Birmingham Backlash, Take Two

Would people actually notice if Birmingham merely ceased to exist? I’d say its 1,000,000 residents would! Last week, Stephen Rainbird decided that one of the most richly diverse cities in our country could easily be “erased”. Stephen, if you have EVER been fortunate enough to glide into platform 4a of Birmingham New Street, you clearly didn’t get off the train.

I can understand that the world’s largest canal system or the 6 million trees mightn’t appeal to students but perhaps the following will.

B’ham is home to the UKs largest outdoor Christmas Market, the headquarters of indoor athletics, 2 major football teams and cricket and to two major public art collections. Interested in comedy? Folk? Dance? Jazz? Caribbean Culture? Gay Pride celebrations? Birmingham has an international festival for each of these! So whatever butters your toast, sports, art, music or just general festivities, you can’t deny Birmingham’s got it.

It’s a prosperous place is Birmingham.  Bringing up the likes of Jamelia, Ozzy Osbourne, Richard Hammond, Jasper Carrott (Presenter of the legendry daytime TV show ‘Golden Balls’!), and Alfred Bird (That’s right…as in the custard).

Ever collected a tenner from HSBC, chomped through a bar of dairy milk, or indulged in a post-Mission Balti? Thanks Birmingham.

Ever been to see Disclosure at ‘The Custard Factory’ or Alicia Keys at the NEC, watched Crufts on the TV, or even witnessed that lovable childhood car ‘Brum’? Thanks Birmingham.

Ever been to the largest St Patrick’s parade outside of Dublin, or spent some gold in the busiest shopping centre in the UK? Thanks Birmingham.

It has more to offer you than the UCAS of Stephen Fry.

Yes those Brummies amongst us know to avoid SNOBs nightclub on a Wednesday, or Primark at 1o’clock on a Saturday. But for me, it’s the cheesy Robbie Williams playing in the dusty old shopping centre as I walk to my morning bus, which makes the city special. It’s strolling down the enchanting canal side, with my best girl friends on our way to one of the three Michelin Star restaurants (…or Pizza Express. Same thing though right?) It’s the chatty bus drivers, the nonchalant school kids and the ‘Welcome to Birmingham sign’, which makes it a city and a home.

And as for your reference to Hull Mr Rainbird, I’ve never been fortunate enough to go, but judging by Wikipedia’s claim that it’s the most enterprising location in Yorkshire, it has the potential to thrive. Perhaps we should try to see the good in the abundance of cultured cities we have around us.  It might just push us to buy that Megabus ticket to visit that home friend elsewhere.

So, Birmingham, it’s not shit.

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