Friday, 27 April 2012

Here comes the sun!

It definitely feels as if we've had 3 months worth of rain in the last few days (there can't be a drought any more - surely?).  What a shame Bearwood Shuffle #3 was postponed last Sunday because of the heavy downpour.

At welovebearwood we're getting a bit fed up of feeling like drowned rats so every day this week we've been playing The Beatles 'Here Comes The Sun' - it's almost become our daily mantra!  We have to live in hope! 

We would love it if the sun comes out next weekend especially for the Lightwoods Park May Day Festival on Monday May 7th. 

The brillant Lightwoods Park team have been working really hard and there's so much happening it's amazing! 

Strongest Man Event, morris dancers, crafts stalls, live music from the festival stage, dancing in the bandstand, storytelling in Shakespeare's garden and a fun fair- wow! 

One of welovebearwood's all-stars Tom Naylor has been busy with the bmx and skateboarding event so watch out for our exclusive interview with him next week to find out what he's got planned.

Here's the line-up for the day....fingers crossed the sun makes an appearance too! 

BetterBearwood details coming your way...

We are very excited to share with you the application that was posted off at the end of March to Mary Queen of Shops (well, actually, it's knickers now but never mind...).

The BetterBearwood Portas Application can be accessed by all here:

Over 500 people's views and ideas contributed to this. We need to keep the momentum of consultation going though - we will be continuing to share this face to face with people on the high street and at community events in the next few weeks, asking for feedback and support. This is just the beginning of our #BetterBearwood. 

Want to keep up to date or volunteer your support?  Get in touch at, follow us on Twitter @BetterBearwood and make sure you've liked our You Tube application video!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Thank Folk it's almost the weekend!

If you're into your folk music, get yourselves down to Thimblemill Library this weekend.

Colin Hall and his Gypsy Blood band, Louise Kilbride and an open mic slot - what better way to spend your Saturday night!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Bearwood Bargains!

You may have guessed it already Bearwood but if you look at the video from our last post about Bearwood Shuffle#3 being postponed you can tell that welovebearwood are big fans of Gene Kelly!  The man was a genius!
One of the best Christmas pressies I have ever had was a copy of Gene Kelly’s biography.  The book’s no longer in print so you can’t pop into Waterstones or even buy it from Amazon.  It took Mr B 3 attempts to purchase it off eBay. What a love!
eBay’s great of course but - and it’s a big BUT - you always have to make sure you’re around for the auction to finish and what if that’s at some ungodly hour, when you’re at work or school or on holiday.  You sometimes pay more for postage and packaging then the actual item you’re buying (that’s just mad!) and it’s happened to us so many times that you find exactly what you’re looking for and then get beaten to it in the last 30 seconds – AAARRRRGGGHHH!  It’s not good news for the seller either as eBay take a tidy slice of your profits.
Thank our lucky stars for the Bearwood For Sale/Free Stuff page on Facebook then.  Welovebearwood think it’s a fantastic idea. 
We’ve had a quick look this morning and it’s amazing what’s on there – Fender guitar, Early Learning Centre pizza set, cd collections, DVDs, washer dryer, even a piano – you name it it’s on there.  We’re sure you could buy everything you need for your home from there too.  You can even put your wish list on there of items you’ve been hunting and low for. 

As it’s for folk in Bearwood you know that you won’t need to travel to Swansea to pick up that valet/bicycle/70s space hopper you’ve been dying to find either! Best of all it’s free! So forget eBay and have a look at the Bearwood For Sale page instead!  Click on here for the link.

Friday, 20 April 2012

STOP PRESS: Bearwood Shuffle Postponed!

Sadly we’ve taken the difficult decision to postpone this Sunday’s Bearwood Shuffle. On top of the unpredictable weather our headline band has been forced to pull out so we’ve decided to reschedule for a later date that we’ll be announcing shortly.

If you’re still up for some free live music this Sunday though why not head down to The Island Bar for the Free Love Club (4pm to 12pm)?

As a wise man once said “We’ll be back...”

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Thoughts of Chairman Craig!

The above photo is of the Bearwood Promoters motley crue! Craig's the one at the end looking very cool in his shorts and shades! Thanks to Keith Bloomfield's flickr page for the shot!

Craig Goodall's an all-round good guy! He's chairman of Bearwood Promoters and you may remember DJ Craig from Bearwood Shuffle#1 because that's him too!

With less than 5days to go till the next Shuffle welovebearwood spoke to Craig to get his thoughts on Bearwood Shuffle, the Bearwood Promoters team and what he thinks about living in Bearwood.

Here goes....
How did the idea of Bearwood Shuffle come about?

This is quite a long story so I'll spare you the full details!

Basically a few of our group decided there wasn't enough live music in Bearwood and that they were going to do something about it and 'Bearwood Promoters' was formed with the vision of continuing Bearwoods rich musical heritage.

Blog posts were written, new members volunteered and recruited and many, many, many hours and pints were sunk debating different types and styles of gigs before the idea of an event in the bandstand with eclectic acts stuck and 'The Bearwood Shuffle' was born.

How would you describe Bearwood Promoters as a group?

Hard working, enthusiastic and determined!

There's a core group of 10 who do the majority of the organising with another 10 who chip in when they can and help out at events. It's good because everybody plays an important part in each event and brings different skills to the table. Being Chairman is the easiest job in the world cos everyone is so keen to muck in, share ideas and make our events happen.

Everyone in Bearwood Promoters is a volunteer and gives their time for free.

Bearwood Shuffles are almost a year old, how has the last 12 months gone?

It's been an education! No one in the group had ever organised a gig before, let alone an outdoor one, so we've really had to work hard and learn quickly.

Our first event was a resounding success in the July sunshine and our second event was marred by some serious technical difficulties caused by a surging generator knocking out bits of equipment left, right and centre but in true Promoters style the show went on.

The experience from these two shows showed where we needed to improve over the winter. One such area was the PA and thanks to Andy Ward from Musoplex Studios this years Shuffles will be pumping through a much improved sound system.

What are the plans for Bearwood Shuffles this year and for the future?

We're looking to grow our roster of artists and we're looking to bring in well established acts alongside more up and coming musicians.

As well as the Shuffles on the bandstand we're doing two other events this year.

On the 21 July we're doing an event at the Skatepark working with Ideal Skates. There's going to be professional skate displays and competitions as well as music. We're hoping to persuade DJ Switch (3 x DMC World Supremacy DJ Champion) to come down and show his skills alongside many others.

In addition to this we're also running the music stage at the Warley Woods Picnic in the Park on 15 July. There maybe one other event you'll find us at but that's still tbc at the moment.

Away from events the main aim is to make the Bearwood Shuffle financially sustainable. It costs approximately £400 to put on one event and all that money has to be raised through hard work and donations. So next time that bucket comes around at one of events please chuck in a couple of quid.

Every penny we raise goes straight back into the next event. And if anyone wants to sponsor us then we'd be delighted to hear from you via

What band/s would you like to see at future Bearwood Shuffles?

I want to see the best and biggest Birmingham acts on the Bandstand and I'd be delighted to host any huge acts that maybe touring in Birmingham when our events are on.

From the local scene bands like Goodnight Lenin, Troumaca, Peace, Strangle Kojak would be great.

And I'd be delighted to host Paul Weller on the bandstand sometime in the future. How's about it Paul?

What's your best moment from Bearwood Shuffles so far?

The feeling after the first event when hundreds of people turned up despite hardly any promotion and enjoyed themselves in the sunshine.

What's your connection with Bearwood?

I moved to the area from Hereford in 2008 after getting a new job in the Midlands. We lived in Harborne at first but we crossed Hagley Road after a year and haven't looked back.

Do you think Bearwood has changed over the years? What do you think the Bearwood's future is?

In my time here I've seen the high street decline but I've also seen the emergence of a really strong community spirit and togetherness.

What makes you smile about Bearwood?

The Villagey feel it has on High Street when its not congested. The fact you can stand in a wood despite living in a city. And the creativity that is bubbling away amongst the people.

Who/what or where is your Bearwood All-Star?

This is easy. Neelams Kebab house. Best ever and I've eaten a lot of kebabs.

What makes Lightwoods Chippy' chips orange?

If I told you I'd have to kill you.

Cheers Craig - see you on Sunday!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Only 6 more days to go!

Craig who's the chairman of the Bearwood Promoters team got in touch with welovebearwood to tell us how excited he is about this Sunday's Bearwood Shuffle.....he's not the only one! Only 6 more sleeps to go!

Chairman Craig told us that "Bearwood Promoters are delighted to announce that hotly tipped West London band 12 Dirty Bullets headline the third Bearwood Shuffle this Sunday, April 22nd. Following a successful US tour last year the band’s about to set off across the UK but not before playing an explosive free show in Lightwoods Park.

They’re joined by an impressive line up of local bands and artists including No Way Out, Less For Murder, Delilah No. 10 and Ed Geater.

There’ll be craft stalls and refreshments too and a special guest compere in the shape of Mr Laurence Saunders...recently nominated as Villain of the Year in The British Soap Awards Whooohahahahahahahah!"

Craig told us about the ethos behind Bearwood Shuffle. "Run by volunteers from the local community both previous Shuffles have attracted hundreds of people, giving up and coming bands an all too rare opportunity to get their music heard and local businesses a much needed boost.

This goes arm in arm with Bearwood’s recent application to secure the backing of Government High Street guru and pant lover Mary Portas and, along with other community events like the legendary Crafty Muthas Craft Fairs, is further proof that community spirit in the ‘wood is alive and well.

The event runs from 2pm to 6pm at the Lightwoods Park bandstand and it’s free to attend!

Sunshine guaranteed...probably."

Fingers very tightly crossed!

Cheers Craig - watch out for welovebearwood's interview with Craig coming soon!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Sandwell Strongest Man Competition!

Welovebearwood just love this! As they say no pain no gain but hurts to watch!

The Sandwell Strongest Man competition was so successful last year that Sandwell Leisure Trust are moving the event to a bigger arena.......yes you’ve guessed it Lightwoods Park!

The competition to see who can pull a vehicle, lift a car, flip a tyre or carry a log (we’re exhausted just thinking about it!) in the fastest time is going to be part of the May Day Bank Holiday event on Monday May 7th.
So if your bulging biceps are rippling just reading this here's the competition for you. Just click on here to download the form and here to get more details.

All that pain and strain will be worth it - 1st Prize is One Year Free Leisure Pass GOLD worth £342.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Big Sandwell Read!

Welovebearwood can't think of anything better than snuggling down with a good book and a nice big warm cup of tea!

Sometimes though if you're like us you want a change from your normal read and want to try something a bit different.

Sandwell Libraries have put a book list together of all their current favourite children's and adults' books. The lists are downloadable too - please just click on here.

You can vote for your favourite and there's going to be an award ceremony in June for Sandwell's best read.

The lists includes something for everyone and one of our favourite books from last year 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' is on there. It's written by the same chap who wrote the 'Kite Runner', Khaled Hosseini. It's a really powerful moving story.

The next Big Sandwell Read event is this Thursday at Bleakhouse Library when you can get to meet best selling thriller writer Sophie Hannah from 7pm - 8.30pm.
Sophie's Sophie’s first psychological thriller 'Little Face' is on the list and is described by the Times as ‘Quite brilliant'. Need we say more!

Tickets are only £3 for library members and £5 for non-library members.

If you want to find out more about the event or would like to book a seat please contact Bleakhouse Library on 0121 422 2798 or email

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Happy Easter Bearwood!

This is such a cute photo - we just couldn't resist!

Hope you all have a lovely Easter and the Easter bunny comes your way!

P.S Don't forget the Easter Egg rolling fun at Warley Woods on Easter Monday!

When Mosley was in Smethwick...

Following on from Malcolm X and Christabel Pankhurst another controversial political figure with links to Smethwick was Oswald Mosley.

Our favourite local historian Mary Bodfish explained that.....
“At the general election of 1926 a new candidate for Smethwick was fielded by the Labour party . This was Mr (later Sir) Oswald Mosley.

He had entered Parliament in 1918 as Conservative MP for Harrow, but had already abandoned them to become an independent; and had now crossed the floor to become a socialist.”

Mary sent us the above photo too and explained that it shows Oswald Mosley, the Socialist candidate in the Smethwick by-election, campaigning with his wife Lady Cynthia Curzon, December 1926.

Mary went on to say that “after serving in the First World War Oswald Mosley was driven by the unemployment and later the depression that blighted the country in the 1920s.

As Smethwick MP he was appointed as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and he put before the government of the day a radical programme to address these issues. When the government rejected his proposals Mosley resigned from office and left the Labour Party in 1931 to form the New Party, while still representing Smethwick. None of the New Party candidates gained seats at the general election of that year and a Conservative represented Smethwick for the next 14 years.

It was after meeting the Fascist leader Benito Mussolini in Italy the following year that Mosley disbanded the failed New Party and replaced it with the notorious British Union of Fascists.

Recollections of his time in Smethwick include his being a brilliant and charismatic speaker, but even at this date surrounding himself with a coterie of the kind of bully-boys who became such a feature of his years as leader of the fascists in Britain.”

If you want to know more about our local history, Mary Bodfish’s your lady.

Mary is the chair of the Smethwick Local History Society who get together on the second Wednesday of every month at Bearwood Baptist Church (on the corner of Rawlings Road and Bearwood Road in Smethwick, B66 4HA). The meetings start at 2pm.

Their next get together is on Wednesday 18 April when Peter Kennedy will speaking about one of the most daring WWII exploits, the Nazaire Raid.

Fascinating stuff!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Are you ready for Bearwood Shuffle#3?

The next Bearwood Shuffle’s just under 3 weeks away and welovebearwood are already excited!

The full line-up’s almost confirmed for Sunday 22nd April so we asked Bearwood Promoters to give us a sneaky preview of what musical treats they’ve got in store for us at Lightwoods Park bandstand!

Here goes....
Less for Murder

Kevin James Hadley

Deliah no 10

And last but definitely not least headline act....
12 Dirty Bullets

Wow! In true Shuffle style there’s going to be something for all tastes! Make sure you’re there for 2pm - Bearwood’s going to be blown away!