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Posts Tagged ‘Birmingham’
I spent yesterday evening, from 7-11, in Bacchus Bar, Burlington Arcade, Birmingham, one of Mitchells & Butlers‘ supposedly “Classic Pubs”. Had I not been there as a guest of others, for whom I have great respect, I would have left.
The only guest ale was off.
The dirty plates left by the departing people whose table we occupied, and their and our empty glasses and bottles, were not collected once. The plates included uneaten food, which sat festering for four hours.
The men’s toilets were an utter disgrace: stinking, awash with urine – footsteps caused audible splashes; I’m going to have to have my trousers laundered – and clearly not attended to all evening. Everyone who entered, each time I was in there, commented. I was told the women’s toilets were little better.
A pile of vomit on the carpet outside the toilets was marked with a “wet floor” A-frame, but otherwise left for over an hour, remaining until after closing.
I have never seen such bad practice, even in run down inner-city pubs; let alone a supposedly prestige, and pricey, city-centre venue.
Update: I have contacted Mitchells & Butlers, and asked them to respond here. Their contact form includes several unnecessary yet mandatory questions, such as wanting my postal address (which I declined to give, using bogus data instead) and the number in the party, which must be a number, making it impossible for me to say “over 15”.
OK, Hands up everyone who thinks Birmingham Central Library is of sufficient architectural merit to warrant occupying its prominent position in the centre of Birmingham? OK, now put your hands down again if you’ve never worked in there (as an employee, I mean: not just doing your homework for a few hours).
Well, you might not have done, but I have, and it was awful. Bad acoustics, stale air, inflexible, unwelcoming — and impossible to drill into to attach a coat hook, much less a bookshelf.
Goodbye and good riddance to the monstrosity.
As a child, I was often taken to our local shopping centre in Perry Barr, north Birmingham (since replaced by a tin shed with pretensions of being a mall) to see a Mynah bird (Acridotheres tristis). It resided in what I now realise was a ridiculously small cage, on the counter of a petshop, and would delight all and sundry by asking repeatedly, “Where’s George?”, wolf whistling, or performing another of its many acts of mimicry.
Now my ears are more attuned to such things I realise that the journey was unnecessary. Still living in Birmingham, I can hear the avian equivalent of Rory Bremner any time I wish, simply by opening a window and listening to the Mynah’s relatives, my local Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). With the onset of autumn, they flock in ever increasing numbers, resplendent in new, strikingly sleek and spotty plumage, and very vocal. As well as having an uncanny ability to sound like any number of other birds, they have been known to imitate car alarms and mobile phones, and even children’s playground screaming.
The quiet suburban road where I live is rarely without Starlings, at any time of day, but the city-centre skies are no longer darkened by the flocks which came in to roost there in my childhood. A backfiring car would see thousands take off at once, and have pedestrians reaching for tissues to remove their supposedly “lucky” deposits from clothing or — worse — hair.
The birds in my garden are far better behaved, except when treated to their favourite delicacy: leftover, raw, shortcrust pastry. They descend from my and my neighbours’ rooftops the second I step back from the bird table, and the food disappears in moments, in a cloud of flying feathers and squawking and pecking bills, the birds mingling too rapidly to count accurately.
One particularly convincing, if annoying, individual has perfected the art of reproducing a Buzzard‘s (Buteo buteo) mewing call, no doubt heard in more open country. Ever gullible, I rush into the garden each time it performs this trick, in the hope of adding the real thing to my “garden list”. So far, without success.
[The above was written some time ago, with the intention of emulating the Guardian’s Country Diary column. As such, it has exactly 200 words, not counting the subsequent addition of scientific names. These are marked up with the draft Species Microformat, which I developed, and which is already being used on Wikipedia.]
Like many others (see below) I’m seriously unimpressed that Surface Unsigned have tried to stifle reasonable criticism made on Created in Birmingham, by threatening legal action on what appear to be spurious grounds, in order to force the removal of this extract of their contract with performers:
As you must bring with you at least 25 people to your event you must sell at least 25 tickets for each round you play. If you do not sell 25 tickets you will still be allowed to play however you will NOT progress to the next round no matter how many Surface Ratings you receive.
I hope others will support Created in Birmingham by linking to the following blog posts, and adding them to social bookmarking sites like Ma.gnolia, Digg and Delicious.
- Chris Unitt
- Birmingham: It’s Not Shit
- Simon Gray (and The Stirrer forum)
- Russ L
- Careless Genes
- Goodfaf Central
- Si Hammond
- Pete Ashton
Update: Curiously Jay Mitchell, the person behind Surface Unsigned, is involved in another event which openly advertsies similar conditions.