Monday, 31 May 2010

A great British queue

Queuing for ice-creams in the park! On a beautiful weekend (not the Bank Holiday!) Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham.

Birmingham Pride

Simply great fun, peaceful (if loud!), parade and stalls, plenty of interest despite the rain.
If you missed Pride this year, then catch it next. For LGBT people and everyone.

Local heroes

Soho House in Handsworth, Birmingham: home of industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton, meeting-place for the Lunar Society as they re-shaped the world, stop-off for international figures touring Europe, and the site of Boulton's manufactory in nearly 200 acres of landscaped grounds.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Hakawatiyyah - the Storyteller. Ulfah Arts. 25th May.

"Muslim women music makers: heroic, historic and humorous" said the programme notes from the MAC Birmingham: quite right too.
A powerful storytelling session by professional performer and writer Alia Al Zougb, accompanied by superb Kosovan and UK musicians and singer and a backing group. Own interpretations of the stories of heroines from the Muslim tradition: Fatima, Mary/Mariam and Asiya. Wonderfully and soulfully presented and a really absorbing evening. A great opportunity to learn without being forced: and great to see such a mixed audience, young local Muslim women, men and women from
maybe various or no faith backgrounds.
The triumph of storytelling and the human spirit.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Can you tell what it is yet!?
At Brum's Botanical Gardens.

Cricket in German

And why not - oder warum auch nicht?
Check this out ... the German Cricket Board
And of course, the rules!

Start again

Mobile at home ...

Sent from my iPod

Open Again

The MAC - open again, with smart new Caff.

Also seen ...

The Old School Dance Band at the Red Lion Folk Club - up-and-comers on the folk scene.

Bach - Mass in B Minor - at the Town Hall. Accomplished singing by local virtuosos choir Ex Cathedra.

An odd film not so odd ...

"Das weisse Band" - a film by Michael Haneke which won an award apparently.
See: for more.
Shame about the ending - it gave up really. Some shocking moments of cruelty and emotional and other abuse in a close-knit village just before WWI. Sounds familiar? Authoritarian and sometimes brutal fathers, others oppressed by the semi-feudal village structures and the prevailing ethic of sweeping injustice under the carpet. The white ribbon is tied round the wrists of two adolescents in the family of the initially harsh and eventually rather pathetic local pastor, who tries to repress instincts (good or bad) rather than dealing with life.
The children, it seems, tried to kill the doctor with a trip-wire. When you find out how the doctor treats his daughter and housekeeper, you wish they'd succeeded.
Well photographed in an effective black and white.
Well acted by children and adults.
The major topics the film touched on never got properly explored, leaving you feeling that you never really found out what happened or why - or if you did, that it was all too obvious.
A shame.

Watching the river flow ...

Green and pleasant land ... by the river (Rea)

Britain in bloom ... Birmingham Botanical Gardens.