This site is English – get used to it…

Sunday ramble through the art ways of the Black Country

Walsall Art Gallery

Turner Prize

Walsall Art Gallery was in the news this week, they spent £471,000 on a bid to bring the Turner prize to Walsall. No, they didn’t get it; it went to Glasgow. They could always spend a few quid giving me an exhibition. I’ll send them some pictures to print, frame and put in the gallery. If they are throwing money around, why not throw it at someone local?

250 extra people a week are now visiting the gallery each week. That’s probably because they’re opening on Sunday and it’s somewhere warm to go out of the rain after you’ve walked around Poundland. Imagine how many visitors they would have if I had an exhibition; they would flood in from Sandwell… They would desert the Pubic on West Brom High Street and head to Walsall in droves. The Avant garde set of the pink cafe would soon be in Costa asking for lattes.

Only a fiver

Have you noticed when you’re out, you buy something to eat; a sandwich and a drink or something. It always seems to cost a fiver, doesn’t it? Some idiot always says, “it was only a fiver…”; like a fiver is peanuts these days. Fish and chips costs a fiver now, that used to be a cheap meal for the workers. Imagine eating out a couple of times a week, that would cost you over £500 a year. Last year we went to Forge Mill farm in Sandwell Valley and there were lots of people sitting on the benches eating and drinking. I had a bag of food and some drinks in the back of the car. That saved me at least a fiver. I also bought shares in Royal Bank of Scotland last year. Why are these two things connected? Because if I kept eating out, buying sandwiches, fish ‘n’ chips and lattes in Costa. I wouldn’t have been able to afford the shares. If you had invested £500 in RBS last year, you would now have a 26% return on your investment and £630 in the bank instead of crumbs and ice cream stains on your best tee shirt…

Saving and investing

The average family in the UK has about £2,500 saved and that includes money to replace the car and go on holiday. Britain also has an obesity problem. Maybe more saving and investing and less eating  fish and chips, would be a good thing?

Only £1.99

Have you noticed   how many thing tend to get priced up at 99p or £1.99 to make them sound cheaper? If you went around Walsall and asked everyone for £1.99 and included all the little towns that Walsall has taken over during it’s empire building period, including parts of Bloxwich, Darlo, Brownhills, Aldridge and Willenhall. Do you know how much money you would have? You would have enough to make a bid for the bloody Turner prize, but you would still need to go to Glasgow to see it…


It seems here in Sandwell, the council has to cut budgets by £9M. It seems Sandwell spends over £2,200 per head; on what and where it comes from is a mystery. A lot of that money goes on education and roads. The roads are a nightmare and the kids can’t get jobs when they leave schools and colleges. I did try to get detailed information on spending, but gave up. If you collected £1.99 off everyone in Sandwell. What could you buy with the money?


My car is cover in ice this morning and we have snow forecast for tomorrow. My heating broke too, I got it working long enough to have a shower last night, but it’s packed up again this morning. I don’t think we’ll get much snow in the Midlands this year, but you never can tell.  It’ll give us something to moan about! I took photographs of the ice and snow last year. The canals were frozen last year and I got some interesting pictures. I’ve got my rock salt and my snow shovel ready, just in case I need them tomorrow.  At least it’s easier to drive on snow than it used to be. We have front wheel drive, ABS and traction control to help us now and some people are still bloody hopeless.


FTSE 100

The FTSE 100 went through the 6,000 barrier this week. I bet they were dancing through the streets of Walsall after hearing that good news. It will take the edge off losing the Turner prize. They’ll be doing the Conga through the Saddlers Centre or would that be the wonga? That epitomises Walsall and most towns in the Black Country now, charity shops, food banks, pawn brokers, Poundland and pay day loan companies. There is not a stock brokers office to be seen anywhere and they think we can afford to keep giving £1.99 donations to daft causes…

The Black Country

If you’re not from the Black Country or not even British, then I apologise for making today’s post so parochial. I find people are interested in what goes on here though. We do have a sense of humour; we bloody need one. I might get a few local readers today, they will need something to read while the Sunday lunch is cooking. There will be mixed feeling today as they settle down to watch Eastenders on telly. The elation of the FTSE 100 crashing through the 6,000 barrier will be tempered by sadness at losing the Turner prize. The weather forecast will probably bring a sense of impending doom after that as they make a couple of centimetres of snow sound like the end of the bloody world. If you live in Solihull and have to travel to the office in the morning and the gritters are out late, it probably is the end of the world. If you are on Jobseekers, live in West Brom and stay in bed until lunchtime to save on heating, then it’s just another nail in the coffin we call deprivation and depression.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a cheerful psychology blog. Maybe I’ll do winter depression? Please comment. Are you disappointed that Walsall didn’t get the Turner prize? You are aren’t you? Admit it!


3 responses

  1. I have to say I love Walsall Art Gallery. The inside, that is. Not the slab of concrete you see in the street. Can’t say I’m fussed about the Turner Prize. But even though we have art most would be envious of in the Garman/Ryan collection, it was never going to happen for the town.

    13, January 2013 at 10:52 am

    • Hi Nick,

      Some of that collection is good. I liked the inside of the gallery, just hard to find your way out. It’s like Walsall, a bloody maze. We had an open exhibition in Wednesbury once, that was good; gave lots of local artists a chance. I think half a million on a bid for the Turner prize was a bloody waste of money. You should ask for your 1.99 back! 🙂

      13, January 2013 at 12:53 pm

  2. Pingback: Snow business review « Mike10613's Blog

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