Call me Russ L

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: September 2011

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, Films, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 31 August, 2011

There really is a lot this month, with a whole metric heap of interesting events (and the customary Brum tendency to describe most of them as ‘festivals’, whether this is in the least bit sensible or not). I’ll warn you, though – the sheer amount of good stuff means that there will be date clashes, and plenty of them.

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.

Already started and ongoing – “Home Of Metal” @ lots of different venues in Birmingham and the Black Country – The big celebration of the fact that Heävy Metäl came from hereabouts continues. A metric bagful of different things are happening so it might be easiest for you to just look at the listings (or the map), but the fun includes Judas Priest stage costumes at Walsall Leather Museum, Bat Walks at Haden Hill, and some actual real metalbashing.

Thursday the 1st till Saturday the 3rd – Debbie Tracey’s “Death Of A Beauty Saleswoman” @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Gaining the world and losing it again in the comedy world of cosmetics.

Friday the 2nd till Sunday the 4th – The Moseley Folk Festival @ Moseley Park, Moseley, Birmingham – Another strong line-up this year, with Billy Bragg, Tinariwen, Pram, Badly Drawn Boy, Gruff Rhys, Michael Chapman, Eliza Carthy and loads of others in beautiful Moseley Park. I’m actually looking forward to this more than that other Brum festival I normally look forward to so much, this year.

Friday the 2nd till Sunday the 4th – Brum Punx Picnic @ outside The Adam & Eve, Digbeth, Birmingham – Involving English Dogs, Eastfield, Rotunda, Poundaflesh and a cider-barrelful more. See also the 9th and 30th for more Digbethy punk (well, actually, there are always punk gigs in Digbeth all the time, just keep your eyes open if you’re interested).

Friday the 2nd – Dolly Parton @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – Fresh from giving out books to the children of Rotherham. No, really.

Friday the 2nd – “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” (Townsend Productions) @ The Library Theatre, Birmingham – I may be the only lefty in the world to consider the book massively over-rated, but this two-hander stage version could nevertheless be of some interest.

Saturday the 3rd/10th/17th/24th – “Project Pigeon” events @ New Art Gallery, Walsall – Over the four Saturdays you have (respectively) a talk, an exhibition, film showings and an auction, all of our feathery friends.

Saturday the 3rd – “The Owl And The Pussycat” (Hiccup Theatre) @ The Library Theatre, Birmingham – Acting, music, puppetry and two entirely endearing creatures. I’d like to see The Monkey And The Capybara staged too.

Sunday the 4th – Jimmy Cliff / Toots And The Maytals @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – I really, really wish this wasn’t at the same time as Moseley Folk. But it is. So there we are.

Sunday the 4th – Ian McKellan @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – Apparently he started his acting life at the Belgrade in Coventry, so here (fifty years on) he’ll be reminiscing and answering questions. Hopefully with “What I do is, I pretend to be them.”

Sunday the 4th – The Rotary Club Country Music Festival @ Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Yes, that’s The Rotary Club Country Music Festival, held at The Botanical Gardens. I think this proves that you can string any possible sequence of nouns together and come up with something that actually does exist in the world.

Sunday the 4th – Handel’s “Dido And Aeneas” @ The Conservatoir, Birmingham – The opera being operated by students from the Conservatoir.

Monday the 5th – Public Enemy @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Doing “Fear Of A Black Planet” all the way through, because apparently now all bands that have been around for more than ten years are legally and morally obliged to do a tour where they perform one of their albums in its entirety. Should be good, though.

Tuesday the 6th until Tuesday the 4th of October – The West Midlands Human Rights Film Festival @ various venues in Birmingham and Wolverhampton – Showing “a range of films that investigate the notion of human rights in the 21st Century as measured against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. Apt, just lately, given that a lot of people seem to have suddenly decided that they want coppers to be allowed to stamp on their heads.

Wednesday the 7th – Daniel Martin Moore @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – If the Moseley Folk Festival wasn’t enough folk for you folks, then here is some more folk (of the American persuasion).

Friday the 9th till Saturday the 22nd of October – “The Importance Of Being Earnest” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Old Rep, Birmingham – A Handbag etc etc etc. See also the 17th.

Friday the 9th – Varukas @ The Old Wharf, Digbeth, Birmingham – Y’see, I told you – there’s punk in Digbeth, all the time. This might help, now that I think about it.

Saturday the 10th till Saturday the 17th – “Talking Heads” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – The vaunted monologues by Alan “Gordon” Bennett.

Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th – Artsfest @ lots of places in Birmingham – It’s the annual free Artsfest and, typically, we’re only a fortnight away and it’s still a bugger to find out what’s actually happening. Guillemots are playing though, apparently, and I’ve no doubt that the CBSO will be doing the big proms-y bit with fireworks.

Saturday the 10th – Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA) @ The NIA, Birmingham – Headlined by Jim Wallhead vs Frank Trigg and Paul Daley vs Jordan Radev, which is actually quite good when you think about it.

Saturday the 10th – Jazzie B @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Your man there from Soul II Soul. I assume this would be a DJ set, although I can’t find anything that tells me for certain.

Saturday the 10th – “The Boat That Oxjam Brum Rocked” @ starting outside the Canalside Café, Birmingham – A gig for charidee… on a boat! I don’t know who’s playing, but who cares? It’s on a boat. That’s the attraction.

Saturday the 10th – Switchblade @ The Wagon And Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – The flyer I picked up says “Swedish veteran drone duo from a bleak punk landscape”. You just try and tell me that doesn’t sound enticing, go on, you just try.

Monday the 12th till Friday the 17th – “The Pitmen Painters” (National Theatre) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – I’m surprised that you can actually see the paintings down a mine.

Thursday the 15th – Cosmo Jarvis @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Your indie-teen version of The Streets. That wasn’t actually meant to sound like an insult.

Friday the 16th – “Showstopper! The Improvised Musical” @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Apparently it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Friday the 16th – “Mr Edgar Allan Poe’s Terrifying Tales” (Tin Shed Theatre Company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Poe by candlelight.

Saturday the 17th of September till Saturday the 22nd of October – “Travesties” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Old Rep, Birmingham – Following on from “The Importance Of Being Earnest”, here we have Tom Stoppard’s “Travesties” at the same place with the same cast.

Saturday the 17th – The Women Chainmakers Festival @ Bearmore Mound Playing Fields, Cradley Heath – In honour of the 1910 Mary MacArthur strikes. Apparently this has been at the Black Country Museum in previous years, but they’ve chosen to stop hosting it because they’ve decided that the union presence there was getting too uppity (sorry, ‘political’). Disgraceful stuff from an institution I normally like a lot.

Saturday the 17th – Pow-Wow Literary Festival @ The Prince Of Wales, Moseley, Birmingham – Talks and speakers all day, about matters literary. There’s also a Capoeira demonstration. For some reason.

Saturday the 17th – “Off The Cuff” (Offstage Theatre Group) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Improvised comedy business with the audience shouting out suggestions etc, but apparently there are free Jaffa Cakes too. That’s every bit the endearing bonus that it’s calculated to be.

Sunday the 18th – Bearwood Shuffle @ Lightwoods Park, Bearwood – We didn’t come here looking for trouble, we just came to do the Bearwood Shuffle. Free live music at the bandstand in the middle of the park, headlined by Aziz.

Sunday the 18th – The Digbeth O’Lympics @ various places in Digbeth, Birmingham – Usually involving snail racing and welly wanging and whiskey drinking and so on.

Sunday the 18th – Gary Numan @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – He really didn’t look very well in the backing videos used on Battles’ last tour, but presumably that was intentional.

Sunday the 18th – Rick Wakeman @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Keyboards and capes.

Tuesday the 20th till Saturday the 24th – “The Jungle Book” (Birmingham Stage Company) @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Taking after the Disney one, it looks like, although I expect it won’t have the songs from that. Or will it? I love me some “Bear Necessities”, as all right-thinking folk do.

Tuesday the 20th till Saturday the 24th – “Hobson’s Choice” (All & Sundry Theatre) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Give ’em the boot.

Wednesday the 21st – Susan Murray’s “Photo Booth” @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Solo comedy show based on 25 years of collecting passport-sized photos of people.

Thursday the 22nd – Sham 69 @ The Robin 2, Bilston – There’s gonna be a Bilston breakout.

Friday the 23rd – Boxing (Dave Coldwell promotions) @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Headlined by everyone’s fave Max Maxwell versus one Martin Robins, and also featuring quite a few debuting fighters.

Friday the 23rd – Julian Sands’ “A Celebration Of Harold Pinter” @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – So the story goes that Pinter’s illness left him unlikely to be able to speak at a charity reading, and as such he trained this Sands fella up to take his place. He now continues to read in (as it says on the tin) celebration of the master. Apparently this is also directed by John Malkovich, which is certainly a thing.

Saturday the 24th and Sunday the 25th – Miniatura International Dolls House Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I don’t really know anything much about miniature/dolls houses, but I do always think they’re very clever.

Saturday the 24th – The First Bite Theatre festival @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Thirteen short plays/performances (from a variety of local groups) performed in different places throughout the MAC.

Sunday the 25th – Echo And The Bunnymen @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Spare us The Cutter. Well, actually, no – play it, please.

Sunday the 25th – Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – More folk etc etc.

Wednesday the 28th – Martin Simpson @ The Red Lion, King’s Heath, Birmingham – That bloke who’s got that Dad (also: even more folk etc etc etc).

Wednesday the 28th – Josh T. Pearson @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Yeah man dang ol Texan fella from Lift To Experience solo stuff I tell you hwhat.

Wednesday the 28th – “Macbeth” (Icarus Theatre Company) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – I love “Macbeth”, it’s just so gangsta. This is, apparently, an appropriately violent production of it. But then…

Wednesday the 28th – Guy Masterson’s “Shylock” @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – … speaking of Shakespeare in Wolverhampton on the 28th, here you have a one-man show in which Tubal from “The Merchant Of Venice” takes us through the history of anti-semitism.

Thursday the 29th till Sunday the 2nd of October – Harmonic Festival @ mostly at The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Outre jazz craziness. This includes an eleven hour long piano performance and a trumpety quartet influenced by Meshuggah, things I can’t help but approve of.

Friday the 30th – GBH @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – Rity babies attacked by cats.

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Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: October 2010

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 30 September, 2010

There are distinct themes to things happening this month. I will let you discern them for yourselves, lest my pointing-out of them might lead others to think that there may be a faint hint of the less-than-serious about the things I write here.

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 Sunday the 10th – Birmingham Comedy Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – In prior years this has been mocked for just being a banner headline put up over the comedy tours that’d be coming by anyway, but there definitely looks like there’s a lot more happening this time. This here The Awkward Silence sketch stageshow sounds interesting, and I can only assume that an outfit known as Men With Bananas would have to be good.

Saturday the 2nd till Saturday the 23rd – “Art Heist” events @ New Art Gallery, Walsall – An interactive typathing, in which you can plan how you’d half-inch a piece of art from a gallery. I really hope this doesn’t turn out to bite the New Art Gallery on the arse in the future.

Sunday the 3rd – Oxjam’s 11 Bus thingy @ the outer circle, Birmingham – Buy your ticket, board the 11 outside the Hare & Hounds, and be given a tour of Brum with “musical entertainment” on the bus over the course of the day. All for charidee, too.

Tuesday the 5th till Thursday the 21st – The Birmingham Book Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Hooray! Raphael Selbourne talks about what constitutes a city’s culture, Catherine O’Flynn talks about her new book, lots of people discuss what it’s like to be a refugee in Birmingham, and lots and lots more.

Saturday the 2nd till Saturday the 9th – “The Birthday Party” (The Crescent Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – There seems to be loads of Pinter around just lately.

Saturday the 2nd & Sunday the 3rd – GB Judo World Cup For Women @ The NIA, Birmingham – “If there is effort, there is always accomplishment” – Jigoro Kano

Saturday the 2nd – “I Am A Camera” (Jadis Shadows) @ The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham – So “The Berlin Stories” novels were made into this play which was made into a film which was made into the musical “Cabaret” which was then made into a film itself. Oh Sally Bowles, what a complicated web you weave.

Saturday the 2nd – Mouse On Keys @ The Public, West Bromwich – Japanese groovo-jazz-rock. If I know mice, they won’t play “The Entertainer”. That’s a Cats On Keys thing.

Tuesday the 5th – Kelis @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Artists impression of what the gig will be like here.

Wednesday the 6th till Sunday the 10th – Horse Of The Year Show @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – A horse is a horse, of course. Of course!

Wednesday the 6th & Thursday the 7th – “The Good Person Of Sezuan” (Matt & Sister Tree) @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – A version of the Brecht play done in patois. It’s on at The Arena in Wolves on the 14th, too.

Thursday the 7th till Saturday the 9th – “Sounds Of Space” events @ Town Hall & Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Music, talks, a mobile planetarium, and all sorts of celestial superfun.

Friday the 8th – Rodney Bewes’ one-man version of “Three Men In A Boat” @ the town hall/library theatre, Stourbridge – Rodney Bewes as in the one from “The Likely Lads” that wasn’t James Bolan. I suppose we now know what happened to him.

Saturday the 9th – Kings Heath charity shop crawl @ the High Street, Kings Heath, Birmingham – They should come over here to the Black Country. We have some towns that consist completely and entirely of charity shops.

Monday the 11th – Stiff Little Fingers @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – One of the most righteously powerful punk bands ever, once. They’ve done some other stuff since then too, but let’s dwell on the positives.

Tuesday the 12th – Midge Ure @ The Robin 2, Bilston – So, HMHB last month was £16 advance/£18 door. TMTCH later this month is £15 advance/£16 door. This gig, with the actual famous artist out of the three that stood out to me, is less at £13 advance/£15 door. They actually are using a dartboard to set these prices, aren’t they?

Wednesday the 13th till Saturday the 16th – “Doctor Faustus” (Birmingham School Of Acting) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – I’ve often wondered what sort of price the devil would offer me for my soul. Ten quid and a bag of chips, probably.

Wednesday the 13th – Napoleon IIIrd @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Epic electronic pop from Napoleon the Thirdrd.

Thursday the 14th till Saturday the 16th – “Tuning Out With Radio Z” (Stan’s Café) @ The Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – An interactive theatre performance, where you can make suggestions to the two radio DJs it concerns. I’m not sure if this is the full 8 hour version or not.

Thursday the 14th – Arrested Development @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – The happiest of happy-hop.

Friday the 15th till Saturday the 6th of November – “The Cherry Orchard” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Chekhov/no you Chekhov etc. Starring Josie Lawrence.

Sunday the 17th – Jeff Beck @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Shouldn’t he be playing in Wolverhampton, really?

Sunday the 17th – The Men They Couldn’t Hang @ The Robin 2, Bilston – See above re: prices at The Robin for another example of how the Ironmasters always get their way.

Monday the 18th – Badly Drawn Boy @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – [Foghorn Leghorn]“Boy, ah say boy…”[/Foghorn Leghorn]

Tuesday the 19th till Saturday the 23rd – “The Author” (News From Nowhere/Royal Court Theatre) @ The Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – A play written by a playwright within a play written by a playwright.

Tuesday the 19th – Colour Presents… @ The Victoria, Birmingham – A night, they say, of exploratory scoundscapes and space travel. Whether or not you get any of that, you will get music from Port-Royal, Milimetrik, and Arc Vel.

Wednesday the 20th till Saturday the 23rd – “Untitled” (Fuel) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – Two brothers separated at birth, one with name and one without.

Friday the 22nd till Sunday the 24th – Supersonic Festival @ The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham (with fringe arty bits at other places in Digbeth) – I have misgivings about a partially outdoor event being moved from July to October (I foresee both widespread illness due to people standing in wet clothes in the cold and widespread injuries due to how murderous the Custard Factory boardwalk and the steps down to the pond are going to be once the rain has its way), but I certainly don’t have misgivings about the line-up: Godflesh, nearly-Neu!, Melt Banana, Nisennenmondai, Chrome Hoof, Peter Broderick, King Midas Sound, Zeni Geva, Napalm Death, Voice Of The Seven Woonders, PCM, an indeterminate number of guitars playing for seven hours, and a big pile more. The best line-up yet for me, on paper at least (also see the 23rd below).

Friday the 22nd & Saturday the 23rd – “Almost Human” & “Precious Jewel” (Nobody’s Perfect Theatre Company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A double-bill in which a computer programme evolves out of itself and Elizabeth I encounters a hiding Catholic Priest.

Friday the 22nd – Ramesses @ The Asylum 2, Hockley, Birmingham – Dooooom. It’s unfortunate for all concerned that this is clashing with Supersonic, but there we are.

Saturday the 23rd – Supersonic Kids gigs @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – A Supersonic Festival offshoot for the young’ins (2-7 years), with Dosh and Glatze. What a brilliant idea.

Satuday the 23rd – KRS-ONE @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Artists impression of what the gig will be like here.

Sunday the 24th – “The World’s Largest Orchestra” @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – Presumably this is the exact opposite of the world’s tiniest violin.

Tuesday the 26th – Manic Street Preachers @ The Academy, Birmingham – They may not be very manic or street, but I suppose some might say they preach.

Wednesday the 27th & Thursday the 28th – “From Me To 3792” (OJS in-house) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – An ordinary woman is moved to write to a prisoner on death row in America. Why’s that, then? That is what this play looks at.

Wednesday the 27th – The Psychedelic Furs @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – A band I always expect to be a bit more well-remembered than they actually are, given the fondness for 80s indie-rock exhibited by many in recent times.

Thursday the 28th till Saturday the 30th – “Rum And Coca-Cola” (Talawa Theatre Company) @ The Drum, Newtown – A play concerning a faded Calypso band in Trinidad, directed by Don Warrington. It’s definitely a month for fellas from old sitcoms.

Thursday the 28th till Saturday the 30th – The Birmingham Beer Festival @ The Second City Suite, Birmingham – There are always beer festivals everywhere, obviously (and that’s a good thing), but this one also promises extra entertainment including music and games of “shove ha’penny”. I really don’t feel that as much shoving is delivered unto ha’pennies as is deserved, nowadays.

Thursday the 28th – The Dillinger Escape Plan / Rolo Tomassi @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Well there certainly will be some sudden time-changes on this particular evening, that we can be sure of.

Thursday the 28th – Chrome Hoof @ Taylor John’s House, Coventry – As I wondered a little while back, I wonder how long it’ll be before people start turning up to Chrome Hoof gigs in silver jumpers they’ve made themselves?

Friday the 29th – Juice Aleem @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – As part of the Inqlab “conscious club night” benefit for Pakistan flood relief.

Saturday the 30th – The Destroyers @ The Midland Arts Centre, Edgbaston, Birmingham – I may have mentioned them once or twice before.

Saturday the 30th – Seth Lakeman @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – I am always surprised by the fact that some people think of “Seth” as a tough urban kind of kind of name rather than a folky Emmerdale-y kind of name (see also: flat caps). This here Seth is definitely one of the latter type.

Sunday the 31st – Youngblood Brass Band @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – A punk-hop brass band, or “riot jazz” as they have it.

Sunday the 31st – Nightingales / The Coutesy Group @ The Old Wharf, Digbeth, Birmingham – Two of the local post-punk bands most (but not entirely) likely to go clonk when you think they’ll go ping and go ping when you think they’ll go spa-roowie.

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: December 2009

Posted in Combat Sports, Films, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 29 November, 2009

I’m sure there must be lots more lovely Christmas stuff, but I can’t seem to find very much of it. Nuts to New Year. This is the West Midlands, not Scotland.

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.

Until Saturday the 6th of Feb – “George’s Marvellous Medicine” (Birmingham Stage Company) @ The Old Rep, Birmingham – Mixing up everything in your medicine cabinet is not recommended at home, kids. Unless you’re genuinely thirsty.

Until Saturday the 9th of January – “A Christmas Carol” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Seems fair to me to say that “Marley was dead: to begin with” is the second greatest opening line in all of literature.

Between Tuesday the 1st and Saturday the 19th – A whole tonne of Capsule stuff to celebrate ten years of ‘em @ various venues in Brum – There’s loads of stuff. I’ll list the lot (and just link to their event pages) for the sake of completeness, so this doesn’t mean I’m seriously recommending SunnO)))~!111: Monotonix, Esquilax, Beestung Lips and Cum Dogs at Vivid in Digbeth on the 1st; Tunng, Six Organs Of Admittance, Lightning Dust And Bella Emerson at the Town Hall on the 2nd (this is the one I’m most looking forward to); Lightning Bolt, Tweak Bird and Pete Prescription at Vivid on the 8th; Sunno)))}}}]]] and Om at The Asylum in Hockley on the tenth; Pram and Light Trap at Vivid on the 11th; a free afternoon film showing at Vivid on the 13th with a buffet and pictures provided by 7 Inch Cinema; Beak, Einstellung and Thought Forms at Vivid on the 16th (Edit: That one is cancelled. Poo.); some sort of evening social or suchlike at Vivid on the 17th; and a final partay with Modified Toy Orchestra, PCM, Calvados Beam Trio, Una Corda and Stinky Wizzleteat at Vivid on the 19th. You owe me a pint if I’ve managed to put all of those links in without cocking up the code at all. (EDIT: There’s also one in association with Heat And Light at Vivid on the night of the 13th, with Sudden Infant and Nic Bullen).

Tuesday the 1st – Alice Cooper @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Giving a golf seminar, perhaps.

Thursday the 3rd till Saturday the 12th (but not the 7th) – Aston Hall By Candlelight @ Aston Hall, Aston, Birmingham – This year themed around the Victorian household entertaining a royal visitor.

Thursday the 3rd till Saturday the 5th – “The Just Price Of Flowers” (Stan’s Café) @ A.E. Harris, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – Inspired by Brecht, but not actually one of his (apparently there has been some confusion). Parallels are drawn between modern-day financial nuttery and 17th century Dutch tulip nuttery.

Friday the 4th – Chris Addison @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Ollie Ollie Ollie, Oi Oi Oi.

Various dates between Saturday the 5th and Saturday the 19th – Verdi’s “Othello” (Birmingham Opera Company) @ The Argyle Works, Bordesley, Birmingham – Birmingham Opera Company’s version of “Idomeneo” last year was greater than great can be. Judging by the postcode, the venue for this should be somewhere in the general vicinity of here.

Friday the 5th – Frank Sidebottom @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Fantastic showbusiness.

Saturday the 5th – Boxing (dunno who’s promoting) @ The Hilton Hotel, Coventry – Including Max “Max” Maxwell vs Martin Concepcion, in what must be Max’s 381,789th Midlands area title match (EDIT: or 4th, if you want to be boring and accurate).

Sunday the 6th – Madball @ Busk, Birmingham – Hardcore for tuphguyzzz. I will forever maintain that “Droppin’ Many Suckers” is one of the greatest names that anyone ever has called and ever could call an album.

Monday the 7th – The Unthanks @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – North-Eastern folkifiers formerly known as “Rachel Unthank And The Winterset”. I’m glad they’ve changed their name. OtherUnthankSister didn’t outwardly appear to do any less than Rachel, so it’s fairer this way.

Tuesday the 8th – Jodi Ann Bickley @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Interesting and endearing poetry, happening at the same time as the ’Freestyle’ photography exhibiton.

Wednesday the 9th – Alexander O’Neal @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Or rather “80s soul nuisance Alexander O’Neal”, as the in-joke that you won’t get has it.

Wednesday the 9th – Seth Lakeman @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Frequently fancied fiddler fascinates folks (with) folk.

Wednesday the 9th – The Bookhouse Boys @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Like Tindersticks on holiday in Hawaii, or somesuch.

Wednesday the 9th – “Arc” (with Graft) @ The Vaults, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – The first of a new monthly art night, with a different set of artists each time. Here ‘Graft’ (whoever they might be) will bring a Jewellery-with-other-meanings exhibition from “The Institute Of Meaningful Interaction” and artist Mark Baldwin appearing as part of the structure of the building. Apparently. All very vague as a result of the fact that no sod seems to have a web presence because… I don’t know why not. I love The Vaults, though, it’s a great place.

Thursday the 10th – Madness @ The Academy, Birmingham – Mavva Brahn’s got her knees up, presumably in the process of skanking. This one is (unsurprisingly) sold out, but they’re also at The Civic on the 17th.

Friday the 11th – “Resistance, Revolt, Rebellion: A Double Bill of Civil Disobedience” (Kindandgenerous Productions and Emma Purshouse) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – In Love And Taxes, current Brum poet laureate Adrian Johnson and Jessi of Eastfield bring songs and stories recalling the popular opposition to the poll tax. In “Are You Sitting Comfortably?”, Emma Purshouse tell poems of “rebellion, revolution and armchair inactivism”.

Sunday the 13th – Basement Jaxx @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Let’s all have a disco, let’s all have a disco.

Sunday the 13th – Depeche Mode @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – A band who I’d say have been quite the unsung influence on quite a fair bit of music in recent years.

Tuesday the 15th – Public Image Limited @ The Academy, Birmingham – Given that my LOTTSADITWM often feature metal and boxing, it seems only too apt that a band who put out an album called “Metal Box” should be in here. Also: post-punk legends, Country Life butter etc.

Wednesday the 16th till Sunday the 20th – “The Snow Queen” (Screamingvoiceyouththeatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Screamingvoice etc.etc. are absolutely ace, they really are.

Wednesday the 16th – Nile @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Ancient Egyptian themed death metal, and I can’t see how you could possibly think that isn’t the best idea ever. Nothing I’ve ever heard by them is quite as good as the concept, but Krisiun are on the bill too and they’ll blow your earwax free (I mean that in a good way).

Wednesday the 16th – The Pogues @ The Academy, Birmingham – [Slur]Dirty old Towwwwwwwwwwn…[/slur]

Friday the 18th until Friday the 9th of January – Funworld @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – I don’t see how anyone could dislike a world of fun. It’s a huge indoor funfair (including, apparently, a “300ft bungee slingshot”. Indoors, I’ll repeat with vague concern) and has to win the all-time title for “event I’ve been handed the largest number of the same flyer for”.

Saturday the 21st – The Beat’s xmas party @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – 30 years since they started, apparently (see also the 27th).

Monday the 21st – The Wildhearts @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – My unbroken run of not managing to see any Wildhearts or Wildhearts-related gigs since 2001 will definitely continue here. They’re still ace though.

Monday the 21st – Musical Youth @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Don’t take the mick, you know which way you need to pass it.

Wednesday the 23rd until Sunday the 3rd of January – “The Gruffalo (Tall Stories) @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – They had The Gruffalo plodding along as part of the Reindeer Parade in town recently. I thought he was cute.

Friday the 25th – IT’S CHRIIISTMUUUUUUS!

Sunday the 27th – Drongos For Europe’s xmas party @ the Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – 30 years since they started, apparently (see also the 21st).

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: October 2009

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, LOTTSADITWM, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 30 September, 2009

It’d really make a lot more sense if October was the eight month rather than the tenth, wouldn’t it? Oh well.

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. (EDIT: This paragraph is not some obscure joke. It actually means what it says. By all means add me to your mailing list or whatever-have-you, but sending me a message that specifically asks for your function to be posted on here will not lead to it being posted on here).

Thursday the 1st – An Evening With Joan Baez @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – The evening they drove ol’ Dixie down.

Friday the 2nd till Sunday the 11th – Birmingham Comedy Festival @ various venues in Brum – Part of the grand Birmingham tradition of grouping together a bunch of events that would most likely have happened anyway and calling it a festival. There are still, no doubt, many chuckles and guffaws to be had – checky here for the line-up.

Friday the 2nd – Zu @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – I-talian jazzy metally… I dunno, just bloody lunacy. They were ace at Supersonic.

Saturday the 3rd – Boxing (Warrior Promotions) @ The Holiday Inn, Birmingham – Presumably a dinner show (boo hiss etc). The latest chapter in the ongoing Birmingham vs Black Country derby takes place here, with Eddie McIntosh vs Quinton “Greatest Name Ever” Hillocks.

Sunday the 4th – Kickboxing and MMA (Eclipse) @ Oceana, Wolverhampton – FC kickboxing and amateur MMA, I believe.

Sunday the 4th – Frank Carson @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – It’s the way he tells ‘em.

Monday the 4th – Boxing (Pat Cowdell) @ The Holiday Inn, Birmingham – Another dinner show (boo hiss etc).

Tuesday the 6th till Thursday the 29th – The Birmingham Book Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – This one actually isn’t as per the description of the comedy festival as above. The line-up can be seen here; there are plenty of highlights, including a discussion with the Tindall Street Press Booker Prize nominees on the 8th, talks about David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” (timely. More soon) and Will Self on the 17th, a thing about J.B. Priestley’s “English Journey” (with his son and, erm, Stuart Maconie. Isn’t he the fella from all of those Channel Four “I Love The Whatsit”/”Top One Hundred Whatsitcalled” programmes?) on the 23rd, and Karen Armstrong speaking about her new “The Case For God” on the 29th.

Wednesday the 7th till Sunday the 11th – Horse Of The Year Show @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – Neigh, neigh and thrice neigh.

Thursday the 8th – Lethal Bizzle @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Bring some beef you lose some teef POW POW.

Friday the 9th – Boxing (First Team Promotions) @ The Venue, Dudley – I still have no idea where “The Venue” is.

Sunday the 11th – An Afternoon With Pam Ayres @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – The afternoon they drove ol’ SouthofEngland down.

Sunday the 11th – The Destroyers / The Old Dance School / The Toy Hearts @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Three of the finest local fun-folk/trad sorts, playing as part of The Town Hall’s 175th anniversary. The Destroyers are obviously the best band ever and you mustn’t say otherwise.

Monday the 12th – Echo & The Bunnymen @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – The band that actually could cut the mustard.

Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th – “The Idiot Colony” (Red Cape Theatre) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – A group of women are offered some respite from their confinement in a brutal asylum when they get to talk to each other in the hair salon. Based on true accounts.

Friday the 16th – “Revenger’s Tragedy” (Jadis Shadows theatre company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – With murder and incest and scandal in general. Also on at The Old Rep in Brum the following night and Hall Green Little Theatre (new to me) on the 23rd and 24th.

Saturday the 17th – Dizzee Rascal @ The Academy, Birmingham – There really is very little that’s more fun than saying “bonkers” in a deep voice. Try it right now and you’ll see what I mean.

Tuesday the 20th till Saturday the 31st – “The Grapes Of Wrath” (English Touring Theatre/Chichester Festival Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Waitin’ on the ghost of Tom Joad.

Wednesday the 21st – Therapy? @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – I’m still no closer to figuring it out: how many question marks does one use if asking a question in which the last word is the band name Therapy??

Wednesday the 21st – The Tennessee Three @ The Jam House, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – Not actually backing Johnny Cash here, for obvious reasons. Luther probably won’t be playing the boogie woogie here either, for similarly obvious reasons.

Friday the 23rd – Morrissey @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – I don’t think he’s miserable at all, I reckon it’s all just a show.

Saturday the 24th and Sunday the 25th – Spandau Ballet @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – No, they are playing there. It’s (wait for it, wait for it) TRUE.

Sunday the 25th – Editors @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – I still think “Snowfield” was a better name for them, but there you go.

Monday the 26th – The Proclaimers @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – I don’t think they’re Scottish at all, I reckon it’s all just a show.

Tuesday the 27th – ZZ Top @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Ah come on now. You’re looking at me as though this needs explaining.

Tuesday the 27th – Billy Talent @ The Academy, Birmingham – Good quality Canadian melodic punk/emo types, and I just now see that apparently they were originally called “Pezz”. Do you remember those “Pez” sweeties, with their own little dispenser-type-things? They were ace. I recall having one with Goofy’s head on. So, anyway, Billy Talent.

Wednesday the 28th till Saturday the 31st – “Dreams Of Violence” (Out Of Joint/Soho Theatre) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – Political activism (I can’t help but think of the “blowing up a panda” joke from ‘The Young Ones’ every time I hear that phrase) comes easier than a messy homelife for the main character of this play.

Thursday the 29th – Efterklang @ The Asylum, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – A Danish band who make music that sounds more beautiful live than you can imagine, and I’m assuming you’re someone with a fantastic imagination. Go to this.

Thursday the 29th – Marc Almond @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Probably the best pop star named after a nut since Johnny Cashew. Or Slipknut.

Friday the 30th and Saturday the 31st – “The Houdini Exposure” (Little Earthquake theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Know what I mean, ‘Arry. A dramatised version of his mission to expose séance Daniel Home as a fraud.

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands – May 2009

Posted in LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 30 April, 2009

So apparently there’s no Fierce Festival this year. Bah. A very music-centric one this time (even more so than usual), anyway, but there’s still plenty of different things agwaan.

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 of May – IWW West Midlands’ International Workers Day party @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – Not actually on the day in question but nevertheless featuring food and drink and music a-plenty (including Una Corda and D’Corner Bois).

Friday the 1st – Mayday Art Crawl @ sundry locations in Digbeth, Birmingham – Like the above it’s not actually on Mayday, but still: Vivid, Ikon Eastside and Eastside Projects all have new exhibitions, and then there are plenty of good pubs in that neck of the woods for afterwards. Pubs where you can complain about people saying ‘Eastside’ instead of ‘Digbeth’.

Friday the 1st – Paul Murphy @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Doing a solo/smaller version of the “Sir Rhu Barb’s Tale” lark I saw in December. I suspect this way might work a bit better than that did, actually.

Saturday the 2nd till Monday the 4th – ‘The Ultimate Pet Show’ @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Not just your ordinary pets, oh no. This is for the ultimate in pets. Also including Britain’s Most Talented Pet (click that – I love the fact that the pictures of dogs playing the piano and mowing the lawn are left to explain themselves, but if you hover your pointer over the picture of a horse on its back you get a caption saying ‘horse rolling’. Just in case, y’know, you thought it had just died or something).

Saturday the 2nd – ‘World 501 Dholis’ @ Centenary Square, Birmingham – An attempt to break the world record for the number of dhol drummers playing in one place at one time, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Wasn’t this meant to happen at Artsfest last year? I don’t know, I get confused.

Sunday the 3rd – Ginger / Laika Dog @ J.B’s, Dudley – That would be Ginger of The Wildhearts fame, and the current band involving Tony Wright of Terrorvision fame. It’s like some 90s Britrock extravaganza.

Sunday the 3rd – Sky Larkin @ The Victoria, Birmingham – An interestingly dynamic indie rock’n’roll band about whom I’ve liked the odds ‘n’ sods I’ve heard for ages but haven’t ever really got around to checking out properly. As is my way. I think they may be headlining an alldayer here, actually, but I’m not entirely sure. Uselessness all-round from your correspondent, then.

Sunday the 3rd – Sway @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – A man who deserves to go down in history for his guest verse on The Mitchell Brothers’ “Harvey Nicks” (watch 2:35 – 3:23 here, really now).

Monday the 4th – Cancer Bats / The Plight / SSS @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Very metal, although I suspect it may not be metal that is considered True by the purists…

Tuesday the 5th – Saxon / Doro @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – …Unlike this one, which qualifies as proper metal under any and all systems that you might use to count.

Thursday the 7th – Jeffrey Lewis And The Junkyard @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – He was with The Jitters last time I saw him, rather than The Junkyard. These people should make their minds up, I say.

Thursday the 7th – ‘Making Do’ @ The New Art Gallery, Walsall – Great big free extravaganza from Capsule and 7 Inch Cinema, based around themes of post-war austerity. There’s live music from Pram, July Skies and The Winter League; there’s a film programme including the Housewives’ Choice series that I was sad to miss last year; there’s knitting courtesy of Stitches And Hos; there’s loads of other stuff too.

Friday the 8th till Saturday the 23rd – ‘Serious Money’ (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep, Birmingham – Caryl Churchill spearin’ yuppies. Possibly given newer relevance on top, what with recent financial happenstances ‘n’ such.

Saturday the 9th – Project X Presents “Xhibition! @ a few different venues in Moseley, Birmingham – An assortment of various stuff, as is Project X’s wont, all centered around the big crossroads in Moseley.

Monday the 11th till Saturday the 16th – ‘Dinnerladies’ @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – I really thought the telly programme (the second series in particular) was one of the most wonderful things ever. This stage version stars Tony and Anita from that, too.

Wednesday the 13th – Morrissey @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Stephen, not Neil.

Thursday the 14th till Saturday the 16th – “Our Country’s Good” (Rage Ensemble) @ The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Australians wouldn’t give Castlemaine XXXX for anything else.

Friday the 15th till Saturday the 30th – “Looking For Yoghurt” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company, Hanyong Theatre, and a pile of others) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – A collaboration between British, Japanese and Korean theatrical sorts, this children’s show involves a little ‘un looking for her cat, Yoghurt. That is a magnificent name for a cat.

Friday the 15th till Saturday the 17th – ‘English Originals’ folk festival @ Symphony Hall and Town Hall, Birmingham – The second year running for this TH/SH weekender. Here we have the lovely Rachel Unthank And The Winterset on Friday night, a tribute concert to Nick Drake on the Saturday (involving Vashti Bunyan amongst others), and Seth Lakeman on the Sunday. On top of the big gigs there are also films, talks and free performances (including a set in the ICC on Friday from Mama Matrix, who also appear to be playing at The Wagon & Horses later that night).

Friday the 15th – Melt Banana @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – Japanese madness for May #1 (also: this is at The Rainbow Warehouse, not The Med Bar/Factory Club as advertised in some places).

Friday the 15th – Church Of Misery @ Busk, Birmingham – Japanese madness for May #2/Sabbath worship for May #1.

Friday the 15th – Cursive @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – I think this is beginning to take the Michael a bit, with so many worthwhile gigs on the same night. Overwrought but witty American indie, anyway.

Saturday the 16th – Chris Addison @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Ooh, I’m looking forward to seeing ‘In The Loop’. I really do love ‘The Thick Of It’.

Saturday the 16th – “Caliban’s Island” (Somesuch Theatre) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – What happened after ‘The Tempest’, when they’d all buggered off and left Caliban on his own.

Sunday the 17th – Witchcraft @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Sabbath worship for May #2.

Monday the 18th – Mark Thomas @ The Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – And you can submit your own policies for the “People’s Manifesto” he’s compiling. Compulsory wearing of wigs on Wednesdays it is, then.

Tuesday the 19th – Maximo Park @ The Academy, Birmingham – I described the first song I heard by them (courtesy of Paul Greyshades) as sounding like ‘a Sparks/Therapy? collaboration voiced by a cross between Ian Curtis and Spuggy from “Byker Grove”’, and if that doesn’t sound enticing to you then I don’t know what will.

Wednesday the 20th – The Autumn Store @ The Victoria, Birmingham – Dance the lindy-hop to some indie-pop.

Thursday the 21st till Saturday the 23rd – “Hit The Baby, Natasha!” (Happiness Patrol) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A new variation on Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”, with a genuinely fantastic name.

Thursday the 21st – ‘Sublime Frequencies’ tour @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – With Omar Souleyman from Syria and Group Doueh from Western Sahara.

Friday the 22nd – Great Lake Swimmers @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Lovely mellow Canadian folk-rock. They sound like Crosby Stills & Nash hugging their duvets and yawning melodically.

Friday the 22nd – Subhumans @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – One of the best punk bands ever, kiddo. Apparently this do is a benefit for the Faslane Peace Camp.

Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th – Birmingham Pride 2009 @ Various places in Birmingham city centre – Apparently the largest two-day LGBT event in the UK (any jokes I made here about size being important would be cheap and unnecessary). There’s lots of stuff happening and various stages. The website doesn’t seem to want to say who will be performing on them, but they’ll be there.

Saturday the 23rd – “A Night Of Aural Carnage” (Capsule) @ Vivid, Digbeth, Birmingham – Noise, noise, lots of noise. Prurient are headlining, and Beestung Lips are also on the bill (seeming a bit out of place, unless I’ve massively misjudged the nature of the rest of it).

Saturday the 23rd – Beyonce @ The NIA, Birmingham – Buuuuuuur. Buh buh buh buh buh buuuuuuuuur. Buh buh buh buh buh… ahem. Sorry. Just got the urge to do the horn bit from ‘Crazy In Love’.

Sunday the 24th – Terror @ Busk, Birmingham – Metallic hardcore band more widely remembered for the wit and wisdom of their singer, Scott Vogel.

Sunday the 24th – Hypnotic Brass Ensemble @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Hip hop-influenced brass band aceness. The sad thing (and not to take anything away from Hypnotic) is that finding out about this made me wonder when The Youngblood Brass Band were coming around again, and upon inspection it looks like they’re touring in May but not doing any gigs anywhere near here. Bah.

Tuesday the 26th – Combichrist @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Mentioned mostly due to how weird it looks to see an EBM/industrial/goth-techno/whateverhaveyou band alongside all the tribute acts and trad blues-rockers on the coupon at The Robin. I just have a feeling it’ll turn out hilarious, although I’m not sure why.

Wednesday the 27th & Sunday the 31st – Mahler’s 2nd (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – My favourite symphony, as Mahler would no doubt have been gratified to know.

Friday the 29th and Saturday the 30th – “The Iron Eyelashes” (Imaginary Forces Theatre) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Does your man there pick family in East Berlin, or freedom in the West?

Friday the 29th till Sunday the 31st – “Bach – A Beautiful Mind” @ Town Hall and Symphony Hall, Birmingham – A mini-festival type thing. I’ve mentioned this on here before, but I love Douglas Adams’ quote on J.S. Bach – “When I hear Beethoven I understand what it was like to be Beethoven. When I hear Mozart I understand what it is to be human. When I hear Bach I understand the universe.”

Saturday the 30th and Sunday the 31st – Birmingham “Rat Race” @ various places in Brum but starting in Centenary square, I think – Race about the place in what is apparently “a multi-disciplined challenge of navigation, endurance, skills and guts” requiring participants to “run, climb, mountain bike, kayak, abseil and navigate”. Best of all, it’s set against a “70s skyline”.

Saturday the 30th – The Mighty Diamonds @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – Y’know, the ones that can pronounce ‘Kouchie’.

Sunday the 31st – Mark Steel @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Ah, Mark Steel. One of the highlights of last year was hearing a professional comedian describe my beau as “the most pedantic woman in the Midlands”.

Sunday the 31st – Chrome Hoof @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, BirminghamCapsule finish off a busy five-gig month by hosting the band who really must be the world’s greatest tinfoil-wearing disco-krautrock-metal group, and I don’t throw that sort of praise around lightly. (EDIT: Cancelled~! Boooooo. Still, though, there is a talk from Martin Atkins of Public Image Limited at the H&H that night. It’s free, too).

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: June 2008

Posted in Combat Sports, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage by Russ L on 28 May, 2008

Right then my gas firin’ never tirin’ steam punkin’ pop junkin’ ballin’ brawlin’ shot-callin’ little chickadees: we may have had a month off in May (chiefly because I couldn’t, ‘ow you Eeenglish say, be arsed), but here’s your LOTTSADITWM for June.

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.

Thursday the 29th of May till Saturday the 21st – “Our House” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep, Birmingham – The musical set to Madness songs. Always thought that was a fun idea.

Saturday the 31st of May till Monday the 30th of June – BASS Festival @ all over the Midlands – That’s right folks, Birmingham’s annual ‘Ten Different Things Calling Themselves Festivals At Any Given Time’ season is in full swing (although this one is Midlands-wide so perhaps it’s not the best example of that particular mania). There’s tons of urban music/culture related stuff a-happening, mostly in Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham. Their events diary can be seen here.

Saturday the 31st of May till Sunday the 8th – Climate Change Festival @ Various places in Birmingham and Walsall – Surely it’s nothing to celebrate? Or maybe they’re against it. Claystation sounds like fun.

Monday the 2nd and Tuesday the 3rd – ‘Shadow Play’ (Travelling Light) @ The Warwick Arts Centre, University Of Warwick, Coventry – Theatre, dance and Mime thingy that is apparently “inspired by the way that children use ‘play’ to investigate the world around them”.

Tuesday the 3rd – Schostakovich’s 3rd (Philharmonia Orchestra) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Dmitri’s sly “A Soviet Artist’s Reply To Just Criticism”, conducted here by Gustavo Dudamel (who has apparently received the highest possible praise from no less than Simon Rattle).

Wednesday the 4th – Flogging Molly @ The Academy, Birmingham – With an Oi Oi Oi and a Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Li. Great live band.

Thursday the 5th till Sunday the 8th – “Everyone Loves Elmer!” (Birmingham Stage Company) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – I do, certainly. Always thought the lil’ patchwork pachyderm was too cute for words.

Thursday the 5th till Saturday the 20th – New Generation Arts Festival @ various fighters in Birmingham – A festival, eh? Whodathunkit. The stated categories for this one are visual arts, music, design, animation & film, creative writing, and ‘online interactive’. Have a little look at the list of events.

Thursday the 5th to Friday the 20th of June- Emergent Game @ all across Birmingham – Part of the above NGA festival, this… erm… no, I’m not going to pretend I have the first idea of what in the world this is all about. I think I quite like it, nevertheless. Just click the link.

Thursday the 5th to Saturday the 7th – Integra 2008 festival @ Sundry Birmingham venues – Part of the NGA, making this a festival within a festival. How very Birmingham. ‘Fusing music and technology’ is the tagline, and amongst other things it includes BEAST, and Capsule putting on The Bays with The BIT20 ensemble.

Friday the 6th – Mary J. Blige @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Drama: no more of it.

Saturday the 7th – The Autumn Store @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham – Birmingham’s main indiepop night is back, with Pete Green, Lime Chalks, and Little My.

Saturday the 8th – ISKA supershow (kickboxing) @ The Que Club, Birmingham – Promoted by Kash ‘The Flash’ Gill (a legend round these parts). I’m assuming it’s FC style kickboxing. Public information always seems scarce about this sort of thing.

Monday the 9th – Moha! @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Usual annoying exclamation mark aside, this band sound pretty cool. Motorik jazz-industrial, if you will. Or something. Also: they have an album called “Norwegianism”.

Wednesday the 11th – Sex Pistols @ The Academy, Birmingham – Old, old men. But… erm… well, that’s it really. I still don’t know why I went and bought a ticket for this.

Wednesday the 11th and Thursday the 12th – “Farewell, But Not Goodbye” (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Sakari Oramo’s last fling as music director/chief conductor of the CBSO. Aaaaaw, I always loved the lil’ hyperactive fella. Beethoven’s 9th, anyway.

Thursday the 12th – The Destroyers @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The Greatest Band In The World Ever Ever Ever (it’s official, you know) playing a new collaboration (‘1001 Nights’) with The Dholblasters and Sanchita Pal.

Friday the 13th – Sunburned Hand Of Man @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Psychedelic/weirdness collective. ‘Tis Capsule.

Saturday the 14th – ‘Cinderella Ashputtel” (Banyan Theatre) @ The Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry – A puppet-theatre reworking of ‘Cinderella’. The actual figures themselves look gorgeous.

Monday the 16th – Norman Lovett & Hattie Hayridge @ The Little Civic, Wolverhampton – Stand-up comedy from the two people who played Holly in Red Dwarf, which is as sensible a manner of putting a tour together as any I suppose. It also provides a nice bit of continuity for the next entry…

Monday the 16th – Holly GoLightly @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Former Billy Childish cohort and Headcoatees member. Does that make her a Headcoatee-ee? It is a Curate’s Egg gig (flyer), but I’ve been told that the fact that it’s on a Monday means it should actually finish at a righteous time.

Monday the 16th – Origin / Impaled @ The Flapper & Firkin, Birmingham – Birmingham’s main extreme metal promoting sorts Reanimator forgo their usual haunt The Bristol Pear to bring you a night of death metal in the city centre (flyer).

Wednesday the 18th – Alanis Morissette @ The Academy, Birmingham – Hur hur hur that song she did about the irony mentioned things that weren’t ironic hur hur hur stock tropes from crap mid-90s comedians hur hur hur…

Thursday the 19th – “Moths Ate My Dr Who Scarf” (Toby Hadoke) @ The Library Theatre, Bloxwich– A David Benson-esque (by the sounds of it) one-man show, about The ‘Oo and the place The ‘Oo has had in the life of one Toby Hadoke.

Friday the 20th – “They Get Free Mobiles… Don’t They?” (Banner Theatre) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – Multimedia thingy, looking at the facts and myths about refugees.

Friday the 20th – Wayne Elcock vs Darren McDermott (Boxing; Hennessy Sports) @ The Skydome, Coventry – The one we’ve all been waiting for, rescheduled from April. A proper Black Country vs Birmingham derby, and for the British middleweight title too. (EDIT: And no, you’re not going mad – it was originally at the Aston Events Centre. Now it ain’t). It’s just a shame that it’s the same night as…

Friday the 20th –Boxing (First Team promotions) @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – …Another boxing card, with a bunch of your local faves. Then, on top of these, on the following day also you have…

Saturday the 21st – Boxing (Sports Network) @ The NIA, Birmingham – …Amir Khan’s latest mismatch, and an undercard including Marcus Portman, Richie Collins, Don Broadhurst, Steve Bendall, and the very highly-regarded Thomas Costello.

Saturday the 21st – Jimmy Cliff @ The Aston Events Centre, Aston, Birmingham – Genuine legend. Although he’ll have many canals to cross rather than rivers, around here.

Saturday the 21st – “Score 12 – Cast” (Bill Drummond/The17) @ I think you get to pick where in Birmingham – A Bill Drummond doin’ is transpirin’. It is connected with manhole covers.

Sunday the 22nd – Melt Banana @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Japanese grindo-fun lovelies. ‘Tis Capsule again.

Monday the 23rd – “Paul Merton’s Impro Chums” @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – Improvised comedy from Paul Merton and, presumably, some of his chums. Is this the type of thing where they ask the audience to shout out a profession and they act it out in song?

Tuesday the 24th – Thea Gilmore @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – She got a bit confused between Wolverhampton and Bilston last time she was around here, bless ‘er, but her songs are fab.

Thursday the 26th – “My Bum Is Genetic, Deal With It” (Village Gossip Productions) @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – Presented in affiliation with the BASS Festival mentioned above. A comic monologue/spoken word type of thing in which a South African woman attempts to figure out her image of beauty.

Saturday the 28th – The Public opening doings @ The Public, West Bromwich – Well, it’s meant to finally be opening. There’s nothing on the thing’s own website. Given its history, I think we can be excused any and all cynicism. If they do manage to get the doors open then I imagine there’ll be some sort of festivities, or maybe the budget for them will run out.

Saturday the 28th – British Pipe Band Championships @ Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Over 100 pipe bands will compete in this heroic struggle. Who, I ask you who, will prevail?

Sunday the 29th – MMA (UK Cage Fighting Championships) @ The Skydome, Coventry – Good stuff, I have happy memories of seeing MMA at The Skydome.

Sunday the 29th – Muay Thai (K-Star) @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Fists, elbow, knees and shins a-flying near the reservoir.