The Heat, Brummies and The Long Long Evenings

by Richard Lutz.

I’m not one to go on and on about Birmingham. Just like I was never one to go on and on about other cities I lived in: Newcastle, Glasgow, Denver, New York… the list could continue for a while actually and there are good, bad and appalling things about each place.

But with the hot weather- and when it dissipates is anyone’s guess- I was treated to a real fine view of this city.

And it’s not hard to find it.

All you have to do is head down to Cannon Hill Park on an evening, sit on a bench with an ice cream and watch Birmingham pass by in the summer.

Asian parents play cricket with the kids, the little girls running madly all dressed in vivid red. A crowd of young black lads float by talking rapidly about…what else…about football and music. One flips a football in the air without looking at it. The ball is meant to land in his hand. It does.

An Iraqi immigrant family is having an intense argument about…what?  The war? The cost of the electric bill? Whether to buy a Fiesta or a Golf? The kids’ school?

A white teenaged couple just look in the pram, wonder at their newborn child and have a fag.

Everyone is dressed for the heat: shorts, long billowy shalwar kameez, really short shorts, long shorts half down the calf, minis, low slung jeans, more shorts, more billowy dresses from Pakistan or India, bare chested guys with big curly tattooes, bare chested guys with tans, sunburns, and more tattooes.

Everyone is eating ice cream- including us. The ice cream vendor- the one who has his van parked right outside the MAC in all weather-is making a bomb. There’s a queue about 14 miles long. He could buy an ice cream factory with the cash he’s raking in.

If ever this city needs a great advert, I would suggest the marketing people and promo folks just take their snappers and their video teams down to Cannon Hill on a night like this. No jacked-up press pic of a two bit hack politician grinning inanely as he hands over a cheque; no monumentally stupid photo of of a foreign dignitary faking a dollop of balti going in his mouth;  no minor celebrity making believe he’s a Blues or Villa supporter.

Just a rainbow of folks, going about their evening off in the fading sun…enjoying the weather, their friends and their families.