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Monday, 22 February 2021

#058 Suki10c, Digbeth, Birmingham : 1998 to 2021

 Of all the pubs that I've covered so far, this has probably undergone the most radical of external changes throughout the past 23 years and was still garnering controversial comments on Facebook only a few days ago!

I am of course referring to the extravagantly decorated Suki10c, which began as the Spotted Dog when I first came across it in 1998. This is what I wrote in 2011: -

"This is the other Spotted Dog in Digbeth that is on the corner of Meriden Street and Bordesley Street. When I took this photo in 1998 I'd not set foot inside the pub.

September 1998
In 2002, on the evening of Thursday 19th September, we were in Birmingham on one of our canal trips and took a stroll into Digbeth. Among the pubs we came across was the Spotted Dog and ventured inside.

September 2002
Not my best photo, but this was taken with my old Fuji SLR camera that dates back to the mid 70's so I was always 'guessing' the settings for night time photography. This time I was also 'challenged' as to why I was taking the picture. This is a fairly common occurrence, mostly with slightly out-of-the-way pubs that don't expect photographers. Once I explain that we're on a canal holiday and I take a picture of every pub we go in, they are always fine about it.

The only things I remember about it is that it was fairly quiet, typical back street pub. It was run by a black manager/landlord and the clientele were exclusively black, which you don't see very often.

A few years later I revisited the Spotted Dog on a Saturday night and it had transformed into a lively music venue seemingly specialising in up and coming bands.

So, when I came to take this photo in 2011 I was somewhat surprised to see that it was closed.
August 2011
It had also changed its name to TJ's.

On Sunday I took part in the enjoyable Digbeth Photo Walk, organised by Pete Ashton & Matt Murtagh, that took us past the Spotted Dog which is still unchanged from when I took this picture. 

This is the twenty-seventh in my 'Birmingham Eastside' series."
 
My next entry was in August 2018 when I did a 'compare and contrast' piece on Suki10c versus the other Spotted Dog in Digbeth that has hardly changed in the same period - this is what I wrote then: -
 
"Secondly we get to the other Spotted Dog on the corner of Meriden Street and Bordesley Street, which has had a slightly more colourful twenty years by comparison! I first reported on it in 2011 (#058)
June 2012
 
January 2018

July 2018
It is now a late night music venue, so more a club that a pub, but still in business, which is the main thing. Obviously it has undergone some significant external changes which have certainly helped it to stand out from the crowd.

From the pubs I've reviewed so far I'd have to say that The [other] Spotted Dog takes the record for fewest changes over twenty years and that, short of being knocked down, Suki10c has to be the most radical external overhaul of any establishment I've seen. But, that's Digbeth for you - permanence and change side-by-side in perfect harmony."
 
Now we move onto 2021 and the new decoration that appeared and caused such a discussion on Facebook.
January 2021
The artwork was created in 2019 by Digbeth legend @gent48
with Bass Festival curators Aliyah Hasinah and Rtkal to celebrate Future Black icons and influencers of music and culture. 
 
The 22 artists featured in the mural are: -
 
Alexandria Chantiluke – Fashion Designer
Amahra Spence – Artist and Producer
Cherrelle Skeete – Actress
Daniel Alexander – Director & filmmaker
Dapz On The Map – Musical artist
Darren Harriet – Comedian & presenter
Despa – Music manager
Jacob Banks – Singer / Songwriter
Jorja Smith – Singer / Songwriter
Knox Brown – Producer
Lady Sanity – Rapper
Leon Edwards – MMA
Liz Pemberton – Nursery Manager
Mellow – Catering Entrepreneur
Muna Ruumi – Music Manager
Mystry – Producer and DJ
Romderful – Music Producer
Safone – Grime Artist
T-roadz – MC
TrueMendous – Rapper
Xhosa Cole – Saxophonist
Suriya Aisha – Activist
 
Hopefully, Suki10c will have a bright future after the pandemic and I look forward to capturing future changes to the exotic external decoration of this soon-to-be iconic venue.

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