“Commonwealth People ” a poem for the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games

Birmingham Games Baton Relay Poem entitled: “Commonwealth People” with apologies to the Great Jarvis Cocker & his 1990 hit: “Common People” “Commonwealth People” Commonwealth people come to Brum To celebrate 🍾 youth with sport and fun Brummies, Villains, Bluenoses too…. Baggies and Saddlers Yam, Yams through Are all united in their common crew Wolves, Moors, […]

“Commonwealth People ” a poem for the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games

What was wrong with Steven Knight’s Birmingham pageant for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

I think Sir Michael Balcon should have been included in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony pageant as the former head of the Ealing Studios, and a BRUMMIE! Ealing studios was THE best British film company which made such iconic films as Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Lavender Hill Mob, Passport to Pimlico, The Ladykillers, Whiskey Galore! & wartime propaganda film which was quite shocking for its day: Went the day well. Perhaps Balcon’s most famous character was PC George Dixon of Dixon of Dock Green fame, the very first Police Procedural which ran from 1956 until 1976. Balcon named PC George Dixon after his old school George Dixon Grammar School for Boys in City Road, Edgbaston which he attended from the year it opened in 1906 until 1912. Balcon became involved in the nascent British film industry working with Louis B. Mayer of MGM at one point and he founded Gainsborough Pictures. Balcon was born and raised at 116 Summer Lane in Aston’s Gun Quarter where my own Dad worked. I too went to George Dixon Grammar School for Boys. Balcon was a BRUMMIE & who knew? Birmingham was NEVER fashionable in the 1930’s when Balcon was trying to make his name in the international film & cinema industry. Balcon also founded BAFTA & the BFI & his grandson is Daniel Day Lewis the 3 time Best Actor Oscar winner. I think such an iconic figure as Balcon should be celebrated more in his home city with a statue, & for me he should certainly have been included. in the pageant. Also I was not happy with the portrayal of the Lunar Men, Boulton, Watt, & Murdoch, as these great men who created the modern world with their industrial revolution based on steam power made at the SOHO Foundry in Smethwick. Puppets and caricatures are not how I would wish these Natural Philosophers celebrated Keith Bracey Chance Heritage Trust #volunteer

21 Myths about Birmingham


  1. ‘Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice’

Although often disputed and spoken about as though it’s just a wild claim, this turns out to be true. Venice has 26 miles of canal while Birmingham runs ahead with 35 miles.

And the entire Birmingham Canal Navigations system-a network of waterways connecting Birmingham, Wolverhampton and the eastern part of the Black Country – has 114 miles of navigable water. Even that is less than the 174 miles it had at its peak in the 18th century.

However, Birmingham is far larger than Venice so, based on the concentration of canals, Venice comes out in front on that score.

But looking at water volume and depth measurements, more cubic metres of water pass through Birmingham’s canals than any other city in the world.

  1. ‘Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit while he was living in Birmingham’

Not quite. The acclaimed author JRR Tolkien spent his childhood in the city and found much inspiration for the books while here, including Moseley Bog which was the basis for the Old Forest where Tom Bombadil lived in The Fellowship of the Ring.

Perrott’s Folly – a 30m tower built by John Perrott in 1758 – and the brick chimney at Edgbaston Waterworks are thought to have inspired the Two Towers that gave their name to the second book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

His harrowing experiences during the First World War, including the loss of friends he had made at Birmingham’s King Edward’s School, were the main influence behind the battle scenes in Lord of the Rings.

But he never wrote the books while here in Birmingham. It was during his time at Pembroke College,Oxford that he penned The Hobbit and the first two volumes of Lord of the Rings, while living at 20 Northmoor Road in north Oxford (where a blue plaque was placed in 2002). He had moved on to Merton College, Oxford, when he completed the third volume.

  1. ‘Charlie Chaplin was born in a gipsy caravan in Smethwick’

As unlikely as it might seem, silent movie legend Charlie Chaplin was born in a gipsy caravan in Smethwick according to a radio documentary broadcast in 2011.

It was said that Chaplin’s daughter Victoria found a letter making the bizarre claim that he was born in a caravan belonging to the gipsy queen on the Black Patch in Smethwick, on the border of Birmingham.

There is no official record of the comic actor’s birth, although he believed he was born at East Street, Walworth, in south London.

When Chaplin’s alleged communist sympathies were investigated by M15, they could not find a birth certificate for Charlie or his supposed alias Israel Thornstein. The investigation concluded that “Chaplin was either not born in this country or that his name at birth was other than those mentioned.” So this remains a mystery.

  1. ‘Birmingham has more trees than Paris’

Cynics might scoff at a comparison of Birmingham and Paris, but the assertion has been made.

It could be tough to prove, though – has anyone ever counted all the trees in both cities?

However, the Paris tourist office tells us: “With more than 400 parks and gardens, Paris is the most wooded capital in Europe”. But Wikipedia lists a more modest number of green spaces for the French capital: two woodlands, 16 parks and 21 gardens.

So how does Birmingham compare? According to the city council’s website, there are nearly 600 parks and other public open spaces in the city.

However, there’s no clue to tree coverage in the two cities and we can’t see anyone rushing around counting them any time soon. Either way, this story sounds like it’s quite possible.

  1. ‘There was a red-light area at the back of Rackhams’

Preserved in the local sayings of Birmingham is the tale of a red-light spot at the back of the city centre’s Rackham’s store, now House of Fraser, before the area was pedestrianised.

‘She’ll be round the back o’Rackhams’ might be said of someone accused of being promiscuous. ‘I’ll end up round the back o ‘Rackhams’ might be heard if a woman jokingly felt she would be forced into prostitution to pay all the bills. The Two Towers Birmingham brewery even named a real ale Bhacker Ackhams after the infamous location.

It seems to be universally accepted that there was such a place behind the store. But does anyone want to come forward and admit to knowing for sure that it was there?

  1. ‘West Bromwich Albion’s ground is the highest stadium in England’

Locals have often declared that West Bromwich Albion’s ground The Hawthorns is the highest football stadium in England.

And this is true. At an altitude of 551 feet (168 m) above sea level, it is the highest ground of all the Premier League and Football League clubs.

  1. ‘Birmingham is named after the Ingas of Birm’

At first this sounds too daft to be true. Ingas sounds like a Brummie version of the Incas, a sun-worshipping civilisation that once lived in south America, and it has the whiff of a made-up explanation.

But, in fact, it’s on the right track. Historians say an Anglo-Saxon tribe called the Beormingas (meaning ‘Beorma’s people’) settled in the area in the 6th or early 7th century.

Beorma was a Saxon leader, inga is a Saxon word for “a group of people” and ham means village so Birmingham thus translates as “home of the people of Beorma.”


  1. ‘Birmingham has the most lap dancing clubs of any UK city’

A dubious honour, but is it true?

We reported in January how a fourth club planned on the city’s Golden Mile sparked outcry.

And by the latest count there’s a total of seven lap dancing venues in the city at present, including one on the Hagley Road operated by Spearmint Rhino, the world-famous chain of strip clubs.

There’s no way of knowing for sure, but seven in one city does sound like it’s enough to be a winner.

  1. ‘Birmingham once had a Gun Quarter’

Yes, and it still does, though in a much smaller form. While the neighbouring Jewellery Quarter has more than 100 shops and the Chinese Quarter has an array of restaurants and the colourful Chinese New Year celebrations, The Gun Quarter is now a small hub of manufacturers and dealers so it has a much lower profile.

Birmingham had for many years been at the centre of the world’s gun-manufacturing industry, specialising in the production of military firearms and sporting guns. The quarter developed around St Mary’s Church in the late 1700s and early 1800s and made millions of weapons that were used in the Napoleonic Wars, Crimean War, American Civil War and the First and Second World Wars.

In the 1960s, a large part of The Gun Quarter was demolished by city planners, with the area split in two by the Birmingham Inner Ring Road.

Today only a handful of gun manufacturers and traders remain in the Gun Quarter. The last remaining large gun and rifle manufacturer in the area is Westley Richards.

In 2011, Birmingham City Council caused an outcry when it planned to the rename the area as St George & St Chad’s Quarter, apparently because residents wanted to distance the area from gun crime. The plan never went ahead.

Gunsmiths in Birmingham’s Gun Quarter round 1900 at the factory of WW Greener in St Marys Row


  1. ‘Birmingham once had a group who met at full moon and were called lunatics’

Some of you might be tempted to joke that this must refer to the city council or some other public authority in the area. But we have to go back a bit further in time for the answer to this one.

Prominent industrialists, inventors, scientists and philosophers used to meet in the region, between 1765 and 1813, and called themselves firstly the Lunar Circle and then the Lunar Society of Birmingham.

This dinner club of distinguished intellectuals gathered at venues including Birmingham’s Soho House, home of industrialist Matthew Boulton; Great Barr House in Walsall, home of arms manufacturer Samuel Galton Jr; and the Lichfield home of physician and philosopher Erasmus Darwin, whose grandson Charles Darwin developed the theory of evolution.

They did indeed get together when there was a full moon and this was because the extra light from the moon made their night-time journey home safer and easier, in the days before street lamps.

Because of this the members did jokingly refer to themselves as ‘Lunarticks’. The word lunatics already existed and had been coined more than 1,000 years earlier when the moon was believed to be a trigger for mental disorders.

Membership of the society does not seem to have been fixed and historians disagree on who was in the group while some doubt it actually existed. But one document has claimed: “All the world came to Soho to meet Boulton, Watt (inventor and mechanical engineer James Watt) or Small (physician and natural philosopher William Small), who were acquainted with the leading men of science throughout Europe and America.”

  1. ‘There was a gipsy curse on Birmingham City Football Club ground’

It’s claimed that in 1906 a 100-year gipsy curse was placed on St Andrew’s, the ground of Birmingham City Football Club, by Romany people who were angry at being evicted from the site so that the new stadium could be built. Generations of struggle did indeed follow.

Ron Saunders painted the bottom of players’ boots red and hung crucifixes on the floodlights and Barry Fry claimed he urinated in all four corner quadrants in bids to rid the curse, but such measures had little impact.

The curse was due to end on Boxing Day in 2006 and indeed Blues won their home fixture against Queens Park Rangers that day. Promotion to the Premier League followed and then there was the 2011 Carling Cup win – Blues first major piece of silverware for 48 years.

One must wonder whether that curse really did ever go away, though. One look at their current situation and you certainly wouldn’t think so.

  1. ‘Brummie and Black Country accents are the same’

While no one in Birmingham and the Black Country would say this, it’s a commonly held belief outside the region.

The latest example of the stereotype over the accents and dialects in the Midlands was in the Hotels4U advert, which provoked a furious response from people in the region.

Brummies labelled the ad offensive but others say the accent is more Black Country.

And that highlights a wider myth that the Brummie and Black Country accents are the same. However, the differences aren’t as obvious today – because of the breakdown of clearly separated local cultures through urban growth, population mobility and the more diverse nature of the city. Many of the same words and phrases are used in both dialects these days.

Actor Rod Fox dressed as Gandalf at Moseley Bog


  1. ‘Birmingham is the birthplace of custard’

This is true. Although custard made by mixing milk and eggs and thickening it over heat had been invented in the Middle Ages, it was Alfred Bird who developed the modern egg-free version in 1837 because his wife was allergic to eggs.

Bird instead used a cornflour-based powder added to milk. After he discovered his custard was popular, Bird formed Alfred Bird and Sons Ltd in Birmingham.

The original factory is long gone but a larger manufacturing operation that he established in Gibb Street, to meet demand for the yellow dessert, is still there and was turned into the Custard Factory arts centre.

As the Custard Factory website states: “The Custard Factory is set in 15 acres of beautifully renovated riverside factories, built more than 100 years ago by Alfred Bird to manufacture and market his famous invention, eggless custard.

“At one time he had a thousand people making the stuff and was exporting it across the globe. However, following the rationing and production limits imposed by World War Two, the company was taken over and in 1964 production relocated to Banbury and the factories fell derelict.”

So next time you pour custard on your pudding, you can be proud that you are tucking into a piece of Birmingham’s past.

  1. ‘Was Birmingham once the capital of England?’

We have no idea where this notion originated, but we know for a fact that this question was recently among the top Google searches relating to Birmingham.

We’re wondering if there had been a quiz somewhere that prompted schoolchildren or TV viewers to take to the internet and search for information on this.

Just to be clear, Birmingham has never been a capital of England. Alongside London, only Colchester and Winchester have ever been national capitals as far as we can tell.

  1. ‘Birmingham is officially the most congested city in the UK’

It might feel like it when you are stuck for ages on the city’s roads. But the claim isn’t true according to experts.

Sat-nav manufacturers Tom Tom revealed in November 2013 that Birmingham comes 12th on the league table of congested UK cities, with congestion about the same as in a similar study in 2012.

In 2010, Birmingham came fifth, suggesting that congestion is easing in the city rather than getting worse. So this is not true.

  1. ‘Dozens of Spitfire planes built in Birmingham were buried in Burma’

It has been claimed that Lord Louis Mountbatten – Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command during the Second World War – had ordered the burial of at least 36 Castle Bromwich-built Spitfires that had been shipped to Burma in 1945.

The fighter planes were never needed because the Second World War ended the same year they arrived and it’s said they were buried to avoid the effort and expense of sending them back to the UK.

Attempts to find the hoard of unused aircraft have proved fruitless and it’s now thought to be just a myth. But others believe the planes are just well hidden and so the search continues.


17.’ Birmingham is the most landlocked city in the UK’

By our reckoning, this is not true.

Birmingham’s nearest beach is 105 miles away at Weston-super-Mare.

Coventry also claims to be further from the sea than any other city in the UK, and it’s been calculated that Coventry’s nearest beach is 116 miles away at Hunstanton. That greater distance makes it more landlocked than Birmingham.

Cluedo inventor Anthony Pratt, from Kings Heath


  1. ‘Cluedo was invented in Birmingham’

Yes, it’s true. The murder mystery board game was invented in 1944 by Anthony E. Pratt, a solicitor’s clerk from Birmingham. He originally called the game ‘Murder!’

Pratt was born at 13 Brighton Road, Balsall Heath, and educated at St Philip’s School in Edgbaston.

While employed in a Birmingham engineering factory during the Second World War, he was so bored with his drilling job that he started to daydream about inventing a new game.

During the war, evenings were spent huddled indoors behind blackout curtains and Pratt wanted to come up with something interesting for people to do.

Before the war, he had worked as a musician playing piano recitals in country houses, where murder mystery games were also held, and that gave him the idea for the whodunnit format.

Pratt and his wife presented the invention to games manufacturer Waddingtons, who snapped it up and renamed it Cluedo. It was patented in 1947 and went on sale in 1949.

  1. ‘Clint Eastwood once visited Birmingham’

Another story that’s true. The famous actor and director Clint Eastwood was photographed on Smallbrook Queensway in 1967.

The five-time Oscar-winning actor, famous for roles in The Good, Bad and the Ugly, Dirty Harry and Gran Torino was in Birmingham promoting one of his films.

He was pictured looking over the railings of the city ring road, which had begun to take shape a decade earlier in 1957.

And he’s not the only star to have visited Birmingham.

Brad Pitt visited an old friend at a law firm in Hall Green, Lady Gaga bought everyone drinks in a Birmingham pub, Michael Buble went to see a movie at the New Street Odeon, and George Clooney turned up at Star City.

Among other celebrity sightings in Birmingham, Katy Perry went to watch the Ghostbusters movie at the city’s Electric Cinema, Colin Farrell had a night out at the Gatecrasher club, and Robbie Williams enjoyed a balti in Sutton Coldfield.


  1. ‘The Peaky Blinders gang didn’t really exist’

As the BBC’s new family crime drama Peaky Blinders came to our TV screens in 2013 and showed a gang who supposedly roamed the streets of Birmingham in the years after the First World War, we looked at the fact and the fiction behind the series.

It didn’t all happen as depicted in the programme.

On April 9, 1890, a letter in a newspaper said an attack had been carried out by members of the “Small Heath Peaky Blinders”. So we know at least the name of the gang was real.

This seems to be the first mention of the gangs who operated in 1890s Birmingham and which were infamous for their violence and fighting with metal-tipped boots, stones, belt buckles and sometimes knives.

Although they disappeared before the First World War and apparently did not exist in the 1920s – a contrast to the setting of the TV series – their reputation ensured they would not be forgotten.

Doubt has been cast on the claim that they stitched cut-throat razors into the peak of their caps and used them as weapons. Nothing of the kind is mentioned in contemporary newspaper reports and this may have been an embellishment that arose from John Douglas’s novel, A Walk Down Summer Lane, set in the inter-war years.

So the Peaky Blinders did exist but it seems they were not around in the 1920s and 1930s and probably didn’t put razors in their caps.


  1. ‘There was once a vampire stalking the streets of Birmingham’

In December 2004, there were stories of an attacker – described as black and in his 20s – who bit another man walking along a street in the Ward End area of Birmingham and then pounced on neighbours who came to the victim’s aid. One woman was said to have had a chunk of flesh bitten out of her hand.

In the following weeks, the media were contacted by people in Saltley, Small Heath and Alum Rock who had heard of similar attacks in their areas, including residents being bitten as they answered their doors.

There were claims that the nocturnal predator had red eyes, could become invisible, could transform into a dog and also that he had actually bitten a dog. Some claimed he had contracted rabies from a dog bite and wanted to transmit it to others in the same way.

The story spread across the internet in January 2005 where one commenter wrote, seemingly in all seriousness: “Anyone know if the bitten people also transform into vampires? As a safety measure, if you see anyone coming towards you with a Brummie accent, run ’em over or run for your life.”

Father Anthony Rohan of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Small Heath wasn’t taking any chances, saying:  “I heard the story in the barber’s. They asked me if I believed in vampires and I said no. I’m not worried, though. I’ve got a lot of crucifixes in the house.”

But police debunked the blood-curdling claims as the story spread and fear started to grow in the city.

“To date we have not received any reports from people stating they have been bitten. This appears to be an urban myth,” a spokesman told the Birmingham Mail at the time.


Power of Invention

The Lunar Men, the Friends that made the Future of Birmingham’s @Lunarsoc were entrepreneurs, inventors and prominent figures of the Midlands Enlightenment. There is a golden statue of the three most famous #LunarMen: #MatthewBoulton #JamesWatt and #WilliamMurdock in Broad Street in #Birmingham outside the International Convention Centre and the University of Birmingham’s research showcase building, the former #Birmingham #Municipal #Bank building at 301 Broad Street. Matthew Boulton’s home @Sohohousemuseum is a @BM_AG museum in @Handsworth in #Birmingham dedicated to the memory of the #LunarMen who forged the #IndustrialRevolution in the 18th century in the crucible of the @HistoryWM #Midlands #Enlightenment with #JennyUglow book #TheLunarMen telling their fascinating story.

Birmingham & Black Country Literary Links – Washington Irving to Dame Barbara Cartland from Edgbaston

Tolkien to Thomas the Tank Engine, the Reverend Awdry to Jack Reacher creator Lee Child, Birmingham and the Black Country has some surprises on the literary front…..For example did you know that Washington Irving the American author wrote “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow AKA “The Headless Horseman” wrote these two Gothic horror novels while living in a house in Graham Street and Legge Lane in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter? And

“Commonwealth People ” a poem for the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games

Birmingham Games Baton Relay Poem entitled: “Commonwealth People” with apologies to the Great Jarvis Cocker & his 1990 hit: “Common People”

“Commonwealth People”

Commonwealth people come to Brum

To celebrate 🍾 youth with sport and fun

Brummies, Villains, Bluenoses too….

Baggies and Saddlers Yam, Yams through

Are all united in their common crew

Wolves, Moors, Glassboys too

This region’s appetite for sport has no end for you……

Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club, 🏉 Bournville Rugby Club as well, 

The coming Rugby Union Club at Avery Fields it’s said!!!!

Harborne Hockey 🏒,  Bournville as well, Edgbaston’s 

The place for many a service Ace….

With lawn tennis invented there in 1858……

My word what a great sporting place…..!!!

The Cricket 🏏 is so very fair if you happen like me to be a 🐻 Bear!!!

Rugby 🏉 at Coventry where the Sky Blues played……

Now it’s Wasps with the Ovoid leather brown Ball….

Cov’$ Sky Blues were soooo dismayed!!!

No longer played @ The Ricoh….

It’s now the Coventry Building Society Arena 

SISU Cov’s owners were issued with a Subpoena!

To the Courts it went as Cov’s Sky Blues fought ….

To stay at their home….or so they thought?

Wasps dug their tough Rugby heels 👠 in…

After all they’d bought it….

It could easily end up in a messy Court bid!!!

So the Sky Blues went to St Andrews where they played for two seasons 

Without a home to play home games in….!!!!

Now Coventry City are looking to the University of Warwick 

To build ’em a Super Soccer Stadium…..

That’s fit for a Prancing Prince!

That’s William whose Aston Villa’s Kingpin!

Chair of the FA and Big Aston Villa Football Fan……

Historians Football Club ⚽️ do they shout from The Holte End?

As The Players & Fans all bow down on bended knee but to Prince William….no ordinary Fan!

One day in the future he’ll be “King of England”!!!

So Birmingham hosts the Polyglot Games…..

The Queen’s Baton Relay was such a lark….!!!

Not merely just a great “Walk in the Park”!!!

The Baton’s 🪰 flying here there & everywhere, not just in England & Brum….

But also to Cyprus and our Indian chums….Africa, 🇨🇦 Canada, Australia the Caribbean too

The Baton’s travelling all over the Wandering World…..

96000 miles it’s a great long run….

So I can’t wait for the Games next July 2021 to begin ……!!!!!

I hope to volunteer 🙋‍♂️ at The Aquatics Centre in Sandwell…

Let’s hope that they finish it so Adam Peaty can Lord it over Commonwealth 🙏 swimmers….?

Not just Breaststroke but Medley Relays too 

And Dear Tommy Daley swims, dives and knits at the same time what sport…!

So BrummaGEM’s Song has been a Long One!

We get our Brummie Brill Day in the Sun…..!!!

By hosting the Games ….oh what a lark….!!!!

Let’s hope that it’s not just a Stroll in Sutton Park…???

Some serious Sport is what our Youth want….

So come to Brum and watch as we all shine ….

Like the 💎 Gems in The Jewellery Quarter….oh what a place!!!

Where the Gold 🏅 Medals, rings, bracelets & jewellery are made….

And the Queen’$ Baton too…96000 miles taken by a British Airways Crew to Cyprus the first fantastic point of departure….

Why don’t we all just sit & relax & wait for next July & August…

When there’ll be lots of facts about #Brum: “More Canals than Venice!”….”More Trees 🌳 than Paris”….

Brum’s such a young, vibrant City with sooo much to offer….

Can’t wait for The Games to begin Let’s See our great Brummie city prosper….!!!!


Yours in Birmingham 

Keith Bracey….Commonwealth Games Volunteer (hopefully 🙋‍♀️???)

Birmingham and Black Country poet AKA @BrummieBard

07552 758710 
Email keithbracey1@gmail.com
Twitter @1truclaretnblu @brummiebard
Instagram @brummiebard

Please read my Birmingham and Black Country poetry history heritage and sports blog posts on my Bracey Blog at:



If you’ve never been to Birmingham then you ought ta……….

It’s a grand city made up of many a quarter………

There is jewellery to be sold, diamonds, platinum and gold

Boulton’s silver to assay, precious gems from far away.

Guns were made nearby, helping soldiers fight and die

In the English Civil War we made musket, cannon and ball

A more powerful Lewis gun helped the British beat the Hun.

Mr Webley made a revolver fired by many a pitiful soldier

On a lighter note in The Theatre Quarter

The stage is set for talented daughters

The Rep, the Alex and Hippodrome…..

Encourage performers to make Birmingham their own

Chaplin, Burton and Olivier

Travelled here to perform their plays

Musicals, ballets and pantomime

Ensure cultural visitors have a good time

The NEC and NIA have changed their names along the way

The Good Food Show, Crufts and fashion galore

Ensure our visitors come back for more

In the Symphony Hall there was often a battle

Between the CBSO and Sir Simon Rattle

The Chinese Quarter is colourful and bright

A fantastic place to go out at night

Stir-fried noodles, a tantalising odour

A grand Dragon Parade from Wing Yip’s Pagoda.

The Balti Belt, full of saris and spices

Tasty Asian food cooked with different rices

An area to visit to sample a curry,

At Adil’s or Imran’s there’s no need to hurry

Bring your own beer, share various starters

Poppadoms, Pakoras, Aloo with tomatoes

A ‘curry in a bucket’ naan size of a table

Mild, medium or hot, eat it all, if you’re able.

Our City has Cadbury, Jaguar Land Rover too,

Speedway, rugby, and cricket for you

A passion for sport, you can hear the roar

For a goal scored by Blues or Villa football.

Indoor and outdoor, The Bull Ring Markets

Sell everything from cheese to carpets

The Germans come at Christmas time

Bringing Bratwurst, Schnitzel and Gluhwein

Birmingham has ‘More Canals than Venice’

We also invented the game of lawn tennis.

The Botanical Gardens and Cannon Hill Park

Have flowers and lawns, hosting shows: ‘What a lark!’

An airport, coach and New Street Station

Make us the “Centre of our Nation”

To travel by car to any function

You may have to negotiate Spaghetti Junction!!!!!

The ‘Stroll from St Philip’s to St Paul’s’

Where Boulton and Watt occupied the pew stalls

Pugin’s St Chad’s, the Roman Catholic Cathedral

Anglican St Martin’s, on the steps to the bronze Bull

The Kennedy Memorial near Digbeth’s Custard Factory,

Healed the wounds of the Irish after the Birmingham atrocity

The Rotunda stood proud, tall and round

Blown to pieces with ‘The Tavern in the Town.’

The City recovered, no flags at half mast

Brummies look FORWARD, don’t dwell on the past

Our mixture of cultures live well together

Our heritage, our history will go on forever.


The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter

Is present in our Home

Enclosed in the Engagement Ring

I am pleased to call my own.

Twelve Diamonds round a Ruby,

Lovingly set in Gold

Handmade by Excellent Craftsmen

To wear till I grow old

Hannah Hill from Dodd & Co

Watched our Love flourish and grow

This Beautiful Ring she designed for us

For a Proposal made with minimal fuss,

Two Circles of Gold followed soon after

Made by her brilliant Jewellery Crafter

After 25 years of Married Life

These Rings bind us together as Man and Wife


Brum is Burning, Brum is Burning


Charles Prince Rupert

Was marauding

Throughout the Town

Throughout the Town

Brum was Roundhead

Not for Royalists….

Ride them down…..

Ride them down…..

Rupert killed them

Torched their houses

For supporting


NOT the Crown

Many murdered…..

Many murdered…..

By Rupert’s Cavalry

Cut them down

Yet at Shireland

Was a Skirmish

Where Earl Denbigh

Met his end

Shot him down

Shot him down

No Justice

No Justice

For Brummagem

For Brummagem!

Brum is Burning

Brum is Burning


Battle’s over

Battle’s over

Poor Birmingham


Southside Johnnies and Chinatown Jinks

Down ‘Olloway ‘Ed

To Wing Yip’s Pagoda

Leading the Way

To Chinatown’s lovely odour

A tasty meal cooked in a Wok

At Chung Ying Garden

We’re ‘Ready to Rock’!

Ming Moon Buffet

All you can eat

As you stroll down the Sidewalk

To Brummagem’s Beat!

The Fox, The Hip

The Back to Backs

All open their Doors to

Johnnies in Slacks

Southside’s Silver Rhino

Surveys…… all she can see

From the slate grey roofs above

The many Theatre-goers with Glee!

David Bintley’s Royal Ballet

Formerly Sadler’s Wells

Puts on ‘The Nutcracker’

For many well-heeled ‘Swells’

Every Christmas……..

David’s ‘Glittering Show’

Adorns Chinatown

With lots of fake Snow!

The young Bucks from Elmhurst School for Dance

Apprentice lithe ‘Dancers’ preen and prance……..

The Hip’s huge Stage

The Largest in the Land

Welcomes the UK’s biggest Pantomime

And Plays, Musicals and Bands

That Adorn Chinatown

On ‘Golden Pond’

Stir-Fried Noodles

And Chicken Feet

Fed to me by Miss Chan

What a Fantastic Feat!

To attract the Chinese

To assemble MG’s

At Longbridge

Premier Wen Jiao Bao

He came to Brum

In Twenty Eleven to visit the Chinamen

After MG Rover went ‘Belly-up’

In Twenty Oh Six…….

Mike Whitby and Dutton

This ‘Marvellous Man’

‘Mister #Birmingham Development’

SUCH a sad loss…….

As Clive Dutton reported to Mike Whitby: ‘The Boss’

They Launched Brum’s ‘Big City Plan’…..

In Shanghai…..near ‘The Bund’

Hoping to attract Chinese Yuan

To invest in England

To build MG’s in our land……once again!

To save the jobs of many a Brummie man

In October Twenty Fifteen……

Another Chinese Premier came……

Li Xing Ping was his name…….

This Time Georgie Osborne took ‘im oooooop North……

No visit to Longbridge……

This Time for ‘The Man’……

For Brum…..that wasn’t quite in ‘The Big City Plan’……..

I recall in Twenty Ten on Adrian Goldberg’s Radio WM Show…….

Talking with Paul Kehoe of BHX ‘Fame’ about……..

Birmingham’s ‘Twin City’ of Guangzhou……..

About ‘Marketing Birmingham’ to the Chinese……

Using ‘Dear Old Bill Shakespeare’ whom the Chinese love……

As they fly high into Brummagem

High ‘Up Above’…….

Using ‘Whitby’s new runway’…….

To come to the region……

The Chinese Love William Shakespeare…….

His Chinese fans are sooooo ‘Legion’……..

This @BrummieBard……..

“The Greatest West Midlander”………

Has the ‘Power to Attract’…….

More Investment to ‘Brummagem’!

Paul Kehoe poo-pooed mine and Ducker’s idea……

But in Twenty Fourteen

It became CLEAR…….

A ‘No-Brainer’ for ‘BILL’ to Market Birmingham to the Chinese…….

More Money for Brum!!!!!!

DONE IT!…….With Ease…….

NI HAO from this Brummie…….

XIE…..XIE…..on our Lips

Welcomes Chinese to our supermarkets……..Wonderful WING YIPS!

This ‘Man of Fujian’

Came to Brum in The Fifties……

Made it His Home……..

Brum’s Chinese sooooo ‘Thrifty’……..

So it is ‘ZAIJIAN’ from me……..The New @BrummieBard…..

HEY……!!!!!!!…. Paul Kehoe…..IT wasn’t SOOOO hard…….

To Market ‘Dear Birmingham’……..

To The Chinese………

Using ‘Bill Shakespeare’……..

WHAT A MAN from these Shires…..!!!!!!!

The World’s GREATEST Playwright……..




As “Bill’s” Plays are about…….

Our Common Humanity……..

MACBETH’s ‘Vain Death’…….

And LEAR’s ‘Huge Vanity’……..

THE PLAYERS Do ‘Strut the World’s Stage’…….

In Stratford Town……….

Just Twenty – Five Miles……..

From CHINATOWN……….!!!!!!!!!

Balti Belt n Braceys

Ladypool Road or Stoney Lane

No two Curries are the same

Sizzling Tandoori, Tikka too

Balti ‘Buckets’ or Vindaloo

Kashmiri Spices, Herbs and Veg

Chapatis, Roti or Naan Bread

Adil, Imran’s, where will you go…..?

It’s the ‘Taste of Birmingham’ you know

The Colourful Shops in vibrant Streets

Window displays of cut-up Sweets

Silky Saris, Shalwaar Kameez

Bags and Jewellery that will please

Wedding venues for Love’s Celebration

Attended by Guests from every Nation.


Blues, Bears, Barons

Villains, Wasps and Wolves

Harriers, Saddlers, Bullets

Baggies, Bees and Bulls

Four Football grounds to visit

Four home team strips to buy

Colourful scarves round cold necks

Or for Fans to hold up high

The oval ball pulls in the crowds at Moseley RFC

For mucky rucks and scrums so tough

Such spectacular tries to see

Their followers stand together

With drinks held in their hand

They roar and sing to urge their boys

Uniting Rugby in their stand

Against violence in the land

It’s cricket in the summer

To Edgbaston Fans will go

Watching men in white in a crease with bat

A five dayer seems oh……so slow

The Twenty Twenty is much more fun

The Ball flies everywhere

There are wickets, sixes and catches

As we cheer on Birmingham Bears….

Keith Bracey AKA the Brummie Bard Birmingham and Black Country poet


Birmingham: The City of Enlightenment: MADE IN BIRMINGHAM TIMELINE from the time of The Lunar Men and The Midlands Enlightenment to the year 2000. 18th century 1727: Birmingham is becoming a hot-bed of creative activity and local businessman and bookseller Thomas Warren opens a bookshop in the Birmingham’s High Street. Warren is an influential figure […]