A Mackem’s Trip to Brummy Land



We’d been planning the trip to Birmingham for Birmingham City University Open Day for two months but the stress hit me the night before as well as having the strange feeling like it wasn’t actually happening – even though it obviously was. I was so anxious about going to a strange place and out of fear of missing the coach, my cousin, best friend and I decided to stay up all night. We spent the night packing, gulping down alcohol and more energy drinks than necessary. We even watched a few movies as TV gets boring after a certain hour in the morning.

Originally, we had planned to get a bus to the coach station but ended off getting a taxi instead. This was the first trip any of had ever had to make without our parents and I was finding it nerve racking especially since Birmingham has a reputation for being a rather rough area. I tried to make the process easier for myself by planning out the entire weekend to the last detail, which in a way did make me feel calmer than I usually could be. I managed to successfully avoid a panic attack.

DAY 1:

The coach arrived at Park Lane bus station a little later than 7 am which was when it was expected. It was a very cold morning but we had been waiting there for over an hour and the most entertaining part of our wait was the unexpected conversation we had with the “friend” who argued with me months before about us going away without her – so this was the perfect opportunity for some revenge gloating.

Once we got on the coach the exhausting 5 hour journey began. After the first 2 and a half hours we stopped in Leeds for a toilet break and snacks which were well needed at this point as Courtney and Liam had done was complain about needing a tab and coffee. The certainly made that known for the hour previous to the break. We were soon back on the road and spent the majority of the journey asleep, suffering from a crash in energy levels from all the energy drinks we had before.

The arrival in Birmingham was fascinating. Everything was so big and glamorous in comparison to Sunderland which made me excited and intimidated at the very same time. We did try to walk to the hotel but in the end we got a London-style taxi. This is strange to us Mackems as we would normally have to call the taxi rank to get a taxi rather than just get into one. I prefer the way the Brummies do it.

We reached the hotel – the ibis Budget Hotel, to be exact. The room was on the 5th floor and was small but this was okay for a short stay. Once we put our luggage down we called our parents to let them know that we arrived safely and went to the chippy to get food. We actually witnessed someone pull in the chippy which is strange because back home you would never meet someone with the confidence enough to chat someone up in a chippy and trade numbers. After food, Courtney and Liam had a tab and I went up to the room to have a nap, I wanted to be refreshed for hitting the clubs later.

Courtney and Liam woke me up after a few hours so that I could shower and get ready. Once we were ready we got into a taxi to Broad Street, once we got there the isolation surrounded us as we began to see just how different nights out are down there – even the groups of people were very different. Everyone looked so classy as men walked around like they had put the effort in when back home men were able to go on nights out in joggers and trainers. Liam was wearing trainers and almost got us turned away from a few bars but chivalry seemed to be very much alive down there as they allowed us to go in anyway because he was with us ‘ladies’.

The first place we went into was Players, which my mother actually does the wages for. It seemed to be a posh cocktail bar which made us feel alienated so we left without buying a single drink.

No. 6 was where we went next. This was expensive but we only had one drink. It was still more our style though. The atmosphere was more welcoming than some of the bars back home and many people were up, dancing like they had no care what anyone thought which made me relax after the stressful entrance we had to it. Liam was body searched and they searched mine and Courtney’s bads. It was also strange that they scanned our ID’s and had us drinking out of plastic beakers rather than glasses. These seemed like warning signs at first but nothing bad happened so we continued on with our night.

Our night ended in the Soloman Cutter which is a branch of Wetherspoons. It was affordable and lively – very much like a bigger and better version of Wetherspoons’ Cooper Rose in Sunderland. There was one woman who caused issues at the bar because we were served before her even though we were there first – childish really but it was enjoyable to see her being removed by security sometime after.

The trouble that happened there was very small and nothing compared to what happens in Sunderland on a night out. We were back at the hotel by 1 am, ready to get some sleep for the big day ahead.

DAY 2:

We went to the BCU open day at the city center campus. I had timetabled the day out so that it would run smoothly and so I could get the most out of it. I planned to attend the Media and Communications Talk and Tour, as well as the tour around the Curzon Accommodation building.

We began with the talk which was given by the head of Media and Communications. It gave me a full and in depth overview of the sector that I was aiming to be accepted into. It was so inspiring, it made me fall in love with the University. Even Courtney (a college drop-out) was so inspired that she told me that she wanted to go back to college and study media so that she could join me in the University. It was amazing to hear that 90% of the students at BCU that study Media and Communications courses are hired within the media sector.

The Curzon Accommodation Tour was our next stop. The accommodation was clean and very inviting. I was very pleased with the quality of it as some places offer very dingy looking rooms. When we entered the kitchen we were informed about the cleaners and told that they wont clean our rooms for us. This was the first of two moments which I felt embarrassed for one of the boys who was looking around as his dad decided to shout, “well that’s you fucked then.” The second moment was after we looked around the room we might be staying in and he decided to ask if his son was allowed to bring girls back to his room. I was so glad I didn’t have my parents there to embarrass me like that.

There was the tour of the media facilities too. It was at this point when I most certainly fell in love with the campus. They have all the up to date software and technology that I would need to complete my course. All of this is based in the £62m Parkside Building which is the biggest media center in the UK.

Once the open day was over my friends and I headed into the city center. We checked out the Bullring Shopping centre but quickly decided that the flocks of people were nothing but irritating, so we walked back to the Hotel, stopping at a seriously awesome comic book shop on the way. We got to the hotel and got ready for our meal at McKenzie’s in Lichfield. We had one the most delicious meals we have ever had there. I could certainly see why it’s been awarded 5 stars. The staff were friendly and many were even nice to look at. –  http://mckenziesrestaurant.com


It was a very long and grueling 6 hour journey home. We were very sad to go but the journey home consisted primarily of listening to music and sleeping.


My tweets from the weekend were featured in the University’s storify. You can reach the university via Twitter using @MyBCU or use the #bringonBCU


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