Culture & Entertainment
Isobel McArthur loves Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice so much that she's made up a play about it, with just a few teeny, tiny tweaks. Like telling it from the servants' perspective. And using an all-female cast of just six. Oh and serving it up with a big side of 20th century pop bangers.
As we head into winter, we could all use a little more wellness in our lives. And while all these feel-good tricks are having a bit of a moment RN, it's not without good reason. Researchers have cold hard proof about the benefits of these well-being trends. So if you're feeling burnout, stressed or just blooming exhausted, give one of these a go. Here comes the science bit...
In its first week, The Testaments sold more than 103,000 copies in the UK — that’s more than double the total sales of any other hardback fiction so far this year. Margaret Atwood’s feverishly anticipated follow up to The Handmaid’s Tale had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize before even the critics had been offered a copy to review. And those who were allowed a proof before publication were shut in rooms guarded by PRs while they read the text. But is it any good?
Newsflash to precisely no-one, there are a heck load of jewellers in the JQ. But what about those making beaut ceramics, choc and some banging boozy drinks over there? Petition to rename it the Jewellery-Pottery-Chocolate-Cocktails Quarter starts here. And don't leave all the crafting to the pros, get involved in one of these masterclasses.
A serious side effect of finding a new I can’t stop listening kind of podcast is wanting to tell the world about it. I’ve gone for a more manageable approach and I’m just sharing with you lovely lot instead. Oh, and I’ve tasked my colleagues Tom and Katy to tell you about theirs too. But be warned, if you find your New Favourite Podcast from this bijou roundup, you’re contractually obliged to share the knowledge with everyone you know.
Ever considered a drastic career change? Our new semi-regular feature will follow a typical day in the life of someone with a Super Cool Job™, letting you have an insight without having to hand in in your notice. This week we're talking to Holly, who probably spends more time thinking about restaurants than even my ICB colleagues, as she designed some of the chicest ones in town.
After reviewing over a thousand applicants and holding enough rounds of auditions to make even Simon Cowell feel bleary-eyed, the cast for Birmingham Hippodrome’s home-grown youth production of West Side Story was chosen. As part of their 120th b’day celebs, the Hipp have created a dynamic reimagining of the Romeo & Juliet tale with a cast of young locals.
If you’re anything like me, you spend Monday to Friday willing the weekend to arrive so you can get outside and do something other than listen to Karen in HR complain about her ailments. But what to do when Saturday actually comes around? Summer's here, so block out a full day in your Google Calendar and leave the city for a mini adventure.
MADHEAD may sound like a shlocky 80s horror, but the truth is it looks set to raise way more pulses when the National Youth Dance Company brings it to the Hippodrome's Patrick Studio, July 17. Thirty eight of the UK’s finest young body-movers fuse contemporary dance, physical theatre and hip-hop (...the hippie to the hip hip hop and you don't stop the rock...).
It’s an accepted part of 21st century living to feel constantly frazzled, and being overworked has become some sort of peculiar badge of honour. But feeling stressed by your nine-to-five doesn’t have to be a way of life, Dolly. Mindfulness teacher Rachel Broomfield gives us five pointers for when the day job gets too much. And if you need a bit more, how 'bout Kings Heath drop-in sessions for more of the meditative good stuff?
tune on a seven-key xylophone that's missing two keys. Completely unrelated, Miloš Forman was one hell of a movie director before his death, last year. His filmography includes One Flew Over A Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, The People Vs Larry Flint and Man On The Moon. And his twin sons, Petr and Matěj are, for the first time in the UK, bringing a cast of 20 acrobats, dancers, singers and musicians to The Rep to perform Deadtown, a Wild West humdinger that sounds nuts in all the right ways. Just like their dad.
Visiting the mainland? Over it. Whether you’re looking for some R&R, a bit of culture, or you want to become a fully-fledged surf pro on your next hol, these European island destinations – dotted around the Med and Aegean seas and just one direct flight from Birmingham away – all deserve your undivided attention for a hot minute.
The rise of fascism, the powers that be in constant conflict with each other and the stories of ordinary people being drowned out by shouty rhetoric. Sound familiar? The parallels that can be drawn between Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the current sociopolitical climate aren’t lost on Director Melly Still. But she tells me how she wants to tell a human story, not an ideological one.
What do Thursday evenings usually look like for you? If we're speaking candidly here, mine normally involves (literal) Netflix and chill. So in an unusual sociable twist, a few weeks ago on a rainy Thursday at 6pm, I joined Bloom Collective for a floristry workshop at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
Ever found yourself whiling away hours scrolling through Instagram when you could have been doing something (anything) more productive? I’m not denying anyone a good fall down a #NoFilter rabbit hole but your brain might thank you for a more creative pastime. These less than pedestrian hobbies might be just the tonic to reset your busy mind (and clip that phone screen time).
During the early years of her biotech company Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes took to wearing a black turtleneck every day, in the style of her hero, Steve Jobs. She hired ex-Apple staff and brought in their iconic advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. There's also speculation that she consciously changed her speaking voice to a deeper register, so she would be taken more seriously. And somehow, these are some of the less weird things Holmes has done.
It feels easier to blame my impressive content-binging on 21st century multimedia overload. It’s all Netflix’s fault that I consume a 20 part series in two weeks, okay? But the truth is I’ve never been able to make a good thing last. Just look back at my voracious Jacqueline Wilson days in the 90s to see I’ve always been like this.
Friday’s a huge day in the feminist calendar. Maybe the biggest of them all. We've all got it circled in red pen, right? It’s International Women’s Day, and rather than clear a space in your diary to correct trolls on Twitter by telling them that International Men’s Day does exist (it’s on November 19) get down to these awesome happenings supporting local ladies. And prepare to feel pumped about the ace-ness of women in this city.
I get it. We’re all busy. Busy with work, busy maintaining our social lives and busy trying to carry on with a façade of normality whilst also stockpiling canned foods and medicines before March 29. So sometimes, meal planning, meetings and remembering to pay bills just don’t feel like a priority. But these apps can lend a hand and save you some precious time.
Our sweet sweet home is the City of a Thousand Trades. One of those trades has got an entire blooming quarter named after it. So rather than just strolling past the windows and admiring the shiny sparkly things, why not get involved, learn some jewellery-making skills and inevitably become the next Cartier*? *I accept no responsibility for you not becoming the next Cartier.
You’re either Team Read The Book First (and then watch the film or play after), or firmly from the movie-watching-then-giving-the-book-a-go school of thought. Whichever one you fall into, The Rep is delivering the adaptations this season. Now you just need to decide if you’ve got to finish the text before you go.
Marie Kondo seems like the sweetest person, probably ever. In her new Netflix show Tidying Up, the organisational goddess who became a household name in 2014 with her book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up squeals with delight when she meets new people, and rolls around on the carpet, so happy is she when rooms have been cleared of clutter.
You’ve basically memorised the entire script of It’s A Wonderful Life. You know when Queenie does her speech. Half the fun of the hols is doing the same thing year after year, after blooming year. But what if you don't want to watch Mrs Brown's Boys with the in-laws on the big TV? We understand. And we got you.
It's an hour until curtain-up and I'm sitting next to a ballet dancer, a real life ballet dancer. Unbelievably graceful despite still being in jogging bottoms, Céline Gittens, Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal, is transforming herself into the Rose Fairy for the evening's performance of The Nutcracker. And the humble, strong, knowing 30-year-old is simultaneously talking to me about ballet, Birmingham and burgers...