Monday 16 August 2010

I have a dirty little secret

It’s time to make a confession. It’s time to admit to something that no self-respecting Londoner should admit to.

It’s time to come out in the open and say the unmentionable.

I quite like Birmingham

There, done it.

Birmingham is quite often the butt of jokes.

Yes, it’s not the world’s most stunningly attractive cities, a lot of the architecture is very badly dated and some bits are a bit shabby (see for example the Palisades shopping centre above New Street Station).

Yes, the local accent doesn’t have the beauty and charm of a Morningside or a Welsh Valleys, but it could be a lot worse (and I include my foul South London accent in with that group)

Yes, it’s a pain to get to from quite a large number of places. It’s the hub of both the Cross-Country rail network and the motorway network, making it the hub of the UK’s delays and conjestion

Yes, it’s not an historic city like York or Liverpool, having still been a sleepy market town up until the Industrial Revolution

But for some reason that I can’t quite work out, I quite like it.

I like the compact city centre and the friendly atmosphere.

I like the way that it unashameably tries to compare itself to locations well out of its league (“We’ve got more Canals than Venice, we’re Britain Venice” being one of the main culprits)

But most of all I like the fact that the city centre feels much safer than most other city centres I’ve been in.

I’m sure that when you get out of the city centre there are areas which you don’t want to be wandering around, but you get those in most places, however there isn’t a feel of that actually in the heart of Birmingham. Wandering around New Street feels so much safer than walking down Oxford Street in London (and that’s before you include the fact that Oxford Street still has traffic running up and down it.)

So, there, I’ve admitted it, I’ve outed myself as a Brumophile.

No comments: