Call me Russ L

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

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

My first one in a while, due to me being useless. I’ll freely admit that there isn’t anywhere near as much loveable nonsense as I’d like there to be in such a post. Sorry.

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.

Up until June at different times – The Birmingham Mahler Cycle @ Town Hall/Symphony Hall, Birmingham – I cannot pretend that I’m not consistently poor when it comes to ongoing events, in these posts. They seem harder to include, somehow. I’ll just put it like this: the CBSO’s Mahler season continues and has lots going on this month, with his Ninth on Wednesday the 2nd (and an explanatory version with performed examples on the 3rd, which sounds like a great idea to me), Uri Caine’s variations around the Fifth on Saturday the (erm…) 5th, Kindertonlieder on Thursday the 10th, and the Tenth on Wednesday the 23rd.

Up until Saturday the 19th – “Too Much Pressure” (Belgrade Theatre Presents) @ The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – What it was to be 16 in Coventry in 1979. Astonishingly, there’s no mention of Two-Tone in the blurb.

Tuesday the 1st till Saturday the 5th – “Mole In The Hole” (Oily Cart) @ The Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – You get to dig amongst the Moles and the Silly Rabbits and the Brave Snail. For 3-6 year olds, which I think is unfair. Because I want a go.

Tuesday the 1st – George Dillon’s “The Man Who Was Hamlet” @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – A (very well regarded) one-man-show about Edward De Vere, thought by some to be the man who actually wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays. The media never wants the Midlands to be allowed to have anything.

Thursday the 3rd till Saturday the 5th and then Wednesday the 9th until Saturday the 12th – “The Palace Of Wasted Dreams” (Women & Theatre) @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – The play coming at the end of a two-year participatory theatre project that examined women’s relationship with/towards alcohol. Cheersh! *hic*

Thursday the 3rd – “Honeycomb Club” night @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – With gypsy-punk from Mama Matrix, live-instrument dubstep from The Alternative Dubstep Orchestra, DJs, and video showings. They also make a point of saying that it’ll all be finished by 11:30pm, which is good ‘cos late finishes are often an arsepain you can catch from the Hare and Hounds.

Thursday the 3rd – “Japan Underground” night @ The Victoria, Birmingham – One for all of the many Japan fetishists out there, with live music from Hibari and some of those swankified Japanese photo booth thingies.

Friday the 4th until Saturday the 19th – “The Rememberers” (Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Apples & Snakes) @ A.E. Harris, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – A dystopic play performed in the style of “a live hip-hop graphic novel”. I can’t even begin to imagine how that might work, but it sounds interesting.

Friday the 4th – Skunk Anansie @ The Academy, Birmingham – Rescheduled from last year. Still a band who are far less-well-remembered from their first time around than I would have expected, and I think that’s a shame.

Sunday the 6th – Chinese New Year festivities @ The Arcadian Centre, Birmingham – The year of the rabbit, I gather. Here be dragons.

Sunday the 6th – Ms Dynamite @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – Kids these days with their Katy B. I bet half of ‘em don’t even remember “It Takes More”. Hurrumph, bah, etc.

Wednesday the 9th till Saturday the 12th – “How To Disappear Completely And Never Be Found” (Warwick Uni Drama Society) @ The Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – In which we see the downfall of an advertising wanker (I’m only guessing that he’s a wanker, but I bet I’m right).

Wednesday the 9th – Mark Steel @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – He’s at The Wulfrun Hall in Wolfyhampton on the 17th, too.

Thursday the 10th – Lúnasa @ The Public, West Bromwich – Instrumental too-ra-loo-ra-loo. The flautist was absolutely bloody hilarious when I saw them at the Moseley Folk Festival last year.

Thursday the 10th – John Shuttleworth @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Ooff, on his “A Man With No More Rolls Tour”. He’s a nice man, that Mr Shuttleworth. Ooff.

Thursday the 10th – Daniel Kitson’s “The Interminable Suicide Of Gregory Church” @ The Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – The tale of a man who has altogether too many suicide letters to write before killing himself. Apparently this has been slept through by such celebrities as Jeremy Paxman and Lou Reed. I can’t put my finger on why that seems to add a touch more lustre to it, but it certainly does.

Monday the 14th – “I Skanked Me Valentine” night @ The Wagon & Horses, Digbeth, Birmingham – Never mind any of that soppy stuff, take your beloved out see to The Cracked Actors and Tarantism on St Valentine’s day.

Monday the 14th – poetry sharing night @ The Library Theatre, Central Library, Birmingham – Outside of this being a perfect example of the continuing reluctance of the library theatre management to let people know what is going on there (I caught this via the the CIB Tumblr site. At the time of typing it isn’t on the Birmingham libraries “What’s On” page, which is in itself a fairly hidden part of the Brum council site), here is an event at which you can read your own poems alongside the chance to hear numerous notable poets reading out theirs too.

Wednesday the 16th – Kayo Dot @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Classical/popular fusion that comes from the popular side but nevertheless means more by “classical” than “it’s got a violin in it”. Ooh that really winds me up, that particular one.

Wednesday the 16th – “Nursing Lives” (Vamos Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – An en-masked performance (they look a bit creepy, actually – click the link to see) about the nurses of the Royal Worcester Infirmary in WW2.

Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th – “Gandhi And Coconuts” (Kali Theatre) @ The Public, West Bromwich – In which Hindu gods enter the imagination of a bored housewife.

Friday the 18th – Europe @ The Academy, Birmingham – DOODLOO DOO, DOODLOO-DOO DOO, it’s the final episode of “Countdown”.

Friday the 18th – Dawn Penn @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – No, no, no: The Jim Trot of reggae (and I mean that in a good way), backed here by locals sorts the Friendly Fire Band. And if that isn’t enough…

Saturday the 19th – John Holt @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – …then you can also go and see John Holt the night after and make this the most reggae weekend ever.

Tuesday the 22nd and Wednesday the 23rd – “A Dish Of Tea With Doctor Johnson” (Out Of Joint Theatre) @ The Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – Another historical character on stage. Boswell always strikes me as one of the most put-upon figures to have ever lived. (Also: sausage, SAUSAGE etc).

Thursday the 24th and Friday the 25th – “Stationary Access/Pedestrian” (Made In China) @ The Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – A double bill: a woman tells the story of ‘an extraordinary man’ over the course of half an hour on an exercise bike (bindun was my first thought, but that seems unfair), and a man is pursued from ordinary life to heaven by a fish.

Thursday the 24th – Mogwai @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – Quiet bit quiet bit quiet bit LOUD BIT LOUD BIT quiet bit.

Friday the 25th – The Streets @ The Academy, Birmingham – I didn’t actually know he was still going, since I hadn’t heard anything about him for a long while. Then again, I tend to miss these sorts of things at the best of times.

Friday the 25th – Janelle Monáe @ The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham – The astonishing (genuinely and sadly astonishing) way that she manages to use the term “schizo” aside, I adore that album from last year. I do hope we get some good sci-fi stageshow nonsense at this gig.

Friday the 25th – Mr Scruff @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Tuck your shirt in you bloody scruff.

Sunday the 26th – Boxing (First Team Promotions) @ The Town Hall, Walsall – Professional boxing back at Walsall town hall for the first time in ages (as far as I’m aware). Jamie Ball fights for the Midlands light-middleweight title, as well as fights involving Lee Glover and Rob Doody and a bunch of others.

Saturday the 26th – Discharge @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – Hear nothing see nothing say nothiiiiiiiinnngaaaargh~!

Saturday the 26th – Anna Calvi @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Torch songs meet gothique meet Morricone. Sounds like fun to me.

Tuesday the 28th – Boxing (Pat Cowdell) @ The Holiday Inn, Birmingham – The only fight listed at the time of writing is Steve Saville vs TBA, but then again it’ll be a dinner show and thus beyond the economic reach of the likes o’ we.


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


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.