Pokemon No: Craft beer bar krabby on ‘unfair’ distribution of pocket monsters

Thundurusly 1000 Trades manager upset manager John Stapleton.

Thundurusly 1000 Trades manager upset manager John Stapleton.

Owners of 1000 Trades a new trendy bar in Birmingham’s trendy Jewellery Quarter say they fear losing custom: because they have no Pokemon compared to nearby chain outlets.

In the augmented reality game Pokemon Go players travel around the real world to capture and train creatures known as Pokemon – the most famous of which is Pikachu.

Pokemon have been spotted in various locations around the city, in churches, parks and — unless this is a mirage — the Taboo cinema club.

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Edgbaston woman regrets ‘Leave’ vote

Gisela, 60, from Birmingham (for now).

Gisela, 60, from Birmingham (for now).

An Edgbaston woman told us today that she was having second thoughts after voting for the UK to leave the European Union.

Like a one woman Welsh village voting to cut its subsidies, Ms Stuart admitted that she had been taken in by the easy fixes offered by the Leave campaign and now regretted her support for Brexit.

“Some of my best friends have been shadow Secretary of State in the great offices, but nobody told me this would happen.

“I told everyone who would listen that we could stop spending money on those unelected MEPs and spend it on hospitals. The government has no control over what it does with its money, or at least that’s what Gordon Brown told me when I was in the government.

“Yes to controlling immigration, I’m not racist but, I thought I was just pulling the ladder up behind me. No one told me that there might be actual deportations. Some of my best friends are EU citizens and I’m devastated that they now might have to leave.. Hang on, I’m one too, scheisse er merde, I mean shit.”

“I just feel lied to,” she said, “I was told I was taking my country back: but it turns out they are taking me back to my country.”

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The Foel Tower Agreement: A manifesto for creating a healthier public sphere for a diverse city.

Birmingham has a young, diverse, integrated population. The city council declared it a city of sanctuary, it has a history of attempting to welcome people of all creeds and faiths. However it also has a history of tension and politics that has attempted to sow division for its own ends. In many ways we are at a point where there is a fork in the road about which sort of city we want to become.

During the 19th century clean water was in short supply in Birmingham and there were major epidemics of water-borne diseases including typhoid, cholera and diarrhoea. Birmingham City Council under Joseph Chamberlain, set about finding a clean water supply for the City. James Mansergh identified the Elan and Claerwen Valleys as a place that could supply the water, and the Foel Tower is the starting point of the 73 mile journey of the water from the Elan Valley to Birmingham.

With the creation of online distributed discourse there are a number of publications and organisations acting as hosts for the civic debate — and they have a responsibility to make that debate clean and safe. Elan Valley water rather than Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’.

Birmingham has an opportunity to lead in this space, as it did in public health all those years ago. So we urge people to press those with the power to influence the debate to sign up to this manifesto:

The Foel Tower Agreement

A manifesto for creating a healthier public sphere for a diverse city.

We call all organisations, individuals, publishers and publications that host online debate about and in the city to work to create a healthier public sphere for a diverse city.

These hosts should commit to the following principles in hosting online debate.

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Posted in identity

We’re half empty, but still the second biggest in Europe

"we leave the Midlands Engine running and then..."

Half of Birmingham voted to leave.
Half of Birmingham wanted to stay.

We wanted to stay.

To the victors, no spoils.
You’ve set off an earthquake.

Just today, just right now, you’ve voted yourself poorer. And the man who got you here is already pulling things out from under you.

We said Brexit would be bad for Birmingham.
We hope we were wrong, we fear we were not.

We don’t know what’s next, but we’re ready.
Get ready too.

Let’s be ready to build our Birmingham for ourselves. Let’s be ready to call bullshit on the things that will come our way. Let’s stop hate wherever we find it and stand up to the commercial interests that let it grow. Let’s be ready, there are some battles ahead.

Together. Forward.
And join a union, you’ll need one.

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Paradise Circus says: Vote Brumain

Local satirical miscellanies, so the mainstream media says, are not doing enough to get out their core constituency for the Remain vote.

We want to, we really want to. But a harder question than the one on the ballot is: is it possible to be funny about it? Sure it’s possible to do tiresome Python-referencing knock offs listing the shiny buildings we’ve built and placed plaques with european stars on them. But the rhetoric is dire, self-satirising, and so far removed from a rational debate that it’s hard to get purchase on.

The EU isn’t perfect, but it does provide some safeguards against the worst excesses of neoliberal capitalism – especially regards workers and individual rights – and of course the Brexit line-up is full of the worst of all people.

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101 Things Brum Gave The World. No. 80: The Inevitable Downfall of the BBC

The Plarchers, a Twitter parody

The Plarchers, a Twitter parody

It’s amazing that, with the modern attention span the way it is, the BBC has managed to keep any programme going for over 60 years. That’s a testament to a wonderful variety of writers, producers, and editors, it’s a tribute to the management that held faith and more than anything it’s a case study in how taking a punt on an innovative idea can produce something astounding.

The Archers, recorded in the Borsestshire village of Ambridge — but produced and broadcast from the nearby big city of Birmingham — is not only wonderful entertainment, but was the world’s first ‘scripted reality’ show. The genre, with The Only Way Is Essex, Geordie Shore and Midlands Today all riding high in the ratings, feels like the very definition of NOW: but did you know it started in May of 1950 for those of us in the Midlands, and on 1 January 1951 for the rest of the country? We’ve all been listening for 64 years and counting, or maybe it just feels like that.

But innovative and important though it is, The Archers’ tales of everyday country folk are a pernicious cancer at the heart of our Public Service Broadcasting.

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Rivers of shit: Let us challenge hate, everywhere

It’s been a terrible decade or so. Flecks of blood splatter the hands of everyone who panders to racism, distrust and hate: Trump, Farage, Cameron, the Sun and the Daily Mail. But it’s also on the hands of the supposedly neutral, good, people who are afraid of offending racists because they want their money, or votes.

Casual racism, small pieces of hate, or general othering that goes unchecked or is pandered to creates a climate where division is the norm and the mould of active dangerous hate can fester in the cracks.

Paradise Circus quite regularly takes the piss of the comments on the Birmingham Mail’s Facebook page: “get in and read the nice story before the racists get there,” we’ll say. There are worse places too, the mention of travellers on the Bearwood Page on Facebook is the starting gun for vile behaviour.

Once in a while it might happen on one of our channels, we find attack the best form of defence. But right now tolerance across the board is needed. Nothing seems to be getting better, it’s getting worse.

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Goodbye Pavilions*

Really, nobody gives a fuck. Today it’s a empty space, a ghost town, but has it really been anything more? Does anybody have any fond memories of the place? Devoid of shops you can see the artless early nineties post-modern design, which looks a lot like the pastel flourishes of late eighties blandness. Even the Evening Mail’s frothing gang of wow merchants can’t summon the energy to care in this hilariously empty “news” article.

Six years ago I’m at a public exhibition speaking to an Argent representative about the redevelopment of the Central Library, they’re pretty vague but they’re talking about turning the whole area into their other achievement Brindleyplace and the Gas St Basin. I swear for a little bit, and leave.

Recently it’s been used as a shortcut to the bus stops opposite Moor St and a place for the bus drivers to eat their lunch. My fondest memory was an art installation that used some of the empty units a few years ago. Culture in the gaps.

past times

My good friend wrote “Capitalism disappoints” and stripped of the shops the Pavilions echos with emptiness and exposes this disappointment. Places like this aren’t built for anyone to like they’re built so not to offend, mixed use developments and the such are tin crowns waiting for the cubic zirconia of retail ”experiences”. And they’re spreading. Costume jewellery for a beauty contest where we aspire for second place.

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Evening Mail Facebook posts as inspirational posters

dot tumblr dot com.



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Posted in clickbait

Number 11: satire and the skewing of the spectacle

Number 11 by Jonathan Coe is now out in paperback, like many of his works there’s Birmingham in the prose.

If you’ve watched a football match recently, you’ll have noticed that it looked not like football should: but something more pristine. Perfect grass, shining at you at the right colour,  the crowd static, the players all so universally healthy: so universally quick that the speed of the game is uniform and appears slow. Every game has the lustre of a meaningless pre-season friendly. Don’t all new bands look like bands created for a film, walking like a duck, but not quite being Chuck Berry.

Is the spectacle broken? It might be possible that the angle of incidence no longer equals the angle of reflection. It might be possible that recuperation no longer quite works in the end game of capitalism. Maybe Debord was wrong.

I tried to pin this down, find the point where the spectacle stopped working, and it might be the brief career of Jet  – a band that looked so much like Kasabian (already an indie band created for a Russell Brand romp-com)  – who had a big hit with a song that sounded exactly like Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life. Exactly like it. Lust for Life had only been a revival hit a few years previously, but Jet’s song hit the charts and no-one said anything: especially not the music press that had sped up retreading of trends as if the kids were screaming because they wanted to go faster. Rather than because they were alienated.

Like the continual racist apophasis about how we can’t talk about immigration, the bastardly now hide in plain view. Tom Lehrer said that when Kissinger won the Nobel prize ‘satire died’, but maybe it not dead but turning in on itself.

Jonathan Coe’s Number 11 presents as satire, but the majority of the content isn’t exaggerated or taken out of context: TV does lie, tax avoidance and mega-wealth are inseparable and unapologetic, £160M new libraries do reduce service due to lack of money for staff and new books.

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