Birmingham; City of Culture

It seems only a few short years ago Birmingham was commonly hailed as an industrial toilet, and yet suddenly we are now City of Culture.

I breezed into our fair city Sunday afternoon to enjoy it’s ‘cultural delights’, and will drop the sarcasm from my tone from here on in :D

I only jest, it’s become a really lovely city of recent years – we have the Bullring shopping centre with I’m sorry to be a philistine, but one of the greatest things ever to come to the city; the ground floor of Selfridge’s, of course just turn a blind eye to ‘award winning’ architecture of the Bullring, our new monolith of a library, apparently the biggest in Europe (I’m impressed), and today I visited the very swanky Ikon Gallery, my second visit.

More about my day in our City of Culture …

Below is my photo of our new library shown below. In all it’s glorious multi-storey ‘wedding cake’ (come on, it looks like a cake) glory. Unfinished as of yet but due to open in September 2013, costing 188 million to build, creating 250 jobs in the city, and the largest library in Europe.

Birmingham; City of Culture

After taking some shots of the library I toodled over to the Ikon Gallery, which is just a short walk from the library. It’s been ages since I visited it and I do love their book shop. The art I saw while there was ‘interesting’ :S The most interesting being that of Timur Novikov. I’m not really seeing his vision in the slightest, but here are some photos of his works.

Birmingham; City of Culture

Birmingham; City of Culture

Birmingham; City of Culture

Birmingham; City of Culture

What I DID find quite interesting, was how he’d made a film short of some of his works (watch my recording below). As I stood filming it, I felt distinctly as though I was in art noir movie.

Yeah. So that’s delightfully weird isn’t it?

Then I went into the Ikon Gallery bookshop and drooled at loads of books and took a photo of this awesome wrapping paper! Bowie!
Birmingham; City of Culture

Just before going to listen to some live bands play in the evening to finish up my day, one of my companions suggested that we go and check out the long empty Munipical Bank building, which apparently shut down as a bank in 1998 and has been empty since. It was across the road, so we all said, what the heck.

Quite interesting in there actually, and definitely a perfect set for a horror movie, with it’s stone walled main hall, creepy long corridors below ground and banking vaults. Here are some photos for you.

Birmingham; City of Culture

One of the things I liked the most about the old bank was the inspirational quotes dotted around the architecture. “Thrift radiates happiness” on the ceiling here.
Birmingham; City of Culture

Horror movie creepy vault room …
Birmingham; City of Culture

I absolutely adore the way what appears to be squatters perhaps, decided to spray paint their own inspirational quote. It is an extract from a Yeats poem called The Second Coming.

Indeed it was easily the most compelling thing I saw today in our city of culture. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”. It leads you to wonder what that poem means to them personally.

Birmingham; City of Culture

Some more vaults …

Birmingham; City of Culture

Birmingham; City of Culture

More quotes. All work places should have these in my opinion.
Birmingham; City of Culture

3 Responses to “Birmingham; City of Culture”

  • cat:

    Ooh I didn’t know it was Keats. I visited the house in Rome where he last lived. Tad depressing. I thought the quote was the opposite to the truth in my opinion, but what do I know, I’m just an unwaivered extra :p

  • You are SUCH a glory hound! :D

    Yes I was introduced to the Municipal Bank building by local designer friend Cat Douglas of Cat Douglas Designs (http://catdouglas.com/).

    Cat can be seen in the photo above – also pondering over the artistic merit of a graffiti tagged wall above a pile of inexplicable popcorn.

    Happy Now? That enough glory for you? lol :D

    (PS: It’s Yeats not Keats, not sure if you did a typo, or if you misread me).

  • Yes I remember you exclaiming “I don’t agree with it, I don’t agree with it at all!”

    The irony of your ‘passion’ in that moment is not lost on me ;)

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