Gemma is a freelance writer with an interest in the arts and pop culture. She contributes to film publication Electrolyte, lifestyle magazine Fused and is a theatre critic for The Reviews Hub. Gemma also has a cultural tourism column at Birmingham Favourites. You can follow her @gemma_corden, visit her website or read her review site.
The Birmingham Christmas market survival guide
It's that time of year again, where weary Germans look pneumonia in the face and drunk husbands, late home from work, have to explain mulled wine stains on their coat jackets. Yes folks, Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market – in all its booze spilling, sausage gobbling, claustrophobic glory – is back. This decade-old institution is loved and loathed in equal measure for its questionable selection of stalls, extortionate prices, spirit-crushing queues and personal battles fought with hoards of marauding drunks. Not to mention the fear of pickpockets, armies of pushchairs and the risk of getting attacked by a city worker who, by day three of trying to make their way home through this hell, has been rendered psychotic. So, before you embark on this year's quest for brie pretzels so bad they're actually good, here are some tips to get through the experience without picking up a criminal record: 1. Just don't go Why not try the craft market instead, up at Centenary Square? You can fool the in-laws that it is, in fact, the German stuff, while basking in the comfort of slightly less mob-like crowds, better food and the option of scuttling into the nearby REP theatre's Marmalade bar. Better still, head over to Digbeth for an alternative take on all things Christmas. 2. Head to higher ground Everything looks better through the lens of lobster and champagne, so don a bib and gorge yourself in the upstairs bar of Nosh & Quaff on Colmore Row. Look smugly over the market fro