Yard Talk – Christmas

When: Saturday 13th December 2014, 14:00-16:00
Where: The Edge, 79-81 Cheapside, Digbeth, B12 0QH
Theme: Christmas

Yard Talk started as part of Friction Arts’ heritage project Echoes, as a way to learn more about the recent history of Birmingham from the people who lived it. Now Yard Talk has a life of its own and everyone is welcome to join in!

Held on the second Saturday of each month, there is food, conversations, and special guest musicians, speakers or artists. Best of all: it’s free! Lunch and refreshments are provided (guests bringing food with them get brownie points though!).

For more information call 0121 772 6160 or email nikki@frictionarts.com.

Future dates and themes:

  • Saturday 10th January 2015 – Age
  • Saturday 14th February 2015 – Music
  • Saturday 14th March 2015 – Make Do and Mend

Tesla Motors come to Digbeth

The electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla has opened its first dealership outside the South East right here in Digbeth.

Its High Street location will showcase the company’s range of eco-friendly cars and offer servicing, to complement its recently-installed supercharger facility at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Birmingham.

The supercharging station is part of a network around the country that enables Tesla users to boost the range of their vehicles on long journeys.

This is great news for Digbeth, with an internationally-recognised car company showing confidence in our area and selecting the High Street for its flagship Midlands store.

We look forward to seeing further developments along the High Street in future, but in the meantime, we’d like to warmly welcome our new neighbours to Digbeth!

Inside the Tesla dealership. Image: Elliot Brown.

Birmingham Trad Fest – Video

When: Thursday 27 – Sunday 30 November
Where: Venues across Digbeth and Birmingham

It’s not long now until Trad Fest, the UK’s newest traditional Irish music festival, descends on Digbeth.

With a weekend full of concerts, instrument workshops and traditional music sessions at the Irish Centre and The Oobleck, it’s definitely going to add something special to the soundscape of Birmingham.

The organisers have recently released a promotional video for the festival. Watch the video below, or visit the Trad Fest website for more information and to buy tickets.

New Love in Digbeth

If you were at the Spotted Dog a few weeks ago on Thursday 23 October, not only would you have had the chance to meet the Digbeth Kid, you would have also seen the shooting of The Twang’s new music video!

The video for Birmingham band’s new single, New Love, was filmed by Nice Monster, who have a studio in the Custard Factory. With the majority of the action taking place in our fair locale, the video is thoroughly a Digbeth affair.

See the video and listen to the single in full below:

Birmingham Camera Obscura

Image: Lisa Zdravkovic.

Those of you who were out and about in Digbeth over the summer may have seen a couple of crazy kids wheeling about a box and inviting people to look inside it. I myself had a go on Heath Mill Lane – see the pictures for proof!

Well, those crazy kids are Jenny Duffin and Pete Ashton, and the rickety box was the first step in their ambitious plan to build a permanent and public Camera Obscura in Birmingham. Both Jenny and Pete are passionate about photography and have experience in running events and workshops, so we think they’re worth a punt.

But what is a Camera Obscura?

The term Camera Obscura literally means ‘Darkened Room’ and would have traditionally been a chamber with a small hole or lens on one wall and a projection screen on the other. You can make your own Camera Obscura by covering all the windows in a room and making a small hole; an image of the view from the window should appear on the opposite wall, upside-down and back-to-front.

Jenny and Pete have recently started a Kickstarter campaign for their project, and smashed the initial target of £1,000 in a matter of hours. However, the more they raise, the better the finished article will be. Bristol, Edinburgh, Aberystwyth and London all have a Camera Obscura, so it’s about time Birmingham had one too!

We think the project is worthy of your support; to learn more and to donate, click here to visit the Kickstarter website.

Image: Lisa Zdravkovic.

The Urban Village Under A Tenner Vintage & Designer Fair

When: Saturday 22 November, 12:00–16:00
Where: Market Hall, The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, B9 4AA
Entry: £1

Urban Village may have left their permanent home in Digbeth, but their hearts still belong to us. This weekend sees the team return to the Custard Factory for the “Under A TennerVintage & Designer Fair”.

The name says it all really!

Four hours of vintage madness, with both male and female clothing and accessories from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s on offer. For more information, visit the Urban Village website or Facebook event page.

Peaky Blinders live in Digbeth

Fans of Peaky Blinders watch the show at The Spotted Dog

Fans of Peaky Blinders watch the show at The Spotted Dog

It is with great sadness that on Thursday 6th November we said goodbye to the second series of Peaky Blinders. However, the third series was announced just before the end of the final episode, so all is not lost!

To celebrate the landmark series, which saw characters such as The Digbeth Kid make an appearance, Digbeth Residents Association held a community screening at The Spotted Dog, a pub which was referenced in the show.

Over 100 Peaky Blinders fans came to the pub to enjoy the show, the atmosphere and some Digbeth pies courtesy of Sbragias. Not only did we have a lot of fans, but we also had the pleasure of not one, not two, but SIX Peaky Blinders actors!

James Eeles (The Digbeth Kid) made a return to The Spotted Dog, this time bringing Paul Bullion (Billy Kitchen), Harry Kirton (Finn Shelby), Jordan Bolger (Isaiah), Adam El Hagar (Ollie) and Kevin Metcalfe (Scudboat) with him!

Digbeth's Pamela Pinski with all six Peaky Blinders actors!

Digbeth's Pamela Pinski with all six Peaky Blinders actors!

The day of the finale didn’t pass without controversy though, with Channel 4 newsreader Krishnan Guru-Murthy blasting Birmingham in an interview with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight. Read Lauren Chapman’s article over on the Birmingham Eastside blog for more.

Steven also took the time to send us a message before the finale, which was not only incredibly kind but also very humble – it’s clear that this is a man who openly appreciates the support of Birmingham in his work:

Dear all at the Spotted Dog,

I hope you enjoy tonight.

Thanks for all your support through both series. Lots and lots more to come – and I will make sure there are lots more references to the Spotted Dog.

Thanks again and best wishes,
Steven Knight

It’s safe to say that the event was a brilliant success, with everyone commenting on the community feeling within the pub. Even John Tighe, The Spotted Dog’s irreverent landlord said that he’d never seen the inn so full and yet so silent, with everyone watching the show in every room.

We have to say a huge thank you to all the actors who took time out of their schedules to come to Digbeth especially for this screening. They were all a credit to themselves and the show itself, gladly posing for photos with fans and thanking us for inviting them. With six Peaky Blinders, we were incredibly spoilt!

Peaky Blinders (L-R) Jordan, Paul, Harry, Adam and James at The Spotted Dog in Digbeth

Peaky Blinders (L-R) Jordan, Paul, Harry, Adam and James at The Spotted Dog in Digbeth

We wait with anticipation until next year to learn what will happen to the Shelby empire up until the start of the Second World War, and also to learn how much Digbeth features in the next chapter of their story…

In the meantime, fans who missed out on our Peaky Blinders tours can celebrate with their return! Tour guide Rosie Pocklington has announced future tour dates. Tickets have sold out (again!) but do check the Eventbrite page for more dates as and when they are announced.

Hidden Talents Exhibition

When: Friday 21st November, 18:30
Exhibition continues: until Sunday 23rd November 2014
Where: The Arches Project, Adderley Street, Digbeth, B9 4EE

The Arches Project was founded to actively support and encourage the natural creative talent of individuals with a passion for the arts.

This Friday sees the launch of a new fine art exhibition showcasing a variety of work – in both size and medium – entitled Hidden Talents.

The exhibition is completely free to attend, so do go along and show your support to the new and often unknown artists. Who knows? You may discover the next Tracey Emin under some railway arches in Digbeth!

For more information, see the flier below, or visit the Arches Project website.

NHWN Newsletter – November 2014

Dear members & supporters,

Please find the November 2014 edition of ‘Our News’ (the NHWN 6 weekly e-newsletter) below.

This edition includes:

Digbeth Fireworks Night

Last Friday was Digbeth Residents Association’s inaugural Fireworks Night.

Around 50 residents and visitors to Digbeth came along to The White Swan on Bradford Street to watch to display, including none other than BBC reporter David Gregory-Kumar!

Big thanks go to Digbeth residents Rosie Pocklington, David Barnes and Mike Whitty for organising the display, which you can relive a small part of by watching the below video.

Due to the fantastic feedback we received on the evening and afterwards, we are already planning for next year! Watch this space for more information.

See below for another video courtesy of David, and more photos from the evening: