The Friday Film Session

When: Friday 1st July 2016, 20:00 onwards
Where: The Mockingbird Theatre, The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, B9 4AA
Tickets: from £7 (available online)

This Friday’s film at The Mockingbird is Sex and the City, so it’s time to finally decide whether you are a Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte or Samantha!

The Mockingbird will take you to New York City with this one-off screening, along with a Cosmo, all for just £7! The screening starts at 8pm, but expect some themed food and other surprises too.

For more information, and to book your seat, visit the Design My Night website.

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Open Project Night

When: Mondays, 18:30-22:30
Where: Impact Hub Birmingham, Walker Building, 58 Oxford Street, Digbeth, B5 5NR

Every Monday at Impact Hub Birmingham, the doors are flung open extra wide to invite in thinkers and doers.

Impact Hub Birmingham was born in coffee shops, bars, libraries and parks, so Open Project Night allows as many people as possible to use the space to help them get their project, group or venture off the ground.

Any creatives, activists, entrepreneurs, dreamers, or scientists working on projects, ventures and ideas focused on unleashing a better us – a better Birmingham – are welcome for meet-ups, workshops, mini talks, planning sessions, or simply to hang out.

You can gain access to the vibrant and inspiring space, audio visual, WiFi and printing services, as well as a dynamic community of doers. And all of this is free, providing you register in advance.

See the Open Project Night webpage for more information, and kick-start your next big idea!

Posted in Creative places and spaces, Local Life | Tagged , , ,

Live Music Round Up

See more live music at the Live Brum website.
Click here for gig listings for the Irish Centre Birmingham

Sunday 26th June
Sunday Xpress at Friction Arts
78-81 Cheapside, B12 0QH
18:00
Free entry

DOGHOUSE

Monday 27th June
The Spotted Dog
20:30
Free Entry

Birmingham’s biggest and best Traditional Irish Jam Session. All musicians welcome to participate.

Tuesday 28th June
The Spotted Dog
20:30
Free Entry

Jazz Tuesdays

Thursday 30th June
Suki10c
20:00
Free Entry

Twisted Thursdays

Thursday 30th June
The Spotted Dog
20:00
Free Entry

Blues Thursdays

Saturday 2nd July
One Dub at The Irish Centre
21:00
Tickets from £16

U-Roy
King Stur Gav Sound
Scientist Sound System

Sunday 3rd July
The Spotted Dog
16:30
Free Entry

Sunday Classics
Presenting a range of young stars of the future from the classical world, ranging from opera singers to violinists to harpists at the very start of their careers… Be early to get a seat.

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Yumzee

Yumzee is a bit of a mash-up between Come Dine With Me and AirBnB, and has been creating a storm on the Brum foodie scene.

Hosts sign up to welcome diners into their kitchen for an authentic home-cooked meal, setting the menu and price. And if you think it sounds weird, don’t forget that culinary stars like Rachel Khoo started out by hosting supper clubs…

The Yumzee network acts as a connector between hosts and guests, helping to bring neighbours together through a shared appreciation of food. Digbeth Residents Association would be delighted to hear from anyone who is interested in becoming a guest or host – are you ready for Brum Dine With Me?!

For more information, visit the Yumzee website, or their Facebook page here.

Posted in Digbeth Residents Association, Local Life | Tagged ,

Peaky Tours

Peaky Blinders has been phenomenally successful since launching in 2013, shown in 163 countries, aired on Netflix in the US, and garnered critical acclaim including five BAFTA craft awards and an RTS award for best drama series.

The third series of the drama came to an end recently. Three more series have been commissioned, but if you’re missing your Peaky fix, here’s one thing you can do between now and December: Peaky Tours – led by historian and University of Birmingham professor Carl Chinn – take visitors back to the Digbeth of the 1890s.

Starting at the Old Crown and including the Rainbow Pub where the term ‘Peaky Blinder’ was first coined, the tour gives an insight into the real characters from the era which inspired the fictional Shelby gang from the cult drama.

If you don’t fancy the walk, keep checking with Birmingham Tours to book on their Peaky Blinders Bus Tour, which focuses on Digbeth and explores the true history of gangs in Birmingham – disproving some myths en route.

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Grand Union – June/July 2016 Events

Posted in Creative places and spaces | Tagged , , ,

Purple With Orange Sparkles

When: Sunday 17th July 2016, 15:00-18:00
Where: Muthers Studio, 14 Rea Street, Digbeth, B5 6BL
Free – donations gratefully appreciated

No one could deny that Black Sabbath are one of the most influential bands ever, and with all the members hailing from the West Midlands (Ozzy Osborne worked in a Digbeth abattoir in his youth), they really are a band worth celebrating.

This event, named Purple With Orange Sparkles, is the third in a series marking the anniversaries of ‘Birmingham’s greatest band’. It will take the form of a vinyl play back event, featuring introductions, annotations, a stage set, lighting and more.

Taking place at Muthers Studio in Digbeth, it has been scheduled to coincide with Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler’s birthday. Purple With Orange Sparkles will feature the Black Sabbath albums Master of Reality and Vol 4.

Organiser Robert Horrocks said: “It’s all about gathering a group of like minded people together to listen to the music at adequate volume. We will then raise a glass while we say: ‘Cheers lads! We will never meet but you’ve been an important part of our lives’.”

The event is free, but donations for show costs are invited. Read more about the event here. See the Muthers Studio Facebook page here.

Posted in Creative places and spaces, The sound of music | Tagged , , ,

Local Drinks Market

When: Saturday 25 June, 12:00–17:00
Where: The Bond Company, 180-182 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, B5 5SE
Tickets: from £15 (available online here)

I Choose Magazine presents the inaugural Local Drinks Market, which will be taking place in Digbeth this weekend.

Hand-picked local beverage businesses will shake, pour and showcase their wares, including vodka, gin, ale and more. From established Birmingham favourites such as Langley’s Gin and Two Towers Brewery to new and boutique offerings from Jelley Distillieries, Sacre Brew and Cuffufle Preserves, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

As well as delicious drinks, the festival will offer award-winning street food, DJs, and for those worried about missing the football – it will be shown in its very own room dedicated to the Euros!

For more information and to check out the Masterclasses on offer, visit the Facebook event page or Eventbrite posting.

Posted in Pubwatch, The sound of music | Tagged , , ,

All change at The Custard Factory

Some of you may have noticed the following article in the Birmingham Mail recently, essentially saying that the Custard Factory is going down the pan:

“Independent shops pull out of Custard Factory blaming lack of shoppers

Rents have become unaffordable because not enough people are visiting the area”

But if you read the article, and not just the headline, you’ll find that it is just two businesses leaving at the end of August: rare record shop Milque & Muhle, and vintage clothing retailers Gingermegs. Although it is sad to see them go, this certainly isn’t the end for the Custard Factory, or Digbeth for that matter.

Let’s look at this objectively: Record shops are a very rare breed indeed, simply because they are niche and require a high sales volume to remain viable. Those that have longevity tend to only be open a couple of days a week.

In terms of vintage shops, although there are a lot of them, there is still definitely a growing or at least stable customer base. I would presume Gingermegs suffered when Urban Village left the Custard Factory in 2014 to test a new business model, as this meant there was no longer a critical mass of this particular type of shop to draw people in.

That said, it’s not unknown for shops at the Custard Factory to change; in the seven years I’ve lived here, there has been a regular refresh in the retail offering. However, Urban Village has recently returned to Bowyer Street in Digbeth, which highlights just how much history likes to repeat itself…

“The reason people don’t shop at the Custard Factory is because there aren’t any shops. And the reason there aren’t any shops is because there isn’t any footfall. It’s a vicious circle.”

I really have to disagree with the above statement: there are shops and although I would readily admit that the Custard Factory perhaps needs to do a little more to promote itself as a destination, the retailers themselves also need to take responsibility for marketing. The article, in my opinion, fails to show balance: The Framers, for example, have been based at the Custard Factory for almost 20 years, and Yumm Cafe are also an established and well-respected business.

Maybe one of the reasons for the lull at the Custard Factory is the well-documented disagreement between the two owners: father Benny Gray owns the Zellig/Devonshire Works portion (the red brick building on Digbeth High Street) while son Lucan owns the Custard Factory and Fazeley Studios. I would wager that more could be done for the Custard Factory as a whole through collaboration rather than competition, but I don’t know the full details…

According to a press release on the Custard Factory’s website, Lucan Gray is taking a more involved role and the Sales and Marketing team has received a boost too. With some huge-name occupiers such as Gensler and ASOS on board, here’s hoping that the Custard Factory continues to go from strength to strength, and that a new generation of retailers are found, all in time for when our new neighbours at Connaught Square and St Anne’s Court move in!

Posted in Custard Factory, Local Life | Tagged , , , , ,

Live Music Round Up

See more live music at the Live Brum website.
Click here for gig listings for the Irish Centre Birmingham

Sunday 19th June
The Spotted Dog
16:30
Free Entry

Sunday Classics
Presenting a range of young stars of the future from the classical world, ranging from opera singers to violinists to harpists at the very start of their careers… Be early to get a seat.

Tuesday 21st June
The Spotted Dog
20:30
Free Entry

Jazz Tuesdays

Thursday 23rd June
The Rainbow Courtyard
18:00
£7 OTD

Punks Alive Present
Vice Squad

Thursday 23rd June
Suki10c
20:00
Free Entry

Twisted Thursdays

Thursday 23rd June
The Spotted Dog
20:00
Free Entry

Blues Thursdays

Sunday 26th June
Sunday Xpress at Friction Arts
78-81 Cheapside, B12 0QH
18:00
Free entry

DOGHOUSE

Monday 27th June
The Spotted Dog
20:30
Free Entry

Birmingham’s biggest and best Traditional Irish Jam Session. All musicians welcome to participate.

Posted in Rainbow, Spotted Dog, The sound of music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,