Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

October 2009

Exclusive

GERMAN MARKET COULD BE VERBOTEN

31-10-2009

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market which is due to start next month will be “verboten” if angry city centre publicans get their way. They’re planning to take advantage of a Council blunder to lodge objections to the event, in protest at it what they regard as its “special privileges”. more


AN UNFAIR COP

31-10-2009

A West Midlands Police officer has been “warning off” cinemas in Birmingham from showing the locally made gangster movie “One Day” which is released next week. more


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

COLIN BLUNSTONE/ROD ARGENT

31/10/2009

A pair of time-served rock legends returned to The Robin in Bilston this week – and Dave Woodhall was there to enjoy them. more


Get Out More............................Dance Review

MONTREAL DANSE

31-10-2009

Richard Lutz steps inside the Patrick Centre at the Hippo to enter a dark world. more


INQUIRY LAUNCHED AS HEMMING DEFENDS WNF

30-10-2009

Birmingham MP John Hemming has defended the controversial use of the city’s Working Neighbourhood Fund – even though reports today suggest the government has ordered an “urgent inquiry”. more


SORRY IS HARDEST WORD IN WATSON LIBEL

30-10-2009

West Brom MP Tom Watson is complaining that although The Sun has admitted libelling him, they haven’t printed an apology in today’s paper. more


RETHINK CALL ON BEATTIE'S UNDERHILL OFFER

30-10-2009

Opposition councillors in Wolverhampton are demanding a rethink of advertising guru Trevor Beattie’s offer to keep open Underhill House – home of 106-year old Louisa Watts and eight other elderly residents. more


WOLVES REBUKE OVER NEW RULES FOR DISABLED

30-10-2009

Wheelchair bound Wolves fan Brendan King who has been deprived of a parking space at Molineux this season has delivered a stinging rebuke to his own club after it tried to defend its changes to arrangements for disabled fans. more


NEWS FROM LONDON

30-10-2009

The decision on whether Birmingham's Central Library should be listed still hangs in the balance. Alan Clawley reports on the latest soundings from Culture Minister Margaret Hodge. more


GREENS BACK YAQOOB IN HALL GREEN

30-10-2009

Salma Yaqoob’s hopes of securing the Hall Green parliamentary constituency at the next election have received a boost with the news that the Green Party has agreed to stand aside and not field a candidate. more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

IT’S JUST NOT CRICKET

30-10-2009

Exiled Yank Richard Lutz is enjoying the climax of the laughably named World Series of baseball. The mad fool. more


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

NEW TOWN HALL/SYMPHONY HALL DATES

30-10-2009

The Imagined Village, Tony Benn, Melody Gardot, Jamie Cullum, silent movies and ukeleles galore - yes, it's the latest Town Hall and Symphony Hall dates in Birmingham. Their PR mastermind Lyle Bignon takes us through the bookings. more


Martin Longley's Blog

JAZZ MIDDLEHEIM 2009 (Antwerp)

30-10-2009

It looks like Martin Longley is contemplating a permanent move to Belgium. He's back there again, this time attending the Jazz Middelheim festival in Antwerpen, but sadly not accompanied by his favourite photographer Anne Twerp... more


DISABLED FAN FORCED TO QUIT AFTER 60 YEARS

29-10-2009

A wheelchair-bound Wolves fan has been forced to stop going to Molineux this season after 60 years following the club’s decision to change its rules on disabled parking bays. 87-year old Thomas Jones says he is “bitter” about what's happened. more


IT WAS THE STIRRER WOT WON IT

29-10-2009

The libel victory of West Bromwich MP Tom Watson against The Sun newspaper in the High Court yesterday was secured courtesy of key evidence supplied by The Stirrer. more


EDGBASTON PLAN FACES JUDICIAL REVIEW

29-10-2009

Birmingham Council’s controversial £20million loan to Warwickshire Cricket Club is due to be rushed through at Monday’s Cabinet meeting – but residents are warning that they’re about to issue Judicial Review proceedings about the redevlopment of the ground. more


SALMA'S TV TIMES

29-10-2009

Respect Party leader and Birmingham councillor Salma Yaqoob has added another string to her bow – by becoming a TV presenter. more


POWERPOINT TO THE PEOPLE

29-10-2009

The future of Birmingham's historic Highbury Hall was under discussion at a public meeting last night - with the City Council offering to invest in maintenance of the grounds. Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture Martin Mullaney made a Powerpoint presentation, which we can share with Stirrer readers. more


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

LEAMINGTON ASSEMBLY ROOMS

29-10-2009

We're always keen to promote new live ventures on The Stirrer - so welcome to Leamington Assembly Rooms. Next month they'll be hosting Brummie prog rockers Magnum, plus the ever-reliable Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. Here's the full listing. more


PAPER TIGER

29-10-2009

The green shoots of democracy are showing through in Birmingham again, after the city’s leadership announced a U-turn on its decision to withdraw the hard copy of agenda papers for Council meetings. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

THE NET RESULT

29-10-2009

Just one goal in six games has left Albion outside the top two in the Championship – and fans like Terry Wills scratching their heads as to what’s gone wrong since the 5-0 demolition of Middlesbrough. more


JOBLESS CASH FILLS HOLE IN BUDGET

28-10-2009

Birmingham Council is diverting cash meant to combat unemployment to plug the hole in its budget. A scoop by Paul Dale in the Post today reveals that in the last 18 months just £2.5 million has been spent relieving joblessness – but £14million has gone on propping up the ailing Social Services department. more


A Stirrer Investigation

STUDENT FEAR AS COLLEGE AWAITS LICENCE

28-10-2009

A Birmingham college that teaches hundreds of overseas students every year has admitted it doesn’t currently have a licence from the UK Border Agency – despite claiming to do so on its website. Now there are fears that youngsters who’ve paid thousands of fees could lose their cash and be in breach of their visa requirements. more


LABOUR'S ATTACK ON DISABILITY BENEFITS

28-10-2009

Wheelchair-bound Stirrer Forum regular Brendan King highlights the government's shameful behaviour in threatening the benefits of disabled people - including him. more


Get Out More..........................Poetry News

FRED D’AGUIAR

28-10-2009

Poet Fred D’Aguiar, whose latest book has been shortlisted for poetry’s top gong - the £15,000 TS Eliot Prize - is dropping into Wolverhampton Central Library for a free reading tomorrow as part of Black History Month. more


EU WANT SOME?

28-10-2009

Remember how we were promised a referendum over the creation of a new European constitution? The Taxpayers Alliance do, and their Chief Exexcutive Matthew Elliot is urging you to do something about it. more


NEWTOWN BATHS TO RE-OPEN

28-10-2009

Swimmers in inner city Birmingham can celebrate today after it was announced that Newtown Baths will re-open early next year. more


Barbara's Blog

A CALL TO ARMS

28-10-2009

Britain's arms firms receive enormous government aid, but all too often fail to provide troops with the equipment they need. Barbara Panvel calls for a new approach. more


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

COLIN BLUNSTONE/ROD ARGENT

28-10-2009

A pair of oldies but goodies crop up at The Robin in Bilston on Thursday night, and Leamington's Assembly Rooms on Friday. Dave Woodhall can't wait. more


EVER BEEN AD?

27-10-2009

Hard up Birmingham Council bosses so desperate to raise cash they are considering putting ads in parks, on their fleet of vans and even workers’ uniforms. more


AT YOUR SERVICE?

27-10-2009

Service Birmingham, the Capita controlled partnership with the City Council hasn’t only been dragging its feet getting the local authority’s website to work efficiently – they’ve also been having problems with their own. more


WIN…WIN…WIN…WIN…WIN…WIN…WIN…

MATTHEW BOURNE’S DORIAN GRAY

27-10-2009

Acclaimed choreographer Matthew Bourne is back in town next month at the Hippordrome with an adaptation of the classic story Dorian Gray – and The Stirrer has two pairs of tickets to offer as prizes. more


WOLVES OFFERED WAY FORWARD

27-10-2009

Wolves supporter Brendan King and another disabled fan, 87-year old Thomas Jones have both been squeezed out of their regular parking spaces at Molineux this season - forcing Thomas to stop attending matches. Now Brendan updates the story, and although he's shying away from legal action, he offers what looks like a sensible way forward. more


PLANT JOINS THE Q FOR GLASTO

27-10-2009

Black Country music legend Robert Plant has been honoured at the Q Music Awards – and is now being touted for a Glastonbury spot. more


THE STIRRER FINDS OUT FIRST

27-10-2009

Hacked off Labour councillor has discovered something he didn’t know about Birmingham’s proposed new 50metre swimming pool – courtesy of The Stirrer. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

A TASTE OF PRAWN SANDWICHES

27-10-2009

Our Blues blogger Andy Munro goes hobnobbing with the match sponsors and meets up with new members of the Blues board. There’s even a pre-match chat with Big Eck. more


DOC DAVE HITS THE AIRWAVES

27-10-2009

Stirrer blogger Dr David Nicholl, hits the airwaves next Sunday on local radio station, Bridge FM, to drum up support for his local hustings idea, Best4bromsgrove. more


800 JOB CUTS "TIP OF THE ICEBERG"

26-10-2009

Unions representing thousands of local authority workers have called an emergency meeting today to discuss Birmingham Council’s plans to axe 800 jobs – news announced yesterday by city leader Mike Whitby on BBC1’s Politics Show. One official warned it could be “the tip of the iceberg”. more


Alan Clawley’s Library Blog

STUNNING

26-10-2009

News that Birmingham Rep will go dark for two years while the city’s new Central Library is built is a sign of things to come reckons Alan Clawley. But do we really know what we are letting ourselves in for? more


WOLVES “NO COMMENT” OVER AXON

26-10-2009

The leaders of Wolverhampton Council are refusing to comment on demands for an external audit of their relationship with management consultants Axon – who still haven’t been paid off despite being sacked from their job of overseeing Business Transformation last year. more


Richard Lutz's Blog

ANSWER TIME

26-10-2009

BNP leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time continues to divide opinion, with some commentators suggesting that the style of the show may have won new converts for the far-right party. Richard Lutz suggests the only answer is an outright ban. more


MULLANEY BACKS MIDLANDS MOVIE MOVE

26-10-2009

The bold plan to attract a major new movie development to the West Midlands – first aired on The Stirrer - has secured the backing of Birmingham Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture Martin Mullaney. more


GODIVA RIDES AGAIN

26-10-2009

Watch out for a ten feet high model of Lady Godivia heading from the Coventry to London as the West Midlands contribution to the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Pete Millington interviews Jane Hytch, Kathi Leahy, Claire Maddocks and Andrea Simpson from Imagineer Productions who secured the £500,000 commission. more


COUNCIL BOSS QUITS IN "THEFT" SHOCK

23-10-2009

Sandwell council leader Bill Thomas is standing down following theft allegations. He's being replaced by Steve Eling. Here's the Counci's official statement: more


NICK GRIFFIN ON QUESTION TIME

23-10-2009

How did Nick Griffin’s Question Time debut go down with the great British public? Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg reports on five hours of phone-in on Talksport. more


WOLVES PROBE CALL OVER AXON DEAL

23-10-2009

Wolverhampton’s Labour councillors are calling for an enquiry into the local authority’s links to management consultants Axon solutions – the company charged with overseeing Business Transformation, but then sacked when the Conservatives were elected to run the Council last year. more


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

SCROOGE

23-10-2009

It’s back again, this time starring the old maestro Tommy Steele. Terry Wills enjoys… more


ASBESTOS CONFIRMED ON ESTATE

23-10-2009

Hundreds of homes on a Wolverhampton housing estate are being investigated for suspected asbestos contamination. Nine cases have already been confirmed. more


MPS CALL FOR POST AND MAIL SHOWDOWN

23-10-2009

Planned changes at the Birmingham Post and Mail have run into parliamentary opposition, with Northfield MP Richard Burden demanding a meeting with owners Trinity Mirror. more


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

FRIENDS TAKE THE PLUNGE - AGAIN

23-10-2009

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths (FofMRB) group is staging its second Memories and Memorabilia day to celebrate the 102nd birthday of Moseley Road Baths, one of Britain’s most historic and architecturally significant swimming baths. more


BRUM'S CHANCE FOR MOVIE MOVE

22-10-2009

Birmingham as the centre of the British movie industry? “Let’s go for it” says Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart following South Bucks Council’s decision last night to block a proposed expansion of Pinewood Studios. more


POST AND MAIL TO BALLOT FOR STRIKE

22-10-2009

Angry journalists at the Birmingham Post and Mail have announced they’ll ballot for industrial action on Monday following the loss of 40 newsroom jobs. more


Barbara’s Blog

HOME WORK

22-10-2009

This week Barbara has a tale of local enterprise, discretion and far more. more


ATHLETICS DEAL FINALLY CROSSES THE LINE

22-10-2009

The cream of the world’s athletes will be heading to Birmingham in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics with the United States' decision today to (finally) sign a deal to train in the city. more


Get Out More.........................Play Review

TWELFTH NIGHT (RSC)

22-10-2009

Actor Richard Wilson, he of the hangdog face, puts one foot on the Shakespearean stage in Stratford. Our critic Richard Lutz was in the audience. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

TOP DOGS LOOKING RUFF

22-10-2009

So Albion are top of the Championship - but that's about the only good news coming out of The Hawthorns reckons Terry Wills. more


PUNCH AND JUDY RETURNS TO BRUM

21-10-2009

Good old fashioned Punch n’ Judy politics returns to Birmingham today, with a stinging attack on the city’s leadership by Labour’s Sir Albert Bore. He asks whether the Council is falling apart, and accuses Tory counterpart Mike Whity of “wasting millions on vanity projects.” more


"BETRAYAL" CLAIM AS POST AND MAIL JOBS AXED

21-10-2009

Birmingham Post and Mail staff are still reeling from yesterday’s news that 40 jobs are to go in the newsroom – along with 40 more in sales and distribution. The NUJ has accused owners Trinity Mirror of a “betrayal”, and members will meet today to discuss a ballot for industrial action. more


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

FRANZ FERDINAND (Wolves Civic)

21-10-2009

Scottish quartet Franz Ferdinand brought their joyous, footstomping indie rock to Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Monday. Steve Beauchampé reports more


MOORPOOL RESIDENTS LAUNCH LEGAL BID

21-10-2009

Angry residents of Birmingham’s historic Moorpool Estate have launched a legal bid to overturn the planning permission granted to a developer for 16 new houses – in apparent defiance of the city’s own planning guidelines. more


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

FRIGHT NIGHT AT TOWN HALL BIRMINGHAM

21-10-2009

Here's a nice Halloween touch...the original 1925 movie Phantom of the Opera, plus a spinetingling live organ accompaniment by Radio 2's Nigel Ogden. more


Kingy's Wolves Blog
BRING ON THE VILLA

21-10-2009

The weekend's draw at Everton has lifted spirits among Wolves fans - with our blogger Brendan King looking forward to Saturday's renewal of derby rivalry against the Villa. more


SWINE FLU VACCINATION STARTS

21-10-2009

NHS Hospitals will begin vaccinating frontline healthcare workers and their patients who fall into “at risk” categories against swine flu from today (Wednesday). The vaccination programme will be rolled out over the next few weeks with GP surgeries receiving deliveries from Monday. more


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

REEL NEWS BENEFIT NIGHT (Oct 31)

21-10-2009

A special film gig at the Wagon and Horses, Adderley Street, Digbeth to raise cash for Reel News, an "activist video collective" who bear witness to campaigns and political struggles both in Britain and abroad. more


EDITORS AND 80 STAFF GO AT POST AND MAIL

20-10-2009

Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson and his Birmingham Post counterpart Marc Reeves are set to quit at the end of the year - and around 80 staff will be made redundant as owner Trinity Mirror bids to stem multi million pound losses. The Post will go weekly on November 12, and the Mail will become a morning publication. more


LIBRARY SHRINKS SQUARE – AND TAKES OUT FOUNTAIN

20-10-2009

Birmingham Council has been accused of starting work on the new Central Library – even though the scheme hasn’t received planning permission. The Stirrer has also discovered that the project will involve the relocation of a popular fountain, as the scheme expands its boundaries further into Centenary Square than was originally envisaged. more


COUNCIL CONFIRMS PLANNING PRIVATISATION REVIEW

20-10-2009

Birmingham Council has confirmed The Stirrer’s claim that it’s actively considering the privatisation of some or all of its planning department. The news is unlikely to be popular with trade unions, given that dozens of staff could face redeployment or even redundancy. more


HOUSE DISAPPEARS IN A PUFF OF SMOKE

20-10-2009

Oldbury man Dennis Coffey has been given a double punishment after being found guilty of growing cannabis plants. The courts issued him with a community order in March – and now Sandwell Homes are planning to evict him. more


BBC "ROLLING OUT RED CARPET TO FASCISTS"

20-10-2009

Birmingham MP John Hemming and Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob are among senior politicians and trade unionists calling on the BBC to pull the plug on Nick Griffin's Question Time appearance this week. Unite Against Fascism, who've accused the Beeb of "rolling out the red carpet to racism and fascism" by inviting the BNP leader, are also planning a peacful protest at the Corporation's Mailbox HQ. more


CHURCH LEADERS CONDEMN “UNCHRISTIAN” BNP

20-10-2009

The Bishop of Birmingham is among more than a dozen church leaders in the city joining forces to condemn the British National Party ahead of this week’s “Question Time” appearance by party leader Nick Griffin. more


LONDON BIRMINGHAM "TRUMPS BORIS ISLAND"

20-10-2009

Birmingham International Airport has stepped up its campaign to place itself as a replacement for Heathrow’s controversial Terminal Three – which the Tories have pledged to axe if they are elected. more


COUNCIL PLANNING TO OUTSOURCE?

19-10-2009

Would Birmingham City Council ever consider outsourcing its planning department and handing the job to a private company like Capita?  The rumours continue to buzz. more


POST GOES WEEKLY - ON BONFIRE NIGHT

19-10-2009

Expect fireworks from newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror in the next 24 hours, with confirmation that the Birmingham Post is going weekly – possibly as early as November 5. more


Get Out More....................................Play Review

THE IDIOT COLONY

19-10-2009

The Idiot Colony impressed an audience well-used to quality, thought-provoking drama. Paula Elenor was in the crowd on Friday night. more


Andy's Blues Blog

TAKING IT UP THE ARSENAL

19-10-2009

For all the hype about Carson Yeung's revolution, it was business as usual for Blues at The Emirates - a seemingly inevitable 3-1 defeat. But as Andy Munro reports, there was no lack of heart. more


Get Out More............................Music Review

CBSO/MARINSKY THEATRE (Symphony Hall)

19-10-2009

Two orchestras and two choruses working in tandem performing two large-scale works; so naturally The Stirrer sent two reviewers. Steve Beauchampé and Gary Whitehouse report on the CBSO/Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra collaboration at Symphony Hall. more


Trevor's Villa Blog

VILLA BEAT THE BLUES...

19-10-2009

...and in its way, defeating the Blues of Stamford Bridge is rather more significant for Martin O'Neill's side than defeating the other lot from St Andrews. Trevor Fisher reports. more


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

DEEPCUT (Warwick Arts Centre)

19-10-2009

Richard Lutz spends 90 minutes of intense theatre as the Deepcut shambles is put under the microscope at Warwick Arts Centre. more


M&S PROTEST FOR SACKED WORKERS

17-10-2009

Union and community leaders will gather outside Birmingham’s main M&S store today (Saturday) to show their support for dozens of workers sacked by a local chicken processing firm. more


Underhill 1

"ACCEPT BEATTIE OFFER" PLEA

17-10-2009

Campaigning Wolverhampton councillor Steve Evans is calling on the local authority to think again about its decision to reject ad guru Trevor Beattie's offer to keep open Underhill House - an old people's home threatened with closure. The Council insists the home must close. more


CONFESSIONS OF A BRUMMIE MUMMY - CHAPTER 42

17-10-2009

Is she more Jane Austen heroine – or Bridget Jones? Brummie Mummy has some deciding to do. more


Underhill 2

"NO GUARANTEE" ON CARE STANDARDS

17-10-2009

106 year old Louisa Watts is among nine elderly residents of Wolverhampton care home Underhill House who face eviction because the City Council claims the property doesn't meet modern standards. But what quality will the facilities be like wherever they move to? more


LATE POST ARRIVES FROM THE 80'S

16-10-2009

80s music and clothes are fashionable again - and now the era’s industrial relations seem to be making a comeback too. How else do you explain the government’s attempts to browbeat Royal Mail workers into backing down from next week’s strike. more


BROUGHT TO BOOK

16-10-2009

Book borrowers are regularly being denied the chance to, er borrow books at Birmingham's Central Library. Disappointed Stirrer reader David Parker writes an open letter to Libraries supremo Martin Mullaney and his senior officials. more


SCREEN STAYS BLANK

16-10-2009

Another Birmingham Council Planning Committee – another month without the future of the city’s £1m Big Screen being discussed. And one insider says it’s “not on the horizon”. more


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

BIFS PUNCHES ITS WEIGHT

16-02-2009

Respect due to Birmingham International Film Society which continues to fly the flag for European movies in the city. Their latest programme goes big on Hungary and some recent Scandinvian releases. more


Dave’s Villa Blog
GRUMPY OLD FAN

16-10-2009

The Premier League resumes after the international break, and Dave Woodhall is looking forward to Villa's big showdown against the Russian billionaire's glamour boys from Chelsea. Well, sort of... more


TWO MORE DIE FROM SWINE FLU

16-10-2009

Two more people have died of swine flu in the West Midlands this week bringing the total number of fatalities in the region to 11. The NHS is preparing to launch a mass vaccination programme – with priority given to “at risk” groups including front line staff. more


Martin Longley's Music Blog

THE GENT JAZZ FESTIVAL 2009: PART TWO (JAZZ PERIPHERALS)

16-10-2009

The enigmatic Melody Gardot plays at the London Jazz Festival next month. Martin Longley recently saw her wear beige at the Gent Jazz Festival in Belgium (amongst many others clad mostly in duller-hued garb)... more


Exclusive

SNEAK PREVIEW - BRUM GANGSTER MOVIE "ONE DAY"

15-10-2009

"One Day", a movie about guns and gangs set in Birmingham, was attracting acres of negative coverage, months before its release.  Which goes to show you should never judge a book by its cover – or a move by its pre publicity. more


"JULIE MUST GO" - BUT HELP ME FIRST

15-10-2009

How this for a dilemma – the civil servant who was sacked after founding the “Julie Must Go” campaign is in the curious position of seeking help from the MP he’s trying to remove from office. more


FEMINISTS RECLAIM THE NIGHT - AGAIN

15-10-2009

This Saturday sees Birmingham's first "Reclaim The Night" demo in two decades, as feminists fightback against sexual assault. more


BRAMU – KNOCKING AT THE GATE

15-10-2009

Birmingham’s Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit is battling for survival in the face of numerous bureaucratic hurdles laid down by the City Council. John Tyrrell updates the situation. more


LEAVING BLUES "LIKE BEING DUMPED BY A GIRLFRIEND"

15-10-2009

Former Blues chairman David Gold said being asked to leave St Andrews following this week's takeover by Carson Yeung was like being ‘dumped by a girlfriend’. more


IS STAN THE MAN TO TOPPLE JULIE?

15-10-2009

The Stirrer’s revelation that Julie Kirkbride is reconsidering her decision to quit as Bromsgrove MP brought an instant response from one of the two independents hoping to replace her – Stan Francis. more


Barbara's Blog

BMI LECTURES

15-10-2009

Expert analysis of English Literature is on offer in a weekly series of lectures at the Birmingham and Midlands Institute. Let Barbara Panvel be your guide. more


PUBLIC WILL STAY OPEN INSISTS DEFIANT BADHAM

14-10-2009

Sandwell’s regeneration boss has insisted West Brom’s controversial £72million Public Arts Centre won’t be closed – despite an auditor’s report suggesting it might have to be mothballed or even demolished. more


SO WHO ARE THE FASCISTS?

14-10-2009

Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg reflects on efforts by Unite Against Fascism to blockade Television Centre on Thursday in an attempt to prevent BNP leader Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time. more


JULIE DOES WANT BROMSGROVE COMEBACK

14-10-2009

The Stirrer can confirm that Julie Kirkbride is thinking again about her decision to stand down as Bromsgrove MP at the next election. more


CLOSE OF PLAY - PART TWO

14-10-2009

Plans to close a unique recycling centre in Birmingham have been defended by the City Council – who say it’s an essential cost cutting measure in these recessionary times. more


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

ROCK FOR RIGHTS

14-10-2009

Top Italian punky hardcore types band Devocka are flying into Birmingham next week for an Amnesty International fundraiser and to promote the the Rock For Rights campaign. more


WOLVERHAMPTON – NO PLACE TO BE OLD?

14-10-2009

Are older people and other vulnerable groups bearing the brunt of Wolverhampton Council’s £40million cuts? The local authority insists not, but an exhaustive list compiled by the opposition Labour group is persuasive. more


POPE WANTS TO SEE SAXON HOARD

14-10-2009

The Stirrer understands that the Vatican has made enquiries about the Saxon Hoard which was on display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until yesterday. They hope the Pope can get an eyeful when he visits the city next year. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

CLUB V COUNTRY

14-10-2009

The international break leaves Terry Wills musing on club v country - and whether Albion are serious contenders for Sol Campbell's signature. more


ROOTSY UB40 PLAY DIGBETH PUB GIG

13-10-2009

Reggae superstars UB40 get back to their Birmingham pub gig roots by playing next month at The Rainbow in Digbeth – a venue which has been threatened with a noise abatement order. more


CLOSE OF PLAY

13-10-2009

Birmingham Council makes much of its green credentials – but The Stirrer has discovered that the city’s only centre teaching young people how to recycle is being closed as a cost cutting measure. more


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

THE SLITS

13-10-2009

Punk pioneers who crossed over into dub reggae make a long awaited - and entirely unexpected - comeback at Birmingham's Rainbow pub tomorrow night. more


Doc Dave’s Blog

FLIPPIN’ HECK? WOULD JULIE STAND AGAIN?

13-10-2009

Could Bromsgrove MP Julie Kirkbride be reconsidering her decision to stand down after being embroiled in the expenses scandal? David Nicholl receives some strange intelligence. more


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

THE BIG PINK

13-10-2009

Hailed as the re-incarnation of those early 90s shoegazing bands, The Big Pink have plenty more to offer, as Mark Gunton discovers at the Kasbah in Coventry. more


50 METRE POOL NOT SUNK YET

13-10-2009

Agreement on financing a new swimming pool complex for Harborne, a row over the location of the delayed Olympic-standard swimming pool and a first step towards transferring the management of Birmingham’s leisure facilities to a Trust. Steve Beauchampé reports on eventful goings on at yesterday’s Birmingham City Council Cabinet meeting. more


Stay In More................................Book Review

SCARY BONES AND THE PIRATES OF BROWNSEA ISLAND

13-10-2009

Stirrer blogger and exiled Brumme Ron Dawson's latest book has passed the kiddie's bedtime reading test. Now Andy Goff (not to mention his 6-year old) can't wait for the next installment. more


Get Out More.........................Film and Events

7” LISTINGS

13-10-2009

7” Cinema, home of the wonderful Flatpack Film Festival, have sent us their latest eclectic list of stuff to do in the West Midlands and beyond. Let curator Ian Francis guide you through some artistic delights. more


COUNCIL REJECTS UNDERHILL RESCUE

12-10-2009

Wolverhampton Council has rejected an offer by advertsing guru Trevor Beattie which would have allowed one of the city's threatened old people's homes to stay open for a year. The local authority has repeated its assertion that it would need £2million to upgrade Underhill House - a claim described as "disingenuous" by one opponent of the plan. more


THE "CATTLE CLASS" MP

12-10-2009

As dozens of MPs await with dread today’s publication of a Commons’ audit into their expenses, at least one of their number has nothing to fear – John Hemming who can be spotted on most Friday afternoons travelling back to his Yardley constituency in Virgin’s standard class carriage. more


AD GURU OFFERS TO SAVE UNDERHILL

12-10-2009

Birmingham-born advertising guru Trevor Beattie has offered a last minute donation to save Wolverhampton’s Underhill House – home of 106-year old Louisa Watts and eight other elderly residents. more


BOLLYWOOD STEPS INTO BIRMINGHAM

12-10-2009

There are some weekends when Birmingham punches its weight as the capital city of a vibrant region. This was one of them. more


STIRRER EDITOR GETS DECENT SLEEP

12-10-2009

Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg can be heard this week on the UK's Commercial Station of the Year Talksport at the earlier time of 10pm - for one week only. A rare chance for the overnight presenter to get a decent night's sleep. Tune in between Monday-Thursday on 1053 or 1089 AM, DAB radio, or online at www.talksport.net


GOBBLEDEGOOK SPAWNS GOBBLEDEGOOK

12-10-2009

Northfield MP Richard Burden recently complained that Birmingham Council’s constituency budgets were full of “gobbledegook”, designed to confuse rather than enlighten. The Council’s response? Er, more gobbledegook. more


THE BEST LAID PLANS…

12-10-2009

Is Birmingham’s new Central Library being built in the wrong place? Campaigner Alan Clawley checks out the planning history of the site, and wonders why the City Council chose the site between The Rep and Baskerville House. more


DRESS TO IMPRESS – PART ONE

12-10-2009

Should lecturers at a Birmingham college be forced to stick to strict dress standards? Absolutely, says Andy Munro. more


DRESS TO IMPRESS – PART TWO

12-10-2009

Should lecturers at a Birmingham college be forced to stick to strict dress standards? Absolutely not, says Sam Ross. more


MIDLANDS MOVIE FANTASY WINS SUPPORT

12-10-2009

Moves to shift the UK movie industry from Pinewood to the West Midlands – first aired on The Stirrer – are gathering momentum, with MPs Richard Burden and Gisela Stuart both offering their support. more


EDL FOLLOW UP BRUM RIOT WITH MC/R DEMO

10-10-2009

The English Defence League are staging their first demo since last month’s mini-riot in Birmingham when they take to the streets of Manchester this weekend. Unlike their counterparts in Brum, council bosses in the north-west tried to have the gathering banned. more


NEC “SELL OFF” MYSTERY

10-10-2009

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has dismissed claims that it stands to gain £500,00 from the sale of its shares in the NEC group to Birmingham City Council – insisting that it has “no financial interest whatsoever” in the organisation. more


WIN......WIN.....WIN.....WIN......WIN........WIN

SCROOGE TICKETS

10-10-2009

Here's a half term treat for you..the chance to see the legendary Tommy Steele in the record-breaking London Palladium version of Scrooge.  We've got three pairs of tickets to win for the show on Wednesday October 21. more


JOHN RUSSELL R.I.P.

10-10-2009

The first programme controller at BRMB, John Russell, recently passed away. Robin Valk, who presented the rock show in the station's 70s heyday, remembers him with affection. more


THE STIRRER’S SELLY OAK PUB CRAWL

10-10-2009

Two decades ago, Selly Oak was an authentic blue collar suburb with a university on its doorstep – and at least ten pubs. Now it’s become Studentville, how do the boozers compare? more


"MORE SOCIAL WORKERS NEEDED" FOR AT RISK KIDS

09-10-2009

Standards of care for vulnerable children in Birmingham won’t improve until the Council hires more social workers and invests in improved IT according to one insider. Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg has also called for heads to roll in senior positions following this week’s report which said the department was “unfit for purpose.” more


Exclusive

£2 MILLION UNDERHILL UPGRADE "NOT NEEDED"

09-10-2009

Claims that a Wolverhampton old peoples’ home is having to close because it needs a £2million upgrade have been undermined by an admission obtained by The Stirrer confirming that it doesn’t, in fact, have to meet costly new standards. The revelation prompted one angry councillor to accuse the local authority of being “disingenuous”. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

TURFED OUT

09-10-2009

Carson Yeung’s arrival in the St Andrews boardroom can’t hide Blues plight in the Premiership. Andy Munro sees Blues lose at Burnley and calls for urgently needed investment. more


DIRECTORS TURNS TO ATHLETICS

09-10-2009

Midlands movie director Mark Locke has just finished his new video with Artsfest headliners Athlete and he can’t wait to share it with Stirrer readers – especially as the proceeds go to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. more


TV TIMES AGAIN – PART FIVE

09-10-2009

Howard Elston holds his head in his hands and crouches behind the sofa as he endures a fifth and final day of unmitigated local news. The poor man can stand no more. more


Martin Longley's Music Blog

The Gent Jazz Festival 2009 [Part One: Hardcore Jazz]

09-10-2009

Guitarist Bill Frisell and trumpeter Christian Scott are lined up to play the London Jazz Festival next month. Martin Longley caught this hot pair of Stateside cats at the recent Gent Jazz Festival [amongst many other hot cats]... more


Barbara's Blog

THROWING AWAY THE KEY

08-10-2009

In a week when the Prison Governers' Association called for the scrapping of jail terms under 12 months, Barbara Panvel considers the alternatives - including farm work for those incarcerated. more


BIG SCREEN, BIG DREAM

08-10-2009

We are 14 days from a once in a generation opportunity for the West Midlands to dramatically transform its image both nationally and internationally. Jonathan Stuart-Brown updates us on his plan to make this region the movie capital of Britain. more


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

RICHARD HAWLEY (Birmingham Town Hall)

08-10-2009

It says everything about Hawley’s ascent that he could leave out arguably his finest song– and still deliver an awesome performance that brought the Town Hall audience to its feet last night. more


RESIDENTS FORCED OUT AS UNDERHILL BATTLE LOST

08-10-2009

106-year old Louisa Watts and eight other pensioners will be forced to leave their homes at Wolverhampton's Underhill House following defeat in their latest legal hearing yesterday. more


Laurence Inman’s Blog

SUNLIGHT – THE BEST DISINFECTANT

08-10-2009

How much are we entitled to know about the crimes punished in our courts? More than our friends in the media currently allow us reckons Laurence Inman. more


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

EVITA (Birmingham Hippodrome)

08-10-2009

Another stunning production of the Lloyd Webber musical about the Argentinian political idol, lapped up Terry Wills. more


THE JOURNALIST’S JOURNALIST

08-10-2009

A journalist from Dudley is taking part in an eight-cornered fight to win one of the most scrutinised jobs in the media industry. Miles Barter reckons the region’s hacks should support him. more


TV TIMES AGAIN (Part 4)

08-10-2009

It’s Beeb versus Central in our week log dust up over who is king of regional news. Howard Elston has his calculator out to look at what the insiders call ‘story count.’ more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

STOPPING THE ROT

08-10-2009

With virtually a quarter of the season gone, Albion are clinging to the second promotion spot in the Championship - but only just. Terry Wills takes limited comfort from a goalless draw at Preston. more


Exclusive

PLUG PULLED ON 50 METRE POOL

07-10-2009

Plans for Birmingham Council's flagship 50 metre swimming pool will shortly be scrapped– as predicted a fortnight ago on The Stirrer. more


IS BIA LONDON’S NEW AIRPORT?

07-10-2009

The Conservatives decision to abandon the third runway at Heathrow if they’re elected has left the way open for Birmingham Airport to pitch itself as an alternative – especially if a High Speed Rail Link is installed to the capital. more


REPORT AUTHOR "NOT CONSULTED" ABOUT LAUNCH

07-10-2009

The Chair of the Inquiry probing Birmingham’s woeful safeguarding childrens’ services has written to fellow members of the committee explaining that he wasn’t consulted about the details of Monday’s press launch – from which they were excluded. more


TV TIMES AGAIN (Part 3)

07-10-2009

Howard Elston digests another lump of regional news and sees how the BBC and ITV handle local matters when not much is happening. more


WOLVES WALKOUT OVER LATEST CUTS

07-10-2009

Labour councillors in Wolverhampton staged a walkout last night after their Conservative and Lib Dem rivals rejected proposals to subject the latest round of cutbacks to a full Scrutiny investigation. more


TORIES BACK CALL TO SCRAP POSTAL VOTING

07-10-2009

Two Tory backbenchers in Birmingham are lobbying Council boss Mike Whitby in an attempt to get postal voting banned, following the recent allegations of fraud in the Sparkbrook by-election. more


A SITE FOR SORE EYES

07-10-2009

Birmingham Council's revamped website has been named as the 20th best in the UK – but an alternative site created by local bloggers continues to go from strength to strength. more


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

BIFS LISTING

07-10-2009

In the absence of a dedicated arts cinema for the city, Birmingham International Film Society is doing a damn fine job on a limited budget of screening movies from around the world at their Library Theatre base. Next week's double bill is from Denmark. more


MPS, COUNCILLORS BARRED FROM BRIEFING

06-10-2009

Two Birmingham MPs were shut out of yesterday’s press briefing about the Council’s failure to safeguard vulnerable children – while opposition Labour leader Sir Albert Bore said the first he knew of it was when he read a media briefing in the morning. more


COUNCIL HIRES SUN HACK TO PLAY HARDBALL

06-10-2009

The tabloid hack hired by Birmingham City Council to oversee media coverage of their troubled Social Services department has boasted playing “hardball” with awkward journalists – and even withdrawing advertising from newspapers who don’t toe the party line. more


TV TIMES AGAIN (Part 2)

06-10-2009

Howard Elston is our man with the remote as he continues his week long comparison of Midlands Today and Central Tonight. Which has the upper hand? Which one is better for the viewers? more


Doc Dave’s Half Marathon Blog

RUNNING ON EMPTY

06-10-2009

As Birmingham prepares for the World Half Marathon championships later this week, David Nicholl reports how the real winners will not be the athletes at the front but the charity runners slogging it at the back- himself amongst them. more


TWO SISTERS DENY "VICTORIAN" FLASHBACK

06-10-2009

The Black Country firm which sacked dozens of workers for walking off the production line in support of their suspended union reps has hit back at claims that its industrial relations “hark back to the Victorian age”. more


”REGGIE PERRIN” WALSALL MP WAS SPY

06-10-2009

Former Walsall MP and government minister John Stonehouse who famously faked his own death has been named as a Communist spy in a new history of MI5. more


INDIAN SIGN

06-10-2009

The daughter of Stirrer Forum regular “Barnard Hobbit” has set up an online petition to get justice for a British woman who was sexually assaulted in India – and we’d urge all readers to sign it. more


BIRMINGHAM CHILD PROTECTION "NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE"

05-10-2009

Child protection in Birmingham is “not fit for purpose” according to a devastating report published today by backbencher Len Clark. The inquiry highlights how vulnerable children are often screened by the most inexperienced staff. more


“HARD HITTING” REPORT INTO CHILDRENS’ SERVICES

05-10-2009

A hard-hitting report into Birmingham’s care of vulnerable youngsters will be unveiled today – as the local authority seeks to head off further government intervention by improving on its current “inadequate” rating. more


FIFTY FIVE SACKED AS "VICTORIAN TIMES" RETURN

05-10-2009

Fifty five workers have been sacked by Black Country chicken processor Two Sisters for leaving their production line in support of five suspended shop stewards. Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood has accused the company of “living in the Victorian age”. more


Andy Munro’s “Not A Balti” Blog

OPUS (Cornwall St, Birmingham)

05-10-2009

He’s normally a connoisseur of the best baltis in town, but just this once Andy Munro opts for some “fine dining”. His choice? The highly rated Opus in Birmingham’s business district. more


TV TIMES – AGAIN (Part 1)

05-10-2009

A year ago The Stirrer took a week-long look at regional news and compared Central Tonight on ITV with Midlands Today on the BBC. Today, we’ve hauled our critic Howard Elston out of cold storage to see if things have improved or deteriorated in the past 12 months. more


HOT AIR?

05-10-2009

Like other local authorities, Birmingham Council has targets for cutting its CO2 emissions as part of the government’s plan to combat climate change. But as Happy Head reports, the figures don’t tell the whole story. more


UNIVERSITIES FAIL CHALLENGE

05-10-2009

None of the universities in Birmingham or the Black Country makes the Top 20 in the latest edition of The Times authoritative Good University Guide – but Warwick is ranked sixth. more


GATE GATE

05-10-2009

It’s emerged on The Stirrer forum that Birmingham taxpayers fork out £310,000 a year to a private firm just to lock and unlock gates in the city’s parks. Now the Cabinet Member Leisure Martin Mullaney is promising an enquiry. more


TOILET SHAMBLES IN WEDNESBURY

03-10-2009

Cottaging has forced the closure of Wednesbury’s town centre toilets in The Shambles. Not so much public conveniences as inconvenient for the public. more


Get Out More.................................Event Preview

JAMES RANDI

03-10-2009

Want to do something more challenging on a Saturday night than compare Strictly Ballroom with X Factor? Why not catch up with one of the world's foremost free thinkers as he makes his British debut at the Old Joint Stock in Birmingham. more


CONFESSIONS OF A BRUMMIE MUMMY (Part 41)

03-10-2009

The aftermath of that disastrous job interview. And, as the clocks go forward another meeting with Ian - including a shock admission. more


BONFIRE SETTLED FOR, ER, BONFIRE NIGHT

03-10-2009

Wolverhampton's city bonfire in West Park has been confirmed for Thursday, 5 November after the original Saturday date had to be cancelled. As The Stirrer reported yesterday, plans to move the event to the Friday also had to be scrapped. more


‘The City Sings’ Blog

BLOWING THEIR OWN TRUMPET

03-10-2009

The first in a series of regular updates by composer Helen Ottaway about her City Sings project, commissioned to mark the re-opening of MAC next year. more


Audrey's "Grow Yer Own" Blog
HARVEST TIME

03-10-2009

Thinking of growing your own food? Audrey Miller offers some timely pointers. more


Get out More...........................................Gig News
WORLD UNLIMITED LISTINGS

03-10-2009

In their 20th year, World Unlimited continue to offer some of the most enterprising gigs in the West Midlands, including Japanese folk punkers Asakusa Jinta who'll perform at the Hare and Hounds this month with a marching band. Here's the latest W.U. listings for October and November compiled by Graham Radley. more


Stirrer Investigation

THAT EDL DEMO: SOME UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

02-10-2009

Following last month’s disturbances in Birmingham during an English Defence League demo, when more than 90 people were arrested, The Stirrer reckons there are still some unanswered questions for West Midlands Police. more


LABOUR SCRAPE HOME IN WEDNESBURY

02-10-2009

Labour have held on to the Wednesbury South seat on Sandwell Council - but Olwen Jones scraped home by just 60 votes. The result will be a blow to the Tories who failed to capitalise on anti government sentiment and a local row about parking charges. more


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

JOAN BAEZ

02-10-2009

Original folk revivalist checks in at Symphony Hall, and promptly sells out. Richard Lutz admires the voice – but no without reservations. more


BNP BELL PLEADS FOR SECOND CHANCE

02-10-2009

BNP activist Mike Bell has made a plea to be re-admitted to The Stirrer Forum days after making an astonishing threat to "unleash the wrath of the -gods". Bell has apologised for his comments, which he insists were "tongue in cheek". more


Get Out More...............................Play Review

EAST IS EAST

02-10-2009

From stage to screen to back again, Ayoub Khan-Din's Rep original has come back home after more than a decade of globetrotting glory. Paula Elenor susses out if it's stood the test of time. more


BONFIRE BUNGLE FIRES UP RACECOURSE

02-10-2009

Bungling Wolverhampton Council has been forced to change the date of its annual Bonfire Night display – for the second time in a week. Cue fireworks behind the scenes, not least at the city's Dunstall Park racecourse. more


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

DAVID GRAY, GERVAISE PHINN, CHRIS REA, ANDY HAMILTON

02-10-2009

These are the headline names from the latest batch of new dates at Birmingham's ever enterprising Town Hall and Symphony Hall Arenas - along with an an Xmas comedy show and a Sergeant Pepper tribute. Let their PR mastermind Lyle Bignon mark your card. more


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

ELECTRIC CINEMA LISTINGS

02-10-2009

Birmingham's independent cinema has the remastered Godfather, a Q&A with Shane Meadows about his latest movie and a load of funny stuff to mark the Comedy Festival. Here's their latest release. more


GODSIFF CALLS FOR EDGBASTON LIGHTS DEAL

01-10-2009

Birmingham MP Roger Godsiff is calling on the City Council to withold its £20 million loan for the redevelopment of Edgbaston unless retractable floodlights are installed. more


Laurence Inman’s Blog

READ ALL ABOUT IT

01-10-2009

Not content with reading one book at the time, Laurence Inman has four on the go. more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

GOLD

01-10-2009

The Staffordshire Saxon hoard is pulling in the punters at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – but what do they find after joining the queue. Richard Lutz investigates. more


Stay In More.......................................Telly Preview

GENERATION KILL

01-10-2009

So what did the creators of The Wire, David Simon and Ed Burns, do next. Generation Kill, an Iraq war mini series based on the book by journalist Evan Wright, that's what. Paul Samuels goes goggle for a show starting on Channel 4 on Monday. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

THE SUPERIORITY COMPLEX

01-10-2009

Two league defeats in a row have derailed Albion’s promotion push, leaving Terry Wills to wonder if they’re suffering a superiority complex. more


Martin Longley's Music Blog

STEVE MARTIN & THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS

01-10-2009

Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) is set to make his UK banjo-ing debut, booked in at London's Royal Festival Hall on the 9th November. Martin Longley recently witnessed him fast-pickin' in New York City at the Rubin Museum of Art. more

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