Things you’ll only understand if you’re from Birmingham

There’s so much more to Birmingham than the Bull Ring

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When I started university in Liverpool, I assumed being a Brummie would have no major effect on my understanding of the Scouse dialect or the way I’d interact with my peers. I was wrong. Half of the problem was their understanding of the hallowed grounds of the city of Birmingham, and the the other half was the confusion surrounding the beautiful Brummie dialect. Let’s be honest, if you aren’t a Brummie you just don’t get us Bab.

Alright Bab?

Bab – this is clearly an endearing, lovely, completely affectionate term for a loved one. Like babe or hunny but a bit rough, ready and relatable around the edges. But still, saying this to a Northerner will immediately alert them to the fact that you are from Birmingham and there’s no doubt that they will take the piss out of you with some sort of mock Birmingham accent. Anyway, this one word is probably the Brummiest of Brummie.

Is a night out a night out without a picture of the Bull?

The Island

The island isn’t some mythical club in Birmingham city centre that remains unknown to those not from the city, nor is it some sort of classic Brummie culture reference. No – the ‘island’ is a roundabout. This can clearly cause some confusion when you’re giving directions or you’re on your way to ‘The Asda’. All Brummies will know that an island is a roundabout and clearly when communicating with Birmingham-foreigners, it can get you extremely lost.

‘I’ve heard Broad Street is a good night’

You have been deceived. There’s so much more to Birmingham nights out than Broad Street. Yes, people may rave about Pryzm but all in all there is better – Snobs, the Sunflower Lounge and Digbeth offer a much better night. Digbeth is decorated totally in street art, back street pubs, the Rainbow and other music venues. And Snobs is a Brummie classic – you can’t beat it.


If you don’t get a photo with the heads, did you even go to Snobs?


This will get you probably nearly as much stick as saying ‘Bab’. Brummies everywhere seem to forget that the word ‘tooth’ has a double ‘O’. Instead of pronouncing it like they would any other word with a double vowel, they seem to go with saying ‘tuff’. Literally, it’s only just this word and has nothing to do with the apparently distinctive accent – even the poshest of Brummies will say it.

Public Transport is LONG

New Street station is too big for it’s own good, the number 50 is the most reliable and unreliable bus route in the country and the number 11 bus route is longer than any route in Europe but very, very grim. Liverpudlians might complain about planes, trains and bus timetables but if you’re from Birmingham, you’re living the dream in the North. In Liverpool it’ll never be as bad as having to wait 45 minutes for a bus and three then coming at the same time.


New New street station is so big but so fab

‘Yeah, I’m From Birmingham too!’

Er, no you’re not. It shouldn’t be as frustrating as it really is, but when you start uni and you introduce yourself as a Brummie, the amount of people that say – ‘oh really? Me too!’ is phenomenal. Wolverhampton, Stafford and random villages around and beyond Worcestershire suddenly become Birmingham. Essentially, it seems like if you’re from the Midlands then you’re a Brummie, which isn’t true and you should probably buy yourself a map and double check where Birmingham actually is.

It’s actually so beautiful

As far as being photogenic goes, B-town offers architecture as modern as Central Library and as old as the Council House or Aston Hall. As well as this, Birmingham is scenic enough to inspire one of the most popular authors ever to write one of the most well known books ever (heard of J.R.R. Tolkein?) with its parks and canals and countryside-esque tendencies.

‘I’m by the Bull’

Everyone has heard of the Birmingham Bull in the city centre, so it’s naturally the best meeting point when you’ve accidentally lost everyone in Primark. You’ll just have to hope that you’re not getting in the way of tourist photos when you’re waiting for your mates to turn up. Just make sure your friends know you’re talking about the actual bull and not the pub: having to specify ‘in town’ to your alcoholic group of friends is always a must on a night out. 

‘Let’s go to the maccies on the Ramp’

The ramp is literally that – a huge ramp that takes you from New street to Grand Central – it’s massive, foreboding and always busy. Did I mention the McDonalds? There’s one of those on there too. The ramp is not only home to a Maccies and a Greggs but is also functional and saves us Brummies from walking over the new tram tracks on Corporation street. The trams happened over night and we’re all very confused about what they actually are, where they go and how we avoid getting knocked over by one.

We all hung out in ‘Pigeon Park’

Pigeon park – the literal home of the emo haircut, WKD on a Friday evening and many cringy teenage memories. Chiling outside St Phillip’s Cathedral was the key part to our adolescent years. Talking about Pigeon Park to a Liverpudlian will make no sense but to any Brummie it’ll bring back fond (or maybe not so fond) memories.

pigeon park

Pigeon park banta

The constant imitation

It sounds silly but being a Brummie in a new city is a bit like being off Geordie Shore, or being some sort of Z List celeb – as soon as you open your mouth and it clicks that you’re from Brum, everyone automatically starts talking in yam yam or in that really awful mock Brummie accent we all know and are forced to put up with. There is no escaping it and there’s no place to hide – once it starts it doesn’t stop. There is a massive difference between Black Country and Birmingham accents and no, I’m not going to explain it to you.

Birmingham is the best place to grow up

Liverpool is beautiful and a good night out and a bit of a home from home, but it will never erase a Birmingham upbringing.  Being a Brummie isn’t something you can drop that easily – you can take the girl out of Brum but you can’t take Brum out of the girl.