Issue 328
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"We've come together as a family. We've eaten together. Socialised together.
We'll be a closer family when it's over".
— M.Asif, hardware store owner  
"Hope." says photographer Tam Bernard, before a long a pull on his cigarette. "And community". For the last three weeks Tam has been photographing and speaking to the people of Birmingham, where they work and where they live. Standing at the end of driveways, in shop doorways, always two metres apart. His project, Brum on Brum, documents a locked down Birmingham and the overriding sense he got from his subjects can be summed up in those two words. Hope. Community.
"At one point I caught myself eating a sandwich with a knife and fork.
I think I was losing my mind."
— Liz Mason, tattoo artist  
Tam observed lockdown to the letter, surrounded as he is by at risk people, emerging only to shop for food. "It didn't bother me, missing out on photographing the deserted city before lockdown was relaxed. I get why photographers did it and why they felt it needed showing. But for me, Birmingham's never been about the physical city. It is and always will be, about the people. The story, for me, wasn't about the empty streets, it was about the full homes. It wasn't about closed shops, it was about the shops that remained open."
"I've had regulars come in who have lost their livelihoods. Some don't know where to go from here."
— Charlotte Hanlon, health store manager (and colleague, Steph)  
It's the second such project for Tam who, five years ago, launched Brum on Brum to record people's thoughts on the rapidly changing face of our city. "Nine times out of ten they'd tell me to f*** off, you know? I was in the city centre, they were dashing off to work and it was, at times, like pulling teeth. People were too busy to take part and I understood that. This time though, during lockdown, people wanted to be a part of it. Almost everyone said yes." Why? "I don't know. Maybe they understood that this is a period in our lives that needs documenting. That it's a moment in time."
"I hope we'll come back from this stronger than ever, with more respect for one another."
— Krishnan Rajput, shop proprietor
Bearwood-based Tam took his photos before asking the subjects to complete a brief questionnaire. Both the photos and the responses going up, soon, on his Instagram page: 'The last question I asked every participant was always 'How do you think the city will come out of this?' "It was amazing," explains Tam, "which one word was the most used. I heard it over and over. Together. We'll come out of this together. I hope we do because that's a hell of a positive to take from a sh*tty situation."  
"I've been feeling lonely. Powerless. Like I've been living in the dark ages."
— Mirza Rauf, taxi driver  
Brum on Brum is very much a work in progress. Tam set off on his photographic journey without any real end goal and asked what he wants to do with his shots, he's somewhat taken aback. "I haven't really thought about it, I just wanted to do it. Felt I should. Maybe when I hit a milestone of, say, 50 photos, I’d could exhibit the work once lockdown is finished. A sort of celebration that we made it out the other side. Then I'll put them away in my archives and possibly dig them back up in ten years when, maybe, we might want to look back."  
You can follow the progress of 'Brum on Brum' on Facebook and Instagram. Tam is always looking for more people to take part, and a place to exhibit this body of work. 


Pivoting harder than Ross Geller on the teacups ride, Sarehole Mill have shown what ace changes can be made when facing, let's be honest, a nightmarish scenario. They were quick to turn their gift shop into a community store with pasta, flour, tinned goods and other essentials, launched fresh bread to go and even found time to deliver DIY pizza (Father's Day gift, maybe?). Now, having fed and watered us they figure they might need to get us moving again. To raise much-needed funds for Birmingham Museums Trust they're hosting a new 5km challenge: Run of the Mill. You can run, walk, jog or dance (don't dance, silly) around the 250-year-old mill for a £10 fee, and you'll get yourself a wee medal too. More   


"A Big Mac's a Big Mac" said comeback kid John Travolta as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction. Wrong. Above is The Wilderness's take on the Big Mac and it's one of the finest and funnest dishes in our city. Newly launched, their 'Return Of The Big Mac' can now be made, by you, at home. Priced at £65 and available for collection from their JQ venue or nationwide delivery (£12.99 extra, delieveries land July 3 or 4) it's one of six dishes you'll assemble and finish yourself. Other menu highlights include Iberico Char Sui (slow-cooked pork cheek and belly, confit fennel, soy caramel apple), red prawn tom yum and something called a 'Happy Ending'. Hey, what you do in your own home is none of our business. But wash your hands. Order 


In 1862, "Playboy Prince" Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and later King Edward VII, undertook a tour of the Middle East accompanied by one of Victorian Britain’s pre-eminent snappers, Francis Bedford. The shots Frankie B took were, as they said in Victorian times, 'bang up to the elephant', and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts have grabbed 'em and stuck 'em online. It's their debut digital exhibition, no less. It was the first royal tour to be documented through photography and the pics – today part of the Royal Collection, so lent to the Barber by the Queen herself — revealed ancient sites like pyramids, temples, sphinxes and shrines. Albert was dispatched by his old dear, Queen Victoria, on the trip through Egypt, the Holy Land and Greece, and we bet he didn't stop banging on about his "gap yaaah" when he got home. Bedford's work, meanwhile, brought to life, for the British public, sites previously only encountered in prints and paintings. The online exhibition is a credit to the ten MA Art History and Curating students from Birmingham Uni, who worked with the Barber to create it. They've nailed the digital proposition on their first go too — the zoom (literal zoom, not the never-ending meeting app) and the 'Discover More' aspects combining to send us down a rabbit hole from which we struggled to emerge. Gawjus.
Lost-to-the-virus Birmingham Cocktail Weekend has dusted itself down and collab-ed with fab JQ haunt The Vanguard to create a cocktail box for delivery. Four signature cocktails cost £32.93 all-in. The Yuzu Spritz is the one you should be baggsying.

Brum-based artist Reuben Colley has revealed two new paintings of the Aston Expressway. You heard. The one on the right is 🔥. 
The Botanical Gardens reopened yesterday with time slots allocated to ensure distancing.
Steak behemoths Anderson's have launched their 'at home' offering. Pick from a sunday roast package, a barbecue menu or a no-messing-about 40 ounce tomahawk. Prices vary. 
Opus have done the same, launching Opus To You. You can collect or have their three-courser delivered, with delivery costing £7.50 unless you spend £80 or up. It's £35 for the meat option, £30 for veg, per person.  

"I don't mind praying to the Eternal Father, but I must be the only man in the country afflicted with an eternal mother."

Edward VII

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WORDS: Tom Cullen

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