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"ONCE YOU STOP LEARNING, YOU START DYING" - EINSTEIN

It's 49 days until the fourth season of House of Cards is released and you've almost finished Making a Murderer. So this is it - the prime moment in the year to try something new. And whether you aspire to climb, to chop, to click or to create, Birmingham has a course for you. Here's our pick.
PIMP YOUR VEG
Harborne Food School is putting vegetables at the centre of the conversation with a monthly class on novel ways to enjoy the good stuff in all its natural, meatless glory. Create recipes inspired by HFS favourites, Ottolenghi and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and learn where to buy the very best in herbaceous goodies yourself. Your next chance to be veg-ucated is February 2. £65. Book.
STAND-UP COMEDY
Learn to develop your own stand-up routine over thirteen weeks, under the tuition of professional comedian, James Cook. The course, which is primarily taught through exercises and games, culminates in a showcase performed to a paying audience. This term's course had sold out back in December but you can book up for the next instalment, at £94, which starts at mac Birmingham on April 11.
CLIMBING AND BOULDERING
Whether you've got designs on Everest or just want something a little bit worthy to talk about when you get to work, Redpoint Climbing Centre's got more than 75 lines across its three dimensional, boulder-filled rock mecca. If you can muster a group of four, the team will put on your very own taster session - at a time to suit - for £36. They also do drop in sessions (£9). The next is on January 18 at 7.30pm.
BUILD A BIRD. NO REALLY.
For that significant swathe of society who resolved to build more birds from paper clay in 2016 the RBSA are holding a workshop where you can do exactly that. With some sketching, frame-building and taxidermy sprinkled on top, no artsy experience is required for you to create your very own conspicuously unfeathered friend. From 11am on February 13, it's £56 (£51 for students and RSBA friends). Book.
SHARPEN YOUR COFFEE GAME
Not content with peddling some of the greatest joe in the city, Faculty is offering you their laid-back expertise on all things java, in the form of three classes covering everything from Aeropress, to brewing methods, to the variance in taste of different beans. Starting at 6pm on February 4, you can buy in to a single class, or get all three for £40. Sessions are limited to four people. Book in-store.
DSLR PHOTOGRAPHY
Is now the time to bring up that hefty, camera-shaped, far too expensive Christmas acquisition you desperately wanted but have next to no idea how to use? Thought not, but while we're not talking about it, you might be interested to hear that the Botanical Gardens is hosting a series of four-week courses covering light, exposure and DSLR basics. Secure a spot on the next round, beginning February 20 (£55).

TRAINSPOTTING VENUE REVEALED


It's been almost twenty years since Trainspotting was released - and if that doesn't make you baulk at the age you first viewed a copy (ten; it was our brother's fault) you had some particularly attentive parents. Following obscenely successful runs at both Edinburgh Fringe and in London, a dark and immersive iteration of the Irvine Welsh classic is coming to a stage - or more specifically - a warehouse - near you. And while the location has been a secret until this very moment, we can exclusively divulge that the production will be performed under Digbeth's railway arches, in a little accessed unit of appropriate mystique, next to Spotlight. Showing as part of the launch of a Lower Trinity Street facelift which we hear will be of Kardashian proportions (think Bourbon Street style bar, drive-in cinema and a lounge with an ardent focus on gin), the production has even been described as 'shocking' by Welsh himself. Suffice to say drugs, strobes, nudity and that toilet all feature in a more than incidental manner. From March 23 to April 2, get tickets for this collaboration with mac Birmingham for £15. Trailer
Venue: Pho, Grand Central, Stephenson Place, Birmingham, B2 4XJ; website 
Choice: Spicy Green Pho (£9.50) Chooser: Manager

You're nearly a fortnight into that unfamiliar world of packed lunches and parsimony. And there's only so long you can hold out. So this week, we've got a first step back into the world of eating out - which is beyond repute - both in quantity of veg and ability to be purchased for under a tenner. Until the end of February, Pho is offering two new bowls of brothy noodly goodness, consumption of which is equivalent to at least a year of vitamin supplements (it's not) and tastes infinitesimally better. Plump for the spicy green pho, which comes with oodles of pak choi, morning glory and green beans, as well as chicken breast and the usual herby Pho accompaniments. Also utterly satisfying with mushrooms of the shitake and enoki variety (or with beef), ask for extra napkins - first date territory, this is not.

HAGGIS MEETS SAXOPHONE. FALLS IN LOVE.


Burns Night is on January 25, which is a Monday. As everyone knows, it's obscene to go out on the first day of the week in January. It is however entirely acceptable to do so on a Sunday - and to drink whisky - which is pretty fortunate given that The Church's haggis-based banquet takes place on the eve of Burns Night itself (January 24). Get your haggis, neaps and tatties, finished off by way of a mustard whisky sauce for the main event. There'll be cranachan for afters, a traditional Scottish dessert which includes raspberries, whipped cream, and, yes, whisky. The piping of the haggis will be conducted by saxophone, because no-one likes bag pipes. Tickets, at £25, include three courses, plus a Macallan Gold, and are available behind the bar, or book right here and take the booking fee on the chin. Veggie options. More.

MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
THE REVENANT


The Revenant may do everything it can to attract awards bar waggling its touche in front of Oscar voters, which has provoked some kneejerk scorn in its stateside reviews - but this is muscular, visceral filmmaking that’s a million miles away from more staid trophy bait. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a fur hunter in the nineteenth century American wilderness who’s left for dead after being mauled by a bear, and subsequently mounts an epic quest for revenge. Repeated sequences of Leo looking authentically freezing can get a little repetitive, but there are scenes of such brutality you won’t forget them in a hurry, and the photography by Mexican maestro Emmanuel Lubezki is among the best ever seen in a cinema. The filmmaking may be better than the film, but what filmmaking this is. Times and trailer
  • Tickets are on sale for Sleaford Mods - Invisible Britain at the Mockingbird, which follows the Nottingham-based band's tour in the run up to 2015's general election. £5. January 23. More
  • After a refurb of seismic proportions, the Grade II listed doors of Stirchley Baths re-open today as an event space and cafe. Birmingham Opera Company is doing the entertaining
  • Soul, jazz and hip-hop heroes, Trope, are at the Hare and Hounds this very night (January 14). Presented by THSH, tickets are £8
  • Homeware heretics, Joseph Joseph are launching 24 new products care of a pop up at John Lewis. Exclusively until Jan 23
  • Our masterfully named blog - Witness the Fitness - has been updated. Console yourself with our progress
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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Jordyn Newton, Andrew Lowry
I CHOOSE Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA

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