NEWS

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.

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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.


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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.

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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.]”

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.


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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.”

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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…..

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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


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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:

Question 4:

Question 5:

Get your answers in by, I dunno, erm, I’m making it up as I go along anyway, let’s say Monday 1st June, that gives you a week to search the site for reference and get me some much-needed hits. No, wait, no cheating! Anyone found cheating will have their name carved onto the Market Cross, alongside Ruth Pierce. No entry to anyone too far for me to drive to deliver it, no entry to anyone with the surname Sausage, no entry to me, everyone else get submitting your answers and I’ll write your name on a slip of paper, chuck them in the bin and keep it for myself. No, I won’t, really; we’ll pull one lucky bugger’s name out the hat, if I can find a hat, a bowl or something if not on Tuesday 2nd June 2020. Best of luck!

I apologise for my total incompetence; dammit Jim, I’m a milkman not a game show host. As it turns out, I cannot access the names of the entries so….


Please enter by messaging our Facebook page with your answers; sorry about that! What a sham!


And please like the Facebook page of  Joe Edwards too, and shared our post, it’s the little things in life…

I will be checking!

Don’t, Ryan!

Okay I confess, in my last article I did, didn’t I, state there was a trend of indie music taming to mass appeal? And yeah, I suggested this is no bad thing. There will, however be exceptions to the rule, and rock will, and should always retain its hard edge; we have room for all here. Swindon’s Ryan Webb, for instance, who’s just dropped a new single, “Don’t,” takes no prisoners.

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This is militantly metal, with spikes. It rocks with edge, it doesn’t hang around with an ambient intro, stop for a melodic break, the bridge is reached in seconds, the rolling guitar riff perpetually quivering your bones. A one-man red-hot chilli pepper, Ryan wrote, produced, sang, wailed his guitar, recorded and mixed the track in his studio. The only collaborator being Dave Collins, the mastering engineer for Metallica’s last album, who mastered this too.

It must be said, this not the template of Ryan Webb, who quotes influences ranging from Pink Floyd, Joe Satriani, and Zeppellin, to Coldplay, Muse, and Kings of Leon. He has the range encompassing any rock avenue, and projects all with comfort and competence.

“Don’t” though, whoa there Ryan, I’m inclined to put my frayed denim jacket over my AC-DC t-shirt and head-bang my way to the highway from hell, and I’m not usually one for all that; haven’t even got an army surplus bag with badly grafted pictures of Eddie the Head and Megadeath logos!

So yeah, if I like it, you iron maidens will love it! What is more, the track is “a plea to anyone contemplating suicide to take a step back and see that they have a lot going on for them in the world. Even when times are really bad, it’s important to talk to those around you.”

Ryan has chosen All Call Signs as the beneficiary for any sales from the single. All Call Signs is a UK organisation set up by two veteran soldiers, Dan Arnold and SJ James, in order to help other vets/serving military personnel who may be finding life difficult. They have also created an app which helps locate those reported missing and in need of urgent support.


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Indie Networking and Long Coats

If social media is the rearguard in music’s battle against the Coronavirus lockdown, there’s plenty of battalions networking at this last stand, and physical location is no issue. A virtual realm is borderless, and for this reason, while Devizine is concentrated on content local to Wiltshire, there are many avenues worthy to waiver the rule for. So, expect us to cover some bands and artists without borders, ones I’ll connect with through social media, such as the Facebook group I’m here to mention, as is the group’s tenet.

That said, Ollie Sharp is a young performer from within our geographical catchment, Bath, who recently set up said Facebook group for indie music, called, aptly, The Indie Network. Its welcoming and dynamic attitude is gaining attention. I joined, they cast a thread of introductions; made me feel old! Funny cos it’s true, pipsqueaks by comparison. Young enough to have to Google my antiquated phraseology, like cassette tapes and Danny Kendal. Some poor guy confessed he was older, at 43, at which he faced compassionate reassurances such as, “it’s only a number.” I knew then to keep my gob shtum, so I stated I was “old enough to know better, too old to care.” Least it’d do no good for our Kieran from Sheer Music, who also joined, to grass me up as an old skool raver, historical to those barely an itch!

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Though we’ve jested before about the era of yore where never the twain would indie kids and ravers mingle, Mr Moore and I, and come to the conclusion I’m exempt on account of my eclectic taste. Let it be known now, I like the sound of Ollie’s recently formed band The Longcoats, and it’s just the sort of thing which allows Kieran to win the genre argument! It’s breezy, placid indie, acceptable on a larger scale than predecessors, much least my aging preconceptions, bit like what our Daydream Runaways and Talk in Code are putting out; and I like them. I even refer to them as “our,” see, like a northern working-class family. Shoot, pass my Smiths tee Mr Moore, I’m an indie kid! (kid used here in its most unlikely definition.)

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Anyway, I digress. We’ve reached the part of the show where the artist mumbles “is this codger going to actually review my single?” Apologies for my Uncle Albert moment, ha, there was me thinking Boris had made arbitrary tangents trendy. There’s no telling some, he’s a bastard. However, we’ll never get going if I branch into politics.

“Used to Being Used” is the single I was sent, the earlier one of two on their Bandcamp page. It follows a blueprint of indie-pop, there’s a trudging guitar riff, a theme of dejected ardour, yet it’s done with skill, catchiness and promising aptitude. The latter single, Drag, which came out in March takes a similar tempo, and cool attitude; there is no need to be angry in an era which accepts the genre, so ever with edge but only enough, The Longcoats create a beguiling and entertaining sound to appeal wide.

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Last year guitarist Arthur Foulstone and drummer Kane Pollastrone added to frontman Sharp’s lone act, which bridged the gap between band and solo artist. The final piece of the puzzle came upon recruiting permanent bassist Norton Robey. With the assistance of producer Jack Daffin, The Longcoats have created a defining sound which is appealing and instantly recognisable.

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There is nothing about this Bath four-piece indie-pop-rock band here, I’ll be honest, which will act as their magnum opus, but an auspicious start dripping with potential. Here’s one to watch, with their debut EP ‘October’ in the pipeline, here’s hoping it’ll reach us before the month of its namesake.

But it’s not so much about the individual band here which maketh this article, rather the conscious efforts to unite and network, thus creating a scene. Even through this era of wishing for a live gig, the networks thrive, perhaps even more so. Ollie also created Wise Monkey Music, a multi-media music and events promotion company based in the Southwest, of which we look forward to hearing more of; attention, the like Facebook group The Indie Network is likely to bring. They even let this aging raver in, dammit; though my white gloves and whistle must be in a box in the loft somewhere, it’s a deceased stereotype, of which I’m glad.

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I do find though, as someone who glued and photocopied zine after zine, aside the mass media driven pop tripe, the underground thrives as it ever did, the internet only creates an easy route in. Just like the bands of the now, such as The Longcoats and others rapidly joining the group, what’s not to like about it?

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The Onus of Swindon’s Filmmakers

I’ve been invited to watch some horror! After the success of their debut film, Follow the Crows, Swindon filmmakers Alex Secker and Marc Starr have been busy with Onus; I know now what’s behind my sofa…..

Finding it hard to accept it’s been the best part of four years since I received my first “real” journalistic assignment for local news site Index:Wiltshire.

The editor, Craig couldn’t make the press screening for Swindon-made film, Follow the Crows, so with no experience I bumbled my way in with little expectations to find a birthday party-fashioned welcoming to view a compelling dystopian thriller.

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Comparing the team’s new film, Onus, with the latter is inevitable, though through Follow The Crows’ simplicity, this is visually better and more engaging. I’m glad to have been invited to review it and I’m free to assume this time, not just it’s quality, but eerie and divergent conception.

Writer and director, Alex Secker doesn’t settle with convention. For this it receives full marks. Where it differs is in setting and angle. If Follow the Crows goes for a survivalist circumstance within an imaginary post-apocalyptic realm, Onus follows the template of traditional Hammer House horrors of yore, in a sense. If you crave modern Hollywood’s hurtling imagery and non-stop action, this is not for you. Onus creeps up on you, increasingly setting a troubling notion in your psyche. It’s suspense reason for me not to reveal spoilers.

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It certainly achieves what I believe it set out to do; my fingernails are somewhat shorter. This is an unnerving masterpiece which abounds by twisting the cliché of classic horror. Starter for ten, the music, by Graeme Osbourne, assures you an uneasy sitting; I’m shivering before any visual. Yet when it does, despite unsettling sensations, we’re shown a female couple on a car journey through our acceptable local landscape. The driver, haughty Izzy (Erin Leighton) poses somewhat relaxed, taking her subordinate and shy dungaree-wearing girlfriend, Anna, (Daniella Faircloth) to meet her upper-class family. You may know yourself, meeting a lover’s parents can be unnerving at the best of times, with a class difference, doubly so. Izzy asserts her superiority, bantering the nervous Anna by joking her family are “not vampires;” a notion she drives a little too much.

“Onus creeps up on you, increasingly setting a troubling notion in your psyche.”

In true horror fashion the setting is solely the house, the protagonist’s suspicion they’re being deceived builds, and for such, Onus borrows extensively from the chestnut. Secker though is keen to raise social indifferences between classes, the notion of wealth meaning superiority; this only increases the gut-wrenching feeling Anna is out of her depth.

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Suspense drives you to want something to unveil, but it plods on its tension-building ambience for over the hour. Anna’s snowballing anxiety is portrayed perfectly by Daniella with some haunting expressions of despair. You? You’re looking for an escape clause, a knight in shining armour. But if the plot has strands of Little Red Riding Hood, there appears no character who will be Anna’s woodcutter. Izzy’s obnoxiously snobby brother (Alex Pitcher) is clearly in on it, pompously he sniggers at her misfortune; both sibling rivalry and homophonic attitudes abound in his arrogance. The Victorian mother (Karen Payne) is as stiff and a brush, and the ill father (Tony Manders) is shadily the reasoning for her presence at the house. This only leaves the clue-providing maid, (Shaniece Williams) who, treated as a slave of yore, is doubtfully going to heroically strive in. Here within lies the twist, dispelling the cliché horror ending.

So, what begins as a classic horror, ends unexpectedly; like a short story it provides the viewer scope to continue the tale using their own imagination, and for that, Onus rocks.

“Like a short story it provides the viewer scope to continue the tale using their own imagination, and for that, Onus rocks.”

Again, the production of Marcus Starr, the writing, directing and editing of Alex Secker and the acting is sublime. The temperament is undeniably spooky, the setting is dripping with realism, especially being based in the South West. The characters are vivid, Anna is somewhat free-willed rather than helpless, just trapped. The family are genuinely as snooty as you’d expect, and unnervingly mysterious; I feel driven to Facebook message my worries to Daniella, pleading she takes more time in choosing a partner next time, that’s how realistic it is!

And what is more, I think it’s easy to pass my review as flattery, that no locally-based film crew could hope to attain that of the mainstream movie industry, but Follow the Crows is award-winning, Onus deserves to follow suit. I don’t usually do star ratings, as I feel it’s restrictive, but if I did it’d get a four out five at least! You. Need. To. See. It.

The movie has a distributor, High Octane Pictures from LA. “We’re finalising the paperwork,” producer Marc informs me, “they’ll distribute direct in the US and Canada, then sell to the rest of the world.” So, it should be on DVD and blue ray in a couple of months. I’ll keep you in the loop.

“You. Need. To. See. It.”

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© 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.

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VE Day Celebrations in Rowde!

While I’m sure sporadic and social distanced celebrations, picnics and perhaps the odd full-scale rave occurred everywhere on Friday in celebration of VE Day, lockdown isn’t it? I was confined to wandering my village and assigned to take a few photos for the village magazine. I bow my head, they weren’t to know, photography isn’t my forte, but with television shows now being created via wobbly phone camera, I figure what the heck, I’ll publish them here!

The highlight was meeting local legend Wayne Cherry, the gent who stood at the top of the Brittox for 100 hours during last Remembrance, has raised £1,272 standing outside his home for NHS charities. Well done, Wayne. You can donate here.

An Interval for Erin Bardwell

The nineties, the Skanxters set the bar high for ska bands in Swindon. In a similar fashion their keyboardist Erin Bardwell, and those who’ve worked with him, have carved a unique watermark for the multiple branches of the reggae genre and given the town a certain original sound. Nestled somewhere between his ska band epoch, his rocksteady revival crew the Erin Bardwell Collective and Subject A, his dub project with Dean Sartain, comes a new solo release, Interval.

If Erin states this is a “side-step” and a “pause from the usual,” this lockdown-driven release least retains that trademark style in all manner and sense. But it is unusual, in a good way. If this lacks the vocals of Sandra Bell, and other layers which make the current sound of the Collective, it makes up for it in alternative ways; I’m going to attempt to sum them up and do it some justice.

Firstly, Erin’s voice defines the aforementioned watermark of Swindon’s reggae scene, and, secondly, the subject matter of Interval is dripping with reminisces of its previous incarnations. Now, when I say reggae it’s an all-encompassing term taking in ska, rocksteady, boss, roots and dub reggae in one swoop, makes it easier that way. And one thing which unites all these offshoots is the orchestral configuration, the importance of binding all the instruments, where the keyboard is vital. In this, Interval is concentrated on piano, as it’s Erin baby, and there’s some impressively crafted segments of ivories, more Chopin than Jackie Mittoo.

From the starting block, it is apparent reggae is not the only influence intertwined in this great album. The opening track, “Four Walls Surround” bursts out with an upbeat Two-Tone riff but is rinsed with something Paul Weller about it too. The subject seems to relate to the lockdown, but could also connote the isolation of teenage anguish felt by the youth of the Two-Tone era. From here I think it’s fair to assume Erin is contemplating his younger years whilst staring at those walls, and trying to convince himself it’s no bad thing.

The cover appears as if it’s a classic soul album of yore, and we’re already setting the concept. There is a running nostalgic theme here, but the album is diverse in its approach; the second is a ballad. “When you Smile,” fashions akin to the melodic plod of the pedigrees of dub. But if that nods to King Tubby, “Bridge of Tunes” does equally for boss reggae’s chugging beat and wouldn’t look out of place on a Trojan’s sixties Tighten Up compilation.

Time for the summit of Interval, “(Like the Reflection on) The Liffey” is a wistful masterpiece of haunting sentiment, a resonant dub with delicate with horns, thoughtful prose and dreamy composition; Pink Floyd does dub. To follow, we’re chugging back with something retrospectively reflective reggae, as Erin comments on the Windrush scandal, as it is, after all, the motive the UK embraces reggae. As evocative as The Liffey though, it finishes with a chilling spoken quotation.

“Name on a Page,” uses the melodic dubplate of previous track “When you Smile,” and the album plays out on a similar key, “That London Winter” enforces the notion Erin is writing memoirs, and “Injured Arm,” casts back further with an expert of a what sounds like a children’s show.

In conclusion this is a skeleton in the closet project, shady and thought-provoking. Coupled with that unique trademark sound makes it stimulating, different and totally original. While most contemporary reggae is either instrumental dub, songs of conscious Rasta judgements, or plain dancehall rap with over-inflated egos, Interval exerts Erin’s refreshing exclusivity to the maximum and will appease not only die-hard skins and punks, but those seeking something alternative.

Find Interval on Bandcamp here.


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Keep on Running with Joe Edwards

Joe Edwards has his debut solo album, Keep on Running released this week, here’s my tuppence on it…..

Under the “write what you know,” philosophy, if I’ve been critical in the past regarding local Country-fashioned artists using cultural references alien to their natural environment, i.e. a band from Wotton Bassett crooning about boxcars and wranglers, I have to waive the argument in the case of Keep on Running, the debut solo album by Joe Edwards, of Devizes. Not because Joe is well-travelled to apt locations and it was recorded and produced at Henhouse Studios in Nashville, though he is and it was, or it’s so authentic it’s more authentic than the authentic stuff, but because, in a word, it’s so absolutely gorgeous.

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I’m going to be hard-pressed to find a different album of the year, as if this was a new Bob Dylan release the headline would be “Dylan Back on Form.” But it isn’t, and if one can rebuke Dylan as eaten by wealth and the machine he once repelled against, here, with freshness, is Highway 61 really revisited. The characters here can be akin to Dylan’s, questioning romance, bittersweet with humanity’s cruelty. Keep on Running never faulters nor diverts from its mellow method, if the tempo raises it’s only slight, and if it slips a toe under the door of rock, shards of both folk and blues roots are methodically preserved with finesse.

“…if this was a new Bob Dylan release the headline would be “Dylan Back on Form.”

When preacher Casey picks up hitchhiking Tom Joad, recently paroled from the McAlester pen in the Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck paints a picture with his words so immaculately precise you’re in that pickup with them, sensing the raw sting of the dustbowl and the smell of the dying cornfields of Oklahoma. With every banjo riff, or twangy guitar, Joe paints a similarly genuine image of the Southern American states.

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The writing is sublime, acute blues. Characters are often despondent, impecunious and dejected. Yet this is not Springsteen’s Nebraska, somewhere they’re thrown a curveball and the air of melancholy is introverted, altered to positivity in the face of all things terrible. You may be riding their train of pessimism, yet it’s not discouraging on the ear, rather selfless muse executed with such passion there’s an air uplifting, best compared with Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.”

You sense a running theme; yes, life is shit but I’m dammed if I’m going to let it piss on my chips. A feeling Joe nurtures as the album continues, reaching an apex with a track called “Don’t Let the Bastards Get you Down,” and continuing to the title track. Hereafter you understand the metaphor to “Keep on Running.” If not, the cover is a meek lino-cut akin to labelling of a Jack Daniels bottle, with a road heading off to the mountains, just to make sure.

“Yet this is not Springsteen’s Nebraska, somewhere they’re thrown a curveball and the air of melancholy is introverted, altered to positivity in the face of all things terrible.”

After the title track, there’s a road ballad in true Americana style, the venerable symbolism for changing your life, which is never a negative notion. If the finale then spells the most adroit blues tune, “Mine oh Mine,” the beginnings, “Beth’s Song” and “Cross the Line” herald the better country-inspired ones, but between them, an insolvent blues tune, “Capital Blues,” as a beguiling teaser for what’s to come. In contrast the achingly poignant, “Gambler” is perhaps the most accomplished bluegrass, filled by a tormented soul pouring his heart out for want of an extra six dollars.

It flows so incredibly well, George Harrison well, though, like a concept album of the 1970s it’s a single unit to be heard complete. This doesn’t prove a problem; you’re engaged throughout and wouldn’t dare press pause.

Nothing is tentative about Keep on Running; you get the sense Joe is deliberate in where he wants to take you. Despite remaining faithful to the formulae set by Guthrie and continued by Dylan, Segar and Lynyrd Skynyrd, where nothing is experimental, nothing is cliché either. One listen and you’ve entered a grimy western saloon, biker citizens pause shooting pool to glare, and a cowgirl in daisy dukes and a red chequered shirt tied at the waist welcomes you, piercingly.

“It flows so incredibly well, George Harrison well.”

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There is no in-your-face blast of sound, it traipses mellowly, and Joe executes his vocals with a whisper, as though he’s pouring a heartfelt secret to you alone, and for that you’re honoured; you should be. This is sweltering Sunday morning music, preferably slouching in a rocking chair on the veranda of a log cabin, sipping whiskey and rye, plucking a banjo. Though the least I can do right now is watch Oh Brother Where Art Thou!

Keep on Running is available now, here, and on Joe’s Bandcamp page, here.


© 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.

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Bryony Cox Art on Sale and NHS Donated

Wondering where the time goes, it’s been near on a couple of years since we featured Devizes artist Bryony Cox, when she exhibited her paintings in Upstairs at Jacks. At the time Bryony had not long graduated from Falmouth Uni. Since completing her studies, she has travelled extensively throughout Asia.

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“I’m now doing an MA in actor musicianship at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama,” she informed me to minor surprise, aware Bryony has performed and sung in local dramatics such as the White Horse Opera and Devizes Musical Theatre in the past. “But I’ve kept my studio in Trowbridge and still produce artwork alongside. Sometimes I have been able to use my visual skills exploring theatre making and performance.”

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Personally, I’ve always been taken by her dramatic landscapes and fascination with mountains, yet I’ve always been a fan of Turner, and there’s something equally as expressive and unified in Bryony’s. There is, however, a variety in her enlarged portfolio since we last spoke, some figure and settings work inspired from her travels, sketched miniatures, and she has been using mixed-media, charcoal and pastel for example, and experimentation with college, even animation. And there’s no better time to browse Bryony’s website, as she offers 20% off and 50% on some of her older works, with 20% donated to the NHS. See for yourself on her website, here.

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These connections between art and performing arts captivates me, aside the name arts, and primary school drama class where I had to pretend to be a tree! So, I asked Bryony if she thinks there are similar work practices in theatre to art, and in what ways.

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“I’m quite interested in the crossover between theatre and performance art,” she explained. “I have started bringing film back into my work and my research on my MA has been about performing alongside film projections of drawings, animations and audio overlays. But I have always kept drawing and painting Wiltshire alongside because of the beautiful countryside and still keep drawing portraits from any travels that I have been on as I love to document different people and cultures.”

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We are lucky to live in an area where artists feel their home is an equally inspiring subject as their travels. In this much I see a likeness to Clifton Powell’s work, another well-travelled local artist who documents his journeys through his art, yet returning to Wiltshire often produces some equally outstanding pieces.

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It’s worthwhile bookmarking Bryony’s site as she frequently updates it with new work. “More recently I have been to Vietnam and Indonesia,” she told me, “so some of my more recent portraits that I am going to put up today are from that trip.” We look forward to seeing them!

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

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Rowde Artist Alan Watter’s NHS Portraits

Rowde artist Alan Watters has finished a portrait in the ‘Free Portraits for NHS Heroes’ initiative as featured on BBC news recently. The subject is Christina Whicker, an IAC nurse at Boston Pilgrim Hospital. Alan says he’s about to start another, “as I find it difficult to say no!”

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Alan is also a part time support worker confined to 12 weeks self-isolation and wishing to still do something to help the fight against the Coronavirus. “I thought I could produce limited edition pencil signed and numbered prints from some of my recently created original artworks and sell them at a modest price but with 100% of the profit going to causes fighting the virus, the major benefactor being ‘NHS Charities Together.”

So, he’s knocked up a website where you can view the prints, here. “I have a little way to go to reach my target of £1000,” Alan explained, “so please have a look and help if you can.” There’s a wide-range of fine art on show here, some life sketches, celebrity portraits, cute animals and also some thought-provoking imagery. Most prints are £25, for a limited period it’ll also include a pencil signed greetings card featuring the image of your choice.


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Talking Gravity, and other things, with Daydream Runaways

With some images used by Nick Padmore

How professional of me to create a to-do-list of outstanding subjects for articles, but then spoil said professionalism by dithering to the Daydream Runaways boys about the nineties rave-indie divide and becoming a grandad. The sensible members of the band promptly left the group chat, save guitarist Cameron Bianchi who stayed to endure my inane waffling up as far as the Madchester scene.

Prior to this though we had a great heart-to-heart early in the week, but if the title of this article is misleading, I should add the subject of Sir Isaac Newton never came up, rather Gravity is their latest single, hot off the streaming sites yesterday. It’s quality, as expected, going on their three previous releases, blinding reviews and an appearance on BBC Wiltshire.

It does indeed, as the press release states, “deliver on their brand of retro-modern indie rock,” but while maintaining an emerging signature panache, it pushes firmer towards a heavy rock division. A hasty grinding atmospheric intro with a pause, then the spiralling sonic guitar takes no prisoners. If the last tune, Closing the Line bore topical sentiment with a theme of the town’s Honda Plant closing, Gravity is perhaps more general, but even more powerful. This imminent Swindon-Devizes four-piece really have dug into an emotional slant with Gravity.

The combination of Ben Heathcote’s idiosyncratic vocals, said sonic guitars and class production value, this belts across as a rock anthem to not only scare The Darkness but fight a Foo. They say it comes from “a time of turbulence and explores the burden of life’s toughest decisions.” If I predicted the air of gloom surrounding the era would produce some intensely expressive songs, here is the all the proof you need, if indeed it’s a product of the pandemic. I’m going to find out.

So, I’m wondering, if the recording was done at a distance, or prior to the lockdown. Drummer, Brad Kinsey informed, “it was done in February, in Swindon, with an engineer from Westbury.”

I explained my reasoning, “it sounds heavy, rather darker than usual. So, I wondered if it was a result of the lockdown. Is there a drive to take it that route, I mean slightly darker and heavier, or is just the mood of this particular track?”

Cameron replied “I think it was just the mood of the track. Everything kind of centres around the experience Ben’s lyrics are speaking about. In fact, Ben’s probably the best person to about the story behind the song. But we definitely made a conscious effort to push ourselves on this on to do the song justice.”

It certainly does. “It doesn’t hang around,” I pointed out, “and the vocals are more powerful than before. Seems like a natural progression, a maturity. Not that I’m calling you immature, you understand?!”

Bradley responded, “nah, I get that. I think we gained confidence and are more unified about this sound.”

Cameron interjected, “I think it’s important to all of us to keep pushing ourselves with each release and not churn out the same number. I’m not saying we’re the Beatles or anything, but you know give it some time. We’re still young!”

Bradley bantered, “are you, Cam?!”

Cameron added, “well, some of us are still young…” Laughing emojis are added, but I’m getting paranoid.

“Okay,” I opposed, “spring chickens; don’t rub it in!” But even with any such change, such as the edgier component of Gravity, there’s a distinct signature maintained in all their tunes and this, I feel, sets them apart from many a local band. I could have guessed it was them before knowing it. “Is that important,” I questioned, “to be instantly recognisable?”

Cameron said, “I think it helps that Ben has got a very distinctive and powerful voice. I suppose we’re starting to find our sound as well. Ben & Nath wanted to go a bit heavier with this track but I’m not a massive fan of heavy guitar. So, I opted for a more chimney yet overdriven guitar style that suits me, but also packs a punch. Plus, I got to flex my inner Graham Coxon/Jonny Greenwood with the effects heavy solo part!”

Brad covered this shot too, “I would say so, yeah. It’s good to build a sonic trademark, all the greats have that! It’s a good thing when people can still recognise you, even when you change things. Shows that you’re using that style but without losing the integrity of what you are.”

At this early stage, Daydream Runaways call a good compromise between them, witnessed when they tuned for our Waiblingen Way Fire fundraiser. “There’s always going to be differing opinions,” I pondered, “Bit like marriage!”

Cameron replied, “no relationship comes without some disagreements, a band included. But we’re all good at finding a compromise, which is good!”
Throughout the interview I’m concerned if I should bring the idea of a possible album up, as when we did the fundraiser I asked, and it met with varying opinions between them. However, with the topic running on compromise, it’s now or never! “I wasn’t sure, though wanting to ask, if I should bring it up again!”

Cameron delegated, “Bradley…over to you on the album talk!”

I interjected with the proposal before he did, “I think you should, but accept I’m not thinking about current climate in the music industry, rather an old fashioned ideal.”

Bradley answered, “there was a plan. However, the coronavirus has impacted that. Not going to say it’s completely gone but we’ll wait and see what happens. You can’t really make any plans at the moment.”

Cameron expressed, “it’s not a matter of if but a matter of when is probably all we’ll say for now!”

Brad added, “I’d say doing an album is all dependent on what genre you’re doing. Rock music fans are still very defiant and keeping the album alive. So maybe with this Gravity sound we’ll go down that route.”

It did bring us onto these strange times, and my deliberations on what’s the best approach for artists on how to continue, continues. “What’s best for musicians,” I asked them for their tuppence, “the live stream is simply not the same as a gig, and while charging for it is a bit cheeky, it’s difficult to know where to go to get some revenue for the work you put it. In short, must be a bitch. Let’s not say the word again!”

I couldn’t argue with Brad’s comment, “some bands I follow have rejected the idea and directed people to supporting more pressing causes.”

Meanwhile, Cam elucidated his feelings about the lockdown. “Whilst you really miss that immediate response from a crowd, and the fact you’re in a room where you can play loud and really get into it, they’re still fun to do! We were lucky enough to do one right before the lockdown was enforced. Probably one of the first bands to do it, then Chris Martin came along after with his solidarity sessions. We still haven’t forgiven him for that!”

“Springsteen did one! But not before you!” I supplemented.
Bradley was proud to say, “we were the first UK band to do a self-isolation livestream. There, I said it; Let the feud with Chris Martin begin!”

The topic continued for a while, this dilemma between fan etiquette and revenue for artists. But I wanted to notify how much I enjoyed theirs, “yeah, good it was too. Saw that! Right now, I guess, it’s all we have. That’s the point I cleared with Kieran at Sheer. It’s never going to be the best plan. I think it’s time to get down and write some killer songs, agree?”

Cameron agreed with a feel-good quote, “definitely, but now is also the time to look out for each other, even though we’re all apart. If we can reach out to people with our music or it helps them get through their day, then that’s amazing.”

Bradley approved too, “yeah, and there’s never been a better time to write. Technology’s made it so accessible now to bounce ideas. Who knows, we could even release a song in lockdown without even meeting up.”

It always amazed a younger me, that Paul Simon could collaborate with the South African musicians on Graceland, back in the late eighties, and it sounded like they were playing in harmony in the same studio. It is possible to edit parts and stitch together. Must bugger up the flow of it though, make it sound mechanical or manufactured.”

Bradley replied, “well, if the band records the parts individually themselves and lays off the editing it’s possible to get that organic feel. I wouldn’t be surprise if we start seeing artists jump on this idea and release original tracks.”

It was at this point Ben Heathcote joined us. “It seems like the boys have covered the questions quite well! As Cam said, Gravity comes from a place of uncertainty and pain from circumstances and the decisions triggered from them. A crossroad of the mind. And yeah, lockdown wise we’re hoping it makes people see the value in their freedom before and hopefully will bring out further support when pubs, clubs and entertainment reopen.”

I see Ben’s clarification reflected in the cover art too. With a kind of “stairway to heaven concept,” an impressionist character is looking lost, pondering which road to take. It’s apt for the song.”

Ben welcomed this, “you got it. And again, the artwork is something were really proud of. Provided by ezra.mae.art. We also enjoyed working with Reloopaudio on the production, a friend who we will be working with again. We love this song and we’ve loved the whole creation, writing and everything about it. It’s nice to have developed it from the live sound too.”
For Ben’s benefit, we found ourselves back on the subject of Gravity’s edgier side, “I think it will please the hardcore indie fans, and those which come from a heavy rock side, which is good, there’s a majority of them locally.”

Ben replied, “as you mentioned earlier, with the style sounding fresh, but still us. This is something I’ve always been hot on since the band formed. I’ve never wanted us to be doing the same thing every time. The aim was, and continues to be; to write and produce fresh sounds with hints of varying styles that is still recognisable as us, allowing it to not be boring or repetitive; kind of inspired by many of our favourite artists who keep developing their sound.”

I take off my hat to this, “I might come across pop or soul-ish but I had my day, and do still listen to bands like Zeppelin and Floyd etc. I think Gravity will be boss with that crowd.” With which I asked for their influences, and if they mutual.

Ben reacted, “I’d say our choices are not miles apart, but to pin a group favourite would be impossible as we all have our firm favourite influences.”

Cam agreed, “yeah, I don’t think there was a particular band or artist that inspired the track as such but we all agreed what the sound was we were aiming for. Making sure that each of us brought our own thing to it.”

Laughing emojis made a reappearance, when I teased, “Ed Sheeran it is then!”

Keen to take it back, Brad nods at my sixties psychedelic citations, “Floyd and Zeppelin are timeless though. Prefect example of bands that pushed themselves overtime.” And the Daydream Runaways can relate to that with this progressive new release.

Ben said, “I think before we produced the track, we all knew in our head how it should sound.” It’s definitely a belter. I thank them for their time, with one last question before we headed into our tangent about the rave-indie divide of the nineties! Where do the Daydreamers see themselves in five years?

Ben suggested in five years’ time he would like them to have a steady schedule, “playing to crowds who know our words, filling sold out venues as well as intimate gigs, which we can always remember.”

Cameron felt they’d have “an album or two under our belt, playing to crowds in our favourite venues. Having a slot on The John Peel Stage at Glastonbury is a bit of a dream of mine!” Ah, there’s the source of my waffling, started with seeing Oasis at Glasto but, unbeknown to me at the time, I paid them little attention.

Daydream Runaways though, worthy of your attention, here’s the Spotify link to Gravity, like them up on the book of face, and cross your fingers and toes we’ll be seeing them live soon, if not the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury!


© 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.

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Falling with Tone and Cutsmith

Since the jazz era, musical genres start covert and underground, and with popularity they’re refined to mainstream acceptability, packaged into a new pop wave, and eventually fall into a retrospective or cult hall of fame. I first stood aghast at the selling-off of our adolescent anthems when I heard Leftfield’s Release the Pressure in an advert for Cheese Strings. When this happens to you, you’re officially past your sell by date!

When my daughter is in the car it’s paramount, she controls the stereo, at least it is to her. I’m indifferent, the bulk of contemporary pop irritates my senior ears, but occasionally there’s a something interesting hidden. There was one, once, don’t expect me to root through her playlist to tell you what one, pop, but with the backbeat undeniably inspired from drum n bass.

My attention was drawn to a tune this week, Falling, from Devizes’ drum n bass outfit SubRat Records via Gail Foster, who shot the video for it. Listening took me to the aforementioned moment; how drum n bass was now part of the “norm” rather than primarily an underground genre. If it has come of age and entered the realm of acceptable pop, though, there’s still room for experimentation and the fusing of styles, which is no bad thing, and precisely what Falling is. Chris, hereafter known as Tone, has set up SubRat, and Pewsey’s Cutsmith is the vocalist on this particular track.

Cutsmith is current, using hip hop to inspire his acoustic compositions, so it melds effectively. In the way David Grey produced Babylon, Suzanne Vega did with Tom’s Diner or the entire catalogue of Portishead, fusing up-to-date dance styles with acoustically driven tunes is a winner, if done correctly. If not, it’s a howler, but I’m glad to say, this one really works wonders. Falling has a sublime ambient texture and glides causally through a mass-acceptable drum n bass riff. Cutsmith’s smooth vocals complements it perfectly, breathes mood into it and gifts it with meaning; the combination, a match made in heaven.

Though this may not be an entirely ground-breaking formula, I’d like to train spotter a nod towards a lesser-known tune on A Guy Called Gerald’s revolutionary album Black Secret Technology, where through splinters of drum n bass, an unknown Finely Quaye covers Marley’s Sun is Shining. But if you’d rather me example recognised tunes of singers who launched a career from featuring on a dance tune, from Seal to Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and renowned artists who regenerated theirs, like the day William Orbit got a call from the queen of pop, here’s two local artists collaborating for each other’s good, rather than one tossed a rope to the other.

I wanted to probe the mind of producer Tone, about this concept, as what he’s got here is something very marketable, as opposed to something which would only appease the drum n bass fans. I asked him if this was the intention with this tune, yet I didn’t want him getting the wrong idea; I meant this in the best possible way. Even if, Bohemian Rhapsody, for example, is timeworn and cliché, it’s popular because it’s a bloody amazing song. Pop doesn’t necessarily have to be a sell-out, cast yourself away from Stock, Aitken Waterman.

“You’re definitely right about this particular track sounding more marketable and commercial than your everyday underground D&B piece,” he expressed. “I had no intention of making it sound acceptable to the masses but I’m glad it is like that. I think more people should be able to enjoy drum and bass for all different backgrounds. I’m not really trying to make what everyone wants; I just make what I like the sound of, and quite often or not it’s easy on the ear for everyone.”

I wanted gage the story behind this belter. “When we worked on this piece,” Tone replied, “I started out making the entire track without having any intention of putting vocals on to it. I sent it over to Josh (Cutsmith) and he said he’d love to do something over it, which is when we started recording. It turned out really well even though throughout the production I didn’t think I’d be making anything that sounds like this. My roots are actually firmly with the rave scene and I absolutely love sub-heavy underground vibes.”

Is this a debut single from Sub Rat, I asked him. “This is the first free release off of our label, SubRat Records, by myself, Tone. In a hope to bring people in and start a fan-base.” So, does Tone consider himself a DJ and producer? “I’m based in Devizes and solely a producer right now. I haven’t DJ’d for a long while. I produce a lot of drum and bass, but often step into other genres like Hip-hop, dubstep, grime, modern rap and more commercial stuff etc.”

If our local music scene is blossoming, it can be limiting regarding genres, so I welcome this with open arms. To assume such genres are generally confined to a municipal environment you’d be mistaken. Prior to our chat delving into rave memories, as the typecast urban raver always excluded the rural counterparts since day dot, I tried to keep current and ask Tone if future releases will follow a similar pattern, and where he saw SubRat heading.

“Aside from my solo journey I take pride being in the background for vocalists/rappers and providing the music/instrumentals for them,” he explained, “I want to see people succeed off of my tunes!” I hope so, this is promising and like to see other local singers benefit from an electronic dance music makeover, and if so, judging by this excellent tune, through SubRat, drum n bass is the key component.


© 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.

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Two Fundraising Heroes, Slightly Younger Than Captain Tom!

As the nation embraces the 100th birthday of Captain Thomas Moore, who famously raised over £30 million of NHS Charities Together, I too tip my hat to this war hero, but I also wanted to highlight and thank two very much younger local heroes this week.

Firstly, a huge congratulations goes to 13-year-old Will Foulstone. Yes, the pianist prodigy from Bishops Cannings/Chirton who kindly played the first slot at our Waiblingen Way Fire Fundraiser at the Cellar Bar, and set that bar high for our following acts, Daydream Runaways, Chloe Jordan, The Celtic Roots Collective and Ben Borrill. Oh yeah, and who played with the Script and London’s O2 arena too, mind!

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Will

Father, Stuart, live streamed this grand effort last Monday, which, as part of a Facebook virtual festival, the International online music festival for PPE fundraiser, managed to raise over £1,500 for this worthy cause. Well done Will, a brilliant job!

Our second local hero slightly younger than Captain Tom is our wonderful, six-year-old heroine Carmela Chillery-Watson, who, since her dad Darren couldn’t run the London marathon this year, replaced the 26.2 miles of a marathon with 26 laps of her therapy assault course. This gruelling challenge was also streamed live on 26th April, where Carmela was in high spirits and played to camera while completing this mini marathon. Carmela raised a staggering £1953.00 for Muscular Dystrophy UK. You can still donate to Carmela here for her amazing achievement if you missed it.

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Carmela

“Carmela is sore and tired as expected,” Carmela’s mum said, “and will probably be wiped out tomorrow too, but she certainly did us proud and more today.”

Well done to both our heroes this week, if you know of anyone else we should add please let us know!


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Courage (Leave it Behind) New Single from Talk in Code

As predicted, the void where live music reviews used to sit will be filled with an abundance of releases from our local music circuit. I’ve a backlog building at Devizine Tower; here’s the first this week, from Swindon’s indie-pop four-piece Talk in Code, and much as we’ve enjoyed watching streams of Chris in his car, yeah, this is more like it, cool.

Some pensive prose swathed in the upbeat eighties-fashioned synth-pop we know Talk in Code have mastered. Courage (Leave it Behind) offers a “wake-up call,” as the press release defines, yet does so with all the hallmarks of another catchy anthem. This lockdown-themed leitmotif hails what you’re probably questioning yourself, “it’s that feeling of realising something is not right and has to be changed. But, knowing what needs to happen and taking action are two very different things…”

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The world will undoubtedly be the different after this pandemic, the unity binding us could potentially tear us apart; did Joy Division predict this?! If not, there’s a ghost, least an inspiration from those early eighties new romantics fused into this contemporary tune, and again, just like the previous singles, while Talk in Code songs sound as if they’d slot into the background of a John Hughes coming-of-age movie, listen again, they also ring modernism in both production and subject.

From its inaugural piano, through its beguiling beat to this cliff-hanging finale which leaves the question open to interpretation, this is an uplifting song; I expected no less though. “Finding the strength to make a change and every bit relevant to these challenging times,” as the blurb continues, is surely up to us, pop doesn’t preach as it once did, rather stages the dilemma for you to solve, and that, in a way makes it that bit up-to-date, rather than a retrospective eighties tribute.

For that reason, Talk in Code are pushing boundaries rather than dwelling, and the reason which found them on BBC Introducing In The West, on The OFI Monday Show, The Premium Blend Radio Show, Swindon 105.5 and Frome FM. It is the reason why the Ocelot, Dave Franklyn of Dancing About Architecture, The Big Takeover, and oh yeah, us, are singing their praises.

Providing optimism as a theme to this single is a biting reality, and Talk In Code still hope to play some of the fifteen festivals that were booked into this year, including M for, Daxtonbury, Concert at the Kings and Newbury Beer Festival along with a showcase for Fierce Panda/Club Fandango, to be rescheduled for later in 2020; hygienically rinsed fingers crossed, and toes.

COURAGE (Leave It Behind) will be released tomorrow, 30th April, on digital download at www.talkincode.co.uk and on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music and all digital platforms.


© 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.

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The New Local Blues

Had a nice chat with Sheer Music’s Kieran about acts, live streaming, future plans, and gardening this week… what am I on about? It’s always nice to chat with Mr Moore….

If the beginnings of Devizine was a learning curve in which I realised I’d bitten off more than I could chew, one might be mistaken to think now we must’ve covered every musical talent in Devizes, if not Wiltshire. Not so, as a post from Kieran J Moore of Sheer Music incited me to shudder. Why have I not heard the name Joe Edwards before?

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Joe Edwards

Name does ring a bell, must have posted about the cancelled album launch at the Wharf which would’ve happened this week. Well-travelled, Joe has been touring through Europe as a drummer for Australian band The Wishing Well, plus his debut solo album Keep on Running was mixed in Nashville and mastered in New Jersey with Grammy nominee Kim Rosen; might explain it, and if I have encountered the name I had no idea how renowned and awesome he is.

Hoisted in the help of Kieran for this then, to insure I’m bought up to date; there is a new cool in Devizes, and I’m going to prompt him about it. The initial message on any chat window these days is enquiring of wellbeing, understandably. Mr Moore is positively beaming, “[I’m] getting so much done and achieved,” he explained.

I replied with a question, “Like the gardening?!”

A boundless list of household chores followed which included, “how to programme moving head lights, learned how to live stream, learned how to record and edit videos.” Bless, that’s our Kieran, dedicated to fetching us the best live music and promoting local artists, no matter what the era brings us; you have to tip your hat to the man. Seeking permissions to release sets Sheer recorded from 2012-14 and bootleg them onto Bandcamp being the latest venture.

What of the live stream though? My Virtual Festival started with good intentions, but there’s been so much of it it’s hard to keep up, some may not be appreciative my sharing of their stream; it’s a close call. In these frustrating times, I asked Mr M if he felt “people are going to get bored with the live stream.” I often feel it doesn’t make up for the real thing and enforces my sadness that we’re missing out on live music. Yeah, I know, right; then I apologised for my despondent attitude.

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It’s a close call because artists earning from a live stream is problematic. Some have found methods of a pay-per-view stream, but many rely on a PayPal donation option. While I sympathise with the artists, also I ponder if charging for a live stream is justified when Wi-Fi can drop out, be overloaded, etc. “So,” Kieran added, “live streams have become a necessary evil, in the sense that everyone is doing them, and it’s really difficult to earn from them. Let’s be clear, live streams will never replace the real thing. No need to go into detail, we all know why, it just won’t.”

He believes they have a place in the future, though, after lockdown has ended. “You’d be a dolt not to recognise it! Whilst it may be difficult and lacking for most of us, these streams have enabled many people who wouldn’t usually be present, be it social anxiety, disability, or a myriad of other reasons, be able to take part and fell part of something.”

I gave mention to a stream-festival by Swindon Shuffle, it doesn’t have to be geographically grounded, organisers said people attended as far away as Mexico, and this increases the fandom of the performers to international levels.

In these few short weeks, we’ve seen musicians getting more creative with the concept, nice to see Benji & Hibbs sitting around a fire rather than indoors,Jon Amor climbed onto his roof last night, and Phil Cooper is getting tech with green screens for a Lost Trades stream on 1st May. “A lot of people have invested in the technology,” Kieran expressed, “so why would it stop after? It’s just daft, of course it won’t. Also, the reality is that venues won’t be back and open before 2021. The possibilities are currently being peddled by MVT,” He continued, “and it’s being taken seriously.”

I felt the need to apologise for my grumpiness, it had been a long day at the diary. I would, however, like to see artists getting some releases out rather than live stream, but accept that’s not easy either, for a band, with social distancing. Talking blues though, surely some the most poignant music, particularly blues, comes from feelings of isolation, depression and disappointment; from teenage anguish or working on the chain gang! The lockdown should deliver some interesting content.

“Be prepared for an avalanche of Coronavirus and lockdown blues songs,” Kieran suggested, and yep, seen a few emerging myself and played the “Corona Blues” by The Ragamuffin All-stars on my radio show last week.

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Little Geneva

Talking local blues, though, on top of Joe Edwards, who after a listen to I’m liking to a raw George Harrison or Clapton, what else has Kieran got for me? “Jon Amor likens Joe to JJ Cale, which is nice,” he compliments. “Then we have Little Geneva, who actually do covers, but they’re so obscure, people don’t know them. I actually like that slant.” Ticked that box some time ago, Little Geneva playing the Cellar Bar was knockout, and I’ve nothing but praise for their authentic blues sound.

This said, Little Geneva have since recruited female singer Mariam Maz to add to their already talented gang, and this I have to witness.

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Will Blake

“Then we have Will Blake in Bromham, a honky-tonk 12-bar type of guy,” but I’ve recently bookmarked Will too, sharing this soul cover multi-instrumentalist’s Isolation Sessions, which see him on piano in the middle of a Bromham field giving us a marvellous rendition of Man in the Mirror et all.

And finally, Kieran aims one I don’t know at me, a “swampy and dirty” contemporary Trowbridge four-piece, Sober Son. This is hard-hitting rock and one to watch. Looking to the future, where I predict an aching aftermath for concerts and gigs, many might frivolously suggest we have the party of parties, but Kieran is a doer. Can I spill the beans on his “overall idea?” “Say it’s currently Sheer’s intention to host an event!” he informs, yeah, will do.

Hosting a “Devizes Music Festival” is said idea, when the lock down is over, and to do a multi-stage bill, across the whole venue. Kieran’s dream team would consist of Jon Amor, Sober Son, Little Geneva, Joe Edwards, Will Blake and The Lost Trades, “etc.” I’m saying no more, not to get over-excited too soon, we’ve a long way to go with the lockdown; I could be a pensioner by then and only wishing to listen to Pat Boone!

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Ah bugger, back to the now; do like the Sheer Music Facebook page, currently dedicated to bringing you the best local live streams, “the necessary evil.” But most importantly is the notion I’ve said before and will no doubt say again, unless you want to pop the bubbles of musician’s aspirations and see them pushing supermarket trollies, it’s vital you check out local artists and buy their music, be it from Bandcamp, streaming sites, their sites or send Vinyl Realm a message, as they stock a selection of local music too.


© 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.

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Rural Wiltshire’s Sensational Soul Food with Sujay’s Jerk Pan Kitchen

When you live in a market town such as Devizes it’s inevitable when driving through any city to become overwhelmed and perhaps a smidgen envious at the variety of cuisine on offer; look, Nepalese dal-bhat-tarkari street food, outside a lacto-vegetarian Mongolian bistro, next door to a vegan Venezuelan arepas snack bar! You name it, a metropolitan milieu will probably have it. Here, while it’s hailed as some of the best; Italian, Chinese and Indian are about our limitations, unless you chance a kebab.

So nice then, that Sujay’s Jerk Pan Kitchen has gifted us an addition, if variety is the spice of life, it’s high time we had a taste of the Caribbean. Sporadically shacked up in the Shambles prior to the lockdown, Pauline and the team has never been busier since introducing a drop box delivery service; perhaps she doesn’t need me to hype it up as word travels fast; this is an authentically tasty treat.

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Through my love of reggae, I’m rivetted by all things Caribbean, the easy-going culture, the colours and sweetness of those exotic islands in the sun, the sounds, linguistics, the art, and of course the food. And that’s before I even went there! The only member of my family lucky enough to have taken the once-in-a-lifetime trip, I wondered if Sujay could return my taste-buds to the West Indies in the same way as a jouvert jam would for my ears, but I was unsure if the family would take to the idea. Surprised then I was when the better-half suggested we ordered, arm twisted, and before I could recite a verse of Three Little Birds our drop box was ordered for Saturday afternoon.

Caribbean food is not customarily a Michelin star a-la-carte affair, rather the traditional roots rest in amazing street food and home cooking, therefore styles and recipes can vary, and this is precisely what you get. You should note I’m no Jay Rayner, I’ll hoof the loot without coming up for air, and if it’s tasty I’m going to tell you, and if it’s not I believe honest criticism is virtuous; it’s all unpretentious evaluation rather than vernacular condemnation. This though, arrived at our door on time with a smile, and was everything it’s been rated as being.

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So good I didn’t contemplate taking a photo for use here, sorry, but I simply didn’t have the will power to resist getting stuck straight in!

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Me, I went for the goat curry as I’ve never tried it. Sticking to custom it is as it should be, a quite humble green paste curry, spices, with chunks of goat. But served with traditional rice and peas (peas being a black bean rather than European green peas) the simpler formula is often the preferred and I loved every bite, as did the wife. I added a side dish of plantains, imagine a fried banana that thinks it’s a potato and you’re somewhere near the mark.

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For the daughter, and of course with portions so generous some of it naturally found its way onto my plate, the classic jerk chicken with a side of chicken wings, and another colossal portion of rice and peas. Perhaps no other dish so popular varies from handed down home recipe as much as this one in Caribbean food, but I’ve tasted a variety. If Levi Roots has marketed a certain blistering style and tailored his own methods, Sujay’s is closer to what I’ve tried in Barbados. Much more subtle with the hotness, but nice on the spice. I also reserve at Caribbean street chicken disguising cheap meat with a high dosage of hot paste but this is not the case here, the untainted wings would’ve revealed, but these too were exceptionally scrumptious and clear that the quality of the ingredients were not skipped on.

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If Sujay’s Jerk Pan Kitchen doesn’t deserve enough kudos with you for providing fifty meals earlier this week for the NHS staff with the organisation of Tailor-Made Events, or serving brown stew chicken and stew pork with rice and peas to the homeless and vulnerable on the streets of Swindon this evening, maybe its time you sampled some of their sensational soul food yourself?

Tams off to Sujay’s then, the perfect meal with a difference for our rurally repressed palate. Irie, as they say in the JA, gurt lush as we might say here! I’m not ganderflanking yer mucker, this is the soul food of Wiltshire and will whisk your taste buds to a tropical paradise faster than Beenie Man can wax lyrical a monostich; pass the rum punch!

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© 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.

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Go Operation Teddy Bear!

If I’ve been rather quiet on Devizine recently I apologise. I’ve been enjoying some family time while the kids are home, and mores to the point, bestowed one of these “keyworker” badges, the real job has never been busier. Yet despite the lack of usual content regarding events and gigs, there’s still subjects to write about, perhaps none so much as the way the community has bonded during these trying times.

To watch those Americans causing havoc, protesting in the streets and then ironically catching Covid19 themselves is miles apart from how we’re reacting. There are so many to thank, from the key workers and NHS staff, to the masses who have flocked to volunteer for their local Covid19 support groups, such as Devizes Covid19 Support, and even to the simpler kind offerings, such as the wonderful Sujay’s Jerk Pan Kitchen who, with Sally of Tailor Made Events, supplied fifty meals for NHS staff this week.

There are groups and charities springing up everywhere, and people providing spontaneous acts of kindness, we have to tip our hats to them. One I’d like to draw your attention to in particular, is the locally setup Operation Teddy Bear by Helen Bray, a team of volunteers and even a jogging Spiderman!

The operation is a specialist donator system, contacting intensive care units across the county. The hospitals send them requests for food, drinks and toiletries, which are donated at various non-physical points, collected and distributed direct to both the wards and staff. Helen explains, “most of the volunteers are care workers, nurses, ex-medical or NHS staff. We’re specialist donators supporting intensive care nurses, other nurses, doctors, NHS staff, care-workers, health professionals, and other special people who support others in hardship and need.”

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“The constructive donation list is designed by the very people that need the donation,” Helen continues, “which means minimum surplus, and any surplus can benefit the elderly, homeless, or a family who has no income. Donations which are given freely by the public is sending a powerful message to the very people who might save our lives, whilst risking their own.”

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Helen maintains her volunteers are family in our chat, I confess, I’m unsure if they’re direct family, or in her motivation for this great cause, she refers to them as such. “My family of volunteers want no praise,” she told us, “just to shine a light into endless cave of people suffering from Coronavirus, which I hope and pray, as many people as possible do, with our support, donations, and acts of kindness with all the donation, anyone wishes to give. As a little boy who came to donate a big carrier bag full of stuff said; I just want to help mend people.”

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Donation points are nonphysical contact donation boxes at Devizes Town Hall, Brickley Lane near the playpark with billboard outside, Fruitfields, Lavington, a new one at Urchfont, and ones in Pewsey, Burbage and Calne. Swindon also has two donation points.

“Operation Teddy Bear donates to Swindon Great Western, Salisbury District Hospital, Bath RUH, Bristol Southmead, Southampton and Bournemouth intensive care units,” Helen says, “St Johns Livingston in Scotland, any SOS from any London hospitals for PPE and links with many more support networks, especially for the elderly in the community, and the homeless if we receive specific lists for donations that are most use for them.”

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I’m impressed with the scale of this operation in the short time it has had to form, and thoroughly wish Helen and the team all our thanks and best wishes for their hard work. The news is spreading over social media, but I fail to see any online information websites in which to direct you to. However, if you would like to donate or volunteer, after all, even Spiderman is, feel free to contact us and we’ll put you in touch. This article wasn’t really intended to ask for donations or help primarily though, as the scheme has already gathered pace and support, it is mostly here to thank all in involved at such passion and dedication to this cause.

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DOCA Announce Next Year’s Carnival & Street Festival Dates

If, like most, you need something to look forward to, The Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts, or DOCA as we love to know them as, having made some hard decisions, have come up with a new list of dates for their usual events; here’s to 2021! So, we are looking at an early date in the month of May, which coincidently rhymes with “hooray,” sort of, or at least enough to shout it!

Street Festival – Sunday 2nd May 2021 – 16:00 – 22:00

Last time I had the opportunity to chat with director Loz, she mentioned the plan this year was to move Sunday’s Street Festival from the Green to the Market Place, in case of bad weather and in hope to attract more. I am unsure if this will be carried out, but I’m certain it’s a bonza idea.

Street Festival -Monday 3rd May 2021 – 11:30 – 18:30

Best Monday, like ever. Dubbed by many, especially The British Lion as Black Rat Monday, it’s our most favoured annual date in Devizes and mere announcement of it leaves me tingling with excitement. Here’s hoping Vinyl Realm will continue as they planned this year, to hold a second stage of local music, and I’ve heard on the grapevine we might get even more than this. That’s all I can tell, anymore and I will be shot!

Colour Rush – Saturday 8th of May 2021 18:00 19:00
Confetti Battle – Saturday 8th of May 2021- 19:30 – 21:30

Again, we see these moved to a Saturday for practicality and the ease of attendance. There’s hope from DOCA that the bizarre custom of Confetti Battle will attract people from afar and place Devizes on the map of bizarre rituals and festivals, as it deserves to be, but would never happen on a weeknight.

Carnival Camp Saturday 3rd July

Location of the camp and times are to be confirmed.

Picnic in the Park – Sunday 4th July 2021 – times 12:00 – 17:00

Usually the event to kick off the festival fortnight, Hillworth Park will again be filled with activities, fun and music, just towards the end of the festivities this time.

Carnival – Saturday 10th July 2021- 17:30

So, the grand day itself, we are unsure if they will carry over what would have been this year’s theme, ‘Go Wild,’ but here’s hoping they will as it’s a cracker!
That’s all folks, I’m dusting off my festival jester’s hat in preparation, but Christmas first, OMG, I said it! Keep up to date with DOCA’s events on their website, here.


© 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.

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Sam Bishop is One of A Kind

With all the hallmarks of Sam’s current releases,One of a Kind slips perfectly into the direction he’s heading; it’s smooth, echoes of slight melancholy but uplifts just enough to wet the taste buds. Proving Sam Bishop is one of a kind, carving a distinctive style with every new track.

But this one has one significant difference, all profits from it are going straight to Trussell Trust. Sam explains “a truly amazing charity that works to provide emergency food and help for those in need.”

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There’s also a topical theme, reflecting the mood of the lockdown for young lovers, “this song is about missing loved ones whilst apart,” he continues, “and feels extremely poignant right now.”

He added how “terrified” he is as it’s the first track he’s produced solely, but it doesn’t fail to impress. It also gives much anticipation for a better day when his newly formed band while at college in Winchester, Midnight Running will re-join and I hope he can bring them back to his hometown for a gig. Until then, check out the single we campaigned to get crowd-funded a month back, as every penny goes to a great cause.


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Wiltshire Girl Goes LIVE for Muscular Dystrophy

It was a sunny afternoon when we arranged a photoshoot for our Spider-milk-man fundraiser last spring, so the playpark outside my house was an ideal location. Carmela played on the climbing frame while I got to know her mum, Lucy. It was sadly evident then how restricted her muscular dystrophy limited her ability to do what so many other children love to do, run and jump and play.

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The lovable part to this six-year-old is her optimism and endearing personality, but the inspirational is her zest for life and determination to overcome. For Carmela’s family life is a constant fundraising campaign and together they strive to find new ways to promote it. If Muscular Dystrophy UK, like many other charities is feeling the effects of Covid-19, for the family personally it hasn’t been easy either. In a heart-melting film for Points West last month, we saw Carmela’s Dad Darren unable to see his daughter as he’s a key worker and communicating with sign-language with her through the garden’s patio doors.

Alongside the many fundraisers for ‘Carmela’s Stand Up To Muscular Dystrophy,’ and for MDUK in general, Darren was due to run the London Marathon on the 26th April for MDUK, but this event has now been rescheduled for October. MDUK needs our help now though, for those with a progressive muscle wasting disease, at high-risk from the pandemic and the usual systems for coping vastly restricted.

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Save the UK’s Charities General fundraising has been hit very hard by COVID-19. Thousands of fundraising events have been cancelled and many charities, particularly smaller ones, are struggling to maintain services because of this huge reduction of income. This impacts all sectors of society from children to the elderly as well as the vital work in areas such as palliative care, serious diseases, mental health, housing support, food supplies and countless others that charities support.

Step in our six-year-old heroine, to replace the 26.2 miles of a Marathon, Carmela is going to attempt to do 26 laps of her therapy assault course LIVE via her Facebook page on 26th April at 2pm. Carmela would normally only do two to three laps. “This is going to be a very tough challenge,” Carmela’s mum Lucy explains, “we may have to take out certain high equipment during the challenge as she is not meant to over exert her exercises as damaging her muscles is permanent and won’t repair.”

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We wish her all the best and support for this enduring challenge, she will be going LIVE on her Facebook page ‘Carmela’s Stand Up To Muscular Dystrophy’ on 26th April at 2.06pm. You can also donate to MDUK. Text MDUK3 to 70660 and donate £5. Or directly to this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/my-2-6-challenge-d92bda3f-a95b-4a87-a64d-6dcb4b39491d

Go Carmela!


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After the Lock Down

Clair Figes ponders celebrations after the lock down….

In France, around the midsummer Solstice, every town throws itself open to La Fete de la Musique. Throughout the country, bars and restaurants and village squares fill the pavements with tables, chairs, hay bales, trailers; and they book local musicians or bring amps & speakers out into the street and a night of music, dancing and general merriment ensues.
Most of us will eventually emerge from the current viral crisis. We’ll come stumbling back to normality, grateful to be released into the wild – but very aware that life has to go on and very, very many businesses will need to be restored in order to make that possible. That will probably include our own businesses – or those which employ us – or employ or care for our loved-ones.
There will also be an army of heroes who we want to thank: all NHS and care-home workers and all the people who’ve kept shops open, kept postal deliveries and bin collections going, kept our kids sane on-line, kept the surgeries & pharmacies going – the list goes on and on.

Can we combine all these needs?

When the lockdown ends, could we just crack open all the local hostelries and get musicians into all of them and onto the pavements outside and rope in all the street-food vendors still operating and just Play & Eat & Drink & Dance, putting money into the tills of all our pubs and cafes and the pockets of every food-stall and the hats of every busker and street entertainer?
In an ideal world it would just happen spontaneously, like it did on VE-day after WW2. But we may have a staggered release: some areas before others, the least vulnerable before the most vulnerable, etc… Also, the kitchens need to be stocked, the staff need to be recalled, the pumps need to be primed and the musicians need to be on hand, so a little advance planning would help.
And, crucially, if it happens on just one night, the wonderful key workers can’t all join in – because our hospitals and care-homes will still need to be staffed even through the celebrations. So we’ll need at least 2 days of celebration. I suggest that we ask the pubs, cafés, musicians, street performers, local Councils, etc. to be ready to take part in some way on the evening of the Summer Solstice: Saturday 20 June and again on Friday 26 June. And to organise some simple sort of voucher system so that wonderful people like NHS staff can get freebies all night.
If we’re still in lockdown a week before this celebration – just roll it all forward a week, then another …. And if we’re all released early, fine, we can have an earlier party as well. The more we celebrate, the faster we can get the small businesses back up and running. So tune your instruments and get your bunting out and aim for national street parties on 20 and 26 June.


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Cosmic Rays are Hard to Destroy

Introducing Shrewsbury’s five-piece rock band, Cosmic Rays. With a new album proving they’re Hard to Destroy….

As my daughter shoves her phone to my ear with her home-made eighties’ music quiz playlist, memories she will never know of blissfully return. “If I could be like Doc Emmett Brown and whizz you back to my era,” I think aloud, but maybe not such a good idea, she’d never survive; no Wi-Fi. What is apparent with the classic pop from my time she has picked is that it spans genres unconditionally, because she hasn’t lived it to confine her to one viewpoint, to guide through that era, where the categorical conflict for top of the pops changed overnight; what side did you fight for?

Pigeonholing divided the early-to-mid-eighties into alienated youth cultures, unique from one another and only alike for being experimental and innovative. While there may be nothing particularly ground-breaking about Shrewsbury’s five-piece rock band Cosmic Rays, what they do have is a dexterous ability to weave these genres back together in an original and affable way. I have their March released album Hard to Destroy to snoop upon, and I like it; pass my black hair dye and metallic leather high boots.

Initial reaction was thus, partially gothic with nu-metal wailing guitar and archetypical dejected romance as a running theme, and while it’s not my cuppa, it’s produced lo-fi and agreeably subtle. So elusive indeed you don’t pre-empt the changes, though may yearn for it. Post-punk and new romantic are lobbed into the melting pot by the second tune, tickling my personal taste buds better.

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With the sensation of jaggedly Velvet Underground, in parts, its retrospective nods soon confine to aforementioned eighties genres. I’m now left contemplating everything from The Cult to Depeche Mode, and The Dammed to Blancmange. For which they are, just nods, as the all-encompassing sound is something original and exclusive, in so much as the combination of influences fuse so unexpectedly well. Perhaps no more adroitly composed than a central track called Lost Paradise, as while it mirrors synth-pop electronica, it also explodes midway with a wailing guitar solo akin to Slash’s contribution to Jackson’s Beat It.

The Bandcamp blurb explains new guitarist Rob McFall is a major factor to this album being a whole new direction, though while I ponder what the old direction was being I’m new to the band, I have to tip my hat to the guitar sections, but like I say, it’s the placement of them too, unpredictably located. That, I think, makes it more exciting than a band simply replicating a particular sound from a bygone era.

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Just when I’m expecting it to rest there, a tune called Me & Jimmy bursts out upbeat joyful vibes. Unquestionably the most pop-tastic track on the album, it smiles House Martins or even the Fine Young Cannibals at me. Though the last two tunes finish by reminding you this is indie, Seeing Green with a winding goth ease and Walk on Water, where a sombre electronica beat rises again. If you’ve heard such a fusion tried before, you’ll be forgiven for thinking this could be encumbered and muddled, yet I feel you need to listen, for the juxtaposition works on all levels, making Cosmic Rays interesting and defiantly one to watch. By the way, my daughter’s eighties pop quiz, I nail it every time!

Hard to Destroy by Cosmic Rays is available to sample and buy from BandCamp here.


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Devizes Scooter Club Auction Rally Banner for NHS

Ah, seems like a year ago now…. eh? Oh yeah, it was, nearly. With the second Devizes Scooter Rally teetering on the edge of cancelation, The Devizes Scooter Club still have their fingers crossed all will not be lost to the lockdown. After last summer’s amazing effort by the club to host the unforgettable first Devizes Scooter Rally, this highly anticipated sequel is booked in Rowde for 31st July, and we live with all the hope of Princess Leia that’ll it’ll go off.

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For me personally, it was a thrill to see the posters and in particular, the big banners around the area, and I was honoured to have designed it. But you know, I get this low a lot designing event posters, knowing once the event is over, my poster is lost in time. Delighted then to see the Scooter Club is auctioning the very last Rally banner from last year.

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Club colonel Adam Ford said “we would like to put it up for auction to raise funds for the NHS Charities Fundraiser.” 100% of the winning bid will be donated to the charity. The auction will end at 9pm on Friday 17th April. If you’d like this piece of history, nip over the Devizes Scooter Club Facebook page, like it and put your bid in the comments.

Do let me know if you buy it, I’ll be thrilled to know it has gone to a good home, and even more for such a good cause!


 

Guide to Local Facebook Groups pt1

How many Facebook groups can you get banned from in one day?! I have Norris McWhirter on stand by for a world record attempt. But as we’re locked down and online is the new going out, I thought it’d be a rather lovely idea to instruct on the confounds of local Facebook groups and pages. Maybe research a few new ones, as they vastly differ due to the ethos of the individual admin. So, here’s the lowdown, and I do mean low, of what group or page might be best for you, what content is best for posting on them, and what you will/won’t get away with on each.

I may well have bitten off more than I can chew with this pet project. Note this is not comprehensive and I will be adding further parts to it, covering more specific areas of interest. For the now, there’s enough general pages, debate pages and event pages to take us to kingdom come and back. Where Devizes once had more pubs than people, now, sadly, pubs close so quick you barely get time to finish your drink until antiques are wheeled in around you, and we now have more Facebook pages than people. The only real issue in Devizes is that there’s too many Facebook pages called the Devizes Issue, or similar; don’t cry for me Amanda Attwood the truth is, I never left you.


The Devizes Issue

The original and still most popular general Devizes group is strictly monitored. Spamming, repeat posts and adverts are very restricted. Yet content remains solely and proudly local and it never allows dabbling in politics. It also operates a tight censorship rule where bad language or offensive content will see you banned immediately, the main reason why so many potty-mouths have decided to start their own variation on the idea. In a word: reliably presentable.


The Devizes Issues

Never confuse this similar namesake with the original. Set up by those disgruntled at the rules of the uncompromising original, it stands as second most popular general Devizes Facebook group. Sadly, as it has progressed it has become just as strictly policed, if not more, but with an entirely different ethos. Content can be varied, sometimes not related to Devizes at all, rather prompting national headlines, but provided it follows an unembellished conservative agenda it’s fair game. It is extremely right-wing bias, though often denied by admin. As the page gets more popular it is more strictly regulated and items posted which do not meet either a local theme or appeases the admin’s own objective or conservative philosophy are deleted. In a word: Daily Mail of Devizes.


The Devizes Debate

If a page is the sum of its members, the Devizes Issues has become right-wing by default, naturally representative of our Tory top-heavy area, the Devizes Debate was a hundred times worse. With subject matter rarely on a local fashion, a barrage of intimidation hailed over anyone with a differing opinion, and if they snapped back with a single insult, as naturally one would upon such ganged responses, they were witch-hunted towards the door. I received messages from locals genuinely concerned for their safety after expressing a leftist ideology. So, I abandoned it too as I confess, even I couldn’t handle the hypocrisy. The liberal admin tried their best to keep the peace, but decided to close it, new admins have taken over, but to be honest, I dare not venture back for my own wellbeing. In a word: the former Devizes Mein Kampf.


Debating about Devizes

If you consider the Devizes Debate is hardly a debate at all, if every member has the same opinion and anyone with a differing one is despatched by via witch hunt, this page has the potential to be better. Sadly, though it only stands at 76 members and rarely posted on. Posts are as general as the Devizes Issue pages, events and campaigns, rather than notions to spur a debate as such, and as the member count is so low, rarely does an actual debate begin. In a word: nice tin, wrong label.


Marlborough Opinions

Our neighbours show us how to run a debate page. At just over 600 members there really is a fair and equal demographic here, and though it can get heated, comments rarely get personal. Here’s a debate which works, community spirited, which upholds the cross section of society without flying daggers, just a few cross words, but it is Marlborough. In a word: cliquey opinionated.


Devizes Issue

Take out the “The,” forget the plural, ironically this smaller of general Devizes groups is arguably the most effective and close to their original intent, though with only a handful of users its reach is like calling out of the window. It seldom does politics, hardly ever takes on a national issue, but it does either it’s usually satire and equally based. Generally, though, it is solely a noticeboard for the town, which is what the others are supposed to be. In a word: nice but inconsequential.


The Devizes Issue (but better)

Just as the above, its non-political bias, and fairness indeed makes it better, as the title suggests, unfortunately with just over 900 users, its reach is anything but better. These two factors balance each other out, making it far from better in reality. In a word: fibbing.


Spotted in Devizes

If you’re thinking hurrah, there is a local Facebook group which hasn’t plagiarised The Devizes Issue and figured its own name all by itself, you should note there are umpteen groups called Spotted in [enter town name.] Also, worth pointing out it’s a page rather than a group, the difference being you have to message the page and they will, hopefully publish your post. The upside is you can remain anonymous, the downside you never know if submissions will be published. As it is, the page seems to have dilapidated in its once popularity, with one person still persisting to post; namely Ronnie of the brilliant music promotions Marland. This is still a valid page then, if you want to know where Burbank will be playing next, but other than this and the odd missing dog, there’s little to write home about. I guess the move to groups rather than pages has seen its demise, but while it lasted it wasn’t so bad. In a word: spotty.


spotted in devizes

Low and behold, someone threw what little originality in Devizes Facebook Admins there is to the wind and without the skill to muster capitalisation took the name and made a group out of the idea. This group has lower reach then the page of the same name, but is more widely used. It’s very liberal provided your post is locally related, and takes adverts and notices. Few seem to debate, few seem to squabble, surprisingly nice around really. In a word: spotless, except for basic grammar.


Marlborough Notice Board

Again, our swanky neighbours show us up, like a Devizes Issue, but running pretty much solo in its town, so you need not browse two hundred local groups to get a comprehensive guide to what’s happening out there. Of course, occasionally the blindly ignorant wish to proclaim their love for Boris on it, but it does stick to its values well. In a word: oh, Marlborough.


The Issues of Fucking Devizes

A complete spoof of all above, hence the “swearing is big and clever” title, lambasting the Devizes Issue’s rightful bad language regulation. Subject, for want of a better word is never about Devizes at all, and it prides itself on this and the ability to be completely offensive and rude without shame. For this unique stance I approve, but the angle taken is assertively far-right-wing, and to make a joke about anything other than this will see you hounded. Nice idea, discriminating and disgraceful stance. In a word: Viz for fascists.


The Devizes Issue WTF

If I know my abbreviations, the What The Fuck in this group is what the fuck have you got to do to get in. Perhaps they know I’m plotting this article, perhaps it’s a redundant group and the admin are now living in the Seychelles, or maybe it’s a very exclusive club, as although I’ve applied for membership twice, I’ve still not gained entry. All I can say is that here is another clearly spoof page, and I have to ponder if The Issues of Fucking Devizes had a good idea but is used with nasty intent, perhaps there’s a fairer balance here, or is it just plain smut? If so, I’m up for that but fear I may never know, or care. in a word: my name’s not down.


The Devizes Labour Campaign Group

There is some relief from the constant assault of neurotic Nazis in local Facebookland and here’s a place for alleged leftie snowflakes to let off steam and preach to the converted. Come here with your hard-on for Boris and you’ll be the one put to rights, finally. In a word: Corbyn’s Vest.


Live Music Devizes

Did I start this off with edge and gradually cover the better ones as I went? Paul does a great job at hosting this Live music promotional page, which is exactly what happens on it, and only that. So, as we bludgeon through the list, note finding a page more specific you often find a nicer place to surf. Live music Devizes never gets narked off with Devizine, we’ve never seen bad blood, nor even needed to communicate very much to know we’re singing off the same song sheet. Join this page for further news and events, you never know I may have missed something on Devizine, but hardly likely! In a word: musical goodness.


Devizes Events

Again, here’s a specific one, lesser so as the above and events can include any events, as it says really. No harm here that’s for sure, feel free to post event news and happenings, or as it is presently, cancelations. There is little more to the group than this, but that is precisely what it is set out to do. In a word: Yeah, I’m going out.


Devizes Musicians and Performers

If live music Devizes takes on, generally, pop genres, this one will fill the theatrical, choirs and musicals and that type of thing. Maybe therefore less cool, but equally as popular for its broader horizons as it covers all which the latter does as well. In a word: doe a deer, a female deer.


Marlborough Music

If you thought I’d finish on a high note, with only praise for a Facebook page, that’s simply not my style. Facebook is like Vice City, dude, respect needs to be earned. I gave up with Marlborough Music, they got rather cliquey with me, like fagging a St Johns pleb with a ruling class college nose in the air. The trouble kicked off because I was posting my weekly roundup post, which informs everyone over the area we cover what is happening in their town. Seems like if it’s not about music in Marlborough it’s unwelcome. Their prerogative, and that is, after all what it says on the tin, but my notion it’d be too time consuming to create a post for each town, was met rather rancorously.


That’s enough for now, there are many other Facebook groups and pages I can slag off, or praise where praise is due, which I will. So, expect a further part to this, one at least; if you think you’ve got away with it, page admin of one I missed here, think again! Twitter though is a safe zone, and Instagram I need my daughter to be my social media manager on, hence it’s probably full of pictures of me acting like a twat. I’ll check it one day, but I’m a one social media site kinda guy.

Phil Cooper is Without a Sound

Surprising title, Phil Cooper is not usually without a sound. Trowbridge’s prolific singer-songwriter subtlety reflects, I believe, on the silence of the lockdown in a new single born today. Subtlety is the key to many of his works, there’s a wonder in this one in particular if there’s undertones of a political statement, or if it’s a simple love and togetherness theme. I like it when it’s open to interpretation.

Yet if there’s something unsurprisingly catchy about Phil’s Easter egg single Without a Sound, I’m uncertain if he’d be flattered with my Elvis Costello comparison, but that’s what I picked it out of it, and you might be surprised by this.

Though comparing isn’t necessary now, Phil have stamped his own unique mark onto music and this one retains that personal fashion.

However you choose to look at it, it’s a gradual step in the right direction for Phil. With the Lost Trades obviously on hold for the time being, it’s a welcomed surprise and while we look forward to the vocal harmonies with Tamsin and Jamie, ah, this single will fill the gap perfectly.

As with Tamsin’s first rate live stream last night for the Swindon Shuffle virtual festival, it’s still good to see this trio working apart as well as together.

But dont take it from me, give it a listen!

Now That’s What I Call Local Music!

You know you’re a milkman when you wake up at 5:45am on a Sunday and consider it a lie-in. With the household in gentle slumber I thought I’d don my headphones and create a mixtape out of many of the great local music I’ve been sent through Devizine; jeepers, it went on for the best part of two hours!

An eclectic mixture, as is my taste, expect to be transferred between genres quite abruptly as we travel through acoustic, space-rock, indie-pop, to folk, reggae, ska, swing and end with blues. I’ve tried to keep it as local or locally connected as possible, furthest from here is Bristol and Oxford.

Think of this as a sampler, please click on the links and buy their music if you like the track, right now, they need all the support they can get. Artists if you’re featured here, I hope you don’t mind me being so cheeky, oh, and check your link make sure I used your favoured one, but do let me know if it’s an issue and you’d rather not feature. If you’re not here but would like to be, send me your tunes and when I’ve enough for a second compilation I will jump to it!

Here’s the lowdown this lockdown of the artists featured, with some links to buy their music:
1- Home – Tamsin Quin
2- My Backwards Head – George Wilding
3- Twin Suns Rising – Cracked Machine
4- Oxygen – Talk in Code
5- Road Songs – Phil Cooper
6- A Million Miles – Sound Affects
7- As Big as You – Jamie R Hawkins
8- 1AM – Larkin
9- Airbus – Boom Boom Racoon
10- Boot Boy – Ya Freshness & The Big Boss Band
11- I Should Not Be Moved – Billy Green 3
12- Heartbreaker – Beaux Gris Gris & the Apocalypse
13- Not A Witch – Strange Tales
14- Nite Life – Subject A
15- Edith New – Erin Bardwell Collective
16- Pandemonium –Mr Tea & Minions
17- The Simple Things – Dirt Road Diary
18- Stop Burning Squirtels –Pokémon Liberation Army
19- Marlo Cooper – King Dukes
20- Night Bus – Boot Hill All Stars
21- Darken My Door – Tremor Tones
22- We Know –Knati P
23- Forward to the Sound –Urban Lions
24- Run – Kingstons
25- Illumnious Girl –Jon Amor
26- Howlin Wolf – Elles Bailey
27- Trouble on the Green – Carny Villains
29- Like A Thief – Rin Tins
30- Under the Tree – Zaia
31- Key to Love – Little Geneva
32 -Sweet as Honey – Ruzz Guitar’s Revue

Mayyadda, That is All

If you ever feel contemporary soul music has lost its way somewhat, do yourself a favour, check out Mayyadda from Minnesota and it’ll instantly change your mind.

Soothing soul that will make those little hairs on the back of a neck stand to attention. Singers who can do this are a rarity, I nod to Otis Redding, Toots Hibbert, Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye, yet I find few to take us to the modern day. Mayyadda is that equivalent.

She shares her music freely on Bandcamp, she deserves all the gold her voice personifies. Aware my ageing tastes cannot identify with modern RnB, and detest the notion it’s even labelled thus as it barely compares with the original sound of rhythm and blues, but from the very opening of Mayyadda’s short album, Holding Space, I was captivated, heart and soul.

It is the perfect nu-cool, the musical version of after sun on sunburnt skin, the whirl to uplift a sour Sunday morning start.

It’s grades above whatever soul pops on radio, or stylised in nineties trip hop, from Portishead to Morcheeba, Macy Grey to Heather Small, which while that era’s sound holds me in, Mayyadda breathes it out with a chill of freshness and hope for soul music in the now. It is, in a word; gorgeous.

https://mayyadda.bandcamp.com

Can you Help Sam Bishop’s Quarantine Song “One of a Kind” for Charity?

Formerly of Larkin, Devizes singer-songwriter Sam Bishop has been making use of the isolation period by writing and producing a new song called ‘One of a Kind.’ Sam tells us this single “is about being away from loved ones during isolation. My aim to is release it everywhere, with all profits going to the Trussell Trust, a fantastic charity which provide emergency food and assistance for those in need.”

In order for Sam to release the song, and raise as much money as possible, he requires the necessary funds to cover distribution costs, so he’s started a Crowdfunder campaign. “The amount needed isn’t huge,” he continues, “so any small donation would be really appreciated. I’ve always wanted to release a song for charity, and this is my time to do my bit!”

onekind
Click on the image to donate, if you can, thanks!

Now residing in Winchester to study music, Sam’s solo career really kicked off at the end of last year, with the release of his debut EP ‘Cold Kingdom’ on all music streaming platforms. “It received such an overwhelming response and I was completely blown away but the support and positive feedback from it,” Sam explained. “This song is unlike anything I’ve ever written before, and I’ve never released a demo. I wrote and produced the song in just a day, and I feel like the lyrics really do convey my emotions and feelings perfectly. Being away from the people you love is never easy, and you just want to tell them how you feel. I feel like the demo version is the perfect version to release, as it was made only using software and tools I have, written by me, all during this hard time. It’s raw, it’s rough, but it will hopefully speak to you.”

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You can you help Sam release “One of a Kind,” by donating just a small amount via the link here. Sam has a new band in the workings and we look forward to a time when he can introduce us to the members in what will be a highly anticipated homecoming gig. Until such a time, best of luck with the crowd funding, can’t wait to hear the One of a Kind, which is what you truly are, Sam and here’s to a brighter day.


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