Cinemas and why I avoid them

There are only three places I enjoy seeing films, they are, in this order:

The Roxy, Miramar (with Tim and Jo-Anne for company and after a fab meal at Coco’s)

The Electric Cinema, Birmingham (only if I get the big sofa and a loved up couple don’t sit next to me)

At home

I just hate going to the cinema. I recently wrote a blog post,  A guide to cinema etiquette about why I hate going but the family persuaded me that I would enjoy seeing The World’s End. As it was into the second week and has a 15 rating, most of the things that annoy me would be absent as it is a bit of a geeky film. This not to say that geeks will not break any of my rules, they are just less likely to. And I was right, none of my rules were breached.

Yet now I need to add more reasons not to go.

It is mind numbingly expensive.

£7 per adult. £21 for the three of us. We usually go for a morning showing for many reasons, one of them is that it is cheaper (£4).The other is to avoid the idiots who share a brain cell. While it is more expensive to go to The Electric, especially if you go for the sofa option, I do not resent a penny when I go there, as it is an independent, and the risk of any of my rules being broken is limited.  Except for last time, but my glares worked eventually and they left.

The food is of appalling quality and very expensive.

We chose to go for a 12.30 showing and I made the mistake of saying we would get food there. I would not be breaking my no eating during the film rule as we always get in to the cinema before the ads start. I had forgotten (I go so rarely) how much cinemas charge for crap food. (I have just looked at the nutritional values of the hot dog I ate and now know why I felt so ill later). Two hot dogs, one nachos and two diet cokes came to about £20 and a migraine.

It was too hot. And I am not complaining about the weather.

We were told, as we show our tickets, that Screen 10, where our film was to be shown, had no air conditioning. Normally in the UK this would not be a major issue (as it is always cold and wet here), except that we are experiencing a bit of a heatwave right now in England. Sunny Birmingham has averaged 28 degrees most days and the nights have been muggy. The nice people at the Odeon would refund us if we were too hot and left the screening in the first hour.

Odeon people, you are charging a fortune for entry and crap food so spend it on the air con or close the screens affected.

There had been a storm the previous day so the temperature had dropped a little, I was in a cotton dress and I had a fan with me. And my cold expensive cola. So I just about coped with the heat.

I eventually stopped grumbling and to the relief of the family I really enjoyed the film. It was funny and sad and thought-provoking. A bit laddish, not unsurprisingly, and hey we have all been there, wishing we could go back to some fixed points in time when we didn’t have a care in the world.  I liked it and I could happily watch it again. But not at the Odeon Birmingham Broadway Plaza. #indielove is not just for shops and coffee houses, it seems it is for the cinema too.

A sense of identity, or if I’m not a Brummie, what am I?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today, Birmingham City Council hosted a meeting to discuss what it means to be a Brummie. It had a hashtag on Twitter  #mybrum so interested parties could follow the discussion and even watch the meeting online.

My first thought was, can this be true, the council are meeting to discuss what it means to be a Brummie? Yes it was true, even Carl Chinn, Brummie historian, was there.

My next thought was, am I a Brummie? I don’t think I am.

  • I was born in London. Yet I don’t qualify as a cockney nor consider myself a Londoner.
  • I left London when I was about 6 years old to live in Smethwick, Staffordshire. Then it became Smethwick, Worcestershire. It is now in Sandwell.
  • I lived in Bristol for 4 years.
  • I then lived and worked in London, Surrey and East Sussex for a few years.
  • I now live in Birmingham and have done for nearly 25 years now.

So I have spent the majority of my life living in Birmingham. But I wasn’t born here and none of my family were. My maternal family are from Smethwick, my paternal family are  from Norway, my father was born in South Africa.

So now this beginning to sound like ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ Which is why I guess they wanted to know what it was that made people feel that they are a Brummie.

I then saw this report from the BBC: Birmingham: can people name England’s Second City?

Shocking that they don’t know very much about Birmingham, yet not surprising. Birmingham and the people live here, have in my opinion always undersold the city.

105-365 Bull at the Bull Ring, Birmingham

105-365 Bull at the Bull Ring, Birmingham (Photo credit: PaulSh)

Birmingham is home to The Mini, The Jewellery Quarter, Cadbury’s, HP Sauce,  and places that were inspiration for JRR Tolkein such as the Two Towers in the book, Lord of the Rings. It has three Michelin Star restaurants and an infamous Balti Triangle. And of course, The Bull Ring.

I am sure most of them will know the accent. Yet the accent changes from one street to another and often gets confused with the many Black Country dialects. A few weeks ago I was in Dudley and I asked a women for directions. I was only a few miles from my home. I hadn’t left the West Midlands County let alone the country. Friendly as she was, and she really was, because people round here are, she treated me as one would in another country. ‘Yowm not from round ere am ya?’ (Apologies for the poorly written dialect, I am not intending to poke fun, as they do a better job of it themselves.)

Brummies are quite rightly proud of their city. And I think it’s a city that gets better and better. I quite like living in Birmingham for now. Yet I am pretty sure I will not spend the rest of my life here. There are so many other places I want to see, so many other things to do, so many interesting people to meet. I have very itchy feet and no attachment to bricks and mortar and possessions. And no real attachment to Birmingham. Which is probably the real reason I am not a Brummie.

Cooking with James Martin

Gallery

This gallery contains 16 photos.

So I won a blogging competition. On Facebook, with Thomas Cook. I don’t enter many competitions, but I’d been on a blogging course and thought why not? After all it combined the two loves of my life, travel and food. … Continue reading

Getting to the airport on time.

Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport

Image via Wikipedia

It is just over two weeks until I embark on the round the world trip with my husband, Phil. I have had two major tasks to complete this week for the trip and they have been most frustrating. One is to book a campervan in New Zealand, (and that’s another blog) the other is to book transportation to the airport.

We are flying from Heathrow (the dreaded T5) at 11.30 am on a Sunday. So decisions had to be made as to the best way to get there in plenty of time for the flight.

The options were:

Go by train: According to  Trainline http://www.thetrainline.com and National Rail Enquiries http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ it will take 9 hours to get there. This is because there are no trains after midnight on Saturday to Euston, and the tube to Heathrow doesn’t start till 8am. Neither site factored in Marylebone to Paddington for The Heathrow Express. No early Sunday trains from Birmingham to London so that was crossed off the list.

Stay with my daughter in Wandsworth: this would involve a train and tube journey on Saturday, getting up crack of dawn to get to Paddington or booking a taxi, lots of modes of transport. I love my daughter, but traipsing across London on a Sunday morning was not ever going to happen.

A Heathrow hotel:hotels at the airport are very expensive and the those a distance away would involve more buses and taxis and are not cheap either. None included breakfast in the price.

National Express http://www.nationalexpress.com : which is what we are doing. This is after two frustrating days to find out how to book a return journey with outward and return more than 3 months apart. I could go on for ages and indeed did on Facebook, however the short version is that you have to book an ‘open jaw‘ ticket, that is not available on their web pages, nor do they tell you about it on their website. You can book singles, two singles an open return or a return, but not an open jaw. Instead you spend 10p a minute on their booking line. Fortunately the lady who took my booking was lovely and very helpful, which meant that I didn’t vent my rage on her. Just on Facebook and Twitter.

This was not necessarily the cheapest option;  indeed internal flights in Australia are cheaper. However, a combination of trains, taxis, tube and buses on a Sunday morning gave me palpitations. This is one bus, early in the morning, there will be no traffic and it drops off at T5. Less to go wrong. I hope.

We have to catch the coach at 4.30 am from Bearwood, to get there in ample time for our flight. I will be in the departure lounge for over 3 hours.  Coming back we have 3 hours at Heathrow as we are due to land at 6am from Bangkok, and there is a coach at 7 am which would be cutting it fine, or 9.30. Hopefully there is free wifi so I can vent my rage on Facebook and update my blog. You have been warned.