1. I know quite a few people who live behind the spotted dog in the Abacus building, and not one of them objects to noise levels generated from the various event venues in the area.
    In fact, as pointed out in the video, its part of the reason they moved into Digbeth, to be close to these places.

    I wonder if the West End in London has similar problems from people who move into the area, i think not.

    The entertainment industry in Digbeth should be encouraged and helped by the council, it creates jobs, provides a much needed release for residents of Birmingham, and turns over good money. In the current economic climate, i think this is much needed.

    The Night Times ran a great front page article on this a few months ago, looking into the future when Digbeth is a silent area.

    Good work Project X – I’ll put this up on my site now too.

  2. Great piece of documentary video and citizen journalism / activism. It exposes the problems with the current system well, but it seems to assumes that the viewer has some knowledge of this case, which is probably true for Created in Birmingham audience, but limits the effectiveness of the video for wider viewing.

    However, whilst I fully support the cause being pressed, to make this more balanced and less biased there should be interviews with the complainants, or at least attempts to interview them to put their side of the story. If they fail to respond it would add more weight to the argument presented.

    Keep up the good work and lets stop this injustice now!

  3. cat

    All this ties in nicely with the councils aim to repopulate the city centre too, ie more city centre flats, and more complaints about noise, drunks etc. In fact once they close these venues down, you can guess what will appear in their place, more flats anyone?
    Wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t split into tiny boxes with cheap materials and little insulation. Have you been in the rotunda?

  4. Jashpal Mall

    Good point from Kent (The Rainbow) people who move in and live in brum centre do so because they want to be close to venues and potentially club/dance/music scene.

  5. I’m glad someone is making these sort of video’s we need better use of these public arenas.

    Unfortunately you could have made the same video 5 years ago. Even more unfortunate would be if you didn’t have any venue to campaign for in 5 years time.

    There are a couple of separate issues here, generally made more complex than is necessary. If you develop ‘city living’ you have a lifestyle brand which people, supposedly, of their own free will and in sound mind etc, aspire to. It is the antithesis of ‘Country Life’ aspirations where you would imagine a desire for sedate, tranquil rural values.

    What are seen as bohemian areas develop a culture based around those who contribute to it, inhabit it and travel in for the events and performances that make it unique. Invariably they eventually become desirable and the interest of property developers and or in the case of Digbeth, large scale civic land acquisition possibly under the flag of ‘creativity’ is engaged.

    The creatives are then priced out or forced out under ‘legal’ means such as compulsory purchase orders or through heavy handed administration and ‘interpretation’ of acts of parliament and relocate to a new, slightly dilapidated but affordable area. There are less and less of these around as objective two areas become transitional areas earmarked for ‘redeveloping’.

    Once this happens, the empty premises are inevitably turned into ‘City Living’ apartments and their appeal becomes diminished by the lack of local ‘Living’.

    In my opinion, we are currently seeing this in Digbeth under the banner of Eastside.

    If you take a development like the custard factory as a catalyst for creatives who developed essentially by artists squatting on the top floors of a disused factory, make it their own and in doing so make it quite unique. The developers had the insight to see this as a space for a creative hub.

    Has this been appropriated as a good blueprint for the whole of Digbeth? to capitalize on it’s proximity to cultural activity?. That culture surely includes MUSIC?

    I have my own thoughts on the validity of this model, where you can orchestrate a creative quarter like a Lego Land for creatives – maybe they will all walk round in berets and smocks so you know you’ve entered it?

    The other issue here is the value and support of live music in the region.

    The Fiddle & Bone also closed down due to similar reasons. An excellent live music venue. I was actually playing at a charity gig myself when the men turned up to fit ‘noise limiting’ equipment during the day and crisscrossed the stage while artists were busy trying to raise money for an important appeal.

    Ironically a device that automatically switches off the electric would have had no impact on the majority of acts who played there, being Jazz bands with big loud brass sections which did not need a PA.

    Jug of Ale, although different in location and proximity to pre-existing residential areas was many times under threat from the legislation and complaints. The Old Railway – closed for redevelopment et al.

    On a bigger picture we have music venues as a perceived problem where music obviously insights violence and drug dealing! The Hummingbird being a great target for local press. Because of course, when you replace these live music venues with lap-dancing clubs and club nights – no one gets involved in drugs or violent behavior do they?

    I have worked hard to support live music in the region over the years and supported Kent and the great events he put on at the custard factory. The Rainbow, Spotted Dog and a few other venues across Birmingham are different in that they very much see themselves as music venues and not just a pub with a function room upstairs. This MUST be supported as very often they are independent’s who pioneer the live music scene and if they are forced to close are often replaced with chain pubs with no interest or support from breweries to do anything but big screen sky sports. We have some great promoters in Birmingham who also have had little or no funding or support and are still bringing great acts to the region and generating economic value.

    Most of our live music has unfortunately already been decimated over the last 10 years for many reasons, including those in no way connected with this argument. What has been consistent though is the lack of support on a regional level and only those either promoting or performing can fully feel the impact of this. It is not an interesting discussion piece to be had by local council, regional development agencies or a piece of academic study – it is the eroding of culture that conveniently remains difficult to control, legislate or make subservient by funding it to death as we may yet see with other creative sectors.

    If live music does not live in the city – there is no city living.

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