Is for Brighton, but it always cold when I go to Brighton – even when the rest of the country was enjoying a heatwave back in 2006 it managed to be cold when I went to Brighton with Reidski so I am not going to write about that. It is also for Bocastle in Cornwall, but I wrote about my visit there back in February and one must try not to repeat oneself.
And it is for Beijing – only I haven’t been there (yet, but thanks to me having the most generous friend in the entire universe, I will be going there in August).
So today B is for Birmingham. I went to Birmingham in April. I didn’t write about it then as I needed some time to get over it...and when I was over it, I had managed to blank it from my memory bank, but now it all comes back to me in its full technicolor horror. I do not refer here to Birmingham itself but to the reason that I was in Birmingham....
‘Dancing on Ice Live’.
Let’s get that part over with first. I got stuck with taking three teenage girls to see this show for reasons previously mentioned here. It was, shall we say, an experience of the grit your teeth and pretend you are having a good time variety.
It was taking place at the National Indoor Arena.
Now I freely acknowledge that I am a snob but oh dear! The state of most of the people there was a sight to behold, not previously encountered since last time I was in Skegness on August Bank Holiday Monday. All low life was there. Tattoos everywhere, ill fitting clothes, skirts up past their arses on women who really should have asked the bum question* before leaving home, foul language every time they opened their mouths and disgusting fast food in their paws. Have I sufficiently proved that I am a snob yet? But you get the (not very pretty) picture.
Worse was to follow though as we had – oh my fucking god no! – a warm up man to deal with. I will say something for the assorted chavs and chavettes – they do know how to give their all to the Birdie Song. As I was personally being very closely monitored by my daughter for the merest hint that I was not having the time of my life, I sang
"Hey, hey hey baby!
I want to know if you'll be my girl
Hey, hey hey hey hey, baby
C'mon, baby now..... " whilst waving my arms in the air and shaking my booty with the best (worst) of them.
It was all completely hideous.
And just when I thought things had got as bad as they were going to get, I found out Andi Peters was our host for the evening.
Oh alright then – some of it was quite good I suppose. Torvill and Dean did Bolero. Todd Carty still couldn’t skate but comes across as a helluva nice guy, and the main thing was that the girls I took loved every single second of it.
But back to Birmingham...that city with such a terrible image amongst those of us who don’t know the place. Here are some random facts about Birmingham.
In the Doomsday book Birmingham is mentioned as a village worth 20 shillings. The city's reputation was forged as a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution in England, a fact which led to Birmingham being known as "the workshop of the world". Now like everywhere else in this country it is mainly reliant upon the service sector for its economic wellbeing. Crossroads was made in Birmingham. Neville Chamberlain was from Birmingham. So was Enoch Powell - and Ozzy Osbourne. Musically there seems to be some kind of a theme with the likes of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Napalm Death, Electric Light Orchestra and Led Zeppelin all hailing from this city. That explains the profusion of Brummie accents when Reidski went to the Download festival last summer. More to my particular liking are The Streets, Steel Pulse, UB40, The Beat, and Editors. (How can the likes of Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield compete with a musical legacy like that eh?) The city currently has two Premiership football teams - Aston Villa and another one whose name escapes me. We must thank Birmingham inventors for numerous innovations, including custard powder.
The day we went there was spent here, wandering along the canals and stopping off for drinks and pasta en route, and it was absolutely fantastic. I was massively impressed with this vibrant and exciting area, and came away from Birmingham determined to return sometime very soon – only I do not intend to see Dancing on Ice Live again some time ever!
* Answer – yes it does.
Blinded - *The Blind Girl in Hiroshima* (1963) Photograph by *Christer Strömholm*
2 hours ago