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Tom Lennon

Tom Lennon

Tom is a mostly funny writer and occasional stand-up comedian. His humorous hors d'oeuvres can be found in large helpings over at tomlennon.com. Follow him on Twitter @tomlennon.

News (13)

16 Birmingham and Black Country slang terms explained

16 Birmingham and Black Country slang terms explained

Contrary to what the rest of the country might think, Birmingham and the Black Country are two different places with very distinct accents, dialects and slang. Due to their close proximity and lax border controls, however, many so-called Brummie phrases have become the subject of a bitter custody dispute between these two neighbours. To avoid further civil unrest, we've decided to step in and divvy up our regional dialect with this handy Brum/Black Country dictionary
 'Ackee 1-2-3' A Birmingham-exclusive – a convoluted variant of hide and seek, but much, much more intense.Verdict: Brummie. Ackee 1-2-3 was immortalised in song in the early-1980s by classic revival ska band The Beat. They were from Birmingham. Case closed. Tom Lennon 'Bostin’' A joyous and life-affirming declaration that roughly translated means: super, smashing, or even great.Verdict: Black Country. In the classic darts-based quiz show 'Bullseye' (filmed at the old Central TV studios on Birmingham’s Broad Street, no less), host Jim Bowen would often say 'super, smashing, great’. He could have expressed himself far more succinctly if the show was filmed in Dudley. 'Scrage' Scratchier than a scrape and scrapier than a scratch, a scrage is the West Midlands' very own flesh wound. Meaningless to non-Midlanders, for people of a certain age this skin-on-gravel agony will forever be associated with misjudged BMX bunny hops.Verdict: Black Country. 'Buzz' Buzz is short for omnibuzz, a large road vehicle that carries

11 of the West Midlands' weirdest street names

11 of the West Midlands' weirdest street names

Birmingham and the West Midlands are known for having a rich industrial heritage, a vast canal network, and perhaps their crowning glory: an abundance of very peculiar street names.  Here are just a few of our favourites:   Billy Buns Lane, Wombourne, Wolverhampton  Tom Lennon Google and Wikipedia have no idea who 'Billy Buns' was, so therefore neither do we. He does sound like someone who should have a comic strip in the Viz (perhaps with a gross comedy M.O. that rhymes with 'Buns').   Bumblehole Meadows, Wombourne, Wolverhampton  Tom Lennon Bet you looked twice at this one, didn't you? Just down the road from Billy Buns Lane you'll find Bumblehole Meadows (fnarr fnarr), which – appropriately enough – sounds like just the sort of place our hypothetical Billy Buns might live.   Come to think of it, this would have made a fine addition to our list of the West Midlands' Sauciest Streets. Oh, the benefits of hindsight.  Brown's Green, Handsworth Wood, Birmingham Tom Lennon   Do make your mind up, Handsworth Wood. You’re sending out mixed messages.  Cat and Kittens Lane, Featherstone, Wolverhampton    Tom Lennon    Property values on this street have risen sharply since the arrival of the internet. Coincidence? We think not.  Dingley Bells, West Bromwich  Tom Lennon   Just one letter away from being the perfect Christmas street. Or, two letters away from 'Dangly Balls'. We do not condone graffiti.  Long Nuke Road, Northfield, Birmingham  Tom Lennon   This street name

Ten reasons why Birmingham is a paradise for geeks

Ten reasons why Birmingham is a paradise for geeks

Fans of comics, role-playing games and more are well-served in Birmingham. So for anyone visiting – and to help Brum's own nerds enjoy a better life – here’s a quick rundown of some of Birmingham’s more geek-friendly haunts. Nostalgia and Comics, 14-16 Smallbrook QueenswayNostalgia and Comics – or ‘Nosties’ to its regulars – is a bona-fide Brum institution. One of the UK’s longest-running comic shops, it’s been supplying comics, graphic novels and long boxes to Brum’s chic geek elite since 1977. It’s a big place with a staggering range of comics from across the world, from Marvel and DC superhero titles to Japanese manga books and lavish Franco-Belgian bande dessinĂ©e albums. For the uninitiated, the store’s friendly staff are always on hand to explain the difference between Batman and Man-Bat. Tokyo Toys, 31 Corporation Street Online retailer Tokyo Toys recently opened a proper bricks-and-mortar store on Corporation Street which caters for the discerning Japanophile geek. If manga, anime, gamer merchandise and weirdly cute plush toys are more your thing, then Birmingham’s newest geek emporium is the place to be.  Tom Lennon Forbidden Planet, 74 Bull Street While it might not boast as extensive a range of comics as its veteran rival Nosties (to be fair, who does?), Birmingham’s branch of the Forbidden Planet chain more than makes up for this with its vast range of geek-friendly film and TV merchandise. If you harbour an insatiable craving for Death Star juggling balls, a plu

Nine of the West Midlands’ most musical streets

Nine of the West Midlands’ most musical streets

From Brum beat to bhangra, Black Sabbath and the B-town scene - the West Midlands has a rich and diverse musical heritage. Is it any wonder, then, that many of our streets pay tribute to some of pop’s most illustrious addresses?    Here are some of our favourites:    Abbey Road, Harborne, Birmingham Tom Lennon The cover to The Beatles’ 'Abbey Road' album famously featured John, Paul, George and Ringo walking along a zebra crossing. According to the law of averages, there’s probably a John, a Paul and even a George living on leafy Harborne’s Abbey Road, while the local shop still sells packets of Golden Wonder Ringos. Sadly, there’s no zebra crossing. Baker Street, Sparkhill, Birmingham Tom Lennon After another crazy day on Gerry Rafferty’s 'Baker Street' (which, contrary to popular myth, did not feature 'Blockbusters' legend Bob Holness on sax), you'll drink the night away and forget about everything. Sparkhill’s Baker Street is within Birmingham’s Balti Triangle, so after another crazy day there, you could spend the evening sampling the best in Asian cuisine. Who’d want to forget about that? If that wasn’t enough, Sparkhill’s Baker Street also pays homage to Bruce Springsteen with a motorcycle dealership called ‘Thunder Road’.   The Broadway, Perry Barr, Birmingham Tom Lennon Soul legends the Drifters memorably warned us that the neon lights are bright on Broadway (on Broadway). Luckily for its residents, Perry Barr’s Broadway is significantly less prone to this sort o

You know you live in Kingstanding when


You know you live in Kingstanding when


Neighbouring Sutton Coldfield may look down its leafy, suburban nose at us sometimes, but there’s plenty of things about Kingstanding to be proud about. Yes, you know you live in Kingstanding when:    Lily Hudson  
the local bingo hall is a world-famous art deco masterpiece.   The Debonairs  
you have your very own '80s novelty record, The Debonairs’ Hoochie Coochie Man (from Kingstanding).   Tom Lennon  
you’re in a hurry to get to town by bus and face a quandry. Do you play it safe and jump on a super-regular 33, or risk waiting around for a 934, 935 or 936 that’ll ultimately get you there quicker by creating a temporal wormhole between Perry Barr and Newtown? Choose wisely.   Tom Lennon 
short-sighted Game of Thrones fans look at you with envy.   Edie Lennon  
your ridiculously huge Kingstanding Circle roundabout (approximately 50m in diameter) is significantly larger than many islands on the Indonesian archipelago, and none of those have bus stops along their shores.   Tom Lennon  
a pimple is more than just an unsightly skin condition: it’s a massive hill covered in grass that no amount of Clearasil will shift.   Tom Lennon  
you still call the junction between Kings Road and Hartley Road ‘The Charlie’ after a pub that was bulldozed decades ago.   Tom Lennon  
your local video shop is Netflix-proof and built to last.   Tom Lennon  
sky diving, bungee-jumping and parkour do not impress you, for no dangerous sport on earth can quite compare to the adrenal

You know you live in Harborne when


You know you live in Harborne when


Leafy Harborne, with your pretty duck pond, ornate shrubbery and astonishing house prices. You're like Dannii to Bournville's Kylie; the similar-looking, but slightly naughtier, suburban sibling who’d rather drink booze than eat chocolate. Yes, you know you live in Harborne when
   Tom Lennon 
you sometimes worry that your major contribution to Birmingham culture is the Harborne Mile pub crawl.   Tom Lennon ...one of your local boozers is the only known instance of Schrödinger's Pub: it’s a White Swan and a Dirty Duck at the same time.   Tom Lennon 
it’s mathematically impossible to draw a straight line through the local Waitrose without crossing at least one person dressed in a North Face jacket.   Tom Lennon ..you’re menaced by gangs of vicious geese. (Geese fact: the collective term for a group of goslings is known as ‘a Ryan’).   Tom Lennon 
you’ve got such a wide range of international cuisine on your doorstep, you could quite easily circumnavigate the globe from the comfort of your postcode.   Tom Lennon 
the local club scene is cunningly disguised as someone’s house.   Tom Lennon 
a quick trip into the city centre by bus means jumping on a 22, 23, 24 or 29. Everything else seems to go via Huddersfield.   Tom Lennon 
your old butcher’s shop has been turned into a restaurant that serves ridiculously tasty chicken wings to diners sat at tables made from pallets.   Tom Lennon 
seeing Thor, Batman and Elsa from 'Frozen' stumbling along the High Street mean

Nine classic Brum rock venues from the '80s and '90s

Nine classic Brum rock venues from the '80s and '90s

During the opening scenes of the classic heavy metal comedy 'This is Spinal Tap', the film’s fictional ‘rockumentarian’ Marty Di Bergi reminisces about seeing the eponymous band perform at an old rock club called The Electric Banana. ‘Don't look for it,’ he says, ‘it's not there anymore.’ Birmingham in the late 1980s and early 1990s had a thriving hard rock and alternative music scene. Sadly, many of the venues from those days have since climbed the stairway to heaven. Here are just a few of the city's own Electric Bananas:   Edward’s No. 8, Lower Severn Street Flickr - Pete Ashton In the Birmingham rock venue deck of cards, Eddie’s remains the undisputed ace of spades. It started out on John Bright Street as Edward’s No. 8, a part of Brum nightclub magnate Eddie Fewtrell’s nocturnal empire (hence the name). Originally it was an early '80s mainstream club, where wannabe Don Johnsons danced in linen suits with rolled-up sleeves. In 1987, though, it turned to the dark side and became a very successful rock and alternative music venue, attracting coachloads of leather-clad pilgrims from all over the country and hosting gigs from the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine. Sadly, the original Eddie’s venue was destroyed in 2006 after a toilet in the club caught fire (presumably to the tune of ‘Smoke on the Water’). Since then, the club’s had a variety of short and long term residencies before settling into its current home at the Tunnel Club on Livery Street.

15 of the West Midlands' sauciest streets

15 of the West Midlands' sauciest streets

Birmingham and the West Midlands contain such a rich variety of lewd-sounding street names that people often assume that our local councils were once infiltrated by members of the 'Carry On' team.  Here are just a few of our favourites: Allcock Street, Digbeth, B9  <img id="172c2a15-d966-5967-d011-25e66612d229" data-caption="" data-credit="Tom Lennon" data-width-class="100" type="image/jpeg" total="49347" loaded="49347" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102777847/image.jpg" class="photo lazy inline"> Tom Lennon Not a sly reference to Digbeth's burgeoning hipster scene.  Not at all.   Balls Street, Walsall, WS1  <img id="6bec12d3-e65b-e247-e3e1-aeee7cf5df66" data-caption="" data-credit="Tom Lennon" data-width-class="100" type="image/jpeg" total="47080" loaded="47080" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102777852/image.jpg" class="photo lazy inline"> Tom Lennon  It should have been a cul-de-sac.   Beaver Close, Wolverhampton, WV11  <img id="faec91b8-3218-3e67-080a-4177ad589dd2" data-caption="" data-credit="Tom Lennon" data-width-class="100" type="image/jpeg" total="73634" loaded="73634" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102777850/image.jpg" class="photo lazy inline"> Tom Lennon Surely this is Wolverhampton's tribute to Leslie Nielsen?  (It's not... and don't call me Shirley)   Bell End, Rowley Regis, B65  <img id="f8ea2eb6-1aaf-5e0c-b87f-1a7175504fa6" data-caption="" data-credit="Tom Lennon" data-width-class="100" type=

10 comedy venues to laugh your socks off at in Birmingham

10 comedy venues to laugh your socks off at in Birmingham

It’s the city that gave the world Frank Skinner, John Oliver, Tony Hancock and Jasper Carrott, so it should come as no surprise that there’s plenty of comedy options in Birmingham. Here’s a whistle-stop tour of some of our favourites. The Glee Club, The Arcadian, 70 Hurst StreetWhile the Barclaycard Arena and Symphony Hall are the main stopping-off points for A-list comics like Michael McIntyre and John Bishop, Birmingham’s crown prince of comedy venues is the more modestly sized Glee Club. Since opening its doors in 1994 (as the UK's first dedicated comedy club outside of London, no less), The Glee has attracted some of the biggest names in stand-up. Widely regarded by audiences and comedians alike as one of the country’s top comedy venues, it’s not unknown for big name arena-fillers like Sarah Millican to return to The Glee to road-test new material on unsuspecting crowds. Featuring comedy every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, with a cut-price Rough Works new material night on the first Sunday of every month. Instagram: @tomlennon1 Jongleurs, 259-262 Broad StreetThe Brum branch of this famous comedy chain has had a bit of a chequered past having closed and reopened more than once over the last few years, but in terms of size and sheer comedy clout it’s The Glee Club's biggest city-centre rival. Comedy every Friday and Saturday night. Instagram: @tomlennon1 Manford’s Comedy Club, Players Bar, 240 Broad StreetTop funny man and professional northerner Jason Manford fe

Who are the 31 stars of Broad Street?

Who are the 31 stars of Broad Street?

This week, Private Pike from 'Dad's Army' – aka Brummie-born actor Ian Lavender – was the thirty-first celebrity to be presented with a Broad Street star. Birmingham's Walk of Stars (as it's officially known) was launched in 2007 as the West Midlands equivalent of the somewhat more illustrious Hollywood Walk of Fame. It's where we celebrate our local heroes; those people from Brum and the Black Country that have done us proud.   And how do we do that? By walking all over them.      But who are these stars of Broad Street? Let us be your guide:    1. Ozzy Osbourne  Black Sabbath's bad boy and unlikely TV phenomenon – MTV's 'The Osbournes' paved the way for other rich and famous reality shows like 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' (thanks for that, Ozzy). This bat-chomping Brummie was the very first star of Broad Street. Sha-ron!   Broad Street star date: July 2007    2. Jasper Carrott <img id="fde35f8e-28dd-1740-88be-bc09677c9303" data-caption="" data-credit="Original image: BBC" data-width-class="100" type="image/jpeg" total="68931" loaded="68931" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102693875/image.jpg" alt="Jasper Carrott" class="photo lazy inline"> Original image: BBC Veteran Brummie stand-up comedian, who once presented a teatime quiz show called 'Golden Balls' and actually got away with it. Nicely played. Broad Street star date: September 2007    3. Noddy Holder &am

Six brilliant indie bookshops in the West Midlands

Six brilliant indie bookshops in the West Midlands

It was a sad day for Brummie bookworms when the city centre’s last independent bookshop – Readers World in Digbeth – closed its doors for the final time late last year. It may have been small, the customer service couldn't exactly be described as first rate and some of those vintage ‘gentleman’s magazines’ they stocked were of dubious literary merit – but the place had an undeniable ambience. Of course, you can still buy your books from a high street chain, a local charity shop or an online retailer. But nothing quite matches the sights, sounds and (let’s face it) smells of a dedicated second-hand book shop. Luckily, there’s no shortage of great destinations in the Midlands for those with a weakness for papery old tomes and musty aromas. Here are just a few of our favourites:   Southcart Books <img id="e44d4ac2-6a2b-750b-69ef-fee5418a2b6c" data-caption="" data-credit="Tom Lennon" data-width-class="100" type="image/jpeg" total="55823" loaded="55823" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102541453/image.jpg" alt="Southcart Books in Walsall" class="photo lazy inline"> Tom Lennon This friendly little independent bookshop is hidden away in Walsall and well worth a visit, particularly if you’re into sci-fi, horror and fantasy. Southcart Books, 20 Lower Hall Lane, Walsall   Wolverhampton Books and Collectibles <img id="42703812-1603-56b7-52b0-b

15 fictional Brummies and made-up West Midlanders

15 fictional Brummies and made-up West Midlanders

Brummie characters are a staple of British drama and comedy. Sadly, a poor grasp of non-tube-mapped parts of the country means that London-based media pundits often apply the term 'Brummie' to any old character from the Midlands. Time Out Birmingham's team of experts have been tasked with figuring out which of the following characters are bonafide Brummies...   1. Thomas Shelby, ‘Peaky Blinders’ Yes, 'Peaky Blinders' is based on a real 1920s Birmingham gang, but they weren’t very photogenic and rarely listened to Nick Cave. The TV show takes liberties with history in the same way that Batman and Superman take liberties with geography, so it’s fair to say that the show’s antihero Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) counts as a fictional character, and a pretty cool one at that.  Brummie? Small Heath’s sexiest sociopath is definitely a Brummie. Caryn Mandabach/Tiger Aspect Productions   2. Mr Khan, ‘Citizen Khan’ This Orson Welles-evoking sitcom centres around a self-proclaimed Muslim community leader and his long-suffering family. Brummie? Yes – Adil Ray hails from Yardley and his character Mr Khan comes from Sparkbrook. BBC   3. Benny, ‘Crossroads’ Birmingham-set ‘Crossroads’ was a long-running soap opera known for its wobbly sets and the sort of acting that wouldn’t look out of place on a corporate training video. The show had many Brummie characters like Amy Turtle and Miss Diane, but the most famous by a long stretch was Benny Hawkins, a woolly cap-wearing, urban village id

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