Imagine a time before always-on instant communication with everybody. Imagine a world where you had to add your seal to a document in hot wax and have a messenger run it to its recipient. By the time they got there, no-one would care just how lovely the fucking cupcake you were eating was. That’s why we needed the post, reliable, accessible communication that was open to all, across the country and for a reasonable price. And it was all but invented by a chap from a suburb of a city not all that far away from us now. The phrases “special delivery” and “emptying sack” are also a godsend for smut merchants worldwide, and who do we have to thank? Sir Rowland Hill,  a schoolteacher in Edgbaston and mates with Joseph Priestley and Tom Paine, wrote a pamphlet entitled “Post Office Reform its Importance and Practicability”. The …

101 Things Brum Gave The World. No. 23: The Post Read more »

Tagged with: , ,

The opinions of Danny Smith do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers of this blog, its affiliates, or any sane adult human beings. He currently lives in your cupboard, watching, always watching. I am thirty years-old (-ish) and have lived in Birmingham all my life (except the times I haven’t) in that time I have never learnt to drive. Consider this my favour to you. Seeing as I’m an notorious booze enthusiast, prone to bad decisions, and have somewhat of an impulse problem giving me a car would be like giving a toddler semi automatic weapon; hilarious but someone would get hurt. So I get around using public transport, more specifically the bus. Now its easy to complain about the bus system in Birmingham, as you’ll see in the next few hundred words. But I, as ever, have a point.

Tagged with: , , , ,

I want to talk about Birmingham’s bid for Britain’s City of Culture. Now this shouldn’t be confused for the European City of Culture bid, which if won brings money, tourists and actual prestige, That’s going to the South Hampshire region in 2022 which by then, if Internet idiots are to be believed, we will all be destroyed by an alignment of planets as predicted by the Mayans*. No this is the British city of culture, a knock off basically. So if Birmingham is successful what would we actually win? Well, potentially holding the Brit awards and the Turner prize, although not even that is not definite. And I’m not sure how this would be that even be beneficial. Do we want the Turner prize? Recently it’s turned into an attention grabbing oddity choosing deliberately challenging pieces for the sole reason of angering Sun readers and inciting headlines. …

Big City Culture Read more »

Tagged with: , , , ,

The Electric, Birmingham Originally uploaded by new folder A cosy evening at The Electric with a ‘This Is Your Life’ of Britain’s oldest working picture house in the company of owner Tom Lawes to celebrate its 100th birthday. Opened in late 1909 it was, we heard, one of the first opened with knowledge of what the 1909 Cinematograph Act would require — which is one of the reasons cinemas had to be specialist buildings. It kicked off with this (DW Griffith!) very early public information film: We then had some top flight silent physical comedy, when one of the technicians fell off the stage in the dark, and also a bit of Laurel and Hardy accompanied by a organ played by Steve Tovey, the last full time cinema organist in Britain. A real treat was footage of the re-opening of the cinema as a ‘Tatler News Theatre’ …

100 years of The Electric Cinema Read more »

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Day One (24hrs)  18th Sept 2009 starting 7pm. Inspired by the statement below, the PhD show’s mythological think-tank investigation, conducted by Harry Palmer, seeks to discover the relationship between the banana plantation and lost civilisation concerning the Hawaiian Mauna Loa tribesmen and women. Mythological hoaxes have been reported suggesting that banana worship and ecological disaster were aligned to the Indian rope trick in which the Darknosis Scientific team sought to define and clarify on their 1917 expedition to this Pacific Ocean Island. Previous investigations lead by Japanese scientists in 1994. Statement by Edward Percival N. Spoonhandle – geologist prior to the 1917 expedition: ‘Painting, drawing – that is, the process of meditation and the ability of transmutational story telling, time and space alteration – seen and heard through the senses – is a primitive and ancient instinct. I do believe that the Mauna Loa cave painters and …

Harry Palmer: Darknosis scientific think-tank laboratory investigations at the PhD show. Read more »

Tagged with: , ,

A survey by eccentric archaeologist, Harry Palmer 2009. Earlier this year I managed to conduct an independent and self-imposed survey into street litter and poor rubbish dumping habits. With the help from a leading healthcare company here in the UK (which included CAT/CT scan monitoring) – I undertook a study into the potential relationships between my mental state and overall health, daily eating habits and reasons. Although results are still being examined, early indications seem to support my concern regarding wellbeing associated with differing nutritional eating patterns and street-trash discarding actions. In addition, I also looked at any potential disturbances from noise pollution, housing provision demands, street billboard advertising by way of pervading psychological nuisance, as well as mapping associations between my regular pedestrian thoroughfare routes, lifestyle and employment schedules, mobile phone usage and seemingly ad-hoc phone calls and ‘demands’ – as external trigger factors for example. …

Bio-active rubbish dumping; A self-imposed consultation and medical survey with a leading medical healthcare centre in the UK Read more »

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Danny Smith was writing lots of guides to Brum for the Itchy guide, last year. It never happened, so we present his guide to the past in a number of parts: Readers World 137 Digbeth Birmingham B5 6DR 01216438664 Sure you could go to Borders or WH Smiths who, I’m sure, will always have exactly what you want in clean, well lit, and organised sections. But who wouldn’t rather want to lose half a day rooting around huge Health and Safety defying stacks of second hand sci-fi and fantasy books, in a shop that resembles a cross between a Harry Potter set and a reclusive geeks bedroom? The worlds is a richer place for having shops of this type of uniquely British oddness and consider it your patriotic duty to pop in and grab a musty bargain. Tues-Sat, 10am-5.30pm Snobs Nightclub 29 Paradise Circus Queensway Birmingham B1 …

Danny Smith’s Guide to 2008 Pt1 Read more »

Tagged with: , , , ,

Birmingham Music Archive is teaming up with BiNS to find out What has been the best gig ever to take place in the city and what was/is the best venue. Jez from the BMA is kicking things off, argue the toss here and in the forum. My favourite gig was The Cramps at the Birmingham Odeon. My memory is not what it was but the gig was either April 25th 1984 or April 30th 1986, I’m tending to go for the 86 one due to me age, but anyway.. For those of you who don’t remember the Odeon before it became a 400 screen cinema, selling 2 tonne bags of sugar to kids who need no encouragement whilst showing Rambo 55, it was a fabulous art deco music and cinema hall. For the gigs, there was a huge orchestra pit which doubled as the mosh pit (well …

Cramps? Best Brum gig evah? Read more »

Tagged with: , , , , ,