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Sunday, 28 October 2012


Birmingham is turning into a beautiful city. It surprises me to be writing this because it was never something I ever thought would happen.

Having settled in the region, after leaving my hometown of Glasgow and first trying out the questionable delights of big-city life in London, I found Birmingham to be a friendly but less than glamorous place to be.

My how that has changed! Huge constructions of steel and glass in fantastical shapes and architectural magnificence vie for the eye’s attention and the heart’s wonder. Everywhere, there is a shining example of how the city is progressing into this new millennium, looking every inch the glittering star of the Midlands.

And it has become cosmopolitan. Whether as an effect of the regeneration or a more natural process, I have no idea. But it’s plain to see. And it’s everywhere. Not just in the City Centre but in the outlying areas and districts. Everything is becoming new and shiny.

But it gives me cause to wonder. Not all change is progress. I hope we can still keep the true architectural gems from days gone by, the beautiful stonework, the decorative facades and the warmth these buildings inspired within the people who lived and worked within them.

For, to me, that is the enduring memory I will have of Birmingham. That open welcome from its people, to all who chose to make it as their home.

Not that the high flyers and the smart-as-a-new-pin business people who rush around the city, looking both sartorially elegant and amazingly busy at the same time, lack warmth ...it is more that they lack the time to display it.

Like a coat of armour the suits are worn to present a different face to the world. Take the man or woman out of the suit and ‘hey presto!’ the person reappears. Because underneath we are all the same. We all eat, we all sleep.

There isn’t a working mother in the country who doesn’t rush around trying to get the tea sorted for her family, whilst also tying up the loose ends of that report which has to be in by next Friday.  

Or a mother who, throwing dirty laundry into the machine, wonders how on earth she is going to make herself glamorous for a night out, when it feels as if the bags under her eyes are down to her knees.

I know all this because I was that woman and still am.

[Taken from “From the Mundane to the Extraordinary in 30 seconds.”]

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