KEEPING HAPPY AND HOPEFUL DURING HARD TIMES – FU LOVES BIRMINGHAM #18
If the events of the last few weeks were a Hollywood movie, the reviewers would pan it for being too far-fetched. ‘Too many holes in the plot’; ‘They wouldn’t do that’; ‘That would never happen because all they need to do is…’ You couldn’t make it up because no one would believe you. Yet here we are, with our neighbours in Leicester on the big screens and its reputation being torn apart by a baying media rejoicing in the prospect of click-bait style angles to fill the airwaves with.
With 36 other hotspots announced today – two of which are on our patch in Sandwell and Walsall – it’s only a matter of time before the lockdown grip is reintroduced in the West Midlands too – unless we act now.
What this kind of reporting does is divide and finger point. In such a volatile time, this is the last thing any of us need. It is, however, an effective diversion technique to disguise the real issues. Already the BLM protests and block parties have been blamed for a spike that has much more to do with poverty and over population. Whilst we aren’t supporting people partying on the streets, isn’t it more of a problem that factories have remained open with ill workers marching through their doors as, for many of them, there is no chance of the minimum wage let alone sick pay. Health messages have remained untranslated and a hearsay and miscommunication throughout communities have all played their part until it has become all too late.
We’re feverishly encouraged to shift the blame to people playing cricket in a park, protesting their rights or to a small number of people who partied in a street. Never mind the crowds of people on our beaches; the YouTube influencer causing crowds of kids to assemble in Birmingham city centre and then whoop and cheer at the chaos – and potential loss of lives – he has caused. So, we shift focus onto a community and sector of society that doesn’t even have a voice to answer back with and (quietly) blame them.
Leicester is the first city. It will not be the last, you mark our words. While we have the choice, we must monitor our own decisions and movements and respect the rules, or else this lockdown will be beating down our doors too. And that’s a sequel none of us want to watch.
Jon, Kevin and the #FUFighters
OBLIGATORY BAD JOKE
What did the pirate say on his 80th birthday?
HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD’S WORRIES AROUND SCHOOL
With pupils beginning to return to class, West Midlands mental health charity Living Well UK is warning of the wellbeing impacts of navigating a ‘new normal’ for kids, with signs of stress starting to show around Covid-19.
Qualified Children and Young People IAPT therapist at Living Well UK, Emma Lee, wants to ensure that children are taking care of their mental health and wellbeing in these ever-changing and confusing circumstances as they return to education. To help, Emma has pulled together her essential tips that could be crucial in giving young people extra support and guidance.
Read them by clicking the link.
FIRST MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL REACHES THOUSANDS OF ARTS LOVERS
Thousands of arts and culture lovers logged on to enjoy last week’s Midsummer Festival. The free one-day festival celebrated West Midlands arts and culture and featured over 12 hours of performances, from 33 companies around the region, including 13 never-before-seen works.
Inspired by annual Midsummer celebrations across the world, the festival was the first collaboration of its kind for the region. Participating organisations included the Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet, IKON Gallery, Ex Cathedra, Birmingham Opera Company and Keneish Dance.
Organised by the West Midlands Culture Response Unit, it drew audiences from across the globe with people viewing from over 50 countries including the USA, Brazil, Australia and Barbados.
Although a free event, audience members were asked to donate, if they could, to the Freedom Fund for Black Artists in the West Midlands. Over £650 worth of donations were made on the day which will be used to respond to Black Artists’ individual self-identified immediate needs. This fund is in collaboration with MAIA, an artist-led cultural organisation; providing a platform for creative practice, critical thinking and social change, who will use their expertise to manage and distribute the funds.
NATIONAL EXPRESS COACHES BACK ON THE ROAD FROM TODAY
National Express’ iconic white coaches will be back on the road from today following an 86-day enforced ‘holiday’. The last coach arrived in Birmingham from London at 23:55 on 5 April before a three-month suspension of all National Express scheduled services in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UK’s largest coach operator will now resume services at a reduced frequency on its national network of intercity routes from Wednesday 1 July, with new Covid-secure measures in place including enhanced cleaning regimes including regular aerosol based disinfection along with an additional filter to improve air quality installed on the air conditioning systems of all coaches.
Social distancing will take place in coach stations and on vehicles with the maximum capacity of all coaches limited to 50%. Passengers will be asked to fill vehicles from the back and empty from the front and only sit in window seats with aisle seats blocked off.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.
RESONANCE OPENS ITS DOORS FOR PERSONAL OPEN DAYS
A brand-new music institute at The Waterfront, Brierley Hill, is welcoming visitors back to the campus for personal, socially distanced open days.
Resonance, which opens this September and offers a choice of music degrees, is inviting interested students to get in touch and arrange a one-on-one tour of the campus and its state-of-the-art facilities. Personal open days are by appointment only and limited to one student at a time – along with up to two members of their household.
Places are still available on the B Mus (Hons) Popular Music Performance and BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance & Production degrees at Resonance, which are validated by Solent University.
Students applying to Resonance can apply up to the end of August for entry in September. At present, Resonance is planning for a full on-site opening in September for the 2020-21 academic year.
To book a personal open day, click here.
BEREAVED WOMAN HELPED OUT OF ‘VERY DARK PLACE’ BY HOSPICE
A Stourport woman is calling on bereaved families to unlock the grip of grief after KEMP Hospice stopped her from “slipping further into the abyss”. Kaye Morgan, 64, benefitted from the Wyre Forest charity’s support after suffering multiple bereavements within two devastating years including the loss of her partner, Allen, and mother, Margaret.
Kaye said she reached breaking point when her 94-year-old mother died of pneumonia in January 2019. The long list of tragic events had a big impact on Kaye’s mental health before she reached out to KEMP for bereavement support.
Kaye said she had lost count of the number of times she had broken down in public due to her grief. But thanks to KEMP’s bereavement services, Kaye was able to get her life back into perspective.
“I am great advocate for counselling,” Kaye said. “Whenever I have conversations with friends, who I know are struggling, I say ‘Maybe you should get some counselling?’ Some say, ‘Oh no, it’s not for me, I don’t need it,’ when you know they do for different reasons, as we all go through periods of crisis in our lives. KEMP is a place where light and hope shine as soon as you walk in.”
KEMP’s day hospice doors are closed but its services are not. Please contact the hospice on 01562 756000 if you have any questions or feel you need any support.
ESCAPE LOCKDOWN WITH SOME MAGICAL MOVIE MOMENTS
With lockdown extended for many of us and summer holiday plans postponed, why not pop on your shorts and sunglasses, and sit down in front of a good movie for a dose of international escapism? One of our favourite holiday destinations is Greece: spectacular scenery, amazing beaches, wonderful weather, friendly people and steeped in history – Greece and the Greek islands have so much that’s so good.
So, for now, until we can set foot on the islands again, put your feet up instead and be transported to a Greek island paradise from the comfort of your own home. Here are our recommendations…
Skopelos This enchanting island with its picture-postcard scenery is an artist’s paradise. Being twice the size of its neighbour, Skiathos, Skopelos with its flower filled courtyards, cobbled streets, golden beaches, and hillsides blanketed by greenery offers natural beauty at its best. Over one hundred tiny chapels are dotted around the town including Agios Ioannis Kastri, made famous by one of the 21st century’s most successful musical movies, Mamma Mia.
Instantly recognisable for its superb sandy beaches, immaculately whitewashed cube houses, churches topped with striking blue domes and 16th-century windmills – it’s also one of our favourite places on earth. Elegant boutiques, high-quality shopping and flamboyant nightlife have made it a thrilling destination, and a favourite for those who like their getaways to have a bit of VIP style. It is of course also the backdrop to the 1989 classic romantic comedy, Shirley Valentine, and action thriller The Bourne Identity.
Experience the best of both worlds on Kefalonia, with sublime beaches, endless natural beauty, and opportunities for infinite adventures on land and sea. Bursting with untouched scenic beauty, it is a gorgeous mix of old and new. A tranquil place for total relaxation, the island also offers a multitude of activities and adventures for couples and families alike. Made famous as the setting for the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, you can expect to explore underground lakes, pebbled beaches, gorgeous bays with white sands and crystal-clear waters. Sublime.
Why not plan your Greek adventure for summer 2021 at www.olympicholidays.com
DIVORCED, BEHEADED, DRIVE – IN CONCERT
The international smash-hit SIX is coming to Brum as a Drive-In summer show allowing audiences to picnic and party as they watch the festival-style full length show live from their own dedicated area next to their vehicle.
Designed to comply with all official guidelines, boasting concert quality sound from a live stage with a full state of the art sound system, lighting rig and high definition LED screens, audiences will enjoy an arena or stadium concert feel in a safe Drive-In setting adhering to the Government’s current social distancing rules to protect fans, artists, crews and staff at all times.
From Tudor Queens to Pop Princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic in SIX to tell their tales, remixing 500 years of historical heartbreak into a 75-minute celebration of 21st century girl power. These Queens may have green sleeves, but their lipstick is rebellious red.
Tickets go on sale from 8am on Friday 3rd July at www.theticketfactory.com
SUPERHERO PR PACKS LAUNCHED BY #FUFIGHTERS
In times of global pandemic and a killer virus that’s changed the world forever, our lives and livelihoods have never felt more under threat. The past few months have taught us one lesson: fight or be forgotten.
Out of the chaos comes a new world order. A group of women and men who offer insight, wisdom, strength, and agility to stand by your side and fight for your best future.
WELCOME, THE #FUFIGHTERS.
We are proud, at FU Media, to announce our new FUFighters ‘Superhero PR’ packs to you. Each pack is punchy, powerful, and puff-free. This is Superhero PR designed to drive your business, support your decisions, and reinvent your future.
Nearly half the population of the UK read a piece of PR crafted by FU Media in May. That’s nearly 30 million people. We could’ve been telling your story. As Enrique said, ‘We can be your hero, baby.’
Forget the BatPhone, click HERE for more information.
BUNS AT THE READY! THE UK’S NUMBER ONE BAKING EVENT IS REOPENING
The award-winning team behind the Big Bakes is reopening their famous baking marquees from July 4th and it just so happens that their venues are the perfect socially distant day out.
With 12 separate baking stations, a light and airy marquee and all the kit ready for you on arrival, you can put those new found baking skills to the test whilst having a day out with friends and family. The award-winning baking experience is led by a team of professional patisserie chefs, who guide budding bakers with cooking and creativity tips whilst supplying all essential ingredients needed to create their ultimate baking creations.
Everything from the ingredients, decorations and aprons to all the hand sanitiser and face masks you could possibly need is supplied. To book your baking experience visit www.thebigbirminghambake.com
HOLIDAY HOUNDS – PETS STYLE OUT THE HEATWAVE
Last week’s heatwave saw some of the nation’s pets raise their holiday games and get shady for summer. Tic Watches, the watch and sunglasses specialist, has scoured the nation for the most brilliant and hilarious photos of our furry friends wearing shades, including Cara, one cool cat from Birmingham!
PLANT POWER: 16 PLANTS TO IMPROVE HEALTH AND WELLBEING
The UK’s leading online florist, SerenataFlowers.com, has identified 16 plants that possess qualities that can actually improve our wellbeing, health and happiness – and we all could do with a bit of that right now. From reducing anxiety, relieving upset stomachs, and helping you to sleep, here are the plants you need to be filling your home with:
Reduce anxiety: Snake Plant, Lavender Help you sleep: Aloe Vera, Jasmine Increase productivity: Bamboo Palm, Golden Pothos Clean the air: Rubber Plant, Peace lily Restore fading hair colour: Sage, Black Tea Relieve an upset stomach: Catnip, Korean Mint Fight infection: Red clover, Navajo Tea Repel critters: Mint; Basil
VIRTUAL TOUR LAUNCHED FOR POTENTIAL PUPILS
Hallfield School has launched a virtual tour so potential pupils and parents can get an insight into what make the school such a special place to learn. You can take the tour here or read the latest review of Hallfield School from The Good Schools Guide here.
WEST BROMWICH DAD PLANS BIRTHDAY TREATS AFTER 10K AND CAR WIN
A Black Country dad says he will be able to give his two young children a birthday to remember this year after winning £10,000 in cash, plus a brand-new Volkswagen Up GTI worth £16,000, thanks to car competition, BOTB.
Andrew Emms, 37, was left stunned after being told he had won. Andrew, who works cleaning and checking digital advertising displays across Birmingham said he plans to use the money to do some work on his home, as well as pay off some debt. He will also treat his two children Olivia, 10, and Nathan, seven, to a birthday surprise.
“It will be nice to really give the kids a proper birthday a little later in the year without having to worry about money,” said Andrew. “Maybe we could also go to a theme park or something a little later in the year when everything has blown over.”
To see Andrew’s shock reaction alongside a host of other lucky winners, head over to BOTB.com.
ONLINE MASSAGE COURSE COULD BE PERFECT WAY TO DE-STRESS DURING LOCKDOWN
Qualified massage therapist and trainer Kathryn Ellis has launched a unique online partner massage training course for beginners, to help people de-stress during the UK’s extended lockdown.
Her aim is to help men and women of all ages get the most out of giving or receiving a massage at home.
In her video, Kathryn gives people handy hints (terrible pun) and tips on how to give an effective massage without causing pain or injury to yourself, whilst giving maximum benefit to your partner.
From kneeling with a pillow to alleviate knee problems, to correct positioning and technique to ensure maximum comfort for you both throughout, the video is filled with advice and information for best practice.
The online course lasts less than three hours. It consists of an introduction from Kathryn followed by a 50-minute massage broken down into 10 segments, each lasting between five minutes and 17 minutes. The second half of the course runs the entire tutorial, so students can practise alongside Kathryn and comes with a series of downloadable PDFs giving people more advice and information as they make their way through the course.
To find out more details, or to book on to the course, click here.
NETFLIX ORIGINALS MOST AND LEAST DESERVING OF YOUR TIME
As more TV shows move to new streaming services, Netflix is creating more original content to keep subscribers watching.
But how much of this original content is worth your time? We’ve all been sold in before with a great first season, only to feel cheated when what follows falls short.
So to find out which Netflix original shows are worth your time, the team over at Onlinecasinos as part of their report into Netflix, used Rotten Tomatoes critical scores to find which Netflix Originals had the biggest improvement, remained the most consistent, and had the biggest drop off in quality from first to latest season.
Shows Worth Your Time – Biggest Improvements in Quality
Unsure at the start? Stick with them, these shows all get better!
Shows Worth Your Time – Most Consistent
If you liked these from the start, stick with them, they stay strong!
Shows Not Worth Your Time – Biggest Drops in Quality
Don’t waste your time watching these shows, it’s not worth it in the end!
All data from OnlineCasinos.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.
– Lyndon B. Johnson