Friday, June 08, 2007


Various fashion, music, multimedia retail outlets, Birmingham, Saturday June 2 2007, 11am-4pm.
Lisa Milroy/Steven Shearer, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Saturday June 2 2007, 4.15pm approx.
Zodiac, Cineworld, Broad Street, Birmingham, Saturday June 2 2007, 5.15pm.
Actress and Bishop, Birmingham, Saturday June 2 2007, 9.30pm-2am.

Having stopped overnight in Brum following the Emily Haines gig and with only the vaguest plans for meeting up with people this evening, your correspondent finds himself in the unusual but not unwelcome situation of having some time to spare to mooch around the Second City at leisure. With payday just having passed, this inevitably means checking out record shops, in this case picking up the debut album by The Pigeon Detectives (as big, dumb, and fun as you'd ever want a big dumb fun record to be) and the latest by The Cribs (better than we'd ever have given them credit for being capable of achieving) and searching for that perfect pair of trainers that probably only exist inside our own twisted imaginations.

Then take a stroll alongside the canals in the glorious sunshine before popping into the always civilised prospect of the Ikon Gallery. Lisa Milroy's exhibition is pleasant enough but in your philistine hack's view her art would be better suited to posh greetings cards than prestigious galleryspace. Canadian Steven Shearer's exhibition on the top floor was more involving, kind of like Tracy Emin had she been brought up an androgynous metalhead in 70s Canada with a Lief Garret fixation. The photocollages are a bit like browsing a schizoid's scrapbook, which is probably what all modern art should be like, don't you think?

Head to the Cineworld with a bit of time to spare for a drink but find the bar upstairs closed, so have to queue up for half an hour for an ice-cream while a disorientated woman gets personal tuition from the bemused attendant on how to write a cheque before discovering she doesn't have a relevant bankcard. This for £12's worth of chocolates and fizzy drink! So end up only just getting into the auditorium on time to see David Fincher's Zodiac which follows the investigations by detectives Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards plus maverick journalist Robert Downey Jr and geeky cartoonist Jake Gylenhaal into the identity of a serial killer in the late 60s/early 70s. Fincher makes an avowed point of not exploring the motivations of these clearly obsessed individuals in favour of meticulous attention to the details of this fascinating case that was never properly resolved. His direction is less self-consciously edgy than previous efforts like Fight Club and Se7eN but this more straightforward mise-en-scene only accentuates the creepy and cold-blooded nature of the murders, making for an utterly engrossing thriller that'll keep you properly gripped throughout the epic length.

Get some food on the go before heading back to the hotel to freshen up then meet up with Ben, Jenni, Alison, Kirsten, Jim, Adam and several other fine people, for drinks outside the Actress and Bishop, during which time your swaying hack gets everybody's names mixed up (even inventing a few) and stabs a hole right through Jenni's foot with a metal chair. Then most of us head chez Kirsten for drunken karaoke, at which point Dead Kenny would like to say if you were woken up near Birmingham in the wee small hours by some berk bellowing Chesney Hawkes' 'The One And Only' and/or Rick Astley's 'Never Gonna Give You Up' he's really very, very sorry.

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