Local Poet Commissioned for the Birmingham Grid Project 2023

A local poet has been commissioned to illustrate the Birmingham Grid Project 2023 with poetry and the starting point was the music of Birmingham band Ocean Colour Scene.


“I had never heard of The Grid Project before” explained poet Ian Henery “and I was sent a series of 7 images by photographer Dave Moore depicting Moseley.  My role was to capture the essence of Moseley in 2023 through the photographs and how Moseley had changed over the years from  Victorian inequality to cultural diversity.  It was important to get it right because the work is leading to a book and an exhibition in Birmingham”.


The project was launched in November 2022 and will be carried out in Birmingham and Halifax in 2023.  The project, “In Search of Urban Happiness”, follows the footsteps of Phyllis Nicklin, Geography lecturer at Birmingham University, who between 953 and 1969 photographed a dramatically changing Birmingham.  Previous exhibitions have been held in January 2018 at The Gunmakers Arms in Birmingham`s Gun Quarter and Birmingham Central Library in September 2018 before COVID and everything had to be cancelled.


“My poem took its inspiration from the lyrics of The Riverboat Song” explained Ian Henery by Moseley band Ocean Colour Scene.  If I was working in Moseley then I had to get into the Moseley Village vibes.  The titles of every song from the multi-platinum selling Moseley Shoals appear in this poem.”



 Moseley Road                         (Apologies to Ocean Colour Scene)  

Do you recall the day we caught the train?

Two of us, singing The Riverboat Song;

Off the grid, in Moseley Shoals, in the rain?

Moseley Village vibes, we knew we belonged:

40 past midnight and one for the road,

Policemen and pirates, where the river flowed.


You sang “Where is the love?  Where is the soul?”

The river turned to tarmac and was dead;

Dreams were ground with litter in Moseley Shoals,

You`ve got it bad, the downstream up ahead

And like a king you stalked up Moseley Road,

Time to get away where the river flowed.


30 years later and my fleeting mind

Lining your pockets, photographs you took;

Life is like a circle, time to rewind:

It`s my shadow, I come again to look –

You stalking like a king up Moseley Road

And singing your songs where the river flowed.


Ian Henery