Blimey, off he goes again. Watch out, Jeff Stuka has the grumpy and he isn’t afraid to use it….
Man, sometimes people fuck me off. When I come across people who claim Birmingham has no “scene” my rage gets thunderous. An overreaction I know, but as I look at all the people busting their nipples till they explode to make things happen in this great forsaken city, I can’t help thinking, “WHAT A FUCKING INSULT!”
What people can’t grasp with this city is it’s eclecticism. I mean there’s so much going on. Every night there’s some kind of show from hot plesiastic bands, DJ sets of microbasic cleboticism or some specialistic night of supercool human herbaceous border trunt that is low key, sexy and unique. There isn’t a common thread through the Birmingham music scene and that’s why people don’t see a scene. But, you bunch of wrongform spelliasticle gunterbiscuits, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
The traditional view of a scene has been for too long dictated by the idea that there should be a local style of music that a “scene” can shoehorn itself into. A kind of mould that allows ignorant people to turn around and say, “Oh, they come from Bumsquitterton, I know because they have the Bumsquitterton sound.” That may be ok for other cities but Birmingham isn’t like that. The centre of the country is a melting pot of everything the UK has to offer. Where other cities have in the past been influenced by imports, Birmingham has always seen the world through a filtered view and this is where it’s brilliant unpredictability comes from.
The punk DIY ethic is alive and well here. As you read this you are at the site of the Blue Whale, a Birmingham based recording studio and promoter of local music staffed and managed by Brummagens. At the same time as shouting about the depth of talent swimming about this city, the Blue Whale has had no qualms about promoting other Birmingham based endeavours. Gigs from Birmingham Promoters and This Is Tomorrow are trumpeted. Excitement is generated for acts at the Basement Bar or the Flapper or The Rainbow. This pleasure in local music is reciprocated by these organisations.
At the same time, we have Chicks Dig Jerks, The Autumn Store and Coffee and Cake, all locals pushing their own local designs for the music they love. And then there’s Bigger than Barry, which started as a club night and has now expanded to include a record label, championing such homegrown indie heroes as the Scarlet Harlots whilst pushing a dance music agenda and stretching tendrils well beyond this city.
Not enough for you? How about Brumnotes, a magazine for the general public with information about the local scene and the bigger acts to visit Birmingham. A vital link between the underground and the overground that reaches a wider audience and a much needed asset for the second city.
This is just skimming the top of the cream. There’s not enough space to celebrate what’s going on in Birmingham. Silent Noize, Oxjam Brum’s You’re A Sister, Jason Pegg’s Acoustic Lounge. I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on but you get the point. Birmingham has a “scene”. And it’s a fucking great scene. Something for everyone. It may not fit some nice music press criteria about what a “scene” is but fuck it, what an exciting place to be!