Pasta *on* pizza? 

A CITY IN TRANSITION 

What tempts an artist to leave behind the enchanting azures of Malta and a rather sizeable yacht for the landlocked shores of Brum? And how does a potential charge of trespass lead to a career-changing residency? Chances are you've lost precisely no hours of sleep over these questions, but it turns out the answers are really rather interesting. We've been chinwagging with Associate of the Royal Birmingham Society of Arts and brush-wielding genius, Wayne Attwood
A fascination with documenting the cultural change brought by New Street Station's understated facelift led Wayne into a unique role. After being kicked off numerous train platforms mid-sketch, Wayne approached the redevelopment team to see if there was a more civilised arrangement that could be be reached. Convinced of his obvious talent and passion for the project, Wayne was awarded the position of Artist-in-Residence for the redevelopment. Wayne now makes a fortnightly visit to the site. Complete with hard-hat, high-vis jacket and his own personal cone cordon, Wayne has received unfettered access to the next step in the station's history. His resulting works will be exhibited as part of the development's eventual relaunch.  
A seven year stint sailing the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Europe moved Wayne away from the world of commercial art he had left behind in favour of the 35 foot Hitrapia and the venerable islands of Malta. But eventually it also led to a serious bout of home sickness. And in 2011, Wayne’s longing for all things urban led him to create vivid pieces like Digbeth by Night (above). With lots of his recent works emanating from Brum’s Eastside, Wayne is a man never without a sketchbook. "Even if I’m out for a coffee," he explains "I end up having to draw someone”. Piles of notebooks filled with sketches throughout his workshop attest to this.  
Though buildings feature prominently in many of his urban pieces, Wayne's focus is on the human side of a structure and the environment in which it exists. Pubs such as Oxford Street's late lamented Old Wharf (which reopened as O'Rourkes in 2014) are a favourite of Wayne’s for marking social and cultural shifts. “Everyone has a story” Wayne says, “whether it’s an uncle that used to drink in the pub I’m sketching or a distant relation to the former landlord, I rarely complete a study without learning a lot more than the architecture.”  
And if you’re wondering how Wayne goes from spotting a scene to completing one of his gritty, beautiful canvases - again, you probably haven't lost sleep over it - the above is a fairly sizeable clue. In the New Street redevelopment, poor light can distort a subject, so Wayne takes multiple sketches and heads back to his studio to capture what he has observed through oils. You can catch Wayne at one of his urban sketching classes at the RBSA to learn more. Whatever your current ability, the class is about developing techniques for producing drawings from direct observation in the urban environment. And as the last one sold out super-sharpish, we suggest you keep a close eye on the RBSA’s website for the release of Wayne’s next workshop.

A selection of Wayne’s work is being shown at the Artifex Gallery as part of its Birmingham Uncovered exhibition until the end of March.

THAT'S THE LIBRARY
TO A TEE


Before you immediately unsubscribe on the basis of the above pun, hear us out, because the makers of this t-shirt shouldn't suffer thanks to the pen of our tiresome subeditors. Available at Custard Factory outfitter Provide it, obviously, commemorates the Birmingham Central Library and presents a photo from local snapper 'Dave', a man who has dispensed entirely with the need for a surname. The tee renders the library in dramatic, angular monochrome and is a fitting continuation of Dave’s 2014 exhibition Some Remains, which documented the work of architect John Madin in light of the library's waning place in Brum's cityscape. At £25 it’s a somewhat more affordable memento than a Central Library desk.

JACK DEE:
AT GLEE


One of the highlights of Jack Dee’s 2001 show Happy Hour was when the majestic miserablist answered audience members’ gripes. Perhaps it was the incongruity of sour-faced Dee imparting life advice that made it such a treat. Here he gives that idea a canny spin by surrounding himself with some of the circuit's best and brightest to act as a gang of agony uncles and aunts for the audience. Dee will be at the Glee Club on Wednesday May 13 (£18.50), when you’ll not only laugh, but have your personal problems solved. Potentially. The Birmingham leg of the tour is a particularly hot ticket because Dee will be joined by two of the very best - the immensely likeable Kerry Godliman and the always ace Romesh Ranganathan.

MOVIE PICK OF THE WEEK: BLACKHAT


Sometimes the past can be a millstone – Michael 'Heat' Mann is a director people expect masterpieces from, so after daring to make an entertaining slice of hokum like Blackhat American critics piled on him ruthlessly. They’ve been unfair – sure, like all cyberthrillers this look into global hacking is ludicrous (whoever thought to cast Chris Hemsworth as a computer whizz has a wonderful sense of humour), but Mann’s technical skill and eye for a shootout are undimmed. What’s more, in an age of adaptations and reboots, it feels alive and contemporary in a way few films do any more - and the cities of Asia have rarely looked as good. Also out in selected cinemas - including the mac - is The Duke of Burgundy, an homage to Seventies sexploitation that may be too arty for some, but its no-BS look at a dom-sub relationship absolutely spanks 50 Shades of Grey.
Venue: Spectacular Goat, Digbeth Dining Club regulars, Spotlight, Lower Trinity Street, B9 4AG; spectaculargoat.com 
Choice: Mork (£8.50) Chooser: John Martin, Chef & Owner

Carb enthusiasts, probably best to sit down before you read further. We need to talk about pasta [dramatic pause] served on a pizza. And we're not talking optional extras or side-dishes here, street-food heroes Spectacular Goat have made Mac'n'Cheese the main event with its creation: Mork. Here's a picture of it - the photographer has been fired. Take four cheeses, double cream, truffle oil and a sauce which includes tomatoes grown on the ashy hilltops of Mount Vesuvius. Throw in generous chunks of sweet crunchy smoked bacon, roasted in maple syrup. And apply frightening levels of heat care of the team’s wood-burner, to create a crisp base with a fluffy centre. Seriously tasty and with enough salty, spicy goodness to ensure you don’t get lost in the creamy mac mix. We also hear enthusiastic rumblings about the Bradgelina (it’s a cross between the Brad and the Angelina). One is hot and one is spicy. We're not completely sure which is supposed to be which either. Sample menu: here.
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"Koreans have recently brought out their own vegetarian version of an instant noodle snack. It’s called Not Poodle."
– Jack Dee

WORDS: Katy Drohan, Kitty Sadler, James Gill, Andrew Lowry
ADDRESS: I CHOOSE Birmingham, Office 211, 43 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5LS

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