Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 2nd- 8th May 2023

Whoa, decided today, Thursday, I’d have to start planning this one immediately, because there’s soooo much going on, and all, or mostly all, because of that King bloke, who I just thought had a pop hit in 1984 with “Love & Pride,” but apparently it’s a smidgen more complex than that, the guy is royalty or something. So, grab your celebratory mug, wrap it around your bunting, and let’s have it out now…..

Firstly, I must interject and explain; our article highlighting coronation-related events  received criticism from anti-royalist keyboard warriors who either didn’t digest if bothered at all to read the article, just jumped to conclusions, they did. If you think for one second I’d support a defective archaic institution which uses tax-payer’s money to bail-out nonce family members then you don’t know me at all. I do, however, despite being as anti-royalist as the next anti-royalist, support the Coronation for all the local entertainers and small businesses which will benefit from getting bookings, only a couple of short years after having no revenue at all. So, wind your neck in, and I hope that’s cleared that up!

There’s plenty of stuff to do this coming week, if you want flag-waving or not, so let’s drop the subject and get on with listing them. Don’t forget, all links and info can be found on our event guide, and updates through the week will be added, so keep abreast, and up-to-date; this article is not conclusive.

Ongoing from Monday 1st to 7th May, is the Swindon Festival of Literature; lots happening there worth checking out.

Opening night for Zog at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, on Tuesday 2nd, and running until Thursday 4th, family entertainment based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Wednesday 3rd, is the regular Acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes.

Seeds of Memories is a wistful and uplifting show packed to the brim with puppetry and poetry. It offers a gentle exploration of losing a loved one and dealing with grief through the magic of the memories they leave behind, and it’s at the Rondo Theatre, Bath.

Thursday 4th: Sees Derailer & Dangermind at The Vic, Swindon, the Hothouse Flowers at The Cheese & Grain, Frome, and some raw, open and honest but most importantly…funny comedy at the Rondo Theatre, Bath with Richard Hardisty’s Silly Boy.

Friday 5th: and King Charles Coronation kicks off, with a school art exhibition at St Peters Marlborough, events at Hilperton Village Hall, and the Junkyard Dogs are in Bromham.

The Blackheart Orchestra are at the Pump in Trowbridge, Sack Sabbath tribute at The Vic, Swindon. A homecoming for Will Lawton & The Alchemists at Malmesbury Town Hall. Six O’clock Circus at The Three Crowns, Devizes.

Rock For Heroes at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, and an extra show for John Kearns’ The Varnishing Days at Rondo Theatre, Bath.

Saturday 6th: Wiltshire Farmers’ Market in Devizes.

King Charles Coronation continues, you’ll find live music from 4pm at The Crown, Bishops Cannings with White Horses, Tom Davis & The Bluebirds, and Plan of Action, other events include Urchfont, Picnic in the Park at King George’s Playing Fields in Melksham, Coronation Live Screening at John Coles Park, Chippenham, at Foxham Reading Room, Seend Village Community Centre, The Parade Cinema in Marlborough, The Cooper’s Arms Pewsey have a great music programme, in Westbury Be Like Will are at The Players, and Westbury Cons Club has a party too. Picnic in the Park at The Rec in Calne from 10am-9pm, looks amazing, Coronation Celebrations at Devizes Market Place from 10:30-4pm.

Away from all that, find the Leon Daye Band at The Southgate, Devizes, and Kyla Brox Band at Long Street Blues Club; it’s all too royal with cheese for me, so yeah, Kyla Brox, Long Street you got my Editor’s Pick of the Week, hands down!

Acoustic punk band, Abdoujaparov of ex-Carter USM guitarist Les Carter headline the Pump, Trowbridge, with support from former Browfort frontwoman, Claire Kearley, and “Song for Trowbridge” hero Gavin Osborn.

Rammlied at The Vic, Swindon, Sonic Alert at the Queens Tap, Homer at The Sun in Coate, Rosie Holt’s Woman’s Hour at The Wyvern Theatre.

Jah Wobble’s Invaders of the Heart take the Cheese & Grain, Frome, nice.

Sunday 7th: King Charles Coronation celebrations at Ogbourne St George Primary school, Ludgershall, All Cannings with Alfred’s Tower, Rowde with People Like Us, Parade House Trowbridge, and Spring in the Park at Westbury. Devizes Town Band have a coronation concert at the Corn Exchange, called Animal Magic.

Unmissable monthly jaunt for Jon Amor & Guests at The Southgate, Devizes. Phil Samuel’s The George Michael Experience is at the Bridge Inn, Horton, Devizes.

Open Mic night at the Barge on Honey Street.

The King’s Reggae at The Castle & Ball, Marlborough, with Razah-I Fi; ding!

Courting Ghosts & Becky Lawrence are at The Stallards Inn, Trowbridge.

Sour Apple at The Kings Arms, Amesbury.

Blues Jam at The Vic, Swindon.

Magpie Market at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Monday 8th: King Charles Coronation at The Crown in Bishops Cannings with Illingworth, also a Produce Show at The Village Hall.

By the time you read this I’m predicting it a sell-out, but worth checking, opening night for The Railway Children The Wharf Theatre, Devizes, running until 13th May.

Tuesday 9th: Seven Drunken Nights at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.

And that’s your lot, enough for you to do?! Here’s to the king, let us hope his reign is long and healthy, even if only so I don’t have to type all that for one weekend again for a while!!


Deadlight Dance: Innocent Beginnings

Marlborough’s darkwave-goth duo, Deadlight Dance push their boundaries to new limits with their second single, Innocent Beginnings this week, and it’s a corker of goth…

Nothing Rhymes With Orange have Butterflies

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Song of the Week: Canute’s Plastic Army

Swindon’s acoustic Celtic folk duo Canute’s Plastic Army played the Southgate in Devizes last Saturday; though firmly on my never-ending must-see-list, even just the name…

Female of the Species Announce 2023 Date!

For eight years on the trot, minus the lockdown year no one needs reminding of, local all-female supergroup, The Female of the Species have performed…

Waiting for Godot @ The Mission Theatre

By Ian Diddams Images by Playing Up Theatre Company Samuel Beckett’s existential work is performed in the round this week in Bath’s Mission Theatre, by…


Chippenham’s Forbidden Carnival Gallery

Next week Chippenham’s finest alternative artist Si Griffiths sees his hard work paid off as he opens his gallery at 64a Market Place. The Forbidden Carnival studio and gallery will be something the like Chippenham has never seen, except of course when Si has previously exhibited with friends at the Yelde Hall with an annual show of alternative art. Certain that The Forbidden Carnival will be in a similar vein on a permanent basis, I caught up with Si for a quick chat prior to the opening evening on the 5th May…..

With a penchant for the unusual; clowns and carny lifestyle, surrealist pop art, demons and underground comix of yore, Si’s work is exemplary for the bizarre and unique. Recently he took part in Swindon’s inaugural street art festival, Swindon Paint Fest, and the influence of urban graffiti seems to also be an upcoming theme in his work. 

From the Alternative Art Shows of Si, Sally, Clifton and Mike at the Yelde Hall, Chippenham

 But the grand opening will see a global collection of similarly inspired artists’ work as well. “Yeah,” Si laughed as I asked him how it was going, “dealing with a bunch of artists is like herding cats to be honest! But we should be ready to go for it!”

Grand opening is on Friday 5th May from 6:30-9pm, and presents “Hail the Curious,” an inaugural exhibition featuring a rumbustious ensemble of local, national and international artists, and I know Si well enough by now to know he won’t skip on rumbustiousness or more importantly, providing a trailblazing sneak at the peculiar of offbeat counterculture art, be it eldritch or quirky.

But after the show, I was curious about the gallery’s opening times, “hereafter the show,” he explained, “it will be open Saturdays and Sundays, 10-3pm, and also by appointment.” But he was flexible on times being his studio is based there too, “we’re still talking about opening times,” Si mentioned the possibility of having staff. So, for the foreseeable future those are the times to visit, or book a visit from the website, and it will be well worth it; I wondered if Chippenham was ready!

Si expressed his delight at said ensemble, works from artists worldwide from northern England to the States, he mentioned shows he regularly exhibits in the US as networking, and an annual holiday combined, but Chippenham?! Does Chippenham know what’s going to hit it?!

I supposed, to do such a gallery in an area considered quirky and arty, say place this gallery in the Lanes of Brighton, it might meld and be lost amidst similar surroundings, whereas what we have here for Chippenham is something wholly unique. “Yeah,” Si agreed, “for sure, if you go anywhere where it’s established, you just become one of the crowd, whereas you’re switched out here, and I’m only doing this for me, because it’s a fifteen year dream realised.”

Though Si shrugged and I felt he didn’t want the gallery to rule his life, finding the time to continue painting is paramount to him, rather than being a fulltime gallery owner. In this he provides the clue, Si is a creative foremost, opening this gallery seconds to his labour of love, which connotes, this motivated by the passion of an artist, not the profiteering of a dealer.

I wondered this; if his studio is there and visitors pop in while at work painting, one would have to pause their inspirational moment to welcome them, and often with the creative mind in full flight it’s difficult to pull away from it and then return at a later moment. But that’s the game, finding the balance between creativity, and promoting your work and others you’ve networked. He reasoned with this and spoke of getting some help with the day-to-day running of the gallery, “I’m just opening it, it’s causing a stir already, and we’re going to see what happens.”

As is commonplace with the creative mind, to get butterflies upon venturing into something like this, though any fears Si might have suggested now about the certainty of The Forbidden Carnival is down to nerves, and this is will be a fantastic and unique place to visit, shoving a twig in the bicycle spokes of formalist arts in Wiltshire.

With dark artists such as Montague Tott and Holly Aragon, combined with the feminine Litchensteinesque of Sarah Christie and Si’s own penchant for those mysterious clowns in odd circumstances, this will be the offbeat, circus-fashioned feast your eyes will love for, forevermore!

Check out the website HERE, for more info.


Carmela’s Wonder Wheels Challenge

Cyclists of all abilities are invited to ride with our inspirational fundraiser, Carmela Chillery-Watson on their very own Wonder Wheels Cycling Challenge 100km around Wiltshire….Carmela,…

Kyla Brox; Throw Away your Blues

By Ben Niamor  Long Street Blues Clubs’ offering for the coronation weekend.. Kyla Brox….. The bunting is still up for those keen to celebrate, personally…

Helen’s Poem on BBC Upload

A quick one from me today, offering our congratulations to our new writer, Helen Edwards from Devizes, who read out her poem “Motherhood,” on BBC…

Song of the Week: Snazzback

Wednesday, song of the week time, and it’s some smooth jazz from Bristol’s finest purveyors of looping rhythms and upside down chickens, Snazzback. Stokes Croft…

Carsick Pump It!

By Ben Niamor (with Devizine edits)

This evening I’ve been reminded of a different feeling, something missing in recent years; noisy, energetic, bordering madness…..

Youthful bands with something to say, a truly incredible gig. Sheer Music Presents Carsick at Trowbridge’s Pump, with Devizes own Nothing rhymes with Orange, and first out Meg, from Trowbridge.

Meg has a great voice and some great original songs. NRWO are a great, bouncy, mosh-friendly, superb band with huge potential for a wider audience.

And Salisbury’s Carsick – holy shit, good band! They reminded me of seeing new wave punk, or laterally The Computers. Clearly the whole assembled crowd of all ages felt the same, a resonance, an energy, a way to make people feel alive.

Instant fan, incredible…

It’s been too long since I’ve seen anyone stand on a balcony, or the drum kit, since I saw crowd surfing or saw so many people having fun in this way.

Pump promoter Kieran J Moore continues to impress and influence me, with bands but also the incredible support he offers a scene that evolves. Nights like this makes me proud to know him. 

I have been told by record store owners, reviewers, many people I needed to see these bands and somehow I’ve landed on my feet and seen both together. Thank you all of you, amazing gig and won’t be the last time I see any of you.

Kieran said of the gig, “it’s single handedly more impressive, valuable and important when a band can come to a rural backwater town and blow up a scene, show and venue. Last night, once again, we showed that you don’t need to leave Trowbridge to have the time of your life.”

“Three young, fresh new artists played The Village Pump, and hundred people witnessed something you cannot fake, or throw money at to create. We saw something real, genuine, pure and incredible. It was that simple.”

The Devizine editor, gutted for being unable to make this one(!) wishes to extend this by congratulating all at this fantastic grassroots venue on our doorstep. The Pump continues going from strength-to-strength, last week the subject of a BBC Points West filming, highlighting hostess and trainee sound engineer Megan, as part of her work via The Prince’s Trust. The filming will be broadcast this Thursday 4th May. On our maiden voyage to the Pump, Megan made the perfect host, and her enthusiasm for this opportunity spoke volumes.

We continue to ensure all forthcoming gigs at the Pump are listed on our event calendar, and a direct link to their website is HERE.

Devizes Gearing Up For Street Festival

Less than a month away now until the best day out in Devizes, our International Street Festival; who’s overexcited, who wants to know what’s happening there, and who just wants to get bladdered?! Previous DOCA artistic director Loz Samuals set the bar pretty high, the new DOCA team have a lot to live up to, and I know they’ve been hard at work to get this show on the road, or better, on the Green and in the Market Place!

Dates, before I waffle, is Saturday 27th May, which will take place on the Green, and Sunday 28th at the Market Place, if you’re new or travelling through, this is our mardi gras, Devizes style crop-over and it’s all free! Details of the many acts coming to our town can be found on the DOCA website HERE, I’ve had a browse and I must say it’s just as ever before, mighty impressive and inviting.

Some highlights of this mega meld of international street theatre, music, circus, arts, dance, puppetry, comedy, workshops, environmental talks, food, drink and crafts market, and of course bars, this year is the thirty foot Willow Sanctuary on the Green, designed by artist Sarah Jane and built by the people of Devizes, so you can guarantee it will be as strong as a horse! This temporary event space will be used throughout the whole festival, for acoustic music, a series of environmental talks and a space to relax and reflect; in my era’s slang call a spade a spade, it’s a chill-out space!

But the beauty here is it’s a 100% recyclable chill out zone, and after the event the willow will be, and DOCA invites anyone to take some home for their own gardens and allotments. Really though? I envision this and it tickles me pink to think of those who usually have difficulty navigating themselves home; view carrying a hoard of willow over your shoulder as a challenge! The kind of It’s a Knockout finale which might yet be the icing on the cake!

Or perhaps leave the circus acts to the professionals, DOCA certainly have them in abundance this year, as ever, but it doesn’t end there, you could be flying the trapeze yourself with Above and Beyond, who as well as performing both days will be providing free lessons; here, hold my jesters hat and Black Rat!

Another unique most brilliant concept is The Actual Reality Arcade in which video-games will be interpreted into life sized interactive activities, so you could be shooting space invaders, dodging barrels like Mario, building Tetris walls, and running from ghosts like Pac-Man; are DOCA trying to tell us they intend to encourage gamers to divert their eyes from their consoles and interact with reality? This I have to see!!

With a socially charged exciting reggae-ish voyage laced with messages of peace, love & unity, we see live music from Mischa & His Merry Men, and global underground Balkan reggae and ska from The Cabarats. An award-winning UK folk duo, called Good Habits who seemed none too fussed to be stranded in New Zealand during the pandemic, where they  forged their style, and are bringing it back for us. There’s also the protocol brassy goodness with Tuba Libres. But one thing not on their program which concerns me, and one which I urge you to help me with here, is Devizine’s suggestion for a local upcoming band to be featured on the main stage.

I’m so glad DOCA have taken heed of this, this year. Amidst this wonderful array of international performances, which I truly welcome, for while I wouldn’t want this event to turn insular and simply run with our standard circuit, I do believe some space should be made available on the roster to also highlight some of the talent we have at home. Is it just me, just an age thing?! I genuinely welcome your feedback on this, as I push it to DOCA every year as I believe it is important, and I intend to continue to do so. Hopefully our suggestion for the one local upcoming band who I think deserves to be up on the main stage will become an annual occurrence.

Nothing Rhymes With Orange Image by Gail Foster

So, your help is needed, as we presented Nothing Rhymes With Orange to DOCA and they stand to play at 1pm on the Sunday in the Market Place, despite unfortunately not being listed on the DOCA website. I really don’t know the reason for this, but whatever it is, I need you, good people of Devizes, the followers of Devizine, and the fanbase of Nothing Rhymes With Orange to gather en masse at the Market Place at 1pm, and really show DOCA the worth of introducing this fantastic bunch of local youngsters, and the idea we support local live music. This will not only prove to be a fantastic set by the band, but hallmark a new era whereby upcoming local bands have the opportunity to play on the main stage at our Street Festival.

Okay, said my piece, must jog on, but yeah, DOCA, it looks fantastic yet again, a mahoosive well done from me. From a man and a woman hanging from rusty steel springs to a giant Octopus atop of a tricycle, and from a theatre full of theatrical surprises appearing from under the petticoats of an enormous women’s skirts to the weaving and flowing patterns of traditional Welsh folk-dancing, combined with the pulsating energy of queer nightlife, is erm, not something you see everyday in Devizes Market Place, usually just the 49 bus pulling in and the odd market stall selling ham! 


Devizes Town Council Welcomes New Councillor

Since the recent byelection for Devizes East, Guardian Vanessa Tanner was welcomed to The Town Council this month; Guardians of the Galaxy ensemble, or, maybe…

Carsick Pump It!

By Ben Niamor (with Devizine edits) This evening I’ve been reminded of a different feeling, something missing in recent years; noisy, energetic, bordering madness….. Youthful…

Bournemouth Writing Festival 2023

A festival goer’s perspective Helen Edwards  A first. A first for Bournemouth and a first for me.  The event, brain (and heart) child of Ildiko…

The Vintage Bazaar is back in Devizes!

On Saturday 24th June from 9.00am to 2pm, its regular home The Corn Exchange in Devizes, Wiltshire will once again be filled to the brim…

Girls Like That: Wharf Youth Theatre Group in Bold Reality-Driven Drama

As part of our ongoing series exploring youths in our area doing good, to backwash this current trend by local media to sensationalise only the wayward minority for clickbait, I wanted to draw your attention to the final performance on the summer season programme at the fabulous Wharf Theatre in Devizes, “Girls Like That.”

Under the direction of Lou Cox, who is finishing her masters degree in Theatre from Guildford School of Acting, graduated Bath Spa University with a BA(Hons) in performing arts and has a ACTL teaching diploma from Trinity College London, this is a performance by the Youth Wharf Theatre’s senior acting company of teenagers aged between ten and fourteen.

What I think is really great about this is they don’t mention the Youth Theatre element on their website, and it stands as Wharf Theatre production as much as any other. Nothing is condescending here because this is not the sort of play you might be expecting. Speaking to Lou, she joked, “they could’ve done James & The Giant Peach, or something like that, but we wanted something they could relate to!”

Girls Like That is written by Canadian-British playwright Evan Placey and was named Best Play for Young Audiences at the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards 2015. A phenomenal, contemporary play, depicting the social pressures, digital impact, and gender double standards; I’ve read this and it is intelligently gritty, reality-driven stuff. Exploring the pressures on young people today in the wake of advancing technology, the synopsis being protagonist, Scarlett, finds her naked photograph going viral and becomes the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons. But while rumours run wild and everyone forms an opinion, Scarlett just stays silent. 

You can also help the youth group by voting for this performance at this TicketSource Community Event. Please vote HERE.

The Youth programme at the Wharf has been running for just under two years now, this play will really show its worth, giving young people in our area something to inspire them, something they can relate to, as this is not so uncommon today, as well as a stark warning to take care when online. It is running from July 20th to 22nd, tickets are just £10-14, available now. “The girls in the group have been working really hard towards this,” Lou explained.

A freelance drama teacher at various schools in the area and a LAMDA examiner, Lou Cox has recently started exciting projects with Banardos adoption agency, using drama as a training tool for adoptive parents and a refugee charity in Swindon. She is notable for singing professionally at Glastonbury festival and stand-up comedy, and should you want a taste of the latter, you can find her one-woman not for the faint-hearted self-penned and performed show, “Having a Baby and the S**t They Don’t Tell You,” at The Wharf on May 26th and 27th.

This comedic and brutally honest show takes the audience on an emotional and, at times, highly entertaining rollercoaster. From morning sickness to hypno-birthing classes to labour, you won’t find this stuff in the pregnancy books! No holds barred; get ready for a whirlwind of witty anecdotes and graphic storytelling with an ending no mother could ever imagine…. (editor’s note: of course, none of this is as bad as man-flu!)


Devizes Gearing Up For Street Festival

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Age of the Liar; The Burner Band

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Song of the Week: Ålesund

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Across the Water with Paul Lappin

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King Alfred’s Tower Charity Abseil

This summer SOS Africa will host a 160ft charity abseil fundraising event from King Alfred’s Tower at Stourhead in celebration of the organisation’s 20th birthday! Taking place…

Bournemouth Writing Festival 2023

A festival goer’s perspective

Helen Edwards 

A first. A first for Bournemouth and a first for me.  The event, brain (and heart) child of Ildiko SpinFisher and Dominic Wong ran from last Friday 21st April to Sunday 23rd April (aptly Shakespeare’s birthday)….

Amongst the team of organisers was Anna Farthing who used her prior experience, of promoting Creative Arts across NHS trusts’ in the South West of England, to help collaborate and coordinate writers, illustrators, editors, agents, academics, volunteers (and many more) to put on the festival.  Anna expertly compèred and facilitated the talks, workshops and panels running at the Palace Court Theatre (PCT) – the main site – with her professional and warm delivery whilst wearing what became her trademark bright blue Greatest-Showman-esque blazer.  She, to me, became synonymous with the festival.

I arrived at the event with no expectation other than the knowledge that I was going to have a wonderful time away from the responsibilities and roles of home.  Thank you Bournemouth Writing Festival for putting on your inaugural event the day after my birthday. By choosing this date you gave me permission to allow myself to shed my mum-ing, wife-ing and life-ing skin to inhabit a new identity for three days. I.e. to ditch the homestead and have a mini break. On. My. Own. And by choosing this date I am now left with a creative fizz deep inside that feels sustainable. With a belief that one day I too may be able to call myself ‘a writer’. 

Navigating the golden triangle of the main venues (the PCT, the Avenue and ThisWorkspace) with my head in Google Maps, I was transported back to university days.  I was ready and eager to learn.  The fees to attend were extremely low (much less than other, comparable events) yet the line up was first class. I had FOMO before I even booked with clashes between talks, which meant I couldn’t get enough of the sessions on offer. Therefore I found myself on a tight schedule to get around the 16 events that I did attend (and eat)…(and sleep).  Constantly weighing up the opportunity cost of going to one talk over another was my overriding festival dilemma. A bit like that scrambling feeling at Glastonbury whilst power wading from stage-to-tent-to-stage in a heightened state of excitement and creeping exhaustion. 

I can only talk in detail of what I went to at the festival and for that reason I won’t.  It wouldn’t be fair to all those speakers I missed.  There were c.70 events in total.  However I will shout out a few.  Sue Cheung author of ‘Chinglish’, thank you for your energised, riveting and humorous talk and for giving me your dog-eared copy of ‘Chinglish’ afterwards because I couldn’t be a**ed to walk across town to pick up a copy.  That was above and beyond.  Maxine Gee, your enthusiasm and positivity about A.I. and using it as a tool to create bigger and better was inspiring. Jeannie Duncanson and Diane Hull, what an inclusive and interactive workshop on children’s book writing – your sparkly eyes revealed the joy your chosen profession brings you (and made me want a bit of the same please ;). Tim Clague and Danny Stack, the screenwriting collaborators, spoke my language – I loved how straight talking and commercially minded both were. I only went to this talk because I thought ‘why not?’ and I left thinking ‘yeah, I want some of that too!’.

How generous all the speakers and panelist’s were to share so many of their tips with us all. A true abundance mentality pervaded. Non-existent was my previous (albeit limited) experience of the pomposity and condescension that can come from some established writers/academics.  You have refreshed my view of the industry (and made me want to disrupt some areas too).  I’m honestly not sure if an MA or an Undergrad degree would have given us as much in three months, or even a year, as we had in three days.  Except the actual writing bit of course! Pah, that’ll come right?!

The festival has given me a dip-dive insight into many things writing. From novels to memoirs, screenwriting to kids books media, marketing, publishing and poetry and a fantastic exploration into artificial intelligence, plus all the stuff I missed.  It was all there. I am still trying to slow my mind down and meditate my heart post the event.  A creative fizz is a lovely feeling but if it’s going to stay it will have to be of the gentler Berocca varietal rather than a Lush bath bomb explosion.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the additional festival highlights:
Obsidian, local creative pub/events venue, for making a pop-up refreshments café in the PCT with always a smile and a chat at the breaks.

The volunteers at the event who were brilliant. And who all had a passion for writing with often impressive experience.

The other festival-goers, my peers, who were varied, interesting, international (from Peru-to-Iran-to Oz), collaborative and friendly.  I’m sure a lot of fledgling and future connections have been made. 

Sitting by the blue-skied beach on the Sunday evening as the festival drew to a close I reflected.  But before that I considered (for perhaps a beat too long) whether I should do a ‘Shirley Valentine’ to prolong the amazing escapism I’d been afforded over the weekend. I feel as though I’ve had a holiday. An exciting, exhausting, mind altering and fully immersive trip – like skiing on acid.  And now I’m on the comedown. Now I actually need to write!

I will be back in 2024 and predict the audiences to swell off the back of this year’s success.  Thank you Bournemouth Writing Festival and the amazing team of volunteers. 

I left to journey back to Wiltshire in my ancient car with an entirely new skin in place. One that whispered: ‘I am a writer, I am a writer, I am a writer’ as I bumped over Salisbury plain.


Thirty Years in the Dreadzone

Dreadzone, the Phoenix rising from the ashes of Big Audio Dynamite’s success, when drummer Greg Roberts and keyboardist Dan Donovan teamed with Julian Cope’s sound…

41 Fords are Not Dead Yet!

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Frankisoul on Fire!

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Swindon Shuffle is set to get the town a’rockin’ this September

Organisers of the popular Swindon music event have announced that Swindon Shuffle will return this September…..

The Swindon Shuffle has been a fixture in the diaries of local music lovers since
2007, celebrating all that is good about the Swindon original music scene.
The 2023 event (the 16th edition technically as 2020’s festival was online) runs from Wednesday 13 September with an opening music quiz event at The Beehive.

Festivities continue until Sunday 17 September, with over 60 acts featured across five main venues in Old Town (The Beehive, The Castle, The Hop, The Tuppenny and The Victoria) alongside fringe events at venues like Baristocats and The Eternal Optimist and more. The event will be raising funds for Prospect Hospice.

The cream of the local crop will be on display with every musical genre imaginable. This year’s line up will once again include the Friday evening specially curated by The Swindon Folk Club, which takes place at The Hop.

Headline acts include the reggae goodness of Subject A at The Hop on the Thursday evening with Canute’s Plastic Army topping the bill just down the road at The Tuppenny.

On the Friday evening, the headliners include All Ears Avow at The Vic and Splat
The Rat at The Castle.

Saturday will see headline sets from Richard Wileman and Amy Fry (The Tuppenny), Modern Evils (The Vic), Concrete Prairie (The Beehive), and Stay Lunar (The Castle).

The final day on the Sunday will see headliners Fly Yeti Fly (Tuppenny) and Matt Owens and The Delusional Vanity Project (The Beehive).

Organiser Ed Dyer said: “We are really excited to have such an incredible line-up of local talent playing this years event. We have loads more to announce and plans for this year’s festival to be the biggest and best yet. It is a privilege each year to be able to put this event on and to raise much needed funds for Prospect Hospice.”

All sessions are free of charge with full details available HERE.


Gazette & Herald to Buy Out Devizine

In a deal I’ve been trying to clench for a year now, Newsquest, owners of Wiltshire based newspapers, including the Gazette & Herald have taken…

Wharf-ing Back To Happiness!

Do you remember the wonderful sounds of The Shadows and The Tornadoes beaming across the airwaves from Radio Caroline with their spellbinding instrumentals; Apache, Foot…

Song of the Week: Talk in Code

You can’t stay on the sunny side of the street; you’ve got to cross over at some point. But if the blurb I’m sent for…

Concrete Prairie at The Southgate

Without cloning technology it was another Saturday night dilemma still as easily solved; Concrete Prairie were at The Gate, arm twisted…. From The Barge to…

The Vintage Bazaar is back in Devizes!

On Saturday 24th June from 9.00am to 2pm, its regular home The Corn Exchange in Devizes, Wiltshire will once again be filled to the brim with beautiful vintage and antique finds……

This wonderful fair has been established for more than ten years and showcases a veritable cornucopia of delights from some of the very best vintage sellers from across the South-West and beyond. The fair has a well-deserved reputation amongst interior/fashion designers, vintage enthusiasts, makers and anyone who just loves beautiful things. It is one of the top vintage fairs in the UK, having featured several times in the national press and with customers travelling from as far as the US to visit!

At the event expect to find wonderful French brocante, beautiful period clothing, textile treasures from France, shoes and accessories from the 1920s to the 1970s, wonderfully faded antique fabric and textiles, lace, linen, jewellery, homewares and collectables. Many dealers save their best stock for the fair, and it shows, the displays are stunning.

As well as all the fantastic vintage dealers there will also be some carefully selected designer/makers there showcasing their wares.
This is a really friendly fair with a relaxed atmosphere and knowledgeable sellers who are always ready to help. Entrance £2.

For more information visit the website: www.thevintagebazaar.co.uk
Find us on Instagram @thevintagebazaarevents and on Facebook


Song of the Week: Lewis McKale

Song of the week this week comes from Brighton’s singer-songwriter Lewis McKale, a Billy Bragg-ish harmonica and guitar combo breakup song from his forthcoming album,…

Danny, Champion of the Food Bank

Featured Image: Bob Naylor/WaterMarx Media While The Trussell Trust created the first food banks in 2000, under Tony Blair, usage of them rose by a…

Song of the Week: Lucky Number Seven

Bristol’s purveyors of emotive post-grunge verging on etherealwave, Lucky Number Seven get our song of the week today, for their latest burst of harrowing energy,…

The First Ever Devizes Pride Announced

If establishing Pride events in our cities and larger towns is sooo last decade, darling, we’re both keen and overjoyed to join the newer trend…

An Amazing Devizes Concert for Opendoors

All images used with permission of Gail Foster If of recent I’ve been critical about counterproductive steps taken to solve the rise in youth crime,…

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 25th April – 1st May 2023

Hey, how’s you? Ah, been better, been worse, thanks for asking. Here’s what we’ve found to be doing over this coming week…….

All links, info and updates can be found on our event calendar. Other incoming events will be added there when we discover them, so do check in later in the week. For now though…. 

Tuesday 25th April:

Deadlight Dance on the Radio! Yes, Marlborough’s goth-rock duo Deadlight Dance will be live and chatting to Peggy on Don’t Stop the Music Show tonight, on Swindon 105.

Staying in Swindon, The Cavern Beatles pay The Wyvern Theatre.

And there’s the regular jazz night at il Fiume in Bradford-on-Avon, with the Graham Dent Trio.

Wednesday 26th:

Acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes.

Sirius Chau at Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon.

Running until 29th April, opening night for Julius Caesar at Rondo Theatre, Bath.

Also Running until 29th, Phoenix Players presents The Business Of Murder at Swindon Arts Centre.

Thursday 27th:

 Open Mic night at Stallards, in Trowbridge. 

Alex Lipinski and The Crown Electric & Matt Owens and The Delusional Vanity Project at Chapel Arts, Bath.

Mr Love & Justice play The Tuppenny, Swindon, while there’s a Chuckles Comedy Club at Meca, and The Diana Ross Story at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon

Friday 28th:

Marillion tribute Marquee Square Heroes play the entire Script For A Jesters Tear for its 40th anniversary at Marlborough Town FC. Laurence plays Motown and soul classics at The Castle & Ball.

It’s The Final of Take the Stage 2023 at The Neeld, Chippenham, and Mr Love & Justice play The Old Road Tavern.

A Moroccan Banquet at Trowbridge Town Hall.

Billie Bottle’s Temple of Shibboleth – Solarference at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, while Brake Lights play The Boathouse.

Tribute to Bonnie Raitt at Chapel Arts, Bath,The First Raitt Band. 

Oasish & Stereotonics at The Vic in Swindon, The Illegal Eagles at The Wyvern Theatre.

The Big Excuse: Featuring Solcura, Bit Bigger, and Big Dog at 23 Bath Street, Frome, and the Toasters play The Cheese & Grain.

Saturday 29th:

Is Seend Beer Festival, also the start of Urchfont Scarecrow Festival, which is running until Monday.

Mr Love & Justice is at The Southgate, Devizes, Ben Borrill at the Moonrakers.

The Duskers at The Barge on Honey-Street.

Barrelhouse plays The Bear in Marlborough.

The Woodbridge, Pewsey has a hog roast with live music from The Busy Fools.

From Jovi & Dragoneye at The Wheatsheaf in Calne.

The Upbeat Beatles play The Civic in Trowbridge, sold out already at The Pump for Carsick with support from Nothing Rhymes With Orange and Meg.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Masquerade – The Mayor’s Charity Ball at the Neeld, Chippenham.

Operation 77 at the Westbury Cons Club, Local Heroes Inc at Prestbury Sports Club, Warminster.

The Lost Trades return to Wiltshire after a national tour, and play the Hop Inn, Swindon. Meanwhile it’s emo night at The Vic with Black Parade. Paul Young – Behind The Lens at The Wyvern Theatre.

Lucis Choir at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Pop-Up Bowie at Chapel Arts in Bath.

The Cheese & Grain in Frome has Peter Hook & The Light, and Greg Lake tribute Lucky Man at the Tree House.

Sunday 30th:

Dr Zebo’s Wheezy Club will be at The Southgate, Devizes from 5pm.

May Day Musical Mayhem at The Talbot Inn, Calne, raising funds for Campaign Against Living Miserably, they have Six O’Clock Circus, Peaky Blinders, One Chord Wonders, Red Light, Absolute Beginners, The Killertones Underground and The Daybreakers.

Family Concert at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon,Noisy Nature with the Magnard Ensemble.

Devil’s Doorbell are live in session at The Electric Bar, Bath

Raver Tots comes to Meca, Swindon, while The Wyvern Theatre has the Ministry of Science.

Monday 1st:

Running until 7th May, Swindon Festival of Literature opens.

Monthly album listening club, The long Player at The Vic, Swindon.

And that’s it, do check out Zog with the kids at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, opening Tuesday 2nd, and running until 4th May. Then we have the King’s Coronation next weekend, lots going on to do with that, and lots happening if you wish to avoid that! Do keep a check up on the calendar. 


Potterne, and its Festival

It’s one Devizine overlooked somewhat last year, arranged rather last minute, clashed with Full-Tone, but was still a 1,250-strong sell-out nonetheless. Potterne is not all…

Song of the Week: Sara Vian

Normally Wednesday, Song of The Week, but I was having one of those Wednesday days, you know the sort, too middley aren’t they, bit gloomy?…

Gen-Z Party; Nothing Rhymes with Orange and Guests In Lavington

Images by Gail Foster

I could’ve guaranteed myself a great night with peers and those purveyors of space rock, Cracked Machine down the trusty Gate, or danced socks off with twenty/thirty-somethings at the Three Crowns to the unique take on covers of the ever-entertaining People Like Us. But, oddly if not in the know, I opted for a Saturday night at West Lavington village hall, nodding my approval as frontman Elijah Easton mingled with a gen z frenzied crowd singing back to him their beguiling magnum opus, to-date, Manipulation, for an encore the fans will forever cherish…..

For if it’s Devizine’s intention to highlight all that’s great about our music scene, it’s surely a priority to point out what’s upcoming, and Nothing Rhymes With Orange are the freshest squeezed fruit on that tree right now. I’ve been singing their praises since reviewing their EP Midsummer, unseasonably released last November, and now I can tick catching them live off my must-do-list I’m only going to enforce my words on how astoundingly awesome these youngsters are.

With blow-up orange segments bouncing between them on stage and their enthused blossoming fanbase, I figure I’m witness to a burgeoning local phenomenon akin to the roots of any mainstream band, left pondering the pensioners once screaming teenagers at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, when Beatlemania was imminent. If you consider that’s a tall order for comparison, I’d shrug, but while NRWO can clearly rouse the crowd, it feels like the building hysteria is a newfound blessing for them and they’re unsure how to react. This is a wonderful inaugural experience for a blossoming band, exposing them to reactions to the hard work they’ve clearly put in, and digesting those streams are from real kids, appreciating their sound.

Nothing Rhymes With Orange

For the fanbase so young in our rural zone, it’s not so simple just to rock up to venues, particularly pubs, and if the village hall is kinda “village hall like,” it’s because it is, but it’s an adequate space with a hospitable outlook. The band and their families have self-organised this sell-out gig with the intention of making this a homecoming atmosphere for a local band venturing to Bristol, Bath and Trowbridge’s Pump, and who will undoubtedly take that road a lot further in the near future. 

For the time being, they are here and they are now. If seeing Springsteen in the eighties was an amazing experience, seeing Springsteen play New Jersey was another ballpark, ergo in this case, Lavington is those Badlands.

The sound is frenzied indie-pop, but not all-out ferociously punk, they find the perfect middle-ground; easy on the palate for any age demographic. Precisely why they’re subject to my highest acclaim, homing in on what the kids want, is, historically, the recipe for success. They did this with bells on, belting out their known EP tracks, a couple of defined Arctic Monkeys covers, their latest release Lidl Shoes, and treated the crowd to a sneak at the forthcoming two singles.

But not before a triple bill of support they’re introducing to home fans. First up Dauntsys own Paradigm, who, though I only caught the final couple I’d suggest are a promisingly tight young band to watch out for.


Secondly Frankcastre from Portsmouth with a frontman originating locally, even penning a song named after Great Cheverall, which has to be a first! Perhaps as oddly as their name, to generation X a band attired in Fred Perrys and skinheads might connote mod influences, but the confident frontman was looking decidedly teddy-boy!


Trivial is the significance of the uniforms of youth cultures of yore to this era, their originals came fiery and skater-punk; they refined the contemporary noise with brewing confidence and it was welcomed by the NRWO fanbase, particularly the girls. Two covers either side of their set though revealed a penchant for sixties blues-rock, covering firstly The Doors’ Break on Through, and The Animals’ version of House of the Rising Sun, with gritty vocals and devine accuracy. Something for the parents to acknowledge, perhaps, though the frontman delighted to elucidate his fondness for the era to me and I had nothing but to accept his knowledge on the subject. Their sudden usage of a keyboard, for example, to replicate The Animals classic was different, tilting it to one side while playing was beyond Jerry Lee Lewis; put him in your Google search bar!

Arguably the more accomplished of the two, Bath’s StoneFace produced lengthier original compositions, evoking mood with pitch and tempo alterations. With an air of neo-emo Stooges, interestingly with saxophone, damn they looked the part of Iggy Pop to envy!

Though sounding as good as they looked, this volatile style didn’t seem to wash down quite as well with the teenagers as Frankcastre, who, like punk, seem to favour the frenzied three-minute hero, though I personally fished with their hook. Introducing a new track Blue for You, and a particularly adroit one called Cave, the downtempo was plodding indie of perhaps a previous generation, but they did it exceptionally.


To conclude, those in local media sensationalising a minority of hooliganism for click-bait would’ve had their tails between their legs if they’d bother to attend this last night, for all I saw was the new generation, clean-cut by comparison of formers, thoroughly enjoying themselves and causing no issues in the slightest. Just in awe of four of their own, who’ve worked tirelessly to perfect a cooperative brand and inspire others. The forthcoming single Rishi speaks volumes for a current tongue-in-cheek satire they’re intelligent self-penned anthems extend to, though for the most part politics are avoided in favour of topics relative to gen z, like romantic interludes breaking down, and for this Nothing Rhymes With Orange prove their diversity.

It was an astounding achievement, bringing some class acts to Lavington’s youth, and onwards for NRWO I’m pleased to say in collaboration with DOCA, Devizine is proud to now annually suggest a best upcoming local act to feature on the main stage at the Devizes Street Festival, and you can bet your bottom dollar they are the chosen ones to get that ball rolling on Sunday 28th May.

You can also catch them next Saturday, 29th, at the Pump in Trowbridge, Bath’s Party in the City at St James’ Vaults on 12th May, at Corsham Rugby Club’s CorrFest on Sunday 17th June, The Barge on Honey-Street on Saturday 1st July, Marlborough Festival July 8th, and Urchfont’s Boundary Bash on the 15th July…. The future is bright, and doesn’t rhyme with orange!


Song of the Week: Deadlight Dance

It’s Wednesday night, it’s Song of the Week time…. I’m just amazed with myself that I’ve actually committed to this new regular feature for a…

Devil’s Doorbell Live EP from the Pump

It’s any wonder if this bonkers jazz skiffle duo found a double-entendre in the name of Trowbridge’s finest live music venue, The Pump, when they…

Petrichor; New Album by The Lost Trades

If asked to summarise the themes of songs by The Lost Trades with a song, I believe I’d pick the classic Americana folk song “Keep…

Wiltshire Save The King! Local Coronation Celebrations in May

Apparently, some bloke is doing the Queen’s old job; well, that’s wokeism gone crazy if ever I’ve seen it!

But whatever your opinions are about royalty, every town and village is gearing up for The Coronation celebrations and that’s all good for our local entertainers and food purveyors, as the drive to put on a great show feels like it’s getting somewhat competitive…pass the cucumber sandwiches, there’s a good chap.

So, with social media looking rather cluttered as each town and parish council frantically post their events, let’s try our best to collate them, and see who’s performing where and when.

Some places get the ball rolling on Friday 5th May.

Hilperton: at their village hall, from 6pm, have free inflatables for children, the bar will be open and a barbecue from We Meat Again, or bring your own picnic.

Marlborough’s weekend starts with a school art exhibition at St Peter’s, which runs all weekend.

Hats off to Bromham, who have the awesome Junkyard Dogs playing their event in a marquee on the Jubilee Field, and promise some special guests, raffle and ask you to bring your own drinks. This one is a fiver, the Dogs are at 8pm.

Saturday 6th May.

Urchfont: 10am screening at the village hall. Free to attend but ticketed to determine numbers for catering. At 2pm there will be a family fun afternoon in the paddock behind the village hall with entertainment, a family dog show followed by an “Urchfont’s got talent a talent show,” and at 7pm Bandoke will be providing entertainment in a collection of hits from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Seend: the Community Centre goes for a bar, hog roast and bouncy castle combo, highlights are magician and balloon modeller Dave Hickory, and from 7pm, music from Ian Rayney and the awesome rock covers band, Siren. All free.

Pewsey: Looking good at the Cooper’s Field, screening followed by traditional fairground stalls, tugs of war and kid’s football. Pablo & Teos and The Good Food Van at this, with a great musical lineup from Static Moves, Hooch, and Humdinger.

Marlborough: Screening at the Parade Cinema, a prom at St Mary’s and street party in Manton.

Melksham: Picnic in Park at St George’s Playing Fields from 10:30am, sees a confetti battle at their extravaganza, which will feel a bit of plagiarism for Devizes folk! But lots more going on, fairground rides, and live music promised, we’ve not yet been tipped off as to who is playing.

Chippenham: Screening at John Coles Park, picnic and The Derek Nash Band will play live from the bandstand afterwards, with a showing of Disney’s Lion King (2019 live-action version) for everyone to enjoy.

Trowbridge: Yet to hear that the town council are doing anything other than supplying shops with bunty and floral displays to create a “Highgrove on the High Street!” Though Paxcroft Mead are having a street party and barbecue, and those Junkyard Dogs are at it again, at Ben & Tom’s Coronation party at the Wiltshire Yeoman on Chilmark Road at midday.

Calne: town council have really pulled it out the bag, with a picnic at Recreation Ground with a great lineup of music, with Six O’clock Circus, Rave Against the Regime, Operation 77, and the Chaos Brothers. Prior they’ve lots of street food, and entertainment, with stilt walkers, illusionists, balloon modeller and a bubbleologist, including the Lynham Military Wives Choir and a dance performance by 45 Star Dance.

Devizes: town council have there’s in the Market Place from 10am to 4pm, but are quite vague about what we can expect, promises a screening on a large screen, live music, food and drink and children’s activities, but it’s as of yet any details is a mystery, which may be not bad thing; surprises are nice! And besides, if it all goes Pete Tong rather than Charles Windsor, Leon Daye Band play The Southgate later and Kyla Brox Band are at Long Street Blues Club.

Sunday 7th May.

Marlborough: Big Lunch on the High Street with a street party.

Rowde: has a fete from 12:30 at the small playing field, with Chris Ashburn and the fantastic People Like Us – great booking Rowde Parish Council! Plus morris dancing, children’s fancy dress, a circus workshop, barbecue and more.

All Cannings: have also got a great sounding event at the village green, with a children’s circus and cooking competition, and the highlight there is a great newly formed band we’ve been excited about hearing more from, Alfred’s Tower.

Monday 8th May.

Bishop’s Cannings wait until Monday for a celebration at the Crown, dog show, duck race tugs of war, and lots more!

There are more events going up on our event calendar all the time, so keep checking in, today was supposed to be a sneaky taster at those towns and villages really pulling a rabbit from their hats for the king! 

Did we miss out your village or town’s do? Do let us know.

It does seem at present, akin to jubilee celebrations, everyone is fighting for the best event as if Charlie himself will be cruising around to judge them! And in this, many local villages have bettered the market towns. When what really should be occurring is town and parish councils working together, so free transport can be provided for those in smaller villages and housing estates a distance from town centres can unite in a bigger and better celebration in the larger villages and towns, because surely this should a coming together of people, rather than them segregated into small communities. But hey, that’s just my opinion!

Age of the Liar; The Burner Band

Okay, so it’s been a little over two years since I fondly reviewed the debut album, Signs & Wonders, from Leeds’ alt-country come Americana outfit, The Burner Band, when I labelled it “foot-tapping bluegrass fun” with, unusually, added elements of punk. This new seven track album Age of the Liar takes a massive step forward in poignancy…..

This said, I cannot now recall how we became acquainted, but lucky for us we did. Because while, Age of the Liar kicks off pretty much where Signs & Wonders left us, and waits for no man with insatiable foot-tapping bluegrass, there’s an underlying notion intelligent prose is at work here, as the lyrics, concerning the unquestionable loyalty to militancy rides this track like a trooper.

If the opener came as no surprise to me, the second track, Living in Fear certainly did, as while continuing the Americana roots forefront, it rides an offbeat like reggae, lowering the tempo, and taking an ecological topic, a “state of the world today,” it’s akin to the subject matter of punk and reggae too.

The mechanics of Living in Fear is also a hint towards the title track seven tunes in, which positively beams back reggae’s influence over punk; if the Clash did Americana, this is what it would probably sound like. Greatly overlooked in today’s mainstream, the social and political commentary of the era, once a prominent feature in both punk and reggae is put on the line here, satirically mocking the ludicrously of misinformation and propaganda of right-wing leaders, be it Trump or Bojo, it could go either way.

Throughout the album the desperation of contemporary issues is a running theme, even if it best works with these two offbeat songs. Dark and Lonesome Street takes us back to what the Burners do best, still as the title suggests there’s darker undertones. Even if the immediately lovable Hot Dog King has a rockabilly swing, the carefree mood isn’t all it seems, relaying a true story of New York hot dog vendor Dan Rossi, who fought against unjust licencing laws.

I love this concept, that the Burner Band aren’t afraid to explore and break confines of subgenre and pigeonholing, and it blends pleasantly on the ear. There’s elements of early Springsteen on the Asbury Park scene, often breezing into soul and blues, but never straying from the country backbeat.

This is truly is a modern take on roots and Americana, at times the definitive article, twangy geetars, or referencing American culture, but teetering the edge, there’s so many nods to a British roots scene, the punk, rockabilly and reggae movements of the early eighties, even down to the three-minute hero ideal, no tune tries to rule the album, all staying at the statutory running time. If the debut album touched on these influences too, it was subtle at best, this time the balance is perfected.

Social commentary continues to cover prejudices, immigration, stereotyping disabilities, yet no matter how complex the subject, tracks like Big Hole don’t baffle you in riddles, the messages are simple and direct, creating a beguiling and enjoyable ride with poignancy. I’ve yet to dive deeper into this, but suspect as I do more backstory and hidden gems will jump out at me, but I’m overdue mentioning it, as it came out the end of March, so presenting it to now is a honour; great foot-stomping stuff with the perfect balance of contemporary thoughtful prose and subject matter; yee-ha, it’s a keeper!


Song of the Week: Ålesund

Back-tracking a week for this, as it was two great tunes came along simultaneously; like buses, in another county, don’t get me started on the bus service around these backwaters!

Ah, and relax, save that for another time; Ålesund‘s emotive and immersive soundscapes will do the trick. New single from, as I suggested, lat week, Never Enough, and it’s dreamy and drifting, with those driving vocals and rolling drumbeats, the ambient-indie of the post-triphop Bristol scene, harking back to Portishead, peppered with Evanescene’s drench of neo-gothic yet carrying contemporary freshness.

Ålesund first came to my attention when Kieran Moore was at Trowbridge Town Hall, a few years ago, playing with similar fashioned band Agata. This single proves I wasn’t imagining how wonderful this collective are.

Link-Tree to the track HERE

WebsiteFacebook Bandcamp YouTube


Song of the Week: Atari Pilot

It’s Wednesday night, it’s Song of Week time….and here’s your host…. yeah, sorry, it’s just me, couldn’t afford Stephen Mulhern. Haven’t heard from them for…

Trouble at the Vic, Ant Trouble….

Something of a family reunion at Swindon’s Vic last night, then, if as Adam Ant chanted, we are the family, the dandy highwayman so sick…

Song of the Week: Ajay Srivastav

New one on me, Bracknell-based Graham Steel Music Company being my gateway to this astounding London rootsy acoustic soloist, and I’m impressed. With the subtle…

The Railway Children Calls at Devizes’ Wharf Theatre

Pride of the arts in Devizes, The Wharf Theatre say, if you love the story of The Railway Children, first serialised in The London Magazine in 1905 and published as a book in 1906, before being made into the classic 1970 film; then we can assure you that the stage play will not disappoint.

Being honest, it’s a story I’m unfamiliar with, believing, if memory serves me well, there was also a popular TV series of it in the early eighties, but at the time I was cosumed rather by Monkey Magic and The A-Team! I think today, though, I can look upon this with matured eyes and be equally as intrigued by its genius synopsis as those the Wharf deem “lovers” of the story.

Therefore, I’m pleased to highlight that they’re proud to present this renowned story of a prosperous Edwardian family from London, forced into near-penury in the rural north of England, after their Father is falsely imprisoned. Come and meet ‘Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis as they adapt to their new life in the cottage by the railway and join them as they meet someone who might just be able to help them get their happy ending.

Under Freddie Underwood’s direction, this stage adaptation perfectly captures the anxieties and exhilarations of childhood with great tenderness and insight. Adults and children will be enthralled by the heart-warming story and the clever use of imaginative theatricality. This is definitely one ‘not to be missed’…

Running from May 8th to May 13th 2023 @ 7.30pm. As you might predict, tickets are selling well on this already, so I encourage your urgency to snap up a seat.

Tickets can be purchased by ringing 03336 663 366; from the website and at the Devizes Community Hub and Library on Sheep Street. For group bookings, please contact hire@wharftheatre.co.uk

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire 17th -24th April 2023

Things are all a bit upsidey-down as Devizine catches up with the 21st century. Something about old dogs and new tricks, I’ve streamlined with a new computer, which roughly translates to I don’t what the heck I’m doing! So, bear with me as I pretend everything is running as smooth as a baby’s bottom and bring you all the stuff we’ve found to do over the coming week here in wonderful Wiltshire…..

Still the same ballpark though, don’t take this as final, updates will come through and all that and links to the stuff listed here can be found on our event calendar, HERE.

Monday 17th April then:

You can sit back in the comfort of your own home and enjoy a live stream from those professors of video technology Visual Radio Arts, as they bring you a set from the fantastic Strange Folk

Tuesday 18th:

Nadiya and Kai – Once Upon a Time at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, and opening at Swindon Arts Centre is the Swindon G & S Society’s Lolanthe, running until the 22nd.

Wednesday 19th:

Devizes Books Presents… ‘Venice’ The play of light at a canal’s curve, the slap of water against the hull of a gondola, the all pervading smell of the sea. This is Venice. Liz Light will shed light on its glories, its children, its history and its future. At Wiltshire Museum, Long Street, Devizes. Tickets £6.00 available from Devizes books, or book by phoning 01380 725944, or pay cash on the door.

Staying in Devizes, don’t forget it’s the regular Wednesday evening acoustic jam at The Southgate, bring an instrument.

And Tony Blackburn is still at it! Sounds of the 60s Live at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.

Thursday 20th:

Amazing Thursday night in Swindon when The Sarah C Ryan Band play The Vic, with Atari Pilot in support, and Fly Yeti Fly are at The Tuppenny. Also, Russell Kane’s The Essex Variant comes to The Wyvern Theatre.

Friday 21st:

KenAvon Quiz Night at the Rennie Room, on Devizes Wharf, see poster for details. White Horse Opera at Devizes Town Hall.

The Roughcut Rebels play The Pack Horse, Chippenham

Wrong Jovi at The Vic, Swindon.

Gluehorse at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, while you’ll find Shadows of Santana at The Boathouse.

LGBTQ+ Poetry night at Rondo Theatre, Bath.

Dreadzone’s 30th Anniversary tour at the Cheese & Grain.

Saturday 22nd:

Wonderful, People Like Us at The Three Crowns, Devizes, Cracked Machine play The Southgate.

Spoiled for choice enough if it wasn’t for Nothing Rhymes with Orange at the West Lavington Hall, with Stoneface, Paradigm and Frankastre; the guys have put this event on themselves to appease their young fanbase, and I think that’s a real special effort. I’m tipping these best upcoming act of year, ergo it has to be Editor’s Pick of the Week; this was your opportunity to check them out, I told you about it ages ago, but tickets are all gone, now; soz.

The White Horse Opera moves across to St Peter’s at Great Cheverell.

A bold 21st century reimagining of Homer’s Odyssey by Wiltshire writer Florence Espeut-Nickless, developed with and performed by the local community, at Trowbridge Town Hall, with The Four Winds.

Tom Jenkins with Luke De-Sisco and Hannah Rose-Platt at The Pump in Trowbridge.

Hillbillies  up for a barn dance, The Barge at HoneyStreet style!

Fireballs UK play Melksham Rock N Roll Club.

ÍMAR at  Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Strange Folk for real this time, at The Three Horseshoes.

Tankus The Henge at Chapel Arts, Bath

My Secret Sister at Rondo Theatre, Bath.

Maximum Output at Prestbury Sports Club, Warminster.

Ion Maiden at The Vic, Swindon.

Rising Aspirations Academy Of Performing Arts presents Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.

Vintage Bazaar at The Cheese & Grain, Frome, with The Inspiral Carpets in the evening, and Just Radiohead tribute at The Lime House.

Sunday 23rd:

Melksham Record Fair at Melksham Assembly Hall.

Two Man Ting at The Southgate, Devizes.

Snake Snake Snake at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.

Have a great weekend!


Swan Dies in Road Accident at The Crammer

A swan from the Crammer hit on the road between Morrison’s roundabout and the traffic lights this morning, has died…. In territorial disputes, the wildfowl…

Song of the Week: Sienna Wileman

Okay, I admit it, our Song of the Day feature was too optimistic, and failing every day to post a tune meant it fell by…

On The Wayside with Viduals

Akin to Ghostbuster’s nemesis Slimer when he appears over the hotdog stand, I was squatting a spacious windowsill at Wiltshire Music Centre with an Evie’s…

Across the Water with Paul Lappin

Remotely possible he misses all the roundabouts, Paul Lappin came from Swindon, now resides in the South of France, yeah, across the water, which is also the title of his latest EP; coincidence? Remotely possible….

It’s been since last July when we mentioned Paul with previous EP, Flowers in the Snow, this new title track is dreamy family reminisces sailing across a tranquil sea. Plucked from his Britpop inspiration, Paul never fails to create a beautiful ambience of meaningful prose, and this hits the spot.

Sophia, the middle track picks up the beat, twirls with the guitar riff closer associated with Britpop, Lee Moulding and Jon Bucket adding drums to this Stone Roses fashioned track, at their smoothest.

Polishes off with Chasing Rainbows, and we return to the dreamy style of the title track, making a wonderful finale. Check it out today, it’s Sunday music for the soul.


Old Wharf Café to Become Meeting Room

The Kennet & Avon Trust today revealed plans to convert the old café on Devizes Wharf, Couch Lane, into a meeting facility; how exciting! It…

Delicate, Like A Psychedelicat

What is a psychedelicat, a tin of magic mushroom flavoured Felix?! His picture on the tin certainly displays some suspiciously dilated pupils, but this exaggeration…

The Bradford Roots Music Festival Returns

I know, it’s hardly festival weather, but this one is all inside! Inside the glorious Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon that is, on Saturday 21st…

REVIEW – Billy Walton Band @ LSBC, Con Club, Devizes – Saturday 15th April 2023

A Trip To New Jersey

Andy Fawthrop

Tonight we‘re in the land of Springsteen, Van Zandt and Southside Johnny. We’re on the New Jersey shore, swinging with the band. It’s late, it’s hot, the room is absolutely rammed and The Billy Walton Band are in town. Well, only just, after a late-afternoon scare when their van broke down on the way to the gig. But, hey, that’s rock n’ roll, that’s life on the road. Unfazed, the band played on, and what a show they gave us….

But first things first. Support act for the evening, all the way up from that there London were new (to me) Interstellar Duo. Consisting of sisters Charlotte and Heather Sterland on every combination of piano, viola, violin and vocals, the pair presented something very different indeed. Finalists for UK Country Duo 2022, the two girls gave us some absolutely beautiful, haunting and delicate harmonies. Both vocals and instrumentation were precise and stripped back, reducing the massive crowd to a hushed and respectful silence during the performance, and loud applause as they finished. A hot, noisy blues club may not be the best platform for their brand of vocal harmony, but they absolutely nailed it anyway. Nearest thing I could compare them to was early Kate & Anna McGarrigle, but that might slightly undersell the beauty and ethereal quality of a great performance. Hats off!

Billy Walton is described on his website as “an accomplished guitar master from the vibrant New Jersey Shore music scene. He earned his stripes in the rock & roll trenches, playing lead guitar for many years with Jersey icon, Southside Johnny. He has also shared the stage with music legends; Little Steven, Gary US Bonds and Steven Tyler, to name a few”. Well – wow! That’s a huge reputation to live up to, but there was nothing for us to worry about. The man turned up with a five-piece band behind him and simply let rip with his winning brand of bluesy rock n’ roll.

On stage with him were bassist William Paris, Tom Petraccaro on sax, Eric Safka on Hammond B3, Shane Luckenbough on drums, and vocalist extraordinaire Destinee Monroe. As a unit they were tight, musically adept and extremely powerful, helping Billy to drive forward through a great show.

With his musical background it would have been all too easy to fall back on the old Southside Johnny classics, but instead were treated to a lot more recent material. Yes there were a couple of covers (I Can’t Stand The Rain and I Feel Good), but these blended seamlessly into a near two-hour set of sheer entertainment and showmanship. There was plenty of chat, lots of humour, and great audience interaction. There were deliberate false intros – Stairway To Heaven, Smoke On The Water, Kashmir and even (unbelievably) Puff The Magic Dragon – just to pull the laughs and the applause. We even had a couple of rounds of Happy Birthday! But whilst these guys sure knew how to fool around, they sure as hell knew how to be serious and to deliver a truly great set.

Destinee shrieking high-octane vocals, answered note for note by a wailing keyboard was one of the highlights for me, but this was no one-trick pony. Whilst there were always the wham-bam-thank-you-mam numbers, the band also displayed a lot of depth and texture, mixing up the slower tempos with faster, driving boogie-woogie rhythms.

Lots of applause, dancing, a standing ovation, and an almost psychedelic encore. What more could you possibly want? Yet another great gig at Long Street Blues Club, and what live music is all about.

Future Long Street Blues Club gigs: (but more to be announced/ confirmed next month – watch social media!)

Saturday 6th May 2023 Kyla Brox Band
Saturday 27th May 2023 Gerry Jablonski Band
Saturday 10th June 2023 Eric Bell Band
Friday 13th October 2023 Mike Zito & Albert Castiglia band
Saturday 28th October 2023 Susan Santos


Full-Tone Festival Announce 2023 Line-up

The Full-Tone Orchestra have released details of the 2023 line-up for their annual extravaganza, The Full-Tone Festival on Devizes Green, August bank holiday. It’s all…

Ten Top Tips for Driving in Devizes

Having trouble driving in Devizes? We’re not surprised, it’s got the infrastructure designed by a six-year-old given some Lego road plates. There are rules, on…

Devizine Review of 2022!

Featured Image by Simon Folkard Photography Happy New Year from Wiltshire’s wackiest what’s-on website. It’s that time again when I waffle on endlessly in hope…

King Alfred’s Tower Charity Abseil

This summer SOS Africa will host a 160ft charity abseil fundraising event from King Alfred’s Tower at Stourhead in celebration of the organisation’s 20th birthday! Taking place on the 9th, 10th 16th & 17th September 2023, the abseil event will be the charity’s highest to date and the first time that this iconic historical venue will be open to public abseiling courtesy of the National Trust.

King Alfred's Tower Charity Abseil Fundraising Event for National Trust & SOS Africa

Throughout this highly anticipated 4-day charity abseil, brave fundraisers from across the Southwest and beyond will climb the tower’s 205 steps and descend from the top of this iconic monument dressed as their favourite historical figures. Before touching down at the base of the tower they will be able to savour breath-taking views across the surrounding counties.

Built by Stourhead Estate Owner Henry Hoare II in 1772, the folly was constructed at the site of Egbert’s Stone, the folkloric landmark where Alfred the Great rallied his Saxon troops in 878AD to hold off a Saxon invasion. Constructed with over a million red bricks, the tower has become the pride of the 2650-acre Stourhead Estate.

Children Sponsored by the SOS Africa Children's Charity

Since it was first founded by Shepton Mallet student Dr Matt Crowcombe in 2003, each year the SOS Africa Children’s Charity and experienced instructor Aardvark Endeavours have hosted fundraising challenges from iconic venues from across the southwest of England including Glastonbury Festival Pyramid StageShepton Mallet Prison and Wells Cathedral, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to educate disadvantaged children across South Africa.

“SOS Africa’s Alfred’s Tower event will be the charity’s most challenging abseil to date from one of the most well-known monuments in the southwest. Growing up in Shepton Mallet and Bruton, there were few moments when I could not see the tower standing proudly on the horizon. We are extremely grateful to the National Trust for embracing this exciting event and we cannot wait to start raising funds for 2 very important causes.” Dr Matt Crowcombe (CEO/Founder, SOS Africa)

Alfred's Tower Charity Abseil: SOS Africa and National Trust Volunteers

Stourhead General Manager Philip Niemand has supported the event from its inception and cannot wait to welcome the brave abseilers to Alfred’s Tower this September:

“Alfred’s Tower was built 250 years ago, reputedly marking the spot where King Alfred raised his standard and rallied his troops before setting off to defeat the Vikings at the battle of Eddington. This moment in time started our societal journey of freedom and democracy. We now have an exciting opportunity to raise valuable awareness of and funds for communities that are not as fortunate. The SOS Africa Abseil from the Tower is itself a unique call to action, an opportunity to join the charity’s most challenging event to date from one of the most iconic monuments in the Southwest, raising funds for two very important causes.” Philip Niemand (General Manager, Stourhead)

Charity Abseil Fundraising Event from King's Alfred's Tower, Stourhead

To participate, each abseiler is required to pay a £20 deposit to cover Aardvark Endeavours Instructors fees and raise £100 per person. To enter as an individual or team, please contact Event Organiser Matt Crowcombe by email (matt@sosafrica.com) with the following details:

Matt will then confirm your abseil date/time, set up your online fundraising page and add it to our Event Fundraising Page where you will be able to track the progress of your fellow abseilers and event fundraising total. No previous abseil experience is required, fancy-dress is optional and all abseilers must be age 9 or over (under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian). Although plenty of time will be allowed for abseilers to climb the 205 steps to the top of the tower, a reasonable level of fitness will be required.

This is likely to be a popular event and places will be limited so we recommend signing up and sending your deposit as soon as possible to avoid missing out. Thank you for your support and we look forward to welcoming you to the top of King Alfred’s Tower in September…

For more information, check HERE


Swan Dies on the Crammer, Devizes

Saddened to hear of the death of a swan on the Crammer today, via Devizes Police who were called to its attention last night….The Crammer…

Devizine Christmas Podcast!

I’ve only gone and done another podcast, and I apologise. But it is in keeping with the season….. Please note: this podcast contains adult themes…

Song of the Week: Nothing Rhymes With Orange

I know, I keep missing this supposed weekly feature, no matter how I might promise. I did have one for last week but the dog ate my homework, and, I dunno, procrastination takes control over me like I’m possessed by lethargy and need of an exorcist like Mr Motivator; whatever did happen to him?!

But it will have to wait for another week, as the Devizes imminent indie-poppers I tip to be the best upcoming local act of the year, Nothing Rhymes With Orange have surprised us with another upbeat cracker aligned with their intramural style of the debut EP Midsummer. Amusingly called Lidl Shoes, which besides the point, can be surprisingly durable as well as affordable(!), this single reaches its bridge like mountain boots, but without the rough grip of what you might expect from the stage-diving gen Z, this is flexible for ageless appreciation, just damn good, constantly improving intelligent punk-pop.

Do check it out, and remember next Saturday (22nd April) they’re a DIY gig at West Lavington Hall, tickets here.

Thirty Years in the Dreadzone

Dreadzone, the Phoenix rising from the ashes of Big Audio Dynamite’s success, when drummer Greg Roberts and keyboardist Dan Donovan teamed with Julian Cope’s sound engineer Tim Bran, were the prolific electronic dance triumph of post-rave….

Owing their accomplishment to the fine blend of reggae into the contemporary melting pot of dance culture, harking back to Two-Tone yet too encompassed the burgeoning breakbeat house scene which in turn would fuel drum and bass. But Dreadzone never went there, the final piece of the jigsaw was bringing in vocalist Earl 16, and they stuck to their guns producing memorable anthems of techno-reggae dub bliss, particularly unforgettable being Little Britain sampling Carl Orff’s Auf Dem Anger.

But if you, like me, were bouncing around a muddy field like Zebedee on a day out from the magic garden to a 1937 classical symphony you might not appreciate me reminding you, Dreadzone celebrate their thirtieth anniversary this year; but it might cushion the blow by letting you know you can join the party at Frome’s Cheese & Grain on Friday 21st April.

Still in the forefront of the festival scene, in 2022, Dreadzone refocussed their show after MC Spee was forced to step back from touring and they explored different aspects of their history and catalogue ahead of their 30th anniversary this year. With a reconfigured line-up for 2023, the band’s live shows will feature core members Greg Dread and original bassmaster Leo Williams, plus legendary reggae vocalist Earl 16, as well as Bazil on technology and Blake Robert (Greg’s son) on guitar.

They have been releasing albums and progressively bettering, refining, and perfecting their own unique and inimitable take on dub since their inception in 1993. Dreadzone opened the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 1994, though if memories of that are hazy at best, I fondly recall a night at Shepard’s Bush Empire in 1995 when I was still dancing to an imaginary dubplate in the cloakroom queue!

With plans for their 30th Anniversary firmly underway, standby for a new studio album later in the year too.

Tickets are on sale now and priced at £25.00+BF, available here.

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 12th – 18th April 2023

Speeding through April come sunshine, rain or a little bit unpredictable changing between the two, such is the season.…..

Said it before, I’ll say it again, more stuff will be added, this is published on Mondays so you’ve time to grab any tickets for ticketed events, but live music in pubs and things like this will no doubt come to our attention through the week, so please keep in the loop with our event calendar as it’d be impossible if not very cluttered to post individual events onto our social media pages.

The one link you need is here, our event calendar, for planning ahead, more info and ticket links.

Tuesday 11th wildlife presenter Gordon Buchanan’s 30 Years in The Wild at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.

Opening night Wednesday 12th and running until 13th April, An Evening Shared with Jasper Carrott & Alistair McGowan at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.

Also Wednesday, The Rondo Theatre, Bath has something for the easter holidays, Top Secret: The Magic of Science children’s show matinee, and BBC’s Live at the Apollo North London comedian Emmanuel Sonubi in the evening with his tour Emancipated.

Never forget though, it’s the regular acoustic jam at the Southgate in Devizes every Wednesday.

Thursday 13th incredible bluesman Eddie Martin plays a special set at the church in Bromham, for a fundraiser for social centre rebuild which burnt down a couple of years ago.

One to watch out for, The Blackheart Orchestra plays Chapel Arts in Bath, while Tatty Macleod, better known as, ‘That French TikTok Lady,’ tours Fudge (WIP) at the Rondo Theatre.

And choir Ten in Bar start a three nightery at Swindon Arts Centre, running until Saturday 15th.

Friday 14th sees Hadrian’s Union at The Southgate, Devizes. Trash Panda at the Coopers, Pewsey. Phil Cooper & Jamie R Hawkins Get Schwifty at The Bear in Marlborough.

Quiz Night from the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust at The Neeld in Chippenham.

Brakelight play The Poplars in Wingfield near Trowbridge.

Fire, Rain & American Pie at Chapel Arts, Bath, with Sophies Duker’s Hag tour at the Rondo Theatre

Hairy MacLary Adventures with Weyo, sees conductor Tim Redmond and his brother Tom Redmond, who together present the Royal Albert Hall’s My Great Orchestral Adventure series, join the West of England Youth Orchestra for a fun-filled interactive family concert at the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

Find Bully Bones at The Three Horseshoes, also in Bradford-on-Avon.

Sour Apple play The Crown in Westbury.

Green Day tribute, Green Haze at The Vic in Swindon, while Tanwood Youth Theatre presents Musical Mayhem at The Wyvern Theatre.

But focus your eyes on this treat, Editor’s Pick of The Week, it’s Jazz Knights’ third Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival at the Christ Church in Old Town. Friday night is soul night headlined by OMAR and QCBA with elements of Jazz, also featuring sessions from Eric Mylod-Okafo, Jack Baldus, Marvin Muoneké Duo. The fun continues Saturday.

Saturday 15th The Wharf Theatre, Devizes will be Walking Back to Happiness, with Kevin Dean’s Hot Band, who will breathe new life in the wonderful sounds of The Shadows and The Tornadoes.

Staying in Devizes, Billy Walton Band play Long Street Blues Club, Triple JD Band at The Southgate, Funked Up at The Three Crowns, and Ben Borrill at the Moonrakers.

Ska-punk at The Lamb in Marlborough with Operation 77.

The Will Blake Band with Junkyard Dogs in support at The Landsdowne Hall in Derry Hill.

Wiltshire Police Band’s Spring Concert at Seend Community Hall, Helena Softley @ The Barge, Honey-Street.

Eco-Future Fest at The Neeld in Chippenham.

Kova Me Bad play The Vic in Swindon, One Chord Wonders at The Queen’s Tap, Francis Rossi has Tunes & Chat at The Wyvern Theatre.

And Editor’s Pick of The Week, Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival continues at The Christ Church with a whole day and night of live jazz from across the genres, and African themed live music featuring artists from Zimbabwe, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Caribbean artists from Dominica and Trinidad.

The Clare Teal Four at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, The Butt Monkeys at The Three Horseshoes.

Two Beatles play Prestbury Sports Bar, Warminster.

Folk Rock Experience Tour- The Songs of Sandy Denny at Chapel Arts, Bath, while Garrett Millerick’s Just Trying to Help show comes to the Rondo Theatre.

Sunday 16th sees Devizes Lions’ Sponsored Walk, and some amazing music around the county….

A gothic acoustic matinee with the fantastic Deadlight Dance at The Blue Boar in Aldbourne.

Another unmissable, John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett at The Pump, Trowbridge.

The Worried Men play The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, and that’s awesome too!

Axel Blake’s In Style at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, while Long For The Coast & Drew Bryant play The Tuppenny.

And Monday 17th, I got nought!

Tuesday 18th sees Nadiya and Kai’s Once Upon a Time at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, and the opening night of the Swindon G & S Society’s Lolanthe, which runs until 22n April at Swindon Arts Centre.

But you know, I’m sure there’s more to come so keep your eye on the event calendar!

Like a Fine Wine; Jon Amor’s Southgate Residency

I’ll do this now, get it ticked off, although I probably shouldn’t, a bit wobbly still; strictly professional all the way!

Said it before, Andy has too, and once Mr Ian Diddams wished to express it in his own words, a sentiment we can all agree on; Devizes is truly blessed when, monthly, our homegrown blues legend Mr Jon Amor, as regular as clockwork, arrives with cat and mouse team, drummer Tom Gilkes, bassist Jerry Soffe, and a guest of honour at the trusty Southgate. If this month was our easter egg, we stuffed our faces…

A week later than the usual first Sunday of the month, Jon’s superb trio did again, tore the place down with an electric set of electric blues, and the juke joint was bumping, grinding like sardines with shades on. It’s the highlight of the month in Devizes, worthy of giving up your Sunday roast for.

Thing is, it seems to be an occasion I never tire of, for as samey as it might sound, it doesn’t, it matures like a fine wine. Any similarities are welcomed; we love what Jon and Tom and Jerry do, but the diversity hinges on the guest.

For their touring efforts, they bring us back a souvenir, a musician friend who you’d gladly buy a ticket to see play. I asked Jon if they “knew what they were letting themselves in for?!” He assured me not all of them. But from what I witness, they always come away with a ‘well, that was well worth the squeeze’ expression.

This occasion was of no exception, Philadelphian soul blues virtuoso Leburn Maddox was mingling among the punters, likely in an attempt to keep awake. Missing his flight from Paris, he kipped in the airport and came to us via Dublin, but when it came for his time to shine, it was immaculate.

With fruity banter, exceptional finger-picking, and that authentic grizzly blues vocals, Leburn is the real deal, and Southgate regulars were in awe. He gave us some of his originals and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, as well as customarily jamming with the trio.

It only leaves me dripping in anticipation as to what delights Jon can pull from his magician’s tophat next. Tune in next month, folks.

Gorillas and the Pissed in Bishops Cannings!

A minority of disgruntled villagers falsely accuse a pub of stealing a gorilla statue from Scotland to use as a memorial to a lost friend in order to sabotage their business….you can’t write comedy this gold…

Something fast becoming a legendary Bishop’s Cannings village vendetta, with a small minority of widely dispersed residents and others who simply like to whinge against the alleged evil of creating a lively community and often fundraising hub at their only public house, The Crown Inn, stooped to a new level of low this morning, as valuable police time was wasted when they reported a gorilla statue erected in the pub’s beer garden as a memorial was stolen….

The gorilla was hailed by most as a “wonderful gesture to remember their great friend, loyal customer and all round good egg Kevin Wilson who sadly passed away last year.” Kevin was a founder of the inaugural CrownFest last year but sadly passed away from cancer prior to the event; an emotional tribute to him was made by landlady Judith Macfarlane.

The critical few knew no bounds or respect for the significance of the gorilla when they set about slamming its presence in the beer garden as “inappropriate” on a local Facebook group. Yet no one could elucidate exactly why they found it so offensive, only that it was within the vicinity of the renowned St Mary the Virgin Church.

Whilst many a village pub in the county is suffering financial issues and forcibly being closed down, The Crown at Bishop’s Cannings has for the past two years enjoyed a lively community-driven ethos, with camping available and has become a flagship fully supported by a majority of villagers. But the handful opposed to new landlords, Judith and Gary, have attempted to sabotage their efforts since they took over the Crown.

They systematically complained about noise, a building application for an outside bar, and caused the pub to restrict its live music licence to the bare minimum. But last night, as the pub welcomed back celebrated acoustic duo Illingworth, who play with guitar and cajon combo, hardly executing a deafening noise, they rallied against the pub, digging up a BBC article about a similar gorilla statue stolen from a garden centre in Scotland, in March, tenaciously linked it to the pub’s statue and called the police to report it as the stolen artefact!

As if the idea of driving a giant gorilla statue all the way from Scotland to publicly display in a pub 500 miles away isn’t ludicrous enough, and a massive waste of police resources, landlady Judith explained the gorilla “has been here for over two months, just not out on display. We paid for him in December.” Three months prior to the mass-produced statue being stolen!

They bought him from a garden centre in Surrey, Judith told us, “The police needed to see the receipt.”

The Crown is to hold a second annual CrownFest on 8th July, after last year’s huge success. One resident told us, “The pub has had the busiest weekend of the year so far, and they want to ruin it for everyone.”

We’re of the opinion that it is a crying shame a minority wishes to spoil what little entertainment the village has, by consistently attempting to sabotage it, and they should count their lucky stars they have such a dedicated team behind their local pub, for it’s a rarity in our villages.

The level they will stoop to apparently knows no bounds when it subjects falsely reporting a memorial to police. But the pub shrugged the incident off as laughable, and with the insane allegation, they drove a stolen gorilla statue from Scotland to place in their beer garden, we tend to agree! It’s a King Kong cockup!!

National Treasure: Henry Normal Brings New Tour to Devizes

Featured Photo: Richard Davies

Writer, poet, TV & Film producer, founder of the Manchester Poetry Festival (now the Literature festival) and co-founder of the Nottingham Poetry Festival, Henry Normal brings his new tour, Collected Poems and Other Landfill, to The Assembly Rooms in Devizes on Friday 3rd November.….

In June 2017 he was honoured with a special BAFTA for services to Television, credits roll like the ultimate résumé. He co-wrote and script edited the multi-award-winning Mrs Merton show and the spin off series Mrs Merton and Malcolm. He also co-created and co-wrote the first series of The Royle Family. With Steve Coogan he co-wrote the BAFTA winning Paul and Pauline Calf Video Diaries, Coogan’s Run, Tony Ferrino, Doctor Terrible and all three of Steve’s live tours and the film The Parole Officer.

Setting up Baby Cow Productions Ltd in 1990, Henry executive produced all and script edited many of the shows of its 17-and-a-half-year output during his tenure as MD. Highlights of the Baby Cow output during his time include the Oscar nominated film Philomena, I believe in Miracles, Gavin and Stacey, Moone Boy, Uncle, Marion and Geof, Nighty Night, The Mighty Boosh, Red Dwarf, Hunderby, Camping and Alan Partridge.

Since retiring in April 2016, Henry has written and performed eight BBC Radio 4 shows combining comedy, poetry, and stories about family. His tenth show A Normal Home will be recorded on the 18th November 2022 for transmission on the 20th December.

In April 2018, Two Roads publishers released his book of memoirs ‘A Normal Family’ which was written with his wife Angela Pell, drawing on his family experience. It immediately became a best seller on Amazon and has already been reprinted.

Henry performs poetry at Literature Festivals around the UK and has eleven poetry books available from Flapjack Press including the latest entitled Collected Poems Vol.2.

He was recently given an honorary doctorate of letters by Nottingham Trent University, another by Nottingham University and has a beer and a bus named after him in Nottingham!

Support for Henry Normal’s show comes from very special guest British actor, comedian, musician, novelist, and playwright Nigel Planer, perhaps best known for his role as Neil in the BBC comedy The Young Ones and Ralph Filthy in Filthy Rich & Catflap. He has appeared in many West End musicals, including original casts of Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Doors at 7.30pm, on Friday 3rd November. Tickets (£17.50 + booking fee) are available now HERE.


Carmela To Help in Local Care Home

Over three years since my most memorable “Spider-Milk-Man” run in aid of Carmela’s Stand Up to Muscular Dystrophy, it’s always nice to catch up with…

Sustainable Devizes Christmas Toy & Book Swap

Grab some free Christmas gifts, clear some space at home, and reduce waste… “try swapping not shopping this Christmas,” says Sustainable Devizes, as they host…

Alex Roberts at The Barge, Honeystreet 

by Ben Romain and Victoria Stanley We ventured out to the Barge to catch Alex Roberts after first seeing him at The Southgate, Devizes on…

Illingworth Celebrate Their 100th Gig!

Salisbury-based acoustic rock duo John Illingworth Smith and Jolyon Dixon play The High Post Golf Club, between Amesbury and Salisbury this Friday 2nd December, and…

41 Fords are Not Dead Yet!

Damp morning, about 3:30am I’m descending Pelch Lane in Seend, like a sack of potatoes dropping. If you don’t know the track it’s a steep one, with a bend which keeps on giving; not the ideal place to whip out your phone and change the tune when you’re pinning down a heavily-ladened milkfloat! So, first taster of the debut album from Trowbridge’s 41 Fords, Not Dead Yet goes on loop, and I shrug, as it’s no hardship, “let it roll for another round.”

I wasn’t sure what to listen to next anyway, and to be honest, this took me by pleasant surprise. Sure, we’ve registered their name on our gig list several occasions, regulars down the trusty Southgate (next date is Saturday 3rd June), but I’ve not had the opportunity to pay them a visit. I see now they’re on the roster for Devizes Scooter Club’s annual rally in July, which if I had of noticed before it might’ve given me a closer inkling what to assume.

coincidently, wristbands have just gone on sale for this!

But psychobilly was unexpected, neither is it a subgenre which usually floats my boat. Akin to heavy metal, the late-eighties fusion of rockabilly and punk is characterised with negative symbolism; it’s all ultraviolence, death, B-movie horror pastiches, and other delinquent and discouraging subject matters, and I like to think I’m optimistic, least too old, to relish in morbidity.

But if I am to pigeonhole the 41 Fords, it’s unlike the wrecking of The Meteors, or the all-out hellish nature of Demented Are Go, and not as offbeat as the skabilly of Roddy Radiation; this is matured psychobilly with all the negativity stripped away. It retains the lively rockabilly stance, the foot-tapping upright double-bass, the nods to western swing, jump blues and boogie-woogie, and breathing fresh air into it with punk’s insolence, and gypsy folk goodness.

Yet their themes tend on maturing romantic affairs, often generation X mod-pop in nature. And for this blend, it’s truly unique, beguiling and for want of sitting down, you’ll be incapable; my highest point-scoring goes on the sheer energy these guys never seem to let up on.

Recorded at Nine Volt Leap studio in Melksham, Not Dead Yet is out on 1st May, and you really need to look out for this, I bloody love it! To break down exactly why isn’t simple. The album kicks off mod, think hillbilly The Jam with double-bass, perhaps. A girl-infatuation themed Emily, opens, and from the off it’s got me hook, line and sinker. For it’s upbeat throughout, captivating, and optimistic; this is The Housemartins do psychobilly, and I mean this in the best possible taste, for you cannot prevent foot-tapping to Happy Hour, surely?!

The subject of reunion with a former partner is slam-dunked next, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan style, The Great Gatsby offers nothing more than Emily in topic, only the literatural reference. Yet while romance is a running-theme, ballad doesn’t appear in their vocabulary; 41 Fords do not come up for air. Marriage problems raises its ugly head, against a penchant for nightlife in the following track, and another girl’s name title, Tabitha continues this sunny side of the street mood.  

If it goes on this leitmotif for a staggering twelve tunes, it all hinges on their magnum-opus for pop catchiness, the fifth tune, Peaky Blinders. Surely anthemic, it takes the humorous route of Del-boy lovable rouges; Chas & Dave does the Cockney Rejects!

Through this three-minute hero, you might wonder if cockney musical hall will continue being cited, but while Not Dead Yet maintains everything which has so far made this album sheer brilliance, 41 Fords swerve gradually into a more Anglo-Irish folk feel, like Shane MacGowan finished his pint and jammed with these Housemartins, doing psychobilly, with an overall Merton Parkas type fusion.

Ah, see now I’m worried I’ve given the impression this is all sounds cluttered, like there’s too much going on, but na, me old China plate, this is flows, smoothly operated with such individuality it’s a tricky one to pin down. If, like me, you’re willing to take onboard the Cramps, and be done with psychobilly, this offers a maturity in themes, wrapped in addictive danceable congeniality.

The Wonder of The Sky is perhaps the standout track towards the finale, for it encompasses everything great about the 41 Fords, who know precisely what buttons to press to write and deliver a pop song with retrospective wow, but refuses commercialisation. It doesn’t verve to create a Stairway to Heaven or a dub-lampoon either, each tune is kept at the three-minute proximity, and each one does what you expect it to do; charges 240 volts into your blue suede shoes!

A Christmas Song, titled thus, finishes, and yeah, it has a Fairy-tale of New York feel, really bringing out the folk oblique which I believe breathes something local into it too, like Somerset’s proclivity for Scrumpy & Western. In all, you could fit 41 Fords into a scooter rally bill, but equally into a Somerset cider brawl with the Boot Hills. And in that, if pigeonholing matters not when you’re in the moment and the music takes you on a dancing voyage, 41 Fords are seamless. This album truly is a must-have.

Bung them a like on Facebook, for updates, and I’ll thread this review with links when the album comes out in May; you’re in for a treat!

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