Matters Arising / AOB

I’ve been meaning to write some of these things up for a while, and failed to do them when they came to mind periodically. Hopefully I’ll cover off a few that needed saying sooner and you can take the appropriate action.

The Walsall Music Den is the reincarnation of a music shop which used to be the best in the world and still has the potential to be so again. Local musicians will already be aware of the sudden and tragic departure of Dennis Ray (musician, wit, raconteur, shopkeeper, singing coach, international traveller and spinner of yarns) who ran the shop with the able assistance of Jamie, a young man in whose lap most of the customer service fell while Den would tailor insults and mild invective to amuse the punters. Den could take a man looking to buy a plectrum and sell him a guitar, a case and a new set of strings.

I’m delighted to report that Dave the new business owner is very approachable, eager to build on what remains of Den’s legacy and most importantly has kept Jamie on, teaching and serving customers. Dave is a good chap. He runs several successful businesses elsewhere in the local area, but none in this line. This is a chance, in my opinion, to spend my pounds in a local shop which is striving for success rather than, for example, a major online retailer with tax “issues”. They are based in Leamore, on the A34 roundabout between South Staffs Water and Bloxwich Centre. I’m not going to ask you to join me in supporting the new venture, but I recommend you do.

Cycling in Birmingham has always held a little extra fear for me because I have a limited number of ways of getting home if something on the bike fails. A chance encounter a few weeks ago led me to a canal boat moored around the back of the NIA and Broad Street which houses a social enterprise lending bikes for use in the local area and offering repairs. It’s a social enterprise, and the guys I met were lovely. If you didn’t already know about it, you do now. I can make no guarantees about the quality of their work but I’ll be finding out.

Ales Beers and Carols is kicking off again in December this year. I’m happy to confirm we have two dates in the diary (although only one on Eventbrite so far) and may go for a third. Follow the link above to be taken to the new ABC blog site, which will be updated in due course, and follow there if you’d like the news delivered directly to your inbox.

Arbor Lights are not only a very pleasant band named after a local restaurant, but also a local restaurant after which the band were named, and I finally got round to dining there last week. Very nice food, well prepared and served, and only a stone’s throw from my new base of operations, so it’s the first time of what I hope will be many.

This was never supposed to be a local blog, but these few things have cropped up and deserve a mention. It’s opinion. I’m not going to let you hold me responsible if I gave you the wrong impression or if I got the one good instance of otherwise lousy service. Exercise your usual built-in discretion. That said though, every one of the things above has made me stop and appreciate how rich the variety of life is locally. Go enjoy some.


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