All hail our Greater Birmingham leader



The John Lewis flagship store in Birmingham. CC by: Elliott Brown

Do you remember the celebrations, the night Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, was elected and crowned leader of Birmingham? The people were out on the streets waving Denby crocks, chanting his name, making ‘Andy is Handy’ banners on Egyptian cotton bed sheets. It was truly a night everyone came together to celebrate a popular victory of a person no-one has ever heard of, who runs a shop that isn’t even open.

I couldn’t sleep for the peeping of Prius horns, so I was watching the results coming in on television: did you stay up for Keith the landlord of the Prince of Wales losing his seat on the governing body to the duty manager of Poundland Corporation St? Did you, fictionally, cheer when the first preference votes were announced by Adrian Goldberg live from the ICC: Abid from the Spice Merchant in King’s Heath, and the famous Big John (of Big John’s) narrowly failing to get enough votes to lead ‘Greater Birmingham’? Did you?

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13 ways to solve the Birmingham Council funding crisis without flogging the NEC

If we have to take a bath, let's take a bath of beans

The day after they approved their new budget (with £86 million in cuts), Birmingham City Council have announced that they will sell off the NEC Group to help balance their books, worse for them they’ve had to cancel 18,000 bus lane driving fines. We were upset by this news, but luckily we are children of the 80s and we have watched a lot of Blue Peter. We know that when times are tough regular people can dig deep and rally to all sorts of fundraisers. When we did it in the 80s, to pay for a guide dog or a well in Africa or a lifeboat or something, the huge targets on the totalisers would always come good because it’s known that poorer people give more to charity and it’s known that none of us had any money in the 1980s. So we’ve decided to raise some money to save our city, just like we saved whales and stuff when we were kids. We’ve reached back to tea time telly for inspiration, added in some trendy modern ideas too, and are proud to present a range of fundraising options to save the city and to save the NEC. So come on! Get fundraising today and the city can continue to benefit from the profit on Robbie Williams concerts. Forward!

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If new Kingstanding councillor Gary Sambrook was a bit of a prat when he was at school, he hasn’t changed.

Meet Gary Sambrook, he’s just been elected as Tory Councillor for Kingstanding, after quite a few goes. Congratulations, Gary. His mates made him a song.


He seems to be attracted to road signs.

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We didn’t just invent Cluedo, you know: 11 Brum Board Games for Xmas

After Christmas dinner cognitive abilities are low and methane levels are high. No wonder then that a fair proportion of people choose not to move from in front of the TV: some just can’t, others think that watching Downton Abbey or Doctor Who is just a bit common. They’re right. And in lieu of any stimulating debate, here’s some recommended Bham-based board games you might want to gather the family round the table for:

Escape from Weoley Castle the Board Game


Take on the role of an inner city kid: stripped of all of your life chances you face years of brutal class attacks and vicious austerity cuts! OR you can chose to be a Tory politician, producing policies to end social mobility!

Tories must spend the entire game in another room eating lobsters bought with withdrawn EMA grants, ignoring the desperate cries for help from those in the room next door.

Kids must trudge around the board distracting themselves with cheap poppers and pictures of Tulisa in Nuts or Heat. Escape is possible only if a Villa scout sees them put two past Burton Albion for Tamworth, if they put out a dubstep album, or they get past the audition stage of a reality show. Those who are unsuccessful at music and football must pin their hopes on completing a challenge from a Springsteen Card in the final round.

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Your Local TV Christmas listings

In mid 2014 Birmingham will be getting it’s own local TV channel: City TV. Chances are that they might not make it all the way to next Christmas, so luckily we’ve been able to get a listing of their test schedule for this year…get out your highlighters now.

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Look, up, look East

We feel rather sorry for Solihull. It’s much maligned as a bastion of the middle class, of “small ‘c'” conservatism, and of big ‘C’ (and big ‘U’, ‘N’ etc, am I right, kids?) Conservatism too. But more than that we feel sorry that it’s got an airport, but it has to call it “Birmingham” because essentially we’re bigger and bullied them into it.

It’s not as bad as RyanAir calling it London Birmingham Airport, but we still feel bad. So here’s a solution—it should be named after a person. A person who’s from Solihull, but who people probably assume comes from Birmingham anyway: it’s the best of both worlds.

But we couldn’t think of anybody really famous from Solihull, so:


If you feel you would like some discussion, then here’s a video:
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