Mohammed Ali is a renowned aerosol artist but in late 2017/early 2018 he became a curator - staging an exhibition called Knights Of The Raj at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery dedicated to Birmingham's curry pioneers of the 60's and 70's. This was before the city became known for its (mostly Pakistani run)Balti restaurants. The majority of the original curry houses were run by Bangadeshi immigrants - of which Mohammed's father was one.
Listen to the interview here https://soundcloud.com/user-162001833/mohammed-ali-on-birminghams-curry-pioneers
English Heritage reckon Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter is a "national treasure" because after 250 years of history, it's still home to hundreds of businesses turning out rings, jewellery and precision engineering tools - a proper Brummie mix of metal bashing and creativity. Beer drinkers will be inclined to agree. It's now eclipsed Digbeth as the city's best drinking quarter, thanks to a growing army of youthful residents drawn by the growing number of apartment blocks, often converted from old factories. For this pub crawl, I've chosen five boozers that reflect the indie/craft side of the pub trade - all very different, all top quality - but there's at least another five pubs worth your consideration within a short walking distance.
These pubs can be readily accessed from St Paul's or the Jewellery Quarter tram stops, but I started from Snow Hill Railway station; take a right and then your first right again down Livery Street (over a footbridge) to the recently expanded Indian Brewery home to Birmingham Lager, Bombay Honey and street food from the sub continent.
For food though, I'm recommending a right turn out of the front door, then right again under the railway arches at Lionel Street, before a left turn at Constitution Hill. It should be no more than a 10 minute walk up to the Hen & Chickens - an inner city survivor, and part of the Desi pub revolution. Usually a couple of cask ales on tap and some brilliant curries. Almost directly opposite stands The Wolf, big on pies, cheese and a wonderful range of ales on tap, and in bottles and cans.
Then up the hill and a right into Mott Street Industrial Estate and the Burning Soul Brewery, which brews on the premises and finally into the Jewellery Quarter proper and "possibly the the best pub in the universe" the Rock n'Roll Brewhouse -RocknRoll Brewhouse | Facebook). To find out why, you'll have to go and find out for yourself. Cheers. (NB Always check for opening hours).
"What drives the business of football is, it sells suffering. Loving football is about pain" Typically provocative words from Rogan Taylor who I first met in 1985 when I interviewed him for the first edition of my football fanzine Off The Ball. That summer, in the wake of the Heysel Tragedy, he had founded the Football Supporters Association, a hugely influential campaigning fans' organisation. In 1997, he created the first university course for graduates who wanted a career in the game - the Football Industries MBA at Liverpool University which still attracts recruits from all over the world. Here, in typically entertaining fashion, he offers a fascinating reflection on the changing role of supporters over the past three decades.
FULL INTERVIEW HERE https://soundcloud.com/user-162001833/rogan-taylor-on-fans-and-football-1
Shell Corner is the name of a small district just outside the Black Country to of Blackheath, and takes its name from a Word War One artillery shell that stood for years at the junction of Long Lane and Nimmings Lane.
Blackheath itself can sustain a decent pub crawl, but Shell Corner offers - I reckon - some of the best boozing in the country - with ne'er a gastro pub in sight. Generally excellent beer, good craic with welcoming locals and decent prices.
To enjoy the crawl to the max, best bet is to catch a train to Rowley Regis, then turn left out of the station, and take the first right up into Nimmings Road, and THE CLOCK INN. Then it's a further walk up the road, before taking a right at the Shell Corner roundabout and heading down Long Lane to the FIXED WHEEL BREWERY (Friday and Saturday only). Turn right and head back up Long Lane to The Swan where you might see the traditional cockle man ("Have you got crabs mate?" - "No, it's just the way I walk"). Then turn back on yourself and head up the stairs next to the tyre fitters to Snooks where the cheery landlord Bob will sell you a splendid ham or beef cob for a quid; and then onto Shell Corner itself where you'll see the Shell-ter Inn. You shouldn't have to walk more than ten minutes at any point - and considerably less for most of it.
A bostin' Black Country pub crawl. (Sat Nav Ref: B62 9LB)