I don't often write diary posts but sometimes a weekend is so full on, it's a way to offload stuff and think about them later. So here's the rather strange collection of activities and oddities that Birmingham presented this weekend.
FRIDAY: Trampolines and New Romantics
1. The 28th Trampoline and Tumbling World Championship, NIA
I've never paid to go to a sporting event before but I was fascinated to see what the world's best offered in terms of sports that basically involved jumping, bouncing and general boinging.
I'd completed a 12-week beginners trampoline course last year in which someone was stretchered off by paramedics in week 1 so I knew it would be nerve-wracking. It was also a challenge on the photographic front with fast-moving athletes against the busy background of a crowd. Suffice it to say, the athletes were incredible, the vibe slightly strange – more on that in Pete's post – and my snaps quite blurry. Here are a couple of the ones that worked and also some lo-fi phone video of two trampoline routines. Just look at how high they jump!
2. Only After Dark, Air
I go to nightclubs about as often as I go to sporting events. Amusingly, as the trampoline event above finished as 9pm, I had to go to the NIA dressed up (something like this lot) ready to go straight on to 'ONLY AFTER DARK – a monthly club at Air Nightclub, Birmingham night based on the Bowie nights of the late 70s/early 80s'. The DJ line-up featured Rusty Egan from the famous Blitz Club in London, and DJ Dick from the Rum Runner, where Duran Duran first kicked into life. I was happy because my chum came up from London and because they played four hours of music I recognised and wanted to dance to – including my favourite B-side: Hard Times by The Human League. Spot the DJ in this phone snap…
And here I am courtesy of birthday girl Bev Hislop:
SATURDAY: Vampires and glitches
3. Breaking Dawn Part 2, The Electric Cinema
The final (sort of) movie instalment of the Twilight series, described by various friends as romantic crack for teenage girls up to middle-aged woman. The films are becoming more fun to watch as they take themselves less seriously and deliver the lines with more camp. How else can you deal with a love triangle between a schoolgirl, vampire and werewolf? This one featured rather grim scenes – pregnant women are advised to avoid. Being able to drink wine at The Electric, our lovely indie cinema in central Brum, helped.
4. GLI.TC/H 20111, Vivid
Popped in to a festival celebrating something I'm not sure I can articulate. But then that's what Wikipedia is for:
"A glitch is a short-lived fault in a system. It is often used to describe a transient fault that corrects itself, and is therefore difficult to troubleshoot. The term is particularly common in the computing and electronics industries, and in circuit bending, as well as among players of video games, although it is applied to all types of systems including human organizations and nature."
I have friends who do this stuff and make art/sound/visuals out of it. I do not pretend to understand but I do enjoy, and was amused when a Brazilian glitch artist at the festival told his audience how his film was switched off by the projectionist after a minute because he thought it was just that – a glitch.
SUNDAY: Opera and doom tuba
5. Birmingham Opera Company open day, AE Harris factory
Having joined the amazing Birmingham Opera Co's last two productions (and blogged about the experience: Othello and The Wedding), I was interested to see what their next brand new opera production was all about. Life Is A Dream begins rehearsing in January for performance in March. It's a newly commissioned opera by Jonathan Dove to celebrate artistic director Graham Vick's 25 years of working with the company in Birmingham. It'll be performed back in the industrial warehouse where Othello was performed (see below) and will apparently feature a dream-like maze for the audience to walk about in. Expect the extraordinary.
6. The Sound of Birmingham, Ikon Gallery
I'm not going to make this (after a loooong weekend) but at the Ikon Gallery tonight will be the sound of Birmingham's industrial metal heritage – in the form of Lash Frenzy, Ore and SoundKitchen. Lash Frenzy blew me away last time I saw them – featuring a 40-minute sonic storm and lightshow assault akin to standing in front of a jet engine and during which I had the emotion wrung from me in the form of tears. This time they will perform a work based around the first three notes only of the song ‘Black Sabbath’. Ore, meanwhile, feature a friend Sam Underwood who took up the tuba earlier this year for the first time to play in a 'drone doom tuba group'. Doomba? It's noise as an artform. Here's a taster. See how long you last…
Coda: Sam, together with Ms Hypnotique, also provided the soundtrack for Hackybeanpouffe – a rather fun game Pete and I invented for those bored people with a floor cushion and no dust allergies.