The StirrerThe Stirrer

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

February 07

DUDLEY MOSQUE REJECTION “NOT RACIST”

28-02-2007

Plans for a major new mosque in Dudley were thrown out last night - but Council leader David Caunt has angrily rejected claims that the decision was tainted by racism. more


FAIR CHANCE OF EDUCATION FOR POOR KIDS SHOCKER

28-02-2007

Fed up of people pretending to be church-goers to get into a religious school; tired of smug middle class parents who believe in the state education system but only because they can buy a house close enough to qualify for the local Oxbridge hothouse? Then move to Brighton. more


WHO KILLED THE DOCTOR?

28-02-2007

Dr David Nicholl on the scandalous case of a highly-skilled medic who wanted to offer his skills to the NHS …but thenfoundhimself on the wrong end of government policy. more


CLEANING UP THE DIRTY RATS

28-02-2007

Campaigning councillor Martin Mullaney is using a little known regulation to help clean up Birmingham by forcing untidy landowners out of business. As usual, he's telling the world by putting it all on youTube. more


Get out More...Gig Review

TED CHIPPINGTON(Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath)

28-02-2007

Dave Travis yields to no one in his admiration for Ted Chippington. You can see a previous appreciation of the great Midlands comedian here. But as for his first Brum gig on years…oh dear, oh dear, oh dear… more


BOOS FOR BOURNVILLE BOOZE

28-02-2007
The Stirrer has featured numerous articles over recent weeks from residents in South Birmingham, complaing about the ever expanding number of off-licenses in their area. Lynne Habermacher from Bournville has sent this letter to her MP Lynne Jones after learning that a new Tesco Express has also applied for a permit to sell alcohol in a suburb famous throughout the world for being "dry". more


BLIND DAVE'S BLOG

28-02-2007

With the London Marathon looming, Black Country runner Blind Dave Heeley took a few days out to enjoy a family holiday in The Lakes. As ever, the mishaps weren't far behind. more


LIBRARY DEBATE: MADIN VERSUS TAYLOR ON STIRRER TV

27-02-2007

See the architect of Birmingham Central Library John Madin defend his controversial building - now on Stirrer TV. And also watch developer Gary Taylor who wants to demolish it and create a new square around the Town Hall.


BIRMINGHAM MAN GETS CBSO WORLD PREMIERE

27-02-2007

John Joubert, one of the great composers of 20th century choral music and a Birmingham resident will have a world premiere performed iby the CBSO n his home city to mark his 80th birthday. more


BRUM LIBRARY "NEGLECT" SLAMMED BY ITS ARCHITECT

27-02-2007

The architect of Birmingham's Central Library last night launched a passionate defence of his controversial building and condemned its “disgraceful” neglect - but a developer who wants it demolished set out a rival vision which would see traffic re-routed away from Paradise Circus, and a new square created around the Town Hall. more


FREECYCLE - NOT A LOAD OF RUBBISH

27-02-2007

The Stirrer recently praised Sandwell Council for the webcam at it's Shidas Lane Recycling Centre in Oldbury which prevents wasteful queuing - and slammed the dangerous congestion at Lifford Lane tip in Birmingham. Of course, it's far better if you can re-use your old stuff by simply giving it to someone who needs it. Let us introduce you to Birmingham Freecycle. more


BLACK PATCH BRIGHT SPOT

27-02-2007
We can't be certain, but it looks as though Black Patch Park in Smethwick could be saved following a campaign by local activists - and supported by The Stirrer. more


STIRRER CAMPAIGN

GOVERNMENT “RAIDING CHARITY'S COLLECTION TIN”

27-02-2007

One of Birmingham's leading charity fund-raising organisations has accused the government of placing it on a par with bingo halls and casinos - and says plans to charge it a fee to cover the cost of running the Gambling Commission will be tantamount to “raiding the donation tin”. more


GET OUT MORE…………………………..FILM GUIDE

27-02-2007

Here's the latest “what's on” from Birmingham's funkiest cinema, the Electric in Station Street. Highlights include Forrest Whittaker's Oscar-winning turn in The Last King Of Scotland and a 30th anniversary screening of one of the weirdest movies ever made, David Lynch's Eraserhead. more


MAGGIE JO's FAIR TRADE BLOG

27-02-2007
Birmingham fair-trade campaigner MaggieJo St John is in Nicaraguan coffee-growing country, teaching the locals to speak English and learning her how work here affects their lives there. Here's her latest blog. more


MIRREN REIGNS SUPREME AT THE OSCARS

26-02-2007

British actress Helen Mirren has scooped the best actress Oscar for her starring role in the Queen; another veteran, Martin Scorsese has taken Best Director and Best Film Oscars for The Departed. more


SUNDAY CRIMES
26-02-2007

The Stirrer's webmaster Andy Goff is still recovering from a Sunday spent reading Rupert Murdoch's ever-expanding organ. more


GET OUT MORE………………………………….GIG NEWS

TAKE THAT; POP LOSERS ARE COMEBACK KINGS

26-02-2007

Even Lazarus would be hard put to match this comeback trick…Take That, dead and buried loser popstars, have just announced four dates at the NEC as part of their latest tour confirming one of the most amazing musical resurrections of all time. more


LIBRARY MEETING BOOKED FOR TONIGHT

26-02-2007

Stirrer readers are invited to a public meeting tonight to discuss the future of Birmingham Central Library. The city council is considering plans to replace it with a new building next to Baskerville House in Centenary Square. more


BLAIR "BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR"IN STAR WARS

26-02-2007

So the cat's out of the bag - Tony Blair wants Britain to take an active role in America's latest Star Wars defence system. Barbara Panvel gives him a rocket. more


CARRY ON AT YOUR CONVENIENCE

26-02-2007

Lynn Hawthorne contemplates the decline of the great British facility….and suggests we should recommend those that are above bog standard. more


BOURNVILLE'S BOOZY HANGOVER

26-02-2007

It's always been famous as a pub-free zone, but if Tesco gets it's way there'll soon be booze available throughout the day in Bournville. Presumably, the five off-licenses just up the road in Cotteridge simply aren't enough for the sozzled citizens of South Birmingham. Ken Jarrett reports on how the locals want to call time on the plan. more


STIRRER'S ANTI-AGEISMCAMPAIGN GATHERS SUPPORT

24-02-2007

The Stirrer's campaign for equality in the workplace for the elderly has won the backing of thenational charity Age Concern. They were responding to our recent story that a 71-year old Birmingham man was among 140 employees who'd given their cards by Enterprise Rent-A-Car for being "too old." more


GET OUT MORE……………………PUB CRAWL

THE STIRRER'S WOLVO PUB CRAWL

24-02-2007

Finding a clutch of pubs in Wolverhampton that aren't designed exclusively for students and/or chavs ain't easy. But The Stirrer's been checking out a few quality hostelries for you to enjoy. more


SAVE THE LIBRARY - GUESTS CONFIRMED

24-02-2007

The campaign to save Birmingham's Central Library steps up a gear on Monday with a major public meeting that brings together developers, council officials and - making a rare public appearance - library architect John Madin. more


GET OUT MORE………………………GIG PREVIEW

COWBOY JUNKIES (ACOUSTIC SET) WULFRUN HALL, MARCH 9

24-02-2007

Never mind cranking up the amps to 11, if you are into rock music of tender, gentle beauty the Cowboy Junkies should be just the ticket. Even better, their forthcoming Wolverhampton show is a rare acoustic set. Our musicologist Paul Samuels sets the scene. more


GOBBIN' OFF

24-02-2007

Remember those signs which used to say “No Spitting On The Bus.” Lynn Hawthorne clears her throat, and reckons we ought to bring them back - and in a few more places too. more


TAKE THAT NICE BLOKES SHOCKER

24-02-2007

Now that Take That have returned to pop prominence at precisely the moment their old mate Robbie Williams was taking a dive in the charts, a bit of collective chuckling up sleeves might have been expected. Not a bit of it, writes Ros Dodd more


SOME INCONVENIENT TRUTHS

23-02-2007

Birmingham's plans to become the UK's greenest city were rolled out to a public audience for the last time last night at Millennium Point with a screening of Al Gore's movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” In the discussion that followed, city leaders had to face a few inconvenient truths of their own. more


JONES TO BACK MEACHER FOR LABOUR LEADER

23-02-2007

Birmingham MP Lynne Jones has revealed that she plans to throw her weight behind Michael Meacher in the Labour leadership contest - but the Stirrer's Westminster sources suggest there could also be challenge to Gordon Brown from allies of Tony Blair. more


SEVERN TRENT "RIP OFF" CLAIM

23-02-2007

Severn Trent Water have been accused of “ripping off” customers after a Birmingham lecturer discovered the difference between paying for a metered and unmetered supply. more


Get Out More.....CInema Listing

MAC CINEMA, MARCH APRIL

23-02-2007

Here are the latest film listings for MAC Cinemain Canon Hill Park, covering March and April. Highlights include a "last chance" opportunity to see Pan's Labyrinth, and popular recent movies including The History Boys. There's a few classics thrown in as well, including Casabalanca and Belle De Jour. To see the full list click here. more


SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE

23-02-2007

As the clamour grows in the United States to ‘deal with' Iran's growing interest in nuclear technology, Barbara Panvel wonders which nation is the biggest threat to world peace. more


CAUSE FOR COMPLAINT

23-02-2007

The ongoing conflict in Iraq? The imminent destriuction of the planet? Dave Woodhall would like to write about that stuff wot really matters, but he's just got to take a call. more


Poets Corner

WHEN WILL WE STOP

23-02-2007

The Stirrer's poet laureate Brendan Hawthorne offers something for the weekend - a few reflections on Britain's bottom of the table ranking for kids' happiness amongst other things. more


PRINCE HARRY OFF TO IRAQ…

22-02-2007

And why ever not? The third in line to the throne is being sent along with the rest of his regiment, the Blues and Royals to join the occupying force. more


EXCLUSIVE

“WE'LL GET BETTER” - SANDWELL KIDS BOSS

22-02-2007

The man in charge of Sandwell's zero rated chidren's services has vowed that by this time next year it will have two stars - helping to lift the council out of the country's bottom five local authorities. more


SANDWELL ONE OF FIVE WORST COUNCILS

22-02-2007
Sandwell Council has been ranked among the five worst performing councils in the country after receiving a one-star ranking from the Audit Commission, but it's a brighter picture for some of the other local authorities in the West Midlands. Birmingham has two stars, with Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Dudley all getting three. more


GET OUT MORE……GIG LIST
WORLD UNLIMITED PREVIEWS; LATE FEB - APRIL

22-02-2007
World Unlimited, who regularly attract some of the most interesting names on the live circuit to the West Midlands have got some choice up n' coming gigs including Zimbabwean acapapella troupe Black Umfolosi, Cowboy Junkies in acoustic mode, pure-voiced English folkie June Tabor, as well as Jackie Leven and Thea Gilmore. Here's the full list. more


BROAD STREET'S POKER FACE

22-02-2007

It's become an internet phenomenon, but now poker is heading to the high street (or rather Broad Street) with plans for a private members' club where you can attempt a royal flush with a trip to the loo. Edward Cameron tries not to give much away. more


KEEPING EYE ON FUTURE AS INFIRMARY SHUTS

22-02-2007
There's just a week to go before Wolverhampton's famous Eye Infirmary is finally shut and transferred to New Cross hospital - but the man who led the campaign to keep it open insists the battle wasn't in vain. more


READ ALL ABOUT IT

22-02-2007

After last week's merciless tonking of Tolkein (check it out here) Laurence Inman celebrates Birmingham's currently wonderful world of wordy achievements. (And there's another pavement update too) more


"BOOZE CAPITAL" HAS ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD

22-02-2007
It looks as though the suburb named on The Stirrer as “the cheap booze capital of South Birmingham” is about to get another off-licence - unless residents can find a way of blocking the latest application. more


TROOPS OUT - NEARLY

21-02-2007

The phased withdrawal of British troops from Iraq announced by the Prime Minister today is supposedly dependent on the law and order situation there - but The Stirrer's Westminster sources say it's almost impossible to conceive of a situation in which all our troops won't have left by the end of next year at the latest. more


FIREWORKS AS GUY FAWKES THREATENS LIBEL

21-02-2007
Blog wars have reached a new level of intensity after the creator of one of the country's leading political websites was accused of using libel laws to silence his critics. Paul Staines, better known as Guido Fawkes, is reported to have once written to the BNP seeking to foster links with the party when he was a Tory student - but even though he may have an innocent explanation, he now wants the story covered up. more


BLAIR DRIVES DEBATE ON CONGESTION CHARGING

21-02-2007

More than one and a half million people have signed an onlinepetition protesting against government proposals for roadscharging. They've all been sent this e-mail by Tony Blair. more


"THE DON” SPOTTED IN MOSELEY

21-02-2007

Top TV gardener and heart-throb Monty Don has been spotted mooching through Moseley's Moor Green Allotments in Birmingham today. He's been filmed by the BBC giving advice to the green-fingered brigade. You can see the result on Gardeners World on Friday March 2, but to get a sneak preview of The Don in action click here.


BLACK COUNTRY MOVIE STAR GETS NAME UP IN LIGHTS

21-02-2007
Black Country movie star Madeleine Carroll is being honoured today, with the unveiling of a memorial in her home town of West Bromwich. more


Get Out More……Film Preview

SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS (12A)

21-02-2007

Remember that classic Ealing comedy of the same name starring Ian Carmichael, Alastair Sim and Terry Thomas? Now the Yanks have re-made it in modern day New York with, among others, Billy Bob Thornton. Dionne McCarthy is too young to remember the original, so we sent her to cast an unjaundiced eye over the new one. more


RED HOUSE - BRICK WALL

20-02-2007
Residents campaigning to save the historic Red House in Great Barr say they're being “fobbed off” by Sandwell Council following a public meeting last night. more


BLAIR'S IDENTITY CRISIS

20-02-2007

Tony Blair has written to the thousands of people who've signed a petition against ID Cards. Check out his full reply below and then leave your comments on our message board..... more


MULLANEY TOUR OF NEW GRAFFITI ART GALLERY

20-02-2007
Birmingham councillor Martin Mullaney is offering a YouTube guided tour of the city's new graffiti art gallery - designed to keep spray painting taggers off the streets. more


BEEB IN DEEP WATER OVER POOL CAMPAIGN

20-02-2007
Birmingham's leisure chief has the asked the BBC to “show us your money” after Radio WM launched a campaign for an Olympic-sized pool in the city. more


THE STIRRER PRESENTS…AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

20-02-2007

Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg will be hosting a special screening of Al Gore's climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth on Thursday … and it's free. more


BOOZERS AND LOSERS

20-02-2007
Andy Stowe admits he likes a drink or two, but he's crying into his beer at the news that his home turf of Cotteridge is getting another off-licence. There are already four booze outlets within five minutes walk of each other. Here's his open letter to Birmingham's senior licensing officer, Carolyn Bennett. more


WHERE THERE'S A WILL

20-02-2007

The Stirrer's new columnist Dr David Nicholl on one of the great inspirational characters in history...ad why he should still be feted in 2007. more


GET OUT MORE………………………………CONCERT REVIEW
CBSO YOUTH ORCHESTRA (Symphony Hall, Sunday, February 18th)

20-02-2007
The CBSO's youth wing has been showing what it can do at Symphony Hall. Steve Beuachampe went to catch them in action. more


FOOTBALL MANAGER'S BUM DEAL

19-02-2007

Kidderminster Harriers boss Mark Yates is being investigated for allegedly headbutting a rival player during Saturday's game against Exeter. The headline in tonight's Exeter Express and Echo? “Yates Faces Butt Probe”. Ouch. (check it out for yourself at http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/)


BO DIDDLEY A' COMIN / ACADEMY STEPS UP IN CLASS

19-02-2007
Two excellent items of news for gig-goers in the West Midlands - the legendary Bo Diddley is heading to the Robin in Bilston, while Birmingham's top indie venue The Academy is getting an extra 300 places. more


"BUSH AND BLAIR GOOD FOR OSAMA" - RAGEH OMAAR

19-02-2007

Rageh Omaar who reported on the fall of Baghdad for the BBC has warned there's no way Britain and the US can leave Iraq with their honour intact. And he said that George Bush and Tony Blair were Osama Bin Laden's idea of “perfect enemies” because they re-inforce everything he says about the West. more


THE YEAR OF THE PIG

19-02-2007

Hundreds of revellers were drawn to Birmingham's Arcadian Centre yesterday to enjoy the Chinese New Year Celebrations. It's the Year Of the Pig apparently, but in our photo gallery, Pete Millington could only spot dragons and acrobats. more


A SENSE OF HOUMOUS

19-02-2007

What a nice treat this weekend for Dave Travis...he'd just discovered there was a health scare over houmous AFTER his daughter had eaten the brand affected. His verdict: Screw Bakkavor, make yer own more


WRITING ON THE WALL FOR GRAFFITI VANDALS

19-02-2007

The scourge of Birmingham's spray painting taggers has come up with an original solution to cure their habit - he's providing them with a safe indoor space where their vandalism can be channelled into art. more


The Great Post Office Black Hole

19-02-2007

There are some things you just can't deliver by email - a rare nineteenth century book for one. But as Pete Millington discovered, sending it via Royal Mail ain't much better. Ever thought of pigeon post mate? more


BIG BARRY TURNED DOWN BY THE ARMY

17-02-2007

Birmingham's biggest man, 45-stone Barry Austin has been telling The Stirrer how he's been frustrated in his latest battle to lose weight - after being turned down by three local gyms and even the army. more


LADYWOOD - THE PLOT THICKENS

17-02-2007

Blimey. The Stirrer certainly lived up to his name when he suggested that there were three female contenders to succeed Clare Short as Labour's parliamentary candidate in Ladywood. It turns out that there's even more intrigue than we thought. more


THE FEAR OF CHOICE

17-02-2007

The unhappiness of Britain's kids can be directly traced to New Labour, the Prime Minister, and our refusal to say that some things are better than others reckons Mike Drayton. more


GET OUT MORE.....................GIG PREVIEW

MANIC STREET PREACHERS, WOLVES CIVIC

17-02-2007

They've played the stadiums, but now they're back in the small halls…Manic Street Preachers visit Wolverhampton in May. The Stirrer's musicologist Paul Samuels previews Fidel Castro's favourite band. more


The Media Column

ROTTEN APPLE?

17-02-2007

The head honcho at Apple computers has been posing as the punter's friend this week, calling for an end to those annoying restrictions that plague buyers of music downloads. Our media commentator Paul Bradshaw says beware of billionaires bearing soundbites. more


BLIND DAVE'S NEXT FUND-RAISER

17-02-2007

Regular readers will know that Stirrer blogger Blind Dave Heeley is planning to become the first disabled person to run seven marathons in seven days across seven continents next year. He wants to improve awareness of blindness around the world, and help Guide Dogs. Here are the details of his latest fund-raising event...spot the spelling mistake! more


GET OUT MORE……FILM REVIEW

NOTES ON A SCANDAL

17-02-2007

The movie version of Zoe Heller's pot-boiler starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett has been getting rave reviews. The Stirrer took his place in the rear stalls. more


GET OUT MORE…LIVE ENTERTAINMENT

CHINESE NEW YEAR

17-02-2007

Birmingham celebrates Chinese New Year this Sunday with a programme of free events at the Arcadian Centre between noon and four. It's usually a good crack, so here's the programme. more


SNOW COINCIDENCE

16-02-2007

This time last week, Birmingham ground to a halt during a snowstorm - an incident with uncanny echoes of 2004. Back then, the council was forced to hold a two and a half day inquiry into the traffic chaos. And who ordered it?None other than current transport boss Len Gregory. more


THE STIRRER MEETS RAGEH

16-02-2007

One of the country's most respected reportersRageh Omaar is in the West Midlands this weekend, in conversation with Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg. There'll be reflections on his latest book about growing up as a Muslim in Britain, as well as last night's TV documentary about the real Iran. more


BIRMINGHAM SUPER MAYOR

16-02-2007

With the debate rumbling on about the prospect of a mayor for Birmingham, Dave Woodhallchucks in histwo penn'orth. more


KID-OLOGY

16-02-2007

This week's UNICEF survey placed British teenagers at the bottom of an international health and well-being league, and as if to underline the sorry mess we're making of our kids, three youngsters have been shot dead this month in South London. But it's not all doom and gloom…and here's Paula Eleanor to prove it..... more


BLIND DAVE'S BLOG

16-02-2007

Black Countryrunner Blind Dave Heeley has a major fund-raiser coming up on March 10th, to help him achieve his dream of becoming the first athlete to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. Details on this site tomorrow. First here's his latest blog. more


STIRRER CAMPAIGN AGAINST AGE DISCRIMINATION

15-02-2007

Age discrimination is supposed to have been outlawed - but just try telling that to Ken Jarrett. The 71 year old from Birmingham is one of 140 workers sackedby hire firm by Enterprise Rent-A-Car because they say he's too old. more


GET OUT MORE…….GIG NEWS

GOLDEN OLDIES HEADING OUR WAY

15-02-2007

Motown legend Diana Ross has just announced a date in Birmingham - and there are plenty of other old timers heading towards the West Midlands too - including The Strawbs,Barclay James Harvest, and Sweet. more


MAYOR 1

MALLON - WHY BRUM NEEDS A MAYOR

15-02-2007

The mayor of Middlesbrough Ray Mallon has been telling The Stirrer about the advantages of having an elected mayor. He was talking last night at a debate organised by the Birmingham Mail in the city's council house. See what he has to say on Stirrer TV.


MAYOR 2

STIRRER - WHY BRUM DOESN'T NEED A MAYOR

15-02-2007

Once again, the issue of whether Birmingham or the West Midlands needs a mayor has become the matter of public debate. The Stirrer remains unconvinced. more


NEW MP - THREE LADIES WOULD IN LADYWOOD

15-02-2007

The Stirrer has a tale of skulduggery and backbiting as the contenders line up to replace Clare Short as Labour's candidate in the Ladywood parliamentary seat. more


GETTING AWAY WITH IT

15-02-2007

Thousands of criminals who've dodged nearly £500m in fines are to escape a crackdown after ministers quietly dropped the initiative reports our "man in the know", John Mellor. more


FORCE OF HOBBIT

15-02-2007

Tolkein might be famous Brummie author but Laurence Inman reckons that a) the relevance of this area to his work is tenuousand b) he was a crap writer. We can do better than that he says. Much better. more


HITTINGA BRIC WALL

15-02-2007

With the recent announcement that small scale car production is about to begin again at Longbridge, TheStirrer's global motoring correspondent Hu Jen Jin assess the prospects for future developments in the automotive industry. more


EXCLUSIVE

LABOUR PAINS AT WOMENS' HOSPITAL

14-02-2007

Senior maternity managers at Birmingham's Womens' Hospital have been accused of letting down their workers by going home during last week's snowfall - despite a severe staff shortage. The hospital disputes the claim, but admits it has launched a review of emergency call out procedures.. more


MISERY IS KID'S STUFF

14-02-2007

British kids come bottom of the happines and well-being league according to a UN report of 21 leading nations. Our youngsters spend less time eating meals with their parents than in many other countries, and are more likely to get involved in drinking, smoking and unsafe sex. more


CONTROVERSIAL CLERIC PREACHING AGAIN

14-02-2007

BBC WM is reporting this morning that the controversial Muslim cleric at the centre of a Channel 4 documentary about Birmingham's Green Lane mosque is preaching in the city again. more


HIGH STREET 1

FAIR DEALS ON MEALS

14-02-2007

Buying fair trade goods guarantees that food producers abroad get properly rewarded for their efforts. But what about Britain's hard-pressed farmers? Barbara Panvel reports on a new initiative to ensure that shops who give them a decent a deal are properly recognised. more


HIGH STREET 2

BUY BUY TESCO

14-02-2007

Fancy shopping in a store that sells live turtlesand whale meat? Welcome to Tesco. Not that you'll findthese exotic goods stocked in your local high street, but Lynn Hawthorne reckons consumers at home should checkout what "every little helps" means abroad. more


BBC'S BOWEN HOLIDAYS IN BRUM

14-02-2007

TV dandy Laurence Llewelyn Bowen takes to our screens tonight, giving viewers of the “Holiday” programme a whistle-stop tour of Birmingham. Apparently, he's impressed, but The Stirrer can reveal that it took a major PR effort to attract the programme here in the first place. more


LONGBRIDGE INACTION PLAN APPROVED

13-02-2007

Nearly two years after the closure of MG Rover, Birmingham Council's cabinet has approved an “action plan” for the future of the old Longbridge site - but despite its title, don't expect too much action anytime soon. more


WOLVO HOSPITAL 1

HOSPITAL HANDWASHING CLASSES "MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN"

13-02-2007

Is this biggest waste of money yet by thecash-strapped NHS?Edward Cameron reports on the West Midlands hospital trust which has laid off staff - but is now running courses telling volunteers how to wash their hands. more


WOLVO HOSPITAL 2

THE TRUST REPLIES...

13-02-2007

You're a health trust running amulti-million pounddeficit and you've just made dozens of staff redundant. So what do you do next? Why, spend thousands of pounds teachingvoluntarycanteen workers and hospital radio staffhow to lift a patient and wash their hands properly. more


CAMERON GOES TO POT

13-02-2007

Has he or hasn't he? Did he or didn't he? We still don't know. The Tory leader David Cameron simply won't say whether or not he smoked a spliff as a teenager. More fool him, I reckon. more


CLICK TO CURE

13-02-2007

There's been no shortage of coverage for the online petition against roads pricing, which has gathered more than a million signatures. Downing Street has pledged to take it seriously too, underlining the power of numbers. But Ros Dodd reckons there's a worthier cause for your click… more


MARTIN LONGLEY'S BRAZILIAN BLOG

13-02-2007

And lo! The Stirrer's dedicated world music hunter Martin Longley finds himself in big, bad São Paulo, truffling out indigenous sounds, reporting on the hot music of South America's most sprawling megalopolopolis... more


SHOCK “POT SMOKER” EXCLUSIVE!

12-02-2007

TORY TOFF CONFESSES ALL ABOUT HISTEENAGE YEARS more


THE CADBURY SPIN

12-02-2007

It might not be as well known as Dairy Milk or Fruit and Nut, but Birmingham's world famous chocolate maker has just introduced a new line - the Cadbury Spin -to cover up the recall of thousands of mini crème eggs and Easter eggs. more


NEW LIFE AT COFFIN FACTORY

12-02-2007

One of Birmingham's historic landmarks, the Newman Brothers Coffin factory in the Jewellery Quarter has just been given £1.5 million to secure its future. What's more there'll soon be new economic life in the old place. more


SNOW JOKE 1: MP BLAMES CITY ROADS BOSS FOR DELAYS

12-02-2007

Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood had a personal insight into Friday night's snowbound chaos - after being trapped on Hockley Flyover for two hours. He lays the blame for the congestion squarely on the shoulders of Len Gregory, head honcho in the council's roads department. more


SNOW JOKE 2: NEVER MIND TERRORISTS, WATCH OUT FOR BAD WEATHER

12-02-2007

Dave Woodhall on how a city with fully developed emergency plans to deal with a terrorist attack can't handle a drop of snow. more


SNOW JOKE 3: SNOW IDEA

12-02-2007

"I know we've all had just about enough of snow as we can take for one weekend, but I just wanted to share an idea" - writes Pete Millington more


SNOW JOKE 4: THE WAY WE WERE

12-02-2007

Veteran Stirrer John Mellor from Wolverhampton recalls how we coped with snow in years gone by. more


BLUE MONDAY AT ST ANDREWS

12-02-2007

Birmingham City's suicidal tendencies have never been more evident - even though they reclaimed an automatic promotion spot yesterday it seemed that civil war was breaking out between the club and its supporters, who stayed away in their thousands from the match against Stoke. more


GROUNDHOG DAY FOR SNOWBOUND BRUMMIES

10-02-2007

Questions arebeing asked about Birmingham Council's gritting policy after a heavy snowfall once again brought gridlock to major routes in and out of the city on Friday night. It was groundhog day for commuters who experienced an almost identical situation three years ago. more


SELLY OAK CUTS "VITAL" BEDS

10-02-2007

The Stirrer has discovered that Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital has chopped more than half its rheumatology beds - a further blow to patients who last year were deprived of a hydrotherapy pool that gave relief to sufferers. more


ANY COLOUR YOU LIKE - AS LONG AS IT'S GREEN

10-09-2007

The European Union this week agreed tough new rules to ensure that cars improve their environmental performance. But there's already one motor whose green credentials already outperform almost anything on the road. Dionne McCarthy's been for a test drive. more


MISSING IT

10-02-2007

The BBC has axed one of it's least popular, most inaccessible music shows. And it's a crying shame reckons Steve Beauchampé. more


The Media Column

WE'RE ALL JOURNALISTS NOW

10-02-2007

Our media man Paul Bradshaw on the internet brodcasting revolution that means the "official version" can always be undermined. And that's official! more


GET OUT MORE................................GIG PREVIEW

AL GREEN (NIA, 4 JULY 07)

10-02-2007

Let joy be unconfined. Al Green, one of THE great soul singers returns to the West Midlands later this year. The Stirrer's musicologist Paul Samuels gives Praise To The Lord - and offers a nifty youtube link as well. more


JOHN LENNON'S BRUMMIE CONNECTION

10-02-2007

It's one of the most eagerly awaited movies of 2007, it's already been feted at international festivals, and the men behind it are being courted by Hollywood. Now The Stirrer can reveal that the masterminds behind “The Killing Of John Lennon” are Brummies. more


WINNER NO SINNER IN STIRRER CAMPAIGN

09-02-2007

Movie director Michael Winner has responded from his sickbed to The Stirrer's campaign to get a permanent memorial for West Midlands police officer DC Mick Swindells, killed almost three years ago after responding to a 999 call. more


GET OUT MORE……………………GIG NEWS

THE WHO ARE COMING

09-02-2007

Rock legends The Who have just announced a West Midlands date - they'll be playing at the NIA on May 22. Tickets go on sale next week. more


FIVE CHARGED AFTER BRUM TERROR RAIDS

09-02-2007

Five men arrested in last week's anti-terrorism raids in Birmingham have been charged overnight with offences under the Terrorism Acts of 2000 and 2006. more


GET OUT MORE…..THEATRE REVIEW

THATCHER THE MUSICAL (Grand, Wolverhampton)

09-02-2007

There are only three performances left,so you'd better get your skates on. Mind you, in the current weather,that shouldn't be a problem. Pete Millington sees if the Iron Lady can inspire a magical musical. more


SPECIAL SCHOOLS AND THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES

09-02-2007

Parents of children at Birmingham's special schools have secured a remarkable victory this week. Just three months after closure threats provoked uproar, a vociferous campaign has forced a council u-turn and ensured that mums and dads will now be fully consulted. Jonathan Harris, who led the protests, celebrates a remarkable victory. more


NEC INJURY?

09-02-2007

Organisers of the Midlands Manufacturing Technology Exhibition have decided to stick the boot in to their old venue, the NEC writes Edward Cameron more


OUR FRIENDS ELECTRIC

09-02-2007

Britain's oldest working cinema, the Electric in Station Street, marked the second anniversary of its rebirth last night with an appropriately decadent bash. The Stirrer pays tribute to the man who gave it the kiss of life, Thomas Lawes. more


BLIND DAVE'S BLOG

09-02-2007

Just 12 weeks to go until the London marathon, and Black Country marathon runner Blind Dave Heeley is getting distracted by hot metal cooking trays masquerading as towels. And more DIY disasters. more


MORE CHAV AND ESSEX GIRLS JOKES

09-02-2007

Aah, go on, go on, go on…by unpopular demand and because it's a Friday here are some more, yes, Chav and Essex Girl gags. Possibly sexist, certainly funny if you like that kind of thing (and we do!) but don't read if you're easily offended. more


MAYOR PARKING GAFFE - IT WAS THE CHAUFFEUR WOT DUN IT

08-02-2007

Earlier today, we reported that Birmingham's mayoral car had been spotted illegally parked on double yellow lines outside the Mailbox. Now we can reveal precisely who was to blame. more


MAIL EDITOR HITS BACK IN TERROR ROW

08-02-2007

Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson has defended the media's coverage of last week's terror arrests in the city arguing that they were right to report details of an alleged kidnapping and beheading plot. more


ALL WHITE NOW

08-02-2007

For us new media types being chained to our desks means we don't have to venture out in rush hour on days like this. Hooray! But that hasn't stopped Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg painting a lyrical picture of Bournville Green for Radio 2's Jeremy Vine Show or webmaster Andy Goff enjoying the snow in Moseley. Check out Goffy's thoughts and add to our picture gallery. more


"BEHEADING PLOT? I LAUGHED" - BRUM TERROR SUSPECT

08-02-2007

One of the Birmingham terror suspects arrested last week but then released without charge after a week in custody has been tellingThe Stirrer that he laughed in disbelief when he first heard allegations of conspiracy to kidnap and behead a British Muslim soldier. more


HOT AIR FROM BRITISH GAS

08-02-2007

British gas has announced cuts in the price of gas an electricity - after seven rises in the past five years. The news bring some relief (but not much) to Lynn Hawthorne. more


THE STIRRER GOES TO STOURBRIDGE

08-02-2007

Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg will be in Stourbridge this Saturday night, hosting a charity concert with the West Midlands premiere male voice choir The Gentleman Songsters. Come and join us. more


MAYOR HAS A MARE

08-02-2007

In a classic case of “do as I say, not as do” Birmingham's mayoral car has been spotted parked - horror of horrors - on double yellow lines. And we've got the picture. more


GAMES WITHOUT FRONTIERS

08-02-2007

Worried about the spiralling cost of the Olmpics? Let's just hand 'em back says Laurence Inman. Oh, and he's got a pavement update too. more


WHY BIRMINGHAM NEEDS TO WALK THE TALK

08-02-2007

The chair of Birmingham Forward Dianne Benussi on why the city nees to put its best foot forward - and become more firiendly to pedestrians. more


News update 07FEB07 21:00

BROAD STREET REOPENS

Birmingham's Broad Street entertainment district was bustling again tonight following the earlier security alert which saw the area evacuated.

However, The ICC, where a bomb disposal team was examining a suspect package, remained in darkness.

More news as we get it from our roving reporter


BROAD STREET CLOSED IN SECURITY ALERT

07-02-2007

Birmingham's Broad Street, the hub of the city's entertainment quarter, was closed this evening following a security alert at the ICC. Bars, clubs and restaurants were forced to stay shut, and a perormance by the CBSO at Symphonal hall was cancelled. more


TWO RELEASED AFTER “TERROR” ARRESTS

07-02-2007

Two of the men nine men arrested in Birmingham last week on suspicion of involvement in terrorism have been released overnight after questioning in Coventry. Police have been given 72 hours to quiz the other seven. more


THE DAY I LENT MY BONGOS TO T. REX

07-02-2007

Former Move and Black Sabbath drummer Bev Bevan has been kicking off, after a new tourist map of British rock history omitted a number of legendary West Midlands venues. The Stirrer's webmaster Andy Goff remembers one of the best of ‘em…Mothers in Erdington. more


GET OUT MORE…………..THEATRE REVIEW

CYMBELINE (KNEEHIGH THEATRE CO), BIRMINGHAM REP

07-02-2007

It was a big night for theatre openings in the West Midlands last night,with BRB's Cyrano premiere at the Hippodrome, Thatcher The Musical at The Grand in Wolverhampton, and Cymbeline at The Rep. The Stirrer plumped for the Shakespeare. more


TRIGGER UNHAPPY

07-02-2007

The killing of a British soldier by "friendly fire" in Iraq revaled that modern warfare is still as shambolic as ever. So why, asks Andy Goff, are the generals so keen to hide the truth? more


LET US PREY

07-02-2007

The Stirrer's resident poet Brendan Hawthorne reflects on the announcement that US-Style televangelism is coming to the UK. more


POLICING THE STATE?

07-02-2007

The leader of Birmingham's Moslems warned on this site last week that modern Britain was starting to resemble pre-war Nazi Germany; and now the Anglican Bishop of York haswarned that Britain is on the verge of becoming a police state. Derrick Campbell offers his verdict. more


CRYING FOWL OVER BIRD FLU

06-02-2007

The threat of bird flu isn't a reason to stop eating chicken or turkey - but the way the birds are kept should give you cause for pause before tucking in. more


NASTY OR NICE ALZHEIMERS DRUGS BATTLE

06-02-2007

The Alzheimer's Society has launched an emergency appeal to help fund the UK's first high court challenge of NICE - the National Institute for Health and Clinical. Edward Cameron wonders whether the fight will kill or cure the NHS. more


CAMERON WOZ 'ERE - AGAIN!

06-02-2007

The Conservative leader David Cameron has been visiting Birmingham for the second time in a just over a week - on this occasion to meet local Muslims in the wake of the arrests for the so-called “terror plot” allegedly hatched in the city. The Stirrer's been speaking to some of those who were there. more


VICTORIOUS FRED BACKS EASTSIDE DEVELOPMENT

06-02-2007

Fred Grove, the Birmingham pensioner who fought off a compulsory purchase order on his canalside home has given his backing to the wholesale redevelopment of Eastside which takes a major step forward today. more


FROM BAD TO VERSE AT MG ROVER

06-02-2007

Two years after the demise of the Rover factory in Longbridge, a survey by the trade union Amicus has revealed that a quarter of the workers who were made redundant are still out of work. One who (finally) found new employment is Anil Chandra from Northfield. Losing his job forced him to reflect on his life, and these two poems are the result. more


BLIND DAVE'S BLOG

06-02-2007

In the latest installment from our blind Black Country marathon runner, check out the danger of pedestrian crossings that sighted motorists somehow can't see and Guide Dogs with no sense of direction. Not to mention those bloomin' refuse skips... more


PARENTS CALL OFF SPECIAL SCHOOLS DEMO

05-02-2007

Campaigners for Birmingham's special schools are calling for the cancellation of a demo outside the Council House tomorrow. The protest was planned when news emerged of a possible secret closure programme, but a leading parents' group now believes its concerns are being taken seriously. more


EXCLUSIVE

REBEL JONES SAYS BLAIR “SHOULDN'T QUIT” OVER HONOURS ROW

05-02-2007

Tony Blair's attempt to face down the pressure on him to resign over “cash for honours” allegations has won him an unlikely ally - the rebel Labour MP Lynne Jones. She says that although he should have stepped down years ago, he shouldn't quit over this issue. more


TA TA TO STEEL JOBS?

05-02-2007

Hundreds of workers in the West Midlands will be fearing for theirlivelihoods this morning, after the boss of Tata - the new owners of the steel company Corus - warned there are no guaranteed jobs. Corus, formerly British Steel, employs more than 2,000 workers in the Black Country, and as Barbara Panvel reports, they have every reason to worry. more


GET OUT MORE………………………………………………………………GIG REVIEW
BANG ON A CAN ALL-STARS PLAYING MUSIC FOR AIRPORTS

05-02-2007
Symphony Hall, Sunday 4 February 2007.
29 years since Eno's seminal Music For Airports introduced the concept of ambient music, our experience of the airport terminal and it's often dehumanising procedures has changed markedly.
more


THE HEDGEHOG PLOT

05-02-2007

The Stirrer's resident psychologist Dr Mike Drayton comes over all metaphorical in his reaction to the latest alleged terrorist plot in Birmingham. more


MOSELEY ROAD BATHS ON FILM

05-02-207

The campaign to save one of Birmingham's architectural treasures, Moseley Road swimming baths in Balsall Heath, has gone online. This won't please at least one Stirrer contributor who reckons those trying to preserve the building are "midde classs tossers." more


TORIES CONFIRM BRUM DOUBLE DATE

03-02-2007

The Conservative Party Chairman Francis Maude has been in Birmingham officially confirming what The Stirrer told you first - that the Tories are hosting not one but two conferences in the city in 2008 and 2010. See Francis and Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby talking about the deal now on Stirrer TV.


“IT'S AN UNFAIR COP" SAY WEST MIDLANDS FORCE

03-02-2007

West Midlands police have moved to distance themselves from the rumour-mongering which has spread alarm among the Muslim community - and others - following anti-terrorist raids in Birmingham this week. more


SINGLE PARENTS AND THE COST OF LOVING

03-02-2007

Tony Blair should be served with an ASBO for browbeating single parents into returning to work, reckons Ros Dodd more


It's a Punky Reggae Party - Part Two

03-02-2007

A Personal Tribute to Brum's two tone musical heritage by Pete Millington more


HINES SOUP

03-02-2007

He's the local campaigner trying to spark a international movement...Barbara Panvel profiles the far-sighted Colin Hines a man with a plan for a consumer revolution. more


Get Out More …………………………Gig Preview

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, BIRMINGHAM ACADEMY, MARCH 7

03-02-2007

Ever on the lookout for exciting new sounds The Stirrer's musicologist Paul Samuels recommends punky dancers - or should that be dancey punkers - LCD Soundsystem coming next month to Brum. more


GET OUT MORE……THEATRE REVIEW

Billy Liar, The Crescent, Birmingham

03-02-2007

It was a great British movie of the 60's and now it's a staple of am dram. So who does Billy Liar fare at The Crescent? Dionne McCarthy's been to check it out. more


FILM SHRIMP PUNCHES HIS WEIGHT

03-02-2007

Mark Locke must have the gift of the gab. The local film director once persuaded backers to give him more than 3 million quid for a film about giant boxing shrimp. Meet the man who'll be in conversation with Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg during the Flatpack Festival on Saturday night. more


BRUM WARMS TO TASK OF TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE

02-02-2007

Birmingham has become the first major UK city to consult its citizens on climate change -a draft strategy hasbeen launched to coincide with a major UN report out today which concludes that global warming is “very likely” to have been man-made. more


WEST MIDS ROLLS OUT RED CARPET FOR HOLLYWOOD

02-02-2007

The West Midlands has set out to become a serious choice for movie makers from Hollywood to Bollywood after launching a new online location database. more


WOLVO PARKERS DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION

02-02-2007

Plans for tougher parking enforcement could raise thousands of pounds for one West Midlands city - but Edward Cameron reckons it will just put motorists into reverse. more


PINTS OF VIEW

02-02-2007

Dave Woodhall takes a sup in his favourite Black Country local and wonders why his fellow drinkers are so bitter. more


CLASSY PARENTS WIN SPECIAL SCHOOLS BATTLE

02-02-2007

Campaigners fighting for Birmingham's special schools are celebrating victory today after councillors supported the idea of full parental participation in the inquiry to establish their kids' future educational needs. more


CHAV GAGS

02-02-2007

Well, it is Friday, so we thought we'd get into the weekend spirt with a few old-style chav gags. Go on, you know you want to... more


WHITEHALL “SOURCES” CORRUPTING LEGAL PROCESS

01-02-2007

Birmingham councillor Salma Yaqoob has condemned anonymous Whitehall sources for giving off-the record briefings about the city's alleged terror plot which she says are “corrupting our legal process.” more


BRUM "TERROR PLOT" - DIDWE MISS THE COURT CASE?

01-02-2007

With Birmingham the focus of international attention because of an alleged terrorist plot, questioning the police and security forces can seem dangerously like heresy. But there are two important points to remember here -theagencies of law and order have made mistakes before, and no one has yet been found guilty. more


BROWN STOPS US GOING GREEN SAYS AIRPORT

01-02-2007

Birmingham Airport is demanding to know whencash raised from the flight departure tax which is doubled today will be made available to offset the polluting effects of air travel. Chancellor Gordon Brown implied that the duty was being raised to help the environment - so where's the money? more


NEW DISABLED COALITION LAUNCHES

01-02-2007

Campaigners determined to get a fair deal for disabled people in Birmingham have launched a new group - and they want your help and involvement. more


THE POSHEST STREET IN BIRMINGHAM?

01-02-2007

Think you get a raw deal from your local council? Not if you live in one particular road in Birmingham you don't. As Laurence Inman reports, for residents there nothing but the best will do… more


The Media Column

FAMOUS FOR 15 DOLLARS

01-02-2007

The Stirrer's media columnist Paul Bradshaw on the latest YouTube developments, which will allow content providers (that's you and me folks) to actually make some dosh from posting our bad karaoke videos. more


MG IN A HALF NELSON

01-02-2007

Appeals to British patriotism by the Chinese owners of MG Rover don't impress our motoring correspondent Hu Jen Jin, who thinks the new cars rolling off the Longbridge production line should be sold on one thing only - quality! more

Stirrer TV


European Atheletics

THE EUROPEAN INDOOR ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE COMING TO BIRMINGHAM NEXT MONTH …AND YOU CAN WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS. TO FIND OUT MORE CLICK HERE.


Pancreatic Cancer Petition


CLICK TO CUREThere's been no shortage of coverage for the online petition against roads pricing, which has gathered more than a million signatures. Downing Street has pledged to take it seriously too, underlining the power of numbers. But Ros Dodd reckons there's a worthier cause for your click… more CENTRAL PULLS SHOW AFTER “TERRORIST” SMEARBirmingham based Central TV pulled the plug on its current affairs programme Extra Tonight this week after a guest accused Birmingham councillor Salma Yaqoob of supporting terrorism. Douglas Murray of the Social Affairs Unit, a right-wing think tank, made the smear in a pre-recorded discussion for the Extra Tonight programme due to be shown on Tuesday night.Central, fearing they'd be sued for libel, replaced the scheduled show with a stand-by edition.Check out more in The Stirrer's regular Birmingham Mail column.There's also a warning that Lifford Lane refuse tip in Kings Norton is an accident waiting to happen.


FIREWORKS FANTASIA TO RETURNBirmingham's once-popular Fireworks Fantasia with the CBSO is set to return to Canon Hill Park. The city's arts supremo Ray Hassall is looking for sponsors to help revive the event, which was scrapped in 2005 after attendances dwindled. Check our more in The Stirrer's regular Birmingham Mail column, here. There's also an open letter to film director Michael Winner, calling for a memorial to a gallant police officer killed in the line of duty.
WIN ….WIN…..WIN….THATCHER THE MUSICAL The Stirrer has two tickets for the Gala Performance of Thatcher The Musical at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre to give away. The show was created by thenationally renowned but locally basedFoursight Theatre group, and marks their 20th anniversary. The performance is at 7.30 on Thursday February 8. Just tell us the name of Mrs Thatcher's husband. Entries to editor@thestirrer.com by noon on Friday 2nd Feb. For more details of the performance see www.grandtheatre.co.uk
WAR OVER WHITBY “HYPOCRITE” CLAIM26-01-2007Birmingham Coucil leader Mike Whitby has been branded a hypocrite after voting for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq. Critics claim that as the boss of a Black Country engineering firm with defence links, he stands to profit from the conflict. Check out more in the Stirrer's weekly Birmingham Mail column (click here). There are also some puzzling questions to be answered about the merger of Moor Green FC and Solihull Borough.
Stirring it up at the Birmingham Mail

Bite Size ReviewBRASSERIE BLANC, OOZELLS SQUARE, BRINDLEYPLACEThe Stirrer tests out a lunchtime “dine with wine” offer at Raymond Blanc's gaffe, just across the road from the Ikon Gallery. more

Keep Shirley Alive

Just what the West Midlands needs - another giant supermarket. Residents in Shirley are fighting back against plans for a new Asda which will see precious parkland gobbled up, and couldthreatenthe local traders who havealready survived the onslaught of more than half a dozen large stores. Here's their story. more


A TASTE OF SPAGHETTIPete Millington is a one-man writing factory. Not content withregularoutput for The Stirrer, he's found time to pull together the latest edition of his excellent magazine Spaghetti Gazetti, dedicated to local life and culture.Check it out here It's seriously good.

Leave a comment or raise new issues on The Stirrer message board.

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