Category: In the news

Last bin day, we went out to see if the bags had been collected outside PC towers and instead found a package addressed to us. It contained the master tape for a song with more hooks than we have different types of bins to sort our recycling into. No other details were provided, it’s like the bin made a record. So we’re putting it out, and leaving it out. (I’ve Lost All My Respect For You) Since the Bin-Men Went On Strike is the first release on Paradise Circus Records. The way the strike has been covered in the media has created a bit of a bad smell with a lot of rubbish spoken, recycled with dumb opinions all over social media. No-one goes on strike lightly, it’s always a last resort for workers to give up pay to protest, and we felt that they needed to …

Do they know it’s bin day? We release charity single in support of bin strikers Read More »

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Apologies to Conservative (yes, who knew?) mayoral candidate Andy ‘Mr John Lewises’ Street for this image macro. In a previous version we originally suggested the Tories had cut £.13bn from councils in the West Midlands Combined authority. The actual figure is at least ten times that at £1.3bn. £1.3bn which — ironically for a campaign that is ‘shy Tory’ — is a conservative estimate as it includes some councils only up to 2104 and excludes police, fire and health service cuts in the area. You can see the figures here. Please share this image and not the previous one, many thanks.

A letter we sent to the Birmingham Post the other day, do they still have ‘letters to the editor’ in papers these days? Dear Sir, I think we all agree that there are times when Birmingham should blow it’s own trumpet, excepting of course those times when we need our hands free to bang our own drum, but articles such as Birmingham ‘most entrepreneurial city outside London‘ (16 Jan) do us no good at all. The article – based on data from Startup Britain – informs us that our city has more new businesses were registered last year “than any other city outside the capital.” Great news, for the second city: but it would only really be newsworthy if we weren’t — as we have by a long way the largest population of any UK city ‘outside London (over a quarter of a million more people more …

We’re the biggest outside London, inside London it’s too dark to read Read More »

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Friend of the show Dave Harte used to do a bit about how the most popular posts on his hyperlocal website was called “When are the supermarkets open over Christmas?”. This is the sort of ‘content’ which successfully remediates the local newspaper onto the web. Forget live-blogging, periscoping, and making things ‘interactive’ — what people really want is useful information delivered in a timely manner. This is an example of what academics call a ‘news gap’—something people want, which isn’t being provided by the mainstream, commercial media companies. Hyperlocal websites tend to go around sticking their finger in these news gaps in a metaphor which becomes quite difficult to complete because, having evoked the idea of a little Dutch boy plugging a big dam, I need to flip it to a little Belgian boy pissing into a tiny font which then feeds his endless stream of piss. …

What time and when is our new SEO strategy going to pay dividends with pageviews? Everything you need to know Read More »

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I have an obsessive nature – not addictive, thank god – but definitely obsessive. Whenever I am reminded of 1976 classic Carrie the voices echo about my brain for days. I have spent hours researching Michigan J. Frog (the frog in the cartoon that only dances for one man until it drives him mad) Did you you know he had a name? I did, because I have thought about him about three times a day for the last ten or so years. That’s more than some people think about their god. This obsessive nature means that I stay away from certain things, things that tickle my pleasure centres in that special way that be it in a dangerous life destroying way like gambling or hard drugs that could have me out doing unspeakable things and burning bridges, or smaller things, hobbies or small chunks of pop culture …

Meet the new Bore, same as the old Bore Read More »

With the announcement of a West Midlands mayor just a day or so before, this hustings started to feel a little bit like bald men fighting over a comb. But that’s not true; one of the candidates is a woman. We sent Jonathan Todd to see what went on at the Birmingham Labour leadership hustings. 79 Labour councillors will on Monday vote to decide the next leader of Birmingham City Council. Some of these councillors were in the CBSO last night, including the four standing for this office. They were joined by about 100 of the great Brummie public, who questioned the candidates after they’d presented their pitches. Female, young, and non-white demographics were underrepresented in the audience (and, in the non-white case, on the stage). Perhaps we can’t blame the four leadership candidates for this (or for being white). It reflects a broader malaise of political …

In Labour Read More »

Despite calls in the media, old and new, and noises from some quarters (not as many as we’ve got, like but…) it’s being reported that the Labour group on Birmingham City Council is actively against having an open debate and a hustings event for the election of a new leader of the largest local authority in Europe. With five candidates now declared that leaves 73 people voting on who leads a city of over a million. And they won’t even be open about the process. They’re gagging the people of Birmingham and that’s not good enough. Sign our petition for an open process. Add a gag to your social media profiles in protest. Read more. Chamberlain Square features still a statue of Birmingham’s great campaigner for electoral reform, Thomas Attwood. One wonders what he would make of it.

Want to feel enfranchised? Like you have some influence in the direction of your city? Then you need to have a say in who leads your local council. How to get that? Well you need our guide.     Of course, only 0.01% of Birmingham residents actually get a vote.  Find out more and sign the petition for a more open process.

Birmingham is to have a new leader. And we don’t get to vote. No-one does, apart from the outgoing leader and 77 other Labour councillors. The leader of Birmingham City Council is potentially the third most important figurehead in the county: after the PM and London Mayor. There is control over millions and millions in council budget. But: the majority of the one million people in Birmingham haven’t a clue who they are. And that’s not least because they have no direct say in how they get there. Sir Albert Bore, who is to step down, may have deserved all the plaudits he’s got for his work — but the truth is that who ends up leading Birmingham is decided behind closed doors. It’s luck, and friendships when it should be democracy and accountability. We have a democratic deficit in the city: power is devolved to unelected …

Birmingham and leadership: A challenge to democracy Read More »

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I know people who live in other cities take this sort of shit for granted, but Nu-New Street is a very nice railway station (with the Brum-obligatory shop on top). It needs a clock – call me old-fashioned, but no great romance ever started with the words, “I’ll meet you outside Five Guys. Yeah, the one opposite Pret”, and there are no chairs anywhere. Perhaps they’ll come, but probably not. I think it’s designed so that you spend your waiting time in the retail paradise on the upper deck. Oh, and it also needs free/some Wifi (there was no way I was getting fooled into joining the unsecured network. Not after last time), but the fact that it has space and natural light is quite something, and once you get down on the platforms you can see across to other platforms, and that blew my Brummie mind.

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