Friday, July 22, 2005

Boringham

Another jaunt along the canal path took us into Brum's Jewellery Quarter. A sandwich board advertising material from Jeff Wayne's "The War of the Worlds" led me to St Paul's Gallery, a commercial space displaying Hockney, Warhol, Dali, Picasso, Rembrandt and a selection of prints of famous album covers of Pink Floyd and others. I was particularly taken by a Turneresque (what's with the artist-esque refs this week?) photo manipulation, and put down a deposit. I was also seduced by a signed 7-disc edition of WotW.
We walked back into the main shopping area so that I could check the tourist ofice and book a seat for a piano recital tomorrow night. Because the Bull Ring mallitia were out in force, we had to take an extremely circuitous route to the office (more twisty winding passages).
Some web surfing indicated that the city's Birhemian(?) quarter was in an area called Moseley and we drove down there, as I hoped this might show something other than the central mall culture. Moseley seemed to be a nice residential area but was unfortunately attached to a grubby and unremarkable commercial strip. We jumped back in the car and set off to find something more appealing.
Half an hour of circling around and following promising-looking signs didn't unearth anything exciting so we landed at the "mac" (media arts centre?) at Cannon Hill Park where Bondi could sniff around the grounds and I could have lunch. The cafe lady offered me a choice between the "Sucks you in (Szechuan) Pork", and the "Chicken and Mushroom Pamanda". I opted for the latter only to discover that Pamanda did not mean Curry but (Boiled).
After a late afternoon nap, I ventured out again to see if Birmingham showed itself differently by night. The downtown area was fairly busy but even by early evening, noisy drunks were quite prevalent. Small groups of police were very visible but didn't seem interested in guiding inebriated revellers away from moving traffic. I asked a few people if there were any other parts of town with any night-life: "Haha not in Birmingham, you've got to go somewhere else" was the general response. Bummer.
I went back to the hotel and watched the first episode of a documentary series Jazz Brittania, narrated by Terence Stamp, covering the British jazz scene up to the emergence of The Beatles. I noted some albums worth sampling, read for a while, and then fell asleep part-way into the old horror film "The Spiral Staircase".

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