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Flickr: Bs0u10e0

Five people you find in Birmingham city centre

Written by
Alexi Duggins

We've all seen them...

1. People with big bunches of balloons

Flickr: Moayad Hussain

Amazing, really. The decades change, kids’ tastes become ever more technological, yet still those guys with the humungous cloud of helium balloons are stood there on the street corner.

We’re not sure what we love about them more: the fact that there are Spider-man balloons in there that we swear we accidentally let go of whilst wandering past Rackhams in the ‘80s. Or the fact that there are actually whole shopping centres that have lasted less time than these dudes’ dedication to the simple pleasure of the balloon.

Actually, it’s probably the second one. God bless ‘em.

2. People who can’t budget for a bus trip properly

Flickr: Vexsmila

You wouldn’t think it’d be that hard to remember to take one of the following with you when you’re hopping on a bus to the city centre: 1. Your bus fare home. 2. A cash card. 3. A mobile phone.

Yet, over and over again, the same people seem to somehow end up failing to bring any of the above with them, meaning that, day after day, they have no choice but to wander up to strangers and ask to borrow bus fare. It really is baffling. Once, you could understand. Twice, perhaps. But every day? It’s almost like they’re lying to try to con you out of money… Oh.

3. Really jaunty Islamic converters

Flickr: Craig Bush

If the Daily Mail’s senior editorial staff were to take a trip to Brum, they might be forced to rethink some of those ‘MUSLIMS EAT BABIES’ headlines (or whatever they usually scream). Stand outside the New Street HSBC of a Saturday afternoon and, rather than the murderous hordes of ISIS, you’ll be met by jaunty dudes with trestle tables full of pamphlets.

Funny, really. It’s like they’re actually just a group of devout people who believe in God, rather than winged monkeys of religious death. Who knew?

4. Confused Chinese tourists


A photo posted by Taiwanese. (@kuanlinlu) on


You’ve got to hand it to the Birmingham tourist board. There are now so many Chinese tourists in Brum city centre that you suspect that Tiananmen Square must be entirely taken up with a billboard saying ‘Have you ever thought about visiting Snobs?’

In fact, you might even say they’ve done too good a job, given that all the tourists you see appear to be standing around outside the Bullring, staring in bafflement. ‘Is this IT?’ they seem to be saying. ‘It didn’t look like this in the picture!’ Never mind. They’ll probably feel happier once they’ve visited Snobs. Probably.

5. Pissed football fans


A photo posted by @weathem on


You’re a football fan. You’re going to watch your team, but alcohol is banned during the match. What do you do? Judging by some of town’s lairier Saturday visitors, it seems you utilise Brum City Centre as an extended beer garden whose entry criteria are thus: 1. Extreme drunkenness. 2. Shouting. 3. More shouting.

Are they lairy, intimidating arseholes who render the streets an unpleasant place to walk for fear of having your skull split open? Yep. But to be honest with you, a few weeks ago we saw a troupe of topless Bluenoses on New Street leading a busking brass band in a chorus of ‘Shit on the Villa!’. And we found it pretty funny.

Birmingham city centre can be challenging during the working week, too. Here are ten real struggles.

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