From Our Foreign Curryspondent: Birmingham Backlash!

(The TATTGOC brotherhood extends around the globe, and we welcome reports of curry expeditions beyond Glasgow – but this is something a little different. When Glasgow was pronounced Curry Capital 2010 last week, poor old Birmingham only placed fifth. Fifth! TATTGOC elder Garlic Bam is Glasgow through-and-through, but after living in Brum for years – not only forming a bond with the city but an honest-to-goodness band there as well – he was easily baited into writing a "controversial" counterblast ...)


Let me introduce myself. I am Garlic Bam (I thought about calling myself Peshwari Bam but I'm allergic to nuts). I am an inaugural member yet just one-time attender of TATTGOC. It's a long story ... a long story about a lazy, lazy man.

I am a member of the band Friends of the Stars. We all met in Birmingham where I used to live and they still do. We are still an ongoing concern and are soon to release a new album. Here's a free sampler album to give you an idea of what we do.

Continue reading ...

 


But that's only half the point of this post.

Trampy (with whom I recorded this Xmas ditty) is a long-time pal but also a provocateur of "happenings" – a true puppetmaster (if the puppets were made of 15 stone of beer flesh and naan dough). He recently drew my attention to this news story – a frankly amazing tale about Birmingham CRASHING AND BURNING in the Curry Capital 2010 competition. And Glasgow came first!

Trampy knew what he was doing. As a Glaswegian, yet a friend of Birmingham and a lover of their curry offerings, this was a difficult position to find myself in. Which side would I come down on? So divided, so riven by split loyalties!

Time to reveal my true colours?

You with the sad eyes
don't be discouraged
oh I realize
it's hard to take curry-rage
in a world full of people
you can lose sight of it all
and the darkness inside you
can make you feel so small ...

OK, so Glasgow may have wonderful curryhouses but ... and I may shock you here ... the reason it wins prizes like this is really because of one or two flash palaces. The Mother Indias, The Wee Curry Shops. Back in the day it was the Koh-i-Noor. Famous flagships. But when it comes to consistency and range, Birmingham properly hocks a loagy in Glasgow's Lamb Dopiaza. An ordinary curryhouse in Birmingham is usually pretty great and there's literally a million of them. In Glasgow, the pretty great ones are pretty great but there's a long drop to the second tier.

(It's a bit like the SPL in that respect.)

Birmingham and environs has so many curryhouses it even has more than one "Balti something". The Balti Triangle around Ladypool Road and the Balti Belt which is getting on for Stourbridge. They both claim to have invented the Balti by the way. What's Glasgow invented? The Jakey? A Beef jakey? Pfffft.

Listen, I love Glasgow curries. But if you're telling me that Glasgow is five times better at them than Birmingham then I'm afraid I'm going to have to stare at you like you're a mental.

I am slightly biased toward Birmingham curry though, I must admit. It's been the scene of crucial moments in the chequered history of Friends of the Stars. It was at a curryhouse on Alcester Road in 2002 that we sat down with "Slaughter" Joe Foster (one of the founders of Creation Records) in one of our many brushes with success. (It's like being brushed in the face with Richard Keys' old bathbrush, in case you're wondering.) We're actually playing a gig at the Birmingham Symphony Hall tonight and no doubt we'll venture into a curryhouse afterwards to toast our magnificence with a communal bhuna and five straws.

My Friends of the Stars bandmate Craig is an actual Brummie so I thought it best to leave some precise recommendations to him. I have only ever been in these places when drunk, so most of what I have just said is completely without validity ... but it did give me a chance to plug my band.

Cheers Trampy, m'boy!

FIVE ESSENTIAL BIRMINGHAM CURRYHOUSES RECOMMENDED BY GARLIC BAM'S BANDMATE CRAIG FROM FRIENDS OF THE STARS

1: The Diwan, Balsal Heath – for their Balti Garlic Chicken Chilli Bahar (try saying that after a few beers)
2: The Bengal Garden, Boldmere – awesome food and waiters in penguin suits
3: The Kings, Kings Heath – Great food, and owned by Lo-Pan from Big Trouble In Little China
4: Adils Balti, Sparkbrook – Table naans that scare out-of-town visitors with their sheer size. No cutlery on the premises.
5: The Plaza, Ladypool Road – The best tandoori lamb chops you'll ever eat!

Keep on rockin' TATTGOC!

Thanks Garlic Bam! And if you wanna hear some Friends of the Stars, be sure to check out their free sampler album. Oh, and better luck next year, Birmingham! A-ha ha ha!


SOME PREVIOUS FOREIGN CURRYSPONDENCE
Dateline: Kerala!
Dateline: Cambodia!
Dateline: Colorado!


3 comments:

Sir Spicy said...

That's an invitation for the TATTGOC massive to visit Birmingham, if ever I read one. What we waiting for?

The Tramp said...

I think we're waiting on the rail network thawing out... but after that I don't see why the TATTGOC massive shouldn't hit up Birmingham and make up our own minds. TATTGOC roadtrip? I'm in.

The Gheezer said...

Hear Hear!

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