Bombay Bicycle Club at St. Paul’s

As part of a small intimate tour, Bombay Bicycle Club are performing an acoustic gig at St. Paul's Church in the Jewellery Quarter tomorrow night. Doubtless much if not all of the set will feature tracks from their new album "Flaws", released on Monday.

Unfortunately the gig is sold out!

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Academy Launch Weekend Line Up Complete

Local act The Streets has been added to the bill for the launch weekend of the new Birmingham Academy venue in September. Mike Skinner joins Editors, The Twang and Ocean Colour Scene to celebrate the launch of the new venue over the course of four days.

The Academy is upping sticks from its Priory Square location to make way for major redevelopment. The old Dome II nightclub on Horsefair (Bristol Street) will become the Birmingham O2 Academy following a major £5m refurbishment.

The main room has increased in size to 3,000 which should mean higher calibre acts can play the city more regularly. And as at the current site, the venue will also contain smaller rooms of 600 and 250 capacities.

The full line-up is:
Thurs 10 Sept - EDITORS
Fri 11 Sept - THE TWANG
Sat 12 Sept - THE STREETS


Oxjam Conference Birmingham

I’ve been installed as Community Participation Coordinator for the Oxjam festival in Birmingham, which takes place during October this year. Last weekend I attended the 2009 Oxjam conference here in Birmingham city centre. The conference was a great opportunity to remind ourselves of all the great work Oxfam does, talk about the Oxjam concept, learn from previous years and network with teams from other towns and cities. The event took place in Digbeth's Centre for Voluntary Action - a great venue.

Of particular note was a talk from John O’Sullivan who has a proud career in event management and latterly artist management. One delegate said John’s one-hour talk was more useful than his three-year event management degree! Oxjam chief Benny Littlejohn spoke about his experience of seeing Oxfam’s work in Sierra Leone. Most useful was the role specific training where I got to meet and share ideas with other Community Participation Coordinators from places such as Leeds, London, Manchester, Blackburn and Glasgow.

I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who would like to put on a fundraising event, concert, gig, comedy night, karaoke party, anything, here in Birmingham. Lots of support from the central team will be available, as well as a warm fuzzy feeling!

Equally, anyone who interested in volunteering to help with fundraising, campaigning, publicity or marshalling is very welcome to get in touch. Finally, if any community groups are interested in hosting a talk to find out more about Oxfam’s work, particularly in the field of climate change, please let me know.

I say campaigning because this year’s Oxjam is raising awareness for their Here and Now campaign, which highlights the human face of climate change. I’ll write more about this and the plans for Birmingham in future weeks, but for now, check out this video which aired at this year’s Glastonbury:


Lib Dem Lord to Propose Live Music Bill

An encouraging sign for followers of the Keep Digbeth Vibrant / Noisy / Spotted Dog / Rainbow campaigns. Today a Lib Dem Lord is proposing a live music bill to clear up the bureaucratic minefield that is licensing law. In a letter printed in the Guardian, Lord Clement-Jones wrote:

Back in 2003, ministers called the new Licensing Act "a licensing regime for the 21st century", yet where live music is concerned, they actually turned the licensing clock back more than 100 years. A case in 1899 (Brearley v Morley) established that a pub landlord could let customers use a piano on his premises without an entertainment licence. Today, such a landlord could face criminal prosecution where the maximum penalty is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

It is as a result of absurdities like this that today, in the House of Lords, I am announcing my intention to bring forward a live music bill which will clear up the bureaucratic minefield of the Licensing Act and breathe new life into the live music scene.

Tim Clement-Jones
Lib Dem, House of Lords

In the meantime closer to home, I am talking to as many Liberal Democrat colleagues of mine as possible about the situation in Digbeth with the hope that we do not lose the Rainbow.

The issue of planning and licensing for venues in the city centre is a very delicate one, as emphasised by a number of cases in the Jewellery Quarter recently, namely TRMNL and Bluu & Mechu on Summer Row. But I firmly believe there is a balance that can and must be found. Residents, Councillors, Council Officers, Venue Owners and Gig-Goers must all work together to find that balance. Let’s get on with it.