As a Christmas Special, we decided to catch up with local groover and shaker Eddie OCallaghan for a quick interview on his recent hotspot creation down at The Kingsway in Kings Heath.
Q & A with Eddie OCallaghan
Hello Eddie, thanks for taking the time today. For people who may not already know, please could you give us some background on yourself, and your involvement in Birmingham’s culture.
I was brought up in Bearwood, Birmingham and misspent my youth in the marvellous Barbarellas Discotheque and the Rum Runner. I then moved to London in the early 80s and got involved in music promotion.
In 1991 i moved to San Francisco and met my wife Gail, we ran vintage clothing shops called Bulletproof and staged boat parties on the bay. We both moved to Liverpool in 98 where we opened another Bulletproof shop and the Magnet nightclub next door. After 7 happy years there we then moved to Croatia in 2005 to help stage the Garden Festivals, and after another eventful ten years we came back to Birmingham in 2015 and started Off the Scale cic together, a vintage shop on a converted 1970s bus.
Could you give us a run-down on your latest venture the Kingsway, its history and what your vision is for it.
The Kingsway is a magnificent old cinema building fom the mid 1920s on Kings Heath High St. Fire has sadly claimed everything but the listed frontage but the space behind is huge.
What inspired you to take on The Kingsway?
I have always been fascinated with unused spaces and this one has the magic of being hidden just off a busy High st.
How have you found 2020 and how has Coronavirus affected what you had planned for the venue?
It completely upended all our plans over and over again, but we have held on and are happy we have at last found a concept that will be Covid safe but still able to bring some life and smiles back to a much loved building at a dark time.
Could you provide an update on what the Kingsway will be offering Birmingham the next few weeks.
We have opened a lovely Arts/Craft/Food market, combining 15 local independent business’s under a huge cover. There is also, music, street food, craft ales, mulled wines and ciders to take away.
What are your plans looking further into 2021 and beyond providing nightlife begins to restore some normality?
With not much chance of the laws relaxing much before spring we will continue with the local markets at weekends in the early winter months. We will have some special Vinyl and Vintage Fairs/ Food Fairs /Arts Markets planned to brighten things up in Jan/Feb/March.
Finally, what’s been on your stereo this week and any top tips for new music?
My go to for music now is The Isolation Station. Set up in the early days of lockdown by fellow Brummie and DJ Dean Sunshine Smith, he has put together some of the regions finest selectors and you can pretty much tune in anytime, quality guaranteed.
Brilliant, thanks Eddie and will definitely nip down and see you soon at The Kingsway. Nick.