England’s Birmingham City may at first glance appear to be an odd choice for a parcel theme; the city today is typical of modern conurbations and to those from beyond its borders perhaps seemingly unremarkable and famous only for a particular motorway / trunk road interchange. However, the city has a long and notable history, one that dates back to at least Anglo-Saxon times as the settlement for a local clan from which its name is derived – Beormingas (“Beorma’s People”), although whether or not Beorma was an actual clan leader or a mythical character associated with the people who settled there isn’t actually known.
As a centre of commerce, the city flourished from around the mid-1500s, which in turn gave rise to a certain level of wealth flowing into it, such that by the mid 18th-century, it was the centre of the Midlands Enlightenment that allowed Birmingham become a centre of literary, musical, artistic and theatrical activity and, as a result of that, a major driving force behind Britain’s industrial revolution.
However, for their VOIR Gallery parcel build, Simone (SimoneFiore) and Frenchy25, have selected the Birmingham of the 1920s as a founding theme. This was the era of the Birmingham Boys, a notorious gang who controlled horse race betting across the majority of England in thrall.
Occupying 1/8th of a full region, the parcel packs a lot into it without ever feeling overcrowded. Sitting on a sky platform, it offers the aforementioned steam train (admittedly of American design, but that’s the nature of SL when it comes to available content) and canal. Large commercial buildings (including the façade of the parcel surround) mix with rows of (oddly flat-topped) worker’s houses.
To be honest, I’m not really clear how the Birmingham boys fit into the setting as noted; in walking the parcel, I didn’t see any overt signs of their activities (betting shops, etc.), and as a result, did find myself wondering if the reference may be the result of the TV series peaky Blinders, which offered a fictionalised glimpse of a least one of the founding members of the gang. However, influences don’t really matter here, as there is much to commend the location to photographers, both outdoors and in (notably the pub and warehouse converted to a blues club).
Given this is a gallery space, the art with the parcel can be found discretely parked along two of the façade walls, one of which is occupied by images by Lula (Lulalali) and the other by images by Ness(?) Several of the pieces deal with adult themes, so may be considerer NSFW. In addition, one of the warehouse building looks as if it in the process of being readied as a gallery space, so more art may be added in due course.
In the meantime, the parcel makes for a pleasant visit, and our thanks to Cube Republic for the pointer.
- VOIR Gallery (Fireball, rated Adult)