Life Birmingham today. It's the first time I've visited alone for a few years and so I was free to explore the new not retread the old haunts. The new Bullring might just be a glorified shopping centre but it's a massive improvement on the old structure even if it seems no place was found for the old style market what with both Debenhams and Selfridges setting up shop there. But as always with this city, like a sparky relationship between work colleagues, it's the little moments which infuriate but are also treasurable. Standing in line at the Edwardian Tea Rooms having to translate what the clerk with the rather strong brummie accent was saying to a moneyed old lady from the south who hadn't a clue. Standing in the ThinkTank at Millenium Point (a science museum which takes the Millenium Dome as its inspiration which may not have been such a good idea) following an interactive knee replacement operation ("Just use the pointer on the screen to make the first incision" .... "Now use the sliding bar to move the leg around so that we can get a better angle." .... "Keep pressing the button so that we can hammer the new joint in place...") Visiting a Yo Sushi for the first time and finding myself hypnotised by the little dishes going around the conveyor belt and remembering after the soup course that someone who doesn't like fish is sitting at a Sushi bar and will be ordering Chicken. Liverpool tomorrow.

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