Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

September 2009

TRIPLE SCAN BLOW AS BROWN MAKES CANCER PLEDGE

30-09-2009

Gordon Brown’s tub thumping speech at the Labour conference yesterday included the promise that patients who fear they have cancer will be tested within seven days. If one teenager’s experience at Birmingham’s QE hospital is any guide, it can’t come soon enough – his appointment for a brain scan was cancelled three times in a week. more


THE SUN SETS ON GORDON

30-09-2009

The Sun's defection from Labour is significant only in that it confirms what most of us already knew - Rupert Murdoch doesn't like backing losers. For Gordon Brown it could even be useful - liberating him to connect with Labour's traditional working class voters. more


A THORNY PROBLEM

30-09-2009

A stunt by Labour councillors aiming to expose cuts in Birmingham Council’s rose pruning budget has backfired – amid claims that they posed in front of a flower bed which has, in fact, been planted for next year. more


UNDERHILL FUTURE REMAINS UNCERTAIN

30-09-2009

The future of Wolverhampton's Underhill House remains uncertain after a High Court hearing yesterday was adjourned for a week. more


APPLE BITES BACK

30-09-2009

Following complaints about Apple's after care on The Stirrer yesterday news of a victory for Dr David Nicholl, our disgruntled blogger. more


THE POLITICS SHOW

30-09-2009

Stourbridge is the seat the Tories must win to deny Labour an overall majority - and has become the focus for a regular update on the BBC's Politics Show. So how is the constituency shaping up? Al Jackson reports. more


THE FORCE IS WITH YOU

30-09-2009

West Midlands Police Authority will be holding their first meeting outside of Force HQ next month when they gather at The Drum in Aston. Marking a new era of openness, public and press will be encouraged to ask questions. more


OVERSPEND BLAMED ON SOCIAL SERVICES

29-09-2009

Birmingham Council has blamed the city’s projected £26million overspend on pressures in the city’s social services departments. They also say cutbacks in spending on parking and leisure facilities have sapped revenue.more


"SPECIAL MEASURES" FOR TORIES

29-09-2009

Mike Whitby’s hopes of showing off Birmingham as a flagship Tory authority are coming to grief – and not only because of the Council’s well-documented financial problems. The Stirrer can reveal that two Conservative associations in the city have been placed in “special measures”. more


EH UP, CHUCK - OUR JANICE IS ON CORRIE

29-09-2009

Top Brummie comic Janice Connolly aka Barbara Nice looks set for a long run in Coronation Street after landing a job as Norris’s assistant at The Kabin corner shop. more


TREE HUGGERS

29-09-2009

The details of Birmingham Council’s infamous Trees maintenance contract remain shrouded in mystery – even though it could cost taxpayers thousands of pounds. Councillors confined the issue to the private agenda at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. more


THE STIRRER’S DIGBETH PUB CRAWL

29-09-2009

The Rainbow and The Spotted Dog respectively define the cool and cosy extremes of upper Digbeth, but closer to the city centre there’s an earthier, but no less attractive vibe. Check out The Stirrer’s latest crawl which begins just five minutes walk from both New Street and Moor Street stations. more


ALL CHANGE AT STOURBRIDGE

29-09-2009

Dudley councillors last week approved plans for a £6.4m transport ‘Interchange’ in Stourbridge – but, as Al Jackson finds out, confusion reigns. more


Doc Dave's Blog

APPLE BITE

29-09-2009

Apple make great products but their customer service leaves much to be desired - at least according to Dr David Nicholl who was none too impressed by the company’s store in the Bull Ring recently. more


PRODUCT PLACEMENT?

29-09-2009

The government recently ruled out the prospect of product placement on ITV, but is the BBC already guilty of doing something similar with its own programmes? Alexander Wray thinks so. more


SEEING THE DEAD WOOD FOR THE TREES

28-09-2009

Expect fireworks at Birmingham Council’s Cabinet meeting today – not just over the £26million projected budget overspend, but also the local authority’s trees maintenance contract. more


Exclusive

MICHAEL MOORE LOVES CAPITALISM

28-09-2009

Always keen to be one step ahead of the pack, The Stirrer offers you this exclusive preview of Michael Moore's new movie Capitalism: A Love Story. Damien Doran joins the line at the Lincoln Centre in New York. more


Richard Lutz's Blog

"FUCKING JEWBAGS"

28-09-2009

Some people like to pretend that racism has disappeared from out society - or at least wish it wasn't discussed for fear of "stirring it up". Richard Lutz is in no position to ignore it. more


UNDERHILL BATTLE GOES NATIONAL

28-09-2009

The campaign to keep open a Wolverhampton care home which houses a 106-year old woman has gained national attention after campaigning solicitor Yvonne Hossacks won her battle to avoid being struck off. more


LAST CHANCE TO SEE?

28-09-2009

As the site of Birmingham’s first Corporation swimming baths in Kent Street is bulldozed to create a car park, Steve Beauchampé asks that the city council save the impressive front block of its’ ‘sister’ pool in Sparkhill. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

A FITTING FINALE?

28-09-2009

The final game of the Sullivan/Brady era at St Andrews was something of an anti climax, with a crowd in excess of 28,000 witnessing a 2-1 defeat against Bolton. Andy Munro witnesses the departure of the feelgood factor. more


Barbara's Buswatch Blog

MUMBAI BEATS BIRMINGHAM

28-09-2009

Are Mumbai's buses better than Birmingham's? Barbara Panvel, who has travelled on the sub-continent, has no doubt. more


BURDEN BLASTS COUNCIL CASH "GOBBLEDEGOOK"

26-09-2009

Northfield MP Richard Burden has launched a savage attack on the “gobbledegook” of local budgets prepared by Birmingham Council’s Finance Department. Under one baffling heading cuts of £301,000 are identified in his constituency, even though the previous year's spending was just £3,000. more


ALDEN CALLS FOR JAG TASKFORCE

26-09-2009

Birmingham councillor and prospective Tory candidate for Erdington Robert Alden has called for the creation of task force to deal with the fallout of JLR's decision to close one of its two West Midlands car factories.  The Jaguar plant, at Castle Bromwich (within the Erdington constituency) seems likeliest to shut. more


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

DRUNKS (RSC, Stratford)

26-09-2009

The Royal Shakespeare Company goes all kinds of Russian on us from this week with the start of a four year intermittent season of new plays about the former Soviet Union. Richard Lutz reviews the first production - The Drunks. more


"COME CLEAN" CALL OVER DAY CARE CLOSURE

26-09-2009

Dozens of Asian pensioners demonstrated at Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet meeting this about the possible closure of the EKTA day care centre in Penn Fields. Now the opposition Labour group is calling on Tory leader Neville Patten to "come clean" over its future. more


GOING GREEN

26-09-2009

In an effort to force his way into the Birmingham Post Power 50, Andy Munro joined The Stirrer in leaving his car at home for a day this week. With mixed success… more


A QUESTION OF QUALITY

26-09-2009

An old telly fave returned to our screens this week - and Richard Nevin celebrates. more


JLR WORKERS FEAR “BEAUTY CONTEST”

25-09-2009

Workers at Jaguar Land Rover fear a terms and conditions “beauty contest” between Castle Bromwich and Solihull, as bosses seek to close one of the two West Midlands plants by 2014. Pensions, wages and even jobs are under pressure. more


SELLY OAK ACCUSES THE SUN

25-09-2009

The Trust which runs Selly Oak Hospital accused The Sun of ignoring the facts after it suggested yesterday that wounded soldiers flown back from Afghanistan were being "farmed out" to other hospitals because of a severe bed shortage. It's the second time in recent years that the Hospital has complained of mischievous reporting. more


Get Out More.....................................Ballet Review

QUANTUM LEAPS

25-09-2009

Richard Lutz heads for the premier of David Bintley’s latest piece for Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Hippodrome and is pleased by what he sees. more


FOLLOW THE HOARD

25-09-2009

The unveiling of a Saxon treasure hoard in Birmingham yesterday has Councillor Peter Douglas Osborn puffing out his chest with pride - and he advances the theory that this region is the heartland of England more ways than one. more


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

PETER ANDRE, NOEL FIELDING, TOM PAXTON

25-09-2009

Three new dates showcasing the impressive diversity of the booking policy at Birmingham's Town Hall/Symphony Hall venues - with Jordan reject Peter Andre the most newsworthy of the bunch. Tickets for his concert go on sale this morning. more


COUNCILLOR DISCOVERS SACKING ON THE STIRRER

25-09-2009

Wolverhampton councillor Ian Bisbey has complained that he found out about his removal as Chair of the city's Safer Communities Scrutiny Panel on what the Express and Star coyly terms "a website". Conservative leader Neville Patten has threatened an inquiry into the leak. more


WELL DONE, FLOWER

25-09-2009

Bloomin' 'eck - Birmingham's City Centre Floral Trail has picked up two top awards in the 2009 Britain in Bloom competition – winning gold in the Urban Community category and overall category winner. more


Dave Woodhall’s Boxing Blog

MATTHEW MACKLIN V AMIN ASIKAINEN

25-09-2009

Brummie boxer Matt Macklin makes a trip up the M6 tonight to challenge for the European middleweight crown. Dave Woodhall assesses the prospects. more


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

THE ROBIN, BILSTON

25-09-2009

Plenty of tip top nostalgia over the coming months at The Robin, with the original line-up of Curved Air, Nazareth, Sham 69 and an increasingly rare appearance by the wonderful Steve Gibbons. Click here for the full list.


JLR TO CLOSE CASTLE BROM OR SOLIHULL

24-09-2009

Jaguar Land Rover is to close one its two plants in the West Midlands - at Castle Bromwich or Land Rover - but has promised there will be no compulsory redundancies among the 14,500 workforce. The company has pledged to invest £800m on environmentally friendly motors. more


LABOUR “MISQUOTE” CLAIM OVER DODGY POLL

24-09-2009

Labour’s losing candidate in last Thursday’s controversial Sparkbrook by-election claims he’s been misquoted by Asian newspapers which said he would have won if the disallowed votes had been counted. more


POPE "TO VISIT BIRMINGHAM"

24-09-2009

Pope Benedict XVI is being tipped to visit Birmingham when he comes to Britain next year. The Times reports today that a trip to the city could be "a central part of his visit". more


TORY GRASSROOTS SNUB FOR WHITBY

24-09-2009

Grassroots Tory activists have delivered a snub to Birmingham Council leader Mike Whitby by supporting one of his best-known backbench opponents in an internal election. Behind the vote lies a row about attracting ethnic minority members. more


AN OPEN LETTER FROM TOM JONES

24-09-2009

The Stirrer has been highlighting the case of two wheelchair using Wolves fans, Brendan King and Thomas Jones, who’ve been deprived of their regular disabled parking spaces at Molineux. Now 87-year old Thomas has written an open letter to the club, questioning his treatment under Disability Discrimination Act. more


Clive Dutton 1

THE SAYINGS OF CLIVE DUTTON

24-09-2009

Clive Dutton was appointed Birmingham’s Director of Planning and Regeneration in September 2006, and gradually became the Council’s spokesperson on the new Library and Paradise Circus redevelopment. As he moves on to pastures new, Library campaigner Alan Clawley recalls some of his sayings on the subject. more


Laurence Inman’s Blog

A MOSELEY FANTASY

24-09-2009

Has Laurence Inman been dreaming? Or just on the cooking sherry? more


SELLY OAK MILITARY WARD "OVERWHELMED"

24-09-2009

Birmingham's Selly Oak hospital is so overwhelmed by the number of injured troops arriving from Afghanistan that patients are having to be "farmed out" elsewhere in the city according to The Sun. more


Terry’s Baggies Blog

BORO BLITZED ...BUT A PAIN IN THE ARSE

24-09-2009

A terrific 5-0 demolition of Middlesbrough followed by an unlucky 2-0 defeat at Arsenal...things are looking up for the Baggies reckons Terry Wills. more


Clive Dutton 2

KEEPING IT DUTTONED

24-09-2009

Birmingham’s Director Regeneration Clive Dutton, who’s quitting for a new role in the Olympic Borough of Newham, has marked his departure with a showbiz party at Harvey Nicks. The chair of the city’s Planning Committee Cllr Peter Douglas Osborn pays tribute. more


JLR UNIONS SUMMONED BY TATA

23-09-2009

16,000 Jaguar Land Rover workers in the West Midlands and on Merseyside are anxiously awaiting the outcome of a meeting between union leaders and management tomorrow – which some fear could herald the closure of one of their major plants. more


AGE OF CONSENT FLOUTED DAILY

23-09-2009

Despite a media row about tonight's Radio 4 "Iconoclasts" programme discussing a possible reduction in the age of consent to 13, sex counselling service Brook in Birmingham has revealed that - in practice - the law is already being flouted on a daily basis. more


MONEY NOT TOO TIGHT TO MENTION

23-09-2009

Birmingham Council's Finance Boss has moved to damp down disquiet over the city's projected £26million overspend - but The Stirrer fears that major cuts are inevitable as efforts are made to rein in the deficit. more


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

DANCING IN THE STREETS (Alex Theatre)

23-09-2009

A Motown spectacular leaves Terry Wills eardrums vibrating – but otherwise unmoved.  Although he does acknowledge the mass appeal. more


VIOLENCE FEARS FORCE BNP "BAN"

22-09-2009

Fears of another bout of right-wing versus anti-fascist violence on the streets of Birmingham today prompted the cancellation of a hearing into BNP member Adam Walker by the General Teaching Council. more


OPPOSITION "KEPT IN DARK" OVER DEBT

22-09-2009

Opposition councillors are being kept in the dark about the scale of the city’s debt mountain according to Labour group leader Sir Albert Bore. He’s complained that there’s no update planned for next Monday’s Cabinet meeting, despite reports that the annual deficit is projected at £26 million. more


BRUM DOES “THE HUSTLE”

22-09-2009

The PR machine for BBC 1’s new Birmingham-made con trick series “Hustle” is in full swing, with a host of congratulatory features over the last few days on telly, radio and newspapers. What the hacks aren’t telling you about is the artful game of milking taxpayers’ cash being played by the show’s independent producers Kudos. more


POOL SINKS OUT OF SIGHT

22-09-2009

Ambitious plans for a new 50 metre pool in Ladywood have mysteriously failed to appear on the agenda for Birmingham Council’s Cabinet meeting next week - prompting speculation that it might be the latest victim of the local authority’s spiralling debt problem. more


Kingy's Wolves Blog

THE SUN IS SHINING

22-09-2009

It's Manchester United in the Carling Cup for Wolves tomorrow, but there's just enough time for Brendan King takes time to relish a memorable Molineux afternoon. more


DODGY POSTAL VOTES "MUST BE MADE PUBLIC"

22-09-2009

Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob has called for the details of postal votes cast in last Thursday’s controversial Sparkbrook by-election to be made public. The poll is being investigated by West Midlands police following allegations of fraud. more


“DON’T SACK THE WORKERS” CALL

22-09-2009

Unions representing more than 10,000 Birmingham Council workers are calling on the local authority to avoid redundancies as they seek to head off a projected deficit of £40million in the current financial year. They claim members are being asked to identify savings by shedding staff. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

A TIGER BY THE TALE

22-09-2009

Blues tweaked the Tigers by the tail on Saturday - running out 1-0 at winners at Hull City. Andy Munro looks back on a rare Premier League victory on the road. more


“BOBBINS” BRUM IS A SIGN OF THE TIMES

21-09-2009

Birmingham’s claim to be the second city rests entirely on the size of its population – by any other measure it’s “bobbins” reckons the Sunday Times. They hand the title to Manchester. more


COUNCIL OVERSPEND "ZERO BY NOVEMBER"

21-09-2009

Birmingham councillors have been promised that this year’s projected overspend will be cut back to zero by November – despite jumping by a third to £26 million over the summer. more


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

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE

21-09-2009

Florence Welch has one of the biggest, most distinctive voices in modern indie. Damien Doran checks out her Machine as it rolls into Birmiingham's new Academy. more


Alan Clawley’s Library Blog

LIBRARY OBJECT-IVE

21-09-2009

The deadline is fast approaching for planning objections to the new Central Library in Birmingham. Alan Clawley – a campaigner for the existing building – tells you how register a complaint. more


 

GAY FESTIVAL SOMETHING TO SHOUT ABOUT

21-09-2009

Birmingham’s anticipated bid to become UK Capital of Culture will receive another boost in November when the city hosts Shout – a new lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) cultural festival. One of the highlights is a Q&A Peter Tatchell, the redoubtable human rights campaigner. more


POOL PROTEST PLANNED

21-09-2009

Swimmers will be protesting outside Sparkhill swimming bath in Birmingham tomorrow afternoon, aiming to ensure that its temporary closure doesn’t become permanent. Steve Beauchampe has more. more


ANTI BNP RALLY PLANNED - JUST IN CASE

19-09-2009

MPs, councillors and trade unionists are planning a counter-protest to a BNP rally in Birmingham city centre next week - even though the far-right party hasn't actually announced one. more


Richard Lutz’s Blog

ICELAND TAKES THE PLUNGE

19-09-2009

The future of Birmingham’s historic Moseley Road Baths remains uncertain, while Dudley Council recently pulled the plug on its Coseley pool. Richard Lutz is in Iceland - the island not the store - and examines swimming facilities there. more


"HEARTLESS" CUTS CONDEMNED

19-09-2009

Plans by Wolverhampton's ruling Conservative/Lib Dem alliance to close day care centres, close the city's tourist office and double meals on wheel charges have been condemned as "heartless" by the opposition Labour group. more


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

RICH BATSFORD ALBUM LAUNCH

19-09-2009

The truly wonderful composer and pianist Rich Batsford has sent us an email about the launch of his new album next Thursday, Septemner 24, at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath. We're sure he won't mind if we share it with you. more


Get Out More.........................Boxing News

SCRAPPER SAVILLE COMES A CROPPER

19-09-2009

Walsall scrapper Steve Saville came a cropper as he fought for a British light-welterweight title at Wolverhampton Civic Hall – but there was a victory for women’s champion Lindsey Scragg. Dave Woodhall reports from ringside. more


Sparkbrook By-Election

VIVE LA BANANA REPUBLIC

18-09-2009

Birmingham MP John Hemming is calling from an investigation into possible postal voting fraud at yesterday’s Sparkbrook by-election. Respect held onto the seat by a margin of 271 votes – but 387 polling papers were rejected by election officers. more


WOLVES REJECT DISABLED FANS PROTEST

18-09-2009

Wolves fans parliament has rejected complaints about their club’s new criteria for disabled fans’ parking spaces – even though the revised rules have seen both a T10 paraplegic and an 87-year old wheelchair user ejected from their regular spots. more


MERGER MYSTERY

18-09-2009

Puzzled parents are asking questions about the forced merger between two Birmingham schools – troubled Stockland Green Technology College and Arthur Terry in Sutton Coldfield. more


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

DISTRICT 9

18-09-2009

This South African sci-fi thriller is still knocking around the West Midlands – and although far from flawless, it’s well worth checking out. more


BIRMINGHAM WIRED

18-09-2009

BBC Radio 4 visited Birmingham last night to pose the question – have the mean streets of Handsworth, Lozells and Aston become like the corners of Baltimore as portrayed in The Wire. The answer? Not quite, but there’s certainly nowt to be complacent about. more


Get Out More.........................New Shows

BIRMINGHAM TOWN HALL/SYMPHONY HALL

18-09-2009

Here's the latest release from Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall, with Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra, Imelda May, The Dubliners, and Here Come The Girls with Lulu, Chaka Khan and Anastacia. more


RIOTOUS ASSEMBLY

18-09-2009

West Midlands Police are taking the national lead in tackling the English Defence League and other right wing groups following two recent riots in Birmingham. The EDL are planning a further demo in Manchester next month. more


"LAST CHANCE" FOR BRUMMIES

17-09-2009

Birmingham Brummies have been given a 12 month reprieve at their Perry Barr home despite dozens of protests about the noise - but the chair of the city's Planning Committee, Peter Douglas Osborne warns that this is their last chance. more


SCHOOL’S OUT

17-09-2009

School stayaways enjoyed a picnic in Birmingham’s Pigeon Park yesterday as part of a national celebration of home education. Handsworth mum Scylla Parkin has been telling The Stirrer why she is keeping her son out of the classroom. more


BROTHERS UPSET TWO SISTERS

17-09-2009

Industrial turmoil is continuing at Smethwick food processors Two Sisters – with dozens of staff facing disciplinary proceedings over the next few days following an unofficial walkout. One rep from union Unite has already faced a disciplinary hearing. more


Doc Dave’s Blog

THE BEST MP?

17-09-2009

Julie Kirkbride’s decision to stand down as MP for Bromsgrove at the next election hasn’t quelled public anger about her role in the expenses scandal – so this week a campaign is being launched to find the best MP for the town. But don’t worry he’s not standing. more


AWM NOT COFFIN UP THE CASH

17-09-2009

Regeneration quango Advantage West Midlands has pledged its support to the future of the Coffin Works Museum in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter – despite the withdrawal of a £1.5million grant which has effectively mothballed the scheme. more


Laurence Inman's Blog

LAUGHTER LINES

17-09-2009

Some philosophising about comedy from our own master of the deadpan Laurence Inman. And a hearty recommendation too. more


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

ROBERT LANE CD LAUNCH

17-09-2009

Birmingham born singer/songwriter Robert Lane launches his new EP Twenty Two at the Tower of Song in Cotteridge next month. Make a date in your diary. more


Barbara's Blog

DUMB DUM

17-09-2009

Bullets banned in warfare are used by police on the streets of Britain – and as Barbara Panvel discovers, they’re available online too. more


Get Out More...........................Boxing News

STEVE SAVILLE v YOUSEFF AL HIMADI

17-09-2009

Dave Woodhall previews the opening card of the West Midlands boxing season, with a show at Wolves Civic – which includes a womens’ world title clash. more


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

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

17-09-2009

The movie that became a musical runs at the Hippodrome until Saturday. Terry Wills says it's one of the best of the year. more


BRADY, SULLIVAN TO QUIT BLUES

16-09-2009

Birmingham City's chief executive Karren Brady and PLC chairman David Gold will both quit the club after 16 years if the takeover by Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung is completed next month. Existing football club chairman David Gold will remain, however. more


87 YEAR OLD LOSES WHEELCHAIR BAY AT WOLVES

16-09-2009

Not content with taking away a disabled parking space from Stirrer blogger Brendan King, Wolves have also withdrawn the bay of 87-year old wheelchair user Thomas Jones - a Molineux regular since 1948. Here's Brendan's open letter to the club's fans parliament which is meeting tonight. more


VOTE RIGGING FEAR IN SPARKBROOK POLL

16-09-2009

The fear of vote rigging is stalking tomorrow’s Sparkbrook by-election in Birmingham – with Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob saying that she has seen a ballot paper issued to a two-year old child. more


Confessions Of A Brummie Mummy (40)

BRUMMIE MUMMY LOSES HER WAY

16-09-2009

Her husbsand's workmate Stevie is still causing her concern, and then there's the trip out of town to consider her return to teaching. No wonder Brummie Mummy can't sleep... more


WEST MIDS "ONE OF MOST CAR DEPENDENT"

16-09-2009

The West Midlands is rated as one of the most car dependent regions in the country, with fewer than one in three journeys taken on foot or public transport, according to new research by the Campaign for Better Transport. more


Terry's Baggies Blog

BAGGIES SEEING DOUBLE

16-09-2009

Part one of mission completed. Plymouth Argyle’s team and supporters as expected facing the long trip back to the West Country in a sombre mood courtesy of a sparkling Albion display that confirmed the three points were as good as in the bag long before the kick-off. more


HEY BIG OVERSPENDER...

15-09-2009

Revelations about the mammoth scale of Birmingham Council’s debt give even greater urgency to The Stirrer’s demand– first aired last month – that the local authority should fulfil its legal obligations and make a declaration about its overspending. more


FUTURE UNCERTAIN FOR RECORD BREAKING ARTSFEST

15-09-2009

The future of Birmingham’s popular Artsfest isn’t guaranteed beyond next year – despite last weekend’s record attendance of 270,000. more


Exclusive

BOYES WILL BOYES

15-09-2009

The Stirrer can reveal that Wolverhampton’s regeneration boss Steve Boyes is set to become the city’s interim chief executive – despite two well-publicised cock-ups in recent months. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

A VILE EXPERIENCE

15-09-2009

Go easy on him. Andy Munro is still bruised by Blues’ derby day defeat. more


HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

15-09-2009

Older Stirrers might remember an independent magazine which briefly flourished in mid-70s Birmingham called Grapevine. Andy Goff transports us back to the age of patchouli oil and flares. more


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

CBSO/THE PERFECT FIFTH

15-09-2009

The new season kicks off at the CBSO – and Gary Whitehouse revels in another stirring performance conducted by Andris Nelsons. more


Get Out More.....................Theatre Review
ORPHANS (Birmingham Rep)

15-09-2009

This year's Edinburgh Fringe Award winner makes an instant transfer to The Rep - and causes a family argument for Paula Elenor. more


Get Out More.................................Gig News
WOLVES CIVIC

15-09-2009

Here's the latest listings for the Wolverhampton Civic Hall and the Wulfrun - including Womack and Womack, top comic Richard Herring and that controversial Mike Tyson date. more


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

JIVE TALKIN’

15-09-2009

A tribute show to one of the biggest selling bands of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Terry Wills digs out his hairdryer for some of those meaningless songs, with meaningless words… more


FIFTEEN ARRESTS AT BLUES V VILLA

14-09-2009

By the hot headed standards of the Blues-Villa derby, yesterday's match at St Andrews appears to have been relatively trouble free - but bloggers claim police only kept the peace by taking hundreds of supporters on a two hour post-match detour. more


BINMEN PAY DEAL DEFENDED

14-09-2009

The architect of Birmingham Council's Single Status pay review has defended last year's deal with refuse workers which headed off a strike - even though his chief executive now admits it may have been legally flawed. more


Get out More.....................Event Review
ARTSFEST 2009

14-09-2009

Artsfest bosses claim to have attracted a record weekend audience of 270,000 over the weekend, and while their figures need to be treated with a degree of caution - how can you measure people flowing through an open space? - there's no denying that the event has once again proved its worth as Birmingham's premier arts showpiece. more


MERRY HELL FOR WEDNESBURY SHOPPERS

14-09-2009

Thanks to the introduction of parking charges in Wednesbury, shoppers will now have the choice of either paying to visit the town - or else enjoying free parking at Merry Hill. John Dean of the Wednesbury Business Association says local traders won't forget come voting time in the forthcoming by-election. more


PUBLIC INCONVENIENCE

14-09-2009

A trip to Beijing from Birmingham posed numerous questions about his home city for Peter Sampson - not least where to spend a penny. more


Exclusive
REPRIEVE FOR UNDERHILL

12-09-2009

Nine elderly residents of Underhill House in Wolverhampton - including 106-year old Louisa Watts - have won a last-ditch reprieve from Council's plans to their care home. more


"MISLEADING" PHOENIX FOUR MUST PROVE SINCERITY

12-09-2009

Northfield MP Richard Burden has defended the Phoenix Four takeover of the Longbridge car plant nine years ago - even though it culminated in the collapse of the firm. Burden said jobs had to be the priority, but has now called on the company's former directors - who he says may have misled him - to prove their sincerity by speeding up the release of cash from a Trust Fund to former employees. more


HEALTH BOSSES “SORRY” TO COP KILLER

11-09-2009

Health bosses have issued an apology to cop killer Glaister Earle Butler – a paranoid schizophrenic detained indefinitely after stabbing DC Mick Swindells to death five years ago on a Birmingham canal towpath. more


ROVER REPORT "SHOWS NEED FOR BOARDROOM CONTROLS"

11-09-2009

Northfield MP Richard Burden claims the long awaited report into the demise of MG Rover published today strengthens the hand of those demanding tighter controls of boardroom pay. more


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

EDITORS (Academy, Birmingham)

11-09-2009

Birmingham’s newest venue, the Academy on Bristol Street finally opened its doors last night. Damien Doran joined the throng queuing for Editors. more


LAST DITCH FOR UNDERHILL

11-09-2009

Lawyers acting for nine elderly residents facing eviction from Underhill House in Wolverhampton have launched a last-ditch legal bid to prevent the home from closure. more


BUMBLING BNP MISSES OUT ON WEDNESBURY

11-09-2009

Has the bumbling BNP missed its chance to win the forthcoming Wednesbury South by-election despite promising a hard fight to win the seat? Er, yes. more


KING – WHERE ARE YOUR PEOPLE NOW?

11-09-2009

Wolves fan Brendan King had an open letter to the club published on The Stirrer, complaining that they’d unfairly deprived him of a parking space he’d used for 23 years. Their response, published below, singularly fails to address the specific points he raised. more


FAIL TO PREPARE....GET KNOCKED OUT

11-09-2009

Elated by England's 5-1 thumping of Croatia? So is Richard Nevin, but he offers a few words of caution based on previous experience. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

THE INSIDE STORY

11-09-2009

It’s Villa v Blues this weekend…and our Blues blogger Andy Munro has a bit of a scoop. more


Terry's Baggies Blog
TWO'S COMPANY

11-09-2009

Consecutive home games give Albion the the chance to close the gap on leaders Newcastle. Terry Wills muses on a potential six-point haul. more


HOMELESS HOSTEL AXED AFTER 33 YEARS

10-09-2009

One of Birmingham's best known homeless hostels is facing closure after 33 years, after having its £400,000 grant axed by the Council. Doug Montgomery, manager of St Anne's in Digbeth said he was"gobsmacked" by the news - which could lead to 17 workers becoming redundant. more


MAYOR REFERENDUM CALL BY BORE

10-09-2009

Birmingham’s Labour party has renewed its call for a Mayoral referendum – in the face of efforts by the city’s Conservative group to stiffen the current Cabinet system by giving Leader Mike Whitby a four year term. more


Laurence Inman’s Blog

FAMILIES AT WAR

10-09-2009

Barnardo’s boss Martin Narey has argued that many more children should be taken from “problem families” at birth. Who could possibly object wonders Laurence Inman. more


UNDERHILL FIGHT GOES ON

10-09-2009

Lawyers acting for nine residents facing eviction from Underhill House in Wolverhampton are planning to go to the Court of Appeal after being refused permission for a judicial review yesterday. 106-year old Louisa Watts is among those who could be forced into new accommodation. more


HAVE WE BEEN MCKINSEY’D?

10-09-2009

Never mind getting Tango’d – have we been McKinsey’d? After their recent proposals for massive cuts in the NHS, Barbara Panvel assesses the impact of one of the Western world’s leading business consultancies. more


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

CABARET (Birmingham Rep)

10-09-2009

This decadent drama set in pre-war Nazi Germany returns to the Rep until September 19. Terry Wills goes to the Cabaret, old chum. more


THE ROAD TO WOGAN PIER

10-09-2009

Plane spotters were out in force yesterday to witnes the arrival of a the state of the art new Airbus at Birmingham Airport which was 70 yesterday. Birmingham councillor Peter Douglas Osborn joined the celebrations. more


RUNNING IN THE AIR

10-09-2009

Stirrer blogger Adrian Bailey will be ascending the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square tomorrow - and he’ll be using the chance of national exposure to promote the sport he loves – orienteering. more


LITTLE CIVIC'S LITTLE SON

10-09-2009

It's not only Birmingham's Academy which is being reborn - Wolverhampton's much missed Little Civic is also being replaced, and the new venue will have a capacity in excess of 500 people. John Penney, from the Civic, explains all. more


EDL DEMO CLAMPDOWN AFTER 90 ARRESTS

09-09-2009

West Midlands Police have belatedly "got tough" with the English Defence League, whose demo in the city on Saturday sparked violent scenes and more than 90 arrests. According to the cops, the latest events mean they can "escalate their response" if a repeat is planned, although why they couldn't do this after the previous EDL tear-up remains to be seen. more


SILENT, BUT NOT WITLESS

09-09-2009

The Stirrer’s article about Mike Whitby’s silence over Saturday’s English Defence League demo in Birmingham has generated a fair amount of comment on our Forum. Now Whitby’s deputy Alan Rudge, the Cabinet Member for Equalities, has his say. more


AT LAST...MG ROVER ENQUIRY IS HERE (NEARLY)

09-09-2009

Advance copies of the long-awaited report into the collapse of MG Rover are now being circulated, ahead of official official publication on Friday. The report, which has taken four years to compile and cost more than £16million, is expected to question the behaviour of the Phoenix Four directors led by John Towers. more


UNDERHILL CLOSURE D-DAY

09-09-2009

Britain’s fifth oldest woman, 106-year old Louisa Watts, is among nine elderly residents of Wolverhampton’s Underhill House who’ll discover today whether they are to be forced out of their home by the City Council. more


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

MESRINE II: PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER 1

09-09-2009

The second and concluding instalment of the true life tale of French gangster Jacques Mesrine is out now. Paula Elenor revels in the violence. more


EDL “RACISTS WHIPPING UP HATRED”

09-09-2009

The spokesman for Birmingham’s Methodists, Rev Ray Gaston, has written an open letter to West Midlands Police press officer Jim Levack, probing the force’s behaviour during Saturday’s disturbances in the city centre. Ray reckons the English Defence League proved they were “racists attempting to whip up racial hatred.” more


BUCK UP YOUR IDEAS

09-09-2009

Stirrer blogger Jonathan Stuart Brown is pushing for the West Midlands to become Britain’s movie capital by buying up Pinewood Studios and relocating it in the heart of England. Here’s his open letter to the South Bucks Council calling on them to block a major expansion of the film studios in green belt land. more


Balti Blog

DIWAN

09-09-2009

In the latest instalment of his rolling balti blog, Andy Munro checks out this long established Balsall Heath establishment. more


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

ELECTRIC CINEMA LISTINGS

09-09-2009

Birmingham's rather excellent Electric Cinema has plenty of forthcoming cinematic delights including District 9, Mesrine Public Enemy One, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail as part of the Comedy Festival. more


THE RIOTOUS BROTHERS

08-09-2009

Anyone who witnessed Saturday’s disturbances in Birmingham City Centre might be wondering at the neat division established in the mainstream media between English Defence League “protestors” and anti fascist “counter protestors”. Real life, as so often, is just a tad more complicated than that. more


A KRAFTY ASSAULT ON CADBURY

08-09-2009

Birmingham's famous Cadbury brand is under attack from the American-owned Kraft company, who've had a £10bn takeover bid turned down. Robert Higginson finds the threat to his favourite chocolate bars hard to stomach. more


WOLVES KEEP DISABLED FAN AT BAY

08-09-2009

Lifelong Wolves fan and Stirrer blogger Brendan King suffered a blow at the start of the new Premier League season – the disabled parking bay he’s been using for 23 years was withdrawn. Here’s his open letter to the club’s chief executive Jez Moxey. more


PDO AIN'T BNP

08-09-2009

Birmingham's planning supremo Peter Douglas Osborn was one of the few elected representatives to brave the mob in the city centre last Saturday - and was promptly mistaken for being a BNP councillor. more


HEMMING SLAMS DEMAND FOR MORE ADOPTIONS

08-09-2009

Birmingham MP John hemming has hit out at demands by the head of Barnardo’s for more children to be taken away from “failing” parents at birth. He said it’s already happening – to the detriment of family life. more


DOCTORS’ ORDERS

08-09-2009

The US-based Physicians for Human Rights group claims doctors employed at Guanatanamo Bay and other detention centres may have been engaged in “human experimentation” by taking part in CIA-inspired “torture”. Dr David Nicholl demands that guidelines are enforced. more


RIOT OVER – WAR OF WORDS CONTINUES

08-09-2009

The war of words over Saturday’s street clashes in Birmingham continues, with Council leader Mike Whitby defending his silence over the issue – and Labour number two Ian Ward demanding an apology from the "complacent" Tory leadership for allowing the demo in the first place. more


POLICE DEFEND DEMO REACTION

07-09-2009

West Midlands Police have defended their handling of Saturday's disturbances in the city centre - and condemned the English Defence League, as well as violent counter protestors. Here's the official summary of today's press briefing by Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe. more


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

MOSELEY FOLK FESTIVAL

07-09-2009

Andrew Cowen lets his beard down for a great weekend of music at Moseley Folk Festival. more


EDL VOW NOT TO RETURN TO BRUM

07-09-2009

The English Defence League have vowed not to return to Birmingham after their demonstration on Saturday sparked a mini-riot leading to more than 90 arrests. more


SILENT, WHITLESS

07-09-2009

Throughout the run-up and immediate aftermath of the latest disorder on Birmingham’s streets, one voice has been notable by its absence – that of City Council leader Mike “Whitless” Whitby. more


COUNCIL AND COPS “LET DOWN CITY”

07-09-2009

Respect Party leader and Sparkbrook councillor Salma Yaqoob has accused Birmingham Council and West Midlands Police of letting down the city by allowing Saturday’s EDL demo go ahead. She had previously called for it to be banned. more


BIRMINGHAM UNITED CANCELLED "ON POLICE ADVICE"

07-09-2009

While thousands of pounds of taxpayers money was being spent on ensuring the democratic rights of far-right protestors in Birmingham on Saturday, the Council was refusing to host an event celebrating the city's multicultural heritage under the banner Birmingham United. Here a Council spokesperson explains why, in a statement sent on Friday. more


KICK OFF FOR VILLA WORLD CUP BID

07-09-2009

Birmingham's bid to become a World Cup city officially kicks off this afternoon when celebrity Blues and Villa players - and fans - put aside their differences in a bid to secure hosting rights for group matches in the 2018 tournament. more


Get Out More...........................Concert Preview

DOUBLE NELSONS

07-09-2009

As the 2009/10 CBSO season gets underway, Steve Beauchampé selects some highlights (all performances are at Symphony Hall unless otherwise stated). more


"BUSINESS AS USUAL"

06-09-2009

More than 30 arrests, countless innocent citizens terrorised, dozens of traders facing drastically reduced takings. The grim statistics of another visit to Birmingham by the English Defence League on a day the police promised would be “business as usual”. more


DEMO BAN CALLS GROW LOUDER

04-09-2009

Labour councillors and Methodists have joined the calls for a ban on tomorrow’s demo in Birmingham against Islamic “extremism”. Meanwhile Broad Street boss Mike Olley has warned protestors from the English defence League they are only welcome if they respect the area’s cosmopolitan flavour. more


EDL CLIMBDOWN OVER POLICE ESCORT

04-09-2009

The English Defence League claims it’s been in daily contact with West Midlands Police over its plans for a demo against Muslim extremism in Birmingham on Saturday – but has admitted it doesn’t have the force’s agreement for an escorted march from Broad Street to Lancaster Circus. more


BIRMINGHAM DISUNITED AS CONCERT CANCELLED

04-09-2009

Plans for a Birmingham United concert on Saturday to celebrate the city’s diverse multicultural heritage have been cancelled after the City Council, acting on police advice, refused to sanction the event. Unite Against Fascism have condemned the move. more


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

WOLVES CIVIC

04-09-2009

News shows at the Civic and Wulfrun Halls in Wolverhampton include Dizzee Rascal (on sale today), Athlete and, er, The Chppendales. more


THIRD DAY OF PROTESTS AS WORKERS CRY FOWL

04-09-2009

Staff at a Smethwick chicken processing factory which supplies some of Britain’s major supermarkets are planning a third day after protests after sixty of their colleagues were suspended earlier in the week. more


EDL PLAN BOOZY BROAD STREET MARCH

03-09-2009

Supporters of the English Defence League are being encouraged to embark on a lengthy boozing session in Birmingham’s Broad Street on Saturday afternoon, before crossing the city centre to demonstrate against Islamic “extremism”. But their claim that they'll be taken under escort to Lancaster Circus is being denied by West Midlands police. more


BULL RING "BAN" FOR DEMO

03-09-2009

West Midlands Police have announced plans to "ban" demonstrators from the Bullring on Saturday - although they prefer to use the word "restriction". more


UAF STAY AWAY AS POLICE UNVEIL DEMO PLAN

03-09-2009

The Stirrer understands that demonstrators from the English Defence League will be diverted away from the city centre towards Lancaster Circus when they arrive on Saturday – but they won’t face a “welcoming committee” from Unite Against Fascism who have decided to stay away. more


WALKOUT BRINGS BOSSES TO THE TABLE

03-09-2009

Workers at a Black Country food processing firm are hailing the success of an unofficial walkout yesterday, after management sacked a security guard accused of making racist comments and agreed to come to the negotiating table. more


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

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (18)

03-09-2009

Tarantino’s latest has been out a couple of weeks now – and if you haven’t seen it yet, make it a “must see” before it disappears. more


Laurence Inman’s Blog

BEYOND OUR KEN

03-09-2009

1963 …oh what a night…what a year in fact, as Laurence Inman faced up to the reality of nuclear meltdown. He still hasn’t forgiven the man who almost led us into apocalypse – or a recently departed member of the same clan come to that. more


Terries Baggies Blog

ALBION SHOW SHEFFIELD STEEL

03-09-2009

The Baggies are handily placed going into the seaso's first international break. Bus as Terry Wills reports, the trip to Sheffield United could have yielded more than a solitary point. more


TWO YEARS JAIL FOR ASHLEY BLAKE

02-09-2009

BBC newsreader Ashley Blake has been jailed for two year after attacking a customer at his Place 2 Be bar in Sutton Coldfield, then perverting the course of justice by hiding the pole he used to do it with. more


The Stirrer’s Talk-In Radio Blog (11)

KARMA CHAMELEON

02-09-2009

Could Jewish victims of the Holocaust have deserved their fate? Likewise the two little girls killed by Soham murderer Ian Huntley? Apparently so, according to at least a couple of callers to Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg’s Talksport show. more


FILM PLAN NEEDS A LION

02-09-2009

Imaginative proposals to relocate the powerhouse of the British film industry in the West Midlands have been greeted with a predictably blank response from MPs and regeneration quango Advantage West Midlands. more


“EXTREMISM” DEMO IN DOUBT

02-09-2009

The future of Saturday’s proposed demo against Muslim “extremism” in Birmingham remains shrouded in mystery. West Midlands Police and Council leaders are meeting later today to discuss their next move. more


Get Out More..........................Comedy News

BIRMINGHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL

02-09-2009

Next month's line-up for Birmingham Comedy Festival line-up has been announced, with names as diverse as Josie Long, Neil Innes, Pam Ayres and Rob Brydon. Two of The Stirrer's favourites, John Cooper Clarke and Simon Munnery are there too. more


FRANK FOSTER RIP

02-09-2009

Paula Elenor reflects on the life and times of one of Walsall's great community activists Frank Foster JP, who was buried on Friday. more


CONFESSIONS OF A BRUMMIE MUMMY (Part 39)

02-09-2009

It’s a bad night for Brummie Mummy. And it’s getting worse. more


Get Out More...................Food Review

MASALA LOUNGE (Stratford Rd, Hall Green)

02-09-2009

For years, the highly rated Purple Rooms was the only show in town along Hall Green Parade, but now there’s a Thai, and smart Bangladeshi restaurant Masala Lounge providing some decent competition. more


POLICE “POWERLESS” TO BAN PROTEST

01-09-2009

West Midlands Police are insisting they are powerless to halt next Saturday’s proposed demo in Birmingham by the English Defence League. more


EDL DENIES ISLAMOPHOBIA

01-09-2009

English Defence League organiser Trevor Kelway moved last night to distance himself from the organisation’s previous spokesman Paul Ray, who suggested that all devout Muslims are extremists – but couldn’t explain why his website lists a demo at a mosque among their forthcoming events. more


Birmingham Central Library

THE DEVIL IN THE DETAIL

01-09-2009

Birmingham residents are in the midst of a four week consultation period about the self-proclaimed "best library in the world" - but as campaigner Alan Clawley points out, they still have no precise idea of what will go into it. more


Andy’s Blues Blog

GRINDING IT OUT

01-09-2009

It’s not exactly the beautiful game, but Blues have been showing enough early season endeavour to suggest they won’t be a pushover this season. Blogger Andy Munro has secured the ideal location to watch them sweat – his holiday retreat in Spain. more


FANTOPIA

01-09-2009

Imagine a world where printing money aka “quantative easing” was used for social good and not just bailing out the duffers in the banks. Barbara Panvel has been reading about a theory ahead of its time. more


BIRMINGHAM UNITED CELEBRATION PLANNED

01-09-2009

Plans for a peaceful celebration of Birmingham’s diverse multicultural heritage on Saturday – under the banner Birmingham United – are still going ahead despite a lack of support from the City Council. more


PROMOTING A PROMOTER

01-09-2009

Legendary dub punksters The Slits are heading to Birmingham’s Rainbow next month – the latest feather in the cap of local promoter Carlo Solazzo. Mark Gunton pays tribute to an unheralded powerhouse of live music in the West Midlands. more


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