October 13

The Brumpic Editors Letter

I’m not entirely certain what qualifies me to be the editor of this exciting project but I am. In fact, I’m not too sure what qualifies me to call myself a Brummie but I do. I wasn’t born in Birmingham, neither were my parents nor a single member of my family.

My Father came here, alone at first, from Dublin in the late 60’s, with the notion of becoming an English Bobby after failing to enter the Irish Garda on the question of his not so fluent Gaelic. He only knew basic sayings such as ‘La ar doigh agat!!’ and if you look that up you will soon realise that wouldn’t have got him very far. He saw an advert for the then Birmingham City Police in The Daily Mirror and he was sold. It was a very different world back then. I have a vague idea why Birmingham held such an appeal but that’s another show. I can say though, that most of the things you read about that time are true, signs on lodgings reading ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs!!’ He had some hard times, being sent home from work when the terrible Birmingham pub bombings took place for fear that his accent or his mere presence might offend someone. He understood why but it must of been truly awful for him , that anyone might begin to imagine his sympathies would lie with the bombers. He was lucky to meet really really lovely salt of the earth Brummies, people that were to become our family here. Auntie Joan, Auntie Alice and Uncle Arthur, Mrs Round, Eileen & Wal, Tommy Salt, who gave him garden furniture whilst he awaited carriage of his belongings. Johnny Onions and his wife who made a present of a lovely little cot for my sister to sleep in. I feel duty bound to name check these people, although not many are still alive, they made him welcome, made us welcome and I have lived here in Birmingham for most of my life.

So, I grew up in a household of soft sleepy Irish lilts not too dissimilar to that of Des Lynam’s. Strange maybe then that I find the Brummie accent, on a man anyway, one of the sexiest ever, to quote Madonna it sends me a bit ‘wobbly bonkers’ though not sure she ever used the description in that same context. I hasten to add whenever I hear anyone trying to imitate ‘Brummay’ sounding like a really poor ‘Benny off of Crossroads’ that does absolutely nada for me. It has to be the real thing. So what then is the real thing? What is it that makes you a Brummie, proper and bone fide?! Is there something along the same lines as the Cockneys with Bow Bells? Do you have to be born within a certain radius of The Bull Ring? Or did you need to yell your first ‘Waaaaah’ within the shadow of King Kong? Perhaps its as simple as a post code? You are all probably screaming different answers at this page and I should probably research it and offer a definitive answer but to be honest I don’t really want to. For as proud of my Irish heritage as I am, if you ask me where I’m from my first response will always be Birmingham.

I have worked all over the place and especially loved London. Whenever there, be it at some crazy high powered business meeting or sat after hours in some vast intimidating advertising agency with colossal TV screens the size of football pitches showing the latest campaign won, I would always find a fellow Brummie to raise an eyebrow to when the host would hilariously answer ‘Bostin’ in his best ‘Brummay’ to any ideas we’d impart and between us we’d floor them with our uncompromising and unapologetic humour. ‘When you’re tired of London you are tired of life!’ but for all its hustle, bustle and excitement, I’m not ashamed to say I would always get a feeling of complete relief upon seeing a line of shiny black cabs snaking their way along the barriers outside New Street Station. I was home.

I found out about Brumpic on Twitter through a friend. At that time it didn’t have much of a following but I got excited to share the news that my workplace was full of atmospheric pictures from a different age, all hung in large glass frames, that you could lose yourself in whilst waiting for the lift. Photographs from the 1800’s of dapper Gents sauntering down to Snow Hill. Ladies in hats strolling through Pigeon Park. I wanted to share these lovely images, as the only likelihood of folk seeing them was if they had any dealings with Her Majesty’s Court Service. It was a shock to hear that some people just didn’t ‘get’ Brumpic. Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be but within a relatively short time it’s grown into one of the biggest accounts in Birmingham. Personally, I think it’s pretty easy to see why. The French word for photograph is souvenir, little two dimensional memories. Moments you don’t want to forget and connections to people and places since passed. Simple really.

‘This Is Birmingham’ the website is in it very early stages. Our hope is that it becomes a community site, with as much packed in about Brum as we can. Snap shots and stories from anyone and everyone, any walk of life, any age. We are interested in absolutely everyone that makes up this city of ours.

We’ve still stuff to do. Social Eyes, our listings page will be as much for fancy pants do’s with big budgets as it will be for anything that we think we may be able to help you to push. Social Media, a links page for accounts we think you might be interested in. Speaker’s Corner, a space for you to have your say. Ideas we are still working on. We are amazingly lucky to have such support. We are really fortunate that all the people we have approached want to get involved .

I will sign off, but not before I thank everyone involved so far and I thank you for your interest.

Hope you enjoy.