It’s a perfect storm, and it spells doom for the old Cadbury’s but not for chocolate. It was inevitable that “they’d” say that Brummie chocolate makers were slow and lazy and needed some shaking up, and so now they have, with Cadbury-Kraft-Monorail or whatever they’re called announcing that they’re getting rid of 200 chocolate makers from Bournville over the next two years. And they’re shoving 100,000 sheets in their pocket on the way out the door. The day before this we found out that the bastards changed the Creme Egg recipe too, and that’s caused an almighty stink. Turns out we sold the farm and it’s all gone wrong. Well here’s a thought. There are 200 people leaving Cadbury’s with £100k each. That’s a small battalion of Oompa Loompahs with £2million between them, turfed out onto the street right next to Stirchley, the pop-up food centre of the universe, …

AFC Cadbury’s: how we’ll save chocolate Read more »

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When Fox News rented a quote on ‘creeping sharia’-like issues from terrorism ‘expert’ Steven Emerson he duly provided by saying, amongst other things, that there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in Brummies, Brits and other onlookers, following the script of the Twitter-storm, kicked out against the inaccuracies in Emerson’s argument with the most visible content coalescing into the Twitter hashtag #FoxNewsFacts. Whilst I didn’t join in it was nice to see my Twitter streams alive like this as it’s felt like a long time since my particular network had come together in play. You see I’ve felt for a long time that Twitter is different these days (that is: it’s a bit boring these days) but for a few hours last night it could have been 2009 again: Twitter could be fun again. Nobody was selling me …

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Everyone else is doing a ’15 for 2015′ listicle so why can’t we? Here’s the 15 best brummies who have really let themselves go. Paradise Circus Not funny anymore: 2014’s satirical cartoon review of the year about wheelie bins did not hit the heights of the one about wheelie bins from earlier in the year. David Harewood Axed from Homeland, now likes London for a living. Jasper Carrott Bring back that sitcom with the disabled kid, or go home, Jasper.

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We analysed the years of the invention of all of the 101 things Birmingham gave the world in our forthcoming book, counted them up into decades, and made an infographic (invented in Birmingham of course – in 1769). When was Birmingham most inventive? The 1920s. Find out why: pre-order the book now (released on 12 December).

Sutton Coldfield is abuzz today with people asking if this piece of graffiti is a genuine Banksy, and others saying “don’t be fucking stupid why would he do that on the back of the Bank of Cyprus?” and yet others saying “You what love? Graffiti? I don’t hold with that sort of thing” and then banging on about when Birmingham took over in the 1970s. Banksy is a street artist known for producing politically provocative pieces in a distinctive style that can be easily reproduced. If this is a Banksy piece, just what does he mean by the image of a peace dove flying towards a small child playing volleyball? Is it a comment on Sutton’s struggles for independence, like when he did a bit in Palestine? How well do you know your Banksy from your pranksy? In our super picture quiz we ask how well you know street …

Picture Quiz No. 2: I don’t know if it’s a Banksy but I like it Read more »

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In our super picture quiz we ask how well you know Birmingham’s landmarks and whether you can recognise them from an image taken from Google UnderEarth and at least six foot under. Here are six famous Birmingham buildings and sites – some better known than others, the challenge is to see how many of these landmarks you recognise. Click reveal for the answers. Reveal answer How many of them did you get? Tell us with the hashtag #brumfrombelow 1. His Lordly domain The Lord Whitby Room at the new Library of Birmingham, with the Lord himself sitting in residence. Taken from three floors underneath, if you squint hard you can just recognise Mike himself with his trousers round his ankles.

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For the people visiting the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham this week, our city’s marketeers are offering a fact pack which includes  “15 IN 15” (their unusual “public relations” “quotes”): 15 things about Birmingham in 2015. We’ve noticed that it’s 2014, actually, so for Tories and political journalists up for a jolly (have you seen how to write an article about Brum by the way?) here are 14 things you should know about the city whose lap dancing bars you’ll be in for the next few days:

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JRR Tolkien was, by all accounts, a lovely bloke. His books might be badly-written overlong prose in need of an editor which gave birth to an era of badly written, overlong “high-fantasy” sagas, but as a human being he was, from what I can tell, beyond much reproach. Tolkien, as anyone who’s read a ‘Birmingham’s dead interesting and that’ article can tell you, came from Birmingham and, because he’s dead famous, people in Birmingham will, on occasion, embrace this figure from our history and celebrate his roots. I’m here to explain why people who love Birmingham should not celebrate JRR Tolkien’s residency in our land. In fact we should do the opposite: ignore the hell out of him and his deluded fans.

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A record from Reddingtons Eat like a King (or Queen) at Mr Egg A double vodka in Snobs. And then all the indie you can eat comes for free. Have 3.33 pisses at New Street Station. Anything (but not everything) from Poundland as it was founded by a Brummie. A packet of waxy, horrible posh crisps from the Hare and Hounds when you just want some Smiths or Walkers. A bag of dodgy Loom Bands off one of the New Street trading posts. 5 disposable lighters off some guy in the pub. All rides (Dodgems £1.50) A trolley from The Asda, to take back to halls of residence or to throw in the Tame. BONUS: And you can get a photo of Mr Egg from us for £1 when you make the minimum pledge on our Kickstarter. Pictures: Sean O’Sullivan, Jon Bounds, Dominik Schwind, Sunchild 57 Photography, Vijay Chennupati, Carl …

Ten things you can get in Birmingham for a pound that will change your life forever Read more »