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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It’s 1999, Birmingham, the end of the millennium and Jim Vale, aka Jimmy Tyrant, singer of one hit wonders The Tyrants, has lost everything he once loved. Like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and many rockers before him, Jim tries to end it all by committing suicide at the age of twenty seven. Trouble is… he survives.  To clear his debts the band’s manager suggests Jim fake his own death – just for a while – so they can raise The Tyrants’ profile and sell some records. But as the press and the fans wonder more and more about the disappearance of the mysterious  Jimmy Tyrant, Jim gets drawn deeper into Birmingham’s gangland and  further  away from his ex-girlfriend, his troubled family and music. Karaoke-singing gangsters, reclusive teenage internet millionaires, sex, drugs and rock and roll all collide as Jim tries to understand the person he has become, to …

Premillennial Tension: revisiting Birmingham in 1999 Read more »

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As the orchestra parps, the squiffy toffs bray, and the BBC commentators struggle with pitching their insight towards an audience that pretty much only wants to watch for the 1812 Overture, please remember to direct some of your swelling pooterish patriotism towards Birmingham. For without the global city there would be no local musical pride. The Proms were launched in 1895 by some people in London, but they were not the first regular musical festival season, not by a long way. That may well have been the Birmingham Triennial Musical Festival which pre-dated the proms by over one hundred years. That first music festival in Birmingham, held over three days in September 1768, was to help raise funds to complete the new General Hospital on Summer Lane. It took another event ten years later in 1778 to achieve the funds to open the hospital in September 1779. …

101 Things Brum Gave The World. No. 58: The Last Night of the Proms Read more »

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As part of our making our 101 Things Birmingham Gave the World book, we promised to make an ‘album’ – an album of 101 songs that Birmingham gave the World. Our rules were simple — the songs couldn’t have existed in this form without the city of Birmingham. That means Brummie songwriters, musicians, instruments, recording studios or subjects. Where the connections are a little more tangential, well we’ll let you work those out, and you can hassle us and each other in the comments. The other rule: it had to be on Spotify, so no Funky Moped, or Brummie moptops The Beatles. We’re not saying that it’s the best 101 songs that Birmingham has produced*, but it’s a fantastic 6 hour listen — and of course it will finish with Mr Blue Sky. 101 Songs Birmingham Gave The World: Now that’s what I call Paradise Circus. See the …

101 Songs Birmingham Gave the World Read more »

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The Beatles, when they started, were not much more than a bunch of pretty boys with guitars. And guitars were going out of fashion. They got popular, but may well have slunk out of cultural history in the same way as, for example, The Applejacks – if it wasn’t for Sgt Pepper. Routinely named as the greatest album of all time in every list known to man the real glue that holds this album together is not George, Ringo, John and Paul’s playing, writing or vivid imagination but the Brummie legend that is the Mellotron. Made by Bradmatic Ltd of Aston, Birmingham, The Mellotron was an odd looking contraption that chimed with Brum’s long held unofficial title of ‘A city of a thousand trades’ by being the first instrument of ‘18 sounds’ greatly expanding the possibilities of musical hippies, svengalis and The Moody Blues, the world over. …

101 Things Brum Gave The World. No. 51: The Beatles Read more »

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