Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

January 2010

MP HEMMING GIVES AID TO FUGITIVE SENATOR

30-01-2010

Channel Islands politician Stuart Syvret who is on the run from police in Jersey is currently staying with Birmingham MP John Hemming – who broke the news on The Stirrer Forum. more


Doc Dave's Blog

BLAIR ON THE IRAQ

30-01-2010

Stirrer blogger Dr David Nicholl gets a ringside seat for Tony Blair's grilling at the Chilcot Inquiry. more


PFI MAKES WAVES OVER BRUM POOLS

30-01-2010

Birmingham swimmers are being tantalised by the prospect of a new baths in Sparkhill and the re-opening of the gala pool at Moseley Road – but only if they accept that private funding is part of the solution. The proposal is already proving hugely controversial. more


Get Out More............Gig Preview

UNKNOWN PLEASURES WITH PETER HOOK
PLUS COMPERE HOWARD MARKS

30-01-2010

Peter Hook, seminal influence on the music scene. Howard Marks, seminal influence on, er, drug taking. Put them together and the Glee Club audience is in for a treat. more


CBSO AND BRB HAVE SOMETHING TO BRAGG ABOUT

30-01-2010

The CBSO has scooped the prestigious Classical Music Award at the South Bank Show’s annual gongfest – the last before ITV takes the axe to Melvyn Bragg’s highbrow arts series. Birmingham Royal Ballet also bagged something for the mantlepiece. more


A GLIMPSE OF PARADISE

30-01-2010

Plans for the future redevelopment of Paradise Circus when Birmingham Central Library has been knocked down are being unveiled next month – but as Alan Clawley reports, the news would have eluded all but the most eagle eyed property developer. more


UNIVERSITY CHALLENGED

30-01-2010

Sam Rose asks the eternal question. Lecturers – why? more


RADIO RADIO

30-01-2010

South Birmingham Community Radio are moving to new premises in King’s Hearth. Go along and join in the opening day fun. more


 

Martin Longley's music blog

NEW YORK SOUNDS: PART 244

30-01-2010

American axeman Chris Brokaw is coming to the Hare & Hounds on 24th March. Martin Longley recently caught him in New York City. There were other guitarists in town too... more


THE STIRRERTHON

29-01-2010

Never let it be said that we’re not willing to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Today we launch a new appeal aimed at bringing some comfort to those worst hit by the recession. more


BRUM CAMPAIGNER BACKS MMR MEDIC

29-01-2010

Birmingham MMR jab campaigner Jonathan Harris is continuing to throw his weight behind discredited medic Dr Andrew Wakefield whose research methods were condemned yesterday by the General Medical Council. more


INDEPENDENT "KINGMAKER" COULD TOPPLE WOLVES TORIES

29-01-2010

The son of 106-year old Louisa Watts could be the “kingmaker” of Wolverhampton Council after declaring his intention to stand as an independent – and he’s told The Stirrer that, given the chance, he’ll depose the current Tory leadership. more


DOCS AND MPS CALL FOR BODIES OF EVIDENCE

29-01-2010

MPs and medics have backed calls for a change in the Human Tissue Act following the controversy about the Bodies Revealed exhibition at Birmingham's Custard Factory. Stirrer blogger Dr David Nicholl, who is concerned about where the specimens come from, has penned this letter, which is published in the Daily Telegraph today. more


Kingy’s Wolves Blog

WHAT A DIFFERENCE THREE DAYS MAKES

29-01-2010

Wolves have been at home twice this week, an FA Cup tie with Crystal Palace followed by a league game against Liverpool. It’s been a contrast in many ways, as Brendan King explains. more


DEAR S.T. VAUGHAN

29-01-2010

Mail readers will have learned that one of the city’s, if not the world’s, most productive literary figures, S T Vaughan, Yardley Wood, has decided to call it a day. We feel this is a waste of talent and offer him an alternative. more


MICK GREEN – 1945-2010

29-01-2010

Dave Woodhall pays tribute to a recently-departed and often overlooked musical genius. more


Andy’s Blues

I’VE GOT THE BLUES AGAIN…THANK GOODNESS!

29-01-2010

After a record breaking 15-match unbeaten run, Blues are officially rubbish again following Wednesday's 3-0 drubbing by Chelsea. Phew! Andy Munro can relax again. more


STUART VOW TO KEEP FOCUS ON MIDLANDS MOVIES

28-01-2010

Birmingham MP Gisela Stuart has vowed to keep up the battle to develop a booming film industry in the West Midlands after yesterday’s meeting with Pinewood PLC – the company looking to develop new studios north of London in face of local opposition. more


LATE NIGHT LINE-UP

28-01-2010

News that a landmark Birmingham cafe has been forced to curtail its opening hours following disorder last year has Dave Woodhall wondering about the city’s lack of late night eating establishments. Is it too much to expect to eat well after dark? more


The Stirrer’s Blues Blog

BLUES GET THE BLUES

28-01-2010

Birmingham City’s record breaking run came to an end at Stamford Bridge last night under the gimlet eye of Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg – who paid a whopping £43 for the privilege. more


FAMILY REASONS” FORCE LADYWOOD TORY TO QUIT

28-01-2010

The Tories prospective general election candidate for Ladywood has confirmed that he’s standing down – as revealed yesterday on The Stirrer. Billesley councillor Colin Hughes cites “family reasons” for his decision. more


Get Out More ...................................Gig Update

CAPSULE LISTINGS

28-01-2010

As always, the list of forthcoming Capusle shows is likely to generate excitement and intrigue in equal measure. Their latest left-field delights include punky veterans The Ex, and Krautrock pioneers Cluster. more


INFOMATION

28-01-2010

Opposition is growing to the proposed closure of Wolverhampton’s Visitor Centre in Queen Square – with Labour councillors hoping that their Liberal Democrat counterparts might break ranks when the decision is debated next week. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

IN A DIFFERENT LEAGUE

28-01-2010

It’s back to league action for the Villa, which means they’ve forgotten how to score again. Dave Woodhall comments on the lack of goals re-works a very old joke and becomes the millionth football supporter to breath in sharply when having to pay for a cup final ticket. more


BODIES GO TO THE COMMONS

28-01-2010

The controversial Bodies Revealed exhibition in Birmingham – which has come to national attention after being highlighted on The Stirrer – is being raised in the House of Commons today. more


Get Out More........................Gig Preview Plus

KEEPING MUSIC LIVE

28-01-2010

Dave Woodhall praises local legend Steve Gibbons, performing tonight at the Robin 2, as well as some of the unknown heroes of the local music scene. more


GAUNT TAKES ON OFCOM IN “FREE SPEECH” ROW

28-01-2010

Former BBC WM shock jock Jon Gaunt has won the first round of a “free speech” battle against broadcasting watchdog Ofcom, which ruled that he’d breached regulations by calling a local councillor a “health Nazi” and an “ignorant pig”. more


Terry’s Baggie Blog

JUSTICE SEEN TO BE DONE

28-01-2010

It’s been a decent few days for the Albion, with progress in the FA Cup and a hard-won point away from home in the promotion battle. Terry Wills brings us up to date. more


NINE DAY SICKIE TARGET FOR COUNCIL WORKERS

27-01-2010

Birmingham Council’s HR boss has set a 9-day a year sickness target for employees – and insisted a new computerised monitoring system will make it easier to detect slackers. more


HOMEOPATH AND AWAY

27-01-2010

Campaigners in Birmingham will be “overdosing” outside Boots in the city centre on Saturday, as part of a nationwide campaign against homeopathic medicines – which critics claim are no more effective than sugar pills. more


THE BIRMINGHAM SALON

27-01-2010

Growing tired of the usual round of pub, cinema, theatre? Sarah Bartlett offers us the opportunity to get out and broaden our horizons. more


Get Out More....................Gig Previews

SYMPHONY HALL NEWS

27-01-2010

Two of the most popular acts to play Symphony Hall in recent years have announced return shows. The venue’s PR man Lyle Bignon gives us the news. more


TOURIST INFO CAMPAIGN GOES ONLINE

27-01-2010

The campaign to keep open a city centre tourist information kiosk in Wolverhampton has moved online, as organiser Dave Povall seeks to build on the hundreds of signatures he has already gathered. more


LOAN SIGNINGS

27-01-2010

Birmingham’s cultural reputation is improving yet further with news that the city’s acclaimed Museum & Art Gallery will be loaning some of its prized stocks to exhibitions around the world over the coming year. more


Get Out More.....................Meetings

DON’T BELIEVE A WORD

27-01-2010

Here’s the latest list of events organised by West Midlands Atheists and associated groups. more


TORY HUGHES PULLS OUT OF LADYWOOD

27-01-2010

The Stirrer understands that Colin Hughes has stood down as prospective parliamentary candidate for the Ladywood constituency – a seat which is sure to be hotly contested in the wake of Clare Short’s departure. more


COUNCIL WORKERS SICK – AND GETTING SICKER

26-01-2010

Sickness levels at Birmingham City Council are getting worse, despite the leadership’s pledge to beat the problem. The average worker is now signed off ill for a fortnight every year – with stress accounting for one in five days lost. more


“20’S PLENTY” FOR BRUM STREETS

26-01-2010

Around 500 Birmingham residents have signed a letter calling for a 20mph speed limit on residential streets across the city in a bid to reduce accidents and tackle climate change. more


Get Out More..............................Gig Review

NORMAN LOVETT & HATTIE HAYRIDGE – ROBIN 2

26-01-2010

If you’re a fan of Red Dwarf, or you fancy a night out where you’ll be laughing a lot, the Robin on Wednesday night might be just the place. more


RICH PICKINGS FOR POOR IN GREEN NEW DEAL

26-01-2010

Plans for an energy saving Green New Deal targeting inner city Birmingham were welcomed on The Stirrer yesterday – but we questioned whether it made sense to encourage people in some of the poorest wards to take out loans to get involved. Karen Leach, who was a consultant on the project, insists the question hasn’t been ignored. more


Get Out More.............................Gig Preview

JOHN MAYER - LG ARENA, MONDAY 24 MAY

26-01-2010

While we like to think we specialise in plugging local talent in smaller venues we also like pointing you in the direction of the best of the big gigs. And this promises to be one of the best of the year. more


Get Out More...........................Cricket News

TEST TICKETS NOW ON SALE

26-01-2010

Those lazy, hazy days of summer might seem a long way off, but the first international action of the summer at Edgbaston is only 20 weeks away, with a rare chance to see the likes of Pakistan taking on Australia, as well as enjoying England in Test action. more


MILLION PLUS CUTS STAY SECRET

25-01-2010

Details of cuts worth more than £1.2million in are being withheld from Birmingham taxpayers and Council staff whose jobs are in jeopardy in an amazing game of political cat and mouse. more


THOUSANDS OF WOLVO TENANTS FACE EXTRA CHARGES

25-01-2010

Thousands of Council tenants in Wolverhampton are facing massive increases in charges over the coming months – even though basic rents are rising below the rate of inflation. Some residents are facing a 20% uplift in heating bills, while others will pay an extra £2 per week in concierge charges. more


Get Out More...............................Film Review

UP IN THE AIR

25-01-2010

George Clooney’s latest film has been drawing good reviews. Dave Woodhall goes along to see what the fuss is alla bout. more


U-TURN PUTTS COURSES IN NEW LIGHT

25-01-2010

Golfers celebrating Birmingham Council’s astonishing U-turn over plans to close the Hill Top course in Handsworth could soon be looking forward to more good news – the reopening of the city’s once celebrated pitch and putt facilities. more


Pete’s Beijing Blog

RUBBED UP THE WRONG WAY

25-01-2010

Holte Ender in exile Peter Sampson reflects on Villa’s recent success, Google’s threat to the withdraw from China, and Beijing’s massage parlours. Maybe that’s what’s making him feel queasy. more


GOING GREEN INTO THE RED?

25-01-2010

Birmingham city council’s green credentials are to be congratulated. But is their latest proposal aimed at the wrong people? more


ON YOUR RADIO

24-01-2010

Regular Stirrer blogger Sibyl Ruth gets an outing on Radio 4 today, marking Holocaust Memorial Day with an emotionally charged and poetical search for a long lost relative. more


NEVER AGAIN

24-01-2010

Today, 24th January, sees Birmingham city council staging an event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. more


Get Out More..............................Athletics

RIGHT ON TRACK

23-01-2010

Top-class indoor athletics returns to Birmingham next month at the NIA. Here’s a run-down of what we can look forward to. more


Get Out More.................Gig Preview

DEBORAH HODGSON

23-01-2010

We’re always pleased to publicise the region’s musical talents, especially when they’re this good. more


Get Out More....................Gig Review

DELPHIC: SLADE ROOM, LITTLE CIVIC

22-01-2010

Mark Gunton has a good time in Wolverhampton, even if most of the audience didn’t seem to share his enthusiasm. more


JLR WORKERS DENIED £1,000 SWEETENER

22-01-2010

Workers at West Midlands motor firm Jaguar Land Rover have been denied a £1,000 payout following the breakdown of talks with unions. more


UNIONS ON WARPATH OVER COUNCIL JOB CUTS

22-01-2010

With almost 1400 Council workers in Birmingham facing redundancy, trade unions are on the warpath – not least about the local authority’s cost cutting Business Transformation tie-up with Capita. As we warned earlier this week they are “angry” and industrial action is on the cards. more


THE STIRRER’S FIVE FOR THE WEEKEND

22-01-2010

Here’s our guide to what’s best in local entertainment over the next few days. more


FREE

22-01-2010

A man jailed for beating up an intruder has been freed from prison. Richard Lutz has a bit more on the story. more


DEALS OF THE DAY

22-01-2010

Another in our irregular series of guides towards being able to eat, drink and generally enjoy yourself without paying full price or anything like it. more


POPI HARVEST

22-01-2010

Claims that a new £1.5million hand held computer system for Birmingham parks’ staff is nine months behind schedule have recently been aired on The Stirrer Forum. Now we’ve had an official response. more


RBS AID KRAFT AS COUNCIL FIGHTS CADBURY BID

21-01-2010

Birmingham Council has joined the hue and cry against Kraft’s proposed takeover of Cadbury’s – as it emerged that the government owned bank RBS is partly funding the deal. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

QUE SERA SERA

21-01-2010

Villa Park is almost 113 years old but it’s witnessed few nights like Wednesday’s League Cup semi final win over Blackburn Rovers. Dave Woodhall is just starting to get over it. more


HAITI - DO I DONATE?

21-01-2010

Given the scale of the human tragedy unfolding in Haiti, it may seem an almost blasphemous question,but Audrey Miller is forced to ask herself, "Should I Donate?" more


DEALS ON MEALS STILL HARD TO SWALLOW

21-01-2010

Older people in Wolverhampton are being offered an olive branch by the City Council which is now proposing to stagger a £2 price increase in Meals on Wheels provision – but adults with learning difficulties could be charged £80 per week to attend a Day Care Centre. more


SANDWELL LEADER’S JOBS AND TAX VOW

21-01-2010

While jobs are slashed and services cut at Tory run Birmingham and Wolverhampton Councils, the Labour leader of Sandwell has vowed there’ll be no compulsory redundancies or reduction in front line activity – and he’s pledged that Council tax rises will be kept at the level of inflation or below. more


LOCAL HISTORY GOES INTERACTIVE

21-01-2010

Cadbury’s may be about to be taken over, but remembering the heritage of the company – and much more of our region – will be a lot easier thanks to a new initiative designed to take history to the people. more


TAYLOR’S TURN

21-01-2010

What future for Birmingham’s prestigious Paradise Circus, due to be transformed by developer Gary Taylor when the existing Central Library is demolished? Alan Clawley finds hard information hard to come by. more


Get Out More..................................Event News

AFTER BROKENHAGEN – WHAT NEXT?

21-01-2010

Barbara Panvel explains why she’ll be braving the winter chill next week to hear Friend of the Earth Chris Crean explore the post-Copenhagen options for tackling climate change. more


GONNA MAKE YOU A STAR

21-01-2010

Fancy yourself as an actor? Here’s your chance to get your name in lights - just remember when you’re famous where you got your first break. more


Kingy's Wolves Blog

END OF THE WIGAN PIER SHOW

21-01-2010

Brendan King reckons this weekend's FA Cup diversion for Wolves is a "must win" - if only to relieve the gloom of last Saturday's dispiriting defeat by Wigan. more


Cadbury's Takeover 1

LESS JAW JAW...MORE LAW LAW

20-01-2010

So now the question for our MPs who are complaining about the sale of Cadbury’s to Kraft is this – if you think what’s happened is wrong, what are you going to do to prevent the departure of other iconic firms overseas? more


Cadbury’s Takeover 2

JOBS FOR LIFE?

20-01-2010

What was all the fuss about, asks Dave Woodhall. Why should one company be exempt from market forces? more


SICKIES GO AWOL

20-01-2010

Sickness figures for Birmingham Council staff have gone absent without leave – maybe they’re ill? more


Get Out More..........................Gig Preview

KOSMISCHE MUZIK

20-01-2010

Uber-influential Krautrock legends Cluster will perform a one-off live audio-visual show at Birmingham Town Hall on Thursday 11th February, offering avant garde fans a rare chance to experience two of the world’s most important musical minds of the last fity years in concert. more


FOOT NOTE

20-01-2010

With the election looming Jonathan Stuart Brown pays tribute to a true political visonary - the once reviled Labour leader Michael Foot. Is it time for a re-assessment of the man responsible for "the longest suicide note in history". more


FURTHER STEPS

20-01-2010

Credit where it’s due. Here’s another story of how the public sector is making life easier for local entrepreneurs with financial aid aimed at boosting the region’s economy. more


PROTESTS OVER LATEST WOLVES CUTS

20-01-2010

Wolverhampton Council's propensity to piss off taxpayers was in evidence last night when around 100 members of the city's African-Caribbean community gathered to lobby councillors over plans to axe a £64,000 grant. more


MONDAY NIGHT FEVER

20-01-2010

Here’s the shock of the season so far - Terry Wills has missed an Albion game. Rupert Murdoch has a lot to answer for. more


SHAREHOLDERS' "BIG RESPONSIBILITY" TO CADBURY'S WORKERS

19-01-2010

Four Birmingham Labour MPs are warning jobs could be at risk if Kraft's takeover of Cadbury's goes ahead - and they're urging shareholders to be aware of their "big responsibility" if they get the chance to vote on the company's future. Here's a statement, issued from parliament by Richard Burden, Lynne Jones, Steve McCabe and Gisela Stuart. more


CADBURY'S BOARD WAVES WHITE FLAG

19-01-2010

Birmingham chocolate maker Cadbury looks set to fly the white flag of surrender and recommend acceptance of a takeover bid by US food firm Kraft. The news will call shock waves throughout the West Midlands, with fears that thousands of jobs are at stake. more


STEPPING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

19-01-2010

Birmingham City Council has come under fire for its use of the Working Neighbourhood Fund. However, they might now be using the money for its intended purpose. more


“HUNDREDS FACE COMPULSORY AXE IN BRUM”

19-01-2010

Hundreds of Birmingham Council staff are facing compulsory redundancy according to opposition Labour leader Sir Albert Bore. He warned that staff morale is “rock bottom and has never been lower”. more


NOT FOR PROFIT?

19-01-2010

The perennial subject of bus travel is in the news again. Dave Woodhall argues that here’s a case where the old ways might have been the best. more


TAKING THE MICHAEL

19-01-2010

Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby is the latest victim of a spoof on the recent David Cameron publicity poster - and here's the rub. This one is being circulated by local Tories. more


DAVID CAMERON SPOTTED IN STOURBRIDGE

19-01-2010

David Cameron's new poster campaign isn't going down awfully well in Stourbridge... more


Get Out More................................Gig Previews

WORLD UNLIMITED UPCOMING DATES

19-01-2010

Forthcoming shows from one of the region’s most innovative promoters. Graham Radley tells us what to expect. more


Get Out More...........................Charity Gigs

UK MUSIC SCENE UNITES FOR HAITI

19-01-2010

In response to the humanitarian disaster in Haiti, artists, promoters and fans from across the UK's music scene have mobilised and coordinated two fund-raising events this week, with more to be announced. Lyle Bignon reports. more


COUNCIL FACES WINTER AND SPRING OF DISCONTENT

18-01-2010

The expected loss of almost 1400 Birmingham Council jobs will lead to a “winter and spring of discontent” according to union officials. They plan to ballot workers for industrial action. more


LEGACY QUESTION OF NEW BRUM KIDS BOSS

18-01-2010

Charismatic Colin Tucker was recently drafted in to turn around Birmingham’s ailing Childrens’ Services after performing a similar job in Sandwell – but in the wake of a damning Ofsted report, opinion is split on his legacy in the Black Country. more


Get Out More..........................Film Reviews

THE STIRRER’S MOVIE ROUND-UP

18-01-2010

Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg gets stuck into a stack of recent releases, including Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, Sherlock Holmes, Nowhere Boy and, er, Alvin and the Chipmunks. more


VEILED THREATS

18-01-2010

United Kingdom Independence Party MEP Nigel Farrage has echoed calls made in 2006 by Labour’s Jack Straw for a ban on the Burka - or full face veil - as worn by thousands of Muslim women in Britain. Frankly, says Steve Beauchampé, what the hell has it got to do with either of them! more


Dave’s Villa Blog

NO REST FOR THE WICKED

18-01-2010

After a good result at Blackburn last Thursday left Villa supporters dreaming of Wembley, it was back to the Premier League yesterday afternoon. Maybe the team hadn’t woken up in time. more


Richard Lutz's Blog

ONLY CONNECT

18-01-2010

Richard Lutz has a lot on his tiny mind these days: wanker-bankers, Haiti , pensions and The One Show. Just join the dots... more


EDL SPLITS AHEAD OF DUDLEY DEMO

18-01-2010

Splits have emerged in the far-right English Defence League which is due to return to the West Midlands in April, with a demo against “Islamic extremism” in Dudley. more


AND THE WINNER IS...

18-01-2010

Someone is going to get a very big film making career break today...and it is a nice story about Pinewood, too, reports our movie correspondent Jonathan Stuart-Brown more


Get Out More...........................Presentation

IN PURSUIT OF JUSTICE: REMEMBER GAZA

18-01-2010

It’s almost a year since Israel began its highly-controversial military campaign into Gaza. Students in Birmingham will be marking the anniversary and remembering the loss of civilian life that ensured. more


NORTON HOLDS ON

17-01-2010

Local hero Rob Norton defended his British & Commonwealth crowns against David Dolan in Altrincham. Dave Woodhall reports on how he fared. more


BORE “STAGGERED” BY 1300 JOB CUTS

16-01-2010

Birmingham Council’s opposition Labour leader Sir Albert Bore said he was “absolutely staggered” by news that the local authority is planning to axe 1380 jobs – but he warned there could be worse to come as spending pressures increase on the Tory-led administration. more


2010 - REMEMBERING THE BRUMMIE HOME CHILDREN

16-01-2010

Earlier this year, the Australian government apologised to thousands of British children who were poorly treated after being forcibly shipped Down Under. But as Spaghetti Gazetti's Pete Millington points out many more - including a large number from Birmingham - were also shipped off to Canada. more


STICKY FINGERS

16-01-2010

Chocolate lovers are being asked to stand up for Cadbury’s today (Saturday) by chomping their favourite bar in Birmingham’s Victoria Square. more


Get Out More..........................Special Offer
PRICE CUTS FOR CBSO

16-01-2010

It’s not just shops who hold January sales. The region’s finest orchestra are cutting their ticket prices this month as well. more


ARMY DREAMERS

16-01-2010

With many parts of Haiti in ruins, getting aid to survivors is no easy feat. Barbara Panvel argues that the Armed Forces have the skills and the manpower - but, sadly, not the time. more


Get Out More.................................Gig Preview

LANE ON THE ROAD

16-01-2010

We always try to encourage local new talent and smaller venues that deserve your support. Here’s the latest news of both. more


COUNCIL CUTS MORE THAN 1300 JOBS

15-01-2010

More than 1300 workers could lose their jobs at Birmingham City Council, as it tries to claw back an anticipated budget deficit – with Children, Young People and Families bearing the brunt. But officials insist the beleaguered Childrens’ Social Care department won’t be hit. more


A SENSE OF PROPORTION

15-01-2010

The recent weather has meant we’ve been feeling sorry for ourselves as we trudge to work and back. Dave Woodhall looks at it from another angle. more


UKIP MEP KO

15-01-2010

West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire faces being booted out of UKIP after a youtube row with former party leader Nigel Farage – who recently stepped down only to fight the Westminster seat of Buckingham (held by Speaker John Bercow) at the General Election. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT

15-01-2010

In which Dave Woodhall is most definitely not even contemplating the possibility of having to queue for League Cup final tickets. more


HEMMING WINS ROUND ONE IN “GAG” ROW

15-01-2010

Birmingham MP John Hemming has won the first round of his Commons battle against a legal firm who he claims were trying to “gag” him over the redevelopment of The Swan Shopping Centre site in Yardley. more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

THE CHILCOT CHILL

15-01-2010

It’s been a big week for uncovering more skulduggery over the Iraq invasion. And it all makes for an interesting run up to Blair’s appearance at the Chilcot Inquiry. Richard Lutz explains. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

FOREST CUT DOWN

15-01-2010

While Villa advance on Wembley in the Carling Cup, Blues are showing promising form in the FA’s knockout tournament – despite a disjointed midweek display. Andy Munro counts his blessings. more


OLD PEOPLE, NEW SOLUTIONS

15-01-2010

The reverberations continue over the closure of Underhill House in Wolverhampton. Rob Gready, Managing Director of Eclipse Home Care Service, based in Worcestershire, argues that old people's homes should not be the only option for the elderly. more


HUMAN TISSUE INACT

15-01-2010

The Human Tissue Authority admitted yestersday that it doesn’t have the power to intervene in the controversial Bodies Revealed exhibition in Birmingham – despite fears about how the specimens have been obtained. That’s just not good enough says Dr David Nicholl. more


THE BEST PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON...EVER?

15-01-2010

With Liverpool and Manchester United looking like empires in decline, and Manchester City threatening to break the Champions League cartel of the Big Four, Jonathan Stuart-Brown wonders if this is this the most exciting Premier League? Especially as Villa and Blues are in the running for Europe. more


Get Out More.........................Community Activity

A SENSE OF PLACE

15-01-2010

News of an interesting day of free activities in Handsworth next week, including a call for budding young journalists. Maybe they’d like to write for us as well? more


LAW CHANGE CALL AFTER UNDERHILL CLOSURE

14-01-2010

Campaigning councillor Steve Evans is calling for a change in the law after the remaining residents of Underhill House in Wolverhampton – including 106-year old Louisa Watts - were evicted yesterday. Evans says local authorities shouldn’t be allowed to close homes unless they are deemed to be failing. more


HEMMING "GAG" CLAIM TO BE HEARD IN COMMONS

14-01-2010

Birmingham MP John Hemming has secured an emergency debate in the Commons today to discuss claims that a firm of solicitors is trying to “gag” him. Hemming insists: “MPs have to be able to fight for their constituents”. more


LEADER SAYS “SORRY” FOR FAILING AT RISK CHILDREN

14-01-2010

Sandwell Council’s new leader Darren Cooper has issued an unprecedented apology after a government watchdog slammed its arrangements for safeguarding “at risk” children. more


Stay In More...........................Album Review

NEW YORK DOLLS - CAUSE I SEZ SO

14-01-2010

Dave Woodhall’s been playing the New York Dolls latest album for a few weeks and he’s finally come to the conclusion that you should listen to it, too. It’s definitely a grower. more


CASH SQUEEZE WARNING AFTER SCHOOL TRIPS AXE

14-01-2010

Birmingham schools can expect a further budget squeeze next year after free trips to the city's Museum and Art Gallery were axed. Cabinet Member Les Lawrence said the £1million cut was essential to save cash. more


TISSUES ISSUES

14-01-2010

Stirrer blogger Dr David Nicholl recently complained to the Human Tissue Authority about the Bodies Revealed exhibition at the Custard Factory, arguing that the bodies may have come from torture victims and executed prisoners in China. Their reply, which we print below in full, suggests the HTA doesn’t have the power to intervene anyway. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

FOREST ON FIRE

14-01-2010

Terry Wills is one of the most placid, even-tempered men in Birmingham. The Albion must have done something awful to get him angry. more


RETURN OF THE LEAGUE

13-01-2010

One of the more depressing aspects of 2009 was the return of violence surrounding political demonstrations in the area. The problem may be about to start all over again. more


BRUISING ROW OVER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

13-01-2010

Victims of domestic violence and their families are at the centre of a bruising political row in Walsall, following a vote at Monday’s Council meeting against restoring last year’s 50% funding cut. more


NEW BIRMINGHAM LIBRARY IS UPSIDE DOWN

13-01-2010

Although building has started on Birmingham’s new Central Library, details of the interior remain a mystery – despite claims that it had been designed “from the inside out”. Are the plans just upside down wonders Alan Clawley. more


SCREEN TEST

13-01-2010

Budding film-makers are being given plenty of opportunities to improve these skills with not one but two courses aimed at helping local talent. If you fancy yourself as the next Tarantino, read on.... more


TWO CHEERS FOR SANDWELL SCHOOLS

13-01-2010

It all depends on how you look at it really. The days when pupils in Sandwell got the worst education in the country have been left way behind after the local council leapt 19 places in the GCSE league table – but they are still among the bottom 20% in the country. more


A WOMAN’S PLACE

13-01-2010

Dave Woodhall fails to pick up a new television. He succeeds in making a not-so-remarkable discovery. more


Get Out More..............................Gig Previews

BIRMINGHAM TOWN HALL/SYMPHONY HALL LISTINGS

13-01-2010

Courtney Pine, Fairport Convention and Beth Nielsen Chapman are some of the big names lined up for these Birmingham venues. Their PR man Lyle Bignon gives us the run-down. more


CHARLIE IS MY DARLIN'

13-01-2010

With the election less than five months away, the Liberal Democrats are seen as potential makeweights in a coalition with either Labour or the Tories. But Jonathan Stuart-Brown wonders if the traditional third party could find a way of raising their game. more


UNDERHILL EVICTIONS START

12-01-2010

The eight remaining residents of Wolverhampton’s Underhill House are being evicted this week. Four left today, and the remaining quartet – including 106-year old Louisa Watts – will go on Wednesday morning. more


ELECTION STARTS - IN BRUM COUNCIL CHAMBER

12-01-2010

Birmingham Council is meeting today, but any citizen who pops into the Chamber expecting to hear members discussing how best to deal with the issues affecting the city could be sorely disappointed. Instead, they are more likely to faced with a barrage of general election propaganda. more


GRIDLOCK RIDES INTO THE SUNSET

12-01-2010

The departure of Birmingham Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Len Gregory to the Mayor’s office isn’t before time reckons John Tyrrell – a former councillor who used to hold the Transport portfolio himself. more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

BOOKS

12-01-2010

Richard Lutz is proudly waving his Little Red Book of Books at us as the New Year begins. more


Get Out More...........................Film Previews

YOU SAY YOU WANT A CHEVOLUTION?

12-01-2010

We got one for you. At least, the Birmingham International Film Society have, as part of their new season of cult and rare cinema classics at the Birmingham Library Theatre. more


A RIGHT ROYAL ROW

12-01-2010

Prince Charles has been speaking up again recently for organic farming, much to the consternation of the traditional agribusiness lobby – represented by government advisor and former Northern Foods boss Lord Haskins. Barbara Panvel wonders which one is more unrepresentative. more


SANDWELL BUSES - HAVE YOUR SAY

12-01-2010

Do you use buses in or near Sandwell? Do you have an opinion about the service? If so, an event taking place next week may be just your thing. more


GRIDLOCK DIVERTS TO MAYOR

11-01-2010

Major changes are afoot in Birmingham’s ruling Cabinet with the news – revealed yesterday on The Stirrer Forum - that the Cabinet Member for Transport Len “Gridlock” Gregory is being lined up to take a year out from active politics by becoming Lord Mayor. more


GRIT STORY SLAMMED AS "IRRESPONSIBLE"

11-01-2010

Birmingham Council has denounced claims that it’s about to run out of grit as “irresponsible”. The Sunday Mercury reported yesterday that the local authority’s stocks would only last for 48 hours. more


JONATHAN ROSS, OVER AND OUT

11-01-2010

Jonathan Ross's departure from the BBC leaves one question still unanswered - how did a presenter with relatively low TV audiences attract such a huge salary? Jonathan Stuart-Brown offers a few clues. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

MAN UNITED SEE RED

11-01-2010

Andy Munro brings us up to date on happenings at St Andrews with an account of the 1-1 draw on Saturday. more


HIGH NOON LOOMS FOR PINEWOOD

11-01-2010

Stirrer blogger Jonathan Stuart-Brown - the man determined to bring a chunk of the UK movie industry to the West Midlands, presents his latest update on the goings on at Pinewood PLC, owners of Britain's main film production centre. He reckons there might be a takeover, and more foreign outsourcing - but hopes John Hurt will ride to the rescue. more


TRUST QUITS BODIES EXHIBITION

11-01-2010

The British Liver Trust has withdrawn its support for the controversial Bodies Revealed exhibition at Birmingham’s Custard Factory, following a one-man protest by Stirrer blogger Dr David Nicholl. more


SINGLE STATUS GETS MESSY IN WOLVO

10-01-2010

The messy business of Single Status shows no signs of disappearing, with Wolverhampton the latest local authority to grapple with the government’s well-intentioned but poorly thought out attempt to end pay discrimination among local government staff. more


Get Out More..........................Exhibition

MACHINE ENVY

09-01-2010

A selection of work by one of Birmingham’s finest photographers is about to be exhibited. Jeremy Clarkson should be pleased. more


Magazine Review

SOCCER HISTORY

09-01-2010

Contrary to what Sky would have you believe, football didn’t begin in 1992. Dave Woodhall looks at a magazine that examines in detail the history of our national sport. more


BODIES OF PROTEST

08-01-2010

Stirrer blogger Dr David Nicholl (aka Doc Dave) is staging a protest outside the Custard Factory in Birmingham tomorrow outside the Bodies Revealed exhibition. Dr Nicholl, a human rights campaigner, isn’t satisfied by explanations about where the specimens come from. more


70S' RETURN AS POWER CUTS LOOM

08-01-2010

Could Britain be in line for 70s'-style power cuts? The truth is that no one knows for certain – but Birmingham MP John Hemming reckons a continued spell of extreme weather can only make it more likely. He points out that there’s a conflict between the national interest and the profit motive of the gas companies. more


BODIES EXPLAINED

08-10-2010

Stirrer blogger Dr David Nicholl posed some awkward questions earlier this week about the source of the bodies used at the Bodies Revealed exhibition at the Custard Factory in Birmingham - and later called on the Human Tissue Authority to investigate. Here's the full response from the organisers Premier Exhibitions. more


LASAN - IT'S THE F'ING BEST

08-01-2010

Top Birmingham curry house Lasan has brought more culinary glory to Birmingham by winning the Best Local Restaurant award on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word last night. more


Get Out More........................film review

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS?

08-01-2010

Dave Woodhall makes further use of his unlimited Cineworld pass to spend a quieter-than-expected afternoon in the cinema. Just shows, some good can come out of this weather. more


SIMON SAYS - "I STAY"

08-01-2010

Erdington MP Sion has squashed rumours that he’s planning to stand down at the next election, telling friends that the story is “untrue tittle tattle”. Great – maybe now as Minister for the Creative Industries he’ll pull his finger out and do something to bring the film industry to the West Midlands. more


Get Out More..................................Exhibition

SEEING BIRMINGHAM

08-01-2010

The Birmingham Seen exhibition has already been hailed a great success. Dave Woodhall pops along and finds the hype justified. more


CASTING THE FIRST SOD

08-01-2010

After months of argument, work has finally begun on the new Library of Birmingham. The Stirrer braved snow and ice to witness the start of what promises to be a lengthy job. more


GONNA MAKE YOU A STAR

08-01-2010

Birmingham’s highly-acclaimed, home-grown musical returns to the city next year and budding local actors have the opportunity to pay a starring role. Here’s how you can get involved. more


BROWN COUP ATTEMPT "TOO LITTLE TOO LATE"

07-01-2010

The attempted coup by two former ministers against Gordon Brown appear doomed to failure, with no member of the Cabinet willing to take an open stand against the PM. Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood said the plot was “too little too late”. more


Exclusive

“EDUCATION TAX” AS BRUM CHARGES FOR SCHOOL TRIPS

07-01-2010

Birmingham Council has introduced a “tax on learning” by charging children to visit the city’s Museum and Art Gallery. The admission fees, which apply to official school trips, were introduced without any fanfare on January 1st. more


JANUARY SALES

07-01-2010

Skint after Christmas? Here’s the Stirrer’s handy guide to helping your money go further. more


SIMON SAYS – “I QUIT?”

07-01-2010

Mystery surrounds the future of Erdington MP and Creative Industries Minister Sion Simon – with speculation that he could quit at the next election. more


WHATEVER THE WEATHER

07-01-2010

Dave Woodhall, rapidly becoming the Stirrer’s resident Grumpy Old Man, wants to know what the hell’s going on and where did all this white stuff come from? more


FOOD FIGHT

07-01-2010

Food is one of the battlegrounds of the forthcoming election, with Labour calling for greater self sufficiency and the Tories demanding the creation of an Ombudsman to protect farmers. Not before time reckons Barbara Panvel. more


GOOD GIG NEWS

07-01-2010

Small concert venues may be given a minor helping hand thanks to recent proposals aimed at reducing the amount of performances which need to be licensed. Dave Woodhall explains. more


Get out More.....................Panto Review

SLEEPING BEAUTY

07-01-2010

Pete Millington adds to our previous review of the classic tale at Birmingham Hippodrome. more


STIRRER’S SNOW UPDATE

06-01-2010

Here’s the Stirrer’s guide to all the information links you need during the current bad weather. more


HOT AIR ABOUT GAS

06-01-2010

Claims that Britain’s gas reserves could run out within a week during the current cold snap have dismissed as “nonsense” by Birmingham MP and energy security expert John Hemming. more


READ ALL ABOUT IT?

06-01-2010

Yesterday the Stirrer reported on the Express & Star’s bid to capture the Mail’s traditional territory. Dave Woodhall now reveals that winning the battle may be easier than they anticipated. more


Dave’s Villa Blog

THE MAGIC OF THE CUP (II)

06-01-2010

The league programme traditionally takes a back seat at this time of the year. As Dave Woodhall explains, this provides not one, but two, chances of glory for the Villa. more


FABBO GETS WIND UP OVER TURBINE PLAN

06-01-2010

Plans for a wind turbine close to Lichfield and taller than the city’s famous cathedral have been condemned by local MP Michael Fabricant as a “joke”. more


THE EAGLE’S FLYING HIGH

06-01-2010

It’s a tough job but someone’s ...etc. We asked Dave Woodhall to thoroughly research his favourite pub and tell us what makes it so special. more


LET HIM EAT CAKE

06-01-2010

During one of his most recent visits to Birmingham, Dudley MP and Minister for the West Midlands Ian Austin was scandalously duped by his ‘trusty’ civil servants at the Government Office West Midlands. “The Mole” reports. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

THE MAGIC OF THE CUP (I)

06-01-2010

As our teams take time off from the league programme to begin the slippery path to FA Cup glory, Terry Wills seems familiar faces everywhere. more


"SICKENING" MARCH PLAN CONDEMNED BY YAQOOB

05-01-2010

Plans for a march by Islamic extremists through the streets of Wootton Bassett have been condemned as "sickening" by Birmingham councillor and Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob. She described the leader of the protest Anjem Choudary as an "attention seeker". more


Doc Dave’s Blog

BODIES OF EVIDENCE

05-01-2010

The organisers of Bodies Revealed at Birmingham’s Custard Factory have so far failed to respond to our requests to identify the source of the specimens used in their exhibition – prompting fears that they may have been secured under duress. Now Dr David Nicholl, who raised the alarm, is demanding an investigation by the Human Tissue Authority. more


STAR SPOTTED OVER BIRMINGHAM

05-01-2010

The Express and Star has just relaunched its Birmingham edition. Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg welcomes the Black Country paper's re-emergence as a serious force in the Second City. more


LADYWOOD TO TURN BLACK AND BLUE?

05-01-2010

Unlikely as it may sound, Birmingham’s Tories are targeting the inner city ward of Ladywood for the next local elections in May. They just selected the Sharon Pennant to take on Labour veteran Carl Rice, with agent Dominic Fisher describing her as the Conservatives “first black woman candidate selected for a winnable seat in the city”. more


Kingy’s Wolves Blog

ONLINE MATCH IS NET LOSS FOR FANS

05-01-2010

Wolves’ thoughts will return to Premier League safety this weekend, after a fluky FA Cup at Tranmere. Like most fans, Brendan King missed the match as it was a late kick-off, screened on the FA website. more


SKIPPING THE SKIP

05-01-2010

Birmingham Council has just announced details of a new licensing regime for household skips. It can’t come a minute too soon for Stirrer reader David MacKenzie, who says his complaints about the issue have been ignored for far too long. more


A FIT OF PEAK

04-01-2010

Travellers using the region’s rail network may find themselves paying more than they expected from today. Dave Woodhall delivers a warning. more


WOOTTON BASSETT MARCH ECHOES EDL ROW

04-01-2010

The row over Islam4UK’s proposed march through WooTton Bassett has uncanny echoes of the English Defence League’s series of demonstrations in Birmingham last year. more


THE STIRRER'S STIRRER 2009

04-01-2010

The time has come to announce The Stirrer’s Stirrer of the Year 2009 – the individual or group which has done more than any other to hold officialdom to account. And the winner is… more


Andy’s Blues Blog

NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET

04-01-2010

Blues narrowly avoided becoming the victim of an FA Cup upset at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, thanks to Robbie Earnshaw’s penalty miss. Andy Munro reflects on the gap between Premier League and Championship finishing. more


Stirrer Comment

ANSWERS NEEDED ON JEWELLERY QUARTER

04-01-2010

Now the festive period is out of the way, it’s time for Birmingham Council to clarify the future of the one of the city’s best loved and most historic districts – the Jewellery Quarter. more


Get Out More...............................Film Review

ST TRINIANS 2:

THE SEARCH FOR FRITTON’S GOLD

04-01-2010

Sequels rarely live up to the original so a sequel to an update of a 50 year-old series doesn’t hold much promise. Dave Woodhall spent an uncomfortable couple of hours at the cinema, in more ways than one. more


JEWELLERY QUARTER “TOP PRIORITY” – DESPITE CUTS

02-01-2010

Birmingham Council has vowed that promoting the city’s historic Jewellery Quarter remains a “top priority” – despite The Stirrer’s revelations that the Regeneration Partnership office and an Information Kiosk set up to promote the area are both primed for the axe. more


LIBRARY’S GROWING PAINS

02-01-2010

Has Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby taken it upon himself to authorise a bigger library than the planning committee has authorised? It certainly sounds like it reckons campaigner Alan Clawley. more


MANUFACTURING SUICIDE SQUAD?

02-01-2010

Birmingham's Chamber of Commerce was condemned last year for advising firms on how to outsource to India. Now Andy Munro has spotted another own goal. more


Get Out More..........................Panto Review

GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE

02-01-2010

The Old Rep’s festive offering goes down in the most delightful way reckons Spaghetti Gazetti blogger Pete Millington. more


Andy's Blues Blog

HAPPY NEW YEAR

02-01-2010

Blues head into FA Cup action today, boasting a top eight league position. Andy Munro still can't quite believe it. more


ARISE LORD WHITBY?

01-01-2010

There was a notable omission from the New Year’s Honours List – Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby. But for how much longer, one wonders – especially if the Tories win the next election. more


BODIES - NOT REVEALED?

01-01-2010

The Bodies Revealed exhibition at Birmingham's Custard Factory may expose the inner workings of human physiology. But Dr David Nicholl wonders if it hides darker secrets. more


THE GREAT LEAP FORWARD?

01-01-2010

An eleven match unbeaten run has brought to a close an excellent 2009 for Birmingham City. Steve Beauchampé reflects on a successful twelve months on and off the field. more


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