And let me tell you why I make it my evening out usually twice a month (and it’s not because it’s part of my job). In short it’s because I love it and I’m going to tell you why and why you might too.
18 months ago Jobe (my then new Erdington Arts Forum colleague) and I were talking about what we wanted to do next with arts in our community and my gut feeling was that we needed to create a new regular night out. Something we wanted to go to and we thought others would like as well.
Fast forward to today and we’ve got a regular night the 1st Friday at Spitfire House (Castle Vale), every 3rd Friday in Oikos Cafe (Erdington High Street), an Open Mic Night at The New Inns Pub (Erdington) the 2nd & 4th Thursday, plus adhoc events at the New Heights Cafe (Kingstanding).
Why go to one as your night out?
My first one I didn’t work – I ‘popped in’ after working a very long day, on a very long week, after being to another event in the city. Jobe was on his third month of running the events and I’d not helped out at one at all. But it was important I went to ‘show my support’. To say I was tired and all I wanted to do was get my pyjamas on, is only the half of it. But I went – and it changed my day completely. I was in a jam packed cafe usually closed on a Friday night – filled with all kinds of people having fun, buying raffle tickets and listening/watching a random bunch of artists with poetry, songs, instrumentals and some sharing their visual art and craft work. Everyone was having a good time and it was infectious. I was no longer tired and I was enjoying meeting up with old friends and making new ones. And how can that not be a great way to spend a night out? Even when pyjamas, a quiet night in and not talking to lots of people is usually the favourite option?
But why LOVE them?
Maybe it’s because there is something really familiar yet alien about it all at the same time? Familiar in a social club or family/house party kind of way. Alien in the collection of artists presenting and performing that you may not expect to choose as your night out. It’s a night of opposites – slightly anarchic and very tranquil. Organised but with a hint of unknown.
And I’ve not even mentioned what a great opportunity it gives to local people to share their talents, get involved in creating a vibrant arts scene and to open doors to more opportunities. Or the fact it’s suitable for all ages, all backgrounds and whether you”re into ‘the arts’ or you’ve never been to anything remotely similar ever before.
It is the most diverse collection of people and artists sharing 3 hours together and having a good time. No-one attends just one. It becomes part of your regular plans, just like pyjamas and a quiet night in often does.
But don’t take my word for it – come and try it!
And say hi as Jobe and I will likely be there – even when we plan not to work one!
P.S. if you fancy volunteering or being involved in one just let us know.