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Birmingham Green Drinks



CONTACT: Malcolm Currie      info@globallylocal.net





B3 1EH
food and drinks from 6.00p.m. - guests and/or main topic introduced at 7.00/7.15p.m.  See further background information at bottom of page.          Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month.

We remain Birmingham Green Drinks but are using the old "Cafe Society" title whose format served us so well at the end of the last century!   We are running a joint progrramme with the West Midlands branch of The *Royal Society of Arts (RSA).     There is further background information - "general guidelines" - at the foot of the page.


The next date is



So, is this the future of Local Government?

The city region is back on the agenda, driven by the desparate condition of Birmingham's finances which are only part way through the implementation of truly devastating cuts.  In Europe there was once a 'golden age' of the city state.  Just maybe there's something rather profound happening below media radar which holds out some hope that the revolution has started!  So, maybe the "mission" is no longer "impossible"?



The February Green Drinks / Cafe Society session will combine with the RSA regional "Engage" event.  We have been running a challenging and 'engaging' joint programme with Royal Society for the Arts since October.   

Further details will be forthcoming early in the New Year.

Malcolm Currie
Globally Local

email:  info@globallylocal.net


 - and here's a little something to mull over - particularly for those under the age of 55:-

"The Green Thing" - sub-titled "The Generation Game" - author unknown - unedited - so not our words!:-


Checking  out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."  The cashier responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right --  our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. 

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every shop and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.  But she was right.

We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 2 kw an hour -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.  But that young lady is right.

We didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room.  And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the county of Yorkshire. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us.  When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.  Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.  But she's right.

We didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank water from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of demanding a plastic bottle flown in from another country.  We accepted that a lot of food was seasonal and didn’t expect that to be bucked by flying it thousands of air miles around the world.  We actually cooked food that didn’t come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrap and we could even wash our own vegetables and chop our own salad. 

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the tram or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.  But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart-ass young person.  Remember:  Don't make old people mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off."

PS - Help the environment and don't print this unless you really need to!



Of course, you don't have to have a meal in order to join in, although it helps us to have an idea of meal numbers in advance.  Erkan, our host,  provides an excellent special menu, plenty of choice, including vegan and vegetarian dishes - "I've produced a 'green menu' printed of course on green paper", he informs us!

Meals and/or drinks are available anytime from 6.00p.m.; and any "guest" for the evening is introduced at about 7.00p.m.  There's no closing time; people stay for as long or as short a time as they wish.  As a guide, the main discussion usually lasts about an hour and a half; and after the guest's initial 10 minutes [maximum], people are free to join in or go back to doing their own thing.   

The role of the guest speaker is to promote discussion; to challenge, rather than deliver an after dinner speech!   Just 5 to 10 minutes is all they are allowed as an introduction.




"...a place where anybody can come, alone or with friends,

to enjoy a meal...

a place to air and share opinions, in a friendly and

convivial atmosphere... - about the issues facing us all;

The local restaurant becomes a focal point where people can go for a satisfying evening out, knowing that they will meet others who wish to talk about any of the issues - social, economic, cultural or whatever - they feel concerned about.”

“Who knows whom you might meet!

They’ll listen - they’ll answer back -

and together we’ll create

a new kind of


extract from Theodore Zeldin's "Intimate History of Conversation"