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BIRMINGHAM'S BEST CAR PARKS (SORT OF)

Had a cracking day out at a car park recently? No us neither, but photographer and architect Tim Cornbill has become a staunch champion of these concrete carbuncles and begs us to reconsider. Tim has some truly spectacular shots under his belt, but it may surprise you to learn that some of his greatest work has been taken from the top of Birmingham’s city centre car parks. If you fancy your hand at capturing Brum at its best, Tim’s been kind enough to give away some of his favourite locations.
Click the pics for bigger versions
Town Hall Car Park, Brunel Street 
"Most people will know this car park as 'the red cage'. It’s one of our most central. You get brilliant views of the new Library, Alpha Tower and The Mailbox. I took this shot on New Year’s Eve – my girlfriend wasn’t too thrilled when I told her we’d be seeing in 2014 on top of a car park, but even she had to admit we had the perfect spot for the fireworks. The view is great at any time of day, but I particularly like to capture the sun hitting Alpha Tower as it rises over the city." Car park location
Edgbaston Street Car Park, Dudley Street 
“This one's right next to the Bullring and perfect for getting close shots of Selfridges and St Martin’s Church, as well as an overview of Digbeth. I took this photo looking over China Town as the sun was setting, and managed to get the new moon in. It’s a good idea to take a tripod to this one. Try to get a long exposure, especially if you’re lucky enough to see the traffic moving, which it wasn’t when I took this."
Car park location
Londonderry House Car Park, Dalton Street 
"This one's great for photographing a big chunk of the city centre and the Rotunda, and also the redbrick law courts in the opposite direction - the Victorian chimneys always remind me of a scene from Mary Poppins. This shot was taken in the early morning pointing out to the west. I think Londonderry is one the best kept secrets of the car park underworld; it’s well hidden but has some of the most surprising views of Birmingham." Car park location
High Street / Albert Street Car Park, Albert Street 
"I'll admit Albert Street is one of the ugliest car parks in Birmingham, but it offers superb views of the Bullring. Early morning shots - like this one - come out great. Be sure to turn towards Birmingham City football ground in the opposite direction, for a few snaps. It’s definitely one to watch for the future as it’s in the perfect spot to capture the HS2 station, when it arrives in Eastside [at Curzon Street]." Car park location
Paradise Circus Car Park, Brindley Drive 
"The new library is fast becoming an icon of the city and this car park is great for capturing it up close, especially at night when it’s lit up. Listen, I know car parks aren't the most glamorous locations but they are a great way to get above the city and find a new perspective. I visit these five regularly but Snow Hill Station Car Park also provides a really nice view of the JQ, and Markets Car Park on Moat Lane, Digbeth provides the best uninterrupted view of the full skyline." Car park location
(f you’d like to see more of Tim’s stunning work, check out his website and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. You can also buy prints on RedBubble)

OPUS: LAST CALL FOR LOBSTER 


If you haven't taken full advantage of Opus's preposterously good lobster offer, we strongly suggest you get to it, stat. Needless to say, we have. For £17.50 you get the meaty goodness of an astonishingly fresh and flavoursome 1lb, grilled native lobster with fries or tomato salad. It's not a mess-free dish, but hurling yourself flood-blooded into a shellfish wrestle is part of the fun and the toughest cuts and cracks are done for you. Cruelly the last day of the deal is bearing down on us - August 31 - and, like your mother always says, when it's gone it's gone.  

DRACULA:
DEAD BUT DANCING


Time to get some culture in your lugholes and some teeth in your jugular. In 2013 the Mark Bruce Company toured its darkly thrilling dance-theatre production Dracula (winning the prestigious South Bank Award for Dance) including a sellout run in London. Their rendition of Bram Stoker’s 1897 tale (has it been that long?!) comes to Birmingham from October 15 to 18, and includes music from Bach and his buddy Mozart, as well as contemporary composer György Ligeti, who - moderately interesting fact alert - was born in Transylvania. Tickets: £12

EDINBURGH STARS BRUM-BOUND


That Edinburgh Fringe is quite a big deal, but it's also a 600 mile round trip. Rather fortunate then that two of the top comedy acts from this year's festival are heading our way. Romesh Ranganathan (pictured, left) who's been nominated for best comedy show 2014 joins Suzi Ruffell in a double headlining, one-night-only gig (November 14) at The Glee Club. "Ranganathan is on his way to comedy greatness," says Always Be Comedy's London-based MC, James Gill. "Bear in mind what he's achieved – Live At The ApolloMock The Week and Stand Up For The Week, in just five years (no time at all for a comedian), it gives you an idea of the former teacher's talent."  On top of that James Acaster (right) has received his third Foster's Edinburgh Comedy award nomination in a row, also for best show. It will land at The Glee on Thursday 9th October. More details and tickets for Ranganathan here and Acaster here.  
Venue: Fergusons, 7a Eastfield Place, Rugby, CV21 3AT; fergusonsrugby.co.uk 
Choice: Peanut Butter Parfait; £5.50  Chooser: Front of house staff 

If you're willing to travel for food and, let's face it, until 12,000 years ago and the invention of agriculture, we were all doing it daily, then allow us to point you Rugby-ward where Fergusons are doing remarkable things on plates. One of the best house wine menus we've come across (revel in their 2013 Paparuda, Sauvignon Blanc, £15.95 per bottle) pairs brilliantly with an accomplished yet simple menu - just how we like it. Their Smoked Salmon Scotch Egg (£7.50) is a must for any Scotch egg aficionado (you'd be surprised how many there are in Birmingham) while the Peanut Butter Parfait dessert was the standout dish of the night. We'd love to tell you all about it, but we wasted 40 words earlier waffling on about hunter-gatherers and now we're rapidly running out of roo...
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WORDS: Lucy Smith

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