It looks good written down

We saw it all. The misplaced notes,

The peep show quotes, the jokes, 

The croaked highs, applause and sighs,

As we listened to something new.

 

Something that harked backed to 80's greats,

Retro royalty with millennial momentum,

In your ear industrialisation,

The hammer that forges future sounds,

 

Rumbling and tumbling from Birmingham ground,

From strummed marshals and bass that beats and pounds,

Ripples through the cut, the black veins,

Blaring from cars or rattling window panes. 

 

Syncopated flow of funk

And rock.

The be-wild-er-ing lyrics

Psychedelic pop.

 

Three lads from suburban-city pads and mad dreas

Humility encased by the second-stitched seams,

Box shirts and rolled up jeans,

Functioning adults still living out their teens.

 

And yet their analog approach, for how they played and the way they wrote

With digital genius captured something bespoke, and so familiar,

Like you might have heard something similar in another life or time,

Where a memory or or place to be is composed into the score.

 

Harmonious, solo, sharp or flat,

You speak to yourself and you talk right back 

Another brick for the palace of futures, (Or mausoleum of memory) 

Scrap books or NME, Eagle and Ton then Glastonbury.

- Michael Delaney

The Hum

The  hum  of  the  train  tracks  

The  whistle  in  the  air

Gentle  wheels  roll  and  hiss

Sounds  of  inner  city  bliss

 

The  hum  of  ever  flowing  traffic

The  rush  of  lights  and  lines

Bodies  and  engines  roll  and  rattle

Willing  soldiers  in  daily  battle

 

The  hum  and  hustle  of  the  city  

The  people  zigzag  maze

Rich  pulsating  city  beats

On  the  second  city  streets

 

The  hum  of  trades  a  thousand

The  bustle  of  Bullring  markets

Rising  birds  sing  lazily

Days  pass  by  so  hazily

 

The  hum  and  hiss  of  twirling  locks

That  water  pressure  gush

Industry  and  innovation

In  the  centre  of  the  nation

 

The  hum  and  zip  of  business

Rising  towers  of  silver  blue

Linger  and  glimmer  midair

Shining  ruthless  laissez  faire

 

The  hum  and  echo  of  factory  streets

Initials  and  names  on  doors

Windows  shine  as  do  the  jewels

Through  the  years  of  craft  and  tools

 

The  hum  of  learning  on  rooftops

The  view  from  new  Lego  Library

Stand  and  stare  for  hours

Skyline  of  pylons  and  towers

 

The  hum  of the  city  of Birmingham

Rising  again  to  crescendo

The  city’s  alive,  come  inside

Brimming  with  pleasure  and  pride

- James Cronin

Broad St.

These broad shoulders carry the inflated chested, nocturnal self invested. 

Gentry and femininity, chasing liquid anonymity, 

Just another night at the races, so many faces, shinny shoes and smart laces, 

Friendly banter, it's not racist

 

Don't worry I'll get this round, let's get ready to rumble, 11 more before your down, 

Put that shit week behind you and wash away that frown, 

And excuse me mate we'll have a few more shots, G

Get them down and move on there's lots of hot spots

 

Of course fella, take a look at my licence, 

Just here to break bread, no intention of violence, 

You won't be hereat the end of the night 

Knock together a few heads, bang down a few have a laugh with you, get mashed up pulled up feel up and hurl up, 

 

Then cash out hang about with these louts, 

Nothing wrong with a sing a shout, 

A call out to Kolo and YaYa, screeching Will Griggs on Fire, 

humming Sinatra, having it my way, 

nothing wrong with a night out I say

 

Now Where did I check my coat, 

Or did I leave it with the bloke, 

I'll find it in a minute this tune gets me stoked, 

full throttle and mind absent, 

Must have been that last lot of absinthe, 

But light a fag and take a drag, 

Hold the urge to purge fighting sensory lag 

 

Pushing through the sea of Calvin clones, the skimpy darlings interested in their phones

I might wonder over to Brindley place, 

I fancy a slim companion dressed up in something lace, with a 20 inch waist, and half decent face as long as she's up for a cuddle back mine or her place

 

So let's move up a gear engage the clutch, 

Cut my brakes this ones for the Dutch,

I'm sorry to bother you my dear, 

I'd just like a quick whisper in your ear 

- and a brush of your thigh, 

I think you have such pretty eyes,

Let me take you to the bar, what can I buy?

Leave you friends at the table and kiss them goodnight

 

Tell me what you do for a living, 

Tell about the bitch at work and all the chat she's been giving, 

All saint and no sinner, 

Never enough home cooked dinners

Funny you only seem to find dickheads 

Too much sneaking from behind bins and hotel beds, 

 

Quick trip to the gents, 

Little splash of water and return to sense, 

Drop a quid in the dish for a dose of store bought scents, 

Class by the glass, confidence for rent, 

Happiness by the pound, but you'll find misery for mere pence

 

Stare in the mirror - 

focus on the moment, 

Tomorrow exists for my atonement, 

I'll return to the mainland and tackle the Solent, 

But until the sun begins to rise, I'll just fit in with these guys and gals, 

Make my acquaintances, befriend a few pals

 

Staggering from door to door, 

Chip shops and concrete floor, 

More rot for the core,

Before a black cab curtain call

 

But that's an evenings entertainment,

No offence intended and no harm meant, 

Tomorrow's a distant reality, 

And the allegations of tonight typical fallacy 

 

Renting joy, the cheap booze and the easy lay, 

Push through the 9-5, I'll see you again Friday. 

 

- Michael Delaney

Second City, Second Coming

Blocks  of  grey  and  black  and  grey

Sit  beneath  grey  skies

Towers  of  white  amidst  the  green

The  world  through  a  Brummie’s  eyes.

 

Disused,  misused  space  to  let

Glimmering  towers  cast  shade

Industrial  devolution

Of  which  our  city  is  made.

 

Roaming  streets  and  crossing  squares

From  Digbeth  to  St  Paul’s

The  city  throngs  and  thrives

In  its  energetic  sprawls.

 

And  new  life  breathed  in  recent  months

Into  hearts  and  minds  of  some

Birmingham  the  Midlands  hub

If  you  build  it,  they  will  come.

 

And  build  again  the  city  will

It  will  rise  not  disappear

A  culture  with  a  legacy

The  place  to  be  is  here.

- James  Cronin

Birmilona

 

Second city sunshine

On the coast of Spain

Life is rich and calm and warm

Not an inch of rain

 

Flags of red and yellow

Fly in every square

Life is proud and bright and hot

Passionate with care

 

Proud of where they’ve come from

Their community

Life is then and here and now

Their identity

 

Seeking independence

From the rest of Spain

Life is hope and strength and wit

Barca will sustain

 

Catalan emotion

Steady as the tide

Life is want and will and wish

Strength of civic pride

 

Second city grayscale

Far from any coast

Life is dour and dark and real

When it rains the most

 

Occasionally St. George

Drapes from windows high

Life is tall and hard and cool

Image to defy

 

Proud of where we’ve come from

Living in our past

Life is dirt and brick and rust

Never going to last

 

Seeking identity

Uprising of some

Life is us and now and here

Signs of change to come

 

Brummies brim with passion

Shout it far and loud

Life is this and one and all

Stand up and be proud

 

- James Cronin

There and back again

There and back again

On the same click clacking train

Dissecting humble territories

A page of national allegories

 

The mark of every civilisation

A country's heart of industrialisation

Conventions and inventions

Mighty roads and disparate stations

 

Sheltering people in desperate situations

Passed by suits of higher expectations

Financial, law, governance and retail

Landlords holding out for future resale

 

The second city is up and coming 

Just waiting for HS2 to be up and running

A couple more gentrified bars and flats

And the London piper will be bringing the rats 

 

And under the new crumpled canopy

Commercial commuting and cctv 

the train hoppers and the drop shoppers 

The nine to fivers and the pill poppers 

 

Existing together impossibly 

A social standard of hypocrisy 

Long lasting, contrasting

through the IRA bomb blasting 

 

This old shoddy modern city

Is begging to be forged by more than privacy

Stretching for open waters and cultural piracy

I will take what is mine from the good and the bad I see 

 

And I will write it on pages

Edited suitably for the digital ages

Like the lunar men before me, Old Bill and the Blinders

My words are more than nostalgic reminders 

 

The even streets between south and north

the uneven tow paths through Great Britain's source

Lifeful art painted in colourful greys

Loss and gain all nights and all days.

I was in the 112

Hey, Birmingham's the answer

They're ready to dance with the amps up

And when they get that space it's the Limelight

You can see that its gonna be a good night

And that they pump the music its beating

The place you want to be meeting

I guess that food gettin' eaten

Celebrating an amalgamation of Birmingham's often overlooked talent of chefs, musicians and artists, founders of Project Birmingham Rob Ashby and James Cronin put the city's culture in the limelight.

With no idea what to expect, we piled into the car armed, as all good journeys should be, with an 8 pack of Corona. Some brief traffic and a toll road later, we arrived in the surprisingly sunny city of Birmingham. It often feels like the city gets a bad rep, with people wincing at the name, screwing up their faces at its mention: 'Why are you going to Birmingham? It's grim.'

This stigma is the stimulus behind Rob & James' venture; they want to bring together a collection of the second city's finest cultural creativity to prove that Birmingham is more than just curries and a questionable claim to hold more canals than Venice. (Technically true, proportionately inaccurate).

For us, this negative attachment was quickly relieved as we relaxed with drinks in James' flat with the sun shining through from the balcony. Weather can easily change the mood, and this summer day led pleasantly into an inspiring night. 112 space was a short walk from the centre, where we stopped to get supplies for this BYOB event. The venue itself was well located: private but not isolated, secluded but not cramped.

A painted wooden door led us to the courtyard/smoking area which would later provide grounds for drunken yoga workouts and slurred conversation. Up the warehouse steps took us to a long rectangular room bordered with a buffet table, original artwork, sofas and a DJ area. Naturally heading straight for the food, we were presented with a mix of Catalonian style dishes that had been put together by friends of the organisers. Served on a pay-as-you-feel price rate, it was lovely to snack on tomato tostadas and chickpea salad as we settled in to the evening.

It was clear that a lot of thought and effort had been put into the night, as food was carefully chosen to fit the theme of doing something different: cured meats, feta sandwiches with caramelised onions and DIY chicken skewers, which were roasted peppers and onions with a toothpick to hold everything together. For those who are always found in the kitchen at parties, this table cut out the middle man and meant no FOMO as you could snack along without missing any of the action.

Light music and a click-frame projector provided the background for initial mingling and introduction to the venue, with the sofas helping to give a relaxed feel to the night. The capacity was max 65 which meant that there was space to dance and air to talk which was a refreshing change from the average sweaty club or gig night. Even so, the place was comfortably filled with a well chosen guestlist which made the night feel that extra bit special and unique. The guys had clearly worked hard to make the night exclusive yet welcoming, and they succeeded.

Music began around 10pm, by which point the liquid supplies we'd brought were taking positive effect and induced some floaty dance moves and encouraging cheers towards the different acts. An emotional cover version of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' brought everyone together swaying and singing along harmoniously. I personally may have found this slightly exaggerated but this was clearly an issue of cynical nature as the entire crowd happily belted out the lyrics free from any sceptical inhibitions.

The 2nd act was an upbeat indie guitar and soloist John Hemsoll, whose happy tunes were not dissimilar to those of Jake Bugg - so a friend commented. Merry and inoffensive, we shuffled away and gave due applause and whistles after each song. The temperature was warm and the room was full of excitement so the outdoor smoking space was a cool breather between sets.

Later into the evening, the lights dimmed and the gallery became a dancefloor for us to boogie away to the rare groove sounds of Futurepast Zine before calling it a night just after 1am. Limelight brought an eclectic mix of individual talent nurtured by group skill to an interested crowd of party-goers and fun-lovers. Event two: a success. Looking forward to the next round.

Limelight 2 // Project Birmingham

18.07.15

112 Space, 111-119 Bishop Street, Birmingham