Open Music Venues, or Do They Hate Art?

The Smart E’s “Sesame’s Treet” bleeped through the hills of a west country location in 1991. There was an air of delight and mirth when someone pointed to the ridge yonder. “Look,” they chuckled, “the pigs are dancing!” Story checked out, I turned my head to witness a couple of police officers jumping and waving their arms, mocking the fashion of a dancing raver. Imitation we never took to heart, ravers were tongue-in-cheek about their chosen music; repetitive beats over a children’s tv theme was comical nostalgia, and not supposed to be taken seriously. As for the police, seemed as individuals observing, they saw the simple truth that there was no harm in what we were doing. Yet there was always hate in the establishment they took orders from, and we were months away from being grounded by force.

rave

Hysterical measures by a desperate conservative government, who failed to see the value we held for something they couldn’t understand, an electronic art movement, principally, a modern folk music.

Authoritarians detest art, least the progression of art, seems to me. And it has been plaguing my mind of recent. Freedom of expression, they fear, encourages liberation, unrest and consequently, rebellion. Munich, 1937; Third Reich leaders combined two opposing art exhibitions into one, the “Great German Art Exhibition.” The first hall featured art which Hitler considered suitable, orthodox and representational, lots of flaxen folk gallantly posed like Roman deity sculptures, and local idyllic rural sceneries.

great german art ex

The second displayed what Hitler deemed “degenerate art,” contemporary, progressive and mostly abstract. But they ensured it was demoted, through exhibiting it callously, with disorder, and bestowing dissuading labels on it, describing “the sick brains of those who wielded the brush or pencil.” Hitler pushed stringent boundaries onto German artists, because he figured art was key to the rise of Nazism and his vision for the future.

Damn, he hated the Bauhaus. Forced the art school to close in 1933. Their angular designs which would herald the most efficient revolution of modernist architecture, were deemed communist intellectualism by the Nazi regime; give them an archaic Spalato Porta Greek arch, or be shot!

bauhaus

I see humour as my art, my aim is to make you laugh, whenever possible. In a week where a keyboard warrior reported me to Facebook for an ironic slate at Boris Johnson, yet a grammatically atrocious meme, stating they need not pay for a holiday, when purchase of a dinghy from Argos will see them put up in a hotel, is hailed as hilarious, I receive a message of eternal doom for the grassroots music industry, from a professional musician.

Gone, it seems, are the days of eighties “alternative comedy” of the Footlights, of Ben Elton and Rick Mayell scornfully ridiculing Thatcherism. Gone is the echoing mantra of Joe Strummer demanding “a riot of our own.” Today the art of comedy, and music, barely touches political matter, and never takes risks. Humour is subjective, as is all art, I accept this, but art enriches our lives, provides joy and entertainment, and should never be curbed or censored. Yet we find a consistent urge by blossoming traditionalists to dampen the spirit of artists.

The Trump administration eliminated the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts. An annual $150 million is a devastating blow to the industry, yet hardly major cost-cutting as it weighs in at only 0.004 percent of the federal budget. Akin to the ethos of the “Great German Art Exhibition,” history is peppered with examples of right-wing philosophy opposing art. The Stalinists enforced stringent principles of style and content, to ensure it served the purposes of state leadership, methodically executing the Soviet Union’s Ukrainian folk poets, according to the composer and pianist, Dmitri Shostakovich. Just as Chile’s coup of 1973, when Augusto Pinochet tortured and exiled muralists. Singer, Víctor Jara was murdered, his body presented publicly as a warning to others.

grassroots

In the UK, the reopening of lockdown restrictions despite the pandemic still mounting, where it seems perfectly acceptable to travel to foreign lands on a luxury holiday and return without quarantine, where we are encouraged to shop till we drop and eat out in restaurants to save the food industry, and it’s commonly accepted our children will be used as lab rats in a herd immunity experiment, a government, who let’s face it, should have imposed a lockdown sooner, as was the example of every other developed nation worldwide, rather than fail to attend meetings with the World Health Organisation, and use unreliable companies to supply software and PPE to help combat the virus, simply because they are mates of theirs, will not allow us to have a sing-song in a pub.

Now, at first, I accepted the possible threat, but in light of recent lessening of restrictions, I fail to comprehend the logic in this, in continuing the restrictions on art and music. Given the historical facts surrounding the authoritarian’s apparent hatred of art, I am beginning to fear the virus is a being used as a convenient excuse to suppress and suspend creativity. Oi, loony leftie, shut up, stay in your home and watch the celebrity Pointless special.

banksy

I suggested, didn’t I, art is subjective? If Hitler liked the conventional, representative of Renaissance tradition, it was his prerogative, but there was no need to kill everyone simply because he couldn’t draw horses very well. Since the invention of photography can duplicate precise imagery, artists seek expression, inimitability and design according to their own mind. If it constitutes liberal or reformist ideals, why should it be devalued by opposing attitudes? The problem arises when oppression is enforced, freedom will return the fire, and will be back, refreshed, to bite them on the bum!

Just as the Jamaican JLP party of the right, battled burgeoning Rastafarians into the Wareika Hills in the 1950s, and labelled them “Blackheart Men,” or bogeymen, yet the surge of reggae and the popularity of Bob Marley today sees Rastas accepted in Jamaican society for the tourism it attracts, The Battle of the Beanfield in 1985 did nothing to control travellers in the UK. Less than a decade later the free party scene metamorphized into a rave generation which saw youths rally to support them. You cannot curb progressive movements in any art without risking a wave of rebellion. Ironically, the very thing they’re trying to prevent.

Basq

We’ve seen a return of the rave, police fearing a riot if they try to prevent them, but they reflect nothing of the magnitude of the nineties, yet. Unless grassroots music venues and pubs who were regularly supplying live music are reopened, even if that means social distancing measures are in place, it is inevitable you will open a gapping underground and future generations will strike back. This does nothing for the values conservatives uphold, or their vision of a totalitarian future, but furthermore severely punishes every professional in the arts industry from rock star to sound engineer, every prospering new performer in an era formerly to lockdown, I see equivalent to those swinging sixties; a time I suspect most baby boomers of tory ethos hold dear. An era where every youth was in a band, and focused on music rather than belligerent misdoings.

Yet still, gammons, I believe is the modern terminology, if the left is snowflake, persist in whinging about how youths have no respect, how they were flaunting rules in the park, gathering, conspiring, they so suspect, against them. What if they are, though probably just socialising as they likely once did in their younger years, what if they’ve some masterplan to overthrow this Tory charade; they surprised by this? How egocentrically imprudent, how selfishly insular. This is people’s livelihoods they are toiling with. As Bob Marley once said, “a hungry man is an angry man.”

bob

 

 

Online Auction for All Cannings

All Cannings Pre-School are holding an auction for the summer! It includes tickets for days out and experiences, plus vouchers and gifts.

There will be a post for each item in the auction, with an image and description. Bidders will comment on the post with their maximum bid, hopefully increasing it to beat others over the weekend! All to raise essential funds for All Cannings Preschool. A very big thank you to everyone who has donated items for the auction.

https://m.facebook.com/events/627158707860654

Round Up: 13th August 2020

Hi all, back with our regular updates. Though we are still some way to returning to normal, the event calendar is looking a little healthier as events are being added. Please note some events listed may have been cancelled and I’ve just not noticed, so check the links before planning anything.

 

The first Devizes Wide Community Yard Sale will be underway on Sunday, here is what it’s all about: https://devizine.com/2020/07/28/devizes-wide-community-yard-sale-what-a-great-idea/

 

We’re continuing to support Tanya Borg’s campaign to get her children back, please sign the petition. Though we’ve good news that Danny Kruger has agreed to meet Tanya: https://devizine.com/2020/08/08/tanya-continues-her-campaign-promised-meeting-with-danny-kruger/

rainbowlogo

And you may have seen our hero, Wayne Cherry walking through town, here’s why:  https://devizine.com/2020/08/04/hero-wayne-cherry-back-in-action/

wayne5

Last time I was allowed out to play, I made haste for the Southgate where the Lost Trades played, and I give you some words on this, and review their debut EP: https://devizine.com/2020/07/30/three-times-better-the-lost-trades-the-southgate/

the-lost-trades-1a_600px

This week we reviewed Paul Lappin’s new single, Broken Record: https://devizine.com/2020/08/09/paul-lappins-broken-record/

paullappinbrokenrecord

And a nice tune from Bath producer JAY, featuring Ben Keatt, called Sunset Remedy: https://devizine.com/2020/08/08/sunset-remedy-with-jay/

And Atari Pilot’s Right Crew, Wrong Captain: https://devizine.com/2020/07/26/atari-pilots-right-crew-wrong-captain/

astarifeat

For fun, I did a piece on the Worst Pop Crimes of the Mid-Eighties: https://devizine.com/2020/08/02/worst-pop-crimes-of-the-mid-eighties/

And had a little satirical slate at WC’s seagull survey: https://devizine.com/2020/08/08/sign-the-seagull-survey-bob/

seagull

There a continuous online Bath art exhibition in aid of Children’s Hospice south west: https://www.artgallerysw.co.uk/bath-art-expo/

 

And on Fri 14th August, Mad Dog Mcrea online live stream from Bath’s Komedia, and the Beat stream from Birmingham. Find links on the event calendar.

In Swindon, there’s an outdoor Amy Winehouse tribute at the Ridge.

——————————–

Sat 15th:

Devizes: Eddie Martin Band @ Southgate from 4pm.

Seend: Paranormal Investigation @ Old Bell

Amesbury: Eddie George Live at The New Inn

Swindon: Sophia & the Soul Brothers at the Cotswold Water Ski Park

———————————-

Sun 16th

Devizes Wide Community Yard Sale

Park Yoga @ Hillworth Pk

Jamie Williams & the Roots Collective @ Southgate

Bath: Two Tunnels Race

Kevin Brown’s Shackdusters Live at The Queens Head, Box

Swindon: Bandit & B2D Present: The Acoustic Sessions @ The Vic: with Mike Barham, Jordy Pearce & Jade Coral Feast. This is free entry, doors at 7pm.

————————————–

Tues 18th

Devizes: Vinyl Realm have a Vinyl Listening Session at the Literary & Scientific Institute

———————————–

And that’s the week. I’m delighted to say, I’ve worked on a proposal for live acoustic music at Devizes Indie Day on 5th September which has been pitched to relevant councils. Hopefully we will get permission to do this, and as soon as I know, you will too; if you keep in touch with www.devizine.com

 

Other things to look forward to: The Concert at The Kings has been cancelled this year, but check out some small, social distanced gigs at the Kings Arms in All Cannings: Los Pacaminos with Paul Young is sold out, but tickets are available for 23rd August with the Sloe Train Blues Band: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/concertsatthekingsarmsltd1

 

On that same Sunday, 23rd August, The Lost Trades play the Queen’s Head in Box, tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/schtumm-presents-the-lost-trades-tickets-115953571253

You should note, and I’m completely upset about this, but Facebook has decided Devizine is a spam site and has blocked our URL. I am trying to rectify this, but to be honest, I’d get better luck finding alien life in the universe. For now, do as I am doing, try not to depend on notifications from us via Facebook, and go direct to the site, or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. We plod on.

 

 

Paul Lappin’s Broken Record

A cracker of a single from Swindon’s Paul Lappin this week, a Britpop echoing of Norwegian Wood, perhaps, but tougher than that which belongs on Rubber Soul. Broken Record is an immediate like, especially the way it opens as crackling vinyl and the finale repeats the final line into a fade, as if it was indeed, a broken record.

Shrewdly written, the venerable subject of a passionate breakup metaphors the title, “ignore the voice of reason, leave the key and close the door, do you think you’re ready, to become unsteady, like a broken record, you have heard it all before.” Paul does this frankly, with appetite and it plays out as a darn good, timeless track.

lappin2

It’s head-spinning rock, intelligent indie. Harki Popli on tabla drum and Jon Buckett’s subtle Hammond organ most certainly attributes to my imaginings of a late-Beatles vibe. Yet if this is a tried and tested formula, as I believe I’ve said before about Paul’s music, he does it with bells on.

For less than a chocolate bar, download this track from Bandcamp, it doesn’t disappoint.


Adverts & Stuff!

yardsalettranstxtwp-15952278837674305734103090329981.jpgsuperheroholdclubeatout1

Sign the Seagull Survey, Bob!

Sign away and get your say in how we slay the seagulls, even though there’s no such thing as seagulls, so they cannot be any causing trouble, here, or at sea. Gulls, Wiltshire Council, without reading National Geographic, could possibly mean. Love or hate them, they don’t taste particularly nice, even with a thousand island dressing, that much we can all agree on. And they can be annoying blighters, taking gluttonous tourist’s chips to, you know, survive and stuff like that. Unlike other wild animals which have the common decency to ask politely.

They squawk too, don’t they? Bloody annoying when you’re trying having a lie-in, pondering if Waitrose is lowering its class demographic these days. Dogs bark all night, owls hoot, cows moo, ravers have parties, but none poo on your Audi, keep them. So, if you’re enraged by our relatively low by comparison to coastal areas, increasing seagull population, fill in the survey and you could win a holiday for two to Southend-on-Sea.

Other innocent birds are exempt, even Tory supporters and other pests. Still, let’s bring those gulls in line with the fox and badgers of yore, tally-ho! Pests are pests, but can be subjective, I mean, I’m none too keen on wasps, and councillors who fail to respond to people’s enquiries, such as, is it possible to fix a swing in a park, stuff like that.

Glad they’re in charge of Wiltshire and not New South Wales, you know, with scorpions and black widows; a gull’s nip on the bottom might not seem so bad then. Read between the lines, one councillor woke up one morning with gull poo on their nice car and bingo, they’re going to convince you we need to punish them all! Next week, who knows, a hoodie might try to nick their hubcaps and all teenagers will be shot.

You know me, I’m impartial, but maybe we should stop pigeonholing and cull all pests. Talking of pigeonholes, how come we’re fine with pigeons, who outnumber the seagulls and are generally ranked higher in most lists of bird pests? They backhanding the council or what?! You can bet your bottom dollar those pigeons have signed, takes the pressure off them!

Sunset Remedy with JAY

Is it still fashionable to be late for a party, or are we conversant enough to realise this refined art is solely perpetrated by egocentrics pretending to be too popular to be punctual? Rather, I’m am obsolete slob who can only apologise to Jay and Wise Monkey for my delay in reviewing his debut single featuring the vocals of Ben Keatt, but what excuse can I give? Here’s where fatherhood comes in handy, being too candid to be vain, least I can blame it on my kids and their perpetual school holiday! That said, I’ve gained some experience on Minecraft and, if I really try, I can do more than two keep-me-upsies.

Sunset Remedy is the track, released last Friday. Jay, Bath’s first external artist of Wise Monkey Music is a producer and instrumentalist, defined as “a bright shining light in the future of DIY and Bedroom Pop,” and I can only but agree. In the fashion of the classic neighbouring Bristol downtempo sound of Massive Attack and Portishead, it came as a surprise to note the soulfulness beats of this sublime track, as it melodically traipses with funky guitar, poignant lyrics and an uplifting air.

jay1

If Pink Floyd came after Morcheeba, they might have sounded a little something like this; neo-soul, the kind of song you wish was physical matter, so you could pluck it out and give it a cuddle! It’s breezing with nu cool, with a melancholic plod and would blend between tracks on Blue Lines unnoticed, save for perhaps this backdrop guitar riff, providing scope of multi-genre appeasement. Ben’s vocals are breathtakingly touching and accompanies the earnest lyrics and smooth beats perfectly. Yeah, this is a nonchalant chef-d’oeuvre, crossing indie pigeonholes and one I’m going to be playing until I hear more from Jay.

And don’t run away with the idea I’m singing it’s praises simply because of the delay in getting to reviewing it! So not me. You trust I speak my fractured mind, and anyway, time is an illusion to this aging hippy. If punctuality was money I’d be happily broke; procrastination rules, ok. No, I urge you grab this beauty, and show some love to Jay’s Facebook page.


Adverts & Stuff

yardsalettranstxtsuperheroholdclubwp-15952278837674305734103090329981.jpgeatout1

Tanya Continues her Campaign; Promised Meeting with Danny Kruger

The protest at Downing Street due to happen today has been postponed, but Tanya Borg has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of her campaign since we reported on it, a fortnight ago. So, a quick update on its progress and how you can help this Pewsey mum fight to get her children home.

Tanya’s two daughters, Angel and Maya were abducted by their father five years ago, and taken to Libya to live with his family. After being granted full custody in both nations, Tanya travelled to Libya to rescue them, but Tanya explains when they tried to get away, they were bundled in a car and driven away. She hasn’t seen or had contact with them since.

I’m glad to have received a reply from our email to Danny Kruger on the issue. He stated “I share your concern for the awful and distressing position of this family. Please be reassured I am in contact with Ms Borg and with the Foreign Office, and of course I share your belief that the British government should do everything it can on behalf of British citizens.”

wp-15952278837674305734103090329981.jpg

Although Tanya expressed, she has had a reply from Danny, forwarding the response from the African representative, “it’s the same response I got two years ago saying they can’t help, but also that Danny Kruger can offer me a meeting.”

A glimmer of hope must go a long way for anyone involved in such a heart-breaking situation, as Tanya awaits a date for this meeting, “but it could be interesting,” she says.

Meanwhile there is an important petition you can sign, here. Please do.

Here is the Go Fund Me Link, if you can help.

There is also a tee-spring hoody, and tote bag with printed logos of the campaign, and all the money raised will go to the fund, here. Join the Facebook group for further updates, here.


rockgazyardsalettranstxtsuperheroholdclubeatout1

Hero Wayne Cherry Back in Action!

You may recall hero, Wayne Cherry of Rowde, standing for a hundred hours in remembrance at the top of the Brittox in Devizes during November 2018, to honour those lost in the First World War.

For this year’s 75th VE day celebrations, self-isolating never stopped Wayne, he pledged to stand in his garden for 75 hours, raising £1,272 for the NHS fund.

Now Wayne is back, and he has decided to raise funds for SSAFA the Armed Forces charity, for VJ Day in August by completing a 75-mile trek around the Devizes area.

wayne1

Under the banner, “Not Forgotten,” Wayne explains his reasoning, “treatment of allied prisoners of war by the hands of the Japanese army in Asia during WW2 was without question, barbaric. Those who survived struggled to come to terms with their experience and many would never talk about it. 15 August 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in Asia and one that I shall be marking with respect.”

I asked Wayne how many days he planned to take over it. “I will have to start on Friday 7th,” he replied, “looking to average ten miles a day, which in reality is a push with a knee replacement and diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica, which is painful hips and shoulders.” The walk will end on Friday 14th August. “I just grit my teeth and get on with it,” he continued, “nothing compared to those who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom we enjoy today.”

wayne3

Wayne will start his route each day leaving from Wadworths 10am. He will head towards the Market Place on Northgate St, through the Little Brittox, along the High St following Long St, to Southbroom Rd, and continuing onto Sidmouth St to Maryport St, through the Brittox, and back through the Little Brittox into the Market Place, up to Snuff St, along to New Park St and finally, heading back towards Wadworths. That’s approximately a 2-mile circuit, 5 times a day.

wayne2

“It would be very much appreciated,” Wayne expressed, “if anyone would like to accompany me for as little or as long as you wish, I will be carrying a collection bucket each day for anyone who may wish to make a donation.” Alternatively, if you join his Facebook group, here, you can follow and support him, and find bank details, if you would like to contribute this way.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Wayne the very best with his astounding effort, and congratulate him on the amazing fundraising he has done to date already. I know the people of Devizes and the surrounding area will rally to support him, as they have done in the past. Go Wayne Cherry, you are an inspiration to us all.


Adverts & Stuff!

covidcampyardsalettranstxtrockgazwp-15952278837674305734103090329981.jpgsuperheroholdclubplankshead1eatout1InDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966rainbowlogo

Worst Pop Crimes of the Mid-Eighties!

Relished in your own nostalgia or, if you’re too young to have lived it, curiously influenced by a bygone era, no one can deny the eighties was a decade of musical progression in a similar manner to the sixties. From the beginnings of the decade, pop showcased a legacy of youth cultures, from glam to rockabilly, from punk to two tone, from the refurbished mod to ironic ethos of the skinhead, and from frilly-sleeved new romantics to jogging-bottomed breakers. The pioneering genres of electronica and electro saw hip hop become the new rock n roll, but it would take some time to find a niche in the UK. Naturally, by the end of the decade, a new driving force via electronics would saturate the underground, as acid house exploded, and we stomped into the following decade with whistles and white gloves.

While it developed, there was a period, a kind of no-man’s-land of youth culture, a void in creativity in which the hit factories strategically bounded out of the trenches and perpetrated a full-scale attack. Make no mistake, pop crime is wrought in every decade, manufactured atrocities occurred throughout every era since pop begun, but never on this scale. It was mass genocide with diddy-boppers.

“It was mass genocide with diddy-boppers.”

Maliciously, the target was aimed younger than ever before, the demographic was 10 to 14-year olds. The commanders were specialists in the field, making Simon Cowell seem like Beethoven by comparison. Three in control of the fiercest battalion, one Mike Stock, the other Matt Aitken and last, but by no means least, Pete Waterman. Fortunately, I had just surpassed their target audience, and thanks to Zeppelin, Hendrix, and others, our generation rewound to previous eras for protection against the shelling, eagerly awaiting rave. But prior, when I was the right age, I fell hook, line and sinker; most pre-teens do.

This is why it’s important to note, Stock Aitken Waterman may’ve redefined pop crime to an all-time low, but not until near the ending of the decade did the crimewave truly flourish. Plus, they did not offend alone, many tried before, no matter how petty the crime, they committed them. SAW’s first singles, Divine’s “You Think You’re a Man,” and Hazell Dean’s “Whatever I Do,” only charted at numbers 16 and 4, respectively, in 84, their first number one, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by Dead or Alive the following March, but all were petty compared with the carnage of their perpetual recidivism during the decade’s second half, dubbed an “assembly line.”

“Petty compared with the carnage of their perpetual recidivism during the decade’s second half, dubbed an “assembly line.”

I tried not to choose the obvious then, the classically nauseating novelty songs which slayed for humorous effect. From the only way we Tweeted in the 80s for example, the Birdie Song, to ethnic stereotyping for kicks; shaddap your own face, Joe Dolce. Or randomly pushing pineapples, shaking trees, and wishing you could fly right up to the sky. Never forget, there’s no one quite like Grandma.

Neither have I selected the memorable later evils of Stock Aitken Waterman et all, where the naive befell to their despicable set formula, from Bananarama to Cliff Richard, and a showcase of new recruits, many from Ozzy soaps. No, I favoured to concentrate on the period just prior, when I was susceptible to pop crime, an accessory to murder; for actually buying these 7″ monsters, and, at the time, loving them. We tend to block the worst parts of our memories and focus only on the highlights, so to buy a “best of 80s” 16-CD boxset for a fiver from a supermarket is deflecting the whole truth. These are the commonly cited worst songs of the period, Europe’s Final Countdown, Rick Astley, and so on. But to list the renowned offenders would be to simply copy and paste SAW’s discography; the truth being, we had some other serious pop crime in the mid-eighties, which went largely unpunished.

“To list the renowned offenders would be to simply copy and paste SAW’s discography.”

See, credit where credit is due, Vanilla Ice deserves some recognition for not only publicly apologising for his wrongdoing but elucidating the reason for pop crime. “They waved a massive cheque in my face,” he later explained, “What would you have done?” We could do with the staff of the TV show New Tricks to reopen these case files and investigate. The only problem I foresee with that is Dennis Waterman, who was partially guilty himself.

Here then I present evidence to the court, in hope pleading guilty by circumstance may lessen my sentence. Forgive me Marley, for I have sinned. Yes, the pop crimes which I naively involved myself with, the ones I played over and over, and live to regret my foolish immaturity. I warn you now, this was no simple to task to access the archives of my memory, it was dangerous to both mind and ear, musically akin to regenerating Frankenstein’s monster. But do not fear, fear will only lead to the dark-side, and you might just permanently injure yourself mentally by the horror of these video nasties, or even, open the closet to some skeletons you had long forgotten about. Tobacco needs a government health warning, if these tunes resurfaced, it would be advisable to do likewise. You have a lot to answer for, YouTube.

 

1: Five Star: System Addict

I confess, I loved Romford’s would-be-Jacksons siblings, period. My uncle lived in Romford and driving to visit, I’d keep a keen eye out in hope to catch a glance of them, until the Daily Mirror reported they moved to a plastic palace in Berkshire.

Buster Pearson, their Jamaican-born father and manager had an impressive résumé, working with soul and reggae legends Otis Redding, Jimmy Cliff, Wilson Pickett, and Desmond Dekker. From “All Fall Down” their debut single, unconcerned if I fancied Doris or Denise, I loved everything about them, until their flopped hard-edged dance comeback in 1988.

I loved their style, their soulful harmonies, and choreographed moves; ask me my favourite album in 85, it would’ve been Luxury of Life. I was 12, my only defence. I had some years before comprehending the crime of manufactured pop; today I can only cringe. This video for 1986’s System Addict says it all, a warning, I think, about the over usage of computers. Maybe they should’ve been warning about the over usage of shoulder pads.

2: Jermaine Stewart: We Don’t Have to Take our Clothes off

The junior disco at Pontins, Camber Sands in 1986, I didn’t know what to do next, but I knew I’d reached first base with a husky-voiced brunette with zips on her sleeves. Then this song came on, which I liked, but would be the stinger in any chance of ever taking the relationship further. Maybe for the best, the song was commenting on the AIDs pandemic and probably lessened the funky Jackson-a-like Jermaine Stewart’s chances of copping a shag too. I imagine the girl saying, “but you said, in the song….” as she holds up some cherry wine suggesting they danced all night instead. And an infuriated Jermaine replying, “I know what I sung, baby, but that’s not my words, just a song, come on….”

Sadly, and perhaps ironically, though, Jermaine died of aids-related liver cancer in 1997. Still, a foul pop crime, though only a single, first time offence.

3: Falco: Rock me Amadeus

Someone, somewhere thought it would be a good idea to rap in Flemish, and, fortunately for Falco, it was. He is the best-selling Austrian singer of all time. But here’s a massive selling pop crime single which time doesn’t do justice to.

At the time, 1985, I couldn’t get enough of this avant-garde trash, and the plush video of powdered-faced Germanic bourgeoisie busting out of their corsets. More so when I mistook a line, thinking he used both the F and C swear words, which was actually, “Frauen liebten seinen Punk,” “women loved his punk.” But the follow-up “Vienna Calling,” didn’t do it for me, and two things I learned from Rock me Amadeus, if anything, Mozart didn’t rap and the wonder of the one-hit-wonder.

4: Sam Fox: Touch Me

Interesting video portraying Samantha Fox as an established rock chick when the truth was, I always thought, she was famous only for getting her tits out in the Sun newspaper. Hers were, undoubtedly, the first pair of knockers I’d ever seen, and for that I’m truly grateful. But reinventing herself as rock star was a step too far.

Though, it was her mum who sent photos of her in her under-crackers to the tabloids, while the same year, a sixteen-year-old Samantha struggled with a pop career. In ‘83 “Rockin’ With My Radio” was her first single, produced by Ray Fenwick formerly of the Spencer Davis Group. Makes you wonder; mum distracts daughter from the depravities of the music industry my encouraging her to get her tits out for the newspapers. A lesson learned, never trust your mum if you want to be a pop star.

Me, I don’t care, I never wished to wallow in my brother’s obsession with Sam Fox, not because I was a prude, just more of a Linda Lusardi kind of kid, and, secondly, this title track from Jive Records’ 1986 album “Touch Me,” is horrifically criminal, and, nice tits or no, that is all.

5: Trans X: Living on Video

As with poor ol’ Sam Fox, Trans X is listed here due to assumption. Research again proves me wrong. As I figured, here was a mid-eighties single which desperately harked back to the synth-pop sound of the early eighties, rather than took the progressive stance with music technology other similar bands were. In actual fact, the 1985 version I had of it, which I thoroughly loved at the time, was a remix, the original dating back to 1982, bang on time for its style.

Trans-X were from Montreal, their only defence, passing the buck to the DJ for his remix is akin to getting your mum to take your speeding points. Even for 82 it sounds unpleasantly tacky. Mud sticks, it’s barbarism by today’s standards, in a manner Blue Monday doesn’t; I rest my case.

6: Nick Berry: Every Loser Wins

Wicksy, you wet blanket. If promoting your slushy song through your soap opera character isn’t cringeworthy enough, the character dedicated it to mismatched couple, Michelle and Lofty, and labelled it “their song,” only for Michelle to jilt Lofty at their wedding; such is EastEnders. For Berry though, this mawkish crime against pop swashed in enough sentimental sludge for it to hit number one in the charts for three weeks, the second biggest selling single of 86, and helped him ditch his contract with the soap.

Yeah, I bought this one, sucked in under false Disney-esque pretences that every loser does win. In reality of course, they don’t, else they’d be called winners instead by the terms of the word’s definition; idiot. Please, let’s never speak of it again.

7: Huey Lewis & The News: Stuck with You

There is no honour among thieves with pop crime. Huey Lewis cried “Ray Parker Jnr started it, sir!” When he did blatantly nick from Huey’s track “I Want a New Drug” for the Ghostbusters theme, and they settled out of court, but Lewis blabbed, so Parker hit back, a violation of the agreement to not discuss the settlement publicly. They both should’ve been slimed.

It was the reason why Huey Lewis got involved with rival movie Back to the Future, the reason I got into the group. It sure was a captivating moment, Marty McFly avoiding 1955’s bullies on a self-made skateboard with Huey Lewis and the News blasting The Power of Love in your face.

Yet, I cannot think of a better example of a band who got progressively worse as they went on. Someone must have known, and did nothing to stop them. Fore, they called their 1986 album, it destroyed any shards of creditability, foreskin more appropriately, and one which should’ve been circumcised because of the build-up of cheese. I only choose this pathetic pastiche of doo-wop barbershop over Hip to be Square, as that was at least upbeat, that is all

8: Maria Vidal: Body Rock

Graffiti artists might fancy the idea of telekinetic spray cans as featured in the video for Maria Vidal’s Body Rock, but while I supported the commercialisation of hip hop, at the time, this was step too far.

Agreed, left up to the comparatively documentary film, Wild Style in 1983, we may never have heard of hip hop in eighties Britain. Though Beat Street, the following year, was commercial, it had clearer narrative and higher production values. Beat Street was boss, but movies on the subject flowed thick and fast, and increasingly wrecked the reputation of the genre. Breakin’ kicked it off, and its sequel followed within the year, Body Rock took it to a whole other level.

Here is a song which advises one to move out of the way rather than stand up for yourself; hardly “street.” But what is more, it’s a template for the crimes of the hit factory, this and eurotrash, which is why we mention the next pop crime.

9: Spagna: Call Me

Ivana Spagna took it upon herself to assume she was famous enough to mononymous her name, and through her work with Italo disco duo, Fun Fun in her native Italy it might have been true. We didn’t know of her until this monster of a pop crime, Call Me.

Euro-pop would never regain the success of Nena’s 99 Red Balloons upon the UK charts without manufacturing a revolting formula. It’s catchy but empty of content, verses do not matter, just repeat the chorus, spray enough hairspray to bore a hole in the o-zone above you and jump into a stranger with headphone’s Suzuki and you’ll be fine. The criminal aspect so widely attractive to Pete Waterman went unpunished and, still at large, she continues to offend.

10: Peter Cetera: Glory of Love

Nothing wrong with fighting for honour and being the hero, they’ve been dreaming of, but, put a bit of umph in it for crying out loud. Peter Cetera was from acclaimed seventies band Chicago, it was sentimental slush but with grace. Take his song “If You Leave Me Now”, a song he wrote for their tenth album and gained Chicago its first Grammy Award. Begging the question then, what went so terribly wrong in the mid-eighties?

It seems the pop crime pandemic was at large and no one was safe; the soft rock power ballad proves it. This mullet-driven monstrosity is so nasty, so corrupt if you hear it through to the end, you’ll puke, Karate Kid or not. Wax on, wax off, sweep the leg, yes, this didn’t do anything for the sequel expect cause the audience stomach upsets. Yet, as with all these songs, at the time, I thought it was great, I thought it was a romance advise line, and ultimately resulted in years of hurt and anguish; no one was ever this romantic in 1985, not even Chris de fucking Burgh!


yardsalettranstxtrockgazeatout1superheroholdclub

 

Three Times Better; The Lost Trades @ The Southgate

From Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil at the crossroads to bipolar bank robber George “Babyface” Nelson, there’s so many Americana mythologies and folklore veracities apropos in the Cohen Brother’s “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” I could draft a lengthy essay. One I’m reminded of last Sunday down our trusty Southgate, was the scene depicting the Carter Family singing “Keep on the Sunny Side” at a governor’s election rally. Reason; there’s something simplistically bluegrass about The Lost Trades, matchless vocal harmonies, ensuring the circle is unbroken, even in a distant Wiltshire.

It was only a whistle-stop to wet my whistle, and when I did arrive the trio I’d came for where on their break. Tamsin was selling handcrafted spoons and lesser original band merchandise such as t-shirts and CDs, Phil was lapping the pub chatting enthusiastically and Jamie was having a pint with his family. None of this really matters, as individuals, we’ve rightfully nothing but praised these marvellous local musicians. When they formed a more official grouping and the Lost Trades were born, we broke the news. Neither did it matter, at the time, that I would be unable to attend their debut gig at the Village Pump. I had my new writer Helen offer to take my place, and what is more, I knew I’d be catching up with The Lost Trades in due course; couldn’t have predicted the impending lockdown the following week.

IMG_1232

Yet prior to Sunday I had ponder if there was anything else to write about these individuals we’ve not covered in the past, but I was wrong. The angle can only be the difference between them as individuals or periodically helping one another out at a gig, to the trio The Lost Trades. Because, when they did everything was very much adlib, with the Lost Trades three minds are working closer than ever before, and if two brains are better than one, three is not, in this case, a crowd.

It wasn’t long before they resettled, and huddled in the doorway of the skittle room playing to the crowd in the garden, as is the current arrangement for these brief acoustic sessions at the Gate. They joyfully toiled with a cover of Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere.” This was followed by my favourite track from Tamsin’s album Gypsy Blood, aptly, “Home.” Topped off with a sublime version of Cat Stevens’ “Moon Shadow.” But I did say it was a whistle stop.

In consolation I picked up their self-titled debut EP, something I should have done months ago. With this beauty in hand I could take a little of The Lost Trades home with me; it’ll play perpetually through those thoughtful moments. Recorded in session at The Village Pump, “because we really like the acoustics in there,” explained Tamsin, here is a recording oozing with a quality which, despite predicting, still blew me for six. As I say, it’s the combination of these three fantastic artists in their own right, as opposed the jamming we’ve previously become accustomed to, which really makes the difference.

Five tunes strong, this EP equally celebrates these three talents and harmonises them on a level we’ve not heard before. The acapella beginning of the opening tune, “Hummingbird” glides into stripped back xylophone and acoustic guitar, and is so incredibly saccharine, it trickles like some beatniks performing on a seventies Children’s TV show. Yet, it works. In true Simon & Garfunkel manner, it’s not mawkish, just nice.

lostep

Hummingbird serves as a great introduction, but is by no means the template. As is commonplace, from the Beatles to The Wailers, The Trades, I detect, conjoin the writing effort but the lead singer seems to be the one who plucked the idea. “Good Old Days,” then, screams Jamie at me, who leads. It has his stamp, ingenious narrative centred around thoughtful prose. “Wherever You Are,” likewise is a Tamsin classic, wildly romantic and wayfarer.

“Robots,” follows, the quirkiest and perhaps erroneous after an initial listen. Yet through subtle metaphors the satirical slant charms in a manner which nods Phil Cooper, and why should one stick to a formula in subject matter? Because the sound is authentically Americana of yore, Robots superbly deflects the notion it’s lost in a bygone era and cannot use modern concepts, and Robots ruling the world is, however much a metaphor, still fundamentally sci-fi, and that makes for an interesting contrast. With that thought in mind, this could be the track which stands out for originality.

As in this review, we’ve returned to the unbroken circle. In full circle the final song, “Wait for my Boat,” is a sublimely cool track, casting a direction the trio are clearly heading. For although Jamie leads, there’s elements of all three middle tracks combined in this sea shanty sounding song. It’s metaphorical, romantic, with sentimental narrative. It wraps up the EP perfectly, leaving you hanging for the album they’re working on.

Yes, the Lost Trades is a live group you need to see in person, but this EP really is way beyond my already high expectations. It’s combination of talents is honest, bluegrass-inspired acoustic gorgeousness you need in your life.

the-lost-trades-1a_600px


Devizes Wide Community Yard Sale; what a great idea!

The pandemic has pulled us into a time of change for everyone, we find methods and ways around restrictions to try to continue, best we can, the way of life we’re used to living. Historically eras like these see great innovations and ideas which now have become commonplace. Online meetings through Zoom, drive-in concerts and many new-fangled concepts are falling into place, but sometimes, the best ideas are the simpler ones. Devizes resident Laura Johns had such an idea, the kind that if she was a cartoon character it would be represented by a lightbulb above the head!

Laura has created a Facebook group dedicated to holding a town-wide, community yard sale and intends to run the first one on Sunday August 16th, running from 8am-5pm. Anyone is free to host a yard sale in their garden or close green space on that date, and the group are hoping it’ll turn the town into a whopping great car booty, without the cars; kinder on the environment too, Laura!

yardsalettranstxt

I reckon this is a great idea, and something which has the potential to be a regular event. Many of us undoubtedly have been having a clear-out during lockdown, made some home improvements, and now have “stuff,” for want of a better word, clogging up space in their homes. The obvious banning of car boot and jumble sales means you’re restricted to donating to charity shops, dumping them at the recycling centre if you get a slot, but selling via Facebook pages is the only way you’re going to make a little money back. Of course, you could hold a yard sale at any time, but with this clever scheme, we will all know when and where.

All participates are invited to set their own yard sale up, freely, and they will be included on a map of the town, so buyers are free to roam the town and browse. Last count, 16 people wish to set up their own yard sale, and more are joining. My work is done notifying you and hoping you’ll join in on the day, setting up your own, or browsing the yard sales on offer. Laura and the team hope to extend the idea to neighbouring villages, where an alternative day will be set for each village. Who knows how far this idea will catch on?

So, join the group for more information and updates as they develop, and support this ingeniously simple idea. Oh, and there’s a Facebook event page you can respond to; great if you wish to attend as a buyer but not participate in the selling part. I like it so much it’s my pleasure to donated a little poster/header for the group, and you can be sure Devizine will be supporting the event as best we can, provided there’s not too many pubs en-route!!


Adverts & Stuff!

covidcamprockgazwp-15952278837674305734103090329981.jpgsuperheroholdclubeatout1operationtedddy6InDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966rainbowlogo

Atari Pilot’s Right Crew, Wrong Captain

Only gamers of a certain age will know of The Attic Bug. Hedonistic socialiser, Miner Willy had a party in his manor and wanted to retire for the evening. Just how a miner in the eighties could’ve afforded a manor remains a mystery; but that erroneous flaw was the tip of the iceberg. In this ground-breaking ZX Spectrum platform game, the Ribena Kid’s mum appeared to guard Willy’s bedroom, tapping her foot impatiently. Touch this mean rotund mama and she’d kill you, unless you’d tided every bit of leftovers from the bash. Turned out, months after the game’s release, one piece, in the Attic, was impossible to collect. Until this glitch became public knowledge, players were fuming as an intolerable bleeping version of “If I was a Rich Man,” perpetually looped them to insanity.

0_ZLZc3c-m3HYdeF0L

I swear, if I hear that tune, even some forty years on I cringe; the haunting memory of my perseverance with the impossible Jetset Willy. Music in videogames has come a long way, thank your chosen deity. Yet in this trend of retrospection I terror at musical artists influenced by these cringeworthy clunky, bleeping melodies of early Mario, or Sonic soundtracks; like techno never happened, what are they thinking of? It was with caution, then, when I pressed play on the new single from Swindon band “Atari Pilot.” I had heard of them, but not heard them. I was pleasantly surprised.

For starters, this is rock, rather than, taken from the band’s name, my preconceived suspicion I would be subject to a lo-fi electronica computer geek’s wet dream. While there is something undeniably retrospective gamer about the sonic synth blasts in Right Crew, Wrong Captain, it is done well, with taste and this track drives on a slight, space-rock tip. Though comparisons are tricky, Atari Pilot has a unique pop sound. No stranger to retrospection, with echoey vocals and a cover akin to an illustration from Captain Pugwash, still this sound is fresh, kind of straddling a bridge between space-rock and danceable indie. Oh, and it’s certainly loud and proud.

atari2

A grower, takes a few listens and I’m hooked. Their Facebook blurb claims to “change the rules of the game, take the face from the name, trade the soul for the fame…I’m an Atari Pilot.” After their debut album “Navigation of The World by Sound” in 2011, a long hiatus took in a serious cancer battle. But Atari Pilot returned in 2018 with an acoustic set at the Swindon Shuffle. The full band gathered once again the following year with live shows and a new set of “Songs for the Struggle.” This will be the title of their forthcoming follow-up album, “When we were Children” being the first single from it, and now this one, “Right Crew, Wrong Captain,” is available from the end of July.

Its theme is of isolation, “and defiance, after the ship has gone down,” frontman Onze informs me. There’s a haunting metaphor within the intelligent lyrics, “you nail yourself to the mast and you pray that everything lasts, you just want to know hope floats, when the water rises, coz it’s gonna rise, take a deep breath and count to ten, sink to the bottom and start again.”

There’s a bracing movement which dispels predefined ideas of indie and progresses towards something encompassing a general pop feel, of bands I’ve highlighted previously, Talk in Code and Daydream Runaways, Atari Pilot would not look out of place billed in a festival line-up with these acts, and would add that clever cross between space-rock with shards of the videogames of yore, yet, not enough to warrant my aforementioned fears of cringeworthy bleeps. Here’s hoping it’s “game over” for that genre. That said, thinking back, when you bought your Atari 2600, if you recall, oldie, you got the entire package of two joysticks and those circler controllers too, as standard; could you imagine that much hardware included with a modern console? Na, mate, one controller, you’ve got to buy others separately.

atari3

So, if decades to come we have a band called X-Box or PlayStation Pilot, I’d be dubious, but Atari gave us quality, a complete package; likewise, with Atari Pilot!


Adverts & Stuff!

rockgazsuperheroholdclubeatout1wp-15952278837674305734103090329981.jpgrainbowlogo

A Pictorial Guide to Those Exempt from Wearing a Facemask

Just to clear up confusion prior to mandatory face covering in the UK from July 24th, we’ve pictorially listed below those undoubtedly exempt from wearing a mask. Everyone else should either wear one when shopping, or apply to the Hidden Disabilities charity for a Face Covering Exempt card for 55p, available here.

Exemption cases include:

young children under the age of 11.

not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.

if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress.

if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate

to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others

to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you

to eat or drink, but only if you need to

to take medication

if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:

If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification.

If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication.

And, if you are:

Big Hero 6


With only a line across his eyes as facial features, this friendly Disney robot is so obviously exempt. Even if he was to have a mouth and nose, he’s a robot anyway, so there.

Rorschach

Alan Moore’s mysteriously ruthless detective Watchman, Rorschach may have been a bit of a mentalist, but, as it turns out, he was way ahead of us all in wearing a facemask. Although, self-morphing inkblots on your mask are not compulsory in the UK, yet. Rorschach never took off his mask until he was forced to do so. Be like Rorschach.

Hello Kitty

No milk for Hello Kitty, this manga cutie is one feline without a mouth and only a button nose; no need for a facemask. If you’ve already bought a facemask and wake up on the morning of the 24th July realising you are, in fact, Hello Kitty, perhaps you could make it into a cute hair bow.

The Silence

Steve Moffat’s creepy alien religious order, The Silence maybe the scariest Dr Who monsters ever. However, without a mouth or nose anyone converted to the order are exempt too. Even if they weren’t, are you going to pull one up on it in the queue for Lidl? No, I thought not; just take a photo and inform the Facebook police.

Marvin the Martian

Mars has an excellent Covid19 infection R-rating of zero, so even if this lovable Loony Tunes alien had a mouth and nose, he’d still be exempt. Interesting to note, he first appeared in a Buggs Bunny cartoon in 1948, and there’s no telling baby boomers anyway.

Optimus Prime

He may be an extra-terrestrial synergistic blend of biological evolution and technological engineering, but you have to hand it to the leader of the Autobots, he’s been covering his mouth and nose with a metallic plate at least since their awakening 1985, if not the pre-historic era when they first crash landed on Earth. Boris Johnson himself stated that, with the exception of Lightning McQueen, vehicles do not have to wear a facemask, even if they do turn into robots. It was in fact, the only comprehendible statement he’s made on the matter to date.

Neo

If, like Neo, you find you are but a digital version of yourself trapped in a virtual reality world created by machines to use humans as fuel, you are exempt from wearing a facemask as the world is not really real at all, ergo neither is the virus anything more than malware and nothing good scan with Norton won’t fix. This applies even if Agent Smith doesn’t try to silence you by temporarily sealing up your mouth. Anyone else with an alternative conspiracy theory should check with their online geek blogger before shopping without a facemask.


Adverts & Stuff

Opinion: The End and Reawakening of Rave

Intoxication levelling nicely, some friends and I trekked up the hillside and looked down at the sight below. Well aware it had become fairly large, as was the illegal rave scene in the summer of 1992, we hadn’t fathomed just how large. Overwhelmed by the unexpected magnitude, I sighed, doubting this would ever be allowed again. Still, we had no idea then, we were part of an historic moment; didn’t really care or wish to be.

Ravers were apolitical, we only wanted to celebrate life, dance harder than any generation prior, and masticate lots on chewing gum. Yeah, it was anarchy, but it was a passive anarchy, there was order and morals amidst the chaos. It was more movement than youth culture, as we only did what ancients have always done, but embracing technology to do it, and while previous youth cultures had a set uniform and rules, rave was a melting pot of expression which anyone and everyone would succumb to, regardless of their previous cultures, age, gender, race or religion. It was, basically, too radical for the conventional government.

When I eventually made it home after the festival of Castlemorton Common in the Malvern Hills, the first thing I did was check my parent’s newspaper, and smiled to myself at a job well done; then I slept for three days. Lechlade on the Beltane weekend may have made the front page of the broadsheets, now this had similar clout with the tabloids; still didn’t fear it would be the final nail in the coffin. An estimated forty-thousand revellers flocked here; government were eager to act. A change in the law was conceived the following week, and would take a couple of short years to implement; a final stand from a crumbling, desperate Conservative substitute of Thatcherism. Many of the sound systems jumped ship and took off to Europe, and although this spread the culture worldwide, those left in Blighty were forced into smaller, localised events, large scale paid raves and the clubs.

Nowadays I sigh, all I have is diminishing memories and fantastical fables like a quibbling old wino. Unbelievable to youth today, we took no photographs at the time; to bring out a camera at an illegal rave in the early nineties would’ve been frowned upon. But, I’m okay with that, never the diehard, content that it is now just a treasured part of my youth. As with every trend, they usually return, two decades normally, when the influence of parent’s stories inspires their youth. When 2010 hit, then, I was prepared to venture to the loft in search of my white gloves and whistle, just, you know, for nostalgic reasons and to hark to youngers about how we used to do it, Uncle Albert style. I don’t think I could stomach a full-on sess, the convoys, dancing all night to banging techno, probably just give me a banging headache.

The thing is, I doubt the rave scene ever completely ended, that intransigents still party and press rarely jump on it. I attended one over a decade ago in Savernake Forest, but it didn’t have the same vibe. Pushed further underground, the gabba-techno, the attitude of ravers reflected a much harsher vibe, of punk, of pure anarchy. Regrettably, the happy vibe which once reigned had passed, due to the outlawing of the culture and the spread of harder drugs. I winced at a report in the Independent which spoke of “a rave just like the old days,” when it continued to suggest ravers heard of the event via Twitter.

It was always just tremoring in the mountain. For rave is akin to the monkey-god, Sun Wukong, trapped under the mountain, awaiting release. How do I feel about three thousand youths gathering at a disused RAF airfield on Charmy Down near Bath? I feel the nature of Monkey is irrepressible! It is inevitable, if, for whatever reasons, even a worldwide pandemic, if you curb freedom you will get a backlash. Yes, it’s horribly ignoring social distancing, but so are the idiots fighting outside every Spoons in the country, and even if I’ve not attended for the longest, even if the original ethos is waning, I believe the media desire to exemplify an illegal rave without revenue for big business, negatively. I’m firmly convinced, from experience, that in the eye of the storm, any modern equivalent of what we once did would never be as vehement or disparaging as a brawl in a Wetherspoons.

So are the shoppers, the traditionalists protesting against the wearing of masks, so are the pensioners in care homes, the children in the parks, so is everyone heading for the beach every weekend. Let’s not fool ourselves, millions of us are now ignoring, rebelling from the lockdown restrictions, we only need to stop to contemplate it all, and give self-policing on social media a break. Our once happy lockdown bought about peace and tranquillity, now is causing frustration and a rebellious nature, a bit like the downfall of raves. What then, could be more apt? Instead of scorning at them, attempting to stop them, perhaps the government and police forces should suck it up, accept its inevitably and work on methods to stage relative social distancing measures for them.

What do I think of the media exposing the return of rave? You know, when the Ibiza die-hards recreated acid house in UK cities I was just a delinquent, with an appetite for exploration and in need of escapism. We were looking for something, we didn’t know what. The original acid house crew was little over a thousand, recruitment was by introduction, and some doughnut invited a tabloid journalist. “Look at what your teenagers are doing!” it over-exaggerated. If it wasn’t for the media hype we’d have never known. So, you go on, reporters, and what you think is a scare story will backfire into intrigue before your very Facebook site, and youth will look to attending, and the scene will flourish again like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Then, as a mass, they will look rewards, to how it once was, and how as a group consciousness and rising movement, it had morals and it had principles. We cleared up after ourselves, you may be surprised to note, we looked after each other. You will free a new love generation, and in an era such as this, god knows we need it.

Watch violent crime diminish, watch teenage depression wane, watch a generation free from the restraints of its former oppression, as it once did. See a rising generation thinking for itself, throwing away this baby-boomer selfishness and regain a likeminded consciousness. Wrigleys will be back in business too!


Adverts & Stuff!

Ben Borrill Takes A Little Time

Bobbing around the St John’s corner of Long Street, trying to act important, and sober, I had a message for Ben Borrill, Pete was looking for him, he was on next; ah, gave me something to do. It was the fantastic Devizes Street Festival, made that much more fantastic by Vinyl Realm organising a second stage, showcasing local talent. You must’ve heard about it, even if you weren’t there, I’ve harked on about it enough!

Mission accomplished, he was loitering the doorway, and equably replied with an “oh, okay.” There’s a casual air around Ben, perhaps the most altruistic and modest musician, and, oh, skateboarder too, on the local circuit. It was this way when I first met him during an acoustic jam at The Southgate. Yet there’s a magnetic sparkle when he performs, which captivates. Other than friendship, it’s probably the plausible reason he supports Daydream Runaways recurrently.

Image by Nick Padmore

I never held out for something recorded from Ben, content as he seems to roam the local circuit performing live, yet with the current climate surrounding gigs, time and effort is channelled into getting studio time down, for everyone. Sometimes this transmits the talents of a live performer, occasionally not, and I happily report it’s far from the latter.

Groovy, in a word; there’s something pleasantly sixties Merseybeat-come-beatnik about Ben Borrill’s debut single, Take a Little Time; not in a tacky tribute kind of cliché but in a nonchalant, progressive way. Particularly in the intro, the reference of seasonal change, shifting leaves and blossom of a fading spring, balances into romantic ditty, and spanning just over two minutes too; it’s short but sweet.

While it doesn’t go off down a completely psychedelic sixties formula, it’s no Mammas & Papas, the riffs do lean heavily on all that’s golden about that golden era, of Kinks or Hollies, with a fresh tinge of modern acoustic. Here’s a smooth ride into an intelligently grafted, but easy-going song, reflecting Ben’s charismatic and breezy attitude. It is, blinking marvellous, and leaves you yearning for more… jump to it Ben, equably I’d imagine he would reply with an “oh, okay!” Spotify link here.


Adverts and Stuff!

Help Pewsey Mum on her Campaign to free her Children from Abduction

So, Devizine exists to highlight and promote local events and I try my best, apart from the odd bit of cheeky satire, to steer away from political matters. Yet I’m both heartbroken and at a loss for words this afternoon, chatting online to Pewsey mum, Tanya Borg. But within it, there is an event I need to let you know about, in this horrid mess, please read on….

Tanya’s two daughters, Angel and Maya were abducted by their father five years ago, and taken to Libya to live with his family. After being granted full custody in both nations, Tanya travelled to Libya to rescue them, but Tanya explains when they tried to get away, they were bundled in a car and driven away. She hasn’t seen or had contact with them since.

Red tape between the Crown Prosecution Service and Wiltshire Police has prevented further action from being taken, and under advice of the CPS, Wiltshire Police have closed the case. “The CPS are saying they don’t tell the police what to do,” Tanya explained, “But Wiltshire Police are saying the CPS don’t want to take the case.” I cannot imagine how distraught she must be. “You have no idea,” Tanya continued, “Angry. Frustrated. Sad. My daughters need help.”

In fear for the treatment of her daughters, Tanya went to explain how, after a court order for joint custody, their grandmother wouldn’t allow them to leave the house, so Tanya tried for full custody, but they ran away with the children. Angel is now twenty, and Maya just eight. A Daily Mail article exposes the issue, with a video of the father’s family driving them away. It is with hope the video will pressure British authorities to reopen the case.

This is where I asked if Tanya had or has any further contact with them, and the short answer was “no.” In England we complain about this, whinge about that, the bus being delayed etc, we really don’t understand how life is in Libya. “Because there is no authorities inside Libya, due to the situation, as Libya is at war with itself,” Tanya detailed, “it is dangerous, and that is their excuse, but now there has been a newly elected government, they could at least try, that is what is most upsetting, they haven’t even tried. I feel like my children don’t matter, because I am not of status.”

Firstly, Tanya has a GoFundMe campaign page, where you can contribute. “It’s a corrupt country, and money talks,” she explains, “I can’t do anything without it.” Tanya has spoken to Claire Perry, who passed it onto the Minister of the African Department, “which say,” Tanya claimed, “They cannot do anything.” MP Danny Kruger has been emailed, which was my first port-of-call, and we await a response.

Tanya plans to take a protest to Downing Street on the 8th August, but has also staged an event in Pewsey on the 25th July. Meeting at the Cooper’s Arms at 3pm, the protest will follow the eminent carnival route. “My eldest daughter,” Tanya explained, “was carnival princess back in 2011.” They will be chanting “Free Angel and Maya,” but ask protesters observe social distancing and wear facemasks. “I would love as many people to attend and support,” she hopes, “to help me bring my babies home.” Tanya will also be organising a local coach for the Downing Street protest.

Adverts & Stuff!

Sam Bishop and the Fallen Sky

Ex-Devizes boyband and half of Larkin, Sam Bishop is away studying music in Winchester. He posts about his latest single, Fallen Sky with the thought, “I really do think this is the best song I’ve ever made.” You do always say that, Sam, tee-hee, but it’s no bad thing! I think it was legendary underground cartoonist, Hunt Emerson, who once told me, “never put anything out you’re not confident to say it’s the best thing you’ve ever done.” It suggests Sam is always striving for better, but the proof is the pudding, and this is a Michelin star sundae. Yeah, I believe you’re deffo right with this one.

It’s got that dark, moody ambience, backed with a deep bassline, sonic piano and ticking drumbeats, as if William Orbit took boyband to dubstep. This compliments Sam’s humming vocals to a tee, as it characterises dejected teenage anguish and echoes the passion in early romantic interactions. While it’s a bromide subject at the best of times, Sam rests on it well, as was a time when we wanted Phil Collins to have a broken heart, so his reflection on it would be so powerfully crushing and relevant to our own life!

I feel old ears will nod in memory, but Sam’s defining style speaks volumes to younger generations. This is heartfelt stuff, as ever with Sam, but this time, in particular, the production on Fallen Sky envelopes that atmosphere so brilliantly.

sam

You know what I’d like to hear? And call me old-fashioned if you will, I’ve been called worse, but I’d like an amalgamation of songs filling a complete narrative, as the parable ends like an open-ended short story, leaving you wondering the next decision Sam’s character in the song will take. Like a chick-flick plot, he sings, “does it feel like it’s the end of our lives?” While this is great, I’m left yearning to know if they get back together or not, so, just a suggestion, but an intertwined set of songs spanning a complete fictional relationship, like, dare I say it, a concept album. This may not be the modern way to go with distribution I know, but here is Sam Bishop at his best, and a development worthwhile expanding.

Yeah, alright, I hear you, I’m old, yeah, thanks a million! Check this Fallen Sky out here.


Adverts & Stuff!

rockgazcovidcampInDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966superheroholdclubeatout1taste sunjonamorpeppercornwildingfeatasam2rainbowlogo

The Big Yellow Bus Rocks The Gazebo

Two things former humble truck driver Gerry Watkins is a natural at, plucking an ingenious idea and putting it into action, and putting on a gig to fund it. In 2017 Gerry raised four-grand to buy a double-decker bus, which he converted into a homeless shelter in Cirencester. Since he’s launched a similar plan in Swindon, and continues to raise funds for this amazing homeless project. The Big Yellow Bus project is innovative but simple, and Gerry works tirelessly to keep it running.

bigyellow2

With live music teetering on return, it still maybe a while before some venues are ready to reopen, despite yesterday’s sudden given date of August 1st. The following weekend, 7&8th, sees a grand restart for The Big Yellow Bus, to get funds rolling once again. The Tavern Inn in Kembleplays host to this glorious two-day mini festival, which is free, with collection buckets for the Big Yellow Bus doing the rounds.

Music plans to kick off at 7pm on Friday 7th August with our good friends, Absolute Beginners. I know, like most, Cath, Gouldy and the gang will be itching to get back to live music. While there’s still a few gaps in the line-up to confirm, The Roughcut Rebels will be a welcomed act, introducing their new frontman, the one and only Finley Trusler; an awesome unification we look forward to hearing. Mick O Toole is also on Friday’s header.

bigyellow

Saturday 8th though is an all-dayer. Paul Cooper (Martin Mucklowe) from the twice BAFTA award-winning BBC tv series, This Country, will be opening up the event at midday. Shaun Peter Smith will be the Compère for the day, as Miss Lucy Luscious Lips, he’s certain to add a little bit of glamour and sparkle. There’s a number of faces I know to this busy line-up, and plenty new to me.

An interesting Opening at midday, Ascenda are a four-piece, playing smooth music with a rock edge and thoughtful, theatrical vocals. Their current collection of songs ‘Celeste,’ forms a love story that explores conflicts; solitude versus companionship, and spirituality versus practicality.

acenda eric hobson
Acenda (image by Eric Hobson Photography)

Cath, Gouldy and the gang return as The Day Breakers at 1pm, with their irresistible blend of Celtic and mod-rock covers, it’s guaranteed to go off! Swindon’s all-girl rock and pop covers band, Bimbo follow at 2pm. Dirty and filthy punk is promised to followed with The Useless Eaters, a band who accurately recreate the iconic sound of late 70’s British and American punk.

sixlivesleft
Six Lives Left

Cirencester’s masters of high-energy classic eighties rock covers, Loaded Dice are on at 4pm, followed by a mesh of Britpop, new wave and ska with SkA’D Hearts at 6pm. Era-spanning soul follows with Joli and The Souls, and rock restarts in style with Six Lives Left. Sticking with six as the magic number, the finale will be from Calne’s fantastic misfits of Britpop and new wave, Six O Clock Circus, who are always up for a party!

joli
Joili & The Souls

Yeah, it’s all slightly out of our usual jurisdiction, but with a line up like this, all for such a great cause, and with limited events these lockdown days, this is highly recommended and worth the effort. Kemble Railway Station is right opposite The Tavern Inn so it’s easy to find.

Note, putting such an event on so early after lockdown will not be without expected guidelines, everyone must abide by. Gerry urges social distancing and that you respect those around you. “This is all done so you can enjoy yourself and have a great time watching and dancing to great live bands and performers, thank you for all your support and together we can have a great time.” I’m sure they will, Gerry. If anyone is heading off from Devizes, gimmie a lift, pal, because this sounds unmissable!

rockgaz


Adverts & Stuff!

covidcampsuperheroholdclubeatout1InDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966plankshead1operationteddy1skaingwestcountryrainbowlogo

Talk in Code Taste the Sun

Back in January 2019, I was dead impressed with Talk in Code’s debut album Resolve, and labelled it “sophisticated pop with modern sparkle.” I offered the track “Oxygen,” as best example of how, like classic pop anthems should, its instantaneous catchiness gets stuck in your head. To compare and contrast that favourite from the album with the upcoming release from this Swindon indie-pop four-piece, it’s clear they’ve come an incredibly long way to enhancing and refining that fashion.

Reflecting back, Resolve has the definite “indie” sound of the nineties, only dipping a toe in the pool of eighties synth-pop. I felt this coming, each track they release sounds more like an iconic mid-eighties sugary hit, and Taste the Sun dives right in. It supplements my “sophisticated pop with modern sparkle” label much more.

blank4

Recorded just before lockdown at Studio 91 in Newbury, the band define the theme as “about waking up and smelling the coffee, a feeling that change is coming and the relief when that change is made for the greater good.” Nothing wrong with that inspiring concept, but perhaps nothing original; writing style they stick to a model template, but the sound is invigorating. In a word, it’s refreshing, like the zest of a sparkling iced fruit drink on a humid holiday afternoon, it encompasses all that is glorious about pop. Blooming with good time, summery vibes, Taste the Sun is the sort of lively “Wham” anthem a younger you would’ve retained from a holiday camp disco, and evermore evoke a fond memory of a fleeting romance.

That said in the best manner possible. Talk in Code is a well-oiled machine, refining that classic sound for a new generation and, most importantly, extracting and binning any cliché or cringeworthy elements. You know the sort, listen to any eighties pop now and wince at a particularly ill-thought out component, be it a castoff sample, badly grafted rap or, worse still, a “talky” part; “I thought I told you, Michael, I’m a lover not a fighter!”

Yet I find similar with today’s pop, and hold my daughter accountable! “Why they doing that bit?” I grumpily whinge. “What bit?” she retorts. It’s like a repetitive synthesised single word, or randomly placed high-hat making me shudder. Talk in Code use the acuteness of “indie” to eliminate said pop crime, use pop for catchiness and throw something back at you with universal appeal. It’s true, I concern myself at the prospect of taking my daughter to a pop festival, be it I’m cowering at her modern taste, or she’s dragging me away from something I like the sound of. Talk in Code is something we could both agree is great, and throughout reviewing their singles, Taste the Summer is perhaps the prime example of this notion.

Released on Monday 27th July, on digital download at http://www.talkincode.co.uk and on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music and all digital platforms. Go on, you have a listen, and I challenge you to find something bad to say about this sparkling, uplifting nugget of pop; because I can’t!


Adverts & Stuff!

covidcampInDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966superheroholdclubrainbowlogoasam2eatout1

Eat Out to Help Out, Locally, Independently

I am listing local restaurants, cafes and pubs who are participating in the “eat out to help out,” scheme and encourage owners in the Wiltshire area to contact Devizine, to be listed freely. Although you know me, have to have a little rant beforehand, so scroll past my waffling if you wish to get direct to the list! Note the list will be updated, so check back in August.

For information on how to apply for the scheme, see here. Note the scheme comes with restrictions. Only available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from the 3rd to 31st August 2020, and offers a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, for food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in.

Eat-Out-to-Help-Out-poster-2571185


“I believe I dust my broom.” Robert Johnson sung that, the bluesman who sold his soul to the devil at the Mississippi Delta crossroads, in exchange for faultless musical flair, so he must know what he’s on about. Although, to dust your broom actually means to make change, derived from the expression “get up and dust,” or get out of town fast. I didn’t need to do that, just get out of B&Q!

Had my old outdoor broom for decades, but timeworn, it finally gave up the ghost. Sunday, I nipped into B&Q and returned home proud owner of a new broom with a screw-on handle. Too loose, one swipe and the head fell off, tighten it and it passes the thread and…. the head falls off. Time passed and my patience caved by numerous attempts to secure the handle on the head. I came to the forgone conclusion, it’s either fate; star alignment’s fault, since NASA claims I’ve moved from Pieces to Aquarius, or, more likely, it’s mass-produced shite.

After hand sanitising, queuing and following the one-way circuit around the entire store, I returned it, swung into town, parked dead outside Mainleys and picked up a far cheaper, better broom. By very design, glued and stapled, it’s old-fashioned, but a coupling method which has worked for centuries. If it’s not broke…. A lesson learned, then; should’ve shopped local.

porkypigeats

Make no mistake, I consider this soundbite “eat out to help out” nauseatingly haughty, coming from a government who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to provide basic meals for school children. Guaranteed, this is yet another move to line the pockets of big business, the mass-producing restaurant chains.

Never forget Boris’s bum-chum, Tim Martin and how he refused to close during lockdown, refused to pay his staff and suppliers. If a Frankie & Benny branch sadly closes, the staff will be the only ones to suffer; that’s sorrowful reality, I’m afraid. Note the variety you think you’re getting with a parade of Wagamama, Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquitito, et all, is false, they’re all the same company and will subside each other; different sauce, same old chicken, pal. If the government are going to open taxpayer’s wallets, I urge the small business and independent eateries, who would otherwise close, lock, stock and barrel, to dip in before the fat cats.

big-mac

Unfortunately, I’ve experienced the rubber chicken which bounced off the floor of Wetherspoons first hand, lost teeth on Hungry Horse waffles, and felt famished twenty seconds after eating an air-pumped big mac. Like my broom experience, I’m at my tether’s end; best to shop local.

Not that I’m trying to persuade you, the choice to eat out is your prerogative and risk; many pubs and restaurants are continuing to provide takeaway services, many established takeaways are delivering and continuing to provide an excellent service too. Sometimes though, it’s nice to be able to eat out, remember your mask. If you can, here’s a list, then, of local places participating in the 50% off “eat out to help out” scheme; let’s support them.


If you missed my social media requests for participating places to be included, do not worry, I can update this if you twist my arm with some love…. and remember the best way to a man’s heart! Ah, insert laughing emoji here; only kidding, cheeky blagger that I am. Just message me and I’ll get your café or restaurant added! Do take heed though, while we’re here, overflowing with banter, our foodie reviews are the most popular articles, and we’d love to do one for you.

You can find more participating eateries via postcode search on the Gov site here.  


Devizes

Massimo’s Ristorante

For twenty-seven years Francos was the finest Italian restaurant in Devizes, but with the departure of Sicilian chef, Massimo Pipitone things were never quite the same. Two years ago, Massimo returned to Old Swan Yard to recapture the restaurant’s reputation and with a name change, has succeeded in putting it back on top. Still operating the takeaway service, it begun during lockdown, they’ve now reopened the restaurant, excellently observing social distancing regulations. They serve traditional Italian and Sicilian cuisine, and the pizzas are awesome!

Take it from me, one who loves his tucker, you will not find better service, quality and tastier food this side of Roma!  Booking at weekends is essential. 

The Pelican:

Splendid inn situated at the Market Place, known best for its roast dinners, which can be takeaway too. The Pelican have various cuisine events and has a scrumptious bar menu. An example from this weekend’s roast option:  Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb. Chicken is always an alternative every week with a beautiful Home-Made Vegetarian Option. Vegan or Gluten Free diets also catered for with advance booking. £8.95 per person, £5.95 per child, £4.50 per Home Made Dessert. Please telephone 01380 723909 to book.

pelican bar menu

 

New Society:

Sitting somewhere between glorious pub grub and restaurant, New Society in the Market Place was quickly established as one of our best eateries. Our review last September has always been one of our highest hitting articles, and they were glad to announce reopening on 3rd July. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, or perhaps a coffee stop, New Society is a comfortable setting and serves a large selection.  Operating usual daytime opening hours, but currently evenings are restricted to Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is advisable to pre-book for these nights (01380 722288).

newsoc1

1Spice

One of the newer establishments, it did not take long for 1 Spice in Maryport Street to earn the jewel in the crown of Indian restaurants in Devizes, and rightly so. It’s my chosen place for a knees-under, and is often cited top of majorities’ list. Conventionally, Indian restaurants convey an aptitude of exceptional customer service and etiquette, and 1Spice is of no exception. Expect to be welcomed, but what is more, expect a wide and gorgeous selection, mixing the flavours and spices of India with the finest seasonal ingredients the West Country can offer. It’s driving my appetite for a Ruby just typing this, and I’ve had my dinner already!

The Hourglass:

Tucked away at Devizes Marina, the Hourglass is a perfect location and serves a high-quality pub menu. Options have been restricted since reopening on 4th July, but expanding now, and takeaway service is available. Booking is advisable for food. Subject to change, opening hours are 11am-9pm every day, with food served between 5-8pm, Thursdays through to Sundays. Book online here.

hourglass

Tea Inc

A cup of Rosy-Lee for me, I’m not a coffee guy. Still, I’ve not been in Tea Inc in the Ginnel (just off the Market Place) and now in Marlborough, sovereign of tearoom towns. This must change, I’m coming for you guys, ensure you have some custard creams! This humble teashop throws off the doily and delicate fingertip-cup-hold stereotype of tea rooms and prides itself with an eclectic, quirky environment they affectionately call “The Shoppe.”

Serving crumpets (fnarr, yurkk, yurkk) sandwiches, salads and soup, this could just be the essential shopping stop-off for tea drinkers; get away from me with your X-L vanilla Nespresso dripping down your MacBook!

Times Square

Central to Devizes Market Place, Times Square is simply the perfect little coffee shop for a light lunch. Cakes and ice cream, say no more. As the name suggests it may have started by being inspired by American cuisine, yet only in the best possible taste. Times Square is no stranger to hosting the odd event, and is a welcomed shopping stop off.

  Brogans Café

Brogans Café in the Brittox is one I confess I’ve yet to try. Outside space, ice cream, cakes and milkshakes and smoothies, Brogans prides itself on its vegan options. “Vegan Jaffa Cake style cake” as pictured below, might just twist my arm!

Bengal Bite

Throughout my years here in Devizes, Bengal Bite in Sheep Street has always been the tandoori kitchen of choice. The Bengal Bite offers contemporary Indian and Bangladeshi food. It’s comfy and hospitable, a romantic place to woe a prospective love with a mild Korma, or equally a place for you and the lads to blow your pants off with a blistering Vindaloo! The Bengal Bite has been voted the best restaurant in Wiltshire by the readers of the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald, and 2014 finalist for Small Business of the Year in the Wiltshire Business Awards.

The Fox & Hound

A little out of town but worth the trek down Nursteed Road, The Fox & Hound is an inviting family pub, offering romantic carriage rides followed by lunch or candle-lit dinner, and successful horse-drawn ghost and historical tours of Devizes start and finish at the Fox.

Jeffersons

The most down-to-earth café you’ll find in Devizes, this is Monday Market Street’s gem; great service, gorgeous homecooked breakfasts and lunches at affordable prices, never had a bad fry-up there yet!

The Bell on the Green

Always a favourite for the location in its title, The Bell has reopened with times and obvious restrictions. Here’s their menu….

Bradford-on-Avon

 

Coffee Etc:

Marvellous little coffee shop in Lamb Yard, just off Kingston Road, serving hot and cold beverages, breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas with great homemade cakes, and vinyl records too. Comfy hideaway this place, perfect for a stop-off when strolling town. I reviewed it a long time ago for Index:Wiltshire, but the site has been taken down now, so you’ll have to take my word for it! Facebook page here.

coffee etc

Jamie at The Southgate; first live music review for a while!

Has lockdown made us appreciate the simpler things in life we once took for granted? Even if, it’s pathetic to lose your shit over the lessening of restrictions and go on an all-out bonkers spree of drunken foolishness, playing into the media’s hands creating a drama from a crisis. It is understandable isolated folk fear the idea of venturing to pubs when carefully selected images of hordes of pissheads scrapping outside some chavvy chain bar are spread across social media, just as a few weeks ago a trip to the beach would’ve been scorned at.

For me, a relative good, aging boy, who’s been looking forward to the prospect of an unpretentious pint down the Southgate all morning at work, to return home and regrettably check Facebook to notice a local post claiming sixty-plus youths were last night causing havoc in town, and extend the horror to hear similar events occurred in the Sham too, it’s discouraging. Will I be held up as a hooligan, because I desire life to return to a time when going to the pub was normality?

It’s a matter of being selective. If it was up to me, I’d encourage a mass boycott of Bojo’s philistine bum-chum, Tim Martin’s shamelessly uncultured shithouses, but each to their own. They lead by example, a bad one. If you want to pour your hard-earned pounds into the pocket of this billionaire who treated his staff with such utter disrespect, perhaps you’re the kind of insensible sociopath who enjoys a punch-up. Not me, I went to the Southgate for an afternoon pint and report back a decidedly lack of hooliganism from rampaging shirtless knob-jockeys; don’t believe the hype.

Going to this pub was safer than shopping, and the delightful experience it always was, if not more being it’s been a while.

I actually got what I anticipated all along; a warm welcome, orderly queuing for the bar, a bottle or two of hand sanitiser and a slight gathering observing social distancing, able to contain their excitement at being let off their leash. But what is more, some breezy live music; what I’ve been holding out for. Yay! I’m not writing to slag off some corporate monopoly, but wanted to compare and contrast, plus get the rant off my chest. Rather it is, our first live music review for seemingly eons, and who better to grace the step of the Southgate’s garden than Jamie R Hawkins? Okay, I know I’m asking too many questions in this piece, but that was rhetorical.

20200711_164822509724360000422533.jpg

Perched in the doorway of the skittle alley, slighter of beard and longer of locks, Jamie was every bit the icing on the cake. Predictable, could be said, but welcoming to see the many faces admiring over his ambiance of acoustic goodness. In faith too, of the gradual phase-in for live music, the session wasn’t intended to be long; just a few songs from 4-6pm. Enough though to get a taste, and Jamie looked to be enjoying it as much as the crowd.

There were some new ones, Walking into Doors (?) one I arrived for, one perhaps called “Speechless.” Jamie did one cover, Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecelia, and went through some of his benchmarks, the wonderful Capacity to Change, the remarkably sentimental Not Going Anywhere, and being it was a family affair, the ukulele-driven “Welcome to the Family,” aimed at his restless toddler in her pushchair. Yes, an intimate setting, but with words crafted so beautifully and perceptible as Jamie’s, one cannot see the relevance in your own life.

20200711_1648074620330712903963292.jpg

It was also a notable notion that Jamie was the last person to perform at our splendid Southgate, prior to the lockdown, so fitting he set the ball rolling in reopening. Though, with the unification with Phil Cooper and Tamsin Quin as The Lost Trades, a band formed in just enough time to play a debut, Jamie and the gang are really gathering acclaim further afield. They are promised at the Gate, but again, we have to be patience; this was a teaser under certain restrictions. A band, a late night outside may not be feasible for this humbling pub, yet, but time will tell.

Here then, was a lovely teaser afternoon, and proof above all media hype surrounding this ease of restrictions, that it can be done sensibly and responsibly, and the Southgate is on top of the movement towards normality; when it does, it’ll be something wonderful. Has lockdown made us appreciate the simpler things in life we once took for granted? Not really, it’s always been this good.


Adverts & Stuff!

superheroholdclubcovidcampInDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966operationteddy1plankshead1asam2rainbowlogo

The State of the Thing: Post Lockdown Devizine and How We Can Help

Optimistic afternoon, the first time in months I’ve been adding events to our event calendar, rather than deleting them. Halfway through I paused to wonder if it was all too premature, then the update broke that restrictions are being eased further to allow outdoor sports and entertainment events.

It has been the most the bizarre time for us all, perhaps something our younger generation will tell their grandchildren about years from now. Pretty imprudent, I offer, but often comparable with a war, the ending of this pandemic lockdown will certainly not be as we imagined at first, a VE-Day styled celebration where we’re all hugging and jumping all over each other. Rather, it will be a gradual return to normality. Maybe there’s certain parts of normality which we’d rather see the back of, a return of traffic jams, road accidents, environmentally unsound practices, and general aggravation. But we will welcome back sociability; the chance to see relatives and loved ones again, as well as the simple things we once took for granted, like popping down the pub and catching a live band!

It is also understandable some feel uneasy about venturing out after being locked down for so long, if they’ve not been out much, I can appreciate some may feel like a squirrel at the end of its hibernation period, poking it’s head from its nest to check it’s safe. I find this notion the hardest to digest, as someone who has worked throughout the lockdown, harder than before I might add, I can only imagine what those permanently confined to their homes must feel like. All I will say is, take heed of the precautions, but really, it’s not some frozen-over wasteland outside, everything is pretty much the same as it once was. Of course, it is up to you to decide when the time is right to emerge back into the real world, but the time is near; defo!

I have been quiet about all this for a while, because, I, for once, was lost for words. I’ve been indifferent about all the decisions regarding lockdown, with mixed opinions. Do I think the government has had an easy task? Of course not, but during your stay in parliament one has to accept a catastrophe is possible. It’s no good having a government only dedicated to one agenda, as while they were wallowing in triumph, “getting Brexit done,” whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean, they overlooked and ignored this looming threat.

Do I think they handled it far too late? Of course, I do. Yet we only have to look at Sweden to see it was necessary to lockdown, we can speculate it has saved lives, but we will never be fully sure. I’m not here to get political, despite the priority of this government is economy over the welfare of the masses, and it is dedicated only to large corporations, rather than the small businesses and employees.

It has, on the other hand recently offered something in the way of compensation for financial losses, I only fear promises are not something they’re particularly good at, and even if they do happen, they’ll be geared to supporting only the bigger businesses. Then, on a more optimistic day, I tend to feel, well, that’s democracy for you; the majority picked these clowns, we’ve no choice but to give them the benefit of the doubt. Right now, I’m so pissed off with lockdown, as I think we all are, whether we broke the rules to go to the beach, or if we abided to them and scorned at those who did, that I’m willing to accept any lessening of restrictions. We all need to get over it, and consider it history. If a second wave comes our way, least we will be more prepared, but it’s no use the squirrel hiding in his nest all spring, as it’d die anyway.

Anyhoo, I’m thinking about Devizine, this week, about how we can help to restore this normality. Updating the event calendar will take time. I urge you to use it to plan your celebratory reunification, but you should note, many events have remained on it, I didn’t delete future events in anticipation of the end of lockdown, but still many listed may have been cancelled or rescheduled. You should check the links and enquire direct to the organisers to check if it’s still going ahead before you head out.

I will gradually go through them to check, but I’ve got a workload now dumped on my desk. Getting the event calendar back up to its once, comprehensive standard will take time. I urge event organisers to help me to help them. DO check through the calendar and let me know if you spot an event which is listed but has been cancelled. DO contact me to let me know of your events asap, so we can add them. I will waiver all fees for advertising for the next two months, so if you’ve a poster please send me a jpeg of it too. I want to do whatever I can to support our events, organisers and performers, you only need to let me know how.

I do hope live streams will continue. They add another element to presenting talents, and are universal too. Our virtual festival lost track, but I will share them on Facebook, and I will add them into the main event calendar from now on.

I do hope our writers will return, to review and provide content. Prior to lockdown I had a small team building, but I still need more writers to volunteer; it’s fun, honest, message me for details. The more writers and photographers the wider and more comprehensive we can be, the better our product, the more we can grow, then profit may come our way. But this has never been my priority, as I said, I’ll waiver advertising fees for a period, but I still require about £50 by February to keep the site running, so any donations would be appreciated. I confess, I emptied the entire Devizine fund, and spent much from my own pocket, buying local music via Bandcamp, to support them as best I could during this terrible time for their livelihoods.

So, I ask you for your patience, to get Devizine up and running again, I ask for your support, and I ask for you to provide me with your information so we can promote your happenings as best we can. You can message the site, message the Facebook page, Tweet me, email devizine@hotmail.com or join our Facebook group, The Devizine Communications Group, to let me know. If I do not respond, rest assured I’m not ignoring you, I just need another nudge to remind me!

For the best part though, I’m looking forward to getting out and about once again, meeting with friends, and I thoroughly wish all the landlords, event organisers and our performers all the very best for the future in these trying times. Hopefully, today we see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Town Council Making Marlborough High Street a Safer Place

At the Full Town Council meeting on 29 June 2020, Town Councillors made a decision, under a new scheme, to pass on to Wiltshire Council its support for the temporary widening of pavements in the High Street to make it a safer environment for residents and shoppers. Under new legislation announced last week which streamlines relevant licensing processes, this would also enable cafés, pubs and restaurants to serve customers outside. Bus stops, disabled parking spaces and the taxi rank will not be affected. Our Councillors also took a decision to use an annual parking allocation to offer some free parking to help compensate for the temporary removal of the 30 minutes free parking on the north and south sides of the High Street as well as looking at a future initiative to work with businesses to offer shoppers refunds for their first hours parking.

The reasoning behind this is twofold – to encourage people back to a High Street where they feel confident and safe and to kick start the local economy. The Town Council has been approached by some in the hospitality sector with fears about not being able to offer customers any service within their premises (in fact, some in this sector have already taken the difficult decision not to re-open in Marlborough at all). Others have expressed concerns about pinch points where queuing outside shops, banks and various businesses could not be properly organised especially where the pavement is very narrow.

The Re-opening of the High Street Safely Scheme is an initiative being offered to towns across the county and already being taken up in some (e.g. Malmesbury) and funded via the European Regional Development Fund. The Town Council’s agreement to pavement widening has been passed on to Wiltshire Council (the scheme administrators) where professional Highways teams will look at its technical viability before a decision is made by a WC Steering Group which is considering similar requests from other towns. Any measures agreed will not be permanent, will be monitored and can be changed if they are not working well.

The Town Council has, under the same scheme, asked that hand sanitizer stations are placed at intervals along the pavement and for signage indicating that it’s business as usual in our safe High Street.

Ahead of agreeing to support this, Councillors held two meetings with representatives from the High Street and also canvassed some businesses about the scheme. At one meeting, a WC officer dealing with Wiltshire’s economic recovery explained the opportunities and

restrictions offered by the scheme and confirmed that she will be working with Marlborough over the next couple of years to invigorate the local economy.

Our Town Mayor, Cllr Mark Cooper, said: “We mustn’t forget that whilst we welcome the lifting of restrictions, the government and medical experts are clear that the pandemic is still with us and will be for some time to come. The Town Council welcomes measures to keep its residents and visitors safe and amongst all of this, we are also trying to ensure that our businesses can find their feet again after months of being faced with uncertain futures.”

Ultimately, of course, the final decision on the scheme rests with Wiltshire Council.

For more information contact:

Mrs Shelley Parker, Town Clerk at townclerk@marlborough-tc.gov.uk

Marlborough Town Council, 5, High Street, Marlborough, SN8 1AA – Tel – 01672 512487 or 07931 996632

Email – townclerk@marlborough-tc.gov.uk
www.marlborough-tc.gov.uk

 

The Unforgettable Film Scores of Ennio Morricone

Ever seen those videos where some clever-clogs takes out the music to a film clip and it immediately loses all clout? It makes one realise how dependant the film is to the music, how, without it, there’s hardly any emotion, and in turn is symbolic of how music can emotionally move us.

None so much when evoking emotions such as fear or suspense, when the creepy music starts you’re edging on the sofa, feeling for the protagonist, you are beside the sacred little girl in the haunted house, or the cop seeking out the hiding villain in the disused warehouse, dreading what might be around the next corner. Take the film score out and you’d be like, yeah, whatever.

Saddened then to hear of the passing of Ennio Morricone yesterday, the Italian composer and conductor, best known for his work on Sergio Leone’s great westerns, The Dollar Trilogy. Though the films this prolific composer scored the music for are too many to name. Born in 1928 in Trastevere, Rome, when Italy was under fascist rule, Ennio’s father was a professional trumpet player and consequently, was the first instrument the young Ennio picked up. At just six he began writing his first compositions.

By the early 1950s he was composing pieces for radio plays, incorporating American influences, and also playing jazz and pop for the Italian broadcasting service, RAI. From Paul Anka to the Pet Shop Boys he has orchestrated many a pop song, but Ennio’s first love was film scores. After several, his association with Sergio Leone begun in 1964. Hard to imagine now he created those masterpieces of grandeur and suspense with a limited orchestra, the budget wouldn’t stretch to a full one. He used effects such as gunshots and cracking whips, and the new Fender electric guitar. Yet they will never be forgotten, and his work here expanded the possibilities and paved the way for progressive techniques in film scores.

Spaghetti Westerns would never be the same again, but neither would the benchmark for all film scores. Yet Ennio never left Italy, and never learned English, but still went onto working with hundreds of directors, including John Boorman, John Huston, Terrence Malick and Roland Joffé, even Roman Polanski and Quentin Tarantino.

 

 

 

NervEndings For The People

More clout than Ocean Colour Scene I’d expected after hearing frontman Mike Barham’s prior thrashing solo releases and drummer Luke Bartels previous band, but more roaring blues than Reef was an angle I didn’t see coming when I first checked our local purveyors of loud, NervEndings.

We’re countless gigs in now, the band, with bassist and secondary vocalist Rob McKelvey, still tight and raucous. I’m glad there’s a six-track album doing the rounds on the streaming sites, as by way of a meanderingly drunken tête-à-tête with Luke down the Gate, an album in the pipeline was one of the random topics breezed over, but so was the debatable aggression levels between Welsh and English badgers too, so I only held hope it’d see the light!

nervendings3

“For The People”they’re calling it, then, out last week. It’s got the kick I now predicted, with that surprising blues element to boot, particularly in the opening track, Infectious Groove. Yet the Muddy Puddles single we’ve reviewed in the past follows, and sets the ball really rolling; it takes no prisoners, yet, for its catchiness, contains a slither of something very sixties; imagine pre-Zeppelin metal.

Emo, to audaciously use an unfamiliar genre, I’d best describe Colour Blind; smoother, drifting indie rock. And in that, Fighting Medicine is more as I’d supposed, guitar riff rocking like a driving song and Mike’s brainy lyrics, with added profanity to describe the drunken hooligan spoiling for a rumble. You know the bloke, there’s always one.

nervendings4

With themes of non-pretentious indie, Chin up continues this ethos, forget the attempts to conform to expectances, it’s a be-yourself song. Best, in my humble opinion, though, is Dark Dance; as it says on the tin, teetering on crashing punk, it’s upbeat and danceable, in a throwing-your-head mosh-pit kind of way, which isn’t my way, usually, but it reaches a bridge of mellow romance-themed splendour. Here’s Jimi Hendrix covering Blur’s Song Two, as the blues is retained in all these contemporary rock tunes, and for a dude indifferent to the cliché indie sound, it works on my level too.

nerendings2

Nicely done, and, double-whammy, Mike has forced upon me this streaming inclination which defies all my generation stood for when collecting music. Our parents called us by name when shouting up the stairs to turn the music down, not “Alexa!” Ah, it needed to be done and I’m grateful, in a sense. “Send me a download or something,” I pleaded, “I don’t understand this Spotty-Fly thing!” But it only met with the reply, “it’s on all the streaming sites….” I’m of the generation who tried to turn over the first CD they got, to listen to the B-side, and only just got the hang of downloading. Now I’m causally informed downloading’s sooo millennial.

I dunno, all moving too fast it; seems so unphysical, not to have a record collection, rather a playlist. You can’t skin up on a Deezer playlist. At least downloading had a file, nearer, somewhat, to owning a record. But I’ve persevered and found the Spotify app on my PC more user friendly; I didn’t harass my daughter for assistance once, as I regularly do with the phone.

So, cheers, Mike. Hopefully this will help me surpass the “noob” label my son has tied to me, which, I’m told is a word for both a novice and an insult in one. Honestly, I feel like my grandad, who, when he came over once, stood staring at our new LCD television and asked, “where’s your tele?!” For the People needs to include the older people too, as I reckon many would either love it, or give this trio a ruddy good clip around the ear, which is maybe what they deserve for being so damn good; they’d have me talking emoji next.


Adverts & Stuff!

covidcampInDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966plankshead1asam2whitespacevanman

Jon Amor is Cooking

Last time I saw Jon Amor he was queuing for Sainsburys. Sign of the times I suppose, would’ve much preferred to say we were in a pub or hall, and Jon was doing his thing. Capers, was what, he explained, he went in for. Those Mediterranean pickled berries, I figured; Jon is as epicure with his tucker as he is with his music. A new single, Peppercorn, expands the hypothesis; he’s cooking alright.

A contemporary blues performer with an established diverse repertoire, I was surprised upon reviewing his 2018 album, Colour in the Sky, of a distinctive and quirky fashion akin to late-seventies pop-rock in the more beguiling tracks; a drainpipe-suited Elvis Costello, of type, and songs as good to match. I’m thinking of the tracks Red Telephone and Illuminous Girl in particular, they don’t follow the archetypical modern bluesman manner, they’re upbeat, zany and define a certain panache emerging with Jon. I’m pleased to say Peppercorn doesn’t just correspond with this notion, but expands upon it.

Accompanied by video of crazy antics around his home, presumably recorded over his many entertaining lockdown live streams, with not only a rather perfected Ministry of Silly Walks tribute in snappy blue winkle-pickers, but an amusing puppet sequence to scream Sledgehammer at you. This is a quirky, catchy little tongue-in-cheek number. From Shanks & Bigfoot’s Sweet Like Chocolate to, more appropriately, The Soul Leaders’ boss reggae classic, Pour on the Sauce, food innuendo is no new thing in music; Louis Jordan nailed it in the thirties. Still with his demarcated and inimitable stylishness, here’s Jon’s own take on it.

20191221_223346_resized

With a little slide-guitar intro, after thirty seconds it’s having it; immediately enticing and definingly why Jon Amor sets the local live music bar high. Though he is, the hybrid between man-about-Devizes-town and blues legend. At a quid from Bandcamp, this shiny example of why is a winning dish.


Adverts & Stuff!

covidcampInDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966plankshead1asam2whitespacevanman

Wiltshire is not Due a second Lockdown

“It’s easier to fool people than convince them that they have been fooled,” Mark Twain.

Brilliant quote, you best believe it. Here’s the ha-ha irony, I fooled you. There are no sources of information to prove where or when the well-documented author Mark Twain allegedly said this. At least, according to snopes.com. Unless they’ve fooled me of course, which is possible. Nevertheless, it’s a great saying, and as we’re locked up, we rely on the honesty of incoming information from our media.

But the mainstream media is under pressure, they are a business in an everchanging market where nothing is cut and dry. Speed and efficiency are key, it takes far longer to research, write, fact check, edit, produce, publish and distribute then it does to add a wonky opinion on social media, their ultimate competition. Because of this then, I forgive the certain local newspapers, and any other news sources who reported Wiltshire is due another lockdown, maybe they jumped the gun on this, or maybe, there’s a dying need to raise stats. We are in the same boat, please share this click-bait article!

Expressed as a percentage, yes, the R-rate in Wiltshire has risen, and caused our county to be added to a list for a potential second lockdown, but as reporter Dan O’Brien points out on Twitter, context is everything. Lab-confirmed cases went up from just one to four, a drop in the ocean compared to other listed areas. If this is bullshit, if this is a mistake or oversight, or even if it’s clickbait, it is dangerously wrong information with no consequence other than scaremongering.

Example, in the flowing social media comments in response to it I’ve already seen one suggest “it hasn’t helped with people rioting and trips to the beach.” Because, yes, one cannot deny the coastline of landlocked Wiltshire has been densely overpopulated with barmy beach nuts this drizzly week, and oh, we cannot forget the terrible race riots of Urchfont and Chirton, when the streets were amassed with rampaging village immigrants.

“For crying out loud, put the face mask over your nose and mouth, not your eyes and ears!”

Lockdown rules have become the new etiquette, and habit now. No one is suggesting we don’t need to take precautions, heed social distancing and the higher your risk the more important you continue as best you can to abide to the lockdown rules. But we need to be wary also, of new reports either rushed or bias, we need to understand if someone tells us it’s vital for our nails to be pedicured during lockdown, they’re most probably a nailologist desperate to reboot their business, and I feel for them, I really do. Yet a government with external business dealing doing likewise, feeding the masses false information to benefit their investments is unacceptable. Not only should they have a responsibility to the people they govern, the tax-payer forking out for their wages, their luncheons and newly painted aeroplanes, but they have sway over a vast amount of media. Here, we can see the media were wrong and the in my opinion, can only be scaremongering.

Wiltshire artist Si Griffiths is off out, with the right idea!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, the good folk of Wiltshire, by comparison, have been nothing short of brilliant in reacting to this terrible pandemic, and we should be proud of that. You do need to talk to people from other places to see the difference it has. I have spoken to many who live in the coastal towns and they say the same complaint, “you wouldn’t believe what I’m seeing here.” Of course, reasons why we’ve done so well is a whole other debate, there’s our mostly rural population, our affluence and our good values and education, but most of all I put it down to, in most part, simply being sensible and abiding by the rules.

Yep, teenagers, they say, yep, I know right, yet aren’t we all getting tetchy to get out and restart our lives? Don’t blame the youth, I’ve seen pensioners secretly nipping out for walks at night, I’ve seen middle-aged shoppers blatantly ignoring social distancing measures, and, in turn I’ve seen younger people obeying and even volunteering to help. Idiots come in all shapes, sizes and ages; You. Know. This. Best we can do, is continue for a little longer, and not use our media to seek someone to blame.

George’s Postcard, from a Motorway

If Devizine is a voyage of discovering artists new to us, ones who pop up time and time again do so because they’re both more than worthy and have become friends. A nice Friday spent watching Phil, Tammy and Jamie live stream from a garden, as The Lost Trades debuted lockdown set in, and well, a video helps in some small way to shield the fact we miss them, miss them all.

George Wilding isn’t one for a live stream, least if he has it was a covert operation. A new single though, I’ve been meaning to mention, Postcards from a Motorway. Postcards being apt, perhaps, while most of us would send a text, George is quaintly old-fashioned. But it’s a fashion which fits, drawing out a mobile phone a decade out of date, his “that’ll do,” ethos inclusive, except with his music. For while archaic style from a bygone youth culture, his music transcends the borders, is unique and refined to exceptional standard.

Here’s the sort of poetically balanced, orchestrated masterpiece we’ve come to expect from George. It’s silky Velvet Underground, arty and nonchalant, drifting through mummers and shards of thought, and entirely, it’s beautiful. It’s as wildly romantic as Tchaikovsky On The Tambourine, sombre as My Backwards Head, as he acoustically cries of paper walls, perpetual drunkenness, pondering without motive, and rambles from winds to lines swearing about the president.

wilding

Feels as if George has pumped as much in as he can with this, but rather than overloaded, it rolls in manner only the greats could accomplish. Example, remember first hearing Springsteen’s Philadelphia? To have seen the plan written you may’ve said whoa! But when that synth drumbeat kicks in, it only assists the ambiance. Yeah, experimental is Postcards from a Motorway, a minute and half in and there’s a clonk of drumbeat, but with married to the subtle piano, and simple acoustic guitar loop, it remains unmistakably George Wilding.

Rather late to publish some words on it, of which I apologise to George, who celebrated 12.3k Spotify streams and 12 playlist features with it this week. I’m posting it here, if you’re not one of those 12.3k, as I wasn’t, because I’m afraid of spotty-fly; old fashioned just like you George, see! Or just plain old. Though when I pointed this out, his response was, “try YouTube,” and I was like, “oh yeah, will do.” Not much of conversation, but his music speaks a novel.

Gorgeous as ever, but only enhances my want to walk through a pub door and see him perched on a stall asking the audience what they want to hear.


Adverts & Stuff!

covidcampsuperheroholdclubInDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966plankshead1asam2

From The Specials; Neville Staple Band in Lockdown

Photos by John Coles
Artwork by Sugary Staple

If last year’s fortieth anniversary of Two-Tone Records saw an upsurge of interest in this homegrown second-generation ska, it shows no sign of flawing anytime soon. Perhaps you could attribute parallels to the social and political climate of our era, or debate intransigent devotees are reliving their youth, but I’d argue it’s simply an irresistible sound.

One thing our eighties counterparts didn’t have to contend with was the Covid19 pandemic, and musicians of every genre are reflecting on it. Ska is of no exception, we’ve seen many contemporary performers releasing new material on the subject, but here we have a legend doing his thing, topically.

139302

The Neville Staple Band releases this timely single, Lockdown. A dynamic modern-sounding reggae track, yet encompassing all the goodness of the Two-Tone era of yore. Understandable, original rude boy Neville Staple is conversant with this, a founder member and co-frontman of The Specials, Fun Boy Three and Special Beat. Those influences shine through here. There’s something very Fun Boy Three about this tune, with a slice of poetically-driven Linton Kwesi Johnson to its feel.

As true as the song suggests, in lockdown Dr Neville Staple has teamed up with wife Sugary Staple, to pump out this relevant single, commonly reflecting on the feeling of many concerning the virus and staying safe. “Sugary came up with the idea to write a song about the lockdown,” Neville explains, “which, at first, was a very fast-stomping ska track. We then realised that it was too fun and happy a tune for the theme. Most of us have been quite down about the whole virus thing, so we decided to take it on a more sweet but moody 2Tone reggae route, in a similar vein to ‘Ghost Town’, with some music we had worked on previously with Sledge [Steve Armstrong.]”

697423

While I detect echoes of Ghost Town, this tune also breathes originality and present-day freshness, confirming progression of the genre rather than a frequently supposed nostalgia. Being a local site, some may recall his visit to Melksham’s ParkFest last year, where an unfortunately damp evening didn’t stop the revelling, and Neville stole the show with an assortment of Two-Tone classics. I was backstage with the wonderful support band Train to Skaville. A chance meeting with Neville, when he popped out of his tent for pizza, humourlessly failed to engage long enough to explain who I was, and ended with him pointing at his pizza-box and saying “yeah, I’m going off to eat this.” I should’ve known better than to harass a legend when their pizza is chilling in drizzle! I nodded my approval, knowing I’d have done the same thing.

Neville was awarded an honorary doctorate from Arden University last year. With a tour, and so many international shows and festivals postponed, the couple decided to do a lot of extra charity work as well as new song writing. DJ recordings for people sick in hospitals or in isolation, personally dedicated to them, was just the start. Sugary and Neville wanted to highlight the work of Zoe’s Place, a charity run for terminally ill babies and toddlers. As ambassadors for this charity, Sugary expressed, “charities like these really do suffer at a time like this, as the focus is on other things. But the work they do at Zoe’s Place is like one of a kind and so very special. They step in when families really do need the support, providing 24-hour high quality, one-to-one palliative, respite and end-of-life care for children aged 0-5 years. A heart-breaking time for anyone involved. We must not lose a charity like this – it is too important and so we will be supporting this, along with other charities we are patrons or ambassadors to, with this single.” And the duo dedicates this song to all those who have been affected by Covid-19.

817546

Shared to our Boot Boy Radio DJs, you can expect we will be spinning in for the foreseeable future, but you can get it here:

7″ vinyl order https://bit.ly/2NeeoUA

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/1s2wuLNQ3q4wsvq7tOUfVh

iTunes https://music.apple.com/gb/album/lockdown-single/1515072018

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Lockdown/dp/B0894K4G1Q


SPECIAL NOTICE – FROM THE SPECIALS, NEVILLE STAPLE & SUGARY:

A MESSAGE TO YOU..! The Legendary Neville Staple (Dr), Sugary Staple & the Band, need your help please.

Can you wonderful people please donate just £3 towards this project (which will also get you 2 signed exclusives pics), or any random amount, or check out the mega exclusive vinyl 45 & CD gift set offers (these are going really well, and are extremely rare limited edition items, so grab them while you can). You just click this link and choose your reward, to then register your donation.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fromthespecials/lockdown-ska-2020-from-the-specials-neville-staple-and-sugary/   


If you like a bit of ska and reggae, catch me on www.bootboyradio.co.uk Fridays from 10pm GMT till midnight!

skaingwestcountry


Adverts & Stuff!

covidcampInDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966

superheroholdclub

asam2

A Cracked Machine at the Gates of Keras

Don my headphones, chillax with a cider, and prepare my eardrums for a new album from our local purveyors of space-rock goodness; Cracked Machine is a wild ride….

There are few occasions when mellowed music truly suspends me in the moment, when it just exists in the air like oxygen and totally incarcerates and engulfs my psyche. Jah Shaka and ambient house rascals the Orb both achieved this a couple of dusks at Glastonbury, but the same with likewise happenings, I confess I was intoxicated on matter maturity caused me to long leave in my past!

The issue for any reborn psychedelic-head is pondering the notion, will it ever be the same again, will music and art tease my perception to quite the same degree. The sorry answer is no, unless your intransigent mate slips something in your drink. Yet it’s not all despair, with a sound as rich and absorbing as Cracked Machine, it’s doable without drugtaking shenanigans.

They proved this at the most fantastic day in Devizes last year, which was that bit more fantastic, when what was intended to be a bolt-on feature became the highlight of DOCA’s Street Festival. Funded and arranged by Pete and Jacki of Vinyl Realm, the second stage highlighted everything positive about local music; a historic occasion we’ll be harking on for some time yet. I nipped away briefly after Daydream Runaways stole the early part of the day. But where the lively indie-pop newcomers had roused the audience, I returned to witness a hypnotised crowd and a mesmerising ambience distilling the blistering summer air. Smalltalk was numbed, as if the area was suspended in time. A doubletake to confirm we were still perpendicular, sitting in deckchairs or slouching against a wall on the corner of Long Street and St Johns and not slipped through a time vortex to a Hawkwind set at a 1970 free-party love-in. I was beyond mesmerised, but not surprised.

For this is how it was with their impressive 2017 debut album, I, Cosmonaut, the soundscapes just drifted through me, as I causally drafted the review, reminding me of a smoky haze of yore, giggling in a mate’s bedroom, listening to Hawkwind’s Masters of Universe. Youth of my era though, were subjected to electronic transformation in music, which would soon engulf us. Rave culture cut our space-rock honeymoon short, though, Spaceman 3 were a precursor to the ambient house movement of the Orb, Aphex Twin and KLF, others changed their style, like Frome’s Ozric Tentacles merging into Eat Static, and a perpetually changing line-up for Hawkwind appeased the older rock diehards.

I love I, Cosmonaut, it manages to subtly borrow from electronica and trance, only enough to make it contemporary, but keep it from being classed as anything else other than space-rock. I felt their second album, The Call of the Void avoided this slice of Tangerine Dream, and submerged itself totally in the hard rock edge; bloody headbangers! Therefore, it’s a refreshing notion to note newly released Gates of Keras bonds the two albums and sits between them perfectly.

Again, there’s little to scrutinise as it rarely changes, it meanders, trundles me to a world beyond wordplay, as these completely instrumental tracks roll into one another, gorgeously. A Deep Purple styled heavy bass guitar may kick it off, yet the opening track Cold Iron Light takes me to the flipside of Floyd’s Meddle, with seven and half minutes of crashing drums and rolling guitar riffs. Temple of Zaum continues on theme, Ozrics-inspired funkier bassline, and we’re off on the drifting journey, splicing subtle influences. The Woods Demon, for example, stands out for particularly smooth almost Latino guitar riff, making it my personal fave. Yet Move 37 is heavier, upbeat, like the second album. Low Winter Sun is sublime blues-inspired, imagine Led Zeppelin created Satisfaction rather than the Stones, if you will.

Recorded back in November, this is eight lengthy soundscapes of pure bliss, and will guarantee you a safe trip. A signature album for a lonely lockdown of dark, yet emersed in a time of Tolkien-esque vibes and mandelbrot set fractal posters. If this was released in the mid-seventies-to early-eighties every spotty teenager would be inking their army surplus school bag with a biro-version of Cracked Machine’s logo. As it is, age taking its toll and all, I have no idea if this still happens, but doubt it. None of that matters, here is a matured era of the genre, only with a glimpse of how it once was. Nicely done.

PSG Choirs Show Their True Lockdown Colours

Five choirs strong, since their origination by Will Blake in Derry Hill six years ago, PSG Choirs run in Calne, Melksham, Devizes, Chippenham and Trowbridge and welcome all, with experience or not. All you need is a zest for singing. Function entertainment provider, Will formed PSG with a desire to unite his local community and provide a fun experience.

Known for expanding the preconceptions of a choir and taking multi-genre projects including pop, soul and gospel, today they’ve an impressive résumé spanning shows and concerts across Wiltshire and Somerset. Performances include The Festival of Light at Longleat House, a Bowood House charity concert, and a Macmillan Cancer care concert at the Neeld Hall, as well as the Calne Arts and Music Festival, oh, and there was that time they took to road, spontaneously performing through our market towns.

psg1

The choir operates its rehearsals with a walk-in policy, and have become socially engaging. “PSG is all about hope, happiness and getting pleasure out of the music we sing,” they say, and try to produce up to ten concerts annually. Things the way they are though, regular meeting are reduced to online, but nothing can halt the desire to sing, and members joined an assembly via Zoom to show their true colours yesterday. With a wonderful sounding video, the multitudes of PSG delivered a beautiful rendition of a Cyndi Lauper classic. It makes for an enticing showcase of the work they do, and is sure to cheer your afternoon up!

Artist Melinda Copyright Scam: Do Not fall for it

Where do these bell-ends get off? I confess, this scam got me….

A lesson learned not to check emails before I head off to work in the wee hours of the morning this week, as I fell hook, line and sinker for a shrewd little scam. That time in the morning, I’m even more gullible than usual! Thought I’d mention it here, so if you blog or work in the media, you don’t get fooled if it should head your way.

After the umpteen times explaining to my mum on the phone how to be mindful and wary of emails and social media posts with links, I confess, emotion got the better of me with this one. I feel like such an idiot for falling for it. My entire day was ruined by Melinda, the illustrator, the very angry illustrator, if she exists at all, which I doubt, so I’ll call them nasty pricks; for want of a more offensive term.

Note, I endeavour to check my sources of all the images we use on Devizine, I’ve been a victim of intellectual property theft myself and it’s a horrible feeling, like you’ve been psychically burgled. I’d welcome if anyone spots an image of theirs, they get in touch immediately, and we can credit you appropriately, link it to your website, or if you prefer, remove it. Note also, we are a non-profit-making website; this is a hobby but, in turn, I take copyright issues personally and seriously. Copyright infringement is a bitch, a red tape minefield in this digital era, and the last thing I want is to upset a creator. Imagine my surprise then when a message arrives via the feedback form on the website, claiming I had used their images without permission.

The message was thus: “This is Melinda and I am a licensed illustrator. I was confused, to put it nicely, when I came across my images at your web-site. If you use a copyrighted image without my approval, you should be aware that you could be sued by the owner. It’s illegal to use stolen images and it’s so nasty! Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at devizine.com and my earlier publications to obtain evidence of my legal copyrights.”

It ends by requesting I “delete the images mentioned in the document above within the next several days, I’ll write a complaint against you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.” Then it ends abruptly with a threat, “And if it doesn’t work, you may be pretty damn sure I am going to report and sue you! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance.” Looking at it now I see the holes, but rather than a formal notice, it is just the sort of knee-jerk reaction you might expect from an angry artist upon finding their work stolen, and I fully sympathise with those who do.

My heart leapt into my mouth and the immediate response is to resolve the issue as fast as possible. The catch is Melinda, the imaginary illustrator, hasn’t named the images she has an issue with; you have to click on a link to see her “case file,” and reveal what images of hers you’ve blatantly nicked. I did click, it took me to a Google Drive page which didn’t load immediately, so quickly closed it down. I’d have to contact her via the email address she left or her website. The emails returned unsent; the website didn’t exist.

Yeah, I know, this should’ve been evidence enough to tell me it was a trick, but my mind was still wound up with what-ifs, and worries I’d offended someone. I had to speculate as to what images they could be, and came up with two on an article which I deleted post-haste. Then, throughout my work day I’m contemplating, what if they weren’t the right pictures, and I wracked my brain to think of others they might be.

When I got home, I tried the email again, to be sure, changing the capital letter for lower case. I messaged the person who was the subject of the article, as I lifted the suspected images from his Facebook page, though he is in Argentina, I’d have to allow for the time difference. Then I Google searched illustrators called Melinda as contacted them too, asking them if they’d messaged our website. It was only thanks to Ida of InDevizes who messaged me after seeing my Facebook post, I found out others had the same message, and it was confirmed a scam.

Virus scan today picked up no threat. No harm done, just an upsetting day, a pointless waste of my time and the notion I will be cautious of anyone calling up copyright issues in future, which in turn could affect our ability to work with creators to ensure we get it right. As if copyright isn’t complicated enough, these absolute bell-ends have to meddle with your emotions, and ruin your day. I’m just posting so you’re aware, as I’m surprised that I fell for it, is all. Onwards as ever….

Sheer Music’s MVT Open Letter to Government

Hats off to Sheer Music, who has a Music Venue Trust open letter template, calling for the government to consider grass roots music venues.

You can download the template letter from the Sheer site, link here, and are encouraged to send it to your local MPs and councillors, with a cover letter in your own words, explaining your circumstances and why you feel live music is important.

With news today pubs and restaurants will reopen on 4th July, massive restrictions are set and live music doesn’t look like it will be happening again anytime soon. With some thought applied and careful planning, I’m certain performances could potentially restart too.

This is vital to the livlihood for not only event organisers and landlords, but our musicians too. Please, if you can follow the instructions from the Sheer page, thank you.

Brownie Dad in the Ring!

Yay, happy Father’s Day, Dads, we are number one, so why try harder?!

Received a photo-card from my son of my good self proudly showing off my moobs, and my daughter got me a fit-watch thingy to measure my steps, heart rate and all of that malarkey; a smidgen suspicious they’re trying to tell me something. Yet, by way of a complete turnaround, I’ve also bagged myself a box of brownies from the Gourmet Brownie Kitchen in Poulshot and now I’m staring at my fit-watch, eagerly awaiting brownie o’clock to come….

…. hold on…. Yeah, oh, mmmm, nice, yeah baby; these are the kiddy! I rest my case. Take this as my specialised technical food review; who do I look like, Mary Berry?

Now the deed is done. Amazingly, I did twenty-six steps going to the kitchen to get the brownies! It was worth the effort though, probably worth it if my kitchen was located on top of Mount Etna. Cos, like, cakes have trends, don’t they? A year or so ago it was all cup cakes this and cup cakes that; all in the icing and fancy decoration. Don’t get me wrong, nothing against the cup cake, but brownies are the new top dog, all the fancy ornamental stuff and icing begone, simple, stodgy little blessings they are, those brownies. Though, there was a variety in the box, particularly standing out visually was the fudge one with marshmallows and covered in white chocolate. I couldn’t single any out though, for all their subtle differences, I loved them all with impartiality and equality!

I tried my hand at baking them once upon a time, bought a tray especially, but they came out like squares of chocolate sponge a six-year old might make.

What’s the secret in making those beauties stodgy and so utterly gorgeous? I don’t know, put a book on them like pressed flowers? Ah, I don’t need Google, I don’t need to know, really. Jodie Perkins knows, might well be her secret, and that’s good enough; leave the brownie-making to the experts. I’m only professional in the eating part and telling you, because I know a good brownie when I taste a good brownie, and the brownies at The Gourmet Brownie Kitchen are somewhere between a brownie paradise and brownie heaven; about halfway.

Jodie founded the business in 2013 and in June last year she opened her shop at the Poulshot Lodge, which is a double-whammy as I picked myself up some wicked ribeye steaks while I was there! Now she’s shipping these beauties out nationally. Jodie makes cakes for celebrations, she offers vegan and gluten-free options, and she has a website for orders, you don’t need to wait for the next Father’s Day; any day should be a brownie day.

International Ska! Hugo Lobo teams up with Lynval Golding and Val Douglas

If I penned an all-purpose article a week or so ago, about ska in South America being as prospering now as it once was in England, I follow it up with this grand example….

Argentina’s Dancing Mood trumpeter and producer Hugo Lobo made history this week, releasing “Fire Fire,” a skanking upbeat cover of a Wailers rarity, by calling in international troops. Throughout this prolific career, Hugo endeavours to encourage legendarily collaborations, exalting the international genre and keeping the flame of Ska and Rocksteady alive.

Dancing Mood staggeringly sold over 200,000 albums. Hugo Lobo presented his debut solo album ‘Ska is the Way’ in 2017. This renowned trumpeter not only performed and produced for many of the south American ska and reggae bands I mentioned in my previous piece, but transcends to international acclaim, working with Rico Rodriguez, Janet Kay, The Skatalites, Doreen Shaffer, and Dennis Bovell. With Jerry Dammers, Hugo paid tribute to Rico Rodriguez in 2015 at the London International Ska Festival.

In a transcendental meeting, three generations of ska artists from the corners of the planet combined to recreate this 1968 musical nugget from the Wailers’ homemade label “Wail’n Soul’m,” where Peter Tosh leads. Jamaican-born British rhythm guitarist and vocalist Lynval Golding, of the Specials and who later founded the Fun Boy Three with Terry Hall and Neville Staple, is central to the single, yet he always is central to something ska! Lynval appeared on Glasto’s Pyramid Stage with Terry Hall backing Lily Allen, and the Park Stage where Blur frontman Damon Albarn and beatboxer Shlomo knocked out Dandy Livingstone’s “Message to You Rudy,” a popular cover for the Specials.

hugoLynval
Lynval Golding

With a generation-spanning résumé, Lynval Golding continues with current group, Pama International, undoubtedly the UK’s most celebrated contemporary ska outfit who we were the first new band in thirty years to sign to Trojan Records. Yet through this huge portfolio, Hugo Lobo proudly announces his presentation is Lynval Golding’s first solo material.

hugo2
Lynval with Jerry Dammers and Jools Holland

If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, Hugo also called upon the current bassist of The Skatalites, Val Douglas to add to the enthralling sound. Check the bass on Bob Marley’s “Wake Up and Live” if you want a shining example of Val’s talent. Though Val is a multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer and producer, working with just about any reggae legend you could name; Toots & The Maytals, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Ernest Ranglin, The Abyssinians, Delroy Wilson, Dennis Brown, Ken Boothe, Lloyd Charmers, as well as contemporary ska artists the New York Ska Jazz Ensemble.

hugo3val
Val Douglas

All this considered, it could go one of two ways, overloaded with ego and fighting for centre stage as would many legends of other genres, or simply a sublime sound. Bear in mind this is SKA, collaborations are more frequent and common than rock and pop, and unlike the often-pugnacious insolence of ska bands, there’s never anything narcissistic about legendary collaborations. Glad to announce it’s the latter of the two ways, this sound leads the way. It holds all the catchiness we expect from ska, it heralds tradition but sounds fresh and innovative; the hallmark of the scene I love.


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

Adverts & Stuff!

skaingwestcountry
Catch me Fridays at 10pm to Midnight for a west country humoured ska, reggae and anything goes show!

covidcamp

InDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966

Virtuous Violence of a Clock Radio

If the name Clock Radio suggests an irritating box by your bed you simply want to lunge at in the morning, the casual “Talking Heads” fashion of local purveyors of self-proclaimed “deluded jangle rock,” entice no such violent action; they’re smooth and arty. Though, ironically describe themselves as “easily triggered, dishonest, cryptic yet flirty,” and violence is likely the disingenuous subject of a new tune, virtuously. Talking Heads though, Psycho Killer, qu’est-ce que c’est?

Idiosyncratic irony and intellectual self-satire, isn’t it? Regulars at Devizes Southgate, Clock Radio threw their retrospective namesake to the wind a year ago, and joined the download generation, as far as distributing their wares. “Throw out your vinyl grandad,” they call ageistly called to order, “Clock Radio just went digital!”

Their enigmatic sound though is much the same proficient “new wave” formula you’ll hear live; if it ain’t broke. They brand themselves through posters using snippets from cringeworthy seventies catalogues or Gilliam’s Python animation-styled images; all very pop art. Their sound reflects such an epoch, so such ageist jests can be nothing more than the elemental tongue-in-cheek bravura which will aptly see them billed alongside Calne’s Real Cheesemakers.

clockradio1

Out this week,“Virtuous Violence” is their fifth virtual release, following two singles and two EPs. With a spooky clocktower chime introduction, a gothic guitar riff flows through this otherwise poetic and smooth tune. It’s melodic retrospective post-punk goodness, would be avant-garde if appropriated its era. Yet if that Brian-Eno-slipping-on-The-Pixies kind of causal and breezy ambience is the fashion Clock Radio seek through their previously releases, they’ve nailed it with this one.

For while I’ll flitter with the genre, a tune has to “pop,” for me to take hold of it, and Virtuous Violence transcends the boundaries of their previous releases for catchiness and in capturing the imagination. Don’t run away with the notion they achieved this with the ease of synth-pop, for that’s an element of new wave they steer away from, keeping it traditionally analogue. No, this is just, well, nice on the ears. Another one for post-lockdown “must do” hitlist.


Adverts & Stuff

covidcampInDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966

Have a Sophia’s Soul Rebels after-lockdown party!

If we’re all eager to consign this lockdown to the history books, none so more, perhaps, than our pub landlords/ladies and event organisers.

I’d hope and imagine they’re considering ways to make the return to normal a real celebration. Just a suggestion then, as nothing with such universal appeal would bring the party to an apex then some live soul and Motown; yeah, I know right, comes at price though. But there is an affordable option, and they sound great.

I’d advise you check out this Sophia’s Soul Rebels video, recorded at the Bug @ Spider the week before lockdown, and tell try tell me this wouldnt liven your evening up!

https://www.facebook.com/sophiaandthesoulbrothers/

Town Council raising £750 to support the Devizes Mayor’s Charities

We were all saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of Cllr. Andy Johnson, the newly elected Town Mayor of Devizes, on the evening of 25th May, only ten days into his term of office.

Many people across the Town have already paid tribute to his kindness and generosity as both a neighbour and a worker for local charities.

One of the traditions of the Mayors of Devizes is to use their term of office to raise funds for charities which support the people of the Town. Andy had chosen three deserving charities to support, the Devizes Foodbank, Devizes Opportunity Centre, and the new St James Centre, but his untimely death occurred before he was able to turn that intention into reality.

Please join us in making a donation to this appeal, set up in Andy’s name, to raise much needed funds for his chosen charities in his memory. The Covid-19 crisis has affected all charities, but has been a particular blow for smaller, local, groups whose income has dropped substantially now that “lockdown” has prevented their normal fund raising activities from taking place. The need for their services remains as great, so many are in real crisis. Your contribution will not only allow you to honour the memory of a dedicated supporter of our local community, but will make a real difference to the lives of people within Devizes

The link is here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mayorandyjohnson thank you!

Father’s Day; Keeping Ideas Local

Whether he’s sofa slouching with his one hand down his pants the other clasping a beer, watching classic Euro finals and yelping like it’s happening now, or digging up weeds in the garden, proudly displaying his builder’s butt, don’t forget your Dad this Father’s Day…..

ON SUNDAY! I confess, I did one year, and live to regret it now he’s gone; insert sad emoji. Though it’s a man-thing for banter to ride over showing our emotion, if you’re not a dad yourself you’re excused for thinking it’s all a commercial con and your dad doesn’t want the attention, and all they did, after all, was the naughty bit. You are wrong though, I’m afraid. It does mean a lot to those dadas and father figures, believe me.

Remember we live to embarrass you in public, that’s why we have those sandals and oversized khaki shorts, but we do it because we care! So, you’ve a few more days to get it together, shops are reopening, I urge you keep it local, but what can you do to show him, through all his faults, you love and respect that balding misunderstood numpty?! Here’s some ideas….


Cards and Gifts!

Yep, easy one, innit? Top of the list though. Keeping it local, nip down the High Street, Devizes, and find Expressions Card Shop. They have reopened, and have all the cards, balloons and gifts you could ever want to shower your pops with.

Another cool place to check out, antiques and vintage shop Ele’s Emporium in Seend, they suggest some homemade beer coasters which would save your mum having to moan at him for beer rings on her bespoke coffee table; you know he’ll try to blame it on you otherwise!

eles

Or make something yourself, the Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre  have everything the creative need to construct something truly unique. The scrapstore is a wonderful, eco-friendly charity whose aim is to promote learning through creativity. And if it all fails and you’re covered head-to-toe in double-sided sticky tape, gifts can also be found in Barty’s next door at Bowden Hill, Lacock!


Buy him a Record or CD!

Nip to Vinyl Realm, even if you don’t know what music the old fellow is into; experts Pete and Jacki will be able to advise, and nab yourself a long player that’ll take your dear ol’ pops back to a far off time when he was young; just take a step back if he attempts to belt out Cracklin’ Rosie or show off his dad-dancing; it’s never a pretty sight!

vr


Beer and Snacks!

I admit some Batman socks once got me a tad excited, but usually socks are a cliché yawn. Beer, that’s what he wants, and snacks to go with it. The Vaults in Devizes and Piggy Bank in Calne offer Father’s Day boxes of such necessities, and they’ll deliver them on Saturday or Sunday. Order on their respective websites and you can benefit from the amusement of watching Dad get sloshed.

The Southgate is also available to get take-outs, might be a plan; check with your favourite boozer to see who’s also doing take-outs; Dads are raring to get back down the pub, so you could be onto a winner with this idea. Mathematically the equation is thus: Dad + Beer = Happy Dad.


Tea for Two!

I don’t know about you, but I’m happy with any food, and I’m a dad; must be something in that notion. The Happy Food Company of Devizes have put together a special afternoon tea for Father’s Day, fresh delivered to your door on the day.

Cake selection, Coffee and walnut cake, Guinness and chocolate cake, large pork sausage roll, scone, jam and cream, loose tea from teainc and at £20 for 2. Mum will love it too, even if it’s not her special day!


A Takeaway Roast Dinner!

Who’s got one of those Dads who is always in the kitchen? Yeah, thought not! Still, might benefit him if mum’s in a good mood; get a takeaway roast dinner from the Pelican in Devizes; wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Best way to a man’s heart. Roast pork, chicken or stuffed Portabello mushroom with blue cheese sauce and lovely home made desserts. Vouchers can be redeemed for up to one year, and they have Take Away Mid Week Specials from around the World!

pelly1


Sweeties!

While we’re on grub, Dads love ‘em, simple as. Savannah’s Sweets in Devizes have reopened, and still do takeaway orders for home delivery. It’s an idea, save him nicking your Haribo, after all.

savannah


Picnic!

Every Dad is, in some way, like Yogi Bear, and love a pic-a-nic. Over at Lower Farm, home to Rowdey Cows and Spotty Dogs, they’re having a socially distancing picnic; the shop has everything you need to make it as swanky as you like, and the café is open for teas, coffees, and of course, it goes without saying; ice cream! The Spotty Dog also has a male grooming gift sets as a secondary idea. So, if your dad has adopted the Planet of the Apes look over the lockdown, this might be the very idea.


Have a BBQ!

Dad and barbeque, like horse and carriage. Butchers HF Stiles in Bromham have a mixed grill pack especially for Father’s Day

Avebury’s Gourmet Goat Farmer have some gift bags for a delicious goat-based barbeque. Complete with a goat-themed greetings card, and goat burgers, brioche rolls, goats’ cheese, and a selection of locally sourced salad items, the first 10 orders get a FREE bottle of Ramsbury Brewery beer thrown in too!

goat


Crafts!

Amelia-Rose Creations in Trowbridge has lots of nice ideas, including some brilliant framed worded pieces with Lego superheroes on, get in faster than a speeding brick train though.

Sugar & Spice Bows is another great online crafter with some idea for Father’s Day, their keyrings might not get to you on time, but would be make a great belated gift!

sugarspice

And never forget our Naz at Cositas Bonitas, crazy little craft shop in Sidmouth Street, Devizes. While I cannot see they’ve anything specific for Dads, they’ll guaranteed to have endless ideas in there.


Get a book from a local author!

No point in doing this article without a shameless slice of self-promotion! Buy a paperback or Kindle version of the five-star rated sci-fi comedy, White Space Van Man by yours truly; it’s right up his street, lots of rude words, and it’ll keep him quiet for weeks, save for a perpetual bout of belly-laughs!

whitespacevanman


Let him eat CAKE!

Devizes-based TrayCake will deliver a Father’s Day treat box to a five-mile radius and, mate, I’ve checked their website, only browsed the photos, but I’ll be dribbling for the foreseeable future.

Secretly though I know what I’m getting, thus is the plight of being father, the invoice was emailed to me! I wasn’t going to mention it, because within half-hour of going online they were sold out. The good news is though, The Gourmet Brownie Kitchen at Poulshot Lodge has a new batch of Father’s Day Treat boxes. OMG and other such exclamation abbreviations, had some of these at the Devizes Food Festival; see, my kids know how to push my buttons. Although I’ll probably have lock myself in the downstairs loo if I think I’ve any chance of stuffing them all!

brownie

My work here is done. For the good of all Dad’s out there, the ones who deserve more than a Lynx deodorant set, but probably need one, have a great day! See you down the pub soon, alright?!


Paul Lappin; Awake in the Dark

“Lying Awake in the Dark,” the new single from Swindon’s indie soloist Paul Lappin, drives a breezier and more melodic sound than previous singles, taking me to something Jamie R Hawkins or Phil Cooper might conjure. As his third single to discover on Bandcamp since the upbeat “Life Was Good,” near on a year ago, here’s an indie-pop rock artist I’ve just discovered, worthy of lots of attention.

Though our friend Dave Franklin, over at Dancing About Architecture got there first, describing Paul’s sound thus, “it bridges a gap between the sweeter sounds of the pre-Britpop era and today’s indie creations. This is an infusion of past and present, a blend of indie, rock and pop which is at turns melodic, euphoric and soulful but always honest, relevant, reflective and passionately in love with life.”

lappin2

There’s a positively determine, tried and tested formula at work here, which may break no new ground, yet is beguiling nonetheless, and needs no experimentation. While the first two singles prompt me to suggest, though proficient, it’s all quite contemporary indie-pop, joyous and optimistic, Lappin reflects on the more melancholic theme a lost love with “Lying Awake in the Dark,” and to be honest, it suits. Backed by partial exerts of female vocals, provided harmoniously by Emily Sykes, whispering through the melody, the composition is exquisite.

Paul spent some time in rural isolation in France, polishing his song-writing skills, along with painting and sketching. Winning a song-writing competition with his debut single, the aforementioned “Life Was Good,” the story starts here. No stranger to this self-isolation era then, Paul says, “it feels familiar, all be it under very different circumstances. But now I’m confined to my parents’ house in England, where I’ll continue to draw, paint, and write songs. Might as well make the most of it.” Paul strives towards an album release shortly; something to watch out for from him, his handful of backing performers and Swindon’s celebrated Earthworm Studios.

lappin1

There’s a kind of rueful honesty and openness about Paul’s building discography, the sort after attending just the single gig I’d imagine you retire with the content notion you know this guy,  hence my comparison to our Jamie or Phil. Tracks are downloadable for a mere quid, for example; there’s no fleecing here. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear the cover art is a self-portrait, here you get the whole package of a person. It is, though, a watermark of a great acoustic musician, and Paul fits that bill.


Adverts & Stuff!

covidcampInDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966

Blossom with Gail (from Devizes)

Phone memory bursting with text messages from Gail Foster the day I did my fundraising milk round in my Spiderman onesie. A keen photographer as well as accomplished local poet, Gail had cycled to the summit of Monument Hill and sat awaiting to capture the moment I returned triumphant.

I confess, I underestimated my ETA massively due to the media attention, Carmela and family arriving, and passers by stopping me to donate. I was also irritable and smelly by that point, but those are occupational hazards at the best of times, doubly so in a onesie in the sweltering August climate. Gail, though, was as dedicated as paparazzi to getting the snap she wanted, got me smiling just to see her there, and it’s the same commitment she shows through her expressions in poetry. Her shiny new book, Blossom is a prime example.

gail3
Images by Gail Foster herself!

Perhaps its very title coveys Gail’s grouping of photography and poetry, natural elements crucial to her snaps, but her books bestow only the written word. We’ve reviewed Gail’s books in the past, never an easy task. Poetry not my bag, usually, so I cannot liken to similar creative outpourings. There’s also the fear that my own penmanship doesn’t compare and will not do justice to her creative writing. Poems are hard, something about bacon. Yet it is down to befriending Gail which has re-sparked an interest in poetry in me, and deflected my juvenile fear of a Ted Hughes book facing me on a school desk. That’s how universally appealing her words are.

While subjects chronologically stream from one poem to another, expect also, sudden changes in Gail’s train of thought. Blossom kicks off with a memorial forward and dark subjects follow, of wintery funerals and melancholic seasons. One may expect this, the platitude of poems often reveals a shadowy side of the poet. But, just a few poems in and though we’re still on the seasonal theme, winter cries a warning to Gail, to keep her knickers on.

Here is precisely why Gail got me into in poetry, a feat I never cared to assume would happen. The wittiness of the absurd, surreal, Pythoneske can crop up, without warning and provide actual laugh-out-loud observations. There’s a feeling of daring in Gail’s words, while acute and proficiently executed, nothing is off limits. Gail projects drollness, jocularity and just about every other emotion of the human psyche, in manner which though reflects poets of yore, breathes a fresh and unique approach to boot.

gail2

In this, her new book Blossom doesn’t necessarily take us anywhere new in comparison to her previous collections, there’s even a pigeon reference, a running subject in Gail’s words, yet an improvement in skill and wordplay is clearly evident. Gail strives to advance and progress in her wordsmanship, dealing words like a croupier deals cards, snappy and expertly.

The introduction enlightens us to Gail’s motivation and reason for writing, “I write poems for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes an occasion demands it, in which case I stare at a sonnet on a screen for three days; at other times a poem might tickle me in my sleep, wake me up laughing.” Blossom then conveniently divides into sections, poems covering Seasons, poetry itself, “Binky Liked to Bitch a Bit,” Politics, Characters, Sorrow, Love and Prose, even local thoughts in a section titled, “a bit of old Devizes.”

blossom1

There are verses dedicated to friends, themes of celebrities, naughty royals and both Greta and Trump, odes to patronising old men, nosey neighbours, political sway, Brexit, current affairs and Nigel Farage depicted as a meerkat. As we pass through an era Gail documents them uniquely. There are unapologetic words of the sweary kind, bitterness at times, jollity in others; bugger, it’s tricky to nail this poet down; what does she want from me, trying to review a book so vastly sweeping with subject matter and prose?! I’m giving up, you have to read it yourself. You can bless your Kindle with one, or Gail favours that you nip to Devizes Books for a paperback, and I tend to agree. Devizes Books brilliantly supports local authors.

In this time of lockdown, you might need a good read, so too does the artists need some revenue. The advantage of holding Gail’s poems in your hand is that you can freely pursue them at your own leisure. We did once review a spoken word CD which Gail recorded, I like this approach and unsure if she will do it again.

gail1
Proof it’s in Devizes Books, here’s owner Jo holding a copy!

I could, but don’t, motivate myself to attend local poetry slams and readings, in fear those poets I know, Gail, our own writer Andy, and Ian too, might encourage me to get up. Yeah right, “here’s one I wrote called ermm, ermm, and ermm!” Yet, I do love to hear Gail actually reading her poems herself, it’s a Jackanory thing, to hear the creator express their words is far more effective for a slow reader like me. But you, clever lot, will love Blossom.


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

Adverts & Stuff

covidcamp

No Surprises Locked Down in Devizes: Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part rant; just in case you didn’t have enough yesterday. The first part can be read here.

images8017756554373085244.jpg

So, the campaign group “Devizes for EU,” emailed “avert another crisis,” lobbying to extend the Brexit transition so the country “can concentrate on recovering from the effects of Covid19.” I appreciate the angle, yet cannot help but feel they’re pulling a plaster off an arm slowly. Brexit is no bonza idea in my book, but this isn’t the injudiciousness of a persuaded nation, at least the nation four years ago.

It begs the question, how swiftly does “Devizes for the EU” suppose we will recover? I’d wager, and in some small way hope, the Brexit Bunch will be pushing up daises by then. It has to be all or nothing and it’s too late to tuck our tail between our legs and hold out in the EU for support (insert sneering French snort here.) Farage and his cronies ensured this when a sombre moment in history was displayed by childish sneering and flag-waving; an indicator we’re led by donkeys.

Donkeys with an escape plan; pin the tail on Covid19 when the economy takes another nosedive due to failing Brexit strategies. Or is that, tragedies? For it is tragic, or a “fuckduggery shitshow” for want of a more offensive term. If the Farage brigade did tuck their tail between their legs, they’d do it in juvenile mirth; “look mummy, I’ve got a willy!” In similar fashion they themselves acknowledged we’d be looking at forty plus years of glorious blue passports and straight bananas before we regained economic incline after deserting the EU. For their next trick, they cut off their noses to spite their face. No! Don’t touch the face!

Ah well, Dalek climbing off a dustbin; they’ll do what they want anyway, crafty buggers. Cummings; prime example.

If you recoiled at my Cummings comparison to the bald chap in Benny Hill and like to think he’s more like Michael Knight; a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent in an EU of criminals who operate above the law, can we not make a compromise? Retain the Benny Hill scenario but in a parody of Knight Rider? Replacing Devon with Bojo Hill; easy. Vivid images of him slapping Cummings’ bald crown as auxiliary Hoff, while Liz Truss as Bonnie Barstow flashes her undies from beneath a mac at Donald Trump. A slap-and-tickle trade deal, but hold the punchline Benny, she’s missing a tooth. Strike a light; Daily Mail page 3 girl.

Who in the Tory Party forgot to pay the Mail their monthly backhander anyway? Certainly not the Knight Industries Two Thousand. Maybe his car turbo-boosted itself to Barnard Castle?

ns1

Seriousness aside for a historical tangent; believe, Cummings should have a flashing red light on his car, a warning to us all; don’t mistake Durham for Lourdes. You don’t gotta tell Waltheof, a bad-boy Earl of Northumbria who supervised the building of said castle. Geezer had a bit of beef with ol’ Willy the Conqueror, and joined an earl’s revolt against him. The nutter later repented and confessed his guilt to the king, thinking he’d sympathise and support him. But Willy jailed him for a year, then cut the twat’s head off…. just saying.

Ah, the Norman equivalent of posting a nasty meme on Twitter. You don’t earn the hashtag #bastard for being a light touch. “no 1 told me,” Waltheof replied, “LOL.” Whoa, arrow in the eye sorted him out, Bayeux Tapestry reported, probably hacked his papyrus. Applying social media into historical conflicts one has to wonder if they’d have happened at all, if they could screech their opinions on Facebook. Social media is akin to road rage, shielded by a screen, gossip about and slate who you like, then be nice to the same person if you pass them on the street; I do!

Appreciate we live in a time of peace, relatively. How bizarrely wonderful it has been to extend a Sunday afternoon ambience with a two-month Groundhog Day. It would be a crying shame, but perhaps inevitable, if post-lockdown our bitterness returns to real life levels. I admit, Wiltshire is great at this. Here you go, the Gazette reported, “only one person in the county was handed a coronavirus fine during the scorching bank holiday weekend.”

We’ve a great track record in abiding to social distancing, and as a consequence Wiltshire is doing well by comparison to other counties, or, say the blazingly ignorant example set by our leaders (more on this later.) Local rag continued, “But while the majority of people were abiding by the rules some were stretching the boundaries, chief constable Kier Pritchard said.” Because as we progress the rules get consistently vaguer. Waffled by an incompetent Prime Minster, it’s hardly surprising. “Stay alert” is the UK’s new motto, I gather that means If you see Covid19 heading your way, duck.

Could be worse, we could be in the USA, where I believe the President should freely practice what he preaches and inject himself with disinfectant. Do not delay, Trump, inject yourself with as much as you possibly can.

Or is it that we can hide flaunts of the rules in a largely rural environment? Ghostly figures of high-risk pensioners nipping out for exercise in the middle of the night; Covid19 takes a nap. I see you, Wee Willy Wrinkle. I’ve been in the supermarket queue too; oddballs shuffling closer. Unmoved by a virus, me, as a keyworker, probably got it anyway by now, more so, they smell. Question them and they apologetically claim they forgot. The streets are void of life, warning signs everywhere, spots on the floor, every media source bleating about it, people sauntering past wearing facemasks, how the fuck can you possibly forget?!

Ewe ‘avin’ a laff, shagger? Devizes; stuck in its ways, questionable or not. Opinions rarely change here. Example: I’m queuing for Lidl, somewhere near Etchilhampton. On the wall they listed all first names of their workers, thanking them for their risky labour. The disgruntled bigot baby-boomer behind me, who previously snarled aloud at the irony of a driver lowering her facemask to light fag, scanned the names and muttered to his wife, “humph, loads of foreign names.” Hello you, realise Lidl is German and operates internationally, do you expect someone in the Balkan states to be called Dave Smith?

Idle mutterings maybe, but it’s the same mindset which sees an Afro-American killed by police over the pond. And Trump’s reaction? Threaten to open fire on objectors. You’d think a congress would oversee what he tweets, but I’m glad they don’t; it shows an exaggerated interpretation of the real feelings of the far-right philosophy. Highlights my notion social media is akin to road rage. Trump is to Twitter what Reagan was to “the big red button,” hovering over it, dying to unleash his façade of showmanship. You have to understand the difference between idle mutterings and publishing something on social media, at least better than the melted figurine of He-Man.

Pandora’s box cracked open now, me boy. Let’s clear it up. Ideally, I believe a Facebook group should adhere to the objective it sets. It’s no use disguising a desire to cast political bias onto your Facebook page if it was supposed to be about local issues, and uncompromisingly delete every comment deflecting. This is bound to cause upset. Users of local groups are getting an inkling where I’m driving this. Watch out, I’m a cheeky monkey, flinging the poo back at you.

It is, however, as it is. Admins of Facebook groups are NOT expected to hand over their efforts into the hands of keyboard warriors with absolutely no respect for others. No matter how much upset this petty discourtesy causes you, the need to chastise admin with threats or obscene insults is beyond justified. For crying out loud, how sad have we become? I like the guy, often differ in opinion, but he is not Pol Pot.

I rest my case, but it is important, doubly so while we cannot go down the boozer. I’ve forgotten where the Southgate is; eh? Oh yeah, head south, towards the gate. Social media is a necessary evil now, addictive too. I’m a Facebook junkie, my dreams come over as a Facebook feed. Where I swoon though is when Police posted a photo of teens suspected of breaking into Devizes School and numpties tag their mates. What happened to honour among thieves?

stayalert
Yes, you can

I tell you, shall I? I know you want me to. It’s all about setting a good example for youth. If you’ve read this far, I salute you. We like our news like the Spanish like food. Tapas, small, bitesize. But stay, just a smidgen longer. Oh yeah, you. Whisper; did you really expect Danny Kruger to risk his job to call out Cummings? That’d be letting him know he’s in charge of a haven of village idiots; nightmare on Sidmouth Street. But perhaps we could carve his name on the Market Place Cross next to ol’ Ruth, when you consider how much rural support he’s bleated about, how he’s donned green wellies and spoke with our blue flag-waving Tory farmers. Then note, while we swam in Cummings gags, he voted to lower our food standards during the Covid19 pandemic and endanger the livelihood of the farms, and in turn our entire infrastructure.

What do they take us for? Giving it, “we will sell our beef to America.” Baloney, they don’t call themselves cowboys because they’re partial to wearing bells around their necks; they’ve got their own beef, quite a lot of it too. Furthermore, I listened in geography class, you can fit the UK into Texas 2.8 times, and that’s just one of fifty states. Why would they want our family pack of Tesco burgers?

I don’t want a fucking bucket of Kentucky chlorinated Chicken, thank you. So, waddle off to Devizes Parkway, clap all the way for a health service your mates are supposed be funding from OUR tax, rather than expecting the poorest to fundraiser for, wait for the imaginary train to stop, pop that in your pipe and smoke it all the way to Westminster, Mr Kruger.

No Surprises Locked Down in Devizes: Part 1

All hail the one-off, two-part return of No Surprises Living in Devizes, my excuse to rant freely. It’s been a while, I guess you could say I’ve a fair bit of ammo. Do not read if you’re easily offended, do not message me if you are offended after I warned you, twat…..

images8017756554373085244.jpg

It may surprise many to note, this is the first time, I believe, I’ve typed the word “comrade,” and I’ve only done it to mock myself before you do; that’s me though, proactive. That’s them though, the baby boomer who call me, and anyone with a differing opinion, “comrade;” referencing a forty-year-old situation comedy; traditionalist to the end, even Dave doesn’t rerun Citizen Smith, leading me to ponder if their sense of humour hasn’t changed since 1980, neither has their ideology.

I’m indifferent, might even pop an aging comedy reference your way, though mine will be apt. My theory; laughter is the best medicine, and I’ll try find the humorous side to everything, even the handling of a global pandemic. Which is, if you don’t cry, laughable. Pity me though, subject matter such as this, an era like this, being funny is implausible with sanity, so if I do, consider I’m senseless, but if you laugh, so are you.

Twenty years ago, a bad year for British comedy, we lost both Frankie Howerd and Benny Hill. Yet in this patriotic flag-waving era, does anyone else feel we’ve not lost Benny’s spirit; Ernie’s ghostly gold-tops? That we are, in many ways, perpetually living an episode of his show? We have a rotund, bumbling idiot, aching to speed up the finale of lockdown, for economic sake alone. The only thing missing is the yakety sax, otherwise it’s plausible to imagine Boris in a mac, waddling around an English suburban park, chased by a raging mob of socially distancing scantily-clad women; best guess, ex-Spectator journalists. You can slap the head of that disobedient bald man as many times as you like, but you know he’ll be back next week for more frolicking fun.

For many, the Cummings scandal is the tipping point; a blatant show of negligence exposing the charade to all. It is fact, he did break his own rules and potentially endanger others with the spread of the virus. To defend him is to defend the indefensible, still they try; not buying it Danny. Our MP said without Cummings they wouldn’t have won the election; I wager it was big fat fibs which won you the election, buddy.

d86e150b5744879c2f1543e8761f5b12--old-cartoons-classic-cartoons-18371911587323018922.jpg

Aside the uncanny resemblance to blind cartoon character, Mr Magoo, it’s not Cumming’s eyes which need testing, it’s his obligation and sense of superiority. If you disagree, say, “like any father, he did what he did for little Timmy,” consider an administration which makes allowances for refugee families and children ripped apart by famine or conflict in a manner we couldn’t contemplate on our plush green lawns, then look at our government’s zealous drive to close our borders and divert immigration.

Daggers momentarily fly at the PM’s chief advisor, shadowing a former week where Home Secretary Priti Patel had the guns aimed at her; all she did was motion migrant frontline NHS workers should pay extra for their own treatment, and when they do snuff it of Covid19, it’s time for their families to be deported. Kind of like additional charges when Sajid Javid uses paperclips in his office, then extraditing him if he takes a smoke break. Another sick career-bitch so blind not to look beyond towing the line and into a mirror; she wouldn’t be here by her own unstable immigration values. If there’s logic there tell me, I’m not Mr Spock.

But news flies so fast we’re onto another separate incident in a blink. We don’t get time to rewind and calculate these outrages, for U-turns doesn’t make it alright when malevolent concepts remain in a seat of power. For the sum of them all equals an underlying conclusion something is very wrong in our government.

Disagree? That is your right, stupid, in my opinion, but that’s my right. Consider, we have the highest death rate in Europe. Forage me a substitute reason, worthy plaintiff scavenger; bound to have been something a political party who never came to power did, eh? Or bias media reporting their findings? Or the fact some teenagers were playing on the Green last weekend? Dog them in Facebook police, but leave Cummings be? Riddle me that.

ns1

To argue another party would do things no different is hearsay, we will never be fully sure. Lockdown was too late; simples as a meerkat on watch. The Liverpool-Atletico match, the Cheltenham Racing Festival, why? Why were people coming and going from the UK freely? They knew the virus was hanging out, loitering at our gates chewing gum and high-fiving everyone; the science ignored, crucial meetings unattended. Big Ben bonging for Brexit was the bulletin, bullshit.

If you, sir, have the preconception the self-proclaimed leftie snowflake is akin to Channel 4’s wonky depiction of Corbyn as a Russian socialist, or Wolfie, you’ve officially been brainwashed. Nought defecting about them, if they aren’t dedicated to what’s best for Britain, they wouldn’t be moaning. They are not traitors; they are very British. Hey you, funny cos, like, I thought we were supposed to be uniting for the common good, clapping together, why won’t you then allow them independent thought? Why will you continually witch-hunt anyone who dare criticise, when undoubtedly there’s something amiss?

Want unification? Compromise. United in one thing, at least, their dedication to the country, the reason they’re upset. Clap the NHS, but as staff tell you, it’s not putting food on their tables. You’re not a hypocrite for clapping and voting right-wing with a decade of negligence towards NHS funding, that’s reformist misinformation gone too far; you’re just thoroughly misguided. No one will hold you accountable, it is okay to admit you made a mistake. The average leftie doesn’t want Britain to be an episode of Citizen Smith, but you seem to crave Love Thy Neighbour, or The Benny Hill Show. You see, Benny had a bad side, behind the scenes of the titillating comedy there was an underlying perversity, skeletons locked in cupboards. My metaphor takes shape now.

If there’s a reason Boris Johnson defends Cummings and allows his popularity to faulter, it is not because of some intricate totalitarianism agenda, but because of the foolhardiness of saucy playground behaviour inherent of prep-school pomposity. The only good to come of this lockdown is the sense of celebrity reality; look at our luminaries on a live Facebook stream, desperate for attention but attired in sweatshirt and joggers. They leave themselves exposed, they’re just like us. Now you see contemporary politics crystal, it’s a teenage school disco rather than a fascist regime. The very idea Boris compares to Hitler is laughable, I’m not Winston Smith, I agree with you, when a leftie compares our era with that of the war, they lose the argument. In return then, neither should you assume Boris is Churchill, here to save the day.

ns2

Hold me up as a leftie if you like, but I’m not. I’m my own person, scrabbling in the dark like you, trying to make sense of it, but if we differ it’s not my political standpoint at fault, it’s your barriers; “Labour MPs broke lockdown rules too,” oh yeah, I agree, stab them with the same sword. Something about politics makes the most motivated corrupt, but I’m not one to be satisfied conforming to the status-quo, if there’s an alternative I’m considering it, if there’s a lesser of two evils, I believe that’s the path to take. I’m so sorry to quiver at your support of a government denying all, failing to produce PPE and testing for frontline workers, the buck stops with them, blood pours from their hands and onto the useless phone app they spent the funds on.

I know you’ll chastise me for it anyway. Shut it and pick fruit, dissident. Complain Devizine is supposed to be about local issues and not cast national opinion. Shush rebel, Devizine is about whatever the hell I want to be about! Did you complain when The Gazette run an article speculating the name of Boris and Carrie’s baby? Hardly local affair, after all. Take my unending waffling as reason for this piece to be so negligent of that factor, for it is only part one in a two-part series, the local issue precedes, after the break.

You see, it’s an advantage living where we do, an affluent Tory freehold, a heaven for traditionalists and conservative ethos. I believe there’s nothing wrong in holding these values dear, but cannot help feeling that political current trends break the code, the Cummings scandal black and white. By comparison folk here have been outstanding, not perfect, but brilliant nonetheless, and we should all be proud of that. Part two then, I will explain why I think this. Meanwhile chew on this; Benny Hill really was a milkman. That’s more honesty than you’ll get from Boris.

 

Read part TWO here!

Win a £1000 and help Carmela

Who watched our Carmela and family on the telebox on Wednesday? Surely the most heart-breaking section of a documentary about life in lockdown and those taking the highest risks or making the worst sacrifices.

As her Dad, Darren said while driving his van around, delivery samples to hospitals, and unable to hug his daughter, the funding for muscular dystrophy research has dried up. But here’s a way you can help from home, and even win yourself a grand. The blind card advert can be found on Carmela’s Facebook page. You can help fill this lottery up. Pick a number from 1-150, pay £10 per number, so can have more than one if you so wish. Pay via PayPal.me/carmelasfund

carmelalotto2

Once all the numbers are taken the winning number will be revealed and the winner receives £1000, Carmela gets £500 towards a safe garden access area to play. Yep, it is play, Carmela’s family say, but only in a form of. It is, in fact, crucial exercise for her at a time when swimming, and other activities have been restricted. It helps build her muscles, and rather than most of us, being for a healthier life and perhaps some abs for the opposite sex to swoon at, muscle building is essential for someone with a muscle-wasting disease. The lockdown is already taking its tow on Carmela’s health and wellbeing.

So, please, if you can, support this sweepstake and be in with a chance of winning. Thank you. x

edf

South American Ska

Discovering a thriving ska scene in South America is like England in 1979……

Studio 1’s architect, composer and guitarist, Ernest Ranglin proclaimed while the US R&B’s shuffle offbeat being replicated by Jamaicans in their early recording studios went “chink-ka,” their own crafted pop, ska, went “ka-chink.” Theorised this simple flip of shuffle took place during Duke Reid’s Prince Buster recording session mid-1959, added with Buster’s desire to include traditional Jamaican drumming, created the defining ska sound.

orange street prince buster
Prince Buster’s block party on Orange Street

Coinciding with the island’s celebration of independence in 1962, the explosion of ska was eminent and two years later the sound found its way out of Jamaica, when Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, Prince Buster, Eric “Monty” Morris, and Jimmy Cliff played the New York World’s Fair. But if Jamaica’s government revelled in the glory of the creation of a homegrown pop, behind the scenes, Kingston’s downtown was using it as signature to a culture of hooliganism, known as The Rude Boys, and thwarted it. Through curfew and a particularly sweltering summer of 67, horns were lessened, tempo was mellowed and reggae’s blueprint, rock steady, had formed.

world-fair
World’s Fair, New York 1964

Forward wind fifty-five years and Jamaican ska pioneer, Stranger Cole launched album “More Life,” yet it’s released by Liquidator Music, a label dedicated to the classic Jamaican rhythms, but based in Madrid. Perhaps in similar light to Buster’s innovation, Jamaica doesn’t revel in retrospection and strives to progress; the last place in the world you’re likely to hear ska these days, is in Jamaica itself. Modern dancehall trends can be attributed closer to the folk music of mento.

stranger cole

But the design was set, and to satisfy the musical taste of Windrush immigrants in England, Bluebeat, and later, Trojan Records set to cheaply import the sounds of home. It was a combination of their offspring taking their records to parties, and the affordable price tag which appealed to the white kids in Britain. Thus, the second wave of ska spawned in the UK. By the late seventies the formation of Two-Tone records in Coventry saw English youths mimicking the sound.

bluebeat

Similarly, though, this has become today somewhat of a cult. Given the task of producing a radio show last year, for ska-based internet station, Boot Boy Radio, while aware of American dominated “third gen ska,” that there were few contemporary bands here, such as the Dualers, and Madness and The Specials still appeased the diehard fans, I never fathomed the spread of ska worldwide. The fact Liquidator Music is Spanish, it is clear, ska has a profound effect internationally, and in no place more than Latin America. Yet while England’s second wave is largely attributed to the worldwide distribution of ska, and waves the Union Jack patriotically at it, the sound of ska music spread to Jamaica’s neighbours significantly prior.

spouge

Caribbean islands created their own pop music. Barbados had spouge, cited as “Bajan ska,” despite a completely different rhythm section more attributed to calypso. Columbia likewise saw a surge in cumbia during the early sixties, a genre derived from cumbé; “a dance of African origin.”

dos aaa

In South America though, ska was fused with their own sounds of samba, and particularly upcoming rock ‘n’ roll inspired genres such as “iê-iê-iê,” via Brazilian musical television show, Jovem Guarda. Os Aaalucinantes’ 1964 album Festa Do Bolinha predates England’s embrace of ska, the same year, in fact, as Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, et all playing the New York World’s Fair. At this point in time, through Bluebeat, English youth were only just discovering a love for Jamaican music, and Lee Gopthal wouldn’t found Trojan Records for another four years. This mesh of fusions gave birth to a creative period in Brazil, vocal harmony groups like Renato E Seus Blue Caps, and The Fevers followed suit, blending US bubble-gum pop with jazzy offbeat rhythms. It did not borrow from England’s mods; it followed a similar pattern.

Las Cuatro Monedas a Go Go
Las Cuatro Monedas

Similarly, in Venezuela, Las Cuatro Monedas introduced ska and reggae as early as 1963, with their debut album, “Las Cuatro Monedas a Go Go.” Through maestro arranger and composer, Hugo Blanco they won the 1969 Song Festival in Barcelona, and continued until 1981, when over here The Specials were only just releasing “Ghost Town.” Desorden Público is Venezuela’s most renowned ska band, formed in the eighties. When frontman Horacio Blanco was still at school, he wrote “Paralytic Politicians,” an angry, anti-Hugo Chavez anthem which his fans still yell for. Although Chavez died in 2013, his protégé Nicolas Maduro has descended the country into political and economic crisis; one example where South American ska is equally, if not more, dogmatically defending justice as Two-Tone here in the UK.

Desorden Publico
Desorden Público

Chile trended towards cumbia through tropical orchestra Sonora Palacios in the sixties, therefore ska didn’t fully surface until the third-gen bands of the nineties. Even today though, Latin enthused bands such as Cholomandinga and reggae is favoured through bands like Gondwana. The modern melting pot is universal and extensive though, I’ve got a lovely cover of Ghost Town by Argentine cumbia band Fantasma, who cite themselves as being the first to develop a cumbia rap. And when upcoming, all-female Mexican ska band, Girls Go Ska sent me some tunes to play, a cover of the Jam’s David Watts was one of them.

girlsgoska
Girls Go Ska

All’s fair in love and war; undoubtedly the Two-Tone era of England has had a profound effect on the worldwide contemporary ska scene, so did their revolutionary principles. Peru commonly cites its scene commenced in the mid-eighties, when punk and second-gen underground rock bands emerged in Lima. Edwin Zcuela’s band, Zcuela Crrada differed by having a saxophonist, and adopted a sound which bordered ska. Azincope and Refugio were quick to follow, not to the taste of the rock-based crowd who classed it commercialised pop. Psicosis came about in 88, the band to initiate the term “ska band” in Peru, taking steps to eradicate the preconception. They won a recording contract through a radio contest, the jury expressed concern; the band were radicals within a pseudo-movement with libertarian ideas, and so the band refused to record.

rlamovida
Zcuela Crrada

With influences from the Basque ska-punk band, Kortatu, Breakfast continued the rebellious nature with ska in Peru, but discarded their discography. It will take us into the nineties to start to find orchestral flairs, when Carnaval Patetico and Barrio Pamara emerged, bringing with them the country’s belated by comparison, second wave. Odd to see how punk gave ska a leg-up in this legacy, but the melting pot is bottomless.

Where some bands, such as Swiss Sir Jay & The Skatanauts, favour pouring jazz into their style, akin to how the Skatalites formed the backbone of Studio 1 through attending Kingston’s Alpha Cottage School, others, such as the States bands like The Dance Hall Crashers prefer to fuse punk influences, Big Reel Fish takes Americana to ska, and one has to agree the tension of teenage anguish felt by eighties skinheads equalled that of latter punk-rock.

dance hall crashers
The Dance Hall Crashers

The rulebook is borderless and limitless, to the point there is no longer a rulebook, through an online generation one can teeter on the edge of this rabbit hole, or go diving deeper. If I said previously, Two-Tone is a cult in England, in South America ska is thriving. Some subgenres bear little relevance to the sounds and ethos of original Jamaican ska. Other than the usage of horns to sperate them from punk or rockabilly, off-shoots of skacore and skabilly tangent along their own path. Oi bands prime example, where a largely neo-Nazi tenet cannot possibly relate to an afro-Caribbean origin.

Again, the folk of a nation mergers with the sound, and there can create an interesting blend, such as the Balkan states, where the Antwerp Gipsy Ska Orchestra and Dubioza Kolekiv carve their own influences into ska. Which, in turn, has spurred a folk-ska scene in Bristol and the Southwest, bands like The Carny Villains, Mr Tea & The Minions and Mad Apple Circus, who add swing to the combination, and folk-rock bands such as The Boot Hill Allstars, confident to meld ska into the dynamic festival circuit. South America typifies this too.

Mr Tea & The Minions

Modern murga, a widespread musical theatre performed in Montevideo, Uruguay and Argentina hugs ska through carnival. Argentina’s scene is as widespread and varied as the UK or USA, in fact it was former Boot Boy presenter, Mariano Goldenstein, frontman of The Sombrero Club who led me to the rabbit hole. If the name of this Argentinean band signifies Mexican, one should note, The Sombrero Club was a Jamaican nightclub on the famous ‘Four Roads’ intersection of Molynes and Waltham Park Roads in St. Andrew.

Sombrero club
Byron Lee @ The Sombrero Club

Journalist Mel Cooke recalls in a 2005 article for the Jamaica Gleaner, “although it carried a Mexican name, the senors and senoritas who stepped inside the Sombrero nightclub did it in true Jamaican style. It was an audience that demanded a certain quality of entertainment and, in the height of the band era the cream of the cream played there. “It was one of the premier dance halls for bands, live music,” says Jasper Adams, a regular at The Sombrero. “If you capture the image of the dance hall in London at the time, you get an idea of what it was like.”

sombereo club 2
Note the Wailers, bottom of the billing!

After the demise of the Bournmouthe in East Kingston, in a bygone era, The Sombrero was the place to catch ska legends, Toots and the Maytals, Tommy McCook and the Supersonics and Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. There could be no name more apt for Argentina’s Sombrero Club, for within a thriving scene which mimics England in the grip of Two-Tone, their proficient and authentic sound is akin to our Specials or Madness.

The Sombrero Club

It is, however, through Marcos Mossi of the Buena Onda Reggae Club from Sao Paulo, perhaps a lesser known band outside Brazil, who have really spurred my interest in South American ska, through their sublime blend of mellowed jazz-ska and reggae, and through it I realise I’m still teetering on the edge of the rabbit hole. Aside the aforementioned bands, I’m only just discovering Brazil’s Firebug, Argentina’s Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Los Calzones Rotos, Los Auténticos Decadentes, Karamelo Santo, Cienfuegos, Satellite Kingston, Dancing Mood, Staya Staya, Los Intocables, and Ska Beat City, Cultura Profética from Puerto Rico and Peru’s Vieja Skina. Pondering if the list will ever end.

Bunena Onda Reggae Club

One thing this highlights, while ska is international now, with vibrant scenes from Montreal to Melbourne, Latin America holds the key to a spirit akin to how it was when I opened my Christmas present in 1980 to find Madness long player, Absolutely.

 


Tune into my show on http://www.bootboyradio.co.uk – Friday nights from 10pm till Midnight GMT, where we play an international selection of ska, reggae, rock steady, soul and funk, RnB, shuffle and jazz, anything related which takes my fancy, actually!


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

Mr B & The Wolf come out of The Mist

On our promise, via The Indie Network Facebook group, and generally a growing cognisant inside me, for Devizine to musically venture outside our local area, geographically, here we go with a starter for ten. Though it’s no new thing, in the past we’ve mentioned many, from Cosmic Rays in Shropshire, to Mayyadda from Minnesota; I invite this pandemic to officially crash our borders….

One request recently came from one Vince Henry, who’s digitally-adapted Facebook profile pic makes Doug Bradley in his Pinhead guise from the Hellraiser films look like a bedtime Care Bear, and led me to assume the band he manages, Mr B & The Wolf was about to unleash some thrash death metal or psychobilly peculiarity unwillingly into my aging eardrums. I prepped myself accordingly, one ear in the headphone, paracetamol within reach, but I was pleasantly surprised.

MrB1

As a function band based in my motherland, Essex, Mr B, and his wolf too, are lively, true, but present a flowing range from blues-based rock and Americana to “throwback” pop and soul, and do it with the finesse of a contemporary Fleetwood Mac. It’s a zephyr blowing your locks, the single I’ve been sent, Out of the Mist archetypal of the band’s bravura. I liked it and now have the album, LazyDay to give a fuller appraisal.

With echoes of driving rock Mr B and the Wolf keep a balance, there’s no tearing off metal as I preconceived, no angry underscores, rather a commercially viable equilibrium of uplifting rock radio stations cannot excuse for not spinning. Second tune, Rise Up, a great example of this breezy and enriching chic. Yet in the acceptance lies an aching sensation eighties power ballad bands, like Huey Lewis and the News should’ve been striving for a sound more like Mr B & The Wolf.

mrb2

Three tunes in then, and Crazy Town strips the style back to a deeper blues riff, vocally gritty, vocalist Dean Baker handles it very well indeed. Out of the Mist combines the two and stands out, for both catchiness and composition. Chestnut subject matter, yeah, but it doesn’t sway me when it’s performed so well.

What we find here is a bonded, proficient band with stains of all rock has produced before but boy, do they know how to wear it well. They being, Ben Pellicci on lead and backing vocals, Jason Bird on bass and backing vocals, George Wallis on rhythm, and Jason Chown on Drums; unconfirmed which one is the wolf!

Phoenix ballads us to the finale, harmoniously and mellowly. I couldn’t go as far to compare it with the way Morrison would direct the Doors through an audience-mesmerising voyage, but it does equate the great soft metal bands of yore’s more magically rousing moments. I nod to Heart and of course, Bon Jovi, but they’d be knocking on the doors of Floyd or Cream, see if they’re coming out to play.

The finale though, belts back the blues riff and takes us full circle. In conclusion then, Mr B & The Wolf certainly don’t drift from blues-rock formulae, though it’s a damn fine established blueprint anyway, and this Chelmsford band do it with style. LazyDay would refrain you from road rage in traffic and compel you to turn it up when you hit the open road, Mr B & The Wolf would be a gig you’d return from with fond memories.


Mr B & The Wolf Website

BandCamp for the album (£3.50)

Find Mr B & The Wolf on Spotify

Facebook Page


Adverts & Stuff!

covidcampInDevizes-Logo-e1585760867966plankshead1

 

WIN Joe Edwards’ Keep on Running album, on Vinyl

To celebrate the launch this week of Joe Edwards’ wonderful album, “Keep on Running,” which we handsomely but rightfully reviewed here, we’re delighted to give away this shiny vinyl copy to one lucky, like, very lucky entrant. Face it, you’ve a good chance of winning, being no one actually reads Devizine other than you! So, to make it slightly competitive, and fun too, I’ve created some quiz questions to test your knowledge of our local music scene; check it out, brains-of-Britain!

Question 1:

Question 2:

Question 3: