I have been reflecting on two French films, made in Paris in the mid-1960s. Among other things, they are both about alienation in the modern city, and in Paris in particular.
On October 8th we had the referendum on the Balsall Heath Neighbourhood Plan, of which I have been the coordinator for the Neighbourhood Forum. We had a 90 per cent Yes vote on a 22 per cent turnout, and I let out a big sigh of relief and had a beer.
I used to teach architecture students with an urban designer called Mike Menzies, who also taught them environmental psychology. One thing I learnt from Mike was about Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs.
It’s always a delight to learn about unexpected connections between places and people, which you would struggle to make credible if you were writing fiction.
On a wet Tuesday evening in December my partner Polly and I went to the Lamp Tavern, a tiny back street pub in the industrial district of Highgate, on the next block from the river Rea.
In UD130 I wrote about Albion, the proposal for a garden city in the Black Country which a team from MADE, the West Midlands centre for placemaking, submitted for the Wolfson Prize. It started as a subversive gesture, and we got more serious as we progressed.
Is it permissible to make changes to someone else’s work of art? In 1919 Marcel Duchamp notoriously modified the Mona Lisa by adding a moustache and a goatee beard.
One of the highlights of my year is the annual Flatpack film festival, now in its eighth year. It’s run by Ian Francis, a friend, who like me works from an office in the Custard Factory in Digbeth.
I was a teenage racing cyclist, almost permanently attached to my bike by the shoeplates on my paper-thin kangaroo-skin racing shoes, and covering about 10,000 miles a year.
I was recently in a meeting with planning officers and a national housebuilder, to discuss a proposal to build a town extension. Among other things we discussed the local centre proposed on the plan, which had a footprint labelled Retail Unit.
In March a friend of mine, Ben Waddington, ran the first Birmingham Walking Festival, Still Walking, with 14 themed walks over three weeks. A nice conceit, as Birmingham is not the first place you associate with the pleasures of strolling.