the 9th – “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” (Tutti Frutti Productions) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Inspired by, but not actually, the Aesop fable.

Sunday the 10th – “Down The Rabbit Hole” (Companis) @ The Library Of Birmingham, Birmingham – A “five course sensory mobile meal”, taking place around the library and involving readings and sensory deprivation. I don’t know if any of the courses actually are rabbit.

Monday the 11th and Tuesday the 12th – operas courtesy of Ellen Kent International @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – “La Boheme” on the 11th and “Aida” on the 12th (and they’re also doing that one at Warwick Arts Centre on the 21st). If you fancy an opera-themed week, this could be usefully combined with…

Tuesday the 12th till Monday the 18th – Welsh National Opera coming around these parts @ The Hippodrome, Birmingham and this time also at The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Right, so, you have the “The Tudors” season at The Hippo, which sees Donizetti’s Anna Bolena on the 13th, Maria Stuarda on the 14th, and Roberto Devereux on the 15th. Alongside that, there’s also Tosca at The Hippo on the 12th and 16th, and on the 18th at The Mac there’s the new “I Had An Angel” by John O’Hara.

Tuesday the 12th and Wednesday the 13th – “Peppa Pig’s Big Splash” @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – I don’t know much about Peppa Pig other than that she’s really cute, but she is really cute.

Tuesday the 12th – Bellowhead @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Bands with a double-figures number of members are always good live. That’s a maxim that will never fail you.

Wednesday the 13th till Saturday the 16th – “Road” (Warwick University Drama Society) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio Theatre), near Coventry – Add stock (albeit true) comment here about this play probably being just as fitting now as it was in the mid eighties.

Wednesday the 13th – Flatpack Festival’s “Miners’ Hymns” @ The Town Hall, Bilston – A screening of Bill Morrison’s “The Miners’ Hymns” (which sounds brilliant), as well as additional related local archive footage.

Thursday the 14th – Cockney Rejects @ The Robin 2, Bilston – England belongs to them. Quite a big claim, when you think about it.

Thursday the 14th – Mark Thomas @ Warwick Arts Centre (theatre space), near Coventry – On his “100 Acts of |Minor Dissent” tour, where he talks about having committed just that.

Friday the 15th till Sunday the 17th – This Is Tmrw’s “All Year’s Leaving” festival @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Thr nght fstval t th Hr & Hnds, brght t y by Brm prmters Ths s TMRW nd nvlvng Dstph, Bt T Rw, Sky Lrkn, Vctrs t S, nd lds f thrs. S, ‘m ll cl lk th yng pple wth n vwls.

Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th “Zhe: [Noun] Undefined” (Collective Artistes) @ The Rep, Birmingham – A play exploring the identity & sexuality of two British Africans. ‘Zhe’ is a gender-neutral pronoun, although it isn’t clear to me in which language. That may or may not be part of the point.

Friday the 15th – Mahler’s 7th symphony (Philharmonia Orchestra) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – As conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, who is never not described as charismatic.

Friday the 15th – Soul II Soul @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Back to life, back to the Town Hall.

Saturday the 16th – Reef @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – Bless.

Saturday the 16th – Mozart’s “Requiem” (Orchestra Of The Swan) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – They’re playing the overture of “The Marriage Of Figaro” too, which is great fun.

Saturday the 16th – Editors @ The Academy, Birmingham – A band I’d forgotten about. Perhaps we should become re-acquainted.

Saturday the 16th – Boxing (Errol Johnson promotions) @ The Town Hall, Walsall – Fight fight fight

Tuesday the 19th – “The Events” (Actors Touring Company, Schauspielhaus Wien, Brageteatret, and the Young Vic) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – David Greig’s play, looking at ideas of community and using local choirs wherever it goes. I still can’t help thinking of this, though.

Tuesday the 19th – Gary Numan @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Right-wing-rockstars in Wolverhampton on the 19th #1: The “I only voted Tory once, honest” division.

Tuesday the 19th – Motorhead @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Right-wing rockstars in Wolverhampton on the 19th #2: The “I only dress up like a silly arse, I’m not one really, honest” division.

Tuesday the 19th – So Solid Crew @ The Institute (library room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Rescheduled from last month. Whether that eats into their allotted 21 seconds or not is something that I don’t know.

Wednesday the 20th till Saturday the 23rd (and I think there may be more yet to come) – Capital Theatre Festival 2013 @ The MAC (Foyle Studio), Edgbaston, Birmingham“The Disappearance Of Sadie Jones” updates Strindberg’s “A Dream Play”, and “Ugly, Duck” sees an ordinary fella from Stoke become a nude model. It would seem that there are also further plays yet to be announced.

Thursday the 21st till Saturday the 24th – Festive Gift Fair 2013 @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – All I want for Christmas is either A) you, or B) me two front teeth. Christmas~!

Thursday the 21st till Saturday the 23rd – “Josef K” (can’t seem to see the theatre company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Inspired by, but not actually, “The Trial”.

Thursday the 21st till Saturday the 23rd – “The Noise” (Unlimited Theatre) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio Theatre), near Coventry – Conspiracies, a giant iceberg, and a noise that never stops.

Thursday the 21st – Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Shepherds @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Eddiiieee! Eddie-ee-ee!

Thursday the 21st – Go Kart Mozart @ The Academy 3, Birmingham – Them what did that “Selfish And Lazy And Greedy” song. It seems that the fella was in some other bands that a lot of people seem to like, too, but I don’t know about any of all that.

Friday the 22nd – Benjamin Britten Centenary Concert (CBSO Chorus) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – I do hope that people aren’t getting bored of Britten due to over-exposure, just lately. The recent (amazing) “Peter Grimes” at Symphony hall was quite sparsely attended.

Saturday the 23rd – The Supreme Cat Show @ The NEC, Maston Green, Birmingham – Every cat is The Supreme Cat if you ask it, of course.

Sunday the 24th – Billy Bragg @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Just because I’m lazy, doesn’t mean you’re better than me (that’s my version and I’m sticking to it).

Sunday the 24th – Sham 69 @ The Roadhouse, Stirchley, Birmingham – Weeeeeeee’re gowin’ dahn tha pab…

Sunday the 24th – Akala @ The Academy 3, Birmingham – Braggy, Sham 69 and Akala all in Brum on the same evening. Revolution a-brew, ah reckons.

Sunday the 24th – Terry Riley’s “In C” (Adrian Utley’s Guitar Orchestra) @ The Library Of Birmingham, Birmingham – The one you always forget from Portishead’s new ensemble, performing the influential minimalist piece. (Ooh I’ve just seen that Pram will be playing as well, so that’s cool).

Sunday the 24th – Goodnight Lenin @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Supporting Stornoway, who I thought were pretty dull when I saw them, but still. G’Lenin are ace.

Monday the 25th till Wednesday the 27th – “Beauty And The Beast” (One Of Us Productions/Improbable Theatre) @ Warwick Arts Centre (studio theatre), near Coventry – An adult version. Hopefully not that definition of ‘adult’ that just means ‘childish’.

Monday the 25th – Shellac @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – … Of North America.

Tuesday the 26th till Saturday the 30th – “Cabaret” (Bill Kenwright Ltd.) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – With Will Young as the Emcee. For some reason.

Tuesday the 26th – Om / Ore @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – I didn’t really like drone-doom types Om that much when I see them, but people always manage to make them sound good when describing them so maybe I should have another go someday. Also, tubah monstahs Ore are playing.

Wednesday the 27th until the 4th of January – “A Christmas Carol” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – This must be the single thing I’ve seen the most different versions of, between book/stage/screen. Christmas~!

Wednesday the 27th till Sunday the 1st of December – The BBC Winter Good Food Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I’d be interested to see the BBC bad food show as well.

Wednesday the 27th – Martin Simpson @ The Red Lion, Kings Heath, Birmingham – He was never any good with money. No, wait, that was his dad.

Thursday the 28th – John Cooper Clarke @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – The flipping train is flipping late, you flipping wait you flipping wait.

Friday the 29th – Five @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Aw, I always liked Five. This is the boyband Five, not the metal band 5ive.

Friday the 29th – “Bring Your Own Beamer” @ Vivid Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham – In this context ‘beamer’ apparently means a digital overhead projector, rather than sim sim simma who got the keys to my etc. Those participating are to project their responses to the last eight months of revolution/protest-themed material displayed at Vivid.

Saturday the 30th till Sunday the 29th of December – “Room On The Broom” @ Warwick Arts Centre (theatre space), near Coventry – I like the cat, although I expect everyone says that.

Saturday the 30th – Crystal Fighters @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Spanish folk meets bangin’ dance choons. As I believe the young people say.

Saturday the 30th – various bits of J.S. Bach, John Adams and Steve Reich (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Unlikely bedfellows, you might think.

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: October 2013

Posted in Books, Films, Food, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 30 September, 2013

Even without Supersonic, October is still a big festival month (although every month is a festival month in Birmingham). This is a particularly gig-heavy edition of “Lots…” (even though they’re always gig-heavy). The theme, therefore, is “Yes, only more so”.

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.

Wednesday the 2nd – “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Radio Show Live” @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Given that I think that “Hitchhiker’s” is in with good shout for being the high point of human cultural creation so far (really), you can imagine that I’m quite looking forward to this.

Wednesday the 2nd – “Formby” (Salida Productions) @ The Forrest Arts Centre, Walsall – The story of George Formby’s life. I expect it’ll turn out… no, I can’t bring myself to type it.

Thursday the 3rd till Saturday the 12th – Birmingham Literature Festival @ various venues in Birmingham but mainly the new library – The erstwhile Birmingham Book Festival. There’s loads of written-word-related fun – I have my tickets for Will Self and Catherine O’Flynn, but there’s also Carol Ann Duffy, Benjamin Zephaniah, Germaine Greer, you name ’em.

Thursday the 3rd till Sunday the 6th – Sounding The River @ starting at The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – A walk down the Rea with added lights and music and such. I bet this’ll be really pretty.

Thursday the 3rd – So Solid Crew @ The Institute (Library Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – It makes you feel old when acts from your late teens/early twenties are doing nostalgia re-union tours.

Friday the 4th till Saturday the 2nd of November – “The Morgue Live” @ on Hurst Street, Birmingham – A live horror maze, it sez. It promises that you’ll confront your worst horrors, but God knows how they’ve managed to get Kilroy-Silk back into a position of influence.

Friday the 4th till Saturday the 19th – “Twelve Angry Men” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – A realistic theatrical representation of jury duty would just make you sit in the foyer for ages, and only very occasionally let you into the auditorium to see anything.

Friday the 4th till Sunday the 13th – Birmingham Comedy Festival @ varius venues in Birmingham – Hyuck hyuck hyuck guffaw and snigger. This is stymied for me by my complete lack of a sense of humour, but the highlight looks to me to be The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre at The Old Joint Stock on Friday the 11th (I do very much enjoy their predictions of what TuckerDoctor will be like).

Friday the 4th till Sunday the 6th – Fierce Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – The fifteenth anniversary of the arts festival, both performed and displayed. Things that caught my eye include a feast and an argument that goes on all afternoon.

Friday the 4th till Saturday the 6th – “Fearfest” @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – This is a real stop-press thing, as I really wasn’t aware of this at all until right before I was about to post this post. The line-up looks great if you’re into your distorted guitar larks (including, for old/out-of-touch me, a ton of “oh they’re still going/going again? Cool” names), though – Police Bastard, POA, Freebase, Selfless, Mothertrucker, and loads more.

Friday the 4th – Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Greek” (Music Theatre Wales) @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Turnage’s operatic version of Berkoff’s “Greek, which is of course a modernised version of Sophocles’ “Oedipus The King”. Nothing new under the sun etc etc etc.

Saturday the 5th till Saturday the 12th – “The Constant Wife” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – W. Somerset Maugham. He’s not quite W. Axl Rose in the “rarely-used ‘W’ initials” stakes, but he’s definitely in the field.

Saturday the 5th – Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida” (Ellen Kent International Productions) @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Surprisingly, the Triumphal March is actually quite difficult to transcribe in my usual dah-de-dahs.

Saturday the 5th – Zoe Rahman @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Bangladeshi-Irish jazz, which is not a combination you hear every day. I don’t know what the Arena will be like for gigs, but perhaps this could be the time to find out.

Satuday the 5th – “Haden Hill Dog Awareness Day” @ Haden Hill Park, Cradley Heath – Not just for those unaware of the existence of dogs. There is a “Dog most like its owner” class, and I do hope that’ll be as good as it promises to be.

Sunday the 6th – Crosby, Stills & Nash @ The NIA, Birmingham – Almost cut my hair. (Disclaimer: not really).

Sunday the 6th – “The Last Sheep” @ The New Art Gallery, Walsall – Go and make your own sheep memento. It seems to be for kiddies, which is a shame. I love sheep.

Sunday the 6th – R.M. Hubbert @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Flamenco-influenced guitarist from Glasgow. Flamengow, if you will.

Monday the 7th till Wednesday the 9th – “Dracula” (Blackeyed Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Bitey.

Tuesday the 8th – Nadine Shah @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Goth-jazz-folk, possibly? It’s hard to describe a disparate artist on just the basis of a few YouTube videos that you’ve enjoyed, sometimes. She’s at The Slade Rooms in Wolves the following night, too.

Tuesday the 8th till Saturday the 12th – “The Secret Agent” (Theatre O) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – A stage version of Joseph Conrad’s really quite astonishingly prescient novella. Apparently the performance style has a lot to do with music hall and early cinema.

Tuesday the 8th – Laura Mvula @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – You’ve already stuffed your chances to see her in small venues. This might be your last chance to see her in any venues that aren’t actually arenas.

Wednesday the 9th till Saturday the 13th – The Horse Of The Year Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I gather we’re actually in the year of the horse, so there should be a strong line-up this time.

Wednesday the 9th till Friday the 11th – “A Clockwork Orange” (Birmingham School Of Acting) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – I don’t normally like to quote an event’s own blurb here (that seems far too lazy), but in this case I’m not going to top it: “Ludwig Van Beethoven with knives in it.”

Wednesday the 9th – “Best Of The BE Festival” (Birmingham European Theatre Festival) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Three half-hour plays from the BE Festival (I like the sound of three buffoons building a tower), and food is included in your ticket price.

Thursday the 10th and Saturday the 12th – “Twilightofthefreakinggods” (Stan’s Cafe) @ A.E. Harris, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – In honour of the ensmallening (it’s a perfectly cromulent word) of A.E. Harris, Stan’s Cafe are doing “Götterdämmerung” with all the music replaced. Absolutely everything that the Stan’s Cafe people do is always clever and funny and visually inventive. I keep telling you that.

Friday the 11th – Charles Bradley @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Southern soul, and I ain’t talking about Croydon.

Saturday the 12th – Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” (CBSO & Ex-Cathedra) – Symphony Hall, Birmingham – This’ll be the Ludwig Van Beethoven without knives in it.

Sunday the 13th – The Will Pound Band @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio Space), near Coventry – Haaaaaaaaaaarmonica. A good instrument. I’d maybe consider allowing a harmonica into my sousaphone band.

Sunday the 13th – Cara Dillon @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – I do hope her fiddle player tells the “bit scared” story. That was hilarious.

Sunday the 13th – Acid Mothers Temple @ The Flapper, Birmingham – Heh, Acid Mothers Temple playing on a Sunday night. Comical. They should be finished by about Wednesday.

Monday the 14th till Saturday the 2nd of November – “Yumm-A-Yukk-A-Boo” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company/Neighbourhood Rep) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Tales of international foods for young’ins.

Monday the 14th – Tunng @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Catching bullets with their teeth. Now with more Iceland.

Monday the 14th – Focus @ The Robin 2, Bilston – *Yodels*

Tuesday the 15th till Saturday the 19th – “1984” (Headlong Theatre) @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re already familiar with the gist of this one.

Tuesday the 15th – Seth Lakeman @ The Robin 2, Bilston – It may seem like a minor thing, but I’m really pleased that his website’s giglist has “BILSTON Robin”, and not “Wolverhampton” as you tend to see from most of these nationally famous artists trying to glom onto that Wulfrunian big-city glamour. Using the real place names – that’s proper Folk.

Tuesday the 15th – Deep Purple @ The NIA, Birmingham – *Hums THE RIFF*

Tuesday the 15th – Christy Moore @ Warwick Arts Centre (Butterworth Hall), near Coventry – Assuming that Plod doesn’t decide to try messing him about again, of course.

Wednesday the 16th till Saturday the 19th – “Europa” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company, Teatr Polski, Bydgoszcz, Staatsschauspiel Dresden, and the Zagreb Youth Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Various theatre companies from across Europe have combined to create this work in which various individuals across Europe try to get to grips with changes in national identities. I’m picturing “Going For Gold”.

Wednesday the 16th – bits of Bizet and Ravel with a “Carmen And Bolero” theme (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – We’re all off to sunny Spain.

Wednesday the 16th – The Orb @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – The Slade Rooms might have quite a high ceiling, but I doubt that any Little Fluffy Clouds will form.

Wednesday the 16th – Stuart Maconie’s “The People’s Songs” @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The story of post-war Britain, apparently, told through 50 popular music singles. Could be fun or could be exactly the type of ‘history’ that I hate. If you’re into Macaronie, note that he’s at the book festival too.

Thursday the 17th – The Drifters @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – In some sort of spatial/directional relationship with the boardwalk.

Thursday the 17th – Half Man Half Biscuit @The Academy 2, Birmingham – God speed the trial, to cite my childish kicks.

Friday the 18th – Damien Dempsey @ The Institute (Library room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Up The Dubs!

Friday the 18th – The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – He brings you one of the elements. I forget which, precisely.

Saturday the 19th and Saturday the 26th, then Monday the 28th till Saturday the 2nd – “Bank On It” @ a secret location in Coventry but you sort it out via Warwick Arts Centre – Children of five and over (and the adults they’re taking for a walk) can wonder through a bank and try to work out what is actually going on. I’m genuinely not sure what the ratio of satire-to-innocent-fun is.

Saturday the 19th – Baroness @ The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – I thought that all the band members had died in a car crash or something. If they did and they’re still going then that is proper Metal.

Saturday the 19th – Chris Wood @ The Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton – It was only at Moseley Folk recently that I realised how much yer current king o’folk looks like yer late previous king o’folk.

Saturday the 19th – The Mighty Diamonds @ The Institute (Library room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Proper, proper reggae. I have often thought that many boring “The Nouns”-style band names could be improved by sticking the word “Mighty” in the middle.

Saturday the 19th – Caribbean-Style Domino Tournament @ The New Art Gallery, Walsall – The thought occurs that you can probably get this all over the place all the time in places other than an art gallery, but still. It’s here if you want it.

Sunday the 20th – Public Image Ltd / The Selecter @ The Academy, Birmingham – Interesting combination, actually. The two bands seem to make perfect sense together and no sense at all together, at the same time.

Sunday the 20th – Roachford @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – More cuddly toy than “The Generation Game”.

Sunday the 20th – VV Brown @ The Institute (Temple room), Digbeth, Birmingham – Crikey, I hadn’t known that she was still going but I am glad to hear that she is. The gig of hers that I saw a few years ago was fun for various reasons, not least because she couldn’t remember what city she was in. And also not least because I saw what I feel I can fairly and accurately describe as “The Most Middle Class Non-Verbal Gesture Ever Made” from another audience member.

Monday the 21st – Ghostpoet @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Comedown-y hip-hop-ery trip-hop-ery. Amazing at MOJFAS last year.

Tuesday the 22nd till Wednesday the 30th – “Open House” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – An installation (?) house for 0-2 years olds to wander around. When I was little I used to love going to the ‘pretend house’ (showroom-type-thing) at a big interiors/DIY shop, so I expect I’d have loved this.

Tuesday the 22nd till Saturday the 26th – Gaetano Donizetti’s “The Elixir Of Love” (Midlands Opera) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Re-set in a spiffing tea-on-the-village green type of 1939 English village. There’s tonnes of Donizetti going on next month too, if you like that sort of thing.

Monday the 21st – Gabby Young & Other Animals @ The Yardbird, Birmingham – Balkan-jazz-swing, perhaps? As I said above, it’s hard to describe a disparate artist on the basis of a few YouTube videos that you’ve enjoyed sometimes.

Tuesday the 22nd – AlunaGeorge @ The Institute (Library Room), Digbeth, Birmingham – I was really disproportionately pleased when I read that their names are actually Aluna and George.

Wednesday the 23rd – “Monkey Bars” (Chris Goode & Company) @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Various kids were interviewed, and here their words are delivered by adult actors. Adult actors are probably disillusioned enough to work for less.

Wednesday the 23rd – Wizz Jones @ Katie Fitzgerald’s, Stourbridge – Finger lickin’ finger pickin’ folk’n’blues guitar.

Friday the 25th till Sunday the 27th – Capsule’s “Bring To Light” @ The Rainbow Warehouse in Digbeth & the new Central Library, Birmingham – Or “Bring To (Supersonic-)Light”, if you will. You have Shangaan Electro, Deafheaven, Laurence Hunt, a bloke in a rabbit costume, and loads more. Speaking of “Light”…

Friday the 25th till Sunday the 27th – “Illuminations” @ I’m not going to say “Southside” because that’s just very very stupid, but around Hurst Street/The Hippodrome/The Arcadian etc, Birmingham – Available information seems light (didjaseewhatIdidthere) at the moment, but there are three days of optical-related festivities, including a “360 degree film igloo” and The Lanterns Of The Terracotta Warriors.

Friday the 25th – Goodnight Lenin @ The Prince Of Wales, Moseley, Birmingham – I swear there’s some sort of contractual obligation that obliges everyone in a band in Birmingham to say that the Moseley Prince Of Wales is their favourite pub. It is a very good one, of course. Gets so busy, though. Anyway, if you like G’Lenin then see also the 31st.

Saturday the 26th till Saturday the 30th – Big Fun Festival @ Town Hall & Symphony Hall, Birmingham – A string of musical and other events aimed at kiddies/families (although absent, as far as I can tell, the most obvious bit of music). There are pigs, there are dinosaurs, Soweto is having a picnic and Neil Cowley is somehow involved with a gorilla.

Saturday the 26th – Travis @ The Academy, Birmingham – Yeah, that’s right, Travis. Want a fight about it?

Sunday the 27th – Dick Gaughan @ The MAC (theatre space), Edgbaston, Birmingham – Helping you mind Thomas Muir of Huntershill.

Wednesday the 30th – Alexei Sayle @ Warwick Arts Centre (Theatre Space), near Coventry – I’ve not always been mad, y’know. I was actually driven mad by the indifference of architecture and council planners.

Thursday the 31st – “Russian Masters” (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”, Schostakovich’s 1st, and Rachmaninov’s “The Bells”. They’re going for a campanological theme, it seems.

Thursday the 31st – John Fell @ The Symphony Hall foyer in The ICC, Birmingham – Yer man from Goodnight Lenin doing the Folk For Free bit. Not sure whether this will consist entirely of GL songs or some that are just his own or what.

Thursday the 31st – F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – With appropriately halloween-ish pipe organ accompaniment.