Things people from Birmingham are sick of hearing
‘Oh, you’re from BURRRMINGHUM!’
“Yep, well done mate, that was really original,” I say sarcastically. “No one has ever reacted like that before when I’ve told them where I’m from.”
Seriously though, here’s a disclaimer: Birmingham is a great city to live in. I’m from here and I go to university here.
We’ve undergone countless regeneration projects, including the most recent Grand Central station renovation. We have a thriving mix of edgy bars, clubs, and restaurants, including about six Nandos now (if you’re into that).
Yet people continue to come to Birmingham with preconceptions. For some reason, they presume the city is still the sprawling concrete mess it was in the 1970s.
So, put a cob in your gob and listen up to what the people of Birmingham are sick of hearing.
We all speak the same
As I’ve pointed out, they think we all speak “Loike dis”. Whenever people meet me, they say that I “don’t sound like I’m from Birmingham”. That’s because there isn’t one kind of accent.
From the gilded private estates of Sutton Coldfield, to the gilded police handcuffs used to arrest gang members in Handsworth, Birmingham houses many different types of people and therefore many different voices. Accent varies a lot between different regions in the city.
A lot of the time, people are actually getting confused between the Brummie accent and the Black Country accent (from areas like Walsall and Wolverhampton which technically are still Birmingham, but also technically are not). Lenny Henry for example, who’s from Dudley, has a black country rather than a Brummie accent.
You have to listen carefully between the two- there’s subtle differences.
It’s a crime ridden hell hole
It didn’t help that the infamous show Benefits Street was filmed in Winson Green. Even so, the participants in the “poverty porn” documentary said they were mislead by producers, to make themselves look worse on TV.
Overall, Birmingham is a pretty safe for a huge city. In 2010 it was declared the safest big city in the UK.
I know I gave a sly dig at Handsworth earlier on (I apologise). Yet in all seriousness even this area isn’t that bad. I went to school and to a drama club in Handsworth for years, and never had any trouble. Perhaps that’s because my parents paid for the private bus service but you know, that’s beside the point.
We’re a friendly bunch of people in Brum. Don’t let your vicious misconceptions stop you living amongst us.
Le Wild Mancunion – “Birmingham isn’t the second city, Manchester is”
Look mate, I know you had Oasis and the Hacienda, but bland Britpop and a nightclub that had to be closed because of drug use aren’t pre-requisites for being the second city, ok? Like it or not, Birmingham’s population is, and always will be bigger than yours.
David Cameron said himself on Prime Minister’s Questions, “Birmingham is the second city of our country.” Perhaps that’s just because the Tories have a history of not getting along with Northern folk. Even so, I’d say that when your Prime Minister admits this, it’s a pretty conclusive verification of where the second city lies.
The accent makes you sound stupid
We have six universities, making us the largest UK centre for higher education outside of London.
But if you really want to bring it down to cultural contributions, we gave the world Duran Duran, UB40, Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin and Noddy Holder. All of whom are better than The Smiths.
Southerner- “Birmingham is in the North”
I’m sick of this. The Midlands has its own geographical and cultural area. We don’t serve chips and gravy, our beer isn’t particularly cheap and our nightclubs have cloak rooms. Therefore, we ain’t Northern. To be honest, having never left Milton Keynes before, you probably think anywhere above the Watford Gap is “the North” but that’s another story.
Northerner- “Birmingham is in the South”
The annoying little sister of the above. Yes, compared to Manchester’s Fifth Ave and 42nd street our nightclubs are pretty fancy. But we suffer from the effects of a London-centric government too you know!
Unlike “the South”, Strongbow Dark Fruits is probably the most varied form of cider we offer, and county fairs aren’t really our thing. We’re also quite willing to make small talk on public transport, instead of awkwardly avoiding eye contact.
But hey, if you think it’s fancy to head “down South” to Birmingham, carry on my friend.
These are NOT bread rolls, baps, barm cakes