My son and I paid a visit to Birmingham (UK) today. Always an interesting place but somehow, today, better than ever. There was a lot to celebrate, from a young drummer jamming (on the street) with some beat boxers and street dancers to a fantastic duet between a gentleman playing a mandolin and another gentleman playing an accordion in Hobgoblin music store. I’d gone to Brum with the express intention of visiting the Custard Factory and ‘Hobgoblin Music’ only to find that the store had moved two days ago (echoes of last year when I went to Birmingham to visit Digital Village to find it had closed the day before). It was fairly easy to find the relocated store and I was allowed to try two high end Blueridge dreadnoughts and a Jimmy Moon small jumbo. I had a fascinating conversation with a lady and a gentleman about maths and music. He said he was a mathematician and had studied African drumming and had travelled to Ireland where he took classical guitar lessons. He likened my playing to Chet Atkins (which if not entirely accurate is a huge compliment). I also paid another visit to Fair Deal Music where I tried a Yamaha classical guitar – a very nice instrument indeed! The gentleman who manages the acoustic guitars and I had a great conversation about ‘religious’ music (I usually play a few hymns when I’m trying out a guitar). If anybody reads this and knows of any other music stores in Birmingham, I’d love to know about them.