Look Around You

While researching my tours for the festival this week, I realised that as much as I think I know the streets of Brum, I always find something new when I start looking again. One thing we rarely do when we’re in the city is stand still and look at it (unless maybe you are smoking in a doorway or waiting for a bus). Why would we? We’re trying to get somewhere. And if we are on the move, we are traffic and have to keep an eye on the road, not the horizon.

Yesterday I spent two hours looking at modernist design in the city and last week it was stone and terracotta architectural oddities. Some of the best examples I found were between the places I was heading to. I generally keep an eye open for stuff around the city, but deliberately setting out to look for it, with no other intention or destination, really yields rewards.

I think all the guides in the festival have done the same with their own particular interest. Usha might miss the Central Library but be acutely aware of the slopes and curves of Chamberlain Square. Mark may only have noticed Queen’s College’s weird bats and gargoyles if they appeared as a backdrop in BBC’s Hustle.

The idea that we all occupy our own worlds of experience is fascinating. The thing to do, of course, is invite people in and shown them round.



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