Birmingham 2022: The Commentators

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The Commentators – Source: Capsule

Here is another piece I wrote for the Discovery brochure, as part of the Birmingham 2022 project, to celebrate the opening of The New Library. Check it out, and check out the artists. You can also get the brochure at most information and cultural points in the city. All of these pieces, and many more are in there. Thanks for your interest.

Stan’s Cafe
The Commentators

The Commentators, brought to you by theatrical provocateurs and internationally renowned performance company Stan’s Cafe, will be in residence to carefully document everything they see, from the vital, to the peculiar, or the mundane. Which books are being borrowed? What is the weather like on the rooftop terrace? Look at the queues for the large print romances! If you drop in and check out some of the installations, you could even bump into them, but be careful what you do as you could provide them with some amusing material for their live show!

After previously commentating on a mammoth twenty-four hour Scalextric in 2009, Artistic Director James Yarker and Associate Director Craig Stephens went on to harness their unquenchable enthusiasm and keen observational skills to create marathon commentaries on everyday life. Now, you could be a part of one of their renowned shows. These two sheepskin fanatics will be happy to bring some audible colour to all that you see.

They will also be at the New Library of Birmingham VIP opening to webcast descriptions of the glitzy event, and will stay through the first three days of public access. To hear more and get an idea of what to expect, simply check out their work here.

Craig

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200th Post: Bits and bobs from Birmingham 2022

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Myself at the first mac workshop – Source: Birmingham 2022

So, this is officially the 200th post here on The Real Mid Card. The site has been going for around eight months now, we’ve been posting at least once a day (often twice) for over two months. We aren’t just talking tiny little links to news feeds either, often thousand word reviews, features and opinion. I’d like to thank everyone who has shown an interest in the work, on behalf of myself and the other three writers. Here’s to another 100 posts and the rest of the year! The pro wrestling calendar shows no signs of slowing down, and we intend to be here for the ride!

As I said in a previous post, now that the New Library of Birmingham is officially open and the Birmingham 2022 project has more than come to a close, it seems like the opportune time to start putting out some of the pieces of work I did for the project. If you live in the area, you can get a copy of the Discovery Season brochure, and the Birmingham 2022 zine, with this work published in it. If not, I hope you enjoy reading it here, and let me know what you think. I’m just going to start off with a couple of short pieces. Thanks for reading.

The following is a short poem I wrote for the zine, which is the future-gazing side of the project. It’s my hopeful interpretation of how cultural integration may bring unity to the city in just under ten years time.

Idealistic

The streets are filled with colour again
Divisions are now wearing thin
Those who corrupt and those who distract
Are afraid of the future
But those with bold and open hearts
Escape the shackles of a dark past
Not forgetting but progressing
Under a bright and defiant flag

The next article is a short summary I wrote, to be included in the zine, summarizing my feelings on the project and the work we all did together as a team.

Summary

It’s been a really fruitful few months of thinking, talking and working together. Everyone has had the chance to learn, to create and to predict the future. We have forecast technological advances, cultural changes and our own respective destinies. It’s been tough, but rewarding. Are we way off the mark, or are we right on the money? We shall have to see. Maybe you could predict your own future, or just let it be.

Leave a comment if you have any opinions, or tips, or thoughts. Thanks for all of your support and hit ‘Follow’ if you’d like to read some more!

Craig

Birmingham 2022: The New Library Opens!

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The New Library of Birmingham – Source: http://www.openbuildings.com

So a quick update on my work for the Birmingham 2022 project, a very short one. The now largest civic building in Europe officially opened today. If you live around the area, go and check it out. It’s a real wonder to behold. As I mentioned before, it’s been a pleasure covering the development and the artists involved in the festival to celebrate it’s opening to the public. Until now, I wasn’t able to post anything on that. I’m going to be posting the articles that I wrote for the Discovery Season brochure on here. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Click here to take a look at all the fascinating art-forms on display throughout Discovery Season. Be sure to come back here to The Real Mid Card to see my opinions on them. You can pick up the finished brochure in plenty of cultural areas and information points across the city, including the Bullring, so get your hands on one!

Thanks for all of your support reading the site, and I hope you enjoy reading the work as it comes in over the next week or two.

Craig

Birmingham 2022: Summary

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Birmingham skyline – Source: birmingham2022.wordpress.com

Just a quick update on the Birmingham 2022 project I’ve been working on. So the summer school is coming to a close. All of my work has been finished and drafted. The brochure and zine are starting to take shape, and they will be available in a month or less. Then it’s just a case of looking forward to the opening and all of the festivities of the Discovery Season. When it’s all done and dusted, I think I’m allowed to post my articles, so I will be sure to share that stuff on here. Keep an eye out for that.

The last few months have contained a lot of meetings, a lot of talking, a lot of thinking and a heck of a lot of writing. It’s been pretty gruelling at times, but very rewarding. I’m happy with the way some of my ideas have turned out, and I’ve enjoyed working as part of an editorial team again. Hopefully the hard work will pay off. The last two weeks have been real crunch time, and it’s been rather stressful doing all of the work at home after working twelve hour days at the office.

I’ve loved meeting and working with some great people. It’s been a very worthwhile experience. I even got paid for some of the dates, which in my line of work, is incredible. I also got to go on a VIP tour of the New Library of Birmingham before most other people, and saw Jasper Carrot in the elevator while I was there. Can’t ask for much more than that out of a project, can ya? The rewards have been worth it, but it’s been a tough old slog. I’m glad to be finished to be honest.

I’m very glad to say that it’s all over and now I can relax and start to focus on some other projects. The tour film is almost complete, I’m starting to take a look at an idea for a sitcom pilot, and a couple of pals have had a thought about doing some podcasts. Any advancements on any of these things will be posted on here. It’s always good to pepper the sea of wrestling content with the occasional dash of other. I have a hole in my schedule that needs filling, and some new chapters to explore.

My main priority will continue to be this blog. I will always be obsessed with WWE, and will continue to bring you coverage of every episode of Raw and Smackdown, reviews on every pay-per-view, more Warrior Poetry and more from the worlds of Ring of Honor and TNA. Thanks for all of your persistent support. Help us to spread the word about the site, and keep coming back to The Real Mid Card for entertaining pro wrestling content.

Craig

The Natural Power of Time and Cultural Integration

The following is a very rough draft for an article/idea on future gazing. It’s part of my work for the Birmingham 2022 project. I will be transforming these predictions and opinions into poetry for the publication, and a more articulate version of this will probably appear too. I hope you like it. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

The Natural Power of Time and Cultural Integration

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Birmingham – Source: http://www.birminghamnewsroom.com

Birmingham is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the whole of the UK. It has the highest population of any district in the country, with over a million inhabitants. The ‘Second City’ also has the highest percentage of non-white occupants in any city. Research conducted by the University of Manchester forecasts that by 2024, Birmingham will become the nation’s second ‘plural city’ where no ethnicity forms a majority.

This mixture of a variety of races, religions and creeds has given birth to a vibrant, diverse community. This community is the foundation for an artistic backdrop, which is sometimes hidden by clouds of negativity. This great, historic city and its current inhabitants (and all of their respective roots) come together to make Birmingham one of the most exciting places to be in the country. Its infrastructure, its business and its educational institutions make it a big player. Its arts and culture give it its true character and identity.

Modern day Birmingham does have its problems. If you believe the media, it’s a year or two away from Armageddon. There are areas with very high crime rates. Gun and knife offences aren’t a thing of legend. Unemployment is an issue. In March 2013, The Office of National Statistics revealed that Birmingham’s Ladywood constituency has the highest percentage of benefit claimants in the whole country, and it wasn’t alone at the top of the list. Hodge Hill came in second.

For young people growing up in the urban areas that surround the city centre, it’s often difficult to escape the everyday problems and drama that take over their communities. The racial and religious differences that exist in Birmingham are often over-hyped and used to distract the people at the bottom from the crucial issues, and divide them. The riots of summer 2011 served as a stark reminder that there is frustration and aggression in the streets of multi-cultural Britain. People are, and will increasingly become more aware of the real divide. A divide in class.

Through all of the negativity, there still has always existed a sense of creativity. A sometimes dark city is given light by performers and artists of all variations. Some of the most famous musicians in the world hail from Birmingham. The roots of heavy metal were developed here. Reggae music inspired by the West Indian population has evolved here. The Irish population gave us its music and traditions, and its mark is still left here in places like The Irish Centre in Digbeth.  Asian culture and music is huge here. Hip-hop, jazz, soul and blues are still prevalent here. Its art, literature and theatre are renowned nationwide. The city is home to some of the most impressive architecture and most famous performance arenas in the country. There is always something going on in Birmingham.

As for the future of Birmingham, I expect more of the same. I see Birmingham in 2022 as a place of colour, vibrancy and life. I expect to see a population more in tune with each other, more united, and more creative. Through artistic expression, I expect to see the people come together more often in celebration and protest. I predict celebrations of the city’s unique roots and styles. I predict protests condemning and holding to account, the powers that be. There may be violence, there may be riots. There is sure to be a lot of creation and a lot of expression. I hope there will be unity. It’s unnatural for human beings not to come together and embrace their unique differences. I don’t see that kind of mindset continuing into the progressive future I expect to find myself in. That is my idealistic vision for Birmingham in 2022.

This is a session recap I wrote for the opening session of the Birmingham 2022 magazine project – Not really relevant to anyone who wasn’t there, but what the hell. Reblogging for rebloggings sake!

Birmingham 2022

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We had our first Birmingham 2022 session on Saturday at mac, birmingham. Here is a session recap written by Craig (pictured).

Session recap (Sat 16th March)

Today’s session was mainly about getting to know the other people in the group. We did a lot of exercises to help drum each others names into our heads, and I think it worked. I am pretty sure I have them all down now, and my memory isn’t great so it must have worked. It wasn’t all just about meeting and greeting. We also spent some time discussing the project, the schedule and the organisations involved (Capsule, Fused, Birmingham Library, etc.)

We looked to the future and imagined where we, our careers and the city of Birmingham may be in ten years. We filmed short videos with our thoughts. We partnered up, interviewed each other and wrote biogs on each other. This helped…

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