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Five facts the world could learn from Brum

Written by
Alexi Duggins

1. Eggs aren’t just for breakfast

Most of the country might think that a hearty portion of whites and yolks is the thing you fill your belly with to make your hangover go away the morning after. However, they’re wrong. As any self-respecting Brummie who’s ever visited Mr Egg knows, they’re so much more than that.

They are, in fact, the thing you eat at 2am to stop you having a hangover in the first place. They’re a cheap dinner when you’re in town. And, judging by the voluminous fabric fried egg that used to loom from the ceiling, they’re also excellent interior design aids. Although, admittedly, given that Mr Egg’s owner also eventually got jailed for hosing customers down with concentrated vinegar, possibly there may be side effects of over-consumption. But: shh. If you ask us, an oeuf is enough.

Mr Egg, John Bounds

Photo: Bounder

2. This century is without hope

As prices skyrocket, politics fragments into extreme factions and the West’s international influence dwindles somewhere behind Kim Kardashian’s butt cheeks, it’s tempting to sit back and think ‘This millennium: bit of a shitbucket’.

Well, guess what, world? If you were paying attention to the wisdom of Brum, you’d have known that YEARS ago. Remember that ‘Flame of Hope’ that Cliff Richard lit in Centenary Square to burn forevermore in honour of this millennium? Course you don’t. Just over a year into this century, Birmingham Council decided that paying for hope was futile and cut the gas.

The lesson here? We were doomed from the start.

The Flame of Hope, Elliott Brown

Photo: Ell Brown 

3. Statues are flammable

Sure, they don’t look much like potential flamethrowers, those big pieces of sculpture. Hell, you’d think you’d have more luck melting David Cameron’s stony heart than a big ol’ statue. Unless, that is, you remember ‘Forward’ – Centenary Square’s very own thingy for kids to climb o… sorry: piece of public art. All it took was one 16-year-old goofing about with some matches, then the thing went up like a warehouse full of shellsuits.

So there you have it: statues are, despite appearances, actually covert incendiary devices. Well, either that, or we’re the only city daft enough to build a statue from plastic. One of the two.

Forward, Raymond Mason. Picture by ricsrailpics

Photo: ricsrailpics

4. Just cos you don’t need it, don’t mean you shouldn’t build it

Imagine that you have no use in your life for an incredibly narrow alleyway. Chances are that the life lesson you’d take from this fact is: ‘Do not build an incredibly narrow alleyway’.

Wrong, pal. Wrong. After all, look at Needless Alley in City Centre – a road whose only purpose can be a smile-inducing monument to pointlessness (after all, they didn’t call it – ‘Incredibly Purposeful Alley’, now did they?). Sure, they could’ve saved loads of money not building it, but then what’d have happened? Well, not much, admittedly, but we like the daftness of the thing.

More pointless building, we say.

Needless Alley, Lis Ferla

Photo: Lis Ferla

5. Brum’s just as important as the Houses of Parliament

Ask a non Brummy where HP sauce was made. You know what those chumps think? They think London's the bastion of the brown stuff. Yeah, sure, guys. That’s right: that condiment’s come straight from the home of democracy to your bacon sandwich.

Whaddya think? That whilst the Chancellor’s busily working on the nation’s finances, there’s a conveyor belt slapping stickers onto sauce bottles in the corner? That occasionally Nick Clegg interrupts meetings to make sure he stirs the vats of roiling brown gloop? No, you bloody fools. It’s from Brum. And ask yourselves this, which brings you greater joy? A deliciously-flavoured bacon sandwich, or the government’s latest financial cluster-bomb. Yeah, thought so.

The inevitable conclusion: Birmingham has a more positive effect on your life than the Houses of Parliament. True story.*

HP sauce factory in Aston, Tim Ellis

Photo: Tim Ellis

*OK so they make it in the Netherlands now, but that bacon sarnie would be nothing without Brum's 103 years of saucy service.

Header image: John Ward

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