“Meet me by Burger King at 2pm”: New Street, New Start for the social map of Brum

Every town has a rallying point. Growing up in Guernsey it was “outside Boots”. Perfectly located at the intersection of the three main pedestrian streets (and a killer flight of steps from the sea front), and with good drop off points, Boots was the rendezvous for all my teenage adventures, shopping trips and, well, rendezvous (nudge, nudge). In Birmingham, for me, it was the New Street station Burger King.

The New Street Burger King Sign
Image apologetically provided by @charlie_spotted via Twitter

Perfectly located at the intersection between two sets of entrance doors and the platforms (and a killer escalator ride from the Pallasades Shopping Centre), and with the added advantage of selling chips, Burger King was the kick off spot for most of my City Centre expeditions and this lists everything about all the advantages of this location of this busy joint.

So where will I meet now that New Street has changed? One of the downsides of rejecting any sense of being a ‘hyperlocal blog’ is that we no longer get invited to the opening of envelopes across Birmingham: we’ve not been inside and so I can’t tell you where the new rally point will be. This is, of course, as it should be. Over the next few months we’ll begin to redraw our social map and we’ll all collectively learn the new New Street. Many rendezvous points will be attempted and slowly one will emerge as the repeated favourite. We’ll test this place out and wear it until it feels comfortable and then folksonomically we agree where the optimal meeting point is.

A new meme will be born – I’ll meet you there at two.

Author: Jon Hickman

Jon moved to Birmingham from Guernsey in 1997. Many people are confused why. He is working hard to integrate himself. Bab. http://www.theplan.co.uk

15 thoughts on ““Meet me by Burger King at 2pm”: New Street, New Start for the social map of Brum”

    1. Bottom of the ramp has been getting some love on Twitter, but as I’ve pointed out it’s only really useful if all of your friends are Shortlist distributors

  1. A bit of a way away from new New Street, but “by the bull” seems to be one that has emerged over the past few years because *everyone* knows where it is :)

  2. Is this to be “the most useful possible meeting point” or “the actual meeting point that people use”? The bottom of the ramp was a thing that people tended to use when I were a young’un, whether it was far away from anything else or not.

    I am nevertheless almost certain (I can’t test it out, given that I don’t actually have any friends to meet with) that “inside (insert X pub here)” is probably the most common meeting point for those older than their mid-teens.

    1. Other people’s mileage may vary but I find that generally speaking meeting points are fairly fluid now – an affordance of the mobile phone is that you can choose a more relevant meeting point for the task in hand and make this decision on the fly, communicating latest positions via text, tweets or even (and this really happened on a stag do recently) 4sq checkins.

      We’ve come a long way from choosing the pub in advance and having to stay there until the last person arrived before rolling on to the next joint. I’m amazed pub crawls could happen before 1999.

  3. For me it’s always been the bull. But the Burger King is a fucking brilliant idea. Now I feel like a tourist.

  4. As youths in Birmingham we never met at a transport location. We were from a wide range of suburbs; mainly bus, some train. Hence: saturdays, 1pm, downstairs at Virgin. The old Virgin on upper bull street. Then we would be drinking tea in Lewis’s, top floor café from 1:30pm until about 2:30pm. Circa 3pm it would be Reddington’s Rare Records for a bit. A second cup of tea might follow, at 4pm, in Woolworth’s on New street or perhaps chips from Dale End. At 4:45pm we would stand outside Dixon’s to catch Final Score. You could intersect us at any point in the schedule should you be late, no mobiles required. We went home at 5:15pm. This happened every saturday, almost without fail from 1980 until 1985ish.

    Sorry for drifting off topic there.

    The new New Street station feels like it lacks a meeting point. When the atrium bit is built I hope they shove a clock in the middle. Until then ‘in the entrance bit opposite coffee lounge’ might have to suffice.

    1. Not off topic at all Dave. The point (yeah, I had one) of writing this was to provoke a chat about where the rallying points were and are, and you’re giving me what I wanted. I played you all so well :)

  5. Outside the Odeon’ was ours. There were two but no-one considered Queensway as a destination.
    Or ‘By the fountain’ though sadly not there any more…

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