Ozzy promises Birmingham its own goodbye
Plus: What should we call our readers?
Dear Dispatch Readers — It’s the middle of my second week with all of you and, not that I want to be an insurgent upstart, but I was thinking: perhaps it’s time this group got itself a name.
In one of the Dispatch’s earliest editions, Kate asked if this group had any ideas for how to describe ourselves. At our sister paper in Manchester, The Mill, they call themselves Millers. It’s short, self-stating, has a memorable ring. Using similar derivative logic, Dispatchers could work for us Brummy lot.
My opinion? It’s too clinical, not warm enough, and too related to the directing of traffic. And I like to think of us as a warm and receptive group. I know you are because your comments and feedback are a joy to read. So, any thoughts? I’m happy to be told I’m wrong. And, if you have any of your own ideas, please reply in the comments or pop them in an email.
I hear you all asking what else has Dan been doing aside from thinking about what we can call ourselves — Dispatchees? Patchers? Anyone? — and the answer is: looking into this week’s wind in the West Midlands.
Over the past seven days, we’ve experienced back-to-back storms, Isha and Jocelyn, with the UK just one more named weather event away from equalling its record storm season since naming was introduced back in 2015.
You probably don’t need me to tell you this because we’ve been buffeted from pillar to gatepost every time we’ve dared to leave the house this week. One Dispatch reader told me: “Walking down Broad Street feels like trying to push through a crowd it's that strong. If I unzipped my coat while out I'd be worried about taking flight.”
As such, I thought I’d look into a) where in the West Midlands has been windiest this week and b) where in the West Midlands has the highest wind speed on record. To get this spot on, I went further than my own amateur anemology — I also learned this word just now, it regards the study of winds — and asked for the Met Office to pull the Midlands data for us. They very kindly obliged.
Tomorrow I’ll share what that data says. Caveat: reporting is based on where the Met is actually able to measure. Otherwise, I’d be saying the Pershore Road by Edgbaston last night, when I wondered if I’d ever get back home as a result of the gusts.
I’ll also update you on the latest subscriber data and reveal if we’ve hit our 300 subscriber January target. All will be revealed in tomorrow’s edition. Until then, take care — and do consider subscribing below if you haven’t already.
Brum in Brief
🎸 Ozzy’s last shows: Black Sabbath frontman and Birmingham’s son Ozzy Osbourne wants to perform his final shows in his home city, his wife (and manager) Sharon has revealed. The controversy-courting heavy metal pioneer was diagnosed with Parkison’s in 2020, and has previously said he has retired from touring, but it has been reported he wants to do two more shows “to say goodbye” properly. Speaking to BBC Midlands Today, Sharon said: “When he’s dreaming, he never dreams he’s in LA, he always dreams he’s in Birmingham.”
🚄 Curzon St milestone: Construction at Eastside/Digbeth HS2 rail terminus Curzon Street has finally begun. It should see trains depart sometime between 2029 and 2033 on the Birmingham-London leg of HS2. At the moment, work is being undertaken to prepare for the main station building works, which will kickstart in the summer.
🏠 Children’s home furore: A bust-up over the £800,000 cost of a new children’s home near Wolverhampton has set councillors at loggerheads. The home, near Tettenhall, cost the city council £400,000 with the government paying the rest. The Labour-run council defended the cost saying it saved on external placements. The opposition says the building does not meet the requirements necessary for safety and support and the investment wastes taxpayer money.
🚣♂️ Atlantic shift: Two men from Worcester have completed a 3,000-mile row from the Canary Islands to Antigua, braving the width of the winter Atlantic. Raising money for local children’s charity Acorns, which has hospices in Selly Oak, Walsall, and Worcester, Matt Bladen and George Farmiloe were inspired to undertake this herculean six-week effort after a young neighbour who had cerebral palsy passed away.
💉 Measles latest: Yesterday, we confirmed that part of the response to the Midlands measles outbreak will centre on vaccinations and getting up-to-date figures. The UKHSA has told us they will be issuing weekly, lab-confirmed figures. As soon as we have those, we will let you know. So far, the provisional numbers are 216 confirmed and 103 probable cases since 1 October, although we’ve heard from one health expert that this could be an underestimate.
🌿 Cov goes cow-free: This weekend Coventry is going animal-free with a two-day vegan festival on both Saturday and Sunday. Situated at FarGo Village, the festival is open from 11am on both days and promises to offer punters delicious food and drink, sweet treats, clothing, homeware, lifestyle and more. Both seasoned vegans and the vegan-curious are invited. More information here.