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Welcome to my home town: Why there’s more to Birmingham than the Bullring and a distinctive accent

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uring lockdown, many of us made the pilgrimage back to our family homes – and rediscovered them through fresh eyes. Part guide, part love letter, “Home towns” is a new series in which we celebrate where we’re from. After all, it could be a while before we can go anywhere else…

To those in the know, Birmingham is a shining beacon of all that’s best about the West Midlands. To the less enlightened, it’s often grossly misunderstood – viewed as nothing more than a dull void of connecting trains, a grey metropolis of intertwining escape routes, or, to be blunt, a boring city with very little going for it (and they’re just the censored ones).

This befuddling reputation of the UK’s second city even fuels the long-running retort of repeating the city’s name back in a droning, elongated manner when a Brummie says where they’re from. “Biiiiirrrmmiinnggghhhaaam”. We get it – we talk a bit funny.

Although much of the mockery is no thanks to Benny from Crossroads, it’s a gag that does get tiring for those of us on the receiving end. The accent regularly polls low and was even once ranked worse than staying silent (which is just rude, frankly).  

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I’ve always been an advocate of my city’s proud industrial heritage, hotpot of cultures and understated beauty – and I’ve always been fond of my fellow self-deprecating citizens. However, I admit that I, like many Brummies before me, had planned to flee to the capital. Nearly a decade ago, I rejoiced at my unconditional university offer, packed my bags, hopped on a train and was ready to settle into my new east London digs.  

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