More canals than Venice?

Minus the question mark, this is the title of a new film about Birmingham by Steve Rainbow. He’s so fed up about the negative portrayal of the city in the media that he’s made a film containing 100 facts about the city’s history, culture and famous residents in an attempt to set the record straight.

It’s an amusing concept with a serious edge; people who live in Birmingham are getting sick of the way it’s shown on tv and in the newspapers, as a dull 1960s heap of concrete filled with mindless idiots. Which makes about as much sense as saying all Parisians have strings of onions round their necks, or that every New Yorker rides around in yellow taxis every day. In other words, nothing could actually be further from the truth.

I knew about most of the examples quoted in the article, but not the literary gems – that Arthur Conan Doyle lived and worked in Aston for several years; that Rev Wilbert Awdry wrote several ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ books in Kings Norton; and that Barbara Cartland was born in Edgbaston. I wonder if her house was pink?

Oh, and the reason for that question mark? Well, when I lived in the city I was always told that Birmingham has more miles of canal (as opposed to ‘more canals’) than Venice. It’s a small tweak, but it makes a surprising amount of difference!

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