Category: Personal (Page 4 of 16)

Beer and bands in Birmingham

…Or Supersonic Festival 2010

right, I’ve got the CD player loaded up with the excellent Barolo CD, (First heard on the equally excellent Brumcast) and a couple of cds from the 3 for £20 Dirty Water Records Sale. I’ve got half a bottle of wine and a tube of Pringles. God damn it I’m going to finaly finish Supersonic Write up.

You could actually skip this review and head on over to Russ L’s [of Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands fame] and read his recently posted write up, as he both has a better memory and a more eloquent way with words than myself. Nonetheless, I’ve started so I’ll finish, this write up is brought to you by the photographs I took, the Supersonic Festival brochure and my very poor memory.

The Victoria

I met up with my regular supersonic attendee mate for a beer in The Victoria, a place that always has a decent selection of beers and it didn’t disappoint, one drink turned into four(-ish) and we headed off to check in to our accommodation for the weekend. This was to be the Arc Apartments, same as last year, as it was nice to have some extra space – living room/kitchen/tv/dvd area at not too much extra cost. Check in was confused by the fact I was apparently supposed to bring £200 cash with me to check in, well either that or a credit card. I had neither – there was nothing on any of the booking documents about it – so they agreed to charge my debit card it, this I apparently will get back at some point over the next couple of months, not yet mind, this being further worrying given the list of charges on the table for ‘breakages’ and also the list of charges should you check out more than five minutes late aannnd also given the painting in the room that had been glued back together, the smashed cooker top and the marks all over the walls. Not the most relaxing welcome though the check in staff and the place itself was nice enough.

Anyway, bags dumped we raced off to the Symphony Hall to catch Big Man Clayton who was doing a free show as a part of Birmingham Jazz’ rush hour jazz series of free gigs. It sounded good, and was nicely busy with an open bar – didn’t know what to expect, I’d been aware of the rush hour events for some time but didn’t know it was literally wander over and have a gander. Would definitely go again. That said while it was nice to get a taste of the music it would also have been good to see it in a ‘proper’ venue. After a quick hello to ace photographer and fellow Dirty Bristow contributer eight8all we headed off to the festival. Stopping on route at the recomended, to me, Manzils for some food. Previous Supersonics have always been heralded by some kind of event for us, the fabulously odd ‘school trip-like’ coach trip followed by the exelent Home Of Metal talk in 2008 and then last years free screening of Suspiria. While there were indeed some film screenings on it was nice to have a sit down and a decent meal before proceedings. Food was mostly good, my starter was a bit overdone(and my mate managed to order something which was a scotch egg deep fried with an omelette on the top – but then he always does find these bizarre combos so its no real surprise) the price was right and we both had no ill effects so it was a win overall.

We still had an hour or so to kill so headed for a quick pint in The Old Wharf. Ordering a Guinness we watched a very young band soundcheck. They were pretty good and while clearly heading in different directions genre wise they were a talented bunch. The Guinness had a rasberry tinge as its is oft served in rock venues, we cut it short and headed to the festival.

Okay, to be honest there was a tiny que when we arrived at the Custard Factory, so we headed over to the Spotted Dog for a quick half.

Anyway, we did eventually get to the festival, just in time for Necro Deathmort in the Old Library, which was the new stage for this years, it was a great improvement on both the old Medicine Bar room and the Kitchen as was. A nice space in general with its high ceilings and arches in fact it also had a bar, it would take us a day to figure out that this was in fact the ‘Capsule bar’ and as such, was cheaper, friendlier and had a better choice of beers(In fact by Sunday it was about the only bar with any draft beer left) than any of the others. I remember watching some of and enjoying what I saw of Fuckpig and then Drumcorps, in fact I remember realising it was Arron Spectre and all the great mixes I’d heard of his in the past – just about the time he was finished.

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Bubble Clothing UK

i‘ve recently spent some time helping to create and launch Bubble Clothing UK, a website offering quality custom t shirt printing and embroidery services. Actually its not just t-shirts, its fleeces, hats, hoodies and more.

Lost in Digbeth

Planning to fail or…

Well Lane Car Park

Or How I travelled to the Dirty Bristow Summer Fête and never quite arrived.

i should add in my defense of the following, much of the past week has either been spent either being at, or traveling to or from Hospitals. Or else trying to de virus and eventually wipe my laptop, Oh yeah, while still trying to stay on top of a 9 to 5 job. In short I have become accustomed to running around like a headless chicken on not enough sleep, food nor alcohol…

So I set out for the Dirty Bristow Summer Fête safe in the assumption I knew where it was, in my head it was the same place we saw Suspira at the opening of last years Supersonic festival, this turned out to be, well, wrong.

Things started quite badly when the bus driver of my local First Midlands bus service decided not to stop to pick up any passengers at my stop, this does seems to happen occasionally, the last time it did we were left stranded in Selly Oak but at least there was a pub next to us to kill some time in. Anyway, consulting the timetable it seems that thanks to the non stopping First Midland bus, in combination with their customer friendly timetable, I now had just over an hour to wait until the next one. Incensed by this, the fact the git hadn’t stopped and the fact I hoped to be home early-ish I decided to forsake alcohol and drive. What I should have done is gone home, looked up where the venue was and put my feet up for half an hour but thats hindsight for you.

All went well on the drive in, seems they’ve even resurfaced the dodgy road through Longbridge at long last. I got into Birmingham, parked up and set off towards where I thought ‘the Edge’ was. It took me a missed road to find the place and when I did it turned out that what I had in my head as the Edge was in fact Vivid. I’m not sure why I was sure this was the Edge, tumblers had dropped in place when I saw the name and even looking at the map I recognised a few landmarks and thought, yep, thats the place.

At this point I realised that I didn’t even know what street the Edge was on, but I figured if I went up and down the vague grid system of Digbeth I’d come to it eventually. I was supposedly a few minutes from the city centre and from its name I’d guess it would be on the outer fringes. After about an hour I’d certainly arrived at various Edges of the city however no luck on the venue finding front. At one point I saw a couple of people outside somewhere taking artistic style photos ‘aha!’ I thought but no, it transpired that they we’re just taking photos of the graffiti and posters on display. I realised after a while I was quite enjoying my little jaunt around Digbeth and, it having been such a manic week, a little peace and quiet and some walking was quite therapeutic.

As the sun began to set however I started to have doubts that I would ever find the place. Expanding my search to the other side of the High Street a little, though I was sure from past experience that this side was even more industrial and empty than the other. I walked down Warwick Street and then back over for one more sweep of Digbeth nearer the town, There was a band on at the Waggon and Horses who sounded rather good, if I’d not been driving I might have called it a day and gone in for a couple of pints and some noisy music, as it was I wandered onward. A couple of streets on I saw what I thought might just be the Mayor of Dirty Bristows car, however this was not a help, I even started following likely hip looking punters towards places in the hope someone would lead me there, you know you have little hope when this happens. A brief bit of guitar based indie noise on a an empty street bought a comfortable image of standing in a warm small space, beer in one hand, watching a band, was this it? no, turned out to be a recording studio.

Albert Street Development

As darkness fell I found I’d taken an increasing desperate circuitous route and ended up coming back into the town via Millennium Point and Curzon Street Station. By this stage my enjoyment in walking was on the wain, did I mention I needed the loo earlier? well I did, in fact I had ventured into the new Coach Station, nice as it is in there, they now want 30p for you to have a pee, thats ten pence over the odds, even the famous talking toilets of Much Wentlock are not that expensive. So…

While walking round the only things I could think of to help my situation were to find a computer with internet access [my phone is an antique and doesn’t ‘do’ the internet or else to ask someone, I had no luck in the first and a couple of blank looks in the second.
It probably shows how badly my brain has been working that it didn’t occur to me to phone up someone with a computer and get them to look it up for me.

So I took myself and my home grown tomato back home, I’m not sure how much beer two hours walking takes up but when I got back and offloaded the car I did my best to equal things out.

It looks like the launch was a whole lot of, slightly unusual, fun. I’m gutted I missed it but theres no one to blame but myself for that. I did enjoy my walk around though and hope the magazine breaks even or then some, then maybe there can be an issue 2 launch night at some future point.

If you’d like to make that possible, why not get yourself over to dirtybristow.co.uk and buy yourself a copy, its only 4 quid and its sure to be great given some of the very talented people involved.

Panshanger Revival Day

Jiveswing at Panshanger Revival Day in 2010

had a very enjoyable afternoon at Panshanger Aerodrome last Sunday, or as it is slightly less poetically now called the North London Flying School. Some quite amazing vintage aeroplanes flying along with some vintage cars [and people] all in a very relaxed, low key environment.

I think I can categorically say I will never be able to afford such pursuits myself but it was very nice to see all the same.

The Disco Bed

i‘d never stayed in a Travelodge before. To be honest, when I have been looking for cheap accommodation the example room photos on their website always put me off. Firstly because they aren’t necessarily the room you are booking and secondly because they look a bit, well, grim. They always reminded me of the Birmingham Etap with its wipe clean surfaces and prison like impersonality, though at least the TV in the Travelodge was in one piece… more on that later.

Our destination of choice was an overnight stay near Hitchin, so the Travelodge Stevenage Little Wymondley Hotel was to be our destination. Worryingly it didn’t seem to show up on Google satellite view but it is in fact there, just a little further up the road than Google says. Unfortunately the Little Wymondley Travelodge also doesn’t seem to appear in any of the Travelodge offers, so no £19 a night room for us or even ten percent off the £55.70 price. I’ll admit, I’m a relative cheapskate when it comes to hotel rooms, that is, I like to pay as little as possible for the best room possible. Admittedly this had lead to two nights in The George Hamilton V Hotel in Brighton, as would later be featured on TVs top 10 worst hotels in Britain [and now called the Sandalwood I believe.] and also a night in a hotel room in Barcelona that was straight out of an 18th century slum, it may have had a lot of character but just looking at the shower made you want to take a shower. Just not in that shower.

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Webazoot Inc.

Webazoot, Smallbrook Queensway, Birmingham

i was shocked and saddened to learn about the untimely death of my ex colleague, friend and fellow inker of paper mister Dave Cripps earlier this month.

Dave was responsible for probably about 98% of the comments I’ve had on this site over the years. I first worked with Dave at a medium sized printing outfit in one of the darker edges of Birminghams Jewelry Quarter in the early 00’s. He beavered away creating quality advertisements for some of the Midlands premier autodealers and I knocked up the websites for them. I left the job there after a few years but Dave stayed and we kept loosely in touch through the Internet, and mostly, through the comment section of our respective corners of the web.

A rare image of Dave at work captured via a Casio Wrist CamHis comments were always left under the ‘Webazoot’ moniker. The origins of this were in it being one of the many names thought up for a new venture. I can’t remember whether it was Dave or Stewart who came up with the name now, either way it was perhaps one of the less sensible ones at the time, although we ended up with ‘Webtropolis’ which I think was my idea, so thats not saying much. Who knows, if we’d gone with Webazoot we could be all be millionaires!

Such as it was Webazoot took on a life of its own, always a keyword for poor or over priced services and all that is bad in the design world. Several small projects involving Dave and the Webazoot moniker popped up over the years, I’ve collated a few of them below so at least I’ll know where they are;

Daves ‘quality’ Box – the recycling box from Daves desk, which we listed and sold on ebay for all of about £3.50 in 2003. We dutifully decided Dave should receive the profit from the sale, less listing fees, as he was now without a box to collect his recyclable paperwork in. I think the money was still sat on his desk when I left the company two years later.

Cripps in Space [Flash adventure game] – Play as Daves alter ego in a badly hacked together text based adventure game, familiar to anyone with a zx spectrum in 1984.

Webazoot Customer Support – the desk smashing angry computer guy was and early Internet meme, we all thought it resembled Dave with his corner desk setting so…

The Company Stapler on Daves holidays I just found this photo Dave emailed me, funnily enough I was in Barmouth last year and the Carousel Cafe still lacks a letter on its signage.

A very OTT under construction screen in Flash.

About Webazoot – A page Dave put together himself which probably sums up the ‘Webazoot ethos’ about the best.

I can’t really take it in that when I make a post I won’t have a witty/random/sarcastic/funny comment appear a few days later. It was a pleasure to know Dave and I’m sure going to miss him and his thoughts.

You can take a look at some of Daves drawings and paintings at his page on Elfwood.

Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die indeed my good friend.

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All images and artwork copyright ©1998 - 2017 chris hathway, illustrator& Hathway/Creative