Monday, October 24, 2005

Panic on the streets of Birmingham

Originally posted by The Realist

The City of Birmingham (and its surrounding filth-moat, The West Midlands) is, for our American reader(s), like Detroit in a crack shortage. In the rain. It was memorably described as being like ‘Ceausescu’s Romania with fast food outlets’. You probably won’t have heard of it, despite it being the second most populated city in the UK. A sprawling metropolis of 3-4 million people, with no redeeming features. Whatsoever. It claims to have international status, which always makes me smile as Americans always remark ‘Alabama?!’ when I tell them where I’m from.

Well, despite being rude and annoying, the locals have now gone one stage further and turned on themselves. Despite protestations to the contrary, this is just an excuse for the impoverished to loot. But this is the funny part – they’re looting chip shops. I guess all those ‘99p kebab-meat-and-chips’ specials soon add up...


Dave said...

God I really hope you guys are students. *checks profiles* Oh dear. You are thirty?
Well here's the thing lads, I guess you can take a story that involves the rumoured gang-rape of a 14 year-old girl, two murders and 40 odd casualties and write it up as... *gasp* an amusing take on how shit Birmingham is.
Bloody Hell! It's pretty sub-Jeremy Clarkson 2001 isn't it?
I mean if you want to be edgy, to be contraversial why not tear into the race debate to be had over this?
This is just dull.

x_trapnel said...

Birmingham's actually great. I lived in Handsworth for several years; it is the vast majority of the time an example of a successful "melting pot" in that my favourite pub there is run by Asians, frequented by people of all colour and sells damn good barbeque food. The Soho Road in Handsworth is like stepping into another country; sari shops next to Caribbean food outlets.

The whole "Birmingham is shit" argument might have won Jeremy Hardy a few laughs some years ago, but it's an old stale joke with little basis in the truth. You're obviously from Birmingham, and obviously hated it. Fine. But what's happening there at the moment is a tragedy, in that two races - Black and Asian - who traditionally hate each other manage to live there, most of the time, in harmony. The fact that this appears to have broken down over the weekend is not a cause either for mirth or another cheap dig at the city. Sorry to get on my high horse, but you're just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Citizen Sane said...

Hmmm. I think the Realist saw in this story two opportunities:

1. A chance to use a Smiths lyric in the subject heading.
2. A chance to pour scorn on the city in which he grew up. A city which he despises - and that's his choice and his opinion.

Personally I expect Birmingham is like any other big city in the UK: lots of great things mixing with lots of dreadful things (like inter-racial tension, so manifestly demonstrated in this news story). But there you go.

tafka PP said...

I share in the Realist's traumas: these days I need to specify "Aston Villa" before anyone in the country where I now live understands where I grew up. Grr.

And of course there is no denying the tragic and frightening nature of the events of the last few days: I only hope that this is the end of the major violence and not the beginning.