Party For Life Reveal Final Lineup

It’s been a few months since we announced Party For Life are back in the biz of vital fundraising, with a Suicide Prevention Day fundraiser at Melksham Town FC on Saturday 10th September. So, take this as a gentle reminder, this event looks awesome, and besides, organiser Clare McCarthy has just sent us the final line-up details…. looky here, below; need I say more?!

Using the hashtag #STAY, Party For Life is hoping to make this a series of events, “because,” Clare explained, “those impacted by suicide have one big wish…that their loved ones #STAY another day.” Like their Facebook page for details. Tickets are £25, book via email to: tickets@partyforlife.co.uk or by Text: 07786 344 553.

Let’s help this event be a sell-out!


Wharf Theatre Opens For Autumn/Winter Season with Hedda Gabler

The wonderful Wharf Theatre in Devizes is reopening this month for a new autumn-winter season; I know, don’t say “winter,” not yet!

Hedda Gabler is the first production, running from 19th to 24th September. It’s written by Henrik Ibsen with a translation by Michael Meyer. The Wharf’s chief director, Lewis Cowen is on this one, and it’s the second work of Henrik Ibsen to be performed at our trusty theatre.

In 2007 The Wharf Theatre staged an adaptation of the highly successful ‘A Doll’s House’ by acclaimed Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.  They are now delighted to introduce, perhaps, his greatest work, Hedda Gabler.

Having its world premiere, in Germany 1891, the play initially opened to mixed reviews however, a more sympathetic, naturalistic London production three months later was a triumph. Now considered a masterpiece within the genres of literary realism and 19th century drama it is rarely out of the repertoire of the great theatre companies of the world.

The title character herself remains one of the greatest female dramatic roles and has been portrayed by some of the biggest names in theatre and film, including Ingrid Bergman, Peggy Ashcroft, Dianna Rigg, Geraldine James and, more recently, Sheridan Smith.

Sometimes described as a female version of Hamlet, Hedda is a character firmly set against the backdrop of the Victorian era when women could only achieve success vicariously through the men in their lives. The daughter of a General and national hero, Hedda idolises her Father but harbours her own political ambitions. She attempts to achieve these by influencing firstly her husband and later an admirer

A drama which starts quietly and humorously gradually builds to a riveting and terrifying climax.

Tickets can be purchased by ringing 03336 663 366; from the website Wharftheatre.co.uk and at the Devizes Community Hub and Library on Sheep Street……and don’t forget to follow them on Instagram and Twitter


Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 1st-7th September 2022

It might not be bank holiday, but it’s not blank holiday, if you see what I mean? Nah, forget it; here’s what’s happening over the next week in Wiltshire.

Pinch punch, Thursday is the first of September, and I’ve got nothing, yet! Do keep a check when updates come into our event calendar, the one link you need for info on all the stuff below and for planning future events.

Friday 2nd is the Wax Palace’s Kaleidoscope Festival in Erlestoke, ravers, there’s also the End of the Road Festival, Salisbury way on the Dorset border, and the Punchbowl Festival in Codford.

Closer to us, The Devizes Living Room has a “bloc-party,” on the Green, all welcome. Potterne Social Club has People Like Us, The Roughcut Rebels play The Barge Inn at Seend Cleeve, Navajo Dogs are at The New Inn, Winterbourne Monkton.

Comedy at The Boathouse, Bradford-on-Avon with Sally-Anne Heywood.

And over in Swindon, you’ll find the Groove Club Collective at The Vic, Mac N Cheese at the Queen’s Tap, and The Total Stone Roses playing Level III.

Saturday 3rd, and it’s the start of Salisbury Art Trail, running until 18th September.

It’s Malmesbury Carnival, the Melksham Food & River Festival, and Tripwire Presents Bristol Comic Con over the weekend. Lego fans check out The Cheese & Grain, Frome where there’s a Lego show and market, Brickin’ It!

Editor’s Pick of The Week

In Devizes it’s Confetti Battle time, and the Colour Rush, yay! No tokens this year, so you will just need to line up to buy you confetti so arrive early to avoid the queues. You’ll still need to line up to collect your confetti prior to the 8pm kick-off.

As far as we know Devizes is the only town in the world that has a Confetti Battle tradition. No one can remember the first official battle but we know its roots date back to the old Devizes Carnival in 1913, where confetti and rose petals were thrown by the crowd at people in the procession. The tradition evolved into a fully-fledged battle around 1955 when it was started by Jim Jennings; should make it my editor’s pick of the of the week really.

This year the Confetti Battle continues to grow and the colourful chaos has been added to with the introduction of the Colour Rush, an amazing 5 km mixed terrain fun run – what better way to arrive at a Confetti Battle than covered in multi-coloured powder!

There is no ‘battle’ as such, just a very silly half-hour during which a lot of fun is had, and a lot of confetti is thrown about. Expect to get ‘attacked’ by complete strangers throwing paper!  The Battle continues to gain popularity and 2017 saw over 3500 people take part. The event takes place at the finish line of our new Colour Rush 5k run so expect to see some exceptionally colourful visitors in the crowd.

Jennings funfair is in the Market Place on Friday 2nd September until Sunday 3rd of September operating between 5.30 pm until 11.00 pm.

The DOCA website says “keep your eyes peeled when collecting your confetti as one lucky person will receive a Golden Ticket in a confetti bag,” it continues so say, “this will entitle…” and then it ends, so I’ve no idea what the golden ticket entitles you to! Maybe they need to keep their eyes peeled on their typos, but I guess they’re too busy making fun for us all, and I, for one, bless them for it.

Staying in Devizes for confetti free events, Jamie R Hawkins will be at The Southgate, while Paradox plays The Cellar Bar of the Bear Hotel. Tamsin Quin plays the Barge on HoneyStreet.

Wiltshire BKA Honey Bee Health Day at Market Lavington, some Carnival Music by Jenny Bracey at The Crown in Aldbourne. Local Heroes Inc play Prestbury Sports Bar, Warminster.

In Swindon Moonwire and Lung at The Vic, Dragon Eye at The Rolleston, Larkhill at the Queens Tap, Echo at Coleview Community Centre and Dreuw & Will Killen at The Hop Inn.

Sunday 4th September, and there’s a RSPCA fun dog show on the Green in Devizes, and the monthly residency of Jon Amor at the Southgate at 5pm, featuring guest Nat Martin.

Composer-pianist and creative coder, Larkhall will be taking his innovative live show to venues across the UK this year, he comes to Schtum in Box on Sunday, and playing Pound Arts in Corsham on the 9th.

White Horse Classic and Vintage Vehicle Show in Westbury, and Minety has a Beer & Cider Festival.  

Rainbow Fest at The Olive Tree Cafe in Swindon, promises crafts, live Music and poetry for £2 entry (under 12 free) with all funds going to charities supporting LGBQIA+. Meanwhile, local acoustic duo Sweet Nightingale play Queens Park.

And that’s your weekend, folks. Monday 5th sees a live art Demonstration by Artist Paul Oakley at Devizes Conservative Club, organised by the Lawrence Society of Art. And that for now is all I have for midweek, but I promise to do some digging and update the event calendar more often, pinky promise.

Okay, that leaves me with stuff to get prepared for, that means buying tickets, dammit! September 10th sees the Party For Life fundraiser at Melksham Town FC, details here, get yourself a ticket for this, raising funds and awareness of Suicide prevention.

Also, the Wharf Theatre opens for its Autumn/winter season with Hedda Gabler running from 9th to the 24th. Bath Children’s Literature Festival, Devizes Food & Drink Festival, Swindon Shuffle and Swindon Folk & Blues Festival; it’s still happening, summer isn’t through…. yet!

And if you’ve still found nothing to interest you, stay in and listen to our new volume of the 4 Julia’s House compilation album, which we released last week. 35 amazing, locally-sourced songs, and all the proceeds go to Julia’s House Children’s Hospices; thank you!


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Opera Meets House at Devizes Full Tone Festival

Featured image above by Gail Foster

It has been undeniably a variety music show at the Full Tone Festival this bank holiday weekend on the Green in Devizes, of tremendous proportions and matchless quality.

The stage I’ve previous dubbed “like something out of the Jetsons,” was once again erected, deckchair city assembled around it, with a bustling collection of food and drinks stalls beyond, and the sun with his hat on, shining down on all the shiny happy people.

It is a remarkable achievement and something to be truly proud of, to have here in our humble market town. The Full-Tone Orchestra taking their show to prestigious venues like Bath Abbey and Marlborough College, returned home, looking even more professional than ever. Conductor Anthony Brown waving his hands around like manual control of the world’s air traffic; it was, in a word, magical.

Highlights came thick and fast, Dominic Irving thrilled, heading a Tchaikovsky concerto on piano, for an opening of obligatory classical elements. The stage emptied as Will Foulstone took control of the keys, solo. Full Tone platforms young talent, like TikTok trumpeter Oli Parker, on Sunday, to an audience majority unlikely to know what TikTok is. Similarly, Will performed some videogame themes among Coldplay and contemporary pop, which is better in reality than it sounds to my generation bought up on ZX Spectrums or Mega Drives!

Will’s finale was an astounding cover of Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, and the orchestra realigned for a concentration of movie scores, largely dependent on the western themes of the late Ennio Morricone; liked this.

Then, BBC Introducing DJ skateboarder, James Threlfall took to digital wheels of steel and blasted the zone, and across the road to the chippy, with a set of contemporary and commercial high-energy house; lights came on blazing like the Green was the Ministry of Sound. Here is where I need to revert to my reviewing template, which resides on two major contributories. One is, did the event appease me personally, the second, more importantly is, did it do what it said “on the tin,” i.e., was it everything it posed to be. For the latter, the Full Tone Festival 2022 hit top marks, without a doubt. I watched the joy on hundreds of faces, as they danced the night away to James and the following Full-Tone Orchestra set of “nineties smash hits.”

The grand finale of Saturday night was certainly intrenched with nostalgia, perfected by an orchestra where no penny was left unexpended, no rehearsal was spent playing tiddlywinks, where the professionalism is first rate and the atmosphere was nothing short of sublime. The Full-Tone Festival was superb last year, this time around comes the typical stigma of a sequel, the “how can we ever top that” enquiry, and I’ve a duty to be honest, based upon the imperative Saturday evening, I’m not completely certain they did, on personal reflection, you understand?

Image: Gail Foster

Song choice at this conjunction was the only thing which let it down, for me. Started off okay, the Britpop beginning I can tolerate, but as it progressed to the pop hits of S Club 7, Britney Spears and Cher’s I Believe, et al, these, for me, were the excruciating pop slush of a generation below; I detested them at the time, and retain said detestation.

It was a far cry from the club anthems of last year’s, because that’s the point where creatively, electronic music technology truly challenged the orchestra. But, sigh, it’s all subjective, I told you about the hundreds of faces, didn’t I? They matter, it did what it said on the tin, with high gloss, it just wasn’t my cuppa.

Image: Gail Foster

I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to Sunday’s extension, we don’t all have bank holidays y’ know? But I can rest assured with the years of rock n roll experience of Pete Lamb’s Heartbeats, Kirsty Clinch’s angelic country vocals, and the fact Jonathan Antoine has been done BGT, it’d have been alright on the night.

Image: Gail Foster

Feedback on the orchestra’s big band showcase has been fantastic, with particular praise of vocalist Will Sexton. On opera, spellbinding local soprano who could turn even me to opera, Chloe Jordan, said, “it was my dream to sing ‘Song to the Moon ‘Resulka with an orchestra. Thank you so much to The Full Tone Orchestra for allowing that dream to come true!” And that, in a nutshell, is the kingpin to assessing this spectacular; if dreams come true there, you can’t argue how special an occasion it was.

Image: Gail Foster

Though the headcount was slightly lesser-so than last year’s, trouble to many events this, as a sad reflection on economic issues, here’s hoping this awesome weekend on the Green will be enough to convince Full Tone to make this a permanent fixture on our event calendar. Devizes loves you Full Tone, that much is certain.


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Shut the Front Door and Catch a Bus Month with Wiltshire Council!

The lunacy, much less the audacity to suggest it, of Wiltshire Concillors, and their inability to accept reality, is highlighted in September by the singlemost insane campaign to-date; Catch a Bus Month.

A double-decker bus can take up to 75 cars off the road and switching just one journey in 25 to the bus would save two million tonnes of CO2 emissions,” the article on their website begins, because everyone in Wiltshire has been waiting for them to tell them this.

Assuming it’s us neglecting environmental concerns as the reason we don’t take the bus, as opposed to the utterly appalling and unaffordable service available to us, in their infinite wisdom they’ve invented “Catch the Bus Month,” where “Wiltshire Council is taking part to encourage more people to change their travel habits by taking the bus and celebrate it as a sustainable, inclusive and accessible form of transport.” Seriously promoting this hairbrained scheme on social media seemingly without the foggiest notion of the backlash of criticism anyone with a working brain cell would’ve forseen.

A flourish of negative responses errupted, some stating how their village bus service was cut, others complaining it’s simply not affordable or accessible. Others telling stories of being thrown off buses before their stop to make way for other passengers, being rudely addressed by drivers and their issues not being dealt with by the bus companies.

Personally I’ve found bus drivers of extremities, they’re either exceptionally happy and willing to please, or grumpy as sin; there is no middle-ground. One once sped off before I could get my daughter seated, and her pushchair collapsed in time, a toddler at the time, resulting in her hitting her head. My complaint fell on deaf ears. Now they’re at senior school the bus fee would be over a thousand pounds each, annually; a journey I can drive for far less. And that is the unfortunate reality.

Everyone knows if you’re relying on the local bus service you’re best taking a tent, and for shift workers the bus simply wouldn’t get them to work on time, even if they were reliable to turn up. Forgo reliability for a second and consider the timetable, imagine a night bus, but keep your disillusionment, most stop running by 5pm at the latest; everybody, tea and time for bed.

The Department or Transport’s (DfT) National Bus Strategy requires local authorities to form enhanced legal partnerships with bus operator,” it says, “and the council is working on a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) to achieve a vision for a better bus network.”

Cllr Laura Mayes, Deputy Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with the bus companies with a combined aim of increasing usage and improving the service across Wiltshire.”

Here’s a thought, and it is just a thought, then, not that I’m the expert, but how about Wiltshire Council actually improve the service first, then have this “celebratory” Catch the Bus Month when it’s done and it’s actually reasonable and affordable to catch the damn things?! Unless, of course, you’re collecting laughing emojis on your social media posts… I know I am, but that’s intentional.

Catch the bus month, oh, my years. It’s Wiltshire Council who need to take a bus journey, to another county, and see how much better they’re doing!

12 Bars Later at The Southgate

Could be a pub crawl, more likely the chord progression of blues, but my drunken jesting query met with a shrug from the guitarist, the name 12 Bars Later means either, whatever!

I might not have been so far from a truth, in that over this bank holiday 12 Bars Later nail four bars; played the Crown at Bishop’s Cannings Saturday afternoon, switched to The Southgate later, and Sunday it’s over to Calne to play the Talbot’s mini-fest at 2pm, and the Gurkha Baynjan Restaurant at 8. Given a few more days I reckoned they could’ve shaken the rafters of a further eight!

Why is this narrowboat three-piece Wiltshire blues band fully-booked for gigs this weekend? Proof in the pudding, arm twisted, I nipped to the Gate to find out for myself.

Arriving late due to FullTone, it was immediately obvious, jigging up to the bar like the crows in Dumbo, their sound in its simplicity is irresistible, their stage pressence is immediately likeable. Confident Female fronted bassist, Helen Carter, banters well with the slight crowd and has the gritty vocal range of Joan Jett, while drummer and guitarist work in unison,  and we’re grinding to some down and dirty electric blues.

Yet there’s something more universally appealing here, 12 Bars Later will hook any classic tune duck, and ease it out of the pool with a blues makeover. The prize on the butt of said duck for anyone who books them will be enthused and delighted punters. This could be because they were once known as The Blue Rose Band, a seemingly more function band type name.

So yeah, while Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters and obviously apt Rolling Stones covers were adroitly delivered with passion and a deserved hard-edge, they applied the same ethos to some well-crafted originals, of which they’ve recently recorded for a forthcoming debut, and what was more for the supportive audience, sing-along covers like Elvis’ Burning Love, You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry, and even Eddie Floyd’s Knock on Wood. The latter of which they amusingly claimed was “as close to disco as we get!”

It’s an appropriate rebranding, for a highly entertaining pub band; certainly floated my boat, and likewise the blossoming crowd at The Southgate, as FullTone closed and folk headed over. For me, as acomplished and professional the sound of a full orchestra pushing pop hits is, it was of a generation next, for me, and I couldn’t nostalgically relate to Britney and Spice Girls covers any more than I did at the time. The Southgate was my safe haven, and boy, 12 Bars Later fit there like a glove, cumulative to another fantastic night at our dependable best pub in Devizes for the down-to-earth music aficionado.


September in Swindon; Shuffles and Jazz Knights

Wowzers, someone’s put a musical rocket up Swindon’s you-know-where, and is due to ignite it over September! You’ve never had it so good, Swindonites, as Swindon Shuffle announce their line-up ahead of the weekend of 15th-18th September AND an inaugural Swindon Folk & Blues Festival is announced by The Jazz Knights the very following Saturday, 24th……

It’s the glorious kind of who’s-who of local music you annually expect from the free festival, Swindon Shuffle, which spans across eight separate venues; The Hop Inn, The Tupenny, The Victoria, The Castle, The Beehive, Baristocats and the Eastcott Community Centre, and all in aid of Prosect Hospice.

This testament to Swindon and Wiltshire talent is simply too large for us to go into every nook and cranny, I’m going to leave the poster below, and I believe you’ll see what I mean. But you’re best following them on Facebook at the moment, as the website isn’t updated; fresh off the press type stuff here at Devizine, y’know?!

See what I mean now? Wowzers, proper job, innit?! 

On a separate note, the renowned alternative folk act, Wildwood Kin are heading to Swindon as part of their UK Tour, the following weekend. They headline the Swindon Folk & Blues Festival, which is the Saturday after the Shuffle, 24th September, at Christ Church.

The launchpad of a brand-new festival for the town is one year late, postponed due to Covid, so be quick to grab a ticket for this one, as original tickets bought for the 2021 event will be granted entry. But wow, it’s another tantalising line-up…. stuff like this didn’t happen all the time I lived in Old Town, we only ever had Eastender’s Ian Beale switching on the Christmas lights!!

Sister event to the already established Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival, organisers are those corduroy-armoured Jazz Knights, who prove you can do jazz-hands with gauntlets, and they’ve a staggering bill including our favourites, Ruzz Guitar Blues Revue, Jon Amor Trio, The Lost Trades and Fly Yeti Fly, along with The People Versus, The Bellflowers, Fay Brotherhood (of Spriggan Mist), Mark Harrison and local talent such as Hip Route, Bob Bowles, SGO, and Bone Chapel

Festival Director Evie Em-Jay from Jazz Knights said, “we are really proud to be hosting Wildwood Kin’s as part of their UK Tour together with a packed line up of nationally known acts as well as local talent and I can’t wait to be back in the stunning venue of Christ Church where our last event sold out. We really hope that the public support live music in what has been a devastating few years for the music industry.”

Co-Director Ed Dyer from Songs of Praise called it “a privilege to be able to host a band as talented as Wildwood Kin. To be able to do it in a venue as spectacular as Christ Church is an added bonus. It is a perfect combination that is sure to create a truly magical musical event.”

All this comes as The My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad announces their 2023 date, in July, and tickets are up for grabs; affirming Swindon on the live music UK map, and demolishing any wonky preconceptions it’s just a collection of roundabouts. Go, Swindon!

For the record, I like all the roundabouts, Swindon, keeps the traffic flowing.


Please click to download; all proceeds go to Julia’s House

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Richie Triangle; Imposter Syndrome

Coming around to Devizine’s fifth birthday has got me reminiscing on how all this started in the first place, who is really to blame?! It wasn’t Richie Triangle’s fault, really, for he cannot help who comes to see him play, but as for our mainstay support of local live music, a hefty portion transpired from a rare occasion the better half and I dropped into the Black Swan and was surprised and blown away to hear some live music in town, this good.

Here’s the thing, there is and always was a lively music scene in Devizes, I know this now, but I went from the raver-clubber into parenthood and neither of them warrant the angle to have gone searching for a band in a pub, not that it was something I disliked, far from it. At the time my local rant column for Index;Wiltshire was becoming tiresome and heavily edited, it was time to spin it around, reflect on what was good about living in Devizes. Richie Triangle’s residency at the Black Swan was the catalyst, and I ventured off to find Tamsin Quin, and the rest erupted from there.

Times move on, landlords of pubs do, and so did Richie, now residing on the Kent coast, yet, I still think we owe it to him to mention his latest album, Imposter Syndrome, released this week. It’s a far cry from the acoustic young man belting out Irish folk songs and pop covers in the same format. Richie is a force to be reckoned with, an intricately weaver of wordplay and original compositions, and if David Gray coined the term folktronica, Richie has epitomised it.

Here’s your for instance; twelve songs blending acoustic goodness into pop, with echo-delays of dub, an acapella intro with oddities of voice synthesisers, followed by The Tide, a modish-come-country angle, much in the flavour Elvis Costello, or what Jon Amor achieved with Red Telephone. From there there’s really no pigeonholing, Trying to Get Home rolls with a slither of old eighties soul-disco, and Richie’s not afraid to add a rap.

It gets a deeper melting pot track by track, Hope in your Eyes, definitely electric blues rock, while Sign of Times, hints of electronica of yore. From there one’s ear settles on this wavering style, but there’s surprises again towards the ends, nothing is off the cards as folky goes rap and a non-compliance theme and jazzy piano bridge. It’s systematic, purposely blending and experimental, the finale characteristic of Adrian Sherwood’s On U Sound, who while I’m unsure if this is produced by them, Richie has worked with them in the past.

All I do know is, even if you recall attending Richie’s regular gigs at the Black Swan as he camped out the back of the Devizes pub, or not, here’s a upcoming marvel, who once graced our town with his presence, and proved himself as a inimitable talent then, this album is a pleasure to listen to; it’s long overdue you checked in on him again.


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PREVIEW – White Horse Opera’s Production of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amour”@ Lavington School, Devizes – Wednesday 26th, Friday 28th, and Saturday 29th October 2022

Opera Is Back! – The Elixir Of Love! – Go See This Show! by Andy Fawthrop We’ve said it before, and we feel no shame … Continue readingPREVIEW – White Horse Opera’s Production of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amour”@ Lavington School, Devizes – Wednesday 26th, Friday 28th, and Saturday 29th October 2022

Devizes Church Helps People Steward our Planet

Devizes church and arts centre, St Mary’s is hosting a series of talks in September aimed at helping local people play their part in caring for our planet……

 The talks series is entitled ‘Stewards of our Planet – Practical Local Initiatives’ and will be held on four successive Thursday evenings in September at St Mary’s Church, New Park Street, Devizes SN10 1DS. The talks will start at 7.30 pm, and last for an hour including time for questions; doors will be open and refreshments available from 7 pm.

 The Rev’d Jonathan Poston, Rector of St John with St Mary in Devizes, said: “With news of our degrading environment everywhere, many people want to learn how they can help protect the planet practically in their own community. Our talks aim to help people to do just that.

 “They are open to everyone regardless of their religious views or whether they have any faith. All are welcome to attend.

 “The talks are part of our creationtide activities at St John’s and St Mary’s. Creationtide is the period in the annual church calendar, from 1st September to 4th October, dedicated to God as creator and sustainer of all life. Many churches choose to use this time of year to hold special services and events to give thanks for God’s gift of creation, and to renew their commitment to caring for our one planet home.”

Talks and Other Creationtide Events for 2022

Sunday 4 September: Creationtide kicks off at the 10.30 am Sunday morning service at St John’s on Long Street.

Thursday 8 September: ‘Can you recycle that? Yes we can?’ given by Sue Roderick of Avon Road Recycling. 

Learn about an innovative local initiative to recycle all manner of household items – reduce your own waste whilst helping charities and the planet too.

Thursday 15 September: ‘What if we had a Community Fridge?’ given by Martin Elliott of Sustainable Devizes.

Learn about food waste and how community fridges bring people together in reducing it.

Thursday 22 September: ‘Green Prescriptions’ given by Damien Haasjes of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

Explore how nature has a positive impact on all of us.

Sunday 25 September: Harvest Festival at the 10.30 am service at St John’s on Long Street. People of all faiths and none are welcome at this special celebration of God’s gift to us in creation.

Followed at 12 noon by a Parish Harvest Lunch in the Parish Rooms. £5 per person, places will need to be prebooked.

Thursday 29 September: ‘Growing Flowers for Insects’ given by Paul Jupp of Meadow in my Garden.

A practical guide from a guerrilla gardener.


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Volume 2 of Devizine 4 Julia’s House is Out Now!

Long overdue and only waiting for me to pull my finger out, I’m glad to announce the second volume of our compilation album series, 4 Julia’s House has been released as a download on Bandcamp. As of volume 1, which is still available, all the proceeds will go to Julia’s House Children’s Hospices in Wiltshire & Dorset.

The second volume is out now, you can download it here. Weighing in 35 tracks, there’s a great deal of acoustic rock and folk greatness, but we don’t stand on convention, you have to have eclectic tastes to run Devizine; all genres are represented here, as the compilation whisks through them, with love.

Julia’s House is not a typical children’s hospice. We provide practical and emotional support for families caring for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, providing frequent and regular support in their own homes, in the community or at our hospices.

I hope you’ll support this wonderful cause, and bag some great songs too. As much as the project is fundraising for the hospices, it also exists to promote and highlight all these great artists who’ve so kindly donated a tune to us. Many you’ll have heard of, many have featured on Devizine in the past, but others are new to us, which is of equal delight, and now they’re here we will support them in any way we can, cos I’m so grateful for them sending them in to us.

Thank you to everyone who has helped and contributed to this project. I know everyone will be aching to read the track listings and hear the songs on show. So, without further a’ waffling, here’s the songs, and their creators in the order they appear on the album; we will feature seven each article over the coming weeks, if my maths is correct that’s five articles, which if I listed them all here in one ginormous gert great list, it just gets too long-winded and if you’re anything like me, you’ve the memory of a goldfish!

Click the cover to download

1 – Sienna Wileman – Petals

2- Nick Harper – Riverside

3- Will Lawton and Ludwig Mack – Atlantic-O (acoustic version)

4 -Paul Elwood & Alice Simmons – Andromeda and Perseus

5 – Amy Fry – Home

6 – Josh Lobley – Glorious Mind

7 – Nigel Mines – Land on Mars

8- N-SH – Elemental Times

9 – Rebsie Fairholm & Marvin B. Naylor – Ark

10 – Sean Amor – Follow Your Own Way

11 – Bob & Amanda Condrey – No Barriers

12 – Lawrence Williams – Love Will Carry On

13 – Fly Yeti Fly – Shine a Light

14 – Daisy Chapman – Generation Next

15– Illingworth – Mockingbird

16 – Onika Venus – Reaper Man

17 – Hooch – Aluna

18 – Aural Candy – Arabella Whitely

19 – 80 Proof Mojo – A New Trick

20 – The Dirty Smooth – Black Jack City

21- The Sarah C. Ryan Band – A Woman in White

22 – Talk in Code – Young Loves Dream

23 – Subharmonic Ensemble – Worm Holes

24 – Brillstereodeck (produced by Robert Ellis) – Sunset

25 – Victims of the New Math – Twilight

26 – Zaia – Can it Be True

27 – Monkey Bizzle – Oi Mate!

28 – The Hotcakes of Wildfire – War of Words

29 –The Birth of Bonoyster – No Love Law

30 – Chloe Glover – Silver Lining

31 – Catfish – Clifton

32 – Salamander, feat Curtis Simmons – No Wrong

33 – Peter Lamb & Cliff Hall (Rob Walden-Woods)- Flying High

34 – Richard Wileman – Butterfly

35- John Wright – Little Nell


1 – Sienna Wileman – Petals

We open with a song which proves talent is hereditary, for Sienna is the daughter of Richard Wileman, a musical alchemist I’ve described in the past as “Swindon’s answer to Mike Oldfield.” His work under the banner Karda Estra is experimental soundscapes, yet he also performs more archetypically under his own name. Richard appeared on volume 1, but this time has sent us three tunes, one from him, another from musical partner Amy Fry, and this wonderful song Petals from Sienna.

This song knocked me for six when I first heard it in February, it’s hauntingly winter, a chilling echo of passion through the eyes of youthful romantic desperation, clinging to a teetering relationship, and Sienna expresses the emotive sentiment sublimely, using her voice as Kate Bush could, to resonance the desolation of the moment. That’s why it’s our opening song….


2- Nick Harper – Riverside

Obviously, I was over the moon when folk legend Nick Harper offered us a song, though he was a smidgen too late for inclusion on volume 1, he suggested adding it as bonus track, but I favoured if we’re going use his song, which we absolutely have to, it must be the start of a second volume. So, here’s the catalyst to volume 2, a handy bit of guitar work, expertly executed. The Times stated once that Nick, “does things to his [guitar] that would have had Segovia weeping into his Rioja.”

Riverside is taken from his 2016 album Instrumental; I was astounded by it’s almost flamenco influence, its drama, and the tension in it. Wow, eternally grateful to you Nick…. and Sienna, here’s the proof of my hereditary comment, Nick has become prominent, especially locally through his dedication to fundraising through Avebury Rocks from 2011 until 2019, but was inspired by his father, the legendary Roy Harper, of whom giants of rock will cite as an influence, from Jimmy Page & Robert Plant to Pete Townshend, Pink Floyd, and the aforementioned Kate Bush.

Website: https://harperspace.com/


3- Will Lawton and Ludwig Mack – Atlantic-O (acoustic version)

Will Lawton

Okay, I know I shouldn’t pick a favourite, but let’s just say this track is way up there, this acoustic exquisiteness is an absolute knockout. Like David Gray’s Skellig last year, it rolls like its marine theme, crashes like waves on a moonlit shore, so you could almost taste the salt in the air.

Will met up with Argentinian guitarist Ludwig Mack in October 2020, through Instagram. Mack had travelled to the UK to meet British musicians but arrived just hours before the first national lockdown. Stranded in a cottage in Hullavington, the duo realised they lived only a few miles away from each other and began collaborating before recording and releasing a four track EP called Heroes, recorded and produced by Lucas Drinkwater at Polyphonic Recording in Stroud. This breath-taking song, Atlantic-O is taken from this EP.

Website: https://www.willlawtonmusic.co.uk/

Heroes on Apple Music


4 -Paul Elwood & Alice Simmons – Andromeda and Perseus

Virtuoso of the five-string banjo, Paul is a composer with a love of the processes and syntax of contemporary writing, from Colorado. Past collaborations with the Callithumpian Consort of the New England Conservatory, bluegrass legend John Hartford, drummer Matt Wilson, Famoudou Don Moye of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, French musicians Jean-Marc Montera, Raphael Imbert, Simon Sieger, Pierre Fenichel, and Thomas Weirich, make up a prolific discography.

If you’re now thinking, wow, big up the Worrow for this campaign reaching out as far as Colorado, or otherwise getting all Royston Vasey on me, this is a local compilation for local people, the connection is with singer Alice Simmons, who lives in Wiltshire.

They teamed up and have been writing a number of winter-themed tunes for the past couple of years. Alice recorded her parts here in Wiltshire, and sent them over to Paul in the US and France.

We are delighted to have this fantastic, dreamy folk song on our compilation album, and thank them both for reaching out.

Website: http://paul-elwood.com/


5 – Amy Fry – Home

Written, produced and performed by Amy Fry.
Drums – Tony Fry
Guitar – Shedric

As promised, the second track Richard Wileman sent from his musical family in Swindon, then, long-time collaborator Amy Fry on vocals, and with her rolling clarinet sound, this is another corker, and Amy’s voice echoes gloriously. Quite exclusive this song, I’m led to believe, and I love songs about home, especially this one, Amy, thank you for sending it.


6 – Josh Lobley – Glorious Mind

Having returning artists and ones known to us is always a pleasure, but what is equally as great of this project is that we at Devizine are introduced to new artists by it too. Unsolicited come thick and fast, I’m beginning to worry I may have missed a few emails attempting to keep up with the influx.

I’m glad to have picked up on brilliant folk-rock singer-songwriter Josh Lobley from the hills of Shropshire. Platformed on Dying Ember Records, Josh’s 2019 EP Chapters can be found on Amazon, here. This song is not on this EP though, seems like quite a newer one, from July, and it rings of Billy Brag at his peak, its selfless prose is simply tantalising. Recorded, mixed and engineered by Andy Lowe of Hope Sounds. Plus, it’s got the most wonderful video accompanying it made by Dirtbox Productions, which I’ll leave here….


7 – Nigel Mines – Land on Mars

I love the honest expression of Trowbridge singer-songwriter Nigel Mines, of self-labelled One Cat Broke. Land on Mars is drifting acoustic, Bowie-esque, perhaps, but assured a beautiful song. Find Nigel on his favouring platform SoundCloud for more.


That’s all for now folks, I’ll be posting all about the next seven songs as fast I can get them sausage fingers typing again; we’re only skimming the tip of the iceberg. Until then, please buy the album anyway, see for yourself. But it is crucial for us if you could share this with your friends, family and even people you’d don’t like that much but put up with anyway! We love feedback, Do let us know what you think of it, thanks!

And oh, musicians who’ve not made it onto this release should note, this is an ongoing venture, we will bring out further volumes as soon as we’ve collected enough tracks, so feel free to send us your tune, but do ensure we’re informed that you wish it to appear on the album, and not just wishing a review. Of course, we could do both if you like! Thanks.


REVIEW – Skinny Molly @ LSBC, Devizes – Saturday 20th August 2022

What A Sell Out

Andy Fawthrop

Seems ages since we were last turning up at the Con Club for Long Street Blues, but last night the new Autumn/ Winter season began, and there we all were again.  And what a way to start, with a cracking US band and a ticket sell-out….

The place was, therefore, obviously packed out. Whilst it might suit the music – hot & sweaty –I think it’s time that the Con Club looked into installing some air-con.  Just like the The Homing’s gig back in June, as part of the Devizes Arts Festival, the room was really stifling and airless.

Nevertheless we had some great entertainment to distract the huge crowd.  First up were Koerie & Andy, a duo new to me, introduced by host Ian Hopkins as recently discovered busking.  As might be expected with such a heritage, they were a little raw and rough around the edges, but very effective and entertaining for all that.  Using guitar, vocals and harmonica, they delivered a string of covers, including “Wild Thing” and “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”  The crowd gave them a good listen and a good welcome, and hopefully we’ll see them again.

But that was as nothing to the roar that went up went Skinny Molly finally hit the stage to start their 75-minute one-set performance.

This band, hailing mostly from Tennessee, is a major force on the US Southern Rock scene.  They were formed by guitarist/vocalist Mike Estes (formerly of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot), original Molly Hatchet guitarist Dave Hlubek (who has since left the band) and drummer Kurt Pietro (who also played drums for Blackfoot).  By 2008, the line-up was solidified with the addition of Blackfoot guitarist/vocalist Jay Johnson and  Grand Ole Opry stalwart bassist Luke Bradshaw.  And this was the line-up featured last night.

Skinny Molly’s mantra is apparently “Never let one fan leave a show disappointed” and they set about trying to fulfil this promise right from the outset, with a string of rock-infused blues and country numbers. There was newer SM material, mixed in with some older Skynard classics, and some covers.  Free’s “Wishing Well” was perhaps a surprise, less so Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road”, but the biggest cheer of the night of course came about an hour in when they launched in to probably their biggest hit “Sweet Home Alabama”.  But there was nothing one-dimensional about their material – we had a good old Southern gumbo of different ingredients, including southern rock, old country, blues, hard rock, and general Americana.

They built up the mood and the atmosphere, and there were soon plenty of folks rocking along and dancing. They kept the inter-song chat to a minimum, instead focusing of packing in as much music as possible, culminating in a standing ovation and well-deserved encore. I don’t think anyone went home disappointed, so I guess they did exactly what they said on the tin.

Future Long Street Blues Club gigs:

Saturday 8th October 202-   Eddie Martin’s Big Blues Band

Friday 14th October 2022  Black Sabbitch (Corn Exchange, Devizes)

Saturday 5th November 2022  Robbie McIntosh Band

Friday 11th November 2022   Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse (Corn Exchange, Devizes)

Saturday 19th November 2022   Hardwicke Circus and The Alex Voysey Trio

Friday 23rd December 2022  Gee Baby I Love You


I Kissed a Demogorgon, and I Liked it! At the Bath Comic & Gaming Con

“I like my coffee on the dark side,” reads the slogan of a Darth Vader embossed travelmug, which my kids got me one father’s day. Much as I might slate commercial merchandising, I’m a sucker if it’s Star Wars related. Though I don’t use the item in question, because ergonomically it’s a poorer design than my exsisting travelmug, which has the advantage of a lower lip, ensuring less spillages.

Attempts to reason the functional qualities of the travelmug outweigh the aesthetic to my daughter were as futile as resisting a Borgg assimilation when she spotted one on a stall at the Bath Comic & Gaming Con on Saturday. Maybe I would learn to adapt to the higher ridge if I used it more often, but as a plethora of adolescents there made reference to my Star Wars t-shirt as “old skool’ I can take a hint, and add something about old dogs and new tricks.

That’s me, a dinosaur

This aside, for my point is, there it was, a travelmug you can buy in any supermarket, on display at a comic con. Just because it has Darth Vader on it doesn’t make it some religiously obsure artifact, and herein my inability to new tricks and changing faces of events in the face of popularity and commercialism. I came away from the convention with mixed opinions and a bag of Funko pops.

The kids had a brilliant time, their first comic con, and my priority is to relish in their enjoyment. If I’m to give my tuppence of this event, that much is paramount. Though you should be aware, as a self publisher of an outrageously rude comix in a previous era, in which comic cons were a lifetime in both punting and making contacts with likeminded lost souls nieve enough to think their photocopied rag of knob jokes would exhilarate them to a contract with Dark Horse, I’m also reflecting from this angle too. And for this much I could potentially come over all Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, and bellow, “worst comic con, ever!”

Grumpy old git who should bugger off to the Upside Down!

For these aren’t the type of comic cons independently organised by true fanboys themselves, rather a commercial enterprise which roams the country staging similar events. And for this to work, I accept, honing in on what will make bods part with their money is the main directive, as opposed to a comic industry insiders business meeting.

Making a comic con more related to movies than comics has to be your first port of call, and organisers UK Comic Con & Gaming Festivals certainly utilised that, though in their defence, these days, so does everyone. Need I succumb to the notion if it’s good enough for Disney it’s good enough for me, or can you excuse my fogie rant?

I’m also nudged by the preconception I’d be mugged off at every available opportunity by halfwits in vapid cosplay, and I’m glad to say this was only partially true. Parking at the Uni, for instance, was claimed to be free for ticketholders, and was, though knowledgeable Bath traffic wardens operate militia, there was no signage to suggest they’d adhered to their promise and had it not been for the kindly advise of the alter-ego of Marvel hero Moon Knight, changing in the carpark, the system would’ve allowed me to unnecessarily pay!

Grateful to Moon Knight, we strode in, safe in the knowledge we’d not succumb to “noobisim” while a superhero was watching over us. I mean modern and retro video-game consoles were free to use and in abundance, there was plenty free activities, even origami, while others, like the chance to bash each other with extended torches in what was deemed a lightsaber combat school affordabley cost; swings and roundabouts.

There stood a couple of known actors, and a chat with the down-to-earth Clive Mantle was great while the kids shopped for merchandise. Further along the mighty hall was bustling with stalls and props for photo opportunities, which were free to pose by. All in all, the sense of being ripped off declined, and I comend the organisers for a fun and enjoyable day.

The intersection of the hall was for truer to comic fanboys, and it was good to chat with Bath’s leading comic shopkeepers American Dream Comics, on Walcot Street, who both enlightened and entertained my Marvel-obsseed daughter while chatting deeper into comics of yore with me. Though if I highly rate them for anything more, it was they had in sealed unit for a snip at £149, the first edition of Marvel UK’s Star Wars comic, that my dad threw out when we moved to Wiltshire. If I only had a suitable transplant patient in tow, I’d have bitten out a major organ for it!

Take him away, rebel scum!

Also through the inner workings, I perchance to meet about three tables flogging small press material. Artists there were not professionals in the comic industry, as often guested at other events, rather fan artists selling their wares independently, and this was great, though if you can have actors you could also get a few Marvel or DC artists sketching too. And there’s my grump, for actual comics it was lacking against a wall of Funko pops and other toys and merchandise; you could’ve been fooled into assuming the UK never had a comic industry, there was no sign of a Beano or Dandy, there was no sign of even contemporary UK comics such as The Phoenix. It would’ve been a better balance to have seen DC Thompson artists like Lew Stringer or Laura Howell doing their thing there.

Calls the event was cynical, and imbalanced toward American adventure and superhero genres, considering the entirety of the ninth art, is a tad unjustified as a complaint to the organisers persay, as this is the new norm, and what’s commercially viable. Like adadting to the higher ridge of the Darth Vader travelmug,
getting over myself perhaps I could, but I would like to have seen a wider spectrum of comics as a whole; of manga or small press, I saw mininal, of French BDs and UK funnies, I saw nought, I did kiss a demogorgon though, and met Lightening McQueen, so all was not lost!

She seemed to enjoy the attention….

This was an enjoyable family day and well organised, and defeated my preconceptions of being ripped off, it was affordable and spritely, and I would go again, should Dad’s wallet live to see another day.


Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 24th – 31st August 2022

We can’t wait until roundup Tuesday, when we usually roundup the weekly roundup, it’s the last big summer blowout bank holiday, so we’re simply too excited and thought you might wanna plan early, so here it is, hold on to your horses… or just let them run wild, I’m not worried, just too excited, did I say I was too excited?!

Repetition is fine, but there’s no links here, too time-consuming, so please us this link to our event calendar, and you can grab details and ticket links from there, but you knew that already, I hope. Oh, did I say, repetition is fine?

All quiet on Wednesday 24th, but if you’re eager to get the ball rolling, 41 Fords play the Kilminton Home Guard Club in Warminster, entry by donation, and don’t forget Wednesday s are the regular acoustic jam night down our trusty Southgate in Devizes, and is always a wonderful night.


Thursday 25th then, and Honey Fest kicks off at the Barge on HoneyStreet, and banging out the whole weekend; I believe there’s a few tickets up for grabs.

Meanwhile, unmissable rock soloist Adam Masterson plays The Tuppenny in Swindon with Jules Hill in support. Bath Forum have The Billy Joel Songbook, and lots of lucky people will be making their way to either Reading Festival or GoatFest; have fun!


Warming up to Friday, the 26th August, when our brilliant Irish folk duo, the Celtic Roots Collective are at the Pelican in Devizes.

Over in the land of chips and ham, there’s an August Bank Holiday Beer & Cider Festival at the Three Crowns, and ska-punkers Operation77 play The Black Horse, Chippenham.

Illingworth takes on triple gigs this weekend, catch them at Flan O’Brian’s in Bath on Friday, where Komedia have a night with The Ministry of Burlesque’s Cabaret; ding dong!

Mod band Peloton plays The Vic, Swindon, and wow, the Cheese & Grain, Frome have Morcheeba, yes, I said Morcheeba; show offs!


Saturday 27th, is the big one. Shall I start it with the….

Editor’s Pick of Week: The Full Tone Festival, The Green, Devizes

Yep, you probably guessed it, it’s time for the hills of Devizes to come alive with the sound of music. It is the Full Tone Festival Weekend. Hurry and get your ticket, and say hi if you see me wandering around like a lost puppy. Said what needed to be said about this corker, let the show begin.

Over in Devizes Market Place from 9am-1pm there’s a Mind, Body & Spirit Market. There’s free live music all day at the Crown Inn, Bishops Cannings, with 12 Bars Later, Plan of Action, and It’s Complicated. Later, 12 Bars Later nip across to the Southgate, Devizes!

And where do I even begin elsewhere? Holt Scarecrow Trail begins, it’s Aldbourne Carnival, a Rod Stewart tribute at The Pewsham, Near Chippenham, there’s a Summer Party at Westbury Cons Club with Wade Merritt and Jay, followed by People Like Us, and the West of England Youth Orchestra perform at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

A debut performance, at the Gloucester Road Conservative Club in Trowbridge for soul band Dimensions, and that’s free entry. Kurt Vile & The Violators at Bath Forum, Apollo Ghosts at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, and in Swindon, the wonderful The Daybreakers are live at The Vic, while The Tin Shack Band play the Woodlands Edge. Oh, and The Swiss Chalet has a Harry’s Heroes fundraiser.


Sunday is where things usually start to calm down, but not this weekend. The 28th sees the second day of Full Tone, Great Cheverall Soap Box Derby and Potterne Festival.

Illingworth play The Churchill Arms in West Lavington today, and a young local band to watch out for, Nothing Rhymes With Orange are in support.

There’s a mini fest at the Talbot in Calne with Six O’clock Circus, People Like Us, Wet Frank, End of Story and others.

LodgeFest aptly at Warminster’s Lodge, an M4 Classic Car & Bike Show in Chippenham, and the Hammervilles have a bank holiday beach party at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Swindon is gearing up for the Shuffle next month, but in the meantime, Shades of Seattle plays the Vic, highly recommended Atari Pilot are at the Castle, and for the kids, there’s always Milkshake live at the Wyvern.


If you’re still standing in Devizes on Monday, 29th August, here’s what to do…. Black Rat Monday, down The British Lion, with the Celtic Roots Collective and a jam to follow. Or Finley & Mark support The Reason at the Three Crowns; nice either way!

From 5pm Illingworth will be at the Waterfront, Pewsey, and the Beverley May Band play The Milk Churn, Melksham. It’s the Chippenham River Festival, there’s a massive line-up for a free music festival across the entire village of Box, it is Box Rocks. The Lost Trades and Dolly Mavies headline a mini-festival at The Lamb Yard in Bradford-on-Avon, and Abba tribute 21st Century ABBA play The Bowl in Town Gardens, Swindon.

I’m sure there’s going to be more added as the week goes by, so keep up-to-date with our event calendar. That’s the weekend forecast to date, though.

Tuesday 30th and Gently Tender play The Royal Oak in Marlborough, the regular Jazz Knights at Swindon’s Royal Oak has the Kevin Figes Quartet, during the day there’s a Farmyard Circus at Queen’s Park, and Russell Brand comes to the Wyvern.

Wednesday 31st, look out for the Wind in the Willows at the Corsham Almshouses, and phew, that’s me done, dusted and ready for a nap; have a great weekend!


Trending….

Waxin’ the Palace; Chatting to the Man Who Convinced Wiltshire Council to Have a Rave!

All the local mainstream are on it like a fly on a turd, and the negativity of keyboard warriors is flowing fast and furious. Who am I to steer off the bandwagon, yet you know we’ll handle the news Wax Palace obtained permission for a “rave festival” to happen near Erlestoke with a slightly different angle……

An angle much less based upon the fact your esteemed editor had a youth some indeterminable time yonder, where he gyrated in muddy fields with eyes like saucers, masticating the shit out of a Wrigley’s Doublemint, and more on the notion, I hope, that while we have a great music scene in these backwaters, there is little to tickle our younger resident’s tastebuds. This then, is great news, surely?

But is raving still a progressive thing, or does it dabble largely in retrospection? And what exactly will this Wax Palace provide in the way of entertainment? Harry, one of the organisers, a man who unbelievably convinced Wiltshire Council, conservative at the best of times, to grant them permission to hold what’s best described, to avoid media confusion, as a “rave festival;” can he sell ice to Eskimos, or what?! In a short chat with him, I suspected he could.

He giggled at the question, “we’d do our best, that’s for sure! It’s been a bit of a task, but we got it through, and they seemed very with it, during the hearing.” Throughout Harry projected himself as level-headed, reliably assured of the achievement of Kaleidoscope, the name of the event.

The first myth from the Gazette’s report to dispel is that these guys are bundling down from Yorkshire to ruin our peaceful community, when Harry explained the company is only registered there, and he lives close to Erlestoke himself. “The group who first run it were students in Leeds,” he explained, “but we’re very much Wiltshire born and bred.” Herewith the reason for bringing it to Devizes.

Promoting this today is neither here nor there, they’ve a solid base and early bird tickets have already sold out for the estimated 800 strong event. “This is our third edition of the festival,” he said with me interrupting about how to define it, “it is very much a festival, but we hope it has the apogee of a rave, though licenced, as the articles have focused on. It started as one night event, next time it was two, now we’ve got the full weekend, and our largest line-up yet.”

To spoil my queries of disambiguation, musically, Kaleidoscope will offer the whole range of rave subgenres, from house and disco to techno to drum & bass; “you name it will be there!” But this only got me pondering the setup, if it would, as legendary pay-raves like Universe’s Tribal Gatherings once attempted, to host each subgenre in a different tent. Because much as this appeased the then evolution of the diversity, it tended to clash into one immense noise when central! “We don’t have genre-split tents,” Harry clarified, “they’re split more-so by their set design. We’ve got three stages, one indoors, another outdoor, in which we’re shaping out an old school bus for the DJ’s, which should be really fun.”

Harry jested jealously at me rapping about raves of yore like Universe, “we missed that golden era, but we very much like to be inspired by the ethos.” This is great, though I’m trying to avoid an Uncle Albert moment where I preach on memory lane, but it does bring to question how niche is the market, does Harry think rave is either coming back, or it never really lost its appeal?

“I think it is coming back, commercially, perhaps it did lose a bit of what it was meant to be. In the last few years, I’ve heard people referring to their club nights as raves. I think the term rave now covers something broader and less political than it did, originally.” Harry hopes it does come back, encouraged to bring back those original values.

Though I’d suggest, rave was apolitical, it wasn’t until government interjected with the Justice Bill post-Castlemorton which both forced it underground and for ravers to think politically. Originally it was solely a celebration of life, and to party, and that really was our only objective. Which neatly covers another misconception; we raved everywhere and anywhere, if it meant standing in a muddy field, or if it meant going clubbing, location was irrelevant, so long as we could blow off steam and dance!

And herein lies my pitch at why I think this is a fantastic addition to our local events, because if you’re the first to complain about this, I sure hope you’re not the same one whinging about acts of anti-social behaviour in youth culture. If Wax Palace can provide a safe haven for young to go and enjoy themselves, it’s surely a positive.

Wiltshire Council were keen to label this a festival rather than a rave, as rave connotes to some to be an illegal, uncontrolled gathering. I say, this is the name of the genre, and doesn’t relate to illegal gatherings at all. After the Justice Bill the scene became anarchistic in frustration to the restrictions, but it never began like this. There was a sense of one big family, a tribal movement, and it was all about smiles. This, I feel is an important point to reduce this common misconception, and something Harry was also keen to express. “We’ve worked really hard to build a real sense of community,” he explained.

Today, of course, the original ravers have come of age, and organisations like Raver Tots have marketed retrospection in the form of taking your kids to a rave, but throughout our chat I got the feeling the ethos of Wax Palace was much more progressive, about introducing “rave; the next generation,” and that’s good to hear. “We like the idea through the way we organise events and our approach will introduce the idea of raving to a market who are only just coming to an age where they’re able to go to clubs. So, it’s nice to think we have the chance in shaping that impression they have. For a lot of people, this could be their first music festival, and for it to be local and described as a rave would be really exciting; exactly what I’d wish I’d have had in my village when I was 18.”

Tickets are here, Kaleidoscope takes place from 2nd-5th September.

Avoid negativity of misconceptions bought about by a bygone era, well organised and safe pay raves have happened since day dot, and providing youth with entertainment is paramount to building bridges; Wax Place, I salute you!


Trending….

Black Uhuru UK Tour Cancelled; The Plight of International Touring Post-Brexit

They can get no time to press,
Because of all the distress that the society leads. What I’m a longing for is some happiness,”

Black Uhuru “Happiness.”

Frome’s Cheese & Grain today annouced the booking of The Counterfeit Beatles in November, which is all fine and dandy, but yesterday it sadly had to notify ticket holders for next month’s appearance of legendary reggae band Black Uhuru that the show had been cancelled.

In fact, after numerous postponements, the entite UK leg of the tour has been axed, due to a backlog in visas. The Cheese & Grain expressed their sorrow, explaining they’ve “been assured that the band and their representatives have tried everything in their power to make this work, but unfortunately there is now no option but to cancel this show.”

Kinda reminded me of my favourite upcoming ska band, Girls Go Ska, from Mexico, proudly posting their European tour dates on Facebook, without a single date on England’s green and pleasent land. I commented, “I wish you could come to England.” And though the South America ska scene developed separately from the retrospective niche of Two-Tone here, the girls are fully aware of our nation’s importance within the roots of international ska, and replied with sad emoji, “so do we.”

Now the tour is reality, all I get is fantastic looking video clips from Germany, of crowds enjoying the pinnacle of contemporary South American ska, when I’ve no hope in hell of ever seeing them live.

Not to moan too much about the divided issue, and as much as I enjoy a Beatles tribute, I have to ponder, is this what Brexit Britain has become? Barricaded in from outside influence, regurgitating archived moments of British achievements in the form of tribute acts, much less, extremely unlikely for upcoming UK artists to export their wares in the same method the flagwaving-idolised achievers of yore once did?

Ironic in considering if we had Brexit in the sixties, we wouldn’t have had The Beatles. Derry and the Seniors were doing well in Hamburg for booking agent, Allan Williams, whilst the young skiffle band on his books, who had recently rebranded from The Quarrymen were paltry amateurs, lost amidst the flooded market of the Merseybeat circuit. So Williams sent the young hopefuls on a similar path, to Hamburg, and what came out the other end was the greatest band ever; every gammon wave your union jack now.

Everything about the Beatles was honed and shaped in Germany, from their performance skills, their association with Brian Epstein, and even the famed hair-do. The ability for UK musicians to tour other countries, particularly in Europe was paramount in shaping pop music, and equally, from Buddy Holly to Kraftwerk, the influence of international acts touring the UK.

I have to tip my hat to Frome’s Cheese and Grain, how such an average sized Somerset town can attract the standard of act usually reserved for cities. On Beatles, the venue has built the kind of reputation whereby Paul McCartney will pitstop for an intimate gig on his way to Glastonbury. But for want of an influx of international artists seems reserved for megastars on the Springsteen level, of which you need a stadium-sized venue, and you’d need to morgage your home for a ticket.

Longleat hosted a Diana Ross concert, and a number of other household names this summer, in the kind of conservative thinktank arrangement which took an average three hundred notes off each punter then told them they couldn’t bring in a folding chair. As if anyone who had amassed that kind of wealth to wantingly throw three hundred quid at one gig, and who would be eager to see a heronie of 55 years past would be of a suitable age to stand like a teenager for four hours; you can bet your bottom dollar a few deckchair hire conpanies rubbed their hands together that night. The young get tetchy when being herded like cattle, I can only imagine the disappointment from their elders.

Live music is big business, I get that, the hospitality industry was bought to it’s knees through lockdown, I get that too, but relaying the deficit onto the punter will not bring a stream of genuine fans, it will only bring an inequality culture of those who can afford to will, those who can’t have to suck it up.

But it’s not just about way to go to whack up the price of a Womad ticket, but more about the missed opportunities for amateur and semi-professional artists to export their talent further afield. What’s the point of extending a reputation internationally online, if you cannot follow it up by appearing live without an unaffordable bill, a financial advisor and a year’s worth of paperwork to fill in just to take a tambourine on a continental flight?

And what do we get in return for this supposed will of the people? An oil rig dragged into Weston-super-Mud and decorated with taxpayer’s much needed banknotes to resemble a pathetic play on words, “See Monster.” Yes, I do see a monster, as I swig from my crown embossed pint margo, pointlessly waving my blue pissport; it’s stranded us on this island with a bunch of self-serving, ignorant bastards.

Best we can do right now, is support the little man, to show our love and support to the burgeoning DIY ethos promoting local live music. This is where fervour remains, in the enthusiasm of imending talent, and pray for a better day when the red tape of
welcoming international acts will be cut.


Drag Me Down are Invincible; Fact!

Ah, hark the beatific resonances of an adolescent choir, in their prime; Swindon’s metal-skater-punk three-piece Drag me Down have a new single out, destined to take no prisoners.….

Released on 26th August (2022) Invincible is fresh loud and proud, if contemporary pop-punk bands like Sum41, just as a for example, are sounding tad commercialised and lite, either/or, Limp Bizkit be too rappy for your palette, this local garage powerhouse packs the punch of metal’s finest hour and plunges the rest of said genre against the ropes.

And they sent it to me for my appraisal, unaware I’m approaching fifty and should be looking over my glasses at them in disgust, complaining about skateboards in the park while sucking on a pipe and adjusting my slippers until the nurse passes me my meds; and I reckon it’s having it.

Its intro is unpredictably electronica, but kicks within ten seconds with a grungy carefree “this is our time” notion, and rolling drums of pop-punk is the hook which confirms it is exactly that, a beguiling up-to-date anthem. If, like me, you were unaware of these guys, this will permanently scar them into your neurons as they go from strength to strength, claiming to have learned “a few new tricks along the way.”

Formed in Swindon, the band have been friends since their pre-teen years and suggest they’ve “gone through every trial a young person could face while growing up in the UK,” yet emerge from the other end as a “no-nonsense unit of friends with only one goal: to put smiles on the faces of everyone who listens to us.” Ah, I can’t give ’em that, sorry, they don’t know they’ve been born!

If there was any truth in what I just said, least they’ve top marks on how to rock.

In true counterculture ethos, they’ve a DIY label, Whatevercords, and have teamed up with The Bottom Line, Hightail, and From Here On Out producer Zac Pritchett to whisk an ever-growing discography. They’ve played Furnace Fest at Swindon’s Level III with the likes of Polar, TRC and our purveyors of noise buddies NervEndings.

I forgo my right to a free bus pass unless it’ll take me to a Drag me Down gig, because based on this single alone, they’ve got every ingredient firmly placed for the lively, youthful denotation you need to be at when it goes off. So, yeah, I’m predicting these kids will go far, and as for pensioner whinges I’ll stop at: if not I want a full enquiry into why not.

Pre-save said ticking-timebomb HERE, and wait for detonation Friday week (26th August.)


Trending…..

Citizen’s Advice’s Plea for Funding From Local Councils as Wiltshire Council Slash Their Budget

Do you take Citizen’s Advice for granted? For many it’s a lifeline, the first port of call for any issues rising from legal, debt, consumer, and housing, yet Wiltshire Council has slashed £100k off its funding, about one-third of their budget. Makes you wonder why they ever dropped their slogan, “where everybody matters,” really, doesn’t it?!

The independent organisation has been rallying local town and parish councils for support. A spokesman from Citizen’s Advice was heard at the Devizes Town Council Committee Meeting on Tuesday 16th August, to plea for financial help.

The trade publication Third Sector states around 60% of Citizens Advice funding comes from government sources, but Citron contends there’s tension between Citizens Advice and the government, because while the charity relies on government funding to survive, it’s most effective as a high-profile critic of government policy. As if the government has any policies worthy of criticism! But cuts like these forces the bureau to seek much more funding from other sources. Locally, they’re approaching major towns and parishes for support.

As well as rising prices, Devizes Town Council explained the spokesperson was keen to point out this was “unfortunate in timing as they anticipated a rash of applications for help when the next raise in energy caps occurs, as well as coping with the other challenges of inflation.”

Councillor Ian Hopkins rightfully criticised the savagery of the cut and the timing, suggesting the town council “were not the authority to whom they should be appealing but, in suggestion a more rational approach, suggested an application in the autumn, prior to budget setting.”

Our local branch is situated in New Park Street, yet serves a wider community across villages and other local towns, so, Councillor Burton’s enquiry if funds would be spent on supporting Devizes people only could not be reassured by the spokesperson. She did however confirm they had received some responses offering various sums.

Councillor Hunter asked whether any other of their services could be redirected back to Wiltshire Council or other agencies. The representative confirmed that Age UK has been supportive but CAB remains the first port of call during which they hope to empower clients to follow up themselves, leaving it unlikely that Wiltshire Council would be impacted.

There was a surge amidst Devizes Town Council of favouring grants which would be kept for local use, but the councillor Hopkins suggested that £1,500 should be given, pending a more formal application for better funds, a proposal that was carried unanimously.

So, well done DTC, you’re officially in my good books (were you ever not, you need ask?!) No, really, I’ve applied some Lynx Africa and I’m coming in for a group hug, asap! Citizens Advise is a sustenance for so many, providing free advice and help is essential even more in this day and age, yet it’s a sad reality of a failing government when Citizen’s Advise needs its own advice on how to fund itself.


Trending….

Wadworth Put Best Paw Forward with Wadwoof Walkies!

Wadworth are raising money for Dogs Trust on International Dog Day with their very first Wadwoof Walkies event!

On Friday August 26th, dogs and their humans are invited to take a stroll starting and ending at the Wadworth Brewery Tap & Shop, in aid of the charity. The UK is currently experiencing a dog welfare crisis following an increase in ‘lockdown dogs’ bought during the pandemic and now being abandoned due to the cost-of-living.

REWARDS FOR THE TAIL-WAGGERS

The first five people to sign-up will receive a special ‘thank you’, a ceramic dog bowl personalised with their pooch’s name by Wadworth’s super-talented sign-writer, Wayne Richings.

Wadworth will also reward every dog that completes the walk with a rosette, as well as some treats and a much-deserved glug of dog beer that’s guaranteed to get tails wagging at the finishing line.

TREATS FOR THE LEAD-HOLDERS

For the humans, there’ll be hand-made pizza, available to buy from The Woodland Pizza Kitchen between 4pm and 8pm, as well as beer and other drinks to wash it down with from the Brewery Tap. Wadworth recommend pre-ordering pizzas before setting off on the walk.

Participants will also get the chance to have a professional photo taken of their dog looking their best with their Wadwoof Walkies rosette. Wadworth will share these with event-goers after the event.

SIGN UP TODAY

Entry costs £10 per person and is payable by card only on the day. £5 from each ticket sale will be donated to Dogs Trust. Sign-up HERE.

The walk starts promptly at 5.30pm and event-goers can choose from a 30-min or 1-hour route.
The route is mainly shaded with few roads to cross.
There will be a water station en-route.
The Woodland Pizza Kitchen will be open between 4pm-8pm and pizzas can be pre-ordered via direct message on their Facebook page.


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 17th-24th August 2022

Ah this is more like it, the English summer we know and love! Tad wet, but here’s what we have to do this week and the last weekend before the big summer blow-out which is the August Bank Holiday.….

Don’t forget, more info and all links for bookings are on our event calendar, where you can also plan ahead, so long as it keeps updating, which I’m trying my best to, honest!

There’s a floral demonstration at Devizes Town Hall on Wednesday 17th August, by the Devizes Flower Club; opens at 7pm, £5.

Parents head for the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon where there’s a messy art session and a singing day ahead.

Manchester’s noughties art rock band Everything Everything play the Cheese & Grain, Frome.


Thursday 18th, and again, kids can visit The Musical Zoo at the wonderful Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon. Three bands at The Beehive, Swindon on Thursday, The Acoustic Buzz 52, Larkham & Hall and Jol Rose. Also, at The Vic the have Monasteries, Creak, Persadian & Chasing Dolls. The Summer Youth Project performance of Legally Blonde is at the Wyvern.


Onto Friday 19th, and it’s the Wine Tasting event at St Mary’s Devizes, previewed here.

If you’re lucky you can still book a fantastic Survival Camp for any young adventurous children who are aged between 10 years old and 12 years old, with the Wild Edge Survival Camp at West Lavington.

Folk duo Fly Yeti Fly are at The Bear Inn, Bradford on Avon, The Beverley May Band at The Kings Arms, Melksham, Hayden Lloyd at Komedia, Bath. @59 play The Wellington in Marlborough.

In Swindon, Judas Rising plays the Vic, while Bobbi Nicholles is at Woodlands Edge.


Saturday 20th, it’s my pick of the week; the Bath Comic & Gaming Festival at Bath Uni. Full of UK based comic artist guests, some film and tv guests and cosplay guests, a dinosaur zone, Stranger Things, Ghostbusters and Star Wars props, and lots of stuff for kids to empty fanboy dad’s wallet! Lord, help me!

Roots and folk at the Southgate Devizes, with Barney Kelly, and the welcome return of Long Street Blues Club with Skinny Molly, I believe is a sell-out. Worth checking though, I might be wrong, as, I sometimes am; I said sometimes!

Dutty Moonshine Big Band play The Barge, HoneyStreet, Emily Barker is at The Pump in Trowbridge, and another successful Pipe & Slippers Rave at Trowbridge Town Hall goes off; I have to see this for myself; dust off the old whistle and white gloves! Oh, and if Sausage & Cider is more your thing, there’s a Day of it at The Brewery Inn, Seend Cleeve.

Shame Live at Lydiard had to cancel, but People Like Us play The Swiss Chalet, Swindon and Click! are at Woodlands Edge.


Sunday afternoon on the 21st August then, has another Fantasy Radio Lark in Hillworth Park, Devizes, though I’ve no idea who’s playing, because they never say. But Chaz Throughgood is at the Southgate.

It’s the August Jam for the exclusive Wiltshire Blues & Soul Club, in their hiding place at Lacock, while the fantastic Sarah C. Ryan Band play a lazy afternoon at Richard Jefferies Museum, Swindon, and Jim Blackmann plays Komedia, Bath.

And that’s your weekend over. On Tuesday 23rd Radio Banska play Jazz Knights at The Royal Oak, Swindon, and at this moment in time I’ve nought else in the week until Thursday’s opening of HoneyFest at the Barge on HoneyStreet.

But it will be bank holiday next weekend, and there’s much to be looking into and planning. We’ll be at The Full Tone Festival on the Green in Devizes, and that one, I promise you, will be awesome, but not the same without you, so get your ticket as soon as possible!

But yeah, same weekend you can find Reading Festival, GoatFest, Potterne Festival, Holt Scarecrow Trail, the Great Cheverall Soap Box Derby, Mini Talbot Fest at The Talbot, Calne, LodgeFest at The Lodge, Warminster, an M4 Classic Car & Bike Show in Chippenham, Chippenham River Festival, a live music festival at the Lamb Yard in Bradford-on-Avon, 21st Century ABBA at The Bowl, Town Gardens, Swindon as well as multitude of smaller gigs at just about every local pub and venue you can mention; and it’s all here on our event calendar, just hope the rain gives it a break!


Trending…..

Really Got Me Now; The Roughcut Rebels Storm the Three Crowns

Prince Akeem of Zamunda, that’s the bugger, least the fictional character played by Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, who walks over a shower of rose petals; that’s the Roughcut Rebels gigging in their hometown right now, but replace the petals with “party!” Yes, they dance over a bed of party, waltzing the crowd with them, and punch above their weight for the mod covers championship belt.….

For a band that know they can switch from the Beatles’, Hard Day’s Night, to Jack Bug’s Lighting Bolt, a local crowd will lay the petals for them. More so, they bring the party, as they saunter through them with a breeze of confidence. Confidence in their younger frontman, Fin, but also in the tightness of the knowledgeable band; it’s one not to be missed, as it was in the Three Crowns last night.

In pub with a McDonald’s-paced drinks service, due to its cashless agenda, there’s a marvellous outside venue completely covered with sparkling canope. The boss here knows his customers as he flicks me through his diary; The Three Crowns pays particular attention to accomplished local live cover acts it knows will bring the party, such as People Like Us, Illingworth, Paradox and, as clearly evident last night, those Roughcut Rebels.

They push the boundaries of eras, spanning in comfort any anthem with a mod tinge, and saunter from sixties to eighties, from Rolling Stones to The Jam, yet slide equally as neatly and timelessly as a Fred Perry shirt into Britpop and into contemporary indie sing-a-longs.

Polishing the evening off with the Stereophonics’ Dakota, it’s a scooter rideout through time, from The Who to Oasis, and everything in between. This equates to a highly entertaining show, akin to a Now, That’s What I Call Mod Music compilation album, but live and with Wiltshire hint; I honour Fin doesn’t attempt a cockney accent when reenacting Phil Daniels’ Parklife monologue, because it’s a little west country thing, and it rocks!

With a extensive gourmet burger type menu, The Three Crowns is a golden nugget on our pub circuit, and Finley and Mark of the band are the next stop musically, playing the bank holiday Monday in support of The Reason.

The Roughcuts can be seen again at The Barge in Seend Cleeve on September 2nd, and appear at the highly anticipated Party For Life fundraiser at Melksham Town FC on the 10th September.


Sour Apple’s Kate Goes Diva at The Pelican

Safe to say, I’m reckoning, we’re now back to full velocity for live music and entertainment in Devizes post-lockdown, and once again, for a small town it’s punching well above its weight for choice.

Rare for me to be out on the tiles on a Friday due to real work commitments, but I’m off the hook and starting my adventure in a pub I also rarely frequent, Wadworth’s The Pelican Inn.

An historic stalwart in the Market Place, The Pelican reliably never changes its spots because it needn’t. It’s that testament to the community-led tavern you’d usually find in villages, housing estates or hidden away in a city alley, but in the centre of our market town. It’s welcomingly local, with a maze of decorative and comfy cubby holes, if you’d favour privacy from the lively communal area.

Kate stands close to the bar, singing along to well-known backing tracks, a practical method that while common and not really my cuppa, is a far, far stretch from Karaoke, with such a powerful and soulful voice at the helm. One half of acoustic duo Sour Apple, Kate can deliver a note crisp as if Alison Moyet came after Celine Dion, and affirmed regulars on the circuit, Sour Apple, onto my must-see hitlist.

Power ballads of era-spanning exceptional divas proved no challenge for Kate, and engaged the crowd to join in.

Friday is live music night at The Pelican, as landlady Sarah explained Saturday is a no-go, preventing a rude awakening Sunday morning to prep the kingpin of The Pelican’s agenda, the popular Sunday roast. With a takeaway option, capped under a tenner and with vegan alternative, the Sunday roast maybe the icing on the cake at the Pelican, but weekday specials make for a tantalising tradtional pub grub menu.

Considering comedy, but revealling their live music lineup up till Christmas, there’s a good variety of worthy local talent at The Pelican. On Karaoke, Confetti Battle night, 3rd September, sees the regular and ever popular Krazee Devil Karaoke, but not before Bran and Mirko’s unmissable Irish-folk duo, The Celtic Roots Collective play the bank holiday weekend, on Friday 26th August.

Kate returns as the aforementioned duo Sour Apple on September 9th, and master of all trades, the amazing Adam Woodhouse, regular support act at Long Street Blues Club, pays the Pelican a vist on 30th September.

Saxy local elders, Funked Up arrive on 14th October, followed by Krazee Devil’s Halloween Karaoke on the spooky 29th, again on Lantern Parade night, 25th November, and Funked Up provide a Christmas party on 25th December.

Though the real beauty for my personal tastes comes on Friday 18th November, when Chippenham duo Blondie & Ska play the Pelly. Part Blondie tribute, part classic Two-Tone covers with a hint of Blondie makeover, it’s orginal, progressivly acomplished, but more importantly, a whopping chunk of fun. Throughout lockdown this wonderful duo kept fans entertained prolifically live streaming, and for that alone, I bloomin’ love ’em!

With offerings as good as this, The Pelican is a welcomed return to the live music circuit, aside it’s cracking menu and cheery hospitality.


Weird, I Find Myself Agreeing With Danny Kruger Over Station Road Carpark Closure!

It’s quite alright, you’ve not entered the Upside Down from Stranger Things, or another theoretical parallel universe. Station Road carpark in Devizes will be closed overnight to cars, effective immediately. MP for Devizes Danny Kruger pushed for this Wiltshire Council order, and in hindsight, I happen to agree with them and wished it had come proir to the terrible incident which spurred the notion….

Wiltshire Council has today (11th August) obtained a Closure Order for the carpark to help prevent anti-social behaviour in the area. It will mean the car park is closed between 6pm and 6am every day for a period of three months, for anyone other than season ticket holders, buses, lorries and coaches.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said “This will be enforceable by the police, who will be regularly patrolling the area to ensure that people are abiding by the Closure Order.” And yes, that’s the same police force recently put into special measures, red in all areas. One cannot help but think about the word “proactive” here, and perhaps regular monitoring of the carpark should’ve been a priority before said terrible incident.

Sadly, if it has to be, and does what they suggest it will do, “help prevent anti-social behaviour” in the area, then I agree. Yet I cannot help but feel they’re putting a plaster on a severed limb, and this will only push activities elsewhere. Proactive policing, engaging with youth, providing facilities they want, and building trust with them is a better way to deal with the situation than bricking them in.

And no one shrugs at the hypocrisy, where an MP takes a stand on youth crime yet backed a criminal Prime Minister. So you may’ve raked back a few popularity points with the constituency after using your political position to voice your relgious beliefs on abortion, Danny K, but to be honest it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, really, now does it?!


You’ve Only Got Until Monday to Sound Your Opinion on the Devizes School Land Sell-off

You’ve only got until Monday to sound your opinion on the Devizes School land sell-off, the consultation ends Monday 15th August. Go give your verbal muscle, here, for all it’s worth.

I’m not well-travelled but I did once go to Barbados, where people live in humble breezeblock shacks yet their schools are immaculate. How this system works on such a small island with its eggs only in tourism and sugarcane baskets is beyond me, when we surrive in a so-called developed nation in which our state education system is flawed and failing.

Education is a service, should be funded by taxation, not a flipping business, yet sad reality is so, Federations like White Horse are running them as if they were a business, and I can only point the finger at the Conservative ethos of Parliament, as the buck clearly stops there. The fact a school needs to sell land to repair the building is a shining example, surely?

So if you’re wondering why I haven’t used Devizine to cast a rant-like opinion on the selling of Devizes School land, it’s because, as an individual issue I’m sitting on the fence. But it’s a windswept, broken fence I’m due to fall from, because the rabbit hole is deeper than if they should, or  shouldn’t, sell off land to housing in order to carry out needed repairs of the school and its infrastructure. It goes as deep to suggest it’s part of a bigger, national disaster that we are sadly, failing our children.

Something which has frustrated me long before this niggly local issue, which as we speak is thrown around for political pointscoring on bias local social media groups, in a Boris Johnson era where nothing is sacred, and nothing is off limits. Let’s not debate, rather open new Facebook groups with hidden agendas, and delete valid opinions because they don’t match ours, while our children suffer from this uncaring and wonky shitstem.

There was even a point in all this which made me contemplate that’s my angle, to join the pathetic parade of keyboard warriors, waffling political propaganda for the sake of saving their beloved party in blind faith. But I thought, no, focus should be on those affected, the children.

By selling off the land The White Horse Federation says they hope to “release a significant amount of capital to reinvest into maintaining and modernising school infrastructure; enhancing school and community sports and performing arts facilities; and working more closely with the local community to support better physical, mental and economic well being,” and for that I cannot argue with, if I could trust the Trust as far as I could throw the Trust, to spend it wisely in favour of the children’s education. Then I’d sigh, suppose if it needs to be done, sadly, it needs to be done, and perhaps the loss of conservation is the unfortunate price to pay. It is, after all, a reality of any building project. But hey Joe, did you even know there was a conservation issue? Were residents actually consulted in the expected manner?

It’s come to our attention, once your only chance to be heard runs out on Monday, meetings will be run behind closed doors. It’s suggested there’s definite transparency in this consultation, the Trust accused of explicitly stating at a resident’s meeting they had no plans to sell, when evidently they did.

The White Horse Federation also faces accusations that appropriate organisations and councils have been ill-informed and unable to comment on the website. Residents of Pans Lane, Festival Close and Edward Rd, say they got no letters, and only residents of Nursteed Rd did. With Devizes Town Councillors also saying they’ve not been informed about the conservation issue, it seems the consoltation is not as public as it should be.

No reference has been made by The White Horse Federation to loss of conservation, though we’ve suggestions the matured woodland near the nursery on the Leisure Centre road, which they plan to flatten for cricket nets and softball is home to foxes, deer and badgers.

We sacrifice our town’s green spaces for extended carparking, disturb an established wildlife habitat, possibly for astroturf, and while considering the need for improvements to the school building to better aid the pupil’s education, are these really necessary?

I, for one, am still shaking my head, and would suggest townsfolk require to be better informed. White Horse Federation need to extend this deadline, and invite further public consultation.

Here we have a Federation-run school which reprimanded and punished pupils, by including time spent off self-isolating due to a positive Covid result on their attendance records, when they were only obeying the law. When questioned the headteacher at the time pushed the responsibility onto the Education department, and dared me to contact MP Danny Kruger with a laughing emoji, suggesting I wouldn’t get a response.

Though the last laugh was on them, as Danny knows better than to not respond to me, he only threw the butt back by suggesting the Education Department had no such ruling, I find myself forced to wash hands on the issue. Pushed from pillar to post, I can’t figure out who to believe, and I’m aghast I’m possibly having to take the word of a Tory MP over my own local school! Now, I ask you, does this sound like the type of organisation who has the best interests of the children’s education and wellbeing at heart? There’s butterflies in my stomach, that I’d rather trust Captain Birdseye, because his captain’s table doesn’t sound quite so fishy!


Weelky Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 11th-16th August

The heat is on, as Glen Frey once said. Whatever did happen to Glen? You don’t have to answer that, we’re here to find out what’s going on in the wonderful wilds of Wiltshire, not to discuss the heroes of eghities power-pop.

Thursday 11th, then, and James Kirkby plays Chapel Arts in Bath, ans Lone Bear is at The Beehive, Swindon.

School still out, and Aston Court have the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, on Friday 12th. Something on my bucket list, a hot air balloon, just so you know.

There’s a very interesting Lego stop-frame animation workshop at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, also on Friday, and it’s got later dates available should you not get in on Friday.

In Devizes those ever-popular mod covers band, The Roughcut Rebels play The Three Crowns, up against Peppa Pig in Hillworth Park, they are! Not sure about you, but I know which one I’d prefer to visit…. Roughcut Rebels, without doubt, need to be jumping in more muddy puddles, for point of reference, guys!!

Update, due to hot weather, Peppa Pig has been postponed until Monday, to prevent the event turning into an upsetting hog roast!

For more live music in Devizes, try a night of power and soul, with Kate at the Pelican.

The Reason do their thing at the Green Dragon in Market Lavington, and great to see Illingworth appearing at the Barge on Honeystreet; both highly come recommended from us here at Devizine.

Libre Stone play Komedia in Bath, and if you’re down that way, check out an earlier session from Devizine’s favourite singer-songwriter school teacher, N/SH in the bar.

And find a triple punk bill at The Vic, Swindon, with Riot City Radio, Street Outlaws & Two Sick Monkeys.

Saturday 13th, and there’s a soy candle workshop at Chippenham Museum, and The Trowbridge Weaver’s Market at the Town Hall.

Always one of the best village fetes around these parts, Seend Fete on the green Saturday 13th.

The Duskers play the Southgate, Devizes, and there’s the Unlock Reset festival #2 at the Consti Club in Chippenham.

Open Mic at 23 Bath Street, Frome, and The Dung Beatles play Chapel Arts, Bath.

Not a great deal listed this Saturday, to be honest, all eyes on Swindon, where my Editor’s Choice this week is Swindon Pride.

Arrive at H&M in Swindon Centre for 11, as the march starts at 11:30am.

We also wish Darren Simons all the best, as he stands down from The Rolleston and Level III, to concentrate efforts more The Vic. That said, you know it’s going to go off at both venues on Saturday, as Level III presents The Chaos Brothers, and there’s another loud and proud triple bill at the Vic, with Here Come the Crows, NervEndings & Something Underneath.

The Woodlands Edge in another venue worth venturing out to, Swindon direction, and Mark Colton will be entertaining there, with Ska , Punk , New Wave covers.

On Sunday 14th August, Fantasy Radio are back in Hillworth Park, 2-5pm. The lowdown on this is, despite me having a moan last week about not announcing who was booked, meaning I missed Phil Cooper play, because I wasn’t informed, I’m glad to have wandered through Hillworth, on my way to the Gate, and overhear them say another third of the Lost Trades, Jamie R Hawkins is playing this Sunday. Even if Fantasy want to keep these things quiet, for whatever reasoning, I believe it’s important for the artists and visitors to know, so I’m telling you now!

And breath; Luke De-Sciscio plays Komedia, Bath on Sunday too.

Monday 15th, and it’s the postponed arrival of Peppa Pig at Hillworth Park, Devizes, and Rock the Tots Summer Party at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon. They have a Name that Bunting session on, on Tuesday, a singing day and Fidgety Feet will br there too, with a children’s play, The Little Tin Soldier.

The new season on Jazz Knights starts on Tuesday, and they have The Alan Barnes Quartet, at their usual venue, The Royal Oak, Swindon.

And that’s your blooming lot! That said, our event calendar is forever being updated, at least when I’m not chained to the sink by Mrs Devizine, doing the washing up, picking my nose or asleep, probably dreaming about being chained to the sink by Mrs Devizine, or picking my nose.

Oh yeah, and, while we’re here; you got your ticket for The Full-Tone Festival yet? Get a jog on if not, it’s probably going to be last great summer blow-out in Devizes this year.

Have a great weekend ahead, apply sunscreen, and if we missed your event, we apologise, but ask yourself this; did you tell us about it? Did you? Really?!

It’s free to get listed here, we’re in it for the love, and cake, and maybe for the love of cake too, so either message us or don’t moan if I missed it!


Jon Amor in Residency – August 7th 2022 – The Southgate Inn

By Ian Diddams

After eight months of being other engaged on the first Sunday of each month, with run throughs of self-authored radio plays, Rugby weekends to Edinburgh, and rehearsals for Pirates of Penzance and Macbeth, I finally had a spare slot to come and see Jon Amor in residency at The Southgate Inn, Devizes.

Given this was Jon’s EIGHTH appearance this year at the venue it’s a somewhat daunting task to review him following in the footsteps of Messrs Worrow and Fawthrop .. but here I am in an attempt to not regurgitate the same old cliches and fawning sycophancy.

Errr… ummm… hmmm… ahhh…
So much for that attempt then! So leaving that aside …