Posts Tagged ‘birminghamuk’

Bacchus Bar, Birmingham. Awful.

November 21, 2009

I spent yesterday evening, from 7-11, in , 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”.

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Winterval – the truth

October 30, 2008

This post has been moved to pigsonthewing.org.uk/winterval-the-truth. Sorry, but WordPress.com won’t let me set an automatic redirect.

(Bus) stop this madness!

July 12, 2008

One afternoon last week, I had cause to catch TWM‘s 997 bus from central Birmingham to Great Barr, while my car was in the garage, for its annual MOT test (it passed, I’m pleased to say).

I have mixed views on public transport: on the one hand it’s a good thing (TM), in that it’s available to all, environmentally friendly, and so on, but on the other hand, it usually involves the kind of user-experience which makes it undesirable for anyone who doesn’t have to use it through lack of choice.

I had already used the 997 into Birmingham that morning. It’s a limited stop service, and I must say I had been impressed that the level of comfort was higher than I was expecting.

I wasn’t sure when where to catch the bus for my return journey, so looked up the route on the Transport Direct website.

The way that site works makes it impossible to link to the relevant timetable, but as this screenshot shows, they clearly say that the service departs from Carrs Lane in Birmingham City Centre.

[Transport Direct web page showing Carrs Lane as start of route 997]

I arrived in good time for the advertised departure, but none of the three bus stops in Carrs Lane listed the 997 as stopping there.

Purely by chance, I happened to see the 997 turning into Carrs Lane, from High Street, only to stop at a pedestrian crossing. I indicated to the driver that I wished to board, and he kindly opened the doors and allowed me to do so.

I subsequently found that the 997 does not stop in Carrs Lane, but around the corner — and earlier on its route — at stop DG, on High Street (map here).

[showing corner of High Street & Carrs Lane]

The above picture shows the corner of High Street and Carrs Lane. The bus stop on the extreme left is stop DG, on High Street. On the extreme right, it is just possible to see stop DH, the nearest on Carrs Lane. Note also the pedestrian crossing at the start of Carrs Lane.

The bus I boarded had already departed from its stop. Had it not been for the pedestrian crossing and the kindness of the driver, I would have missed the bus, and thus missed the chance to pick up my car before the garage closed.

TWM and Transport Direct need to work together to eliminate erroneous information from the latter’s service, not least if they expect to entice car drivers onto public transport.

[997 at stop DG on HIgh Street, Birmingham]

Come friendly bombs and fall on Birmingham Central Library

June 25, 2008

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.

Spotted Mimics

June 23, 2008

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.]

Surface Unsigned: to be avoided

May 19, 2008

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.

Update: Curiously Jay Mitchell, the person behind Surface Unsigned, is involved in another event which openly advertsies similar conditions.