Devizine’s Review of 2019

Memories are made of Facebook reminders! Ah, the trusty book of face pings a notification of yore, leading me to contemplate, “did I write that crap?!” For us 2019 has been a magical year; reviews, previews, silliness and seriousness on equal pegging. From Mark Thomas’ Comedy Project to Eric Ravilious’ The Downland Man, from MACS Theatre School’s performance at Disneyland to the bizarre occasion when Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse and Tigger were kicked out of The Brunel Shopping Plaza, Devizine mentioned ‘em all, least as many as we could without sustaining writer’s elbow or facing a lawsuit. 2019 has blessed us with great memories, so many I needed to scavenge the archives to recall them.

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MACS at Disneyland!

While some made me think, oh yeah, I’d forgotten about that, many will remain with me forever. If I had to pick just one, well, that’s easy. My son’s friend said to him at school, “your Dad is famous for dressing up as Spiderman to deliver milk!” Typical, after years of comics, novels, posters and endless other stuff, and that’s how I’ll be remembered; the milkman in his Spiderman onesie! But you know what? When I think of the wheelchair AND new Petra race-runner Carmela’s parents managed to buy with all the wonderful donations you guys gave, I think, so be it.

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Towards the end of the run Carmela, dressed as Wonder Woman helped me deliver a few bottles. The job is a solitary one at the best of times, but after they left, I’d never felt lonelier on my milk run. I realised, I’d never make a journalist. The job of working a story, meeting people involved, but after it’s published, it’s cheerio. Decided then, I can’t let this happen. Carmela is instantly lovable, but every person I interview, every band I review, I come away making a new friend. That’s how I see it, they’re not subjects, they’re friends. That’s the difference between Devizine and a newspaper, it’s personal.

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There were many other occasions this year I’ll never forget. Such as in February when I joined a session with Clifton Powell at the fantastic Arts Together, such a wonderful charity. At the beginning of the year, when I handed a cheque to Sue Tovey and Treasurer, Frank Marshall of The Devizes Area Committee for Cancer Research. The money raised at our first birthday bash in November. In June we slipped another cheque to the homeless charity Devizes Open Doors, from the two Devizine Presents nights at the Cellar Bar, featuring the Roughcut Rebels, The Truzzy Boys and The Hound on the Mountain. The second I owe to Razah and Knati P for a brilliant night of reggae. I’ve slacked off holding events recently, but think it’s time for another come spring, what do you reckon?

August, we featured Swindon charity Doing it for Dan, who fund our future sports legends, ahead of a fundraising Casino Night. Plus, we shouldn’t forget the commendable effort by two Bromham year-six girls, Greg and Al, who gave goodie bags to the homeless this Christmas.

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Well Done Greg and Al!

Funniest interview had to be when I attempted to chat online with all the girls of the Female of the Species supergroup, that got saucy! But a massive well done to them all, when they picked up a Community Civic Award for their charity work. We also covered the campaign to get six-year-old Liam Pangrazzi to Egypt for vital surgery. August saw the formation of 10p Mix Up, and I talked to Mirko Pangrazzi about his love of Irish folk, and though the band has reduced to him and Bran Kerdhynen they continue as the Celtic Roots Collective. This was to promote a fundraiser at the Cellar Bar for Liam, with George Wilding, which Andy kindly reviewed; school night wasn’t it!

To the beginning of the year though, when our mocking another local website’s awards led to actually holding our own. Bit silly really, not going there again. But you know, the puerile articles and spoofs seem to be the ones with the highest hits, that and food reviews; greedy munchkins!

It’s true, our most popular article this year was in September when I was invited to try out New Society, the new restaurant in Devizes. Interesting while cafes and restaurants don’t feature often on Devizine, it was extremely popular. Others restaurants should take heed, it’s a worthy venture to invite me, or Andy, to review your tucker, and I’m not just after a free lunch; well, I might be, but honestly, he who dares, Rodney, he who dares!

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The New Society piece was closely followed in popularity by our April fool’s joke announcing Devizes Town Council planned to erect a statue of Claire Perry in the Market Place! Other silly stuff included a signpost campaign, when a Wiltshire Council highway engineer advised Devizes Town Council that a sign at the High Street junction with Long Street was not big enough. A Romance Story, upon news of Claire Perry standing down in September. But rather fondly received, was our Top Twenty Best Vids of the Vizes article in October; check it out, see if you’re in it!

Serious stuff though; stats. I aimed to better last year’s hits, which was 30,588 and I’m delighted to say we did: 39,356 hits, and counting! That’s awesome, and I thank you all for the support and encouragement. Further thanks to our many sporadic contributors and photographers, but none so much as Mr Andy Fawthrop, his many contributions have been a valid and vital element to Devizine. Thank you, Andy.

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In January I nipped to the old Palace Cinema to report on the new owners, Picture-Drome and their plans to renovate this wonderful building. Chatted with Devizes Town Clerk, Simon Fisher about the transfer deal from Wiltshire Council to Devizes Town Council, and the future usage of the Market Place. Both in February and August I spoke with businessman Iain Wallis, heading the campaign against it; why do I get myself into these things?! For a spoof on the same theme I wrote a short “Godfather” parody on the parking in the Market Place fiasco. Oh, so long ago now, but still a great loss for accessibility in town. Traffic issues also came to a head in Calne when Labour were campaigning to urgently secure funding for an independent traffic study, to investigate practical options for Curzon Street, the bottle-neck in Calne; still the same I believe.

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Last Year’s Prediction of How The Market Place May Look in The Future

Not trying to overshadow the opening of Melksham’s £236,000 Splashpad in August, I ranted about the state of the Wiltshire Council owned playpark in Silverlands Road, Rowde. Much as I’d like to announce it a success, and despite it having thousands of hits, absolutely nothing has been done and no correspondence has been made in reply by Wiltshire Council or our local councillor Anna Cuthbert. If you repeatedly say it doesn’t exist hopefully it’ll be true WC; I think not, Devizes may now be getting a splashpad, to replace the slashpad, but I will be kicking up a fuss again soon, and urge you to let me know of other playparks left in such a terrible and unsafe state.

August also saw Devizes part fund a zero-waste system at The Healthy Life Café. However, the best news for zero-waste shopping came to Devizes when I paid a visit to the all-new Little Eco Shop at the Wharfside, on Couch Street. April, I was pleased to talk with Wiltshire Police’s PC Paul Woodbridge about knife crime in the local area. July saw the amazing Gerry Watkins bring his Big Yellow Bus project to Swindon.

February met controversy when DOCA changed the date of the carnival; first world problem, eh? I had a natter with key manager, Loz Samuels. We also talked in June, ahead of the festival, and discussed the ambitious plans for confetti battle and the colour rush. One of my favourite articles to research this year was DOCA related, in a way, when, in July, I penned: How Does Devizes Confetti Battle Compare to the World’s Most Bizarre Festivals?

All quiet for DOCA through Autumn, but Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the spectacular Lantern Parade, which I dragged my daughter to with the promise of a brownie. We all look forward to February’s Festival of Winter Ales, which I previewed recently.

Unsure what happened to May’s newly formed duo De Novo with Claire Gilchrist and Mark Povey, interviewed Claire at the time. Also interviewed Jordan Whatley ahead of our Open Doors gig. One band which shook the rafters this year was Little Geneva, we spoke to them about their EP, ahead of their launch at the Cellar Bar in March, which was an absolutely mind-blowing gig.

Summer days though, one of my favourite gigs in Devizes had to be in August, when People Like Us came to the Three Crowns with support by Tamsin Quin and Vince Bell in aid of Julia’s House. Steady though, more gig memories to follow.

We reviewed a wide range of great music this year, starting with Swindon’s dub project, Subject A’s album Writer’s Eyes. Talk in Code’s Resolve album was next. August, I featured the Easy Chairs’ EP “Devil’s Music,” chatted to Lottie J for her single “You,” with Tamsin Quin about the single “Scandal,” and Mike Barham’s “Relevance.” September saw Jamie R Hawkins, “Thank you Friend,” and an absolutely brilliant authentically vintage soul/blues album, Numb Tongues, from Bristol’s The King Dukes, we’ve simply got to get these guys a gig in Devizes this year. It was also great to hear our reggae aficionados; Urban Lions return with the single “Champion Sound.”

Phil Cooper got a feature in October, reviewing the “Falling at your Feet” single, but also catching up on the many other releases I was supposed to review but slipped to the back burner! The article doubled-up as an apology to Phil. Premonition time though, I suggested “Phil’s song writing ability is first rate and, with or without the trio of aspiring local musicians; Jamie and Tamsin Quin….” Whoa! Did I predict the start of The Lost Trades here? Call me Nostrildamus, or whatchamacallit! We broke news of the Lost Trades in December, and look forward to this formal trio grouping.

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Another star album, we reviewed in November but is due for release this February is Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue’s Live at the Louisiana, and it was great to follow this up by meeting the man himself at the Southgate the following month. Yeah, more about Devizes answer to the O2 arena to follow; we love you, Southgate!

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If I had to pick a favourite album which we reviewed this year, I’d scratch my stubble until sore. Through possible aforementioned albums by Subject A, Ruzz, and the King Dukes, I’d have to pick “Mutiny” by Mr Tea & The Minions, which I reviewed in October; gorgeous meowing folky-Balkan ska shenanigans that it is.

May introduced us to promising new group, who I’d argue is our local scene’s best newcomer, Daydream Runaways, in a review of their debut single, “Light the Spark.” The band went from strength to strength, reviewing “Fairy-tale Scene” in June, which was followed by their astounding performance at the Vinyl Realm Stage at DOCA’s Street Festival. The pinnacle, recording-wise, was October’s release of “Closing the Line,” with the dejected subject of the closing of the Honda works in Swindon.

It was in June when I blew the story that Vinyl Realm would host and fund a second, localised stage, and they did such a fantastic job. August saw the grandest event in Devizes, our festive week, which begun for me inside the petite yurt on the Green. When DOCA gave us Los Galindos’ Udel, it must’ve been the weirdest night of the year, amazing though it was. While the intention was to review the entire “black rat Monday,” it’s hard with so much going on. Still, as a website dedicated to our local scene, the highlight was Vinyl Realm’s stage where Daydream Runaways, Ben Borrill, Strange Folk and Cracked Machine unconditionally rocked.

Britpop trio, Billy Green 3 begun recording some tracks, we reviewed “I should be moved,” in June, and followed in November with “Soul,” I look forward to the forthcoming album. So too did Sam Bishop, coming to ahead in December with release of Cold Kingdom EP, but it was sad to hear of the split with Finely and breakup of Larkin. Though good to hear both of them progressing well. In July I reviewed, Same Days, a twenty-year-old London born Swindon performer, whose real name, David Whelpdale is cousins with Fin, and let’s not forget those Truzzy Boys! Not just music though, I review anything, like local author Jerry Bradley’s debut novel, Candy Man and when I chatted to Kelly of Haunted UK Spirit Team about our local ghosts.

I previewed the beginnings of Funky Sensations at the Exchange, spoke with DJ G-Force. And I pondered drum n bass, as Vinyl Realm staged such nights at the Lamb; managed one in April, danced my ass off, despite feeling a tad elderly! The Stone Mountain Sinners at The Devizes Ameripolitan Club was another of many previews which I followed up by attending; enjoyed that, with Jamie R Hawkins, the last night for Dean at the Cons Club before transforming the Cavalier Community Hall. I did manage to drop into see them for October’s Devizes in the Round with Tamsin Quin, Zenne, Josh Beddis and Danny McMahon.

I reminisced about my rave days upon the sad news of Keith Flint’s passing, and my zine making days when The Swindon Zine Fest announced its second annual event. Ryan West kindly reviewed My Science Fair in Bradford, and I covered the snakes in a museum display at Wiltshire Museum. We do like to have some guest posts; Jemma Brown poured some emotion into a review of Things I Know to be True at The Wharf Theatre in April. The same month when Jemma revealed the ambitious plans for The Full Tone Festival in July; a very successful day, Andy reviewed it. Thanks also to Sarah Tyler of Devizes Town Band, for telling us how the Children’s Proms in Hillworth Park went in September. One I had to miss but previewed, was Purple Fish’s Dark Side of the Moon tribute at Lavington, yet I’m sure there’s so much I missed. Let’s focus on the stuff we did catch!

April saw me in the Sham, meeting Bruce Bury at the Assembly Hall, and also the organiser of their Party in the Park. Great then, to be invited along to huddle in the rain with Train to Skaville at Parkfest when they supported Neville Staple; had to be a highlight of my year. You know I love a bit of ska, and after befriending Bristol ska legend, Ya Freshness by reviewing his album last year, he asked me to do a radio show for a new internet station, Boot Boy Radio. Yeah, I know, nothing to do with Devizine, but without this website I’d never have got the opportunity to cross it off my bucket list, and Ska-ing West Country has also become somewhat of a “thing” now too.

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awful selfie time with Jools of Train to Skaville!

June and I wrote about Solstice, commenting on English Heritage’s conditions of entry to Stonehenge, and Arthur Pendragon’s reaction. Talked to cycle enthusiast, Sharon Crabbe who planned to ride the Costa Rica Cycle Challenge in November to raise funds for Woman V Cancer, ahead of her gin night at the Cons Club. Also, in June we detailed the Marlborough Opens Studios. I was pleased to hear the event raised funds for Arts Together, and also, Clifton Powell was included in the event; this had a heart-warming finale you’d have to read about here.

It’d be laborious if I simply listed all the fantastic gigs and events we’ve reviewed, yet there’s too many to detail. Andy reviewed Rick Wakeman’s KGB at the Corn Exchange in Jan, I loved Larkin’s EP launch gig at the Cons Club. April I was invited to Devizes Musical Theatre’s production of Made in Dagenham, and loved Asa Murphy’s tribute to Buddy Holly, something I could drag my mum to!

I think it goes without saying, The Southgate has been a lifeline in providing regular free gigs in Devizes. Unsure about Andy, who gave us reviews of Thompson Smurthwaite, Jamie Williams, Hadrian’s Union, The Bone Chapel, Kimberley Rew and Paul Cowley, but my most memorable gigs were Jon Amor, The Boot Hill Allstars, Sophia & The Soul Rebels, Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue, Back Wood Redeemers, Six O’clock Circus, Tamsin Quin, Soapbox and Patrick Goodenough, Alabaster Queen and of course, Phil Cooper & The Slight Band.

It was also great news to see the Barge at Honeystreet back in the swing of things, and I ventured over when Knati and Razah held the first of their Reggae Nights in July.

You can always find Andy at the Long Street Blues Club, he’s not only part of the furniture but also reviewed Jon Amor, Ian Siegel, Rick Estrin & The Wildcats, Kyla Brox Band, Kossoff, Skinny Molly, Watermelon Slim, Big Dez Blues Band and to finish in apt style, John Coughlan’s Quo. In September I popped in myself, and was wowed. It’s clear where your ticket price goes, The Malone-Sibun Band and support by Joe Hicks knocked me for six. Another new adventure for me was the Cellar Bar’s monthly Open Mic, this one a Halloween Special, and quite horrific it was too, in a nice way!

Around July, new owners of The White Bear opened up for Sunday live sessions, and Andy became part of the furniture there too. Vince Bell kicked it off, Ian O’Regan followed, and Eddie Witcomb, Andrew Bazeley, Jamie R Hawkins, Phil King, Cutsmith, Wade Merritt all followed. I joined the fun to catch George Wilding play. The Cross Keys in Rowde also started a live music programme in September, I managed to catch Rockhoppaz there. But a new year’s resolution is to get out of town and see some other venues, the notion spurred on by October’s trip to Melksham’s brilliant boozer, The Foresters Arms, when Train to Skaville called in there.

July is Fantasy Radio’s Month of Sundays, Andy covered Tamsin Quin and Andrew Hurst, then the Rockin’ Bandits. Then Lark in the Park the following month. Along with events such as Devizes Comedy Festival at the Corn Exchange in September, Chippenham Folk Festival, The Yirdbards at Bradford Folk Club, Henry Priestman & Loved-Up Les Glover at the Rachel Fowler Centre, Melksham, The Full Tone’s Big, Bold and Russian concert at St Johns, PSG Choir at the Neeld, Sheer Music’s Second Subterranean gig at the Cellar Bar with Falling Fish, Larkin and Clock Radio, Sunjay at the Royal Oak, Corsham, White Horse Opera’s Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado,” and Bizet’s Carmen and the Acoustic Strawbs at Melksham Assembly Hall; he never comes up for air.

My last gig of the year was Devmas in the Cellar Bar, a most memorable occasion, particularly when organiser Mike Barham was hoisted up with Luke by Jon Amor to perform Wham’s Last Christmas! Despite nipping out to catch the Roughcut Rebels blow the roof off the Black Swan, which was bloody great too.

In March the Devizes Arts Festival announced their line-up and we were on the ball this year, previewing the great events they held. Starting with an interview with Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens, a tribute to Morcombe and Wise. Sara McGuiness too, manager and keyboardist with Cuban-Congolese fusion band, Grupo Lokito; I managed to attend this, it was awesome. My favourite, and definitely one of the best gigs of the year was Coventry’s ska-reggae band Barb’d Wire.

For the Arts Festival, Andy took on reviews of Josephine Corcoran and the poetry slam at the Vaults, The String Sisters at St Andrew’s Church, Moscow Drug Club, and The Hot Club at the Three Crowns. Out of all the fringe events, I enjoyed She-Robot the best, which we both attended and had a good natter while Gail Foster snapped us in a rare conference! The most unfortunate part of the festival, was when headliner Ed Byrne’s car broke down and the support comedians covered for him. Though Chris Stokes and David Hadingham patched the gap wonderfully, it was September before Ed could reschedule, but when he did it was well worth the wait, although my ribcage may not agree.

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Immediately after the Arts Festival we held our breath for November, when Georgie Fame was due to appear, alas, after a terrible accident, he was unable to make it. Had to be the biggest disappointment of the year, but we wish Georgie a speedy recovery. I’m in the process of leaking this year’s line-up, especially happy to report award-winning Limerick folk artist, Emma Langford, is to appear; not to be missed!

Talking festivals, while I’m getting past it for puking in tent, I ventured to Bromham’s brilliant Owlfest, chilling with George Wilding, Kirsty Clinch, and her Dad. July, I attended Devizes Scooter Club’s first rally in Rowde; great event, brilliant music, Particularly, The Erin Bardwell Collective and Orange Street; the sound did bodge up towards the end, but lessons hopefully learned for this year.

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On the eve of Devizes Food Festival announcing their events, in July I contemplated what attributes taste, be it class, culture or trends, which led onto some hints of what to expect in September. Not to outdo September’s Taste of Wiltshire at the Farm Cookery School at Netherstreet, Bromham, which I previewed but couldn’t attend; must try harder this year! I did waddle to the Market Place in September for the Devizes Food Festival grand market, and had a memorable fill, stopping for far too long at the Gourmet Brownie Kitchen based over at Poulshot Lodge, and Muck & Dunder rum bar, to be introduced to Frome’s wonderful folk four-piece, The Decades.

Straight after Andy previewed Melksham’s Craft Beer & Cider Festival, and I previewed more Bier stuff at Seend’s Oktoberfest, which I still haven’t made it to, anyone would think Seend was in Dusseldorf! I did, however, love meeting artists Si Griffiths, Mike Long and Emma Sally for an all-together different art show in Chippenham in September. Another arty thing was gate-crashing The Lawrence Society of Art’s Annual Exhibition in November.

At the Wharf Theatre we previewed Legally Blonde Jnr, The Turn of the Screw, Alan Ayckbourn’s Living Together, and I’m sure a few more, as well aa a super feature, looking both back, and forward for their 40th birthday. Sometimes though you preview something which sounds so good, such as the interactive performance/drama workshop Spectacular Space-Bots at the Shoebox, and also their intriguing drama-thriller work, At This Stage, but with hardly any hits. I’m determine to take a visit to the Shoebox this year, see if I can muster some attention from Devizions.

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Election time came in November, and using New Society as a base, I interviewed our prospective candidates. Not without some annoyance from our readers asking if Devizine has become political. Not at all, Devizine is mine, and yours, so I’ll write on any subject I feel driven to explore, so there! If it’s not for you, then scroll on, as we do feature stuff, I’m sure you will enjoy. Just felt Tory Town overreacted, as if having an alternative opinion is now illegal. Get over yourself!

Fact is, these interviews were popular and necessary; it was great to meet them all. Rachael Schneider Ross was first up, Emma Dawnay next. Labour heading an event at the Cellar Bar in aid of Devizes Open Doors with George Wilding, Vince Bell and The Celtic Roots Collective was rather special. I caught up with Jo Waltham too, early in December, but my emails to Danny Kruger were left unanswered, my response wrapped up an election conclusion I labelled as a one-off return to my satirical rant column, No Surprises Living in Devizes; sorry, won’t happen again. No one took heed anyway, and the inevitable happened. Devizes is Devizes, sadly, it never changes.

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Yet we make the most of it, we have a great entertainment scene, with theatre, arts and live music and this year has seen it all blossom. We should be proud. There may be some points I need to make on this, and a few disusing the future of Devizine. It’s okay, nothing bad, but still, don’t want to go out this New Year on any of those notions, so, we’ll save it for next year and I’d like to finish by thanking everyone for their support, and wishing you all a Happy New Year!

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© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


REVIEW – Pink Torpedoes @ Long Street Blues Club, Devizes – Saturday 28th December 2019

For One Night Only

Andy Fawthrop

Only a week after John Coughlan’s Quo’s rousing set, it was back up to Long Street Blues Club for another great gig. If you needed the Christmas blues blowing away, this was the gig to do it.

Support act for the night was Jamie R Hawkins, aided and abetted by his sometime collaborator Phil Cooper. I suppose you could say that this was two thirds of the newly-formed Lost Trades, but we’ll have to wait until later to hear their new songs. This set was Jamie and Phil classics from their back catalogues, taking it in turn to take centre stage with mic and guitar, then to drop back onto cajon to provide backing beats and vocals. Of the two, Jamie’s presence and performance is the stronger, and his songs stand up much better. And it was great to hear Jamie belting out his rather non-PC “Hope You Have A Bloody Good Christmas”, with enthusiastic audience participation, to finish up with.

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Then an amazing, raucous almost two-hour set from the The Pink Torpedoes. Fronted by ex Dr Feelgood Pete Gage, backed up by former Hoax drummer Dave Raeburn, with guitarist Paul Hartshorn and bassist Pete Lowrey, this four-piece really delivered the goods in this one-off gig.

Keeping the chat to an absolute minimum, the boys launched straight in and played their way through an enormous song-book of rock, blues, R&B, boogie-woogie – you name it. Sounding as tight and professional as if they were gigging every night of the week, the set was full of excitement, raw power and incendiary licks. Pete, on vocals, harmonica and keyboards was the dominating presence up front, but the rest of the band absolutely played their parts.

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At times there was a definite “feel-good” factor in the room, and the dance-floor filled up number by number. There was no tin, but if there had been a tin it would have said “open with care – raw, undiluted and powerful”. And the band did exactly what that tin would have said. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Pride and Joy”, Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie-Coochie Man”, Little Richard’s “Lucille”, Bob Troup’s “Route 66” and Albert King’s/ The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” all came tumbling out, one after the other. This was R&B at its very best.

And it was clear that the band thoroughly enjoyed their outing playing together again – the smiles and the laughs, and the audience rapport were great to see.

Another amazingly good gig, another bargain night’s entertainment at Long Street Blues.

Future 2020 gigs at Long Street Blues Club:

• Saturday 25th January Kirk Fletcher (Fabulous Thunderbirds)
• Sunday 26th January Billy Bremner’s Rockpiles
• Saturday 7th March Ian Parker Band
• Saturday 4th April Mike Zito Band
• Saturday 18th April Mark Flanagan Band
• Saturday 30th May Antonio Forcione Quartet


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


Adverts & Stuff Like That

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Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse, Tigger and Friends All Kicked Out of The Brunel Shopping Plaza This Christmas!

Bureaucracy gone mad, or rightful regulations? Make your own mind up, but kids were upset to see many of their favourite cartoon characters escorted from the Brunel Shopping Centre this Christmas like criminals.

Outcry ensued after Alan Reed posted this video, showing security of the shopping centre harshly directing the characters off the premises. “Every year I organise a visit to the GWH hospital,” Mr Reed explained, “I take all the mascots up there to visit the kid’s wards and give them a present that has been kindly donated. I have a great bunch of friends who volunteer their time to do this. Then, just for some Christmas fun, every year after the hospital we go to the Magic Roundabout, walk about and wave to the cars. The after this we go to the town centre to spread some more fun and Christmas cheer to the people. All the kiddies love it along with their parents.”

Upon asking the reason Alan and friends do this, he told me, “we do all of this free of charge, with no other meaning to it at all.” Perhaps Christmas joy just isn’t enough to warrant such a gesture, not in the eyes of the centre, whose Saturday saw children flock to see Frozen characters Anna & Elsa in aid of Swindon’s Down Syndrome Group. No issue with this, but this impromptu visit is a blunt reminder for Swindonians, despite the shopping centre commonly being regarded as the “town centre,” it’s actually a privately-owned business.

Rob of the Brunel Shopping Centre explained, “as a privately-owned shopping centre it is our duty to ensure that shoppers and their children are kept safe. Therefore, our staff will always politely ask unannounced visitors, who have not sought prior permission to be at the centre, to leave. We regularly work with charities and fundraisers who book in with us and are always happy to work with people to benefit good causes, but we do need to carry out due diligence when booking these people in.”

The issue becomes irate when the organisers question the reasoning, but without an informative response, and security ordered to carry out their task, things become awkward and it doesn’t fair well on the personal relations within the centre. Ah, it happens, but with the children who do not understand the red tape, it has to be said, it’s a crying shame the issue couldn’t have been dealt with diplomatically. I’d suggest the Brunel has a disclaimer form, stating clearly that any repercussions are wholly the responsibility of the organisers, and then, where’s the real problem?

It does remind me of the scene in the classic Pink Panther film, where Inspector Clouseau arrests a blind beggar and his “minky,” whilst a bank robbery is occurring behind them. Forcing me to wonder how many shoplifters or fraudsters happen to be bobbing about the centre during this inconsequential fiasco; maybe it’d make a great decoy!

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In an era when physical shopping is losing the war against online shopping, you’d have thought the issue could have been dealt with diplomatically, if not for the children’s sake but the reputation of the centre. Meanwhile social media exploits the video, shares and comments call to boycott the centre as the witch-hunt progresses. A cruel sign of the times with unsolicited media where anyone can pass comment, when the centre has strived to host similar fundraising events yet the bureaucracy stamps on such a good deed. Not in the spirit of Christmas, and yes, I said Minky; because I’m annoyed by what bureaucratic balderdash has degenerated us into, Merry bloody Christmas!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


Adverts & That!

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REVIEW – John Coughlan’s Quo @ Long Street Blues Club, Devizes – Saturday 21st December 2019

Deeper And Down

By Andy Fawthrop

Images by Nick Padmore

 

This one was billed as Long Street Blues Club’s Christmas Bash, and it turned into a rare old party.

Support act for the night was the irrepressible George Wilding. As usual, he was witty and engaging, a bit sweary, but always charming and completely entertaining, finishing his set with the inevitable singalong crowd-pleaser of “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”.

Then two sharp sets from Status Quo’s original drummer’s John Coughlan’s Quo. This four-piece featured the set-up of John on drums, Rick Chase on vocals/ bass, Mick Hughes on vocals/ guitar and Pete Mace on guitar/ vocals. John was a member of Quo from 1962 until 1981, and the set-list mostly featured material from that early “classic” period.

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They’re not a “tribute” band in the normal sense of the word, more interested in keeping alive the spirit of the classic early line-up. But they certainly looked the part – long hair, head-bands, Marshall stacks, and satisfyingly loud, complete with demon drumming and catchy guitar breaks. They kicked off with “Something About You Baby I Like”, and the dance-floor was immediately full. Thereafter we were taken through the early back catalogue from 1972’s “Piledriver”, 1975’s “On The Level” and 1976’s “Blue For You”, including the song they first appeared on BBC’s Top Of The Pops with – “Pictures Of Matchstick Men” – a period when the band were still toying with psychedelia, before settling into their now more familiar rock groove.

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The sound is not complicated, nor sophisticated, but simple and effective and emotive. It does exactly what it says on the tin – good, down-to-earth rocking – and you can’t help dancing and singing along. We had all the early hits – “Paper Plane”, “Caroline”, “Roll Over, Lay Down”, “Without The Rain”, and a rollicking version of The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues”.

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It was going well, and the crowd were having a party. Then John decided to come out from behind the drums to talk to the crowd and to reminisce. Personally I think this was a bit of a mistake, because the band lost impetus quite late in the set. Whilst it was interesting and amusing, it might have fitted better much earlier in the set.

Fortunately the band quickly got back into gear again to finish with John Fogerty’s “Rockin’ All Over The World”, followed by a well-deserved encore of “Down, Down”, nicely seguing into “Johnny Be Goode”. The dance-floor was full and the crowd were happy.

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Another memorable gig.

Future gigs at Long Street Blues Club:

• Saturday 28th December Pink Torpedoes
• Saturday 25th January Kirk Fletcher (Fabulous Thunderbirds)
• Sunday 26th January Billy Bremner’s Rockpiles
• Saturday 7th March Ian Parker Band
• Saturday 4th April Mike Zito Band
• Saturday 18th April Mark Flanagan Band
• Saturday 30th May Antonio Forcione Quartet


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop/Nick Padmore)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Award-Winning Limerick Folk Artist, Emma Langford, to Appear at Devizes Arts Festival

I reckon I’ve been honourable to The Devizes Arts Festival, as in their excitement they’ve often accidently divulged a booking they’d rather have kept secret, and I’ve not yet let the cat out of the bag until they want it unzipped! Said excitement, though, is symbolic of their passion to bring us a wonderfully diverse roster.

For this one I’ve been equally as thrilled, and glad to be the one to broadcast the news; yes, with their permission! Aptly perhaps, as I’m proud it was my suggestion and I’m so glad they took heed.

So, it gives me great pleasure to announce folk singer-songwriter Emma Langford is to appear at this summer’s Arts Festival. From Limerick in South-West Ireland, Emma has gone from strength to strength. But to start at the beginning of our association; it’s been well over a decade since I got chatting to her father, Des, and in sharing a love of comic art, we’ve been online friends since. Call me archaic, but while you can meet lots of people online which the book of face terms “friends,” you have to wonder if they really constitute “friends,” I mean, if you’ve never met them in person. Des is the exception to that rule.

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It was around 2016 when he sent me a video of his daughter singing, yet if I went around telling people “listen to my mate’s daughter sing,” it sounds cringeworthily like I was pushing it only for this reason. I bid you listen to her songs; clearly, it’s not just me saying how utterly fantastic she is. Emma has received unwavering acclaim internationally, after a whirlwind 100-date promotional tour across Austria, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and Ireland, to launch her 2017 debut album, Quiet Giant. The Irish Times described Quiet Giant as ‘music that weaves a spell as you listen to it… An enduring piece of work’. Ireland’s state broadcaster RTÉ Radio 1 presented Emma with the Best Emerging Artist award at their inaugural Folk Awards in October 2018. She also made her debut appearance in the USA this August, on the Snug Stage at Milwaukee Irish Fest.

Emma possesses a distinct natural tone and resonance that is truly breath-taking. Quiet Giant features stunning full-band arrangements for ten self-penned songs, and following the album’s Irish release, she was invited to launch it internationally with Germany’s Irish Folk Festival tour. In Devizine’s infancy reviewed Quiet Giant, suggesting it’s “a suave survey of dignity and passionate despondency with uplifting string arrangements and traditional Irish folk values.” I worthlessly tried to find a tenacious link to Devizes to justify reviewing it on our local website. I just wanted to get the message across, as I compared her to Andrea Corr, or a young Kirsty McColl.

But, being as it’s said Emma’s “spell-binding” sound is made to be heard live, be it solo or with a full complement of musicians, I took steps to try to bring her to town for a gig, but it fell through. The promoters were in awe though, told me she really needs to head for London for maximum exposure; “she’s too darn good for Devizes,” I was told! Pleased to say, we’ve no need to worry, thanks to the Arts Festival, and I look forward to this with bells on.

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Emma is a prolific artist, recently collaborating locally on projects with musicians, theatre-makers and aerial-dance performers. This summer’s show should align with her highly-anticipated new album.

The Arts Festival had their final committee meeting of the year at the beginning of the month. “The 2020 programme is nearly there,” they say, “although there are some threads to be tied up. We can assure you that it will be as good as (or maybe even better than) 2019.” Other acts already leaked are London’s Tankus the Henge, who describe their sound as “five-wheeled, funk fuelled, open top, custom paint job, rock ‘n’ roll jalopy that comes careering around the corner on a tranquil summer’s day, ruining the silence and disturbing the bats.” Performing comedy for less-than-perfect parents, The Scummy Mummies are also confirmed, along with San Francisco born jazz pianist and composer The Darius Brubeck Quartet.

Roll on summer, roll on!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Great Success for Greg and Al’s Homeless Donation Stations

You may recall our year six Bromham girls, Greg and Al, undertaking the mammoth task of creating Christmas Boxes for the homeless. They organised the campaign for people to donate, at various “stations,” including St Nicholas in Bromham and at Beezes in the Ginnel, Devizes. And people did! Dressed in personalised campaign T-shirts, the girls handed over fifty full gift bags of goodies, as well as extra donations of clothes and sleeping bags to Doorway in Chippenham today.

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What an inspirational story, apt for the season of goodwill. A super-duper, humongous congratulations to Greg and Al. Well done, I think you’re officially top of the good list! Here’s a message from the girls, and we wish them a very Merry Christmas!


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Introducing The Lost Trades; But You Already Know Them!

Ever heard of The Lost Trades on our local music scene? No? I can guarantee you have, yes, you have, no, really, you have, oh yes you have!

No, I’m not trying to baffle you pantomime style on this Sunday close to Christmas, for after years of loose amalgamations, collaborations and supporting each other’s gigs, Phil Cooper, Tamsin Quin, and Jamie R Hawkins have officially formed a trio, The Lost Trades.

Tamsin explains the plan, “anyone who’s been following our careers recently, will have seen a growing musical kinship between us. Well, we figured it was about time we made it official and so The Lost Trades has been born. We’re incredibly excited about writing together and creating amazing three-part harmony lushness.”

Expect an announcement at the Southgate this afternoon when the boys join Tamsin towards the end of the set. If you’re going, sorry for the spoiler, but Devizine has the exclusive on this scoop and it’s going to blow the news!

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Not that’s it’s all that surprising, to be honest, after the closeness of the musicians of recent, but it is great news for us. All three of them have raised the bar of our local music scene, strived to progress their aptitude with explosive success. Singularly they’re amazing, collaborations work so well, now, as a group, I predict a shower of awesomeness!

“But it’s not just about us…” Tamsin expressed, “we feel like we’ve made some amazing friends and supporters over the last year or so, and we want to bring you with us in this exciting new chapter. We’ll be documenting the story in a typically friendly behind-the-scenes type way. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the notification bell to keep up to date with that.”

Starter for ten, here’s a Cat Stevens cover, “Moonshadow,” recorded as part of these “Living Room sessions,” basically a band practice, but clearly shows how vocally harmonious this is set to be. I had to ask if they planned to continue solo as well and Tamsin confirmed it was so. Yet, perhaps the country bumpkins’ trip to big smoke for an epic day at BBC Music Introducing Live rubbed its magic, and now we’re blessed with this official merger.

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“We’ve already started working on brand new material,” Tamsin said, “and will be playing our first gigs in March; dates will be announced early in the new year.” I can tell she’s excited about the news, I’m reckoning the boys are too. As long as she keeps them in line, I told her!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Sam Bishop in a Cold Kingdom

Streaming killed the download star; you have to be of a certain age to get that joke. Feeling my age today, I remembered standing in a record shop in awe at this heavyweight 10” silver disc and being told it’s read by a laser rather than a needle. Laser, beyond cool, like Star Wars.

Yet where this futuristic “laser-disc” failed, the compact disc was literally a year away. I think our Dad tried to work out what was the A-side and what was the B with our first CD! Spurring this memory was when I had to pop upstairs and launch my phone at my daughter, as I know we’ve got her this spotty-fly app, or whatchamacallit, and within moments confusion was over, I was lent her phone to take a listen to this new EP I was sent. Now all I have to work out is how to Bluetooth it to my speaker!

Notwithstanding, leaving a near teenager without a phone in the house for over ten minutes is a highly dangerous risk, you can blame local singer/songwriter Sam Bishop for my senior moment. If I’ve told him to send me a simplified method of listening to his tracks once, I’ve told him a thousand times (there’s a pun to follow there.) Still he sends me this baffling set of streaming website links, and I feel like my perplexed father staring muddled at his own reflection in a CD.

Four tunes in length, Cold Kingdom presents Sam’s latest material. The first tune, A Thousand Times (there’s the pun, see what I did?)I reviewed as a single back in June. Likewise, with the third tune, Cry For Help, which was in September. In June Sam explained, “This song is hopefully the first song of many under my own name. I already have another two completely finished, which hopefully will be released as a double over summer. There may be an EP before the end of the year, but we’ll have to wait and see.” So, Cold Kingdom comes in the nick of time to conform.

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I said of A Thousand Times, at the time, “a breezy indie-pop affair it is, dour and atmospheric with that theme of heartbroken youth so apt for Sam’s hauntingly distinctive vocals. With slice of maturity, this is nice work, but akin to his work with Finley Trusler as Larkin, almost a natural progression.” And I stand by that, a great opening.

Although I was slightly more critical of Cry For Help. Sam claimed it to be “the most heartfelt and vulnerable song I’ve ever penned.” And I commended and concurred, it was lyrically one of Sam’s best to date. Yet I had to say, compositionally it wasn’t my cup of tea, when compared to A Thousand Times. While through the atmospheric temperament it reigns more pop ballad than perhaps indie. Hence why I mention the age thing, as I’d contemplate this single isn’t aimed at me; my daughter saved it on her playlist. I only teeter on that, it has scope to grow on me.

The EP has a balance. Eternity, with its modest up-tempo guitar riff is both clever and catchy, more my thing. Yet if it only reaffirmed my admiration for Sam’s voice and songs, the finale, Broken Mirror, I think knocks it out the park. Here’s a direction I can identify with, encapsulating all which has gone before; a four-year journey from Devizes Sixth-Form boyband 98 Reasons to the divide, a duo with Finley Trusler as Larkin, to hopes for a solo career through his current music studies. Broken Mirror spurts it back at you with a progressively defining track which in my opinion, could be the magnum opus we’ve been waiting for from Sam, at least to date.

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Sam & Finley back in the Larkin days

Fans of Sam and/or Larkin will not be disappointed, indie-pop admirers should take heed; Cold Kingdom is melancholic yet enriching, and it reaches to a place in the soul, particularly the youthful abyss of yearning, misunderstanding and a quest for passion. A grand effort, Sam. Do check it out here.


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Help Carmela, and the National fight against Muscular Dystrophy

It’s a laborious task to compile an end of year review, as we did last year on Devizine, which I’m currently undertaking. It involves picking through the archives to reminiscence, as there’s so many wonderful things we’ve done I tend to forget some! Others, though, will remain with me forever. If I had to pick just one, well, that’s easy. My son’s friend said to him at school, “your Dad is famous for dressing up as Spiderman to deliver milk!”

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Typical, after years of comics, novels, designing posters and endless other stuff, and that’s how I’ll be remembered; the milkman in his Spiderman onesie! But you know what? When I think of the wheelchair Carmela’s parents managed to buy with all the wonderful donations you guys gave, I’m fine with that! More than fine, my heart melts to think of it; thank you to everyone who supported it and gave so generously. Update: I didn’t realise, but our efforts also part funded a new petra race runner too, so I’m adding a second photo. Carmela’s mum, Lucy explained “It is so Carmela can be supported when running or walking to help her heart and lung therapy and bone strength as she can’t normally run or walk far.”

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There was a wonderful moment in Bottlesford, towards the end of the milk round when Carmela and her parents, Lucy and Darren joined me. Carmela, dressed as Wonder Woman helped me deliver a few bottles. The job is a lonely one at the best of times, but after they left and I had a few more deliveries to do I realised, I’d never make a journalist. The job involves you working a story, meeting the people involved and after it’s published, it’s goodbye. I’d never felt lonelier on my milk run than at that point. Decided then, I can’t let this happen. Carmela is instantly lovable, but every person I interview, every band I review, I come away making a new friend; that’s how I see it, they’re not subjects, they’re friends. That’s the difference between Devizine and a newspaper, it’s personal.

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Although I know it’s been and done, and to do it again wouldn’t have the same impact, Carmela’s muscular dystrophy and its campaign continues, for Carmela and her parents it’s an everyday struggle. So, here’s an update to explain there’s many other options and events forthcoming to support both Carmela and muscular dystrophy as a whole.

Firstly, a huge thanks go to Dean Czerwionka and all at the Cavalier Community Hall, who’s organised some fundraising events, starting Friday 20th December with a Children’s Christmas Disco. From 7:30pm, the disco is free, and it’s just £3 to visit Santa in his grotto; all proceeds will go to Carmela’s Fight to Stay Mobile.

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And February is jammed with events, as 7th February is the “Go Orange for a Day” national campaign raising awareness and funds for muscular dystrophy. Simple premise, wear something orange on that day, and get everyone in your office, school or community group to pay a small donation to Go Orange for a Day. Details on how to sign up here.

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Locally, on Saturday 22nd February, the Cavalier community hall will be transformed into the magical world of Disney’s Frozen, for a Children’s Frozen theme Ball. With a special guest appearance from Alsa and Anna and also, Pippa Langhorne, who sang with her dog on Britain’s Got Talent. There promises to be songs, stories, photos and disco. A prize for the best dress girl and boy. Money raised will go to Carmela’s Therapy Fund, to help with ongoing specialised equipment, physiotherapy and adaptions as she grows. Tickets limited so book online. Photos must also be paid in advance on the ticket line. Tickets are £5 per child, adults free and photos cost just £3.50.

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Adults will have to wait until the following weekend, when Devizes Town Hall plays host to a Casino Royale evening. Just4Children ‘Carmela’s Fight to Stay Mobile’ would love you to join them at their Black-Tie Charity Casino Event. There’s a posh finger buffet and casino entertainment, with a cash bar. I’m delighted to have suggested the bands for this brilliant night, so you can guarantee some great music. Firstly, our newcomer of the year by a country mile, Daydream Runaways, and Devizes favourite It’s Complicated. Tickets are available now for £25, online here.

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Rescheduled until October, The Barge at Honey-Street will be hosting a fire walk, in aid of Carmela. There’s a minimum £200 registration sponsorship, or simply pop down and watch; I’ll try and let you know when exactly this is happening. Yet you don’t need attend an event to help, you could donate £5 this Christmas to 70085, Texting CARMELA 5.

Or you could start your own fundraiser; like Danielle Tudor who ran the Bristol Half Marathon last year, Neil Foord on the Chichester Half Marathon, and Dotte & Elaine’s Santa Run. This year Holly Miller runs a Jurassic Trail half marathon in April, and Justin Olejnik takes on an Olympic Distance Triathlon in May. Good luck to all of them, rather them than me! And if running seems to be the trend, lest we forget brave Carmela’s Dad, Darren, and family friends Charlie Beardmore and Scott Willis, and Hannah Ashford, who all take on the London Marathon this coming year. Another massive thanks must go to Devizes Fire Station and staff, for their continued support and fundraising events.

Between horse-riding, wheelchair football and music lessons with CJ Music School, Carmela herself takes on her Yearly Triathlon Challenge. She’s already raised around £1000 for MDUK taking part the past 2 years. With a need to cram as much life experience as possible into her short life, she’s certainly been non-stop, meeting celebrities such as Prince Harry, Sarah Duchess of York, Frank Bruno, Beverley Knight and yes, Jimmy Carr too! I wonder if she remembers me after rubbing shoulders with all these stars? But I think if you asked her, her favourite would be her new puppy, Tinker!

Please show some support for any one of these worthy ventures and help Carmela, if you’ve had the opportunity to meet this wonderful girl, and seen her smile, you’d know why. Fuller details can be found here.


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden


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No Surprises Living in Devizes; Returns for a Last Local Political Conclusion

I was delighted to have met all of our local candidates and interview them prior to this election thingy……… wha? Missed one you say? Yes, I must be terribly bias, just like real newspapers. I favour to call it common sense, and I have reasons….

Through all this political point scoring one thing is certain, the Tories don’t listen to Bob Marley. The quote “you can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time,” springs to mind. Yet much as I love the outpourings of this reggae legend, I overlooked “never let a politician grant you a favour, they will want to control you forever;” but it was only a cuppa at New Society, honest, Bob!

Despite the notion to keep Devizine as politically free as possible, the importance of this election is paramount. It must be, otherwise political parties wouldn’t risk exposing their blatant predisposed fabrications or vicious disingenuous methods; think the Conservative Party website posing as an independent fact-checking site. I asked Danny “do you believe in an election, campaigning parties should use whatever means necessary, no matter how deceitful, malicious or morally wrong?” No Answer.

The Cottingley Fairies photos fooled people a hundred and three years ago; We. Have. Photo-Shop. The ultimate question, how stupid does the propaganda wheel take us for? Did the knuckle-dragger who so poorly copy and pasted a picture of Jeremy Corbyn in his holiday shorts and I heart the IRA T-shirt onto an IRA funeral procession photo really think we’d be like, “he is not human, I’d wager he’s a demon; observe the way his t-shirt naturally creases yet the logo upon it doesn’t, witchcraft I tell ye!”

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Over on a new Facebook Devizes debate group, which I refuse to join for my own sanity, but for some unknown reason frequently pops up on my newsfeed, a bunch known for having a hard-on for Boris are suggesting the photo of the four-year-old boy on the floor of the Leeds hospital is fake. Despite the hospital apologised to the family and made a statement, Tory fake news-bots rushed to their laptops to perpetrate and spread this despicable lie. Across the superhighway fruit bats copied and pasted the falsehood, and the mainstream media followed it unchecked. Neither example can do the Conservatives any favours, you’d think.

Yet that’s the mentality, if you cry every piece of exposure to the right-wing’s corrupt agenda is fake, what will ever convince you we need to make a change? Maybe the hospital is fake, and its staff, maybe the ex-army solider living in a cardboard box is fake, maybe cardboard is fake. Fake, fake, fake. Show a picture of the shoes of the victims of the holocaust, and they’ll cry fake; they just nipped round the back of Freeman Hardy Willis on bin day. Dangerous juvenile behaviour Orwell introduced us to in 1949. Nineteen Eighty-Four was supposed to be a warning, not a self-help guide.

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Therefore, I felt if I didn’t say something my brain would explode from Facebook newsfeed overload; a miniscule detonation, obviously. But social media is catered to taste isn’t it? For me Labour is winning, pretend to be the opposition for a scroll or two and you’ll see a multitude gathering support for Boris; just a shame their grammar and spelling is illegible. Yet I say, I’ve genuinely enjoyed meeting the candidates; Emma of the Greens, Jo of Lib-Dem and Racheal of Labour…. Ah, you spotted it with your incredibly fine toothpick; clever so-and-so. Now you’ll screech political bias at me from your ivory towers, won’t you, oh sweet Tory town of mine?

There is one missing. Yeah, I know, right; all I can say in my defence is I tried. Danny Kruger seemed up for it, returned my message, and while I deliberated an angle he messaged again. Unlike the others, there was never to be a cuppa in the deal; Danny requested I emailed him some questions. I did, he never got back to me. His campaign publishes news of Danny gallivanting the downs, rapping to sure Conservative bets, but akin to sixth formers banned from questioning Boris at a school visit in case fifteen-years-olds had too taxing a question, he’s failed to address conflicting folk, visit Open Doors or the Food Bank; historically blue cushioned seat, does it matter? I asked Danny, “…perhaps others need persuading. Yet it’s a minority in this constituency, so does converting them matter to you, in such a safe seat?” and “how did you get the cushy number?!” No Answer; pattern emerging.

Thing is it’d have been no skin off my nose if he didn’t want to do it and told me so. Rather he opted to pretend he was up for it and stood me up, crying at the altar. This meant I had wasted precious free time deliberating questions which, incidentally, was far harder than the others. At first, I headlonged with the sensitive criticisms of the current government, then I considered it unfair to offload every problem onto this one guy, Boris’s buddy or no, I’m nice like that. I watered it down somewhat, but each time my frustration at the performance of said government got the better of me and so I decided, with careful wording, it was futile not to be direct.

I’ll tell no lie; it was playing on my mind. Danny Kruger is a far superior writer; articulate and educated. I thought he’d eat me for breakfast, so I started grinding over myself some black pepper in preparation; proper Waitrose stuff, as he’s doubtless accustomed to. Politicians rarely get time for a full breakfast though, before rushing to parliament for a snooze.

Given he had no desire to meet me for a cuppa, as the others did, in the real world, I guess my deepest fear was he may attempt to infiltrate my dreams and make me into sausages there. Wishing to get it over and done, and in full knowledge if I could extract him from my dream, he would have human vulnerabilities and could be destroyed, I set the scene in my mind prior to sleeping; a disused cattle market in Devizes (no, not the old Royal Oak.) Dressed in my best Scooby Doo jimmy-jams, trembling, I sauntered the abandoned building in a smoky haze. But you know what? Even kipping in a bath of baked beans, he couldn’t be tempted to turn up.

Banter aside, and in fairness I did get a standard letter, signed by Danny but from Bojo’s office. It stated “we can end the doom and gloom” by reaching a majority government, the new excuse, as after nine years at the helm, “Labour did it,” looked implausible, not for the want of trying. I mean, you ask any Tory why they intend to vote Conservative, rather than quote a policy they’ll snap, parrot-fashion into a rant about how filthy Jeremy Corbyn’s vest is. Yet a majority government isn’t democracy, it’s totalitarianism. Given the manifesto claims; “Better hospitals, safer streets, improved schools; let’s unlock Britain’s Future,” against their current record; education spending slashed by £7bn since 2011. Claims of 20,000 extra police, when approximately 21,000 have been cut. The National Audit Office found Conservatives have not built a single starter home out of the 200,000 it promised. The promise to build forty new hospitals only amounted to repairing six. The promise to ban fracking was thrown across the media, the immediate U-turn was quietly pushed in, I asked Danny why, and “if the current manifesto is really intended to be implicated, why hasn’t these things begun during the nine years in government?” No Answer; pattern apparent.

“Last election Labour was slammed for having a candidate not local, rather from a faraway land called Swindon, this year you’ve been shipped in from London by the Bojo himself, even upsetting local Conservatives. This year the tables have turned, Racheal and Jo are very much locally based. Do you think this’ll make a difference to the result?” Asked him that too; yeah, you guessed it, no answer. Unfortunately, Danny not be one of us, ewe; he’s not proper job. He’s never fallen out of the Bin on a Saturday night and puked kebab meat and chips on the towpath, neither has he been kicked off The Devizes Issue for no apparent reason.

It takes many years to get fully accepted by the locals, yet fasten a blue rosette onto a dog turd and the insular will vote for it. Indoctrination here is a process which can be sped up by climbing the drainpipe at Roses and mounting the sit-on lawnmower displayed on its facia. If Danny Kruger had the decency to ask, I’d have gladly pointed out the store, informed him to Google ganderflanking, and bought him a Barbour jacket, so he’d at least look like one of us. His knowledge of our area is no better than one who attempts to turn right off Dunkirk Hill at Shane’s Castle.

My humble email was prior to the supposed exposure of the real reason he was drafted in, to “fall on his sword” for his buddy Boris should he make a mess of Uxbridge. That trustworthy Gazelle & Herod claimed Danny poo-pooed the idea and said the Daily Mail was being “mischievous.” Ha, they do that though, don’t they? Funny, like the time they alleged JK Rowling had falsely accused her former church of bigotry, or the story about a hotel restaurant in Nigeria serving human flesh, and ha-ha, when they accused Israel of intentionally opening dams to flood the Gaza Strip, or factually hysterical headlines like “Sold out! Flights and buses full as Romanians and Bulgarians head for the UK,” and “Is the changing role of women in our society behind the rise in autism?” Very mischievous, I’d rather call it sexist and racist propaganda, but whatever floats your boat. So, anyhoo; could be false I guess; smarmy Telegraph journalist.

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I was saddened to learn Boris isn’t jetting over to our constituency, I confess I think it’d be great if he did, it’d give me no end of satirical ammo. The only advantage if Danny wins is it won’t inflate Claire Perry ego. Imagine our horror of her reasoning that we voted for her due to her popularity and not just her allegiance to the nasty party? When Danny was whisked over, the local campaign leaflet had a bold statement he was “our new MP.” Due to social media outcry it was quickly changed. “A rather audacious and arrogant assumption,” I asked Danny, “or a plain phraseology error? As a journalist and speech writer yourself, shouldn’t this error have been picked up prior to publication?” No answer, yet you and I know the silent majority will blindly vote blue, so it’s only an incy fib.

With all the candidates who did give me their time, one thing was unified, that this current government is not the Conservative party of yore. “A vote for Tory means we leave in January no matter what, deal, or no deal. Why January? Isn’t this, coincidently, the same month the EU promises to curb tax loopholes for offshore accounts?” Danny’s saying nought. Proof it doesn’t have your best interests at heart, unless you’re a billionaire. Not a billionaire, are you? Then do not vote for them.

If you’ve succumbed to media persuasion and retch at the thought of voting for JC, then you should note I liked the cut of the Lib-Dems’ jib too. I say this because, ah, well, this totalitarianism concept scares me; documents leaked suggesting meetings have been had and deals are on the table for US privatisation of the NHS. Some have wafted a history of always wanting to do this meme in my face, and expressed the wonky opinion it’ll never get pushed through. With a dictatorship it could, and with Brexit it’ll have to. Ah, who remembers the young conservatives debauched party photos, where they scribed “fuck the NHS,” on their shirts? Funny!

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The working classes might just manage to pay their meds bill, or eat, but not both, as it is in the good ol’ US of A. I asked Danny, “yet Boris continues to deny this. Thatcher would turn in her grave; if she intended to do this, she would take the attitude; I’m doing this, like it or lump it. Wouldn’t honesty be a better approach? And if so, I thank you, but why are we selling off the NHS?” Starting to see why he didn’t answer me now.

I mean, another question I put to Danny, “the government is accused of a dereliction of duty, after admitting that it has no plans to carry out an assessment of the economic impact of the prime minister’s Brexit deal. Without the propaganda baloney, man to man; why will the government not consider a final vote on the issue, for if it’s truly “the will of the people,” leavers have no need to worry that the result will change?” Honestly, I tried to be nice, but Brexit makes my blood boil and no party is putting the real vital issue of the environment first. In an ideal world we all should vote Green. Doesn’t matter, we can sort all that out in 2050 when you’ll be delighted to be swimming off the coast of Potterne; being a coastal resort will be great for local business.

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The election’s overexposure has done one positive thing, bored me silly. I like being silly, let it be known. Yep, I feel we’ve lost our Britishness in taking politics far too seriously. It’s as depressing as the thought of losing Channel 4 because it didn’t laugh at Boris Johnson’s hilarious and PC letterbox gag. Even the meme started out as a bit of fun, now we’re basing our entire political opinion on the one with the most incorrect grammar. Old Jean Luc Picard only facepalmed over Borg, not Brexit. That said, I have more faith in the meme as a trustworthy source of information than the British press.

Oh, bring back the good old days when we ripped the piss out of all of them and went about our day chuffed with the knowledge of a job well done. If James Gillray could see us bickering now, he’d turn in his grave. There could never be enough rubber in the world to make Spitting images puppets of all the lying twats in politics these days, and it’s a shame about Rik Mayall; he could’ve sued Boris Johnson for plagiarism.

Come on, it’s high time we started taking politics as the complete piffle and laughable shambles that it is, and unite in mocking and caricaturing them with grotesque and offensive material, not the other way around. See, while we squabble it out and threaten one another on local Facebook groups with only 15 members, they’re laughing at us, guzzling vintage bottles of chateau le Pin, paid for by us. They don’t care that you care, so stop caring and find your sense of humour, for without it, it really doesn’t matter some donkey’s kidneys if we leave the EU or remain, it doesn’t matter if we sell the NHS to Trump and die a horrid drawn out death because we deported every doctor and nurse, or starved because no English man is brave enough to pick fruit when it’s raining, yet thinks they’ve the bollocks to cope with a return of the blitz, because without our sense of humour we’re no better than a bratwurst in a tutu.

They wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire, because they think you’re stupid. They Tweet and announce blatantly that they think you are stupid, about how much they hate you, and then you vote for them, proving them right, despite their PA told them they had to apologise. We are stupid. Stupid for letting them get away with it and bottling up our outrage unless we’re on Twitter. What kind of shit, shabby show are we letting them get away with?

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The time has come to give up the seriousness and stop feeding these egotistical attention seekers. Let them do whatever the fuck they want, they will anyway no matter how many toys you throw from your Facebook posting pram, they’ve tax-free offshore accounts to uphold, no point in trying to find their compassionate side by thrusting a famished baby meme their way, not when they’ve a luncheon to attend. We cannot win, so I suggest we start taking the piss out of them in the most unflattering, cruel and spiteful method possible, or all that was once great about Great Britain is truly lost.

Thick skinned are they, that it’s pointless to lightly smear them; a strawberry milkshake just washes off. They will not break until every last man, woman and child has slaughtered their ego trip with a machine gun of mirth and wit so nasty as to curdle the very milk of their cosmetically veneered milky teeth, and make them spew the silver spoons from their mouths.

Viva le funny revolution. Do it now, take the piss out of your politician; your country needs you.


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


Tickets for Winter Ale

Tickets for DOCA’s Devizes Festival of Winter Ales 2020 at the Corn Exchange on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th February 2020 are now on sale…..
The Devizes Festival of Winter Ales is a fundraising event to help meet the costs of DOCA’s free annual programme of outstanding outdoor arts events and activities, including the Devizes International Street Festival, Confetti Battle, Devizes Carnival and the Christmas Lantern Parade.

Held in collaboration with Stealth Brewery, DOCA have bespoke, warming ales and ciders from some of the best independent breweries in the country, as well as some fantastic bands and special DOCA style entertainment. You’ll be able to chose from a selection of Lovett’s pies, and top quality snacks to keep you going.

Expect fantastic bands over the three sessions, Soon to be announced. In usual DOCA style we will bring to you a cabaret act with a difference!

This year, for your entertainment they will be welcoming Matt Barnard. Matt has performed across the world as a compere, actor, musician, singer and as himself in his unique one man show.
He was the resident compere of the cult Sensation Seekers Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, starred in London’s oldest variety show in the West End in and performed his unique act at the famous London Palladium. He also appeared in the Hollywood movie Mrs Henderson Presents in which he performed the famous sand-dance with Gareth Jones.

Unfortunately, DOCA will be unable to admit people who are under 18. Tickets will include a festival half pint glass and enough beer tokens for two half pints.


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Great Night at The Cellar Bar, for Devizes Open Doors

Images nicked from Nick Padmore, cos we love him, and his new lens!

Local musicians, George Wilding, Vince Bell and the Celtic Roots Collective united for a Devizes Open Doors Christmas fundraiser down in that Cellar Bar on Friday night, dragging me kicking and screaming from my outings on Friday nights embargo; least I still made it to work notwithstanding the inclination to slip away quietly before Mr Wilding done his thang! Trust in me then, to produce half-a-review, yet despite what they say about assumption, given the high standard of every past appearance of George I’ve witnessed, I know a supposition of the finale is justified.

Upon my arrival Mirko and Pete were bearing the cobblestone dais, since a split between the four-piece 10p Mixup, the duo now forms The Celtic Roots Collective to deliver what it says on the tin; a jubilant, toe-tapping assortment of Irish folk. And a grand job they make of it. If you missed this, bookmark Feb 23rd, aptly at the Southgate.

Under the impression sixteen-year-old environmental campaigner, Joe Brindle was to make a quick speech, again an assumption he kicked the evening affair off while I still had my hands in the kitchen sink! But before I’d made it to the bar, our often-underrated singer-songwriter Vince Bell tuned. I believe Vince favours it this way, there’s no pretence in his performance, yet his songs hold you spellbound by their accomplished guitar melodies, intelligent lyrics and unbridled delivery of them. Often emotionally poignant subjects, some locally witty, you can never tire of either; let’s hope he really is never leaving Devizes!

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And that’s me done, over and out. Guessing if George Wilding gave a bad performance, I’m the Queen of Sheba. Safe in knowledge, I had to slip out through fear of the fury of old ladies when they didn’t receive their pint of semi-skimmed. A massive well done to the organisers, Mirko and the Devizes Labour Party, including Steve Osborne manning the door. I believe between £200 and £240 was raised for homeless charity Devizes Open Door, with the promise of more such gigs in the pipeline.

As crazy as it sounds upon sharing news of this event, I was subject to one of those pathetic Facebook mini witch-hunts, as if the mere utter of Labour is a swear word in Tory Town; get over yourselves! Devizine, I should point out, is here to promote all events regardless of the political viewpoint of the organisers, and I will not adhere to insular remarks against this ethos. It came to ahead when I was asked why similar Conservative Party events have not been promoted. Upon my response, to notify me of any such events as I was unaware any existed, being left unanswered, I think proves my point at how pitiable this outcry was.

Ironically, I suspect there are no such events, in fact, seems to me the current Government have done nothing to reduce poverty and any of us are at real risk of losing our homes; put that in your pipe when considering this forthcoming election. In which case, we must and will uphold the brilliant work of Angie Carpenter and all the volunteers at Devizes Open Door. I’ve seen first-hand how worthy this charity is, and we’ve raised funds from events at the Cellar Bar ourselves earlier this year.

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All fair in love and war; while local candidate Rachael Schneider Ross and members of Devizes Labour organised and attended, nothing politically motivated took shape throughout the evening, save Rachael’s reminder to me that this gig was organised before this badly-timed election was called. I’d like to remind people, Open Doors is a worthy charity, and aside national affairs, one which known local Conservatives also take an active role and support. If anyone plans to hold a local fundraising event, it is valid (unless it’s for Boris Johnson’s Dom Perignon fund,) welcomed and promoted freely here, but if I’m not made aware of them do not tighten your collar at me! It’s all getting really rather silly now, the premise of the review should be the music, perhaps the venue, a few excuses as to why I couldn’t stay, and that should be it, so let’s keep it that way, please; negative political responses will be deleted, don’t waste your time.

Here’s looking forward then, to a possible series of such events, in which I encourage them to consider holding on Saturday, that is, if they want to see me up dancing! I cut a rug like a carpet layer on a four-day week; just saying!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden


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Middle Yellow: An Interview with Local Lib Dem Candidate, Jo Waltham

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Now I know what you think; I’ve got red on me, politically speaking. Really! I’m just trying to know what’s best for everyday people, and my family. Truth is I could clash an orangey colour (no, not skin tone, do I look like Trump?!) I’ve added a hint of yellow in the past but they sold my vote to the Tories! It’s unforeseeable today the Lib-Dems would form a coalition with the blues, being their opposite position on Brexit; which blows my primary concern, and angle of this interview. Do I care? I’m going to ask about coalitions anyway, intending to question the name “Democrats,” when their stance on Brexit is to remain, and well, that’s hardly democratic being the slight majority voted to leave, but most importantly, the scope and support for this middling party in a left-right divide epoch.

Yep, I’m having a cuppa in New Society again, politically flirting with another candidate. This time I’m somewhat cagey, considering the Nick Clegg era, only to find myself thoroughly supportive of another pleasant, and local lady, Jo Waltham. Meanwhile pressure amounts in messages about interviewing Danny. He seemed up for it via email, so I fired some questions and await his response. Though have you noticed a fantastic number of little yellow signs this election, perhaps more than usual, and on land too? It’s getting exciting, as far as politics does, when our landowners seem keen to make a change.

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Rurally then, does Jo think they offer the best deal for small local businesses and agriculture, as generally they’re the safest Conservative slices in previous years.

“In previous times yes, I think they would have been,” Jo stated, “but I think the Conservative Party of 2019 is very different from previous years.” She suggested there was, “a lot of in our manifesto for small businesses.” Jo herself runs a small website design business in Marlborough, “so I certainly understand the sort of issues small businesses have. I know the changes in the IR35 legislation are creating a lot of concern, and trading with the EU. The power of the internet means it’s been easier to trade internationally, so leaving the EU will impact small businesses as much as bigger companies.”

“With regards to rural affairs, I think for the farmers, naturally they’re equally concerned about leaving the EU and losing the funding they rely on. They worry about lowering of food standards in a trade deal with the US, and how that might impact them,” she expressed, and I had to drone about the dreadfulness of that outlook. “It is a major concern, so obviously the Lib Dems are fighting to stop Brexit.” Jo predicted at tomorrow’s NFU hustling the majority of questions will be what will happen when we leave? “My simple answer is let’s not leave!

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It all boils down to Brexit doesn’t it, the anger in confusion when we should really be prepping for joy to world and the peacefulness of Christmas. I stressed purposes of being here was to keep issues local, but suggested we get the big one out of the way. “I feel there’s two big ones, or maybe three,” Jo interjected, “it is about stopping Brexit, it is about climate change, and it is about investing in public services.” Time then to throw in my sold my vote to the Tories whinge and see if Jo thinks the Lib-Dems would consider a coalition with anyone else. “Andrew Neil was pressing Jo Swinson on this point again and again, and I think she was incredibly clear, that if we end up in hung parliament territory, we will vote on those policies that we agree with and won’t on the ones we don’t. So, we would vote on for any policies that come through, like the people’s vote, votes for sixteens, allowing EU nationals to vote, all of those things we agree with we would vote with, whatever party get them, but I don’t see us in a formal coalition with Boris or Jeremy Corbyn.”

Here’s the point in our nice chat when I questioned this “democrat” namesake hardly being democratic when the slight majority voted to leave. I’m asking for it, I know; time to munch the freebie biscuit! “It’s a fair question, lots have been asking it, it’s absolutely fine,” Jo laughed it off. “Basically, when you write a manifesto, you’re writing for what you’re going to do if you win a majority government. If you don’t win you can’t do those things. If we won, we would take that as a mandate to do what is in our manifesto, that’s why we revoke, because we’d take this new mandate as being acceptable to do that. Obviously, it’s sadly unlikely we’d get a majority government, but who knows? Still a week to go, otherwise we continue to campaign to get a people’s vote. We would have to think what would we do if we did get a majority government, would we then go back to negotiate a new deal, which we don’t believe in, and don’t want, we couldn’t, it’d be a mockery of the whole system. So, the idea is if we did win, we would need fifty percent of the vote because the first-past-the-post system and that would be a mandate to do what we said in our manifesto. Any majority government would.”

“Also,” Jo snapped, “I find it frustrating it’s regarded as the remain parliament which is stopping Brexit, when isn’t it the ERG who voted against Theresa May’s deal, isn’t it even Boris Johnson himself who voted against her deal? If they voted for it way back when, we’d be out by now! It’s not the remain parliament, you can’t expect people who don’t want to leave to enable leaving, but you should expect people who do want to leave, to enable leaving, and they didn’t!” She is critical of this first-past-the-post system and used the confused reasoning behind the referendum result as an example, stressing a key Lib Dem policy is to change to a proportional representation system, “so every vote does matter, and people will be engaged with the process.”

I have to wonder if the importance of Brexit to the masses or to the party is the reason why it’s above environmental issues on the manifesto guide on the menu of the Lib-Dem website, but it’s time to quote our previous interview with Emma Dawnay, who said no mainstream party is doing enough to tackle the issue. Jo agrees with this, so I asked for the party’s stance. “We need to get started now,” she expressed, well, we needed to get started thirty years ago, but c’est la vie!

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“There’s talk about the Conservatives saying 2050, Labour is saying sometime in the 2030s, and Lid Dems are saying 2045.” I had to chuckle despite being the fate of the planet we stand on, as it’s symbolic of this straight down the middle approach. I mean, I like if it’s multiple choice on a TV quiz show to opt for the middle question, but this is a smidgen more serious. There is no date, there is only speculation and scientific evidence, and it’s not good news. Much as I’m enjoying our chat, here’s the issue, just as Labour and definitely Conservative, where I quiver at pondering the divide between talking the talk and walking the walk.

“What is critical, the Lib-Dems have introduced some interim targets,” Jo explains, “because it’s not only about how much CO2 emissions we have each year, it’s the cumulative total. So, since the industrial revolution we have emitted about 1,500 billion tonnes of CO2, which has led to 1% of warming. Which means if we want to limit it to 1.5% warming, we’ve got about 750 billion tonnes of CO2 left to emit. We’re currently emitting it at about 50 billion tonnes globally. So, if we rapidly start reducing that now, get it down to say, 30, even, that gives longer before we get to that 1.5. So, that’s why it’s about the cumulative total, and getting started is more important than that net-zero. By reducing now, it gives longer to solve the things which are more difficult to solve. One simple Lib-Dem policy is to have 80% of our energy from renewable sources by 2030. That will be challenging, but it’s doable. It’ll make a huge difference because if you think about our energy, everything else comes onto it, like electric cars, the only point in switching to them is if we getting electricity by the renewable sources. Then there’s also reducing the gas and electricity we’re using to heat our homes and public buildings, so we’d retrofit insulation, particularly people on income support.” Jo suggested it’s a win-win, for environmental and poverty issues.

Jo stressed encouraging more to use public transport is tricky, locally, “but there’s things we can do to improve that, Lib-Dems are investing to improve our bus and rail networks, we’ve a fund earmarked for it.” It’s a point I need to return to, but Jo continued about encouraging local government to take more action. Proudly she cited Wiltshire Liberal Democrats who implemented a zero-carbon strategy together, and who proposed a climate emergency motion to the oppositional Wiltshire Council, “and much to our surprise, it passed! But they’ll need money to implement the changes we need, and a Lib Dem government would help fund local councils to take part in those local initiatives.” This led onto us both criticising the Conservatives for lowering buying tariffs, signing of fracking, “they’re doing the wrong thing about climate change,” Jo exclaimed.

Locally, I asked about the tactical vote being a grey area, being while Lib Dem come second more regularly, Labour did last time. Why would anyone risk their vote on yellow? “If you take Wiltshire as a whole, we have twenty-two Lib-Dem councillors and three or four Labour ones. So, there is a strong Lid-Dem vote in Wiltshire, you only have to look at the five 2019 local by-elections, Labour stood candidates in only two, Lib-Dems in all five, Conservatives won two, Liberal Democrats won three. Where Labour did stand, they came fourth. The Devizes Town Council election in February, won by Conservatives, we lost by something like seventeen votes, it was quite close, then Iain Wallis, then a tie,” she contemplates, “wasn’t it, between The Guardians and Labour, but the main point was, they were fourth or fifth.” If your response is voting is different in general elections, Jo offered, “Yes, they do, but we can only go with the information we’ve got.”

More stats about EU elections followed as I refilled my cup! Given these, Jo pondered, “I think, we’ve got a good bit of data which suggests Lib-Dems are the tactical vote here. I was encouraged to look closer at the local demographic, and who we need to change their vote, suggesting they need to switch the Conservative voters. “Moderate conservatives, probably voted that way all their life, are remainers, and actually have a lot of liberal core values; who are they most likely to vote for, Labour or Lib-Dem?” Yet Jo stressed their growing numbers include some who switched from Labour, which was fortunate as her campaign manager joined us moments later, who I happen to know was a former Labour supporter!

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I asked about the Lib-Dem stance on our gypsy and travelling community, after Priti Patel’s recent proposals to criminalise unauthorised encampments which to me, sounds like legislative cleansing. Plus, of course, would put further strain on housing. Jo stressed she was unaware of a particular policy, and although she circled the question, the result expressed a Lib-Dem vision of tolerance and equality for all, “helping everyone live their life in the manner of how they want to live it, regardless of race, gender and sexuality.”

This point brought about discussing the LGBTQ community and the terrible trend in opinion regressing to abhorrence, generally. I asked how they’d deal with making them feel safer and more respected. Jo was firm on this, “we don’t tolerate it. We should not tolerate the intolerant, at the end of the day.” This change in values, which we both saw as corrupting raised Jo’s thoughts of the 2012 Olympics, “how as a nation we felt so different, to how we feel now, and that’s due to Brexit, and popularism and hatred coming into our politics.” Interestingly, and allowing a little background on our Lib-Dem candidate, Jo expressed this was her reasoning for coming into politics. “I’m standing because I’m standing up for the reasonably-minded, ordinary person. If you’d asked me five years ago if I’d stand for parliament, I would have really laughed, really laughed!”

“Basically, it’s a case of I can’t stand what’s happening, not just Brexit, it’s about the tolerance, openness. Therefore, I find myself standing in what seems to be the craziest thing for me to do, but here I am. All it takes for evil to flourish is for the good people to do nothing.” I agree, it was an eyeopener for me to read right-bias critical of the celebration of the NHS portrayed in the opening ceremony. See, I like Jo, I like the way she opened up about her motivation; all three candidates I’ve talked with have convinced me politicians are human. I confess, if many see me as a leftie, as I begun this article, I’m just hunting for what’s best. I accept conservative theory has its place in the debate. That there’s nought wrong with upholding the pleasanter sides of tradition and hierarchy, but I honestly cannot see this ethos inherent in the current cabinet.

Then I suggest, if you cannot stomach leftism, you could at least meet in the middle, a Conservative-lite! Rather than this far-right leaning, of which I challenge you to find me an example, historically, where its ever done anyone any good, ever. And that’s reason to consider yellow this Christmas, I think.

In this middle-ground defying moment, I returned to the notion of Devizes Parkway train station, which all parties seem in agreeance in supporting. Reason being, Labour manifesto calls for scrapping the HS2 in favour of fixing and opening local lines, and nationalisation would make it rail travel affordable, while the Conservative are gung-ho on HS2 and give little response to improving local lines. The Lib-Dem manifesto states they’d cap ticket prices, which would retain price, and support both the HS2 and the repair of local lines. I find it symbolic of this middle-ground ethos, and question the expression; you can’t please everyone. Where would the budget come from to go ahead with both rail propositions? “We had this £130 billion budget which is coming from borrowing, because interest rates are low, we may as well do the investment. As long as you’re borrowing to build something it’s okay, so we’ll use the money to invest, because we need to; to negate climate change, to boost the economy.”

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We certainly do, and with the election date coming upon us like the speeding train that never was here in Devizes, Jo Waltham and the Lib-Dems thoroughly deserve your consideration. I sincerely thank you for your time Jo and Lisa, it was a pleasure to meet you and wish you the very best of luck.


For our interview with Racheal Ross, Labour: Click Here. 

For our interview with Emma Dawnay, Greens: Click Here.


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue at the Southgate

Hibernation, like a bear, saving motivation and funds for Christmas, spent too much at the Lantern Parade? Ah, a bit of all three meant it was only to be a whistle stop at the Southgate Saturday night. When I should’ve been at the Sham’s Assembly Hall for the Female of the Species, and I should’ve been in Trow-Vegas for Sheer’s gig too. Without cloning technology, the pressure usually melts my enthusiasm entirely, and opt to I slob on the sofa cuddling a packet of digestives, chocolate ones, naturally. Yet if just a pint at the dependable local couldn’t persuade me,after reviewing the forthcoming live album from Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue I simply couldn’t resist.

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And for all the thoroughly deserved lovely things I had to say about it, I propped this gig on a pedestal, but was far away from disappointment. The band started with Hold It, and blasted Baby Please Come Home, virtually replicating this live album. Best thing at the Southgate is the communal feel, beneficial to meet and greet the artists; I was a handshake away from Ruzz Evans and the band, which I did, and with it he explained they often begin with that formula and mix it up thereafter. The advantage though was not our quick chat, but the close inspection of Ruzz handling that guitar, as it’s something spectacular and I watched in awe.

Unsure if I got the ball rolling fittingly, as I mumbled, “you make that look so easy,” at the suited Bristolian caked in perspiration. Clearly, and as I expressed in our album review, blasting a lengthy and vigorous rock n roll chef-d’oeuvre like this takes stamina! I knew what I meant though, they did make it look like child’s play, the band equally as proficient as the front man.

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So, a high-energy blast of traditional rock n roll blended with acute blues blessed the trusty Southgate, a never-ending foundation of great, free, live music in Devizes. Here’s the twist; it’s the uniqueness of Ruzz and crew, amidst the conventional rock n roll cliché of Elvis or Buddy tributes, passé eighties rockabilly four-pieces, and nostalgic but substandard fifties cover bands, Ruzz simply doesn’t come off like that. Mostly fresh, original works; if there were covers, they were rarities, and delivered with the youthful energy and passion of an era of yore.

I can’t keep on this glorious new find, I’m not even a rocker! But when stripped back to the roots, as authentically as this, all pop genres combine and there’s no need to pigeonhole. Funny, in reflection, and considering diverse fifties artists like Buddy Holly, how close mod’s and rocker’s tastes were, yet at the time, reason to fight. Look, just read our album review, will you, before I waffle on a tangent? Which, incidentally, is released February but available for pre-order today. There’re also two previous studio albums, and Ruzz returns this way in March at the Sports Club, (see poster) if not before.

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© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
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Christmas Officially Started in Devizes on Friday!

Images by Tanya Jurkiewicz Photography

Christmas for me doesn’t start until Jona Lewie Stops the Cavalry, for most of Devizes it’s DOCA’s Lantern Parade and lights switch on. Double whammy Friday evening as I patrolled the Market Place with daughter, deciding if hotdogs or fudge would spoil our pending dinner most. Devizes Town Band did knock out a wonderful Stop the Cavalry, and for that my Lantern Parade was complete and Christmas has officially started.

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If I’d argue over a lack of activities for our youngest, it didn’t matter; there was a warmth through the nip in the air in noting every kid, lantern or not, was wrapped in the joy of the moment. The market was bustling. A wide variety of street food stalls, warm clothes, toys and gifts, campaign and charity stands, sweeties and booze buses spilled into the Corn Exchange for a craft fair, and back into the cool night air, where only the square stood vacant marking where the lantern parade would end and Santa would dismount a steam engine and climb the scaffolding chimney to switch the lights on.

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Surrounding pubs and cafes were lively, shops stayed open later, and in composition this was exceptionally organised with an ambience of delight and anticipation. The moon landing theme of lanterns was loosely adhered to, with some spectacular efforts, including a 1969-styled Spaceman, but I had to wonder why a whale was present, fantastic though it was not everyone is a Douglas Adams fan. A hilarious dancing chicken to make Bernie Clifton blush confirmed the irrelevance, and all partied or else bobbed around aimlessly.

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Outside the Shambles my daughter dragged me kicking and screaming away from the Muck & Dunder mobile rum bar, then the Gourmet Brownie Kitchen stall, and we found a distant viewing spot, being too matured to get hyper about Father Christmas’ arrival; least I pretended.

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Yet only as far away as the corner of the Corn Exchange, Papa Noel’s voice was muffled and drained to the point he may well have been talking French. Unsure what he was doing, fart-arsing around as far as I could see, but ordered to film it with a phone despite freezing fingers, nearly seven minutes passed in confusion, and only on social media was I informed he actually did the traditional countdown. This kind of killed the anticipation, as one minute the lights were off, then they were on and that was it; perhaps a loud speaker is needed? I rubbed my stubble in contemplation; might have to await grandchildren before I can really excuse myself to get into the thick of it as we once did!

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Saved by the excellent fireworks though, all in all a thoroughly good time was had and Santa hats off to DOCA for what was essentially an event to satisfy all ages, executed with professionalism and with all the joys of the season. I’ve no memory of a Christmas light switch on in other towns, but I’d imagine they’re not this good; makes you proud to be in Devizes.

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The fun isn’t over by a long shot though, check our event guide and plan your yule celebrations with Devizine!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow) and images (Tanya Jurkiewicz Photography)
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