In June, Chokwe Lumumba, Jr. was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi on a platform that promised to make it the "most radical city on the planet;" this week, Randall Woodfin creamed incumbent opponent William Bell in the mayoral race for Birmingham, Alabama, with a platform that promised free community college for Birmingham high-school grads, expanded pre-K, and more money for public transit and job training. Read the rest
I could not have asked for a nicer crowd than the ones who turned up for last night's event at Liverpool One's Waterstones; now I'm looking forward to today's lunchtime signing at Birmingham Waterstones, on my way to tomorrow's Hay Festival event with Adam Rutherford. Read the rest
Last night's sold-out Walkaway tour event with Laurie Penny at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road was spectacular (and not just because they had some really good whisky behind the bar), and the action continues today with a conversation with Olivia Sudjic tonight at Pages of Hackney, where we'll be discussing her novel Sympathy as well as Walkaway. Read the rest
One of the things I loved about the two years I lived in Birmingham, AL: Being in a place where people openly and un-ironically fired guns into the air in order to celebrate things. This was something new to me, despite being raised a good country family with high levels of gun ownership. But that was in Kansas. Viva la difference, southern US! For instance, on the 4th of July, 2012, the Birmingham police recorded 1,098 incidents of gunfire (they have a detection system that's able to distinguish between gunshots and fireworks). In 2011, there were only 75 gunshots recorded. In 2010, 495. Which leads me to wonder: Is this random, or is there some factor leading to an increase in celebratory gunfire over the last three years? What social and economic factors affect the number of bullets people are willing to pump into the air?(Via Stan Diel) Read the rest
Sue sez, "If the LibraryCamp Crowdfunder pitch reaches its target, library workers from across the UK be heading to Birmingham in October to attend LibraryCamp 2012 (think Barcamp). The volunteer organisers decided to set up their own DIY conference last year because traditional conferences were too expensive and often staff on the frontline weren't allowed to go. But Library camp is different - it's an unconference for a start, so anyone can lead a workshop or facilitate a session. It's also free to attend and you don't have to be a librarian or even work in a library, you just need to be passionate about the future of libraries."
Library Camp brings together people who are interested in modernising and transforming libraries for one day of intensive debate, knowledge sharing and ideas. It's an unconference so anyone can lead a workshop or facilitate a session and it's free to attend. You don't have to be a librarian or even work in a library, you just need to be passionate about the future of libraries. This year the unconference will be back in Birmingham in October and we want to invite 200 people so we need to raise £1000 to pay for a venue and feed the campers!
Library Camp 2012
(Thanks, Sue!) Read the rest
Joe from Forbidden Planet sez, "A couple of our comics stores in Manchester and Birmingham got damaged during the awful riots this week (what sort of numpty attacks their local comics store?!) - luckily they didn't get into the stores, it was just the frontage took some bruises and staff are all fine. One of our colleagues at our much loved Nostalgia & Comics store in Birmingham, David, sent us this photo which just seemed to sum things up rather nicely."
…. and this about sums it all up…..
(Thanks, Joe!) Read the rest