The British city of Birmingham has been spruced up in recent years but thirty years ago, it was a mix of post-industrial destruction, 1960s flyovers and underpasses and sky high unemployment. Let’s see what we can remember from Birmingham in 1981:
Spaghetti Junction – an interchange of eight roads layered one over the other where the Expressway leaves the M6 motorway to take drivers who could figure out where they were going in to the centre of the city.
Opposite Lock – centre of Brum’s pub rock circuit.
Holy City Zoo – the club that bravely put on new romantic nights in the middle of heavy metal country.
Rum Runner – similar to Holy City Zoo. Owned by Paul Berrow in 1981 – Brum’s answer to Steve Strange.
Crown and Cushion – which hosted the ‘Sounds of the Future’ night. The man behind this was John Tully who had been the driving force behind the legendary Barbarella’s – a punk venue that had launched The Beat and Ranking Roger on the world.
St Martin’s Rag Market – where new romantics went to buy their clobber.
Kahn and Bell boutique – another haunt for new romantics and futurists.
Bingley Hall – huge cavernous venue where the likes of Roxy Music entertained Brummies.
Handsworth – district in the Birmingham conurbation with a large black community and vibrant culture. But for the national scene, its riots in the 1980s put the name on the map.
Frighted Horse – reputedly a pub where Handsworth rastas and local cops rubbed shoulders on friendly and distinctly unfriendly terms. Or so the story goes.