Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

July 2009

MANOR PUTS SQUEEZE ON DIFFORD

31-07-2009

Former Squeeze star Chris Difford has promised to hold a fund-raising gig with Wet Wet Wet singer Marti Pellow for a Walsall drugs centre helping addicts to get clean. more


KHAN MOVES TO CLARIFY SELECTION MUDDLE

31-07-2009

Embattled Birmingham Council Cabinet Minister Ayoub Khan has moved to clarify his position in the wake of last week’s High Court defeat over alleged election smears. Khan insists he’s been cleared by his own party, but acknowledges the enquiry could be reopened. more


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

MOON (15)

31-07-2009

Clint Mansell, front man from West Midlands indie heroes Pop Will Eat Itself scores the creepy soundtrack for this low-budget sci fi thriller directed by Duncan (“son of David Bowie”) Jones. more


WOLVES ARREST PAIR SUSPENDED

31-07-2009

Two Wolverhampton councillors arrested last weekend on suspicion of robbing a taxi will continue to receive their expenses despite being suspended. more


Get Out More..........................Film News

ELECTRIC CINEMA

31-07-2009

The Electric's main man Tom Lawes has just made it into the Birmingham Post's Power 50, and here's his latest line-up of top movies at The Electric. Featured movies include Moon, reviewed elsewhere on the site today. more


Martin Longley's Music Blog

HIP HOP SOUNDS: NEW YORK (PART 32)

31-07-2009

Hip hop sounds. In New York. Reviewed by top Brummie blogger Martin Longley. more


PEOPLE IN GLASS HOUSES

30-07-2009

Labour’s delight in the discomfiture of Ayoub Khan, a Liberal Democrat member of Birmingham Council’s Cabinet is entirely understandable – but they should heed to the old saying about people in glass houses… more


KHAN TELL THE OUTCOME

30-07-2009

Confusion reigns in Liberal Democrat circles where embattled councillor Ayoub Khan believes he has been cleared by an internal enquiry into the 2007 local elections – even though his local party leader Paul Tilsley insists the investigation is ongoing. more


Exclusive

ATHLETE SPRINT IN FOR ARTSFEST

30-07-2009

Birmingham's Artsfest has secured a couple of major acts for this year's event - top indie band Athlete and festival favourites Reverend and the Makers. And all for free. more


LIE DETECTOR

30-07-2009

England take on Australia at Edgbaston today, but whatever happens in the cricket, there's not much doubt we beat them at radio. This little clip just proves the point - but beware, the content is truly shocking. more


Laurence Inman’s Blog

WAR JAW

30-07-2009

So what was World War One about anyway? The death of Harry Patch leaves Laurence Inman no nearer to discovering an elusive truth. more


MINISTER GETS THE WIND UP

30-07-2009

Energy Secretary Ed Milliband was greeted in Birmingham last night by protestors supporting a sit-in at the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight. John Tyrrell was one of the placard holders. more


GAMES BID COVERAGE “NEGATIVE AND SHORTSIGHTED

30-07-2009

Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Sport Martin Martin Mullaney has condemned a “negative and short sighted” Birmingham Post article suggesting that attempts to bring the Commonwealth Games to the city are “a bid too far”. more


BRUM CLAIMS SCHOOL EXCLUSION SUCCESS

30-07-2009

Exclusion of pupils in Birmingham have fallen dramatically in the last two years – with education bosses claiming success for new “sharing panels” between schools. more


METRO BACK ON TRACK?

30-07-2009

Reports that plans to expand the Midlands Metro are moving again brings cheer to Andy Munro – but he wonders what happened to plans for a distinctively Brummie form of transport. more


Get Out More.........................Gig News

ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN (Wulfrun Civic)

30-07-2009

Rejuvenated Scouse indie legends are heading to the Wulfrun on Monday October 12 – with tickets going on sale this Friday at 9am. more


"GANGSTERISM" CLAIM AS KHAN BATTLES McCABE

29-07-2009

Birmingham councillor Ayoub Khan has accused Hall Green MP Steve McCabe of “supporting gangsterism in politics” in the latest row over inner city elections. McCabe has joined hue and cry against Khan, by calling for Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg to sack him as a parliamentary candidate. more


WORLD CUP OWN GOAL

29-07-2009

Birmingham’s claim to be a world class sporting city has taken a battering with the news that not one, but two World Cups are passing us by. Granted, the sports concerned are Rugby Union and Rugby League, but it highlights the region’s lack of a single top quality stadium. more


NO PARKING CHARGE STALLS

29-07-2009

Parking charges will be introduced in Wednesbury after Conservative plans to force a named vote on the issue were scuppered at Sandwell Council last night. After the meeting Tory leader Tony Ward launched a fierce attack on The Stirrer’s coverage of the issue. more


COUNCIL SEEKS MEAL DEAL

29-07-2009

The parlous state of Birmingham’s economy – officially ranked the nation’s unemployment hotspot – has left the city’s already over-burdened budget at breaking point because of the huge demand for free school meals. Now Childrens’ boss Les Lawrence is calling for government aid. more


IT'S BIG, IT'S GREEN...AND IT'S OFF

29-07-2009

This year's Big Green Gathering in the Mendips has been cancelled, disappointing hundreds of revellers from the West Midlands. As Barbara Panvel reports, there are fears it was called off because of political pressure. more


CONFESSIONS OF A BRUMMIE MUMMY (Part 37)

29-07-2009

The latest instalment is sub-titled “Desperate Housewife”. Go figure. more


POST AND MAIL STRIKE CALLED OFF

28-07-2009

Thursday's planned strike at the Birmingham Post and Mail has been called off following promises by management that there will be no compulsory redundancies - but nine titles including the Walsall Observer and Solihull Times have now ceased publication. more


BRUM HEADING INTO THE RED

28-07-2009

Just three months into the new financial year, Birmingham Council’s annual overspend is being projected at £19million – prompting fears of cutbacks as the authority desperately attempts to claw back the deficit by next April. more


NOSY PARKERS SEEK TO "NAME AND SHAME"

28-07-2009

Shoppers and residents in Wednesbury will finally be forced to accept parking charges in the town after a vote tonight at Sandwell Council – but not before the Tories press for a “named vote” so that those in favour of the move can be identified at election time. more


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

FROM THE JAM (The Robin, Bilston)

28-07-2009

Featuring two of the original trio - but not the main man. Dave Woodhall joins the pogoing throng. more


BUS DRIVER'S REVOLUTION STALLS

28-07-2009

Almost two years after the Conservatives came to power in Wolverhampton under the leadership of bus driver Neville Patten, have they delivered on the promise of change? Myriam Blackstaff assesses the pros and cons. more


HARRY'S GAME

28-07-2009

This autumn, a service will be held in Westminster Abbey for Harry Patch, the oldest surviving Tommy from the trenches of World War One, who has just died at the age of 111. Barbara Panvel considers an alternative memorial. more


Andy’s Balti Blog

SHAHI NAN KEBAB HOUSE

28-07-2009

There was a time when Birmingham’s Stratford Road rivalled Ladypool for balti activity, but now only a few remnants remain. Luckily for him, Andy Munro found a good one. more


KICKED OFFA

28-07-2009

One of the most inglorious chapters in Sandwell Council’s recent history will come to a close tonight when long serving Wednesbury councillor George Turton is kicked off a key committee. The amazing thing is that he was appointed in the first place after moving to Wales. more


Exclusive

BROAD STREET TRANSIT REVAMP

28-07-2009

Recent news that Birmingham's Broad Street might soon be enjoying its own rapid transit system have taken a blow with the unseasonal weather - but we can reveal that a "wet weather option" has been drawn up to deal with a repeat of the current monsoon weather. more


CABBIES SEEK SAFETY TALKS WITH COPS

27-07-2009

Birmingham’s cabbies are seeking urgent talks with West Midlands Police following the stabbing of driver Mohammed Arshad in Hopwood last Wednesday. They claim racist attacks are commonplace and have considered going on strike. more


Ayoub Khan Exclusive

“GOD WILL NOT LET ME BE TAKEN DOWN"

27-07-2009

Birmingham’s under pressure Cabinet member Ayoub Khan has vowed to fight on to prove his innocence after a High Court ruling last week jeopardised his political career and brought his livelihood into question. He says God will vindicate him because he has told the truth. more


TOTALLY WIRED

27-07-2009

There are the box set aficianados, the slowcoaches catching up with it on BBC2, and a few smug pioneers who enjoyed it first time around on cable - yep, it's The Wire. Paul Samuels reflects on an audience with its creator David Simon at the Hay Festival. more


BALTI CHEFS NEED TRAINING

27-07-2009

Immigration rules should be relaxed to save the Birmingham balti according to local business bosses - but as Andy Munro suggests, there is an alternative. more


SUPERSONIC BOOMS...BUT NOT TOO MUCH

27-07-2009

Birmingham’s avant garde noise festival Supersonic which ran over the weekend at Digbeth’s Custard factory has got the thumbs-up from the city’s “Cabinet Minister for Fun” Martin Mullaney. more


STRIKING HACKS "RECKLESS AND NEGLIGENT"

27-07-2009

Journalists planning a strike the Birmingham Post and Mail group later this week have been condemned as "reckless and negligent" by their Managing Director. more


GETTING ON FAMOUSLY

27-07-2009

Should we be too surprised to hear that cheeky Liverpool footballing legend Stevie Gerrard and controversial singing star Amy Whitehouse were cleared of assault charges on the same day? Not according to Pete Millington. more


MUSICAL ROUTES

27-07-2009

"One In Ten" helped UB40 quit the dole queue and make it into the charts ... but what are the chances of making it in the music biz in 2009 if you're unemployed? A series of workshops in the Black Country being launched this week might have the answer. more


BRUMMIE BAGGIE HOLDS FOURTH

27-07-2009

West Bromwich Albion supporting Mosleyite Phil Calcutt occupied the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square on Friday. Judge for yourself whether its art. more


CHEF SHORTAGE "THREATENS BALTI"

24-07-2009

The future of the balti, Birmingham's "national dish", is threatend by a shortage of chefs, according to the city's Chamber of Commerce. They want immigration rules relaxed to attract more chefs from abroad. more


READ ALL ABOUT IT - JOURNOS STRIKE

24-07-2009

Hacks at the Birmingham Post and Mail and Sunday Mercury have voted to strike next Thursday in opposition to compulsory redundancies and the closure of papers. more


Lars Von Trier

THE MOST SHOCKING MAN IN BRITAIN

24-07-2009

Tabloid editors are sharpening their knives for Danish director Lars Von Trier, whose Antichrist is reckoned to be the most graphic movie to be granted an 18 certificate in Britain. The film opens today, but Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg saw him quizzed by a preview audience at London’s Curzon Cinema in Soho. more


Doc Dave's Blog

STAND DOWN JULIE

24-07-2009

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into Bromsgrove... Supporters of disgraced MP Julie Kirkbride are hinting that they might ask her to reconsider her decision to step down at the next election. Not on your nelly, says David Nicholl. more


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

FROM THE JAM (The Robin, Monday 27 July)

24-07-2009

Not quite Jam today, more like two thirds of The Jam on Monday. Dave Woodhall previews a gig that's sure to get The Robin rockin'. more


HORSING AROUND

24-07-2009

The Stirrer's publication of Glyn Berrington's letter about wild horses in Brierley Hill has nudged one of his local councillors, Margaret Wilson, to reply. But will it solve the problem? Not according to Glyn. more


Get Out More..................Gig News

WOLVES CIVIC LISTINGS

24-07-2009

Gary Numan, Basement Jaxx and the NME Radar Tour have all been added to the latest listings from the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, which also includes dates at the Wulfrun and the Civic. Here's the complete list. more


Martin Longley's Music Blog
JAZZ SOUNDS (New York, Part 2949)

24-07-2009

The Birmingham Jazz and Capsule promoters have jointly concocted a multi-media confrontation, as New York drummer Bobby Previte is lowered into the mosh pit of this weekend's Supersonic festival. Martin Longley saw him play jazz (of a sort) in NYC... more


THREE MORE SWINE FLU DEATHS

23-07-2009

Three more patients in the West Midlands have died from swine flu - H1N1 - bringing the number of fatalities from the virus to six across the region. more


KIDS CARE SLOWED DOWN BY PC'S

23-07-2009

Reports earlier this week suggested that a report into Birmingham Council’s Children’s Care is likely to expose “systematic failures” – with social workers in the front line of criticism. But should their lousy computer systems bear part of the blame? more


BUSINESS BACKS BRUM CULTURE BID

23-07-2009

Businesses in Birmingham and Solihull are backing the city’s attempt to be crowned UK Capital of Culture in 2013. Hmmm...wonder if they'll be accused of trying to "bounce" the Council into making a bid. more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

MAN, 91, DIES

23-07-2009

Now there's an amazing thing. An old bloke has died. In America, too. Richard Lutz wonders why the media made so much of it. more


MP’S “DISMAY” AS MOTOR AID STALLS

23-07-2009

Birmingham and Black Country MP’s are “dismayed” that billions of pounds of government aid still hasn’t found its way to local car maker Jaguar Land Rover. And they’re calling on the government to consider paying wage subsidies rather than unemployment benefit. more


HORSE PLAY

23-07-2009

Never mind potholes, The Stirrer’s Brierley Hill correspondent Glyn Berrington has discovered a new obsession – loose horses in the area. Despite complaints to his local councilors, he’s had no joy in getting them rounded up, so we’ll keep publishing the correspondence until they are. more


TASTE OF BRUM CROWNS “RIDICULOUS”

23-07-2009

Taste of Birmingham stall holder Gary Davis declares himself unimpressed with Marketing Birmingham’s explanation for the use of “Crowns” as currency for the event. In fact the proprietor of www.fudgeheaven.co.uk reckons it’s “ridiculous”. more


Laurence Inman’s Blog

MUSING ON MOVIES

23-07-2009

It sounds unlikely, but the old curmudgeon was persuaded to go and see the new Harry Potter movie the other day. Of course, it set him thinking about Michaelangelo, Renoir and Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. more


Birmingham Central Library

DOES SIZE MATTER…?

22-07-2009

Five years ago, plans were afoot for a massive extension to Birmingham Central Library – but now it seems that the building which will replace it could have less space. Campaigner Alan Clawley ponders the age old question – does size matter? more


DR BLOG GOES DOWN UNDER

22-07-2009

Social media surgeries pioneered by Birmingham's own "Dr Blog" Nick Booth have attracted visitors from across the UK. And now, as Audrey Miller reports, they've also got a fan club Down Under. more


DEBT VULTURES WINGS CLIPPED

22-07-2009

Debt campaigners have welcomed moves to protect some of the poorest countries in the world from so-called "Vulture Funds", aimed at cashing in on their inability to pay off loans. more


POST AND MAIL STRIKE CLAIMS DISPUTED

22-07-2009

Claims that journalists at the Birmingham Post and Mail group voted “overwhelmingly” to support industrial action have been challenged by a company insider – who points out that only half the NUJ’s membership voted. more


WOLVO PARKS GO GREEN

22-07-2009

Three Wolverhampton parks and open spaces have been awarded prestigious Green Flags – with St Peter’s Gardens in the city centre winning the accolade for the first time. more


Get Out More...............................Gig News

WOLVESTOCK (25/26 July)

22-07-2009

Plans to charge for this annual country music event have now been dropped, so all we need is bright, bright sunshine, and a great weekend in East Park is guaranteed. more


TOWN BUT NOT OUT

22-07-2009

The future looks bleak for Halesowen Town FC, but Richard Nevin discovers that a Black Country community is battling to keep its local club alive. more


"SUPPORT OUR TROOPS - BRING 'EM HOME"

21-07-2009

On the eve of a homecoming parade for troops in Birmingham, Sparkbrook councillor and Stop The War campaigner Salma Yaqoob says it's time to bring them all back. more


BANKRUPT COUNCILLOR STEPS DOWN

21-07-2009

A Birmingham councillor has been forced to step down after going bankrupt, sparking a by-election in the Sparkbrook ward, currently a stronghold for the Respect Party. more


TILSLEY BACKS CULTURE BID...SORT OF

21-07-2009

Birmingham Council’s deputy leader Paul Tilsley has come around to the idea of bidding for the UK Capital of Culture – just a few days after complaining about being “bounced” into the idea by his Liberal Democrat colleague Martin Mullaney. more


DUTTON GOES FOR GOLD

21-07-2009

Birmingham Council’s regeneration chief Clive Dutton is quitting to take up the Olympic legacy for the London borough of Newham, home to the 2012 Olympics. more


GORILLA WARFARE

21-07-2009

Like a gap year student lost in the Outback, Birmingham’s classic 70s statue King Kong was feared lost forever? But now Andy Munro has spotted the great ape – although readers who remember the beast in his prime should be prepared for a shock. more


Sandwell Parking Charges

PARKING ROW KEEPS ON RUNNING

21-07-2009

The row over the decision to introduce parking charges in Wednesbury refuses to go away, and here's the latest installment, with a local resident - Winfrey Parkingbay - warning that the decision will cost jobs and reduce wages. It's a response to the article Sandwell Tories Parked in Reverse Gear. more


Get Out More......................Film News

BRUNO (15 and 18)

21-07-2009

Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up to Borat has laughs aplenty – but the satire often backfires reckons Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg. more


Taste of Birmingham

NO FUDGE OVER CROWNS

21-07-2009

Disgruntled fudgemaker stallholder Gary Davis complained on yesterday's Stirrer about the use of Crowns rather than pounds at the recent Taste of Birmingham festival. Here's the response from Ian Taylor, commercial director at Marketing Birmingham, which organised this year’s event. more


STRIKE CALL AT POST AND MAIL

21-07-2009

Hacks at the Birmingham Post and Mail and the Sunday Mercury have given overwhelming backing to a strike call by the National Union of Journalists. more


THE JEKYLL AND HYDE (Steelhouse Lane)

21-07-2009

The people behind two of The Stirrer's favourite city centre establishments in Birmingham have come up with what looks like another winner - the Jekyll and Hyde, a Victorian-style gin palace in Steelhouse Lane. more


AUTOMATED CALLS AND AFGHAN STAMPS

21-07-2009

It does what it says on the tin. It’s a rant. By Dave Price. Covering automated calls and stamps from Afghanistan. more


GOV'T SHARES BLAME FOR CHILDRENS' FIASCO

20-07-2009

If the independent report into Birmingham’s Childrens’ Services is anything like as damning as newspaper reports suggest, it’s not only the Council which should be in the dock – but the government too. more


Exclusive

GREEN FINGERS, RED FACES

20-07-2009

After the fiasco of the Victoria Hall student flats development – first revealed on The Stirrer – news of another cock-up by Wolverhampton Council that could have costly implications for taxpayers. This time the issue is the maintenance contract for social housing organisation Wolverhampton Homes. more


CROWN SLIPS FOR TASTE OF BRUM

20-07-2009

Our recent review of the Taste of Birmingham complained that visitors have to use "Crowns" instead of sterling to buy food. Now a stall holder has come forward to endorse our criticism. more


Get Out More........................Gig News

RAISE THE ROOF FOR THE RAINBOW

20-07-2009

Digbeth's Rainbow pub has been served with a Noise Abatement Order - and, thanks to Radio 4, the ensuing row has been heard across the nation. Now you can do your bit to help, by turning out for a summer festival aimed at raising funds for a new soundproofed roof. more


Get Out More..........................Theatre Review

JULIUS CAESAR (RSC, Stratford)

20-07-2009

The new RSC production of Julius Caesar isn’t just about the famous quotes. It’s also about using modern techniques to tell an old story. Richard Lutz is impressed. more


Sandwell Parking

“PUT THE KNIVES AWAY”

20-07-2009

Arguments have been raging back and forth on The Stirrer Fourm about the introduction of parking charges in Wednesbury. Arthur Dean, from the town’s Business Association calls for rival politicians to “put the knives away”. more


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

DEREK TRUCKS BAND (O2 Academy)

20-07-2009

His name is revered by guitar aficionados, but unknown to the rest of us – for now at least. But according to Robin Valk, the stadiums are beckoning. more


STUDENT FLATS BUILT DESPITE SAFETY ADVICE

17-07-2009

Wolverhampton Council has admitted giving planning permission for new student flats in the city against the advice of Health and Safety Officials - saying there was "no reason to object". The application has now gone to judicial review. more


Exclusive

CITY "WON'T BE BOUNCED" INTO CULTURE BID

17-07-2009

The deputy leader of Birmingham Council is warning the city won’t be “bounced” into bidding for UK Capital of Culture – even though his Cabinet colleague Martin Mullaney announced the plan two days ago. Mullaney’s predecessor Ray Hassall has also weighed in by demanding to know the cost of the project. more


GIVING BIRMINGHAM A SPORT CHANCE

17-07-2009

The football World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, Britain’s first City of Culture, even the Olympic Games... Birmingham plans a global sporting and cultural profile in the years ahead. Better start investing in the infrastructure then says Steve Beauchampé. more


Andy’s Balti Blog

KUSHI (558, Moseley Rd B12)

17-07-2009

It’s won loads of certificates – including one for having fire fighting equipment. Blimey, just how hot are their curries? Andy Munro reports. more


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

YES WE KHAN

17-07-2009

Pakistan’s former World Cup winning cricket captain Imran Khan is in Birmingham tonight (Friday) to talk about humanitarian crisis in his home country. more


BRUM HOMECOMING PARADE FOR TROOPS

17-07-2009

Soldiers who've served in Iraq and Afghanistan will be given a homecoming parade in Birmingham next Wednesday. Here's the info from the Council Press Office. more


CONFESSIONS OF A BRUMMIE MUMMY (Part 36)

17-07-2009

She's what? Going to her suitor's house in her jogging gear? It's bound to end in tears. more


Get Out More................................Gig News

THAT PETROL EMOTION

17-07-2009

There are Undertones connections with this lot, but thankfully not the skinny one with the annoying voice. Yes, it's That Petrol Emotion, who were at Birmingham's Academy recently. more


Get Out More................................Theatre Review

REMEMBER WHEN

17-07-2009

A bit of old time nostalgia captivated Terry Wills this week at the Alex in Birmingham. more


Exclusive

PLANNING FEARS OVER WOLVO DIGS

16-07-2009

Safety officials are at loggerheads over the opening of new student accommodation in Wolverhampton – because they fear the proximity of a nearby gas tank. more


MAKE YOUR OWN ORIGAMI BULLSHIT

16-07-2009

Birmingham Council’s chief executive Stephen Hughes has sent a series of bizarre emails to staff inviting them – among other things – to make an origami butterfly. His oddball request came during the launch of a recruitment programme for “Change Agents and Change Specialists” more


Get Out More..........................Festival News

SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL (July 24-26)

16-07-2009

Italian prog rock legends Goblin and Black Country noisemongers Head of David are among the highlights of Birmingham's forthcoming Supersonic Festival - one the city's undoubted cultural highlights. more


Barbara's Blog

UNIMPRES'D BY BLAIR

16-07-2009

Could Tony Blair be the first President of Europe? Apparently so - and Barbara Panvel ain't impressed. more


Sandwell Parking 1

"DEMOCRACY WILL WIN" SAYS MAVIS

16-07-2009

Yesterday's condemnation of Conservative "hypocrisy" about the introduction of parking charges in Wednesbury has aroused plenty of anger - not least from local councillor Mavis Hughes who has exercised her right of reply. more


THE RACE AGAINST RACISM

16-07-2009

The alarming rise of the far-right needs to be countered by everyone who cares about a decent society argues Sparkhill councillor Salma Yaqoob. more


Sandwell Parking 2

PARKING WILL COST WEDNESBURY JOBS

16-07-2009

Businesses will close and jobs are bound to be lost as a result of the decision to introduce parking charges in Wednesbury, according to Arthur Dean who helped organise a 10,000 signature petition against the plan. Here’s his response to an article on yesterday’s Stirrer. more


CURE FOR THE WOOZY FLOOZY

16-07-2009

Well known local blogger and broadcaster Igor Romanoff has come up with a cure for Birmingham's leaky Floozy in the Jacuzzi - and it only costs £6.99. more


Laurence Inman’s Blog

IF THE CAP FITS...

16-07-2009

A hat for every occasion - that's Laurence Inman. Must be his age... more


BIRMINGHAM BIDS TO BECOME UK CITY OF CULTURE

15-07-2009

Birmingham is aiming to become the first UK City of Culture in 2013 – and the city’s Cabinet Member for Leisure Martin Mullaney wants the city’s blogging community to get behind the bid. more


NEW INQUEST CALL OVER KELLY "MURDER"

15-07-2009

Government scientist Dr David Kelly who died after exposing the government’s controversial “45 minute” claim in the run up to the Iraq war was murdered according to Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker. He’s now calling for a full inquest into Kelly’s death which happened six years ago on Friday. more


Get Out More........................................Gig News

NME RADAR TOUR (Wolves Civic 10/10/09)

15-07-2009

The NME has an unparalleled reputation for spotting – and touring – the best young British bands, and their latest “Radar” tour arrives at the Civic Bar in Wolverhampton in the autumn. Tickets go on sale on Friday. more


DISORDER, DISORDER

15-07-2009

The public gallery was cleared by police at Dudley Council House on Monday night, as trade unions and campaigners aiming to save Pensnett High School and Coseley Baths made their voices heard. But as Al Jackson reports, it didn't stop councillors awarding themselves an extra £2,000 in expenses. more


PUBLIC "FULLY OPEN" BY BANK HOLIDAY

15-07-2009

West Brom’s Public Arts Centre is due to be fully opened over the August Bank holiday to coincide with the Sandwell Show – but the future of the interactive gallery is shrouded in mystery after the borough’s regeneration boss admitted it would include other exhibits in addition to the planned digital display. more


COMMONWEALTH BID UNDER STARTERS ORDERS

14-07-2009

Birmingham’s aim of hosting the Commonwealth Games has gained renewed impetus, following yesterday’s Cabinet approval for a feasibility study into a new Aquatics Centre in Ladywood. more


JOBS PLAN “CLOAKS CUTS”

14-07-2009

Plans to slash 250 jobs at Wolverhampton Council by cutting bureaucracy” and “duplication” have been condemned as a “cloak to mask cuts” by opposition Labour leader Roger Lawrence. He says library services are being damaged and Leisure prices increased by an inflation busting 10%. more


Get Out More.......................Pub News

GREEN BEER

14-07-2009

The UK’s first organic beer festival, at the Anchor in Digbeth, marks its tenth anniversary this year – and Friends of the Earth are ensuring that green principles extend beyond the brewery tap and into the barbeque. more


HACKED OFF

14-07-2009

Disgruntled hacks at the Birmingham Post and Mail have passed a unanimous motion of “no confidence” in their bosses at Trinity Mirror following a series of recent job cuts and paper closures. The journos, who are balloting for industrial action, warn that both the city’s newspapers could disappear. more


SANDWELL TORIES PARKED IN REVERSE GEAR

14-07-2009

Labour supporters have hit back in the bitter row over the introduction of parking charges in Wednesbury, accusing their Conservative rivals of hypocrisy. They claim that when the idea was first mooted, Tory councillors – who’ve made capital out of opposing the plan – actually suggested the proposed fees should be doubled. more


MORE MOORPOOL

14-07-2009

There’s been astonishingly little fallout from last week’s decision by Birmingham City Council to abandon the principles of conservation and approve a new housing development on the historic Moorpool Estate in Harborne – but at least one member has raised his head above the parapet. more


GONE TO POT (Part 68)

14-07-2009

Stirrer blogger Glyn Berrington just keeps nagging away about the state of the potholes in Dudley, and has even used a Freedom of Information request to find out more. Not that he’s much the wiser as a result. more


Get Out More..............................Film News

ELECTRIC CINEMA LISTINGS

14-07-2009

That nice Tom Lawes from The Electric Cinema has been kind enough to send us his latest listings, and we're happy to share them with you. There's the new Harry Potter, Johnny Depp in Public Enemies, and Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat. more


THE HATE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME

13-07-2009

Consumers of mainstream media outlets may have been surprised to read about a Unite Against Fascism demo in Birmingham at the weekend – not least because it was a counter protest against the previous week’s Anti Muslim rally which was mysteriously overlooked in local newspapers and on the radio. more


Get Out More......................Event Review

TASTE OF BIRMINGHAM

13-07-2009

Taste of Birmingham in Cannon Hill Park has now become a fixture on the city’s summer events scene, but while it offers plenty of tasty morsels, the overall effect is less than satisfying reckons Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg. more


Business Transformation

PUBLIC SERVICE OR PRIVATE PROFIT

13-07-2009

Birmingham Council rejected a union call this week for a review of the city’s Business Transformation programme following an open letter on The Stirrer Forum. Now the unions have hit back with this statement warning that public services have become little more than the profit arm of private companies. more


BLO OUT?

13-07-2009

The buzz on The Stirrer Forum is unmissable – and it says that Test Match Special commentator Henry Blofeld has past his sell-by date and should be pensioned off. more


SPLASHING OUT

13-07-2009

After years of neglect, Birmingham City Council appears to be seriously addressing the state of its community swimming pools, starting at today’s Cabinet meeting. But are they ready to splash out wonders Steve Beauchampé. more


LEGAL EAGLE SWOOPS FOR UNDERHILL

13-07-2009

Campaigning lawyer Yvonne Hossacks who specialises in fighting care home closures made an unsuccessful return to court on Friday in an effort to protect staff and patients at Wolverhampton’s closure threatened Underhill House. more


A BLACK DAY FOR DEMOCRACY - PART 2

13-07-2009

Lynn Hawthorne regrets the passing of an old acquaintance during Friday's meeting of Sandwell Council which passed plans to introduce parking charges in Wednesbury town centre. more


Martin Longley’s Music Blog

13-07-2009

JAZZELECTRO SOUNDS: NEW YORK (Part 30)

The Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi brings his new Nightbook project to Symphony Hall on the 27th October. Martin Longley witnessed him New York-wards recently, in his other electroacoustic setting as part of the Whitetree threesome... more


ALDEN WINS TORY “BEAUTY CONTEST”

12-07-2009

The Conservative party has chosen its remaining parliamentary candidates for Birmingham after a “beauty contest” before members of six constituencies. Robert Alden was chosen for the key target seat of Erdington. more


3,000 SIGN UP FOR POOL PETITION

12-07-2009

Swimmers in Birmingham will step up their campaign to re-open the Gala pool at Moseley Road baths when they present a 3,000 name petition to the city’s new sports and leisure boss Martin Mullaney. Campaigners call it “the jewel in the crown” of British baths. more


OLLEY, OLLEY OLLEY

12-07-2009

The Stirrer's recent suggestion that "Come Dine With Me" star and Broad Street manager Mike Olley might be reconsidering a return to local politics has provoked a cheery reply from the man himself. more


TROOPS OUT

12-07-2009

Barbara Panvel examines an alternative approach to the war in Afghanistan by looking across the world to New Zealand. The Kiwis are introducing laws which make it harder for their leaders to become embroiled in adventures abroad. more


Poet's Corner
THE DAY DEMOCRACY DIED

12-07-2009

Shoppers in Wednesbury will have to pay parking charges following a decision by Sandwell Council on Friday - even though 10,000 residents and traders signed a petition opposing the plan. Brendan Hawthorne - who lives in the town - ain't chuffed. more


FREE ADMISSION POSES QUESTIONS FOR PUBLIC

10-07-2009

Visitors to The Public in West Bromwich will enjoy free admission – even after it’s fully opened later this year. It was originally envisaged that the“interactive gallery” which is the centrepiece of the building would be a charged for attraction. more


STAND AND DELIVER

10-07-2009

Women with "high risk" pregnancies in Solihull face being transferred to either Bordesley Green or Sutton Coldfield under proposals put forward by the Heart of England Foundation Trust. Barbara Panvel ponders how residents in a major West Midlands town can be denied a full range of health facilities. more


MOOR POOL LOSES CONSERVATION BATTLE

10-07-2009

Conservation area? What conservation area? Birmingham Council's planning committee has made a mockery of efforts to preserve some of the most historic parts of the city by giv

ing the go-ahead for 16 new homes on the Moorpool Estate in Harborne. more


CARR CRASH

10-07-2009

Wolverhampton Council’s Chief Executive Richard Carr – who instigated an unsuccessful legal action against The Stirrer website – is quitting his job. more


Andy’s Balti Blog

POPULAR BALTI (Ladypool Rd)

10-07-2009

It's one of the "old reliables" of the Balti Belt - but Andy Munro finds the Popular overdoing one ingredient in particular. more


Get Out More.............................Gig News

FROM THE JAM

10-07-2009

Okay, so Paul Weller can't be persuaded to come back, but this is still an unbeatable night of nostalgia featuring two of the three blokes who created some of the most enduring moments in British pop. more


Amnesty Blog

A HAIR-RAISING EXPERIENCE

10-07-2009

It seems that in Mexico, a dodgy haircut is sufficient to earn you a good kicking from the coppers. Amnesty International's Eulette Ewart reports on a shocking outbreak of police brutality. more


PUBLIC “FULLY OPEN” BY END OF SUMMER

09-07-2009

The future of the Public in West Bromwich has been secured after Sandwell Council thrashed out a rescue deal with the Arts Council. The local authority is promising it will be “fully open” by the end of the summer, but remains coy about how much the bailout will cost taxpayers. more


OLLEY EYES RETURN

09-07-2009

The emergence of Broad Street manager Mike Olley as a local government pundit isn’t only good news for readers of the Birmingham Mail – it could signal a return to politics for one of the city’s most colourful characters. more


Laurence Inman’s Blog

GORMLEY – OR GORMLESS?

09-07-2009

Antony Gormley who designed the Iron Man in Birmingham’s New Street is the “creative force” behind the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, which is currently being filled by an army of ordinary people. Laurence Inman is unimpressed. more


Mikey Powell Justice Campaign

FAMILY WIN ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

09-07-2009

The family of Handsworth dad Mikey Powell who died in police custody in 2003 have moved a step closer to finding out why he lost his life. Last Friday, the High Court ordered that the Northants constabulary release 4000 previously confidential documents. more


Buswatch Blog

TWO'S COMPANY

09-07-2009

This month Buswatch blogger Barbara Panvel reports on the shabbily upholstered Number 2 bus service in Birmingham - for which passengers have to pay the same fare, of course, as on showcase routes. more


SANDWELL TAXPAYERS SPEND A PENNY

09-07-2009

Taxpayers in Sandwell are paying just a penny a day for councillors’ expenses according to figures published by the local authority – a cheap price to pay for democracy. more


PAY FREEZE FOR WOLVO HOMES STAFF

08-07-2009

Disturbing news from Wolverhampton Homes, the "arms length" organisation which runs the city’s council housing – hundreds of repairs staff are facing a five year pay freeze. Union sources claim that in real terms this amounts to a wage cut of around £3,000. more


BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION - COUNCIL REPLY

08-07-2009

Birmingham’s joint trade unions wrote an open letter on The Stirrer yesterday calling for a review of the city’s Business Transformation process, which they described as a corporate “gravy train”. Here’a a reply by Glyn Evans, the Council’s Corporate Director of Business Change. more


Get Out More.........................Gig News

NEW SHOWS AT TOWN HALL/SYMPHONY HALL

08-07-2009

Comic Rob Brydon, Yes, Alison Moyet, Ray Davies and the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain are among the new shows at Birmingham's Town hall and Symphony Hall venues. more


UNDERHILL RESIDENTS WIN STAY OF EXECUTION

08-07-2009

Elderly residents at Wolverhampton’s Underhill House have been given a three week “stay of execution” after the City Council agreed in court yesterday to hold off from plans to evict them. more


Get Out More..................................Musical Review

THRILLER

08-07-2009

Now that’s timely – the Michael Jackson tribute musical arrives at the Alex just in time for the funeral. more


CONFESSIONS OF A BRUMMIE MUMMY (Part 35)

08-07-2009

Forget the heatwave outside – Brummie Mummy is living in a winter wonderland. more


PROTESTORS - "BRIT MUSLIMS ARE ALL EXTREMISTS"

07-07-2009

The far right group responsible for Saturday’s demo against Islamic extremism in Birmingham has revealed it’s opposition to all Muslims practising their faith in Britain. In an interview with Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg on Talksport last night, spokesman Paul Ray also admitted their links with the BNP. more


Exclusive

UNIONS CALL FOR “GRAVY TRAIN” REVIEW

07-07-2009

Birmingham’s joint trade unions are calling for an urgent review of the city’s Business Transformation programme, which they say is failing to deliver promised savings. In an open letter they’re asking the City Council to derail the consultants’ “gravy train” and use the cash to employ more staff. more


Birmingham Central Library

LET’S WORK TOGETHER

07-07-2009

Could the developers who want to transform Birmingham’s Paradise Circus work hand in hand with conservationists determined to preserve the city’s Central Library? Campaigner Alan Clawley thinks so. more


First Friday Club

KINGSWINFORD PUB CRAWL

07-07-2009

Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg and his pals head out for a regular pub crawl on the first Friday of every month. It’s a tough ask getting five decent boozers within walking distance, but Kingswinford, on the edge of the Black Country, didn’t disappoint. more


THE NORTHFIELD ECOCENTRE

07-07-2009

An ordinary house in South Birmingham has been transformed into a model for sustainable living. Barbara Panvel reports. more


NEW CHAPTER FOR SPARKILL LIBRARY

07-07-2009

Users of Sparkhill library have been alarmed by the circulation of an anonymous leaflet suggesting it’s about to close. But that’s not true, according to Birmingham Council, who insist provision for readers in the area is set to improve. more


Get Out More...........................Opera Review

FOR YOU (Birmingham Rep)

07-07-2009

Award-winning novelist Ian McEwan has turned his hand to opera, after teaming up with composer Michael Berkeley. Paul Elenor reckons he should stick at it. more


Poet's Corner
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

07-07-2009

The weekend's Fudgestock festival in West Brom raised hundreds of pounds for charity - but according to Brendan Hawthorne the staff didn't enter the spirit of the event? Unused to seeing a large crowd, he wonders? more


"NO ARRESTS" AT ANTI-ISLAM DEMO

06-07-2009

West Midlands Police have revealed they were tipped off about Saturday's demo in Birmingham Islamic extremism - and say there were no arrests. The protest also spawned a peaceful counter protest. more


ANTI MUSLIM PROTESTORS DEMO IN BRUM

06-07-2009

Dozens of far right anti-Muslim protestors disrupted shoppers in the shadow of Birmingham's Bull Ring on Saturday afternoon, but were contained by a sizeable police presence. The hatemongers are promising to return on August 8 to whip up more ill will. more


BIRMINGHAM BACK IN THE SWIM

06-07-2009

Every resident in Birmingham should have a pool within 20 minutes walk according to the city’s new Cabinet member for Leisure and Sport Martin Mullaney.He’s got plans to re-open the large pool at Moseley Road as well as build a replacement for the closed baths in Sparkhill. more


COUNCIL COURTS CONTROVERSY OVER CARE CLOSURE

06-07-2009

Elderly residents faced with eviction from a Wolverhampton care home are going to court tomorrow in a bid to remain in their existing accommodation. They’ll be backed by one of Britain’s most controversial lawyers. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

BARTON THE OTHER HAND…

06-07-2009

Could a club which has had Kenny Burns, Robert Hopkins and Mark Dennis on its books really regard any player as too hot to handle? When it comes to Joey Barton, ‘yes’ says our Blues blogger Andy Munro. more


MG ROVER INQUIRY "NOT IN LONG GRASS"

06-07-2009

Northfield MP Richard Burden has dismissed claims that an inquiry into the collapse of MG Rover has been “kicked into the long grass”. The circumstances surrounding the demise of the Birmingham car maker are now being referred to the Serious Fraud Office following a four year, £16 million investigation. more


NEW HOPE FOR NINE AXED PAPERS

04-07-2009

The newspaper group recently linked with a takeover of the Birmingham Post has said it’s also interested in saving some of the nine Midlands titles axed this week by Trinity Mirror. The company's chief executive also estimates the Post could more than double its circulation to 30,000 copies a day. more


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

LOOKING FOR ERIC

04-07-2009

After Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky, it was the turn of Britain’s other great naturalistic film director Ken Loach to approach a feelgood movie – and he certainly succeeded in this footy-based comedy which is still being screened around the West Midlands. more


Get Out More......................Musical Review

WE WILL ROCK YOU (Birmingham Hippodrome)

04-07-2009

Brian May and Roger Taylor make a surprise appearance during the finale of this musical based on their work with Queen, but what about the rest of the show? Terry Wills goes radio ga ga. more


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

SUMMER IN WOLVERHAMPTON

04-07-2009

Mock ye not. There’s actually tons going on in Wolvo this summer – South Asian dance, Chitty Bang Bang at the Grand, Ray Lamontagne at the Civic and an exhibition of how children lived in Victorian times. more


THE STAR’S NOT IN THE PINK

03-07-2009

The Stirrer can reveal that Black Country newspaper institution “The Sporting Star” has been quietly dropped and won’t appear next season. It was the last remaining Saturday evening sports paper in the West Midlands following the demise of the Sports Argus three years ago. more


NEW HOMES BACKING FOR CONSERVATION AREA

03-07-2009

Birmingham Council’s planning officers are recommending approval for 16 new houses on the city’s historic Moorpool Estate conservation area – contradicting advice given by English Heritage experts. more


NATIONAL DISTRESS

03-07-2009

Debt-stricken transport operator National Express has already had to give up its East Coast rail franchise - and now, as Kevin Chapman reports, its bus operations in the West Midlands are coming under pressure too. more


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

NEIL SEDAKA

03-07-2009

The American singer songwriter whose career started before Elvis hit the big time made a rare appearance at Symphony Hall on Wednesday. Our own veteran, Terry Wills, watches a master reconnect with his fans. more


SQUARE BASHING IN KINGS HEATH

03-07-2009

Here are the plans for a proposed new village square next to All Saints church in Kings Heath. Public consultation starts at tomorrow's Farmer's Market, but we can give you a sneak preview of the designs. more


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

THE WORD IS OUT

03-07-2009

Here’s something worth celebrating …a new live literature venue in the Black Country town of Bilston. Café Metro launches its poetry and storytelling evening on Thursday July 23. more


STRAW BIGGS UP PINOCHET

02-07-2009

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary who once freed human rights abuser Augusto Pinochet, has seen fit to reject Ronnie Biggs application for parole. Shame on him. more


PAPER CUTS LEAVE JOURNOS SORE

02-07-2009

Birmingham Post and Mail journalists are fearful of more cuts after owners Trinity Mirror announced the decision to close nine weeklies yesterday. Meanwhile those who’ve lost their jobs in the latest cull are battling for improved redundancy terms. more


Laurence Inman’s Blog

WACK JOB

02-07-2009

You thought you'd heard all the shocking revelations about Michael Jackson? Not quite - Laurence Inman has another one. more


YAQOOB SHOWS RESPECT FOR OFFICIAL 7/7 VERSION

02-07-2009

Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob - a leading voice in the West Midlands Muslim community - has rejected claims that the 7/7 bombings in London were caused by a government conspiracy. As we reported yesterday, worshippers at Birmingham Central Mosque were shown in a BBC documentary rejecting the official version. more


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

JEWELLERY QUARTER CELEBRATION

02-07-2009

There's a chance to discover Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter this Saturday, with a collection of family oriented events including a Farmers' Market, and the chance to have a go at coin making. more


JUST A SIMPLE ‘YES’ OR ‘NO’ WILL SUFFICE…

02-07-2009

Lynn Hawthorne wonders why getting a straight answer is so difficult. more


EXTRAS, EXTRAS – READ ALL ABOUT IT

02-07-2009

Midlands movie director Mark Locke has just returned from the States where he filmed the new Dinosaur Jr video – and now he wants your help for a TV pilot he’s shooting over the next two weekends. more


Poet's Corner

THE RAINBOW FIASCO - DUN MOANIN?

02-07-2009

Stirrer poet laureate Brendan Hawthorne comments onthe row over the Rainbow in Digbeth. more


Get Out More.........................Musical Review

THORN BIRDS – THE MUSICAL

02-07-2009

The Alex hosts a musical version of the blockbuster novel. Terry Wills checks out if it’s a theatrical page turner. more


WALSALL OBSERVER CLOSES AS 100 JOBS GO

01-07-2009

Birmingham Post and Mail owners Trinity Mirror have announced plans to close the Walsall Observer as part of cuts affecting around 100 jobs in the Midlands. more


MOSQUE WORSHIPPERS SUPPORT 7/7 CONSPIRACY

01-07-2009

Worshippers at Birmingham Central Mosque were seen on television last night rejecting the official version of the 7/7 bombings –preferring instead the conspiracy theories advanced in a film called The Ripple Effect. more


TARGET PRACTICE

01-07-2009

The government announcement of patients being guaranteed to see a specialist within 2 weeks for suspected cancer fails to impress neurologist Dr David Nicholl. more


ART FOR OUR SAKE?

01-07-2009

Could Birmingham be on the verge of building a major modern art museum to compare with the Tate Modern, MoMA in New York, or Bilbao’s Guggenheim? The city’s cabinet member for Leisure Martin Mullaney certainly thinks so. more


SUPER OR BLOOPER?

01-07-2009

Leading figures in the charity world are calling for smaller organisations to absorb their smaller counterparts to improve efficiency. Pete Millington remains unconvinced. more


Andy’s Balti Blog

SHEREEN KADAH (543 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath)

01-07-2009

No frills but plenty of thrills reports Andy Munro in the latest instalment of his tongue tingling adventures. more


DI MATTEO – OR DOORMATTEO?

01-07-2009

West Bromwich Albion have pulled off a surprise by appointing Roberto Di Matteo to replace Tony Mowbray as manager – but Baggies fans will be hoping he’s not Doormatteo. more


SLEEPING BEAUTY AWAKES

01-07-2009

Fomer Corrie star Lucy Evans (aka Lauren Wilson) washes up in the West Midlands later this year when she appears in the title role of Sleeping Beauty, the Hippodrome's panto. Terry Wills is already enchanted. more

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