Quite similar to the new Morrissey single, I spent the day in Birmingham yesterday. I don’t want this to turn into a thread of easy potshots against Birmingham, but it really is an odd city.

First, as a disclaimer, I grew up in the rural Midlands, with Birmingham as my closest city. I had been there loads of times before as a teenager for gigs and shopping, but yesterday was the first time I set a day aside to visit it and just walk around. Admittedly, I didn’t do any research, but in most cities, you can get away with that and still find lots of stuff. Not Birmingham though.

For a start, it was completely dead everywhere, which I found bizarre. There were hardly any signs or maps around, and few tourist attractions, also no parks (but lots of canals). I liked the library and the viewpoint and the Shakespeare room. It’s great for shops and chain restaurants, but not much else. Was I missing something?

It feels really strange as UK’s second biggest city. What is its future? What should I try and see next time?


Lad I lived with at university was from Birmingham and he swore blind it was a superior city to Manchester in almost every way and that in 20 years we’d see Birmingham taking over the ‘best city in England that is not London’ mantle.

Still waiting for that one. I’ve been to Birmingham about half a dozen times and I’ve hated every visit.


I mean it sucks but the midlands has multiple cities that are all worse


didn’t like it much when I was up there for work a few years ago. Strange place. Probably preferred Coventry as a place to visit for a day.

in terms of where it stands on the UK leaderboard for culture, it’s

  1. London
  2. Liverpool
  3. Edinburgh
  4. Glasgow
  5. Sheffield
  6. Manchester
  7. Birmingham


Holy shit there is nothing bleaker than an anonymous Midlands town is there. Alfreton, Long Eaton, Burton… those lads.


ahem Hull is technically #1


don’t even get me started on the towns

but where i grew up my immediate city choices were ketting, corby, northamptonshire or peterborough


Um Bristol would like a word.


yep forgot Bristol strangely, as I really like the city. Put it above Edinburgh.


I always think about Bristol culture like i do Brighton.

Lot of posh kids making art while high; few results.


Brighton hasn’t really given us anything culturally speaking though, has it. Nice place to go for a weekend, but what else? The same could be said for Leeds?


I probably felt more culturally enriched there than I do now in London. Loads of things on all the time and in a very concentrated area.


Bansky. Trip Hop. Decent theatre.

that’s it.


Tread carefully young man…



Joking of course. Haven’t been to Corby for a long time but isn’t it ok now? Benefitted from the same thing as Hull in that it was SO maligned it had a load of money pumped into it and now it’s sort of London commutersville.


I think Bristol would be the one place in the UK I’d happily move to other than London. It kind of feels like South London condensed. Easy to get around too.




yeah, shithole.
But let’s be honest, London is the only truly great city in the UK, with smaller places like Bristol, Bath, Edinburgh worth going to, but all the big pretenders - Manc, liverpool etc generally awful.


I’ve got a conference/meal at the ICC this afternoon/evening. We are going out on the town afterwards.
As a night out, it isn’t that bad if you know where to go.


i thought i’d get a more angry bite for bristol damnit :smiley: