Destinations Magazine

Birmingham: Retro Cool, Fierce Fashion and Street Realness!

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

Here we are in November of 2013, this year has flown past just like a furious tornado! Birmingham has been my base for the remainder of this year, I have seen this city change so much over the last eleven months! I'm thrilled to say that Birmingham has never looked better, well mind the current phase of construction but its a 'new start' for 'new street' and that's not the half of it! Taking my attention away from the gargantuan redevelopment of New Street Station I have seen places within this great city center that haven't changed too much, these parts of the city still look current as a part of modern Birmingham. 

Birmingham: Retro Cool, Fierce Fashion and Street Realness!

So, I finished my afternoon's worth of lectures at University College Birmingham's Summer Row campus and took to the streets of Birmingham's inner city center to see places in Birmingham that stand out for all the right reasons, because 'This Is Birmingham!' My first stop would be Birmingham's Paradise Forum, formerly the home of Birmingham's once Central Library. Controversial as this may sound I think Birmingham's recently closed Central Library building looks very retro, fitting a key piece of Birmingham's architectural stage of development as a major city in England. I know the concrete structure might look a tad dated or even some say 'an eyesore' but I see no problem with it, there's a lot worse to look at around the country! What do you think?

The book shelves of the previous Birmingham Central Library are now sitting in the newly opened Library of Birmingham but the original Central Library acts as a key gateway to New Street and the Bullring, providing a whole host of dining options for the passing commuters, travelers and locals alike. Paradise Forum serves its purpose as a go-through with a difference, I must admit that with a bit of love this piece of modern history could well be a iconic talking point and place to be seen! This building has been a part of my University journey in Birmingham, I hope that even after my graduation and departure from this city there will still be something left of my kind of Birmingham. Being an ultra modern city is cool but Birmingham serves up lots of realness, so much so I know that I would miss this iconic piece of 1970's Birmingham. But who knows what the future will bring for this Brummie feature? Who honestly knows if this structure will be part of Birmingham's future 'Big City Plan?' I do hope that the big wigs of Birmingham conserve some of these gems to help Birmingham serve the maximum rate of realness! I love Paradise Forum!

Birmingham: Retro Cool, Fierce Fashion and Street Realness!Now lets skip a few years or more from the opening of the original Bullring that happens to be before my time! The Bullring has become the pinnacle of Birmingham's evolution as a prime shopping destination, showcasing the city's first Selfridges department store that is something quite extraordinary! Meeting in the middle this retail paradise brings it big for Birmingham, creating a shopping experience for each and every person that visits the epicentre of Birmingham's main focal point! I love the Bullring, well as far as my student loan permits me to but I know that a special purchase has to be made now and again. The Rotunda is captured to the left in the far left corner promoting a modern and seamless impression over Birmingham's premier shopping magnet, this once tired office building now stands proud as a modern marvel due to Urban Splash's efforts for now its a mix use of apartments with a penthouse view over Birmingham. 

I would have been very intrigued to see what Birmingham's original Bullring looked like but I'm a child of the new generation. The Selfridges department is fierce with its space-age design and facade, which really puts the cat amongst the pigeons! I truly love that Birmingham has risen up over the years and as a student living in this great West Midlands city I really notice this city soar due to press attention due to the new developments that have been pioneered for this city! The Mailbox is also a great addition to Birmingham's future fashion crusade for shopping world domination, I'm just spoiled for choice! I know that Birmingham is awaiting its biggest reveal in the next year or so. I love correcting people about Selfridges because I don't think they actually sell refrigerators  maybe they do and I just haven't been looking closely enough? I'm in favour for the this phase of Birmingham's new frontier because it's going to serve some fierce fashion stories for the future! Birmingham! You're a Fashion Phenomenon! You're a Glamazon! I have one more thing to say Birmingham! You better Work!

Birmingham: Retro Cool, Fierce Fashion and Street Realness!Birmingham's streets serve realness, you might think what on earth 'realness' stands for? But 'realness' is my definition for serving attitude and looking real without trying too hard! So, I know that Birmingham's Smallbrook Queensway serves true street realness! I remember my fresher year where most Monday nights turned into Tuesday mornings for me and my fresher friends would await our fast food orders as Smallbrook Queensway stayed awake right through the early hours. This part of town has a long parade of a building that houses a range of shops and amenities at street level but above seem to be used for office purposes. I love the 1950's inspired look of the buildings that make up Birmingham's Smallbrook Queensway because they're a piece of retro cool! 

Most cities within England frown up such structures that were built before a certain time but the main focal point of Smallbrook Queensway sets the perfect contrast as its sandwiched between Southside to the right and the Birmingham Bullring to the left, variety is definitely the spice of life in this part of my student city of Birmingham! Upon my post-lecture walk around Birmingham I made sure I crossed tracks with this side of Birmingham as its a place that I usually see when I'm on my way to Birmingham's Gay Village, another place that holds close to my heart for its lively bars and tolerant atmosphere. There are many places in Birmingham that possess qualities that resonate from the 50's right through to present day Birmingham, but we shouldn't look down on these places that supposedly don't fit in with the changing face of this modern Birmingham! Let's love Birmingham's unique features because I believe that there is not another city in England or even Europe that serves up the same amount of retro cool, fierce fashion or street realness!  

Birmingham ... You Know I Love You That Much !!! 
Joseph Harrison 


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