Sunday, 14 May 2017

Independent Birmingham Festival 2017

They say the average person eats 6,000 calories on Xmas day and it's very tempting to try and match that consumption on feast days such as Independent Birmingham's Festival. It's frustrating you can't try everything! First up I have to say what a triumph this was for founder Joe Schuppler. Since 2013 Joe has highlighted the best of Birmingham's independent outlets and now has 16,000 cardholders and 25,000 Facebook likes. Here's just a few highlights from day.

Chocolate Quarter
 The Chocolate Quarter are based in the Jewellery Quarter on Spencer Street and are known for innovation, amazing flavours and delicious truffles such as the peach bellini special created for last year's Pride Festival.
These fab hot chocolates come with a little test tube full of tasty flavourings for you to add to your own level of perfection.

 Kimchi and Coconut
Kimchi and Coconut really impressed me with these original designs laser cut by computer then hand painted. A big hit on instagram, the designs are going down a storm in Australia with hundreds of pieces recently shipped over.
"Put 'em up, put 'em up! Which one of you first? I'll fight you both together if you want. I'll fight you with one hand tied behind my back!"
 Check out the cute sloths hanging out with David Attenborough who looks really well for his age.

Buddha Belly
 Buddha Belly lived up to their awesome reputation and their curries went down a storm.
This was the best fishcake I've ever had. it had ten times the flavour of a normal one.

 The Church
 Soul food legends The Church tempted many with their boudin sausage dogs and cajun grilled pork.

Peel and Stone
 Peel and Stone were quite simply one of my best finds of the day. I tried the pistachio bun and was blown away by it. With blueberry scones, blondie cakes, rocky road and those quality sourdough breads this is not a stall to leave empty handed from.

Jam vs Custard
JamVsCustard's doughnuts were so good they completely sold out in no time.
 Catch them at the British Oak Farmers Market on 20th May.

Pin Game
 Pin Game deserve a special shout out for pulling out the stops to get ready 2,000 of these precious beauties so all us lucky visitors have bragging rights about attending this sold out event.
With cult influences and quality products, Pin Game deserve their success.

Brumhaus art is inspired by Bauhaus, Picasso and Paul Klee. I really loved the skyline cushion.
 Apologies for the blurry photo but this is a super kwl shopping bag.

 El Borracho De Oro are riding an enormous wave of popularity. Now into their second month of residency at 1000 Trades the word of mouth for their exceptional tapas creates queues everywhere.

Forgive me for waffling on about these desserts by Bournville Waffle Company but the menu is irresistible. Forget your diet in style!

One orange, passionfruit and guava tropical ale by Clink Beer sold to the man with the magnificent beard!
 Low 'n' slow quite simply had the biggest queues of the day despite not having their famous ribs in stock.

I declare the inaugural Independent Birmingham Festival a smash hit!

Words and photos by Paul Clarke
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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

April Highlights: Small Talk, Enterprise Nation Meetup and Social Media Cafe

Badego's Small Talk
Amrit Singh Twitter
Badego are on a real roll of organising fantastic creative events having put on a wonderful talk by Territory Studios at last month's Flatpack Festival. That talk gave an insider's look at working on movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Martian and they followed up last week with an event at 1000 Trades brimming with talented and inspiring creative speakers called Small Talk. Let's start with the amazing Amrit.

Amrit Singh The Periscope King
Creative Designer and artist Amrit is one of the top 10 most popular live streaming artists in the UK. His engaging, warm and interactive live art projects attract thousands of viewers with one video receiving over 100,000 views. He is so popular and his style so entertaining that Periscope invited him over to their San Francisco headquarters. Amrit decided to stream his projects to explore his more artistic side over a year and a half ago. Way before video exploded in importance in social media.
Amrit has learnt a lot and his success continues to grow. It a joy that he has used his large following and influence to help those in need such as refugees and street artists who he videos with all their contact details so people can donate to them.

Amrit's Top Tips
1) Be yourself, your genuine self not your Instagram filtered self. Amrit has had to deal with some challenging people online and has handled them gracefully. He takes risks even if it means it puts him on the spot.
2) Focus on content not number of followers. People can buy fake followers so be more impressed by engagement levels and impressions across media rather than high follower numbers.
3) Give, give, give some more then ask for something back
4) When you teach you learn twice. I love the thought of that!
5) Smile. People respond to smiles and humour, it's infectious.

Cynthia Miller Poetry Queen
Cynthia Miller, Brand Strategist at Orb talked about how she took her love for poetry and feelings of frustration with exclusive and stilted poetry festivals and turned it into a vibrant, diverse, welcoming poetry party for all! The inaugural Verve Poetry Festival was a deserved smash hit. 
Cynthia described how she wanted to attract 'people who hate poetry', experts, newbies, kids and the curious. 
Cynthia opened our eyes to the potential power of poetry through movements such as poetry of resistance and poets such as Maggie Smith whose sad words moved many. Cynthia has just been published in Nine Arches Press's Primers Volume 2. Check it out!
Nine Arches Press

Birmingham Social Media Cafe
Jord Muckley centre. Dave Massey right.
For a minute it looked like Aston University's Social Media Consultant Jord Muckley was going to challenge Brum Hour's David Massey to a follower count over at Conference Aston during the Birmingham Social Media Cafe. It would have been unnecessary as they are both social media geniuses!

Since Jord Muckley (he doesen't Muckley about) has come in to Aston University he has updated and revolutionised their social media content away from serious corporate vibes to engaging storytelling, student Snapchat takeovers and communication by emojis.

The key theme is storytelling and as over 80% of Aston University students do placement years there are lots of exciting stories to be told. Over the summer 6 students will be employed as digital ambassadors with an emphasis on getting out and about and creating great photography.
Watch out for the #yoursforthetaking campaign which will showcase the whole student experience of life as Aston and justify those high tuition fees!

Enterprise Nation Meetup by Debbie Assinder
Enterprise Nation members were treated to a fab meetup in the newly launched Alpha Works ultra modern offices in Alpha Tower. Community Manager Theresa White (above far right) gave us an impressive tour of what for many will be an inspiring place to work and dream.

The Table of Talent!
A high-rise building needs high-flyers and these talented individuals fit the bill. Blenheim London's Dennis Chen announced plans for an exciting new watch whilst Alex is working with branding maestro Naeem Alvi on his modern office furniture leasing company.
Dennis Chen, Alex, Anna Assinder, Naeem Alvi and Rachel Khor
 Anna Assinder made Birmingam Chamber's Future Faces sound an irresistible group to join and mentioned that they are partnering with Independent Birmingham for the forthcoming festival on 13th May. Creative Designer Rachel Khor highlighted some of her wonderful designs for theatre companies across the UK.
Vicci Lewis, Selina Hewlett and Debbie Assinder
 Debbie Assinder can sniff out potential Enterprise Nation members faster than a speeding bullet! Vicci and Selina have just launched virtual business support company Tuki.
It was brilliant to catch up with hot PR company Story Comms's Sophie Drake whose team came up with the amazing Alpha Sunrise photo shoot campaign to promote Alpha Works launch.
Amanda Lowe Twitter
Story Comms invited the regions top photographers such as Tim Cornbill in conjunction with Birmingham's Hidden Spaces for a series of shoots that provided some stunning, refreshingly original shots of  Brum's ever-changing skyline.
Tim Cornbill Twitter
Everyone loved the images. Amazing PR!
Alpha Works Twitter

Seasonal Market at The Bond Company
I had to pop along to this when I heard that Baked in Brick's mini would be on the scene. The chicken tikka wraps were tasty.
Baked in Brick
 I practically emptied this BAKE Birmingham display.
BAKE Birmingham
With gems such as a Snickers cake, BAKE are everyone's favourite go-to-guys for a treat that's sweet.
BAKE Birmingham

  My daysaver came in handy with all these buses.
I'm now super excited for Independent Bham's Festival in May. 

Words by Paul Clarke
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