I was asked to write about “why I like Birmingham” for TedxBrum… and seeming as though I haven’t written anything since my dissertation I thought I would, and so I did and I have to say it was pretty easy too!

Why do I like Birmingham? Well I have to confess that when I moved here almost 6 years ago I felt nothing but dislike for the city in which I had decided to move to. I am technically a small town girl, born and brought up in a relatively white middle class area of Northampton. I was used to green spaces, polite people and being able to pay for my bus ticket with a £20 note! But over the years I have come to love the city. Birminghamfor me is definitely a resident city, so you need to live here in order to appreciate and understand its charms.

Birmingham is not good at shouting about what is happening so if you want to know where the best places are to eat, drink and sleep then you pretty much need to know the ‘right’ people, aka Brummies. I was lucky enough to meet a great bunch when I became the OxjamBrum Fundraiser in 2009 (note: I moved here on a part time basis the summer of 2006 and full time 2008) so I finally began to understand what Birmingham had to offer.

The live music scene is the main reason I am so fond of the city, there are plenty of bands/artists to keep you entertained almost any day of the week. Some of my favorites having to be Young Runaways, Tantrums (no longer together) and Vijay Kishore. Alongside the music scene there are the great independent venues to cater to everyone’s needs. The Victoria will supply with what ever your heart desires, whether a cocktail, pint, coffee or/and even pie and mash! Urban Coffee Company brings you great tasting coffee, cakes and space for all sorts of weird and wonderful events. The Hare and Hounds has some of the best local and up and coming artists in a part of Birmingham which hosts some great independent cafes and restaurants. These are just a few of the places I like to spend my time.

In additional to all of this I can say thatBirmingham allows everyone to express themselves and find a place in the city. Whatever you enjoy doing there is a place for you; you can be whoever you want to be because of the sheer variety within the city. It’ a cultural hub expressing itself in a unique way that only Brummies can really appreciate. I love to people watch especially inBirmingham because it hosts all walks of life be it age, class, religion, male, female and everything in between. I walk down the street and see all these people that represent life at its best, complex and diverse. Life is not black and it is not white.

I used to want to hear Birmingham shouting about how great it is “look at me UK I AM THE SECOND CITY because I rock”, but now I realize that Birmingham is it’s own best kept secret.