World of Chig   

Brum's back open again

Three years we've waited, putting up with a building site where the city centre used to be, and today the wraps came off (on time!). And was it worth it? Yes, it bloody well was! Awesome, spacious, stylish in parts, daring in parts, and very user-friendly, that was Chig's impression of the new Bullring today. It's impossible to overstate how massive this project has been. A huge portion of the city centre has been knocked down. A huge mountain of earth was removed. Parts of the city are now on levels that didn't exist before. Roads exist where they never existed before, and others now run in different directions. Historic street names which were lost have now been reinstated, which I think is fantastic. Statues have been moved, and other sculptures specially commissioned. St. Martin's church (where people from whom I'm directly descended married in the late C19th) has been restored from its greeny-black slime to a lovely sandy colour. There are cafes and shops, and a HUGE Selfridges (which seems to have recruited its clothing assisitants from model agencies!) Plus the arrival of two stores I'm particularly pleased about: a big Borders, with coffee shop, and Zara, both new to Brum.

The only thing I didn't like? That walkway - see my picture below - which connects the car park with Selfridges. Eight floors up, and the moment I stepped out onto it, my knees turned to jelly! I came back along the ground level and took the lift.

I'm not being paid to say this, honest, but here in Birmingham, we sorted out the clubbing/theatre/bars thing during the 90s, with some of the best concentrations of entertainment areas in the UK (whatever your sexual persuasion). And today, with 150 new shops open at the drop of a hat, I can unequivocally say, COME TO BRUM. It's fab!

PS. Note to Bullring's designers: if you put a sculpture of an animal in the street, children will stick their fingers up its nostrils. See below.

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Diolch yn fawr, Caerdydd!

One of these people used to be in Steps.
I've just had a stupendously brilliant weekend at Cardiff Mardi Gras. Met some great new people, reaquainted myself with some old friends, and took 314 photos. More later in the week, including some of those photos.

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