BirmingHELL

HELL: BIRMINGHAM BRANCH

Seen this pic of a rather rather terrifying character wandering around the new New Street Station? Face facts people, Birmingham's haunted all to hell, so there's no better city to host Shock & Gore, Britain's finest horror movie festival, starting July 5 at The Electric Cinema. Festival director, David Baldwin, cherry-picked 5 of the 19 events for your frightened refusal. Err, sorry, we mean heightened perusal. Click the pics for dates, prices and venues.
HORROR AS ART 
"We'll be screening Eyes Without A Face, a movie that will stay with you long after it's finished. It sounds graphic, but isn't. It's about a surgeon who tries to repair his daughter's face by grafting on to it the faces of beautiful women. We've managed to get it in 35mm film format from the BFI. The French guy who made it was best known for high art documentaries and suddenly, bang, he made a horror. It's beautiful."
BAD MOVIE NIGHT: R.O.T.O.R.
"An awful, low budget, 80s film that jumped on the Robocop and Terminator bandwagon, it'll kickstart our bad film nights where the purpose is to screen and commentate on truly terrible films. R.O.T.O.R is about a killer robot cop who can be stopped by simply pressing a car horn. Character names include John Mango and Shoeboogie. It's 90 minutes of hilariously bad genius." Trailer here
FLAT WHITES AND FLATLINING
"Have some cake, talk about death. This is Birmingham's first death cafe, there's no screening involved. Started by a guy in Australia the idea is to open up the discussion of death. Remove the taboo. This isn't a support group, it's a chat about mortality. Artists Conjuror's Kitchen are providing food and they've made some incredible cakes [see Hannibal cake, pictured] so I'm excited about what they'll bring." 
THE LOST BOYS ALL-NIGHTER 
"There's a loose theme throughout the festival of homosexuality in horror - we're hosting a lecture on it - and Lost Boys has some not so subtle homoerotic undertones. We'll screen the movie and then have a party downstairs, which begins with the Shock & Gore 2014 awards, where we’ll dish out awards for, among others, Best Death and Worst Nicolas Cage Movie of the year. Expect cocktails."  
AN EVENING OF LYNCH
"We’ll be celebrating David Lynch's work with a 35mm screening of Mulholland Drive, then we’ll delve into the world of Twin Peaks, with a special TP-related screening and the chance for attendees to win a copy of the brand new Twin Peaks Blu-Ray, with 90 minutes of unseen footage. If you're a Twin Peaks fan this is a must. Our bar will be serving cherry pie and a damn fine cup of coffee."
Head to here for a full list of events with all dates, prices and venues. 

THE BREWDOG OF WINE 


Wine nerds Connolly's brought more than a few bottles of Some Young Punks to the brilliant Birmingham Wine Festival and we got to know the stuff rather well. It's delicious. Made by three Australians in, erm, Australia, it's not mass produced. "If someone doesn't like the way we do it," say the Punks "They had better put the bottle down, because there's not enough to go around." Connolly's stock four of the range (prices start at £14.95), but can get their mitts on any of them. The ace branding makes it a great statement bottle to take to a dinner party.    

PAINT YOUR OWN HUMAN 


Weekend plans? There are still tickets available to the Holi One colour festival, taking place tomorrow from from noon until 10pm. Thousands are expected to descend on the Rainbow Arena to, among other things, fling paint at their pals. Expect music, dance, performance art and lots and lots of colour. The Holi One powder is available in six colours: Pink Bikini, Green Planet, Blue Lagoon, Yellow Sunrise, Juicy Orange or Violet Secret. Wear white. Tickets cost £30.99 and can be bought here. More info here.
HAY FOR DINNER?
 
BE Festival arrives July 2 and we're at the business end of ticket buying. What's BE Festival? It's Birmingham’s blooming huge international theatre celebration in which you see four 30 minute-long shows each night and eat dinner on the main stage of The Rep. Eh? Dinner, on the stage? That piqued our interest, too. Experimental gastronomers Blanch & Shock are providing the food - the people who made this exploding cake and this pile of animal bones - and although they have toned down their Willy Wonkary a touch, they'll still be serving the likes of hay and hogweed in flour tortillas and smacked cucumbers. Naughty cucumbers! Head here for the full menu and to book dinner (£8). More about Be Festival here.
ALFRESCO G&T

Isn't it marvellous when two of your best friends get together? Birmingham-made super gin Langley No.8 has climbed into bed with The Bureau to launch the city's first juniper dedicated roof terrace. If you're a fan of gin or sun (and if you're neither, you may want to seek help) then this is the place to park yourself. The glorious Colmore Row terrace (we checked it out last night. It rained.) holds 60 people, offering mainly G&Ts, but also cocktails, beers, wines and cigars. There's weekly set menus atop the Grade II listed building, with barbecues planned throughout the summer and an outdoor cinema in the pipeline. And if you're a hotdog fan, The Bureau has more than a few gourmet options. Peruse their Facebook!  
Venue: Becky's Bhajis, street food stall; beckysbhajis.com 
Choice: 3 onion bhajis with date and tamarind sauce, £3.50 Chooser: Becky

If you're anything like us you've been long lamenting the demise of the ball-shaped onion bhaji. In the 90s it was all you could get. Rotund, airy, crispy, utterly delicious. What the hell happened? When did chefs decide to flatten them, squeeze the life out and present them as stodgy, lifeless, fat-pancakes? Not Becky's Bhajis. No sir. Light and flavoursome with a pitch-perfect kick of heat, they're just as they were. "Bhaji translates as scattered" Becky told us "so they have no business being squished." Becky's menu (see here) is refreshingly simple, but be sure to try the show-stopping date and tamarind sauce. She's a regular at Kings Heath's Brum Yum Yum, but keep tabs on her movements on Twitter.  Spread the word, the bhaji is NOT DEAD! 
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