Brum is an affectionate name for my place of birth, Birmingham, England. Some say you can take the boy out of Birmingham but you can’t take Birmingham out of the boy! The fact is, I’m proud of my heritage and I hope I will always be identified as a Brummie (someone from Birmingham).
A Local’s Guide and Insights
Here is my guide to Birmingham’s unique lingo and culture. Read through, note down the new vocabulary, and practice speaking like a Brummie to your work colleagues and friends!
Birmingham – On the World Stage – Four Famous Facts
Birmingham is a bostin (fantastic, amazing) place and is the second biggest city in the UK, very closely followed by Manchester. Brum is regularly overlooked by much of the UK which is sometimes the reason people in the city have a cob on (bad mood). People have forgotten the importance of my city so I would like to highlight some world events that wouldn’t have been possible without Birmingham.
- The internet –YES!
Many years ago, Conway Berners-Lee met Mary Lee Woods (both Brummies). Conway may have started the conversation by saying, “Alright bab” (“Hello love”). They eventually got married, had a son, Timothy Berners-Lee, who became the inventor of the internet and also a ‘Sir’!
- The industrial revolution and the modern world
At the time of the industrial revolution all transport links in the UK went through Brum. I guess what I’m arguing is that without my fine city, the revolution may never have happened. Add to that the fact that Watt’s steam engine would never have taken off without the help and financial support of Brummie Mathew Boulton.
- Heavy metal music
Our kid (a younger sibling, in this case my sister) told me that Tony Iommi, a guitar loving teenager and Brummie, was the founding member of Black Sabbath. Other famous metal bands linked with Birmingham include; Judas Priest, Napalm Death, Led Zeppelin (Robert Plant), ELO, Jethro Tull (Dave Pegg) and Iron Maiden (Blaze Bayley). Birmingham is a rocking city!
- The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
Tolkien, although not born in Birmingham, grew up there. Much of Middle Earth, the fantasy world from his books, was based on his surroundings as a child. Even today you can go on Tolkien tours around Birmingham.
If those four fantastic facts haven’t got you excited about Birmingham, perhaps these additional ones will.
Bostin facts about Brum
- Birmingham has the biggest urban nature reserve in Europe
- It has more miles of canals than Venice
- It has more parks than any other city in Europe
- We have one of the largest fountains in Europe called ‘The River’ but locally known as ‘the floozie (slang for a sexually active/flirtatious woman) in the jacuzzi’
- The best Indian food outside of India can be found in Birmingham, especially the Balti. This is a very specific type of curry which is cooked in a metal dish called a ‘balti’. Oh, and a lot of balti restaurants aren’t licensed to sell alcohol so you’ll need to visit an outdoor (an alcohol shop) to buy some cold beer beforehand.
Six final tips for visitors
- Broad Street is where it all happens at night.
- The Jewellery Quarter is well worth a visit if you want to surprise your girlfriend with an engagement ring.
- Visit the home of Cadbury’s Chocolate which is located in the beautiful district of Bournville.
- For shopping visit the Bullring which has been around since the Middle Ages.
- Never ask for directions to any of these locations as we like to use the word ‘right’ after everything we say i.e. “Go down the road and turn right, right. Then turn left, right” You will end up going round the Wrekin (taking a very long route)
- Finally, if you need medical assistance ask for a ‘horse pickle’, believe it or not you will find a hospital (some Brummie pronunciation for you) J
That just leaves me to say thanks for reading, pay my city a visit, and ‘ta-ra a bit’ (goodbye)!