Call me Russ L

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

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

All of the usual staples of LOTTSADITWM (music, theatre, fighting sports, things calling themselves “festivals”) and a few little additional oddities too.

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 1st till Saturday the 18th – “Little Shop Of Horrors” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Feeeeeeed me Seymour.

Thursday the 1st – “Precious Things” (My Little Theatre Company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Strange characters attend an exhibition of a nazi-sympathising artist in a play looking at ethics in art.

Friday the 3rd till Saturday the 5th – Moseley Folk Festival @ Moseley Park, Moseley, Birmingham – The fifth annual Moseley Folk Festival. The big headliner this time is Donovan, and there’ll also be chances to see Turin Brakes, Fyfe Dangerfield (see also the 25th), The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain, The Unthanks, John Renbourne, The Destroyers and a whole tonne of others in an absolutely lovely setting. In spite of all that, I’ll still be asking for my money back if The Divine Comedy don’t play “My Lovely Horse”.

Friday the 3rd till Saturday the 5th – Birmingham Punx (sic) Picnic 2010 @ The Adam & Eve, Digbeth, Birmingham – With GBH, cider, Runnin’ Riot, Cracked Actors, cider, Contempt, cider…

Saturday the 4th & Sunday the 5th – “Peppa Pig’s Party” @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – I’ve never seen any of Peppa Pig’s programmes but I do think she’s so very very cute.

Saturday the 4th – “Opium: The Confessions Of Thomas De Quincy” (Skewed View) @ The Vaults, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham and then apparently later on at The Old Crown, Digbeth, Birmingham – Based, as the name would suggest, in Thomas De Quincey’s “Confessions Of An English Opium Eater”. The Vaults is a restaurant but I doubt that’ll be on the menu.

Sunday the 5th – The Rotary Club Country Music Festival @ Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Edgbaston, Birmingham – A counterpoint to Moseley Folk, I suppose.

Sunday the 5th – Heart Of England Judo tournament @ The NIA, Birmingham – “Consider fully, act decisively” – Jigoro Kano.

Tuesday the 7th till Saturday the 11th – “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (Wolverhampton Youth Musical Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Thoroughness, that’s what you want in your modernity.

Wednesday the 8th – Modified Toy Orchestra @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – The circuit-bending gaffers will be premiering their new album, “Plastic Planet”. That was me just trying out this useage of “premier” as a verb. I don’t think I like it. I probably won’t do it again.

Friday the 10th until Sunday the 12th – Artsfest @ all over Birmingham – It’s that time of the year again. Details are customarily scarce, but the main stage in Centenary Square (apparently they’re fencing off a chunk of Broad Street too, to mitigate for the space lost to library-building works) will have the usual CBSO “Classical Fantasia” on Saturday night, and a pock’n’rop thing on Sunday headlined by The Twang.

Friday the 10th until Sunday the 12th – Birmingham Zine Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Fanzines have always been and will always be around, obviously, but they do quite recently seem to have become more a lot more fashionable in various circles. Still: hooray for DIY and boo to the insistence that all information must flow downwards from the massahs and hooray for zines.

Friday the 10th – Gorillaz @ The NIA, Birmingham – I still think that Murdoc from Gorillaz and Cain Dingle from “Emmerdale” are the same person. (EDIT: Postponed till the 17th of November, see comments).

Saturday the 11th till Saturday the 18th – “A Dolls House” (Crescent Theatre Company) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Ibsen and his dislike of 19th century sexism.

Saturday the 11th – “Muay Thai Champions Trophy” Muay Thai card (Fightsport Events @ The NIA, Birmingham – Including one of those eight man/one night tournaments that we all love so much.

Saturday the 11th – The Drifters @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Saaaaturday night at the… erm, theatre…

Saturday the 11th – The Furious Five @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Don’t… push… them,… ‘cos they’re… close… to… the… eeeeedge…

Tuesday the 14th until Sunday the 19th – The British Science Festival @ various places in Birmingham but mostly the universities – It’s poetry in motion/She turned her tender eyes to me/As deep as any ocean/As sweet as any harmony…

Wednesday the 15th – Half Man Half Biscuit @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Comic lyricists extraordinaire. I really am very sad that it took me as far into my life as it did to investigate their works.

Thursday the 16th – Mahler’s 8th symphony (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – The Birmingham Mahler Cycle (running till June) begins with “The Symphony Of A Thousand”.

Saturday the 18th – Fun Lovin’ Criminals @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Stick ‘em up, punk.

September the 18th – “The Magnificent Seven” boxing card (Frank Warren Promotions) @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – “The Seven Samurai” was a far better film, but never mind. It’s so-called due to there being no less than seven twelve-round fights on this card as well as more stuff too. In one of the more anticipated domestic fights of recent times, Matthew Macklin is scheduled to take on Darren Barker for the British and European (both at once, it’s like the olden days) middleweight titles. Assuming they all occur as planned, Nathan Cleverly then fights Karo Murat in a WBO world light-heavyweight title eliminator, Enzo Maccarinelli fights Alexander Frenkel for the European cruiserweight title, Ryan Rhodes faces Lukas Konecny for the European light-middleweight title, Derek Chisora takes on Sam Sexton for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles, Kell Brook fights Michael Jennings for the British welterweight title, James DeGale faces Carl Dilks for the WBA International super-middleweight title, Frankie Gavin takes on Michael Kelly for the Irish light-welterweight title, and Don Broadhurst fights The Dreaded TBA for the English super-flyweight title. Not including at least one additional four-rounder on the bill, that’s potentially 104 consecutive rounds of boxing. Blimey. (EDIT: Barker is out. Bad hips apparently. Shame really, that would’ve been quite the fight…).

Sunday the 19th –The Pope @ Cofton Park, Rednal, Birmingham – As the old Belfast joke goes: “Yeah, but I’m a Catholic atheist…”

Sunday the 19th – The Digbeth O’Lympics @ various places in Digbeth, Birmingham -Including snail racing and cardboard-box sailing.

Tuesday the 21st & Wednesday the 22nd – “The Caretaker” (London Classic Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolvehampton – “It’s Pinter…”

Wednesday the 22nd till Saturday the 25th – “Enron” (Headlong Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – I actually thought this was called “Enron – The Musical”. Unless that’s something different.

Wednesday the 22nd – Schostakovich’s 8th Symphony (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Banned for a bit, in the USSR. I find that difficult to believe, it’s so unlike Schostakovich…

Thursday the 23rd till Saturday the 25th – “Duck Variations” and “The Brothers” (Duck Brothers Productions) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A double-bill of comedic plays, the first by David Mamet do you see do you see.

Thursday the 23rd – Wagner’s “Tristan Und Isolde” (The Philharmonia Orchestra) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – The UK premier of this enormously well-regarded production, featuring backing visuals by Bill Viola.

Saturday the 25th – “BAMMA 4” mixed martial arts card (British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) @ The NIA, Birmingham – In which Tom Watson (Not The MP) will take on the bloke who did that Stamford Prison Experiment knock-off thing. There’ll be lots more fights too, including an interesting battle between two very good prospects when Eugene Fadiora faces Gunnar Nelson.

Saturday the 25th – Fyfe Dangerfield @ The (AHEM) Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – The building that has previously (in whole or in part) constituted The Barfly, The Sanctuary, The Institute, Digbeth Civic Hall and (apparently) a Methodist chapel is now re-opening as The HMV Institute, presumably because if you ask ten people off the street what they think about “branding” they’ll sincerely beseech you to add more company identities into the names of things for no obvious reason. Obviously I’ll be ignoring the “HMV” in this in the same way that most of us ignore the “O2” in The Academy (unpleasantly, though, I have recently heard a few people refer to The Academy as The O2. This is despicable and must cease immediately – you’re only encouraging them, ferchrisakes). Anyway, your man there from Guillemots will be playing on the 25th.

Saturday the 25th – Steve Ignorant’s “The Last Supper: Crass Songs 1977-1982” @ The (AHEM) Academy 2, Birmingham – Crass are quite possibly the last band from whom I would expect to see ex-members doing nostalgia gigs in big corporate venues, but this could be interesting nevertheless.

Saturday the 25th – “Whose Shoes” (Theatr Lolo) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – One poor young’un acquires a younger sister, who wants to half-inch her awesome slippers. Being a sibling-less type I can see how this would be bloody infuriating. For 5-7 year olds. (EDIT: I mean the play is for 5-7 year olds, not that it would only be irritating for 5-7 year olds. The shoe-teefin’ would be annoying for anyone).

Sunday the 26th – Paul Heaton @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – Of The Beautifully Southern Housemartins fame.

Sunday the 26th – Deer Tick @ Taylor John’s House, Coventry – Intense country-rock. I am told by trustworthy fellows that they’re quite the thing, live.

Tuesday the 28th till Saturday the 2nd of October – “The Habit Of Art” (National Theatre) @ The Rep Theatre, Birmingham – Alan Bennett, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday the 28th – Mark Ronson @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – I risk the wrath of Bounder by invoking this name.

Thursday the 30th and then every Thur/Fri/Sat for five weeks hence – “A Play, A Pint And A Pie” (Paines, Plough and Òran Mór) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – For only ten of your English pounds you can have a pie, a drink and see one of five new 45 minute plays. Dinnertime performances, too.

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

Posted in Combat Sports, Films, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 26 February, 2009

Thought you’d seen the last, eh? LOTTSADITWM doesn’t lie down quite so easily, suckah.

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 – The Drifters @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Or a version thereof, at least. No Ben E. King or Clyde McPhatter, for obvious reasons.

Sunday the 1st – Muay Thai (K-Star) @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Elbows and knees by the reservoir, in what is quite possibly the most seventies-styled venue I have ever seen.

Monday the 2nd – “These Four Streets” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Absolutely excellent play based around last year’s Lozells riots, showing how small frustrations can build and build into bigger tensions in a community. We saw it at The Rep Door a few weeks ago and I really can’t recommend it enough. It’s also at The Drum on the 13th.

Monday the 2nd – The Ting Tings @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – That is their name, for that is indeed what they are called.

Tuesday the 3rd till Saturday the 7th – “The Jungle Book” (Birmingham Stage Company) @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – Mr Kipling makes exceedingly good anthropomorphic animals.

Thursday the 5th – Half Man Half Biscuit @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Wherein everyone will be doing The Len Ganley Stance.

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

Friday the 6th – Rolo Tomassi @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Third on the bill of the Rock Sound sponsored (see, how cool is that? Glossy magazines!) “Shred Yr Face” tour. I would like to make it clear that I don’t like “yr” as a diminutive of “your” (rather than “year”). I didn’t like it the first time around in fanzines and now I don’t like it this time round on internets. Hurrumph.

Saturday the 7th – Fairport Convention @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – That would be the folk band Fairport Convention, of course. The Town Hall is not due to be hosting a convention of, erm, fairports.

Saturday the 7th – Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy & Chris Parkinson @ Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton – Speaking of folk… I bet this and Fairport on the same night will constitute an unfortunate date clash for some punters.

Saturday the 7th – Boxing (Mahesh Mendalia/Dennis Hobbs) @ The New Bingley Hall, Hockley, Birmingham – Featuring the last ever match of local boxing/Kung-Fu/Kickboxing legend Pele Reid (he knocked out Vitali Klitchsko in a light-contact kickboxing match. Just take a second to think about both halves of that sentence) before he retires. It’s at a new venue, too.

Wednesday the 11th till Saturday the 14th – “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” (Dudley Little Theatre) @ Netherton Arts Centre, Netherton – Classic play and you can pop into Ma Pardoe’s for a swift ‘un after it’s finished.

Wednesday the 11th until Sunday the 15th – Flatpack Film Festival @ Various venues in Birmingham – Very eagerly anticipated by a lot of people, 7 Inch Cinema’s third Flatpack Film Festival is nearly upon us. Their calendar page seems to have been designed with the express intent of making it as awkward as possible to browse what’s going on, but I’m particularly looking forward to the Curzonara event with The Destroyers (natch) and Waller Jeffs’ animated pictures.

Thursday the 12th – “Legends Of The Oche” @ The Concert Hall, Dudley – Darts and comedy from Bobby George, John Lowe, Eric Bristow and – apparently – one Duncan “Chase Me” Norvelle.

Friday the 13th till Tuesday the 17th – St Patrick’s festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Centred, obviously, around what is reported to be the biggest St Paddy’s day parade in the world outside of Dublin and New York. Also of interest looks to be The Craic Was Good In Cricklewood at The Irish Club in Digbeth on the 16th.

Saturday the 14th and intermittently until Saturday the 11th of April – “Terrorism” mini-season @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Three plays based on matters surrounding terrorism over the course of a few weeks – The Bus (in which a girl is challenged as to why she’s taking a particular journey), Terrorism (wherein various disparate scenes are shown to be somehow similar) and Talking To Terrorists (which relays bits from interviews with an assortment of people who have been involved in or affected by terrorism). Daily Mail styled hurrumphing is probably best left at home.

Saturday the 14th – John Legend @ The Academy, Birmingham – Diminishing qualitative returns of late, obviously, but “Get Lifted” was a fantastic album.

Saturday the 14th – Boxing (Hennessy Sports) @ AVEC, Aston, Birmingham – Second city derby! Macklin vs Elcock for the British middleweight title, and they’re both Zulus so hopefully there shouldn’t be a riot or anything to spoil anyone’s day. The undercard also features Young Mutley vs Adnan Amar for the English welterweight title and this Tyson Fury (what a name) heavyweight prospect that they’re all speaking words about. On the other hand, tickets are £45. Mick Hennessy really is taking the piss.

Tuesday the 17th – “The Maids” (Phizzical Productions) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – A Bollywood influenced version of a Genet play. That’s not a sentence you get to say every day.

Wednesday the 18th till Saturday the 21st – “Can Any Mother Help Me?” (Foursight Theatre) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – Telling the story of the Co-Operative Correspondence Club, through which otherwise isolated women were able to make themselves heard on everything “From marriage to childbirth, hidden desires to socialism, housework to wartime politics”.

Saturday the 21st – Mono @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Japanese post-rock types that I still haven’t got around to having a listen to at the time of writing, but a few people that I’d actually pay heed to recommend them so I’ll stick ‘em in here anyway.

Saturday the 21st – Musiq Soulchild @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – I’d got the idea from somewhere that he’d changed his name to just ‘Musiq’, but apparently that’s not true. Even change doesn’t stay the same these days.

Saturday the 21st – Science Day @ Edgbaston Reservoir, Edgbaston, Birmingham – An astronomically themed morning, apparently. Turn up between 11AM and 1PM.

Tuesday the 24th – Yo Majesty @ The Little Civic, Wolverhampton – Punk-funk-crunk-rap, say some. Like a more raucous Salt’n’Pepper. (EDIT: postponed, apparently. See comments).

Wednesday the 25th – Metallica @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – I do realise that I’m stretching the “things that looked like they might be interesting” bit from the rubric above with this one. They have been interesting at times in the past, however far removed that may be.

Thursday the 26th – Premier League Darts @ The NIA, Birmingham – Arrers thrown by arrerers, including your hero and mine Phil “The Power” Taylor.

Friday the 27th – Lemar @ The NIA, Birmingham – Apparently it’s 50/50, so any odds from 3/1 or better should be snapped up.

Friday the 27th and Saturday the 28th – White Noise Festival @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Digbeth, Birmingham – It doesn’t look as noisy as the name would immediately suggest (I was expecting some Merzbow styled business), but there is all sorts of varied musical stuff a-happening. Dave Ball from Soft Cell is DJing, for example.

Saturday the 28th – The Beat @ The Academy, Birmingham – It’s their 30th anniversary tour, don’tchaknow.

Saturday the 28th – Tunng / Tinariwen @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – A collaboratory tour between my favourite leccy-space-folk types of modern times and the Tuareg desert-blues electric-central-African-music sorts. Definitely sounds like one not to be missed.

Tuesday the 31st – Lionel Richie @ The LG Arena, Marston Green, Birmingham – I’m going to keep saying it until someone agrees with me: the man looks like a crocodile.

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

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, Food, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 30 September, 2008

Festival~!

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 Sunday the 5th – “Of All The People In All The World” (Stan’s Café) @ A.E. Harris Factory, The Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – Also known as The Rice Show and acclaimed by many (including me) to be The Actual Best Thing Ever.

Wednesday the 1st till Friday the 24th – Birmingham Book Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Brum’s annual literary festival (festival~!). There’s lots of interesting stuff a-scheduled – read on down.

Friday the 3rd till Sunday the 12th – Birmingham Comedy Festival @ various venues, Birmingham – The annual comedy festival (festival~!). Some annoying nonsense, but good stuff too – highlights include a Curates Egg do with John Cooper Clarke at The Hare & Hounds on the 3rd, and Mark Steel at The Glee Club on the 8th.

Saturday the 4th – “Space Day” @ Birmingham University, Edgbaston, Birmingham – LOOOST IN SPAAACE! All sorts of extra-planetary physics-based fun.

Saturday the 4th – Van Morrison @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Like the good ol’ strict ‘n’ stern Ulster protestant he is, Van The Man has decreed that no alcohol is to be sold at this gig. I wouldn’t go so far as to proclaim that this heralds the death of personal freedom, though.

Saturday the 4th – Stevie Wonder @ The NIA, Birmingham – Ooh, I’m really looking forward to this one.

Saturday the 4th – “Steve Coogan Is Alan Partridge and Other Less Successful Characters” @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – You’ve got to love that for tour-naming.

Saturday the 4th – The Ting Tings @ The Academy, Birmingham – Already sold out, although we’ve heard that one before from The Ting Tings.

Saturday the 4th – Muay Thai @ The Light Bar, Wolverhampton – Knees knees knees! Wolves’ Firewalker gym vs Leeds’ Bad Company gym.

Wednesday the 5th of October until Thursday the 6th of November – Birmingham Early Music Festival @ Various festivals in Birmingham – A festival (festival~!) of Rites And Revels.

Sunday the 5th – Balti In The Park @ Balsall Heath park, Balsall Heath, Birmingham – Mostly, food. But also live music. And stalls. And face painting. But mostly food.

Tuesday the 7th – Stevie Winwood @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Still keeping on running, after all this time.

Wednesday the 8th until Saturday the 11th – “The Boy With The Bomb In His Crisps” (Mad Half Hour) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – A play based on the tales of people who have journeyed to Coventry and Colchester. The story behind the (absolutely magnificent) title is here.

Wednesday the 8th till Sunday the 12th – Horse Of The Year Show @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – A horse is a horse, of course, of course…

Thursday the 9th – The Streets @ The Academy, Birmingham – Apparently he talks about fields and countryside and such on this new album. Pastoral Streets, what a notion.

Saturday the 11th – Billy Ocean @ The Academy, Birmingham – Aaaaw, he’s just so cuddly.

Monday the 13th till Friday the 17th – “Romeo And Juliet” (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Custard Factory – I have no concrete info, but apparently this may or may not be happening. Matinee performances only though, according to the information Nyki Getgood has acquired over at that link. On weekdays. Fantastic planning, there.

Monday the 13th – Cyndi Lauper @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Just wants to do something-or-other.

Tuesday the 14th – Polarbear: “If I Cover My Nose You Can’t See Me” @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – Hip-hop based storytelling. I’ve heard many good things about this.

Tuesday the 14th – Mark Thomas @ The Conservatoire, Birmingham – Part of the Birmingham Book Festival. This show is based around Mighty Mark’s looking into the ways and doings of Coca-Cola.

Wednesday the 15th – Stephen Stills @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Ah well now you see the thing here was that I was going to go to this and then I wasn’t and now I am again but all the time I thought I’d never heard any of his music outside of Crosby Stills And Nash And/Or Young but it turns out that “Love The One You’re With” which I liked but didn’t know who it was by was actually by him. So that was quite good. Yes.

Wednesday the 15th – Elbow @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – The band that beat Burial in the big national music quiz or whatever it was. Haven’t listened to this new album that they got the honours for, but they were lovely when I last saw/heard them a few years ago.

Wednesday the 15th – Spiritualized @ The Academy, Birmingham – Without the gospel singers this time, if I’m correct, but still bound to be amazing.

Thursday the 16th – Will Self @ The Conservatoire, Birmingham – Why if it ain’t young Billy Self in the best of health. Author, journalist, raconteur, cultural pundit, and Birmingham Book Festival performer.

Friday the 17th – Roots Manuva @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Summonin’ up the power of Banana Clan.

Friday the 17th – Black Diamond Heavies / The Solomons @ The Dragon Bar, The Barfly, Digbeth, Birmingham – Another night of blues ‘n’ roll brought to you by them Coldrice reprobates.

Saturday the 18th – UFC 89 @ The NIA, Birmingham – Headlined by Mike Bisping vs Chris Leben (Bisping, sub, R2. Yes that’s right I said ‘sub’), and also featuring the UFC debut of longtime fave of mine Dan Hardy (against Akihiro Gono. Hardy by decision). Speaking of longtime faves of mine, Paul ‘The Relentlessly Saddling Yampy Terminator’ Taylor (you know, the one from God’s Chosen Black Country) will also be fighting Chris Lytle (Taylor, decision).

Saturday the 18th – The Creeping Nobodies / The Courtesy Group @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – A Curates Egg night, so quality is assured.

Sunday the 19th – Scorpions @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Whistle whistle, whistle whuh-whuh-whistle-whistle…

Tuesday the 21st – Carol Ann Duffy @ The Conservatoire, Birmingham – Again as part of the Birmingham Book Festival. One of the best contemporary poets, with recent controversy to boot. If you’re really a fan then you can also attend a discussion of her work led by Roz Goddard on the 9th.

Wednesday the 22nd – Eddie Reader @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Your lady there who used to be in the wonderful wonderful wonderful (‘Perfect’, even) Fairground Attraction.

Wednesday the 22nd – Seth Lakeman @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – More fiddling folking fun with Seff.

Thursday the 23rd until Sunday the 26th – “Hello Digital” @ Various places in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Hereford – The Midlands’ first digital festival (festival~!), apparently, although I don’t myself have any idea at all about precisely what is meant to connect this seemingly disparate string of events. Some of it looks interesting, though, such as the Field Of Light at Millennium Point and Capsule’s Big Up The Metalz thingy at Wolves Art Gallery.

Thursday the 23rd – An Audience With Tony Benn @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – Tony ‘Uncle’ Benn, speaking of the days when Labour was real Labour.

Thursday the 23rd – A. C. Grayling @ The Conservatoire, Birmingham – Another book festival affair. Grayling considers and speaks on the subject of reading, particularly as a “critical, challenging and subversive process”.

Friday the 24th – Capsule Night @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Watch Oxes on boxes, shake your hips to Bee Stung Lips, and do The Bump to Bilge Pump.

Friday the 24th – Boxing (First Team) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Not sure who will be fighting on this one, but it’ll no doubt include some of our local faves. (EDIT: Seems to be cancelled).

Sunday the 26th – Lau-Gar King Fu National Championships @ Cocks Moor Woods Leisure Centre, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Hai- and indeed –Ya.

Tuesday the 28th – Al Green @ The NIA, Birmingham – The Reverend Al Green, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday the 28th – Slayer @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – And if you fancy an arena gig that couldn’t be more different to Al Green, there’s always Slayaaaarrrrgh. (EDIT: Alright, so no an arena gig: it’s been moved to The Civic).

Wednesday the 29th – Feed The Birds @ Woodgate Valley Country Park, Bartley Green, Birmingham – The rangers show you how to make a feeder and feed the birdies properly, for free.

Friday the 31st – Boxing (Sports Network) @ The Aston Events Centre, Aston, Birmingham – Pity poor old Uncle Frankie; Calzaghe’s left him and Khan got splattered across the canvas. Every ticket sale for this event is vital. He might not be able to afford this week’s ivory backscratcher otherwise. Also: Macklin/Broadhurst/Costello etc.

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.

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

Posted in Combat Sports, Films, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 29 March, 2008

This month is clearly all about fighting, and orchestral & choral music. Maybe all at the same time.

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.

Saturday the 29th of March till Sunday the 6th of April – ‘Dance Steps’ (Stan’s Café) @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – You, yes that’s you, can perform this play by means of choosing and following different sets of instructions and directions scattered around the MAC. From the people that brought you the (I’ll say it yet again) magnificent The Cleansing Of Constance Brown.

Tuesday the 1st – Beethoven’s 5th (CBSO) @ Symphony Hall, The ICC, Birmingham – Dur-dur-dur DUUUURRRRR! Dur-dur-dur DUUUURRRRR!

Wednesday the 2nd and Wednesday the 9th – ‘Midland Journey: Archive Film Of Wolverhampton And The Black Country’ @ The Light House, Wolverhampton – Showing various films of how it was in The Good Old Days. It promises chainmaking and groaty pudding.

Thursday the 3rd until Saturday the 5th – ‘Days Of Hope’ (MAC Productions) @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – A Howard Goodall musical translating the events in The Balkans in the late 80s into a Spanish civil war setting. It’s had some very good reviews.

Thursday the 3rd till Sunday the 6th – British Open Show Jumping Championships @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Neigh, neigh and thrice neigh.

Friday the 4th till Sunday the 6th – MAC closing weekend @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – The final hurrah of the Midland Arts Centre before it closes until Autumn 2009 to be refurbished and rebuilt. As well as the abovementioned ‘Dance Steps’ and ‘Days Of Hope’, Friday is the storytelling day for families, then there are a couple of days of puppetry events and the grand finale of the MAC On Screen film showing.

Saturday the 5th – Handel’s ‘Messiah’ (Ex Cathedra/Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment) @ Symphony Hall, The ICC, Birmingham – Oh hey they’re playing my song.

Saturday the 5th and various dates up until till Saturday the 19th – ‘Top Girls’ (Crescent Theatre Presents) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – The excellent Caryl Churchill play. The people putting it all together have set up a blog. This is a very good thing. They’ve neglected to put the dates and times and so forth on it, but still. Baby steps.

Tuesday the 8th – John Barrowman @ Symphony Hall, The ICC, Birmingham – Captain Jack sings.

Friday the 11th – ‘The Masque Of Red Death’ (The Happiness Patrol theatre company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Poe. And I ain’t talking about La-La’s mate.

Saturday the 12th – AMMA @ The Holte Suite, Aston Villa Football Club, Aston, Birmingham – Amateur and B-class pro MMA, and they’re always good shows. This version of the card is fairly up-to-date, I believe.

Sunday the 13th – Portishead @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Of course it’s already sold out, you silly moo.

Sunday the 13th – Pugilist Promotions’ “Old School/New Blood” (Boxing) @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Fighting sports return to the reservoir-side venue for the first time in aaages. You have amateurs early in the afternoon, then (after a break) professionals in the evening.

Monday the 14th – ‘The Terrible Tudors/The Vile Victorians’ (Horrible Histories) @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – For kiddies, though, so I doubt it will stoop to the genuine horrible and vile depths.

Monday the 14th – Mil Millington @ Hall Green Library, Hall Green, Birmingham – Go here (and laugh fulsomely) if you don’t know who Mil Millington is. This reading thingy is only for ages 16-25, though.

Wednesday the 16th – Merzbow and The Dirty Noise Ensemble @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Noizez. Not, I would suggest, for the faint of heart or the delicate of eardrum.

Thursday the 17th – Lethal Bizzle @ The Academy, Birmingham – If you’re going to this, don’t take any beef with you. You’ll risk losing some teef. And you don’t want that.

Saturday the 19th – The Presidents Of The USA – The Academy, Birmingham – This is one of those instances where I used to adore this band, but (without ever at any point consciously going off them) they’ve declined in importance to me to the point where I’m not really all that fussed. Still: “Peaches come from a can/They were put there by a man”. I can’t argue with that.

Saturday the 19th – Thai Boxing (Firewalker) @ The Light Bar, Wolverhampton – I have no details at all, but if you want to see some Muay Thai then this may be the place to go.

Sunday the 20th – ‘As Seen On TV’ (Notorious Choir) @ The Electric Cinema, Birmingham – ‘The choir with a difference’ a-singing television themes.

Sunday the 20th – Mahler’s 2nd (Birmingham Philharmonic/City Of Birmingham Choir) @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Surely the greatest symphony to hear live. (And if you like a bit of Gustav, there’s also his Fifth at Symphony Hall on the 22nd).

Tuesday the 22nd – Gogol Bordello @ The Academy, Birmingham – Take up thy caravan and travel.

Tuesday the 22nd – Boris @ The Medicine bar, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – This gig in collaboration with one Michio Kurihara, which may well mean more to you than it does to me.

Thursday the 24th and Friday the 25th – “Packers” (Zip Theatre) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – A comedy set in The Land Of The Righteous (The Black Country, to the likes of you). Apparently “a story of pain, pathos, severed digits, mad boyfriends, hypochondriacs, attempted murder, sex and parcel-tape.” Also at Newhampton Arts Centre in Wolves on the 18th and 19th.

Thursday the 24th and Friday the 25th – ‘Blue Planet’ (Manchester Camerata) @ Symphony Hall, The ICC, Birmingham – A documentary from off of the telly about fishies and such (remember: keep friends close, anemones closer), with the Manchester Camerata a-playing a score specifically composed by George Fenton.

Friday the 25th – Wayne Elcock vs Darren McDermott for the British middleweight title (Hennessy Sports) @ The Aston Villa Leisure Centre, Aston, Birmingham – Birmingham vs Black Country, and it’s the big one – the British title. Come On Macca! (Although: guh! at the ticket prices. Almost glad I won’t be going, with that sort of piss-taking).

Friday the 25th – Bjork @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Well it’s Bjork. Obviously.

Friday the 25th to Sunday the 27th – English Originals @ The Town Hall & Symphony Hall, Birmingham – An English folk festival, just after St George’s Day. This really does look fantastic: the main gigs are Billy Bragg at The Town Hall on the Friday, Tunng and Seth Lakeman at The Town Hall on Saturday, and The Daughters Of Albion (Kathryn Williams, Norma Waterson, and others) at Symphony hall on he Sunday. You’ve also got free sets (Rush Hour Blues stylee) from The Old Dance School (Friday) and Little Sister (Sunday) at the Symphony Hall foyer in the ICC, and a free showing (if you have a ticket for any of the gigs) of the Folk Britannia documentary at 2pm in The Town Hall on Sunday.

Monday the 28th until Sunday the 25th of May – International Dance Festival @ all over Birmingham – Loads and loads and loads of dance and dance-related events from all over the world are taking place over the course of a month, at various venues in town.

Tuesday the 29th – Alabama 3 @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Woke up this morning. Obviously. I wouldn’t be typing this otherwise.

Wednesday the 30th – Cursed @ The Medicine Bar, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – Sometimes sludgy and sometimes crusty hardcore, but (and this is the best bit) they’re actually really good unlike most of the bands that most of the people who’ll tell you Cursed are good will tell you are good. Good. Tell. Good.

Wednesday the 30th – Boxing (First Team) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – The New And Radical Dean Harrison Matchmaking Philosophy continues to bare fruit – he’s fighting Gary Reid here, which is a genuinely risky fight. Good luck to him, ‘cos it’s great to see.

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: February ’08

Posted in Combat Sports, LOTTSADITWM, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 27 January, 2008

More stuff this month, at least. Still mostly gigs, but there seems to be a decent chunk of theatre too.

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 – “Things That Can’t Be Said” (Re:Volve Theatre) @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – A multimedia sort of thing exploring what (supposedly) cannot be said and creating “a visual tapestry of love, life and relationships.” Also at The Arena Theatre in Wolves on Wednesday the 6th.

Saturday the 2nd – Babar Luck @ The Little Civic, Wolverhampton – Completely looney but massively uplifting choons from the ex-King Prawn fella. Gangsta Folk, if you will.

Sunday the 3rd – Municipal Waste @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Ther-rrraaaassshhh. Possibly the worst venue in which you could ever manage to see The Waste, but still.

Sunday the 3rd – Carmina Burana (CBSO & Choruses) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – You can go either as a punter, or you can actually become part of the ensemble and sing. I think that’s fantastic.

Sunday the 3rd – It’s Just Noise Halfdayer @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Starting at 5:30pm and featuring Blakfish, The Arm, Mills & Boon and many other delights.

Friday the 8th – Dropkick Murphys @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Oi Oi Oirish.

Friday the 8th – KODO @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Here come the drums here come the drums.

Saturday the 9th – The Move @ J.B.’s, Dudley – Or the current touring version of The Move, anyway. Apparently Bev Bevan and Trevor Burton are amongst their number, but Roy Wood isn’t.

Saturday the 9th – Reanimator metal night @ The Bristol Pear, Selly Oak, Birmingham – Birmingham’s main extreme metal put-er on-ers bring you this night, headlined by German thrashsorts Nocturnal.

Saturday The 9th – Authority To Pay Recordings night @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Courtesy o’ Capsule, headlined by Fuck Buttons. It seems strange to get so angry about confectionary.

Monday the 11th – Earth @ The Medicine Bar, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – In the field of drone-rock, it is not cosmologically incorrect to say that the Earth is older than the Sunn O))). Hyuck hyuck hyuck har har har.

Wednesday the 13th – The Twang @ J.B.’s, Dudley – There would have been some sort of trope here based around “Hang the DJ/Twang The J.B.’s”, but I decided I love you all too much to subject you to something quite so feeble.

Tuesday the 19th – Storytelling Café @ Wednesbury Library, Wednesbury – Tell some stories. Also at the Kitchen Garden Café in Kings Heath the following night, and that one will apparently have an Irish theme.

Tuesday the 19th – “Bacchic” (Actors Of Dionysus) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – ‘The Bacchae’ with aerial theatre (does that mean trapeze?), specially composed music and ‘inspired’ lighting. Sounds interesting at the very least.

Wednesday the 20th – Dillinger Escape Plan @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – This is the one that was originally due to be on the 5th of November and may or may not have been originally due to also feature Meshuggah (it isn’t now). I suppose, as creators of mad fractured music, it seems apt that their gigs have mad fractured arrangements.

Wednesday the 20th to Saturday the 23rd – “Angel House” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – How two brothers lives can take very different paths. Written by the highly respected Roy Williams.

Wednesday the 20th to Saturday the 1st of March – Birmingham School Of Acting: Spring 2008 season @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Four different plays over a week and a bit. Including “Prince Pippin’s quest to find personal significance.”

Thursday the 21st to Saturday the 23rd – “Waitress For Godot” @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – The Old Joint Stock’s resident theatre company re-lick the obvious Beckett play from a female perspective, involving two women waiting for Estragon and Vladimir. Intriguing.

Friday the 22nd – Megadeth @ The Academy, Birmingham – The ‘Wow, they’re still going! Who knew?’ option for this month.

Sunday the 24th – ISKA International Thaiboxing @ Wombourne Leisure Centre, Wombourne, Wolverhampton – No details or proper link, as ever.

Monday the 25th – Boxing (Pat Cowdell) @ The Burlington Hotel, Birmingham – Usual drill: dinner show, I’ve no idea who might be fighting, etc, etc.

Tuesday the 26th – Mayhem @ The Barfly, Digbeth, BirminghamDon’t approach any of them and ask them if they’re pining for the fjords. Someone I know did this last time they were over here, and they had him ejected from the premises (more things happened but they may be libelous to relate). I’m not joking, this is a true story. Anyway, unholy black metal and so on.

Tuesday the 26th – Eels @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – That recent BBC4 documentary about Mark E Of The Eels’ rediscovery of his grandfather (Hugh Everett III) and his ‘Many Worlds’ interpretation of quantum mechanics was really good. Ben Swizzle writes about it here. On that note, I’m currently reading Quantum – A Guide For The Perplexed by Jim Al-Khalili and would recommend it to all, explaining (as it does) things very well to simpletons like me as well as being beautifully illustrated. I’m off on a bit of a tangent here, but since this gig is already sold out I expect you won’t mind.

Tuesday the 26th – Rolo Tomassi @ The Little Civic, Wolverhampton – Supporting I Was A Cub Scout, who I once saw supporting Rolo Tomassi (funnily enough) but didn’t think were anything particularly special.

Tuesday the 26th to Saturday the 1st of March – ‘Metamorphosis (Vesturport Theatre) @ The Rep, Birmingham – I’m reeeally looking forward to this: a staged version of the Kafka short story with a score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Get Carina Round and some jalapeno peppers involved somehow and this would include pretty much everything I love in the world.

Wednesday the 27th – “Here Be Monsters” (Rejects Revenge) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – The world’s first steam-powered spaceship, and apparently lots of silliness. Sounds like fun to me. I can’t help be thinking of Werewolves and Queen Victoria, though, getahmean?

Thursday the 28th – Alicia Keys @ The NIA, Birmingham – She wasn’t all that great when I saw her a few years back (well… she’s not the sort of artist you want to have to grin and bare onstage skits from, is she?), but I would assume that by now she has enough material to fill a set without arseing about pretending to take phonecalls from a prop phonebox. And that’d be quite good.

Thursday the 28th – Boxing (First Team Promotions) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Black Country vs Birmingham derby! Matty Hough takes on Max Maxwell for the Midlands area middleweight title, and it will be great. Also featuring some of our other local faves like Lyndsey Scragg, Rob Hunt, Dean Harrison, etc.

Friday the 29th – Editors @ The NIA, Birmingham – And so you’d better not make any spelling mistakes.

Friday the 29th – Fairport Convention @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – It’ll never be said in fair England that I slew a naked man, either.