Tag: Christmas

It may not have been snowing that Christmas, or any particular Christmas – snow and Christmas are interlinked so that we see it even if the day itself is clear. Even if we see ourselves carrying dining chairs up Hamstead Hill in the sun, across roads and clear dry pavements, there will be snow in our memories. There will be dripping gutters, splashing onto noses, wet but still comforting. There will be rutted slush in the gutter, darker grey on the frozen ends nearer the traffic fumes.

Tagged with:

We’ve already signed off for the holidays but we know that some of you are still in the office today — after all, there’s no work to do and the boss will let you go home at 12 in any case so it’s basically a free day off and only a mug would take it as holiday. Well anyway, as you’re the sort of person who is in the office on Christmas Eve we figured you’re also the sort of person who has left shopping a bit late — after all, you’re getting out of work at lunchtime so you can just grab stuff on the way home; what’s all the fuss about, right? If you are still shopping, and if you’re at the office with nothing to do, why not print off a few copies of our FREE 2015 calendar? Elliott Brown tirelessly snaps photos of all things …

Have a Brutal 2015 Read More »

Tagged with: ,

  Dear (Greater) Manchester, Season’s greetings! And so happy to hear that your little administrative family has extended this year. We are too trying to build the brood, but despite a lot of temperature taking and effort all rounds the patter of teeny tiny Black Country boroughs has yet to happen. Still – it’s fun trying! We’ve had a mixed bag of a 2014 – I was feeling much more chipper after a little bit of cosmetic surgery ‘down there’, but the latter half of the year has been us moving from one financial worry to the next. First off, little Mike Whitby had a party while we were away and all sorts of undesirable types must have seen it on Facebook and gatecrashed. How else would you explain all those red trousers in Birmingham, we know Little Mike doesn’t know anybody like that: unless he’s fallen …

Birmingham’s Christmas round robin 2014 Read More »

Tagged with:

New Street, November. There is a parade of naff wooden huts filled with tat. The scene is illuminated by gaudy, bright, coloured bulbs. A man in a suit is eating a hotdog, next to him a guy who looks like a bad Dave Grohl impersonator is furiously taking notes. In the foreground, a family done up against the cold: the woman says “I thought they’d shut the winter wonderland down” and the man says “Well they should — it really is crap”. Their two children are crying.

Tagged with: ,

Mr John Lewis who is head of Birmingham, has decided that we should spend  £150,000 on an advertising campaign all about Greater Birmingham. It seems the marketing people have been taking their cue from Mr Lewis’s other business — as we can see from this leaked script.   From: Andy.Street@greaterbrumminghamlep.com To: Andre.De.Jong@zaphiks.in Re: Christmas 1st October 2014 11:01 Hi Andy, Please find attached first script ideas for the Greater Birmingham campaign DRTV. I feel there may be a lack of Black Country in it — can you discuss with Walsall Council? We could swap Roy Wood for Noddy? Need a URL for response on the end plate – do you talk to Capita or do I? Greater Birmingham Winterval Advert EXT NIGHT: YELLOW LIGHT, AND SNOW, DRIFTS ACROSS THE INNER RING ROAD BY ALPHA TOWER UKELELE VERSION OF MR. BLUE SKY WITH A WHIMSICAL VOCAL BY NATALIE POWERS OF …

Birmingham’s got a much greater John Lewis Christmas advert Read More »

Tagged with: , , ,

  1779: James Watt patents a copying press or ‘letter copying machine’ to deal with the mass of paper work at his business; he also invents an ink to work with it. This is the first widely used copy machine for offices and is a commercial success, being used for over a century. This letter copying press is considered to be the original photocopier. [Source: Wikipedia] 1779 Dec 15th: At the Lunar Society Xmas party, Matthew Boulton was seen removing his britches in the vicinity of the machine. [Source: Knowledge of how humans work] Only one of those statements is recorded in the history books, but we’re saying both are definitely true.   Happy Christmas.   Photo by Martin Deutsch

Tagged with:

Way back in 1963, a children’s educational TV programme aired and not that many people noticed—they were too upset that Aldous Huxley had died (especially Sheryl Crow). It starred an old chap who pottered around the universe in four dimensions. But without a nemesis the story was going nowhere, he wasn’t much of a hero—what he needed was an evil race to battle—one that was flawless, except for the flaw that they needed a level floor. But how would they perambulate across those even surfaces? They needed some sort of castor that kept the two bearing surfaces of an axle, fixed and moving, apart. Luckily in 1876, in Birmingham,  William Bown patented a design for the wheels of roller skates which did just this…

Tagged with: , ,

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Santa Claus on his sleigh, people moaning about how it all starts too early and has got all commercialised and stuff, I know it’s been said many, times many ways, but Christmas to you. Most of our notions of modern Christmas come from the Victorian author Charles Dickens, who being the rock star of his time toured the country reading from ‘A Christmas Carol’. Turning a then barely-noticed mark on the calendar into the jolly family oriented affair we associate today. He really saw the value of a time of year where we take time to connect with family and give out nothing but love. The story of Scrooge is ultimately one of redemption, not one of spiritual redemption but one of redemption through the forgiveness of others and connection with his family. The place where Chucky D chose to first …

101 Things Brum Gave The World. No. 18: Christmas Read More »

Tagged with:

The life of a blogger is nothing if not glamorous, only last week I was backstage at the dress rehearsal for 3P’s marvellous version of The Nativity. Even before the performance, the squash was flowing and more than a couple of biscuits were passed around. Amid all the revelry the pre-performance jitters were in evidence: the third Wise Man had to be cajoled to climb out of the book cupboard and several shepherds had to be persuaded from kicking their prop sheep out of the window altogether. The performance was a masterpiece, including a entirely improvised bank robbery sub-plot and a song and dance number that went on for three or four extra verses because none of the cast could remember how to end the song. I’m proud to be a part of such a game changing version of the Christmas story, which this year focussed completely …

A Christmas Carol Read More »

Tagged with: , ,

Last year Birmingham City Council  held a Christmas lights ceremony that ended in what most called a ‘fiasco’. Our crap Altamont was down to nobody guessing that one of the biggest bands of the moment giving a free concert would be popular. This year instead of a big fuss there will be a Christmas parade. In November. One month and ten days before Christmas, reindeer and whatnot will be kicking off our celebrations. With no pretence at trying to encompass other celebrations to draw out the shopping season, at least with ‘Winterval’ they were trying. Its an old rote that Christmas starts earlier and earlier each year but five weeks before Christmas is bordering on silly, seeing as most men are still be scurrying around in the dark on Christmas eve wondering if a bottle of screen wash is a suitable present for a ten year old. Granted, …

Winterval starts here Read More »

Tagged with: , , , ,