A quick round-up during a break from the newsletter writing and researching:

Will the real Birmingham please stand up.

The city is apparently still struggling to get the right message to the right people and still failing to match Manchester’s positive PR and image.

The latest report on perceptions of our major cities and towns provides a few points to cheer Birmingham, but also serves to highlight the failings. Paul Dale’s piece in The Birmingham Post sums things up quite well.

Over in Sutton Coldfield they are going for an image make-over of a different kind.

Pupils at the Arthur Terry school have had their school ties banned and replaced with clip-on models.

During my own school days in the mighty ‘Port, I remember three styles of tie wear – the thin, pencil style; the ridiculously large knot and small tail; and the wrapped around the forehead in bandanna style (but only when walking home from school, obviously).

News of another tradition seemingly being lost comes from across the Channel.

The French are giving up long lunches.

A more frugal outlook has seen around 3,000 bars and restaurants go belly up in the last three months. Three-course lunches are out, replaced by a simple baguette.

We’ll have them munching M&S sarnies at their desks before the year is out.

And Kanye West is making a new series for the US Comedy Channel described as hip hop meets the Muppets.

Oh good.

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