Home of Metal presents ‘At The Mermaid’, a four part podcast series and limited edition publication. The Mermaid was a large, dilapidated pub in Sparkhill, a working-class neighbourhood three miles south of Birmingham city centre. The laid-back landlords welcomed teenage punks, hippies and rockers to play weirdo music in the upstairs room, charging very little money for very bad cider.
The Mermaid became a hub of DIY music scene in the 1980s, with £1 gigs, punk all-dayers, zine and tape swapping. It was also a site of political education for many, and hunt saboteurs gathered at the Mermaid before taking direct action.
In creating this podcast series, the team at Home Of Metal interviewed people who were part of the Mermaid scene, featuring contributions from Justin Broadrick (Napalm Death, Godflesh, Final), Nicholas Bullen (Napalm Death), Stig C Miller (Amebix), Steve Charlesworth (Heresy), Steve Watson (Cerebral Fix), Mark Freeth (Ausgang) and more musicians and fans who made the Mermaid scene a vital place for underground music.
Music heritage is all about the stories we tell around these little scenes, shining a torch on underground histories that could otherwise be forgotten in a haze of scrumpy and mushrooms.
Flyers courtesy of Nicholas Bullen
Home of Metal’s exhibitions and events join the dots between music, social history, visual art and fan cultures to produce a new perspective on Heavy Metal. One that is celebratory, eschews notions of high/low art and joins audiences and performers together. Home of Metal is devoted to the music that was born in and around Birmingham. Music that turned up the volume, down-tuned guitars, and introduced a whole new meaning to the word ‘heavy’.
‘At The Mermaid’ is their latest project, after the blockbuster ‘Black Sabbath, 50 Years’ exhibition which celebrated Black Sabbath, who forged, a new sound, a new aesthetic, and a new musical culture, their impact on music and their dedicated global following. The exhibition saw 24,000 visitors from over 52 countries.