Posts Tagged ‘Birmingham’

Summertiiiiiiiiime……….. (hopefully…..)……….

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

It’s been a while since I last posted anything – no blog entries, no mixes: I’ve only recently started getting back to answering stuff on Twitter!

Anyways, things have been a bit hectic (as  usual), but I managed to get to a couple of things:

  • The screening of Ice-T’s directorial debut: ‘Something From Nothing: the Art of Rap’
  • Wynton Marsalis & his band playing at Birmingham Symphony Hall.
  • I got the new case for my PC build (finally!)

The sun’s FINALLY put in an appearance, after all the horrendous rain, plus the general greyness we’ve had.

I’ll probably get around to discussing these in greater detail later, in the meantime, he’s a few things I’ve been listening to on Mixcloud:



Friday, September 30th, 2011

BPM, the DJ Expo at Birmingham’s NEC is back again. I’m especially excited, as The Wife has let me go on the Saturday when the guest DJ is none other than Grand Master Flash himself – YEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!

Have been working on a surprise for The Wife for Sunday (various reasons – won’t divulge here).

Will let you know how BPM goes down – if you don’t here from me, chances are I made a right mess of Sunday………………

Comin’ Like Ghost Town……………

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Yesterday afternoon was quite a surreal experience. After event of recent days, we discussed it a little at work,  after which I left with instructions from The Wife to make a stop at Lush in Birmingham City Centre.

As the bus pulls in to the penultimate stop, I notice something’s not quite right. The it hits me as I get nearer to New Street – all but a handful of shops & (a pub) appear to be open. Mercifully , Sainsbury’s is open & after picking up supplies I turn to my mission in hand – as suspected Lush has shut up shop.

I see more coppers than I’ve normally see on a match day, once I get to New Street & the increased presence extends into the train station. I’m walking through town with a large bag & a couple of people give me odd looks, but be serious – a looter, heading towards the police? Then again I hear stories later that do make me revise my estimation of these individuals.

Anyway, I actually get a seat on the train, but when I get to wolverhampton, things get really odd.

Again I see more police, but as in Birmingham I assume it’s a precaution for any activites that may be occurring later. However, as I get to the bus station, there’s a line of officers & then I pass roit poilce in a van once I pass the Express & Star Building.

The town centre is eerily bright & quiet until I see near the Lichfield Street fountain lines of police. Then I (belatedly) realise things have already kicked off. I find a rout past rubbernecking spectators on to the main ringroad & inform the few people heading the other way that the city is sealed off. The sight of a bare ASDA car park & almost total silence in the sun is just odd.

I get home to a relieved Wife & hear one of our neighbours, Richard, could be stranded, as New Street Station was closed not long after I got my train from their & Wolverhampton Staion closed by the time I got home.

I also learn shops started shutting by 3 p.m. & things started flaring up. I also learned that apparently last night in Birmingham, one of the shops hit in the first way of looting was PRIMARK: so we’re dealing the the greedy, dispossessed & terminally stupid.

OK, so seriously, there’s never any justification for the behaviour we’ve seen in recent days, but this shows how dumb some people can be

Many people have proffered opinions, not all of them helpful, but some of those working on the ground, in London at least have given food for thought that we all should consider, such as Camila Batmanghelidjh, who also wrote a piece in the Independent – read that here. In addition,  Paul Lewis  & James Harkin note in the Gaurdian that we most remember that it wasn’t just poor, black kids running feral on the streets: read the full article here.

On a more positive note, people have shown communities may be scared, but not easily broken.

Fellow Mixclouder, Orsii, based in London took part on one of the many volunteer clean-up operations organised by RiotCleanup. If you can help, check out the website at

With everyone’s help, we’ll get through this


Al Jarreau, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Sunday 24-07-11

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

2 great things happened this weekend:

  • The Wife returned from abroad, visiting family
  • We got to see Al Jarreau in concert .(the Wife booked tickets before she went away)

Bafflingly, the venue wasn’t full, but the crowd more than made up for the lack of bodies with their enthusiasm.

Despite being in his 60’s & having the air of a mischievous  granddad (he had a cheeky conversation with a young lad in the audience whom we’d seen with his family earlier at a nearby Italian restaurant a few hours earlier), there was no mistaking THAT voice or denying t he talent & vocal dexterity which has sustained a career spanning decades.

Given this tour was entitled ‘greatest Hits’, there’s a lot of material for him to draw on, but he managed to fit in a fair few classics, from ‘Boogie Down’ , ‘Mornin’’ & ‘Easy’ (from the LP ‘Breaking Away’ when I first encountered  his work as a youngster). He also much to The Wife’s delight, performed her Soul Weekender anthem ‘Double face’, which I was unsure he’d do. She hasn’t stopped reminding me of that.

Between chatting & frequent bouts of jazz scatting, he also performed new material, including a surprising duet with his bassist, Chris Walker, who also performed a solo number which was really good.


Another highlight was his cover of the Beatles’ classic ‘She’s Leaving Home’, which I found deeply affecting (must be going soft in my old age….).

Didn’t bring a camera (again), but we went for the train tired, but happy………………

MJB @ The NEC, November 3, Wifey & Me

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Mary J Blige:

  • Queen of Hip Hop Soul
  • Survivor
  • Diva
  • Amazon
  • Owner of a stunning array of wigs, weaves & hairpeices (if you don’t believe me, you’ve obviously not seen any of her videos!)

The lady possessing the finest thighs in music strode into town to give it some.
It was our first time at the new(ish)-ly renovated LG Arena – clearly money went into extending the building, although the arena itself is still essentially a large shed.
Despite the cash spent on the refurb, my wife was singularly unimpressed, not least with the DJ stationed in the atrium. I was quite nonplussed with it – he seemed okay, neither here nor there.

We got to our seats during the last track of one of the support acts (some shouty MC or something). Again, The Missus – unimpressed.
Next up – Gyptian.

(I found a Youtube link to a video  from Wego Entertainmanent)
Skinnier & younger than his voice seems to suggest. As with most JA artistes, he performed with an easy confidence & cocky charm. It was a great performance, although marred by the tech bods ‘overcooking’ the PA sound. This was something dogging the all the support acts (ironically, as I play clubs but struggle with loud music).

Last of the support was Lemarr. He put on a fairly well polished set & like Gyptian got the crowd going, despite his vocals getting swamped at times by the PA.

Mary J then finally arrived. All wannabe divas-in-waiting & X-Factor hopefuls should go & see her in action: only 1 costume change plus a semi-acoustic set in a 2 hour trek through her extensive back catalogue. She didn’t so much take to the stage as instantly command the entire auditorium with an incredibly tight backing band. I was even allowed by The Wife to marvel (albeit briefly) at how Ms B poured herself into a sequinned catsuit.
There was no need for superfluous frills. This included the eye candy in the form of 2 male dancers, appearing for 2 songs & their sole purpose seemed to be striding on stage, pose for a few bars, hold their crotches before striding off. I do however accept there were loads of women (and more than a few men) who would disagree with me. Mary J DID look good in the cat suit, so fair’s fair I suppose.
In contrast to the ear-shredding sound mix of the support acts, the sound was good for the main event.

(another Wego Ent video link)
The only fly in the ointment was during one of the ballads. She clearly brings raw emotion to her songs, many of them deeply autobiographical, but the emotion displayed during the closing adlib seemed forced. That said, given the life experiences she’s endured, it’s a minor point, especially given the length of her stage time.

All in all a great show, terrific value for money. We’d already seen her once before, so let’s see if we can go 3 for 3…………………..