Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sustrans wins peoples lottery vote

I've just heard that the Sustrans: Connect2 bid to the big lottery fund won the public vote with a whopping 42% of the votes.
Thank you to everyone that voted in support of this bid.
Birmingham will receive funding from this project to provide a cycle route connection from the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal and Pype Hayes park right through to Good Hope hospital and Sutton Park via Plants Brook and Newhall Valley country park. North Birmingham has been behind in major route development because of the differences in geography between the north east of the city, and the rest of the city. Mainly due to the prescence of significant canal routes which form part of the National Route 5 that goes through the heart of the city, but also because the M6/A38(M) forms a very real physical divide.
The irony of our forefathers of the 19th century providing infrastructure that is the equivalent of cycling motorways, yet our motorways of the 20th century inhibit us so much.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Maniacal Road Sweepers

Busy week or so due to a number of deadlines that have been around (including elks, sorry ELQs that I'll get around to writing about v.soon).
Anyway, Saturday night saw Vic and I making our way to the NIA to see the Manic Street Preachers. I've not seen them before, and I've not been to a gig in the NIA, so was intrigued by what the show would be like, and what the NIA was like as a venue.
My first impression was that the shape of the venue is v.odd, ie wide and narrow, rather than square or long and thin. It did mean that we could comfortably stand near the back and still feel close to the action.
The sound in the NIA was fairly ropey, I had earplugs in, but that seemed to help cut out the awful rumbling and high pitched noise. It was really obvious during the acoustic part of the manics set, when the only sound should have been Bradfield's singing and the guitar. Oh no. There was lots of hiss and noise as well.
As to the performance: Bradfield was suffering from a cold or flu, so it was a surprise that he made it through the ~100 minutes of performance. He also had a few issues with some of the higher notes, but we helped out, some less tunelessly than others. He was deeply apologetic and also greatful for the reception.
Having not seen the band before, I was unaware that they had a great banter with the audience between songs with little in-jokes, and quirky introductions to songs. But better that than a monosyballic lead singer.
The other shock of the evening was discovering that 3 other Birmingham councillors were claiming to have a life as well (hello John, Penny and Zoe!). I thought the Manics might have been a bit too left wing for Labour cllrs.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Byrne backs Black Country bid, not Birmingham's

Bit of a haven for headline writers this one.
Birmingham MP, possible mayoral candidate if we ever go down that route..., and minister for the WestMids has come out in favour of the the Black COuntry's bid for the People's lottery, over the Sustrans Connect2 bid that has a direct relevance to Birmingham.
I think that Sustrans have managed to do a great job with their campaign, and with the 3 opposing bids being very geographically distint (with 2 in the Midlands), Sustrans is at a distinct advantage, and is apparently the bookies favourite (although I can't see a betfair market).
Vote early, vote often (online, by txt and by phone).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

christianophobia warning

I've not heard anyone mention "winterval" yet. But it can't be far away, especially as Mark Pritchard MP is leading a debate in Westminster hall on Christianophobia. Just to remind readers, Birmingham's Winterval happened in 1997/98 and was a catch all 3 month long festival covering several major religious celebrations between Oct and Dec.
Pritchard goes a step further than normal by suggesting that extremists and fundamentalists will take over these religions if the "politically correct brigade" have their way.

Shock at Taxpayers Alliance figures

The Taxpayers Alliance have today released shocking new evidence that Birmingham is indeed the largest local authority in the UK.
I really don't understand how the TA get away with releasing this sort of spend information without putting it in the context of the size of the authority (ie as a proportion of the total council expenditure - in the case of Birmingham getting on for £3bn, or as a spend per person so spread across the 1 million residents).
In other news: Pope found to be biggest catholic. Big wood found to have most bear shit in it.