Monday, February 28

Ein Anderer Kessel der Fische
It's that time of the month again, slightly earlier than usual, but do not fear, there will be the same selection of cool music, this time with added acoustic goodness. Amazing singer-songwriter Ruth Theodore will be traveling up from Southampton to play in what is sure to be a top night.

Wednesday 2 March
A Different Kettle Of Fish V - Acoustic Special: featuring Ruth Theodore.
Upstairs at the Bristol Pear (next to the train station!), Bristol Road,
Selly Oak, BIRMINGHAM, B29 6BJ
Doors 7:30pm
Entry £3 / £2 with flyer (or a print out of this blog!)

DJ Erised – 7:30 – 8:20
Ruth Theodore (First Half)8:20 – 9:00
DJ Phillipe Bergeroo – 9:00 - 9:30
Ruth Theodore (Second Half) 9:30 – 10:10
Ideosphere – 10:10 – 11:00

Extra features
* A selection of quality Kettle Of Fish badges (all the cool people are wearing them you know)
* Free sweets!
* A two-timing French barman who wears a sailor hat and doesn't know how to make a spritzer.

How can you resist?

*Ruth Theodore: Talented acoustic singer songwriter from Southampton. She is about to go into the studio to record an album of new material with the rhythm section from the Jonny Berliner Band. Has had residences at Platform Tavern and Talking Heads (both Southampton), Cabaret Voltaire and Fringe Festival (Edinburgh), and Powers Bar (Mean Fiddler-London).

"An energetic and gifted performer"- The Gig Guide
"Original and soulful tunes"- The Edinburgh Guide
"The new Kathryn Williams"- Danger! High Postage
"The hottest thing out of Southampton since Le Tissier's lethal right
foot" Louder Than War

Listen to Ruth Theodore:
Ruth Theodore - Threat
Ruth Theodore - Be Here

Sunday, February 27

Tour de Hamburg
FC St Pauli kept up their promotion campaign this weekend with a 2-2 away draw against third placed Osnabruck, so that means the boys in brown are still unbeaten this year and have an outside chance of climbing into the top three...

Here's the match report in German!

And for all you non-German speakers, the quite marvelousBabel Fish translation is below:

"Already after 120 seconds brown white lay in guidance: Morad Bounoua was put in of 16 by Dave de Jong - clear thing: Eleven-meter. The Gefoulte began even and transformed the strafstoss to the 0:1-Gaestefuehrung. Beautifully like Morad VfL Keeper Tino Berbig shipped and medium-high on the right of in-wetted.

Andreas's miner let play again with "the double Sechser", i.e. with two vacuum cleaners before the four-he defense chain. And this let through-march after thirty minutes Bjoern Joppe, which then in the short hit a corner to reconciliation met. There Achim Hollerieth did not look particularly well, - which it must. After the break suddenly the total confusion in the pc. Pauli Hintermannschaft, but Fabian Ewertz met fortunately only the slat cross.

On it VfL captain Markus briefly obtained field-hopes the guidance hit for the hosts. But only one minute later marked jeton Arifi in its first play for the regional league crew its first hit to reconciliation and 2:2-Endstand. In the last ten play minutes the hosts acted only with ten men, after VfL goal scorer Joppe saw the yellow-red cardboard.

Altogether the Remis goes into order, even if Andreas Mayer had the victory on the foot in the conclusion minute, - however only the external net met. The FC occupied thus with 34 points further the 7.Tabellenplatz, the VfL remains third."

So that's clear then! Love the reference to two vacuum cleaners or 'the double seshser' sitting in front of the opposition defence and when a player got sent of he 'saw the yellow-red cardboard'...

I also learnt from the St Pauli messageboard that the club have formed their own cycling team using a crack squad of international cycle couriers, with the aim of competing in the Tour De France in 2010, their Centenary year. The team will succeed not through drugs but through the mental strength of martial arts! All team members will be trained to black belt levels in martial arts.....

It's true! It's true! St Pauli already has baseball, softball, rugby, handball, american football and chess teams...

Have a look at more St Pauli snow photos and even more here.

Fortune favours the brave?
What's up with all those sports autograph and memorabilia shops that seems to have sprung up lately. I've never actually seen any customers in there....anyone admit to going in there?

In the shop in Nottingham, pride of place was given to a signed photo of perennial Manchester United substitute and general duffer Quinton Fortune - price £89. Probably more than he's actually worth in real life eh United fans.....

Saturday, February 26

Exclusive Neighbours News
Calm down ladies - Very, very soon indeed, the suave, sophisticated Paul Robinson will return to Ramsey Street. Famous for running Lassiters and copping off with twins, he'll soon be back in Erinsborough...

Of course, the truth is that actor Stefan Dennis has only recently been released from prison for Crimes Against Music relating to his 1989 number 16 hit single 'Don't It Make You Feel Good' and the number 65 followup smash 'This Love Affair'.

Other former characters such as Joe Mangle (isn't he dead?), Bouncer and that British one are also set to return to the show in what is clearly not at a all desperate attempt to boost ratings.

Natalie Imbruglia is sadly concentrating on her music...

Don't It Make You Feel Good MP3

Get well soon Edwyn.

Thursday, February 24

The Dream Team
Watching Middlesbrough v GAK on Channel Five and they've pulled all the big guns out. John Barnes is in the studio with 'Mr Charisma' Gary Pallister. And it looks like Five have bought Andy Townsend's tactics truck second hand for a bargain price and have installed dour, Scot Pat Nevin (officially the ugliest pundit in the world) in it. He reminds me a bit of Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now holed up in his bunker, slowly losing his mind as he asseses Boro's defensive frailties.

Celtic website Keep The Faith has a few harsh words for Nevin. "The 'intellectual rebel footballer'...appears to have become an establishment sympathising pundit. How times change - and not for the better, Pat. It's like Karl Marx being on 'Location, Location, Location'"

Football punditry surely doesn't get much better than this.....

Nottingham Calling
Well i'm back from Germany now and I will be moving to Nottingham on Saturday, but where to go next? After the Roskilde mudbath of last year I have vowed to go to a festival in a sunny country and Dean suggests Primavera Sound in Barcelona at the end of May. Lineup includes Sonic Youth, New Order, Radio4, Gang Of Four, Iggy And The Stooges, Maximo Park, The Human League, Mercury Rev, Art Brut, Broken Social Scene, Kristin Hersh, Arcade Fire, Go! Team, Ron Sexsmith, Sons & Daughters and The Human League... Plus you stay in a hotel! Tempting indeed....who's up for it?

My Chinese friend Elton emails me to ask when I will be visiting China. It seems he is missing Preston and more specifically kebabs. Beijing obviously can't compete with Lancashire's finest in the huge slabs of disgusting meat on a spinny stick stakes... I miss Preston sometimes too, but it's usually because of my withdrawal symptoms from the the bargainous Tuesday and Thursdays that I spent at the Car Boot Market (nice Flash introduction there sir!).

In other news: My week away has not caused any decline in my addiction to playing internet poker.

Wednesday, February 23

Roadie Rage
Anoyone who has ever witnessed a bloke tune up a mandolin for five minutes whilst standing on stage in front of a thousand people who have been waiting for hours and hours will understand when I say that last night before seeing Bright Eyes, I got Roadie Rage. Now i'm sure that most roadies do a top job and are experts at sorting M&Ms into different coloured piles, but most of them need to realise that they are NOT IN THE BAND!

Like the guy who rather than just saying the simple "One, two" to test the mic, insists on reciting a list of Welsh tourist destinations. I think he works for Doves. If you see him, throw things at him.

Or how about when they tune up all the guitars and go off. Then twenty minutes later they come back on and do exactly the same thing all over again! Does this mean that they didn't do it properly the first time?

But the worst is show off roadies who play huge guitar solos or drum solos whilst tuning up to try and get applause from the crowd. No, no no, NO!

Is anyone else afflicted by Roadie Rage? Or is it just me?

Plastic Chair Man
Hostels are strange places. For example, in this hostel in Koln I keep seeing a guy wandering around carrying a plastic chair over his shoulder. He is the spitting image of the lead singer of System Of A Down, complete with mad, crazy eyes. Who is he? Does he ever sit on his chair? Why does he need it?

Tuesday, February 22

The search for the holy towel
This morning I discovered that I have lost my towel, or perhaps it was stolen by a jealous German who desperately wanted to dry his hands on a classic Birmingham City FC memento.

Therefore I have been out and about in Köln looking for a new one, but I think I can now conclude that either Germans don´t use towels, or there is a special, secret shop where they go and buy them, as I couldn´t find one anywhere!

My search again highlighted an inescapable fact. All German supermarkets are shit.

Checkout assistants are miserable and do that thing where they scan all your stuff through as fast as possible, leaving it in a big pile at the bottom of the till, and the second you´ve paid they start scanning the stuff bought by the next person, forcinf you to hurry and drop your yogurt all over the floor (or is that just me?)

Here´s a handy print out and keep German Supermarket reference guide for you all:

In England Spar is your average neighbourhood shop. In Germany it is the
number one Supermarket in town. Believe me, if you find one of these babies you´ve hit the jackpot.

Next up we have Aldi, which is good because you can buy mineral water for about 15p for a 2 litre bottle. Whereas in the UK, Aldi is shunned by most people as being far to common and cheap, over here it ranks second in the charts.

Next down is Lidl, which is pretty much similar to the one in Hamstead (for all you Great Barr Supermarket lovers). The major difference is that in German Lidl´s you can buy a bottle of disgusting beer for 12p. Marvellous.

Descending even further into the abyss we have Plus. This place is seriously bad. Shelves full of rotting fruit are complemented by a selection of CDs that make a British service station look like a top class record shop. Avoid at all costs.

And finally, at the bottom of the ladder is a supermarket called Pennymarkt. A shop so bad that you fell that even Jimmy Tarbuck or Ally McCoist wouldn't have stooped so low to advertise it! Yes it´s even worse than Farm Foods. Think of a mix of all the worst bits of Aldi, Lidl, Poundland, Poundstretcher and the much missed Steve`s Discount Market in West Bromwich and you still have't realised the horror of it all.

After seriously considering buying a manky, puce coloured hand towel from a discount Chinese wholesalers, I found the holy grail. A chemist with a large towel selection. And what a beautiful sight it was.....

Monday, February 21

Thankfully I have escaped Leisure Centre hell and am now in Koln. The cathedral here is absolutely enormous. Indeed Cathedral fact fans, I believe took around 600 years to build and it was the biggest bulding in Europe until the Eiffel Tower was constructed.

The FC St Pauli match on Friday against FC Koln(A) was one of the most bizarre football matches I have ever seen. There was snowfall on the day of the game, but some of it had melted before kick off, so the game was on. It was orange ball time and the lines on the pitch were painted red so you could see them through the snow!

Almost as soon as kick off happened it started to snow....very badly, rendering the game pretty much a lottery. Koln had an early chance when Pauli keeper Hollerieth slipped and fell over when trying to clear a backpass. Indeed any backpass was a heart in the mouth moment. Another entertaining moment was when an opposition striker got clean through on goal only to fall on his backside when attempting to shoot. Very funny.

Halfway through the first half a corner was swung in from the right and top scorer Woicjik was there unmarked to head it in. 1.0

Just before half time came the move of the match when Pauli decided to keep the ball in the air rather than play it on the slippery unplayable surface. A series of volleys around the box ended with Boll smashing it into the net for a great goal in front of the empty Sudkurve. 2.0

At the break the snow got worse with the wind directing it right into the faces of those fans like myself who were standing in the north stand. As officials tried in vain to sweep the lines I went to get some food and instead of a hotdog I got a large sausage and a bread roll. It seemingly didnt occur to put the sausage inside the roll. Oh well.

The second half became even more farcical with Pauli content to hold the lead as a snowstorm descended. Fans began to throw snowballs at each other in the packed uncovered north end and some stewards made a snowman on the empty south terrace.

The other notable occurances in the second half were a ten minute stoppage to sweep the lines about half way through and the somewhat harsh sending off the Koln centre half.

At the end of the match all of the St Pauli players had a snowball fight with the crowd. It was a strange night.

See more of these fantastic pictures here and here

And a match report (In German).

Sunday, February 20

I got the German Leisure Centre Blues (The ghost of UB40)
Have you ever slept in a Leisure Centre? I bet you've always wanted to though.... Well if you do, then why not try the Goalfever Guesthouse in Essen, Germany.

I was a little apprehensive when I walked in and there appeared to a rather intense five a side football competition going on and little sign of a hostel reception. After being ignored for ten minutes, someone actually spoke to me. I explained that I had forgotten my shinpads, but had a booking for the Guesthouse. This threw the staff into a huge panic and it took three of them to book me in on the computer system, which was situated in the cupboard used to store the squash racquets, obviously they weren't used to guests.

The Guesthouse itself was very nice and modern and it would have been fine apart from the fact it appeared that I was the only person staying there, making the place really eerie. It didn't help that all the rooms were off one central corridor which lit up the instant you walked in as a result of sensors. It was like being in one of those alien films. In sitcom terms, it reminded me of a cross between Norwich Travel Tavern from Partridge and Whitby Newtown Leisure Centre from The Brittas Empire.

Later that night I am dozing off to sleep when I hear a noise. My ears take a moment to adjust. It is a very loud noise. It's a strange, off-kilter cod-reggae beat. Oh my god it's UB40! Here I am in a deserted hostel on top of a leisure centre in ugly industrial Germany and someone is playing UB40 at full volume at two in the morning. Even the US military didn't resort to such torture methods in Iraq.... Thankfully the track soon finishes, but it soon becomes apparent that this is going to be a playing of the entire UB40 Greatest Hits CD......

Instead of going to investigate I cowered in my bunk bed, head buried under the pillow, hoping it would stop. I figured it would be impossible to reason with a drunk, German UB40 fan....or ghost...

The next morning I explained to the hostel staff I would be leaving early as their spirits had awful taste in music. I couldn't get out of that hellhole fast enough.

Friday, February 18

In the brown stuff
I'm in Hamburg and it's snowing! I've come over to see the mighty FC St Pauli in action tonight, but things are not looking good for the boys in brown as it seems as if they have forgot to pay some of their taxes.....for the past several years.....and it amounts to several million Euros.

The club could become insolvent and face instant relegation to the very bottom division in Germany (park football!). It's a very uncertain time, so i'm doubly glad to have made it over to see them, as long as the weather doesn't get the match called off. Pauli are not alone as Dortmund also appear to be on the edge of bankruptcy.

My hotel in Hamburg is just off the legendary Reeperbahn and I guess the best way to describe it would be conpact. One unexpected bonus is a TV in the room so I have been catching up with German MTV, a channel we used to have on our Sky Service years ago when we didn't pay any money. Oh the joys of comedy German punk bands like Die Toten Hosen and badly dubbed interviews with the likes of Slash from Guns and Roses.

This morning whilst in bed I watched a couple of the sports channels and can report that if you haven't watched live biathlon (Skiing whilst carrying a rifle and a bit of shooting) and ski jumping with a crazy German screaming over the top, then you really haven't lived.

My hotel room overlooks the Reeperbahn and opposite is an enormous branch of Lidl and a transvestite cabaret bar - handy for a drag queen on a budget.

Last night was strange. I got talking to a big bunch of Goths, a mope of Goths if you will. They told me they were going to the private view opening of a photography exhibition and suggested I tag along. How could I refuse?

When we got there it soon became clear that this was no oridinary photography exhibition, as the gallery was located in the basement of a sex shop! I say shop, it seemed more like a giant luxury boutique. Downstairs there was free Champagne to which I helped myself to three glasses, and even more Goths (where do they all come from?).

The photos were pastiches of old burlesque and pin up photos from the 20s and 30s. I think the photographer might have been quite famous but as my German is limited to what I have learnt from watching war films, I was unable to strike up many conversations...

My friend Dean lived in Hamburg for three months and he has given me the number of an American friend of his called Rusty who lives here and is working as an au pair. Except the only problem is that his name isn't actually Rusty. It might be Conor or Casey or Randy or something similarly American, we're just not sure. I haven't been able to speak to him yet, but I will report back if I ever find out what his name is.

Tonight I might be going to see a Motorhead tribute band after the game. I wonder if their Lemmy has a real giant wart on his face, or if it is a stick on one?

Monday, February 14

Yog off
Whilst in town yesterday I succumbed to the darkside. Yes that's right I participated in Market Research. Whilst waiting for my sister I was approached by a woman with a clipboard and as soon as I had agreed I was whisked away to a top secret room in the back of the Odeon Cinema.

The room was furnished with computers and headsets. Yes that's right, market research has stepped into the 21st century

When I got started I discovered that the survey was about something very close to my heart and something I have strong opinions on...Yogurts! I do after all hold the Guiness World Record for speed yogurt eating (2.125 seconds with a regular spoon and pot if you want to try and beat it).

Those of you that no me may now about 'Huxley's First Yogurt Soft Drink theorem' which states:

No fruit flavour will make both a delicious soft drink and yogurt (apart from blackcurrant)

Let's look at the theorem in action:

Orange juice, mmmmmmmm
Orange yogurt, ugh

Strawberry yogurt, mmmmmm
Strawberry juice, erm no….

Anyway, you all get the idea.

First of all in the survey came yogurt identification, easy peasy. Then yogurt preferences - I wrote a lot about this. And then finally yogurt advertising.

Now I don't actually remember ever having seen any billboard advertisements for yogurt (perhaps I'm immune to advertising). But none of the yogurt adverts actually featured a yogurt anywhere in them. What's wrong with yogurts, aren't they sexy enough for yuppie advertising types? Needless to say all of the adverts were rubbish, especially the ones for a certain cornered yogurt....

After taking great pleasure slagging off the yogurt advertising industry, I prepared to collect my gift for participating. Would it be some new brand or flavour of yogurt as yet untried by the general public I wondered..... But I didn't have a spoon, how would I eat it.

And what did I get for my in depth yog knowledge? A mars bar..... *shakes head*. No wonder the British yogurt industry is in trouble...

Friday, February 11

Watso - The Britpop years
Well it seems my MP Tom 'Watso' Watson is more rock and roll than he appears. Whilst reading Love And Poisonthe biography of Suede I got to a passage discussing keyboard player Neil 'Codlo' Codling's time at Hull University where he was a housemate with none other than Tom Watson, MP for East Bromwich!

If we ignore the slight geographical error, the book goes on to say that 'Watso' used to take 'Codlo' out drinking in Hull, presumably trying to get him to lose his slightly sickly and pale palor by getting a few pints of bitter down his neck. Perhaps they discussed politics or perhaps Watso was even an influence on the music that Codlo was later to record for Suede. Like the classic 'Elephant Man' from the album 'Head Music', lyrical genius if I ever heard it...

"I am, I am the elephant man,
It is incredible how I can
look just like just like an elephant man
Just like, just like my elephant fans
We are, we are the elephant men,
Take heed, we'll be stampeding again
Look out all of you fairweather friends
Because elephants never forget"

Thursday, February 10

Bergeroo news
Top French DJ Phillipe Bergeroo now has his own page on Ents24.com. So if you want all the latest news on Phillipe Bergeroo gigs then go to this page and sign up for an email update to be sent to you whenever new dates are announced...

And don't forget!

Wednesday 16 February
A Different Kettle Of Fish: DJ Phillipe Bergeroo, DJ Erised & Ideosphere
Upstairs at the Bristol Pear, Bristol Road, Selly Oak
Doors 7:30pm
Entry £1

Monday, February 7

Lord, I've tried the best I can.
I've asked everybody in Kazakhstan .
But I still don't understand.
Why ITV continue to employ Clive Allen as a pundit...he's even worse than the dynamic duo of John Barnes and Pat Nevin on Channel Five....and that's bad....very bad....

I stayed up late last night to watch the Superbowl and it was a really good, tight match. Pity about McCartney at half time, but thankfully I missed most of that. I watched the first half on Sky Sports, who as always provided excellent coverage. For the second half I was faced with the choice of gradually falling asleep in an uncomfortable position on the sofa, or watching it in bed on the TV in my room.....on the dreaded ITV.

Eventually I bit the bullet and pressed 3 on the remote, unprepared for the scene I would face - Gaby Logan discussing American Football with former England Rugby Captain Martin Johnson and ex-Tottenham footballer and Premiership 'pundit' Clive Allen. What on earth was going through the mind of ITV's Head of Sport when he came up with that lineup to cover the biggest annual sporting event in the world.

To be fair to Johnson, he did seem to have quite a good knowledge of the game offered up some good technical and tactical analysis. But unfortunately Logan and particuarly Allen were completely useless. Who knows what the third guest, an ex-American Football player made of it all.

The thing I couldn't understand was that ITV had Gary Imlach (a Gridiron expert with years of broadcasting experience) at the game, yet they still insisted on cutting back to inane, shallow discussion in the London studio.

Gabby: "So Clive, what do Philadelphia have to do to get back into the game?"
Clive: "They need to pass and move better Gabby, pass and move. The Eagles quarterback (pauses to look at his piece of paper) McNabb hasn't been releasing the ball well"

Did he actually think he was still talking about Spurs on The Premiership? How on earth Allen has managed to forge a semblance of a media career is beyond me. He manages to make the rest of ITV's collection of gormless pundits (McCoist, Townsend, Earle et al) look positively erudite and articulate in comparison to his dreary ramblings and terrible attempts at humour.

Maybe ITV simply couldn't find anybody else on their payroll who was prepared to stay up to some ridiculous hour of morning talking about a sport that they didn't understand. Even Paul Ross must have turned them down. But none of this stopped Allen the 'poacher turned pundit'.

As the game continued, Logan seemed to finally (after several years) realise he was a useless waste of space and simply stopped asking him questions.

We can only hope that ITV never repeat this shameful exercise in covering the biggest sporting event in the world, ever, ever again. Though they have the rights for another two years. Although at least they didn't have John Barnes, who 'memorably' provided in at the game analysis of Channel Five a couple of years ago....

I've been to Kent, Gwent and Senegal.
I've even been to look for Jim Rosenthal.
I Found him on his knees at the Wailing Wall crying;
"Gabby Logan, anchorwoman?"*
*Apologies to Half Man Half Biscuit

Friday, February 4

Wasted Youth
There's a brilliant piece in the San Francisco Bay Guardian by Ken Taylor this week about the criminally overlooked Welsh post-punk trio Young Marble Giants.

He says:
"Within a moment of listening to Colossal Youth, the embarrassment of having missed out on them the first time around gave way to complete satisfaction and a feeling that I'd just been let in on a terribly scandalous secret."

I can only agree with this as I felt the same upon discovering the band a couple of years ago. And yet they are still virtually unknown. They released one album Colossal Youth and a couple of EPs in the early 80s, before dissolving.

May I direct you to this post on Louder Than War

And this MP3: Young Marble Giants - Final Day

Thursday, February 3

Swimming Anthems
I went swimming again tonight to our newly refurbished pool...well it's got new windows anyway. This time I saw something that I'd never spotted there before - a giant framed picture of Kris Akabusi on the wall, which I will of course pay homage to every time I go from now on.

One thing I don't understand is the choice of music that they play in the pool, as it seems almost entirely composed of 70s and 80s rock anthems. Last time we were there they placed 'More Than A Feeling' by Boston, 'Down Under' by Men At Work and even some Def Leppard. I can only presume the CD they are playing is that legendary compilation album Swimming Anthems (available from all good service stations). Maybe the pounding drums, copious guitar solos and thoughts of mulleted men wearing spandex are designed to make you swim faster, I'm not really sure....

Also included on the album would be any track by The Strokes, though of course nothing by Drowning Pool.

Wednesday, February 2

Goth, Goth, Goth, Goth, Goth, Goth, Industrialist
I almost forgot to mention that myself and the Finch went to a new Goth night in Birmingham called Darklight at the weekend, where we also met Dead Kenny. The venue was B3 Bar in the city centre next to Argos and it was rather nicely refurbished, but unfortunately had some bouncers who were more than a little psychopathic.

One big haired Goth stormed away from the venue in a furious rage and virtually in tears after the bouncers refused to let him downstairs wearing a big coat. It seems the rules for the night were that short coats and jackets were allowed, whereas big coats were a big no no. Presumably in the past the bouncers had been faced with some angry men in big coats - a truly terrifying prospect. To me though, this rule seems ill-thought. Where for instance does this leave the fashionable 3/4 jacket?

Clearly the bouncers were used to 'trouble' as the strutted around the bar staring at one Goth after another ready for any winklepicker violence that might occur. Of course what they failed to realise is that a Goth Club is the least likely place for a fight in the world - wouldn't want to break a nail or tear your new pvc outfit would you?

The music? You want to know about the music? Well it was Goth.....there was a Goth version of Do You Think I'm Sexy and the smoke machine was extensively used.

Loads of young (and old) Goths were there though - where do they all come from? And thanks to the late night car park across the road and reasonable bar prices, it was a good and surprisingly cheap night.

See you there next month.

Why Birmingham is great!
Here's a new feature on Danger! High Postage (idea shamelessly stolen from Mike at Troubled Diva and Ben SWSL's Reasons To Be Cheerful.

Mr Egg
If you were to have an idea to base a cafe around one particular foodstuff, then eggs probably wouldn't be the first thing in the fridge that springs to mind. But that hasn't stopped Mr Egg from becoming a Birmingham institution.

Mr Egg is a classic greasy spoon and used to boast 'Eat like a king for a pound' until inflation and the economic pinch forced a change to the slightly less catchy 'Eat like a queen for £1.50' - It is on Hurst Street on the edge of the Gay Quarter after all.

Why go and eat in an identikit chain bar or at one of those pricey yet average restaurants that have sprung up in Birmingham like a bout of Salmonella in the past few years, when you can sit under a giant egg and tuck into a hearty meal for just a few quid.

Mr Egg used to be open 24 hours a day. These days its opening hours are slightly more limited, but you are still likely to encounter all manner of strange characters when you go there. A couple of years ago it was ranked as one of the best greasy spoons in Britain in one of those mysterious polls that are conducted to keep Market Researchers in a job.

Fellow Birmingham blogger Pete Ashton is a fan and gives his thoughts in this post from last year entitled Why Mr Egg is more important than Selfridges.

In short, the place is legendary and unique - Go there now!

Tuesday, February 1

Look Around You
I didn't see the first series, but the second run of Look Around You kicked of in cracking style last night. If you didn't see it then imagine a kind of spoof Tomorrow's World from the early 80s. Needless to say it was brilliant, with the star of the show being Synthesizer Patel, pioneer of the 'Liquinth', which has water covered keys for a smoother sound.

As the programme tells us, Synthesizers can recreate the sound of almost any instrument (except of course the bassoon). You can even have a go at playing the Mini-Trelm Green Key 8000 yourself. But be careful, it is alarmed to stop the rise of the worrying trend in Synthesizer theft...

I also watched the Kilroy documentary, but more on that later...