Brick poetry

· general ·

Mr. Bsag and I were in the city centre on Saturday, doing a bit of shopping (a rare occurrence for us, as we hate shopping with a passion equal and opposite to the love most people seem to have for it). I must have walked past the outside of the Bullring shopping centre dozens of times, but this time I noticed some subtle poetry set into the bricks. It fascinated me, and although we were in a hurry, I dashed off a few shots for one of my flickr sets, with the intention of returning later to make a proper sequence.

The brick poem stretches on for 50 m or more, and for me, it's a great example of Birmingham wit, light-heartedness, and the joy of creating something new — even if it's controversial. I love the cartoon-like 'BRRrrr' and 'ZiiNNGG', and the puffed-up civic pride in the scale and newness of the building (one set of bricks documents the number of steel discs on the Selfridges building). When I first saw the piece, it reminded me of the little weird or lewd figures that woodcarvers would work into monastic miserichords — a hidden joke for those who knew where to look. Despite the fact that these bricks are on full display, I suspect that most people (including me until now) are too wrapped up in negotiating the crowds and traffic to notice them. Like many things in life, they are hidden in full view.