Birmingham

Today was the third and final of my visits to other cities in England, to Birmingham. I've only ever been to Birmingham NEC for Clothes Show Live, so I thought I'd venture out into the actual city centre and, of course, go to the museum and art gallery.

Architecturally, Birmingham city centre is a bizarre juxtaposition to the point of confusing disinterest. One of the first buildings I came across was the infamous Bullring - a distressingly reflective, Goliath of a building that sits uncomfortably in the city centre like when someone sits in the middle seat at the back of the bus and ruins the fun for everyone else. It's a mere two minute walk from the more aesthetically pleasing, classically beautiful constructions like the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Town Hall. It's confusing because Victoria Square (where Town Hall is) is a relatively small quarter but is open and approachable while maintaining its formal ambiance; the Bullring is the opposite. It's suffocating because it's so immense and compact, swarms of hungry shoppers and visitors pervade all possible breathing/personal space, and it's actually quite ugly.

However, Birmingham does have its good qualities. I found it relatively easy to get my bearings quickly (probably because I gave up hope for finding something exciting), the library is so unusual looking its breathtaking and the exhibitions in the galleries are worth an hour or so of your time. Plus, Five Guys is the best burger bar I have ever been to. In. My. Life. A 'little bacon burger' is more than half an inch thick, and a small portion of fries was a small cup full to the brim and even more scattered in the bottom of the brown paper bag they serve the food in. 

In hindsight, there's nothing remotely memorable about my trip to Birmingham aside from wandering around in the sunshine, perplexed at the cultural and architectural contrasts, gawping at the Cath Kidston and The Kooples kiosks in Selfridges, the barrista in Cafe Nero serving my brew in a cup that still had dried coffee on the side, and the coach journey home when the strange man next to me cracked open a bottle of bubbly and I walked in on a guy taking a dump because he lacked the common courtesy to lock the damn door.
The Library of Birmingham
'Musical and Lyrical Genocide' by Michael Carr.
"I use redundant technologies alongside iconic imagery of an atlas
to highlight the Diaspora created by new technology and how we
are situated in regards to our personal geography."

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