We all know that Birmingham is ace. Sometimes it’s for reasons that surprise even us. Alexi Duggins takes a look at five of the most surprising claims to fame we Brummies have...
1. We’re the destination of choice for cultured New Yorkers
To a lot of people, Brum being considered the one of the world’s best holiday destinations by the New York Times might seem as likely as the fans at a Villa/Blues derby announcing a mass cudlleathon.
But that’s exactly what happened back in 2012. What’s more, our place at number 20 makes us cooler and more cosmopolitan than Vienna! More glam than the Maldives! More hip and happening than South Korea! Hmm, alright. Maybe the last one’s not such a big deal.
2. George Clooney loves us
You’re George Clooney. You have a celeb-packed premiere to host for your latest megabucks Hollywood A-list film. Where to do it? The azure beaches of Canne? The lavish decadence of Los Angeles? Amongst the skyline-shagging skyscrapers of New York. Nah, mate. Brum. Or at least that’s what happened back in 2000, when Cloons launched ‘The Perfect Storm’ amongst the motorway-fringed glamour of Star City.
Granted, the best he could find to say about our city was ‘the weather is beautiful’ (ARE YOU BLIND?). But you know: we forced George Clooney to spend a night by a motorway. Which, you have to admit: is pretty funny.
3. Tom Hanks and Prince William love one of our football teams
Ok, ok. For every Villa fan that’s proud of this fact, we imagine there’s going to be one whose face goes so red at the thought that they can’t wear the club top without being a walking colour clash. However, no doubt about it: Villa’s the club for the stars.
Tom Hanks has been a Villain for years due to believing ‘their name sounds so pleasant’ (more pleasant than their football, Tom). Hell, Prince William’s such a lover of the claret and blue that he even wants the future king of England to be a Villa fan. We’d also add in David Cameron’s spurious claim to know enough about the lives of us ordinary povvos to support Villa rather than Burnley Ham United, but well… you know.
4. Take That are all over our curries
Bit odd, this one. But for some reason it seems that Take That-based pop stars love Brum’s curry scene almost as much as they do rubbing jelly and cream over each others' nipples (see above, if you dare). Not only did Sutton Coldfield’s Kababish send Robbie Williams so spice crazy in 2000 that they wound up naming a lamb balti after him, but in April 2014, Lasan did such wonderful things to Gary Barlow’s tastebuds that he ended up tweeting this:
If you're ever in Birmingham go to Lasan Indian restaurant ! The best Indian food I've ever eaten !— Gary Barlow (@GaryBarlow) April 9, 2014
Yep, that’s right. Best. Curry. Ever. Here’s hoping neither of them ate anything too spicy, though. Otherwise the next day it might’ve been a case of Take That and farty.
5. We inspire critically acclaimed dramas
Not only did last year’s ace film Locke prove that nothing guarantees your life collapsing around your ears like leaving Birmingham (pretty sure that was the main message). But Cilian Murphy was so inspired by Brum’s fascinating hat-based crime heritage that he’s banged out two acclaimed series of Peaky Blinders.
Which, is cool, obviously. But which makes us mainly love Brum because of the way an opportunistic Dale End pub reacted to it: trying to descuzz itself, whacking up a horrifically low-res pic of the show’s logo as a sign and forcing the awkward staff to dress in cloth caps. Ah, Brum: not just an inspiration for awesome film and telly. A bunch of brilliantly cheeky sods into the bargain as well.