Saturday, 23 May 2015

Westside, Birmingham

Birmingham, you know that I love Southside but its always good to be on the Westside! Once dubbed the 'Convention Quarter' this fast changing part of Birmingham's city centre has adopted a new name and look, I'm clocking your style! I am! From beneath the rubble the new 'Library of Birmingham' will school the children! Don't get stupid, Westside sure knows the score!

Westside knows that reading is fundamental, ushering the new Library of Birmingham made Centenary Square look less of a building site alongside the Rep Theatre because nobody's got time for all that rubble! Spending the final year of my university degree should have made me motivated to use the library for research purposes for my dissertation but like many others I saw it as a tourist attraction. Making my way around the rooftop gardens gave me a beautiful of Birmingham's developing skyline and the bustling Broad Street that's a keen favourite of many. Who thought of the name 'Westside?' Birmingham is changing but from whats going on at the moment its not doing much harm to the city! Getting to grips with the towering bookshelves gave me a sense of how much work had gone into designing that Brummie house of books. Westside is fast becoming Birmingham's focal point, putting the Library up there to promote Brum.

Birmingham's Symphony Hall and International Convention Centre brings it for Westside in many ways. Clogging the streets with maximum security during the Conservative Conference that I remember from my time living nearby Broad Street, some of the things I remember about that time are quite random if I don't say so myself. Seeing Peter Andre at the Symphony Hall was good but graduating with a 2:1 BA Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management brought the house down for me, that day was something that I won't forget! Westside has been there and has the t-shirt, being regenerated from the ground up I believe its only getting started! I haven't had much of a look in to the International Convention Centre but I know for certain that it pulls in some serious paper for Birmingham. Britain's Got Talent saw the appeal of Centenary Square and the Symphony Hall, well I you know what I mean? Nevertheless, Westside brings the books and brass, Birmingham! Read it B! Jog on, let's go!

Drinks by the canal? Westside presents Brindleyplace as a perfect Industrial mash of city living and the future. Having more canals than Venice, Italy means that Brindleyplace looks so good with the trendy bars and restaurants that overlooks another part of Westside that I will get to in good time. Gentrification can be a good thing when it comes to Brindleyplace because I believe the area that surrounds Brindleyplace used to be a dreary looking car park, so a little investment can go along way! All Bar One offers the perfect outdoor seating for those summer nights, get a history lesson for the beginnings of Brindley's Place were very Industrial because factories are fabulous! You could say that Westside still works for its own!? Drinks in!

Concerts don't get any better, Birmingham's Westside used to have the National Indoor Arena but now its all about the Birmingham Barclaycard Arena these days! I couldn't possible count how many music concerts that I've been at the then NIA but Steps, Beyonce and Girls Aloud are a few of the acts I've seen in Birmingham. I was meant to Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour in December 2015 but I'll be in Wuhan, China so that's out of the question. Each time I went back to Westside after university finished I could see something changing, now I can't recognise the view from Brindleyplace when I look towards the Sea Life Centre because the new Birmingham Barclaycard Arena looks so sleek alongside the canal. Westside keeps on getting better, Midland Metro you know I'm waiting! Come on, Queen B!

No, I didn't order any post! Westside brings the Mailbox to life with a range of bars and restaurants that look ace during the night time. Living close by in the Maltings Halls of Residence gave me the opportunity to pass through this Westside landmark to access the city centre, I had the best diversion possible on my doorstep! Located beside that former Royal Mail sorting office is the Cube, a mixed modern development that's beating back from its post recession state of mind. Anybody who is anybody knows that its cool to dine on Sushi on Sundays because students don't do roast dinners! Christmas gives Westside that something extra, the Mailbox had my full attention with the lights and Christmas tree taking centre stage! The Cube soon got its life back with a Hotel Indigo and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse that apparently gives the best rooftop view of Brum?! The Cube brings a cosmopolitan edge B! She does!

I used to live in Westside it just took me a while to realise that my halls of residence fell under the zone for Westside. I moved into the Maltings Halls of Residence for the students of University College Birmingham in the September of 2010, that now seems like a world away if I think about it. Looking out onto my canal-side view I took in the views of the Cube and the nearby night time mecca of Broad Street. Spending three years on and off living in the centre of Birmingham provided me with a superb location for work and play all at the same time. Tesco Express in the Mailbox became a god send when I got wise about student living, those Friday night city slickers knew nothing about the joys of pre-drinking to save a few quid, or had they forgotten now they were a part of the rat race? Nevertheless, Westside living brought me closer to my side of town because its taken me a while to realise that! Really? Yes, the Mailbox needs to keep serving Postbox Realness! Oh, Westside!

Broad Street opened my eyes in many ways to the partying ways of Birmingham from a beginners glance. Thrown into the twilight during my UCB Fresher term at University College Birmingham I endorsed my new student party lifestyle with much gusto! Along with my Fresher gang from the Maltings we frequented Walkabout, Risa and Gatecrasher many a time during the week, going out at the weekend wasn't for us at first because most of the promotional student nights fell into the week. People are drawn to the night time delights of Broad Street for many reasons, some of which was blinded by at the time of my Fresher year but now I'm reading from a Gay page! My Fresher memories of Big Bite at closing time won't ever fade! Oh my life B1! No, no B!

Broad Street is a multi-purpose playground within Westside for many reasons it takes me back instantly to my Birmingham days but its a great place to grab something to eat as well as party the night away! Blagging a blog opportunity at American themed eatery, Coast To Coast showed me a great night with lots of great food and drink to shout all about for my blog viewers and for the Twitter-sphere to see! Will Broad Street change too much? I'm afraid change is inevitable but we've all got to reinvent ourselves from time to time! Westside has got it in the bag I'm sure of it because Arena One Central is on its way, ready to snatch HSBC from London's Canary Wharf for Westside's own Birmingham gain! Yes, reading is fundamental and cosmopolitan life is key for Westside, Birmingham to work!

That's Birmingham's Westside Story!

Joseph Harrison 

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