Tag: Birmingham (Page 2 of 3)

85 Years of MG

To continue on with the recent Midlands theme…
last week as a part of Three Counties MG (Staffordshire, Worcestshire and Shropshire if you must ask) myself and a small group friends were lucky enough to be given a tour around the MG Motor UK Limited Longbridge plant.

I was actually surprised just how much of the place was still left. I grew up about fifteen miles away and it seems every time I’ve gone through Longbridge over the past couple of years there is another massive area flattened away. So it was good to see that cars are being built there, and also that the space to build more is still there too.

My own history with the place is limited to a somewhat chaotic job interview about eight years ago, for work on their website. I arrived with about three other people to much confusion with no one there expecting us and everyone who was there, unsure as to where to send us, I mostly remember a French exchange student running back and forth doing her best to figure things out. I didn’t get the job, in the end, which given how things went on, was maybe for the best.

Visiting the plant last week we got a chance to see where and how our own cars were put together and take a look at the new MG TF’s being built there. The walking tour through the factory that we we’re taken on was very honest, open and entertaining, we got to walk along the production line which was somewhat of a novelty. It was also nice to see and hear facts about the cars and the business rather than the chinese whispers [no pun inteneded, honest] that had been floating about online and in the press. The new cars do look more solidly built, certainly more so than my ten year old F, and the interiors, which are rarely refered to without the word dated, looked good too.

We also got a chance to see the upcoming MG TF 85th Anniversary model, if I only had £15,664 lying about the place (I know I haven’t, I’ve had the place upside down this week looking for a pair of swimming trunks I need for the Screamin’ Festival next week) It does look a fantastic car, photos don’t do the paintwork justice and even the graphics, which I was none too keen on, do look quite good in person. with less than a couple of hundred a hundred only fifty being made I can see myself spending many hours scouring the autotrader website in a few years. Anyway, heres hoping for a sunny summer, which can only help things along all round.

In the meantime, if anyone’s stuck for a Birthday present for me next month…

MG TF 85th Anniversary, press car

Many thanks to Ian for organising the day and to Ian Pogson for the tour, I’m now reading Ians book ‘Carry on car making…’ which is availible from all good book stores, and here.

Normal music related posts and maybe even some comic book work, here shortly.

I believe that brandy’s mine…

I was going to title this post ‘abundance of arseholes’ but I think I’d regret it in the morning and I really don’t think it is representative of the post as a whole and is possibly due to my stressed state of late. I do like the title though, I’ll have to find something to use it for…

Interesting gig at Space 2 in the custard factory tonight. The first gig I’ve been to there outside of Supersonic.

It was the Amanda Palmer gig, a part of the ‘Who killed Amanda Palmer‘ tour. I have to say I’m really glad I caught the pre tour show in London after tonight. The venue sound was pretty much awful throughout, on quiet songs there was low end hum all the time, and if you were any more then three rows back all you could hear was chatter – though I couldn’t see people taking anywhere – from the bar area. Then the heaters – over the stage and very very noisy* Odd. It made it very hard to get involved in the music, mostly it just made me grateful I’d caught the ICA show.

*this is not just because I got shortchanged at the bar, again – I was sober I really should pay more attention to what change trainee bar staff deliver. It is most probably a coincidence that the last three gigs I have been to here someone in my group has been shortchanged…

The all the acts were great though, Jason Webley and Zoe Keating and also someone I missed, who was in the toilets all night arranging his postcards, and Amanda was great, even with a broken foot. Jason Webley reminded me of a specific period of Tom Waits, so much so that I kept expecting one song to break into ‘Strangers, Talk only about the weather,’ but there was more than that too, it was great. I enjoyed Zoe Keatings set too, though it wasn’t the best environment with lots of people chatting or at least the sound of that – was there a ‘the sound of people at gigs talking’ CD on the PA? – It reminded me of some of the US Warren Zevon bootlegs I have – but this is the UK, we don’t talk over musicians we’ve paid to see here, do we?

All in all I’d say buy Who killed Amanda Palmer, its a great album, and do catch the tour if you can, but to whoever put this gig on at space 2, what about the Town Hall. It seems a woefully underused venue since its been re-opened, and it would have been preferable in both character and professionalism from tonights experience…

HOME OF METAL

coming up soon from Capsule, Home of Metal

For too long Birmingham and the West Midlands have failed to celebrate what is rightfully theirs, to claim the city and the region as home of “heavy metal”. With 2008 being the 40th anniversary of when the phrase “Heavy Metal” was coined it seems like a crucial time to start celebrating!

One of my photos on there too, I do believe (I would have made some more effort if I’d’ve known no one else was taking pictures. As it was my attention was diverted slightly by the free nibbles and wine. I can but apologise).

Late Supersonic write up…

well, Its been two weeks since another fantastic Supersonic Festival. Memorable moments in the order of occurrence included…

Arrival on Friday to find the TV set in two pieces in our Etap ‘The key to a good nights sleep’ hotel room, which was a definite health and safety failure I think. The pies at the Old Joint Stock were as good as always, though I still miss Pie Minister.

On arrival at the Custard Factory the entrance and wristband situation was speedily delt with, they were even kind enough to cut off everyones over long wristband ends, though again, waving a pair of scissors at every patron seems to be asking for trouble, but with a weekend that involves glass, beer cans and blood being discharged into the audience from some of the performers, this has to be a small worry.

Drumize we’re great, I was disappointed that they weren’t a band as such but a collective as other bands, as this meant there was no record to buy and my chances of hearing hem again we’re poor. Having said that I see they have a myspace page so I guess you never know. Dalek were enjoyable though I found standing at the back of the Medicine Bar Factory Club Stage to watch the Osaka Invasion uninvolving, If I’d’ve arrived early enough to be stood at the front I dare say I’d’ve felt different. We’d been looking forward to DJ Rupture who came on stage a little before 2am. Strangely the entire place emptied at this point, I’m still not sure why. I guess a lot of people had come from work or maybe people don’t stay up that late in Birmingham, see Sunday night, either way it meant the atmosphere was lost somewhat. Rupture played on and seemed to enjoy himself none the less, its just a shame there were so few left to see it.

Saturday kind of drifted in, there we’re some nice folk acts but in the bright light of day it you could see it was hard to really get the audience involved. The Courtesy Group got things going in the Warehouse/Space 2 Stage. With a front man Part Beefheart and Part Mark E Smith. They were great fun and very entertaining. We then watched Justice Yeldham, which really defies description. Oxbow were a definite highlight for me this year, I only caught part of their set in the Medicine Bar, as it was then, last year and again, I was at the back so it was hard to enjoy, this year we had a decent view and the set was pretty amazing. You can view a recent live set online, here, and also buy a recording from last years show from Capsule themselves. Harvey Milk we’re also worth a mention, I confess that despite the fact the bars ran out of draught beer, the end of the evening did become a bit of a blur, but I do remember it being a very enjoyable blur

Sunday was quite noisy to be sure. Never have I seen so many earplugs employed at a festival.

Max Tundra was good fun, a good way to get some energy back into the proceedings. I confess having seen him a couple of times before, we moved toward noisier climbs. Pierre Bastien and his wonderful machines, image, were very entertaining, creating a kind of noir soundtrack from the clicks and ticks developed by his models, and a few instruments, was also nice to sit down for five minutes! Fucked Up were great fun, image, noisy and raucous and a little scary, well, at least when you find yourself stood next to the front man as, like many bands at this years festival, he decides to perform in the crowd rather than on the stage. Earth sounded fantastic, I confess I didn’t watch that much of the set as its more music to listen to than to watch and there was so much else to do. Julian Cope gave everyone something to gossip about by not playing with Grave Temple as advertised, none the less they we’re most enjoyable, I can still taste the dry ice while I remember it. Harmonia finished things off and then if was round the corner to the Rainbow for an afterparty that petered out after about an hour. Probably for the best, it was a very tiring weekend all in all.

Next year I hope another Supersonic occurs in Birmingham and

  • a. The acts are as well chosen, obscure and entertaining
  • b. The venue remains the Custard Factory complex
  • c. The Staff/Helpers/Volunteers are as helpful and friendly as this years were.
  • d. Me and my mate at least discuss staying somewhere other than the Etap [though the random meetings in the coridors and lifts in the early hours almost made up for the stange aray of stains in our room. Almost.]
  • e. The Draft beer supply lasts longer than eight hours

Actually, it was enough fun to ignore points d and e, but you can always hope…

Supersonic Festival 2008

I‘m very much looking forward to the fast approaching Supersonic Festival in Birmingham.
Last years event really was fantastic. Dates are 11th-13th July 2008 and if I list them here, it’ll save me looking them up later.

Supersonic Festival Poster

Films…

a couple of events coming up at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham. Must admit I haven’t been there for ages but good to read they’re still keeping up with the novelty events and interesting programing…

Friday 18 April, 8.30 at the Electric
ROY SCHEIDER TRIBUTE
Jaws screening with 22-piece orchestra and pina coladas.
26/27 April at the Electric in Birmingham
GRINDHOUSE
The QT/RR doublebill complete with trailers.

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