Furlong Close Celebration

Residents of Furlong Close in Rowde mingled with staff, the new owners, villagers, councillors, and many of the campaigners which made up the Familes and Friends of Furlong Close steering group, at a party to celebrate the saving of the Close from closure….

It has been a drawn-out battle with former owners HFT, since October 2020, when, in the midst of the pandemic, the residents of Furlong Close, their families and friends were thrown into a state of anxiety and despair at the news Furlong Close was to close, and its thirty vulnerable residents forced to leave their happy and settled homes.

In July, the group were delighted to announce Furlong Close had been saved. The site had been acquired by a new owner, Specialised Supported Housing, and new care provider, Agincare, took over the provision of care to the residents.

Chair of the campaign group, FAFF, Antonia Field gave a heartwarming speech, thanking everyone for their efforts, and MP Danny Kruger reflected on the national mourning, suggesting this occasion was “what England is all about.” For me, personally, getting the chance to meet and talk with some of the residents put all the sterling efforts of the group and villagers into perspective.

The residents of Furlong Close are a welcomed part of the village community, always have been, the gathering today proved this, a truly monumental occasion for Rowde.

The ribbon was cut, symbolic of a new, brighter era for Furlong Close, and a marvellous example of how people-power can turn a negative into a positive.

I tried to chat with a representative of Agincare, but she was preoccupied talking to a resident about the Marvel film “Thor, Love and Thunder!” Along with the sunny autumn afternoon, this said it all for the occasion, giving me faith in the new owners and thier relationship with the residents.


A Baroque Blast at St Mary’s!


Kaffeehaus Culture comes to St Mary’s, Devizes on the 1st of October, bringing you some Bach, Handel & Telemann……

The acoustically rich space of St Mary’s Church, Devizes, will be filled with music from the best-known baroque masters on Saturday, 1st October.

Playing on traditional instruments The Brook Street Band will transport the audience back to the mid-18th century as they perform pieces by Bach, Handel and Telemann – three of the most famous German composers from the period.
The programme reflects the rhythm and harmony of these baroque giants whose music was regularly heard at the famous Zimmerman Kaffeehaus in Leipzig.

The Brook Street Band takes its name from the street in London’s Mayfair where composer George Frideric Handel lived and composed for most of his life.
Since its formation in 1996, the ensemble has established itself as one of the country’s foremost interpreters of baroque music performing at many of the UK’s major chamber music venues, as well as at Early Music Festivals in the UK and Europe.

The group has released eleven CDs, all receiving high critical acclaim; the Band’s debut disc “Handel Oxford Water Music” was selected as Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice, as was its “JS Bach Trio Sonatas”.

The St. Mary Project

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Park Street, Devizes, dates from the Norman times and is one of the most important buildings in the town, with the church tower a particular landmark.

The building is listed Grade I, putting it amongst the top 2.5% of listed buildings in the country. The St.Mary Future Group is working hard to turn this wonderful building into an arts and community space that will become a hub for future generations.

Doors open 7pm for 7.30pm; tickets £18. See www.stmarydevizes.or.uk for booking details. email: info@stmarydevizestrust.org.uk


Devizine 5th Birthday!

Right then you lot, Devizine is five years old today, or at least it was when I begun this monumental mission of reminiscing on how, why and what the hell I was thinking when I started it in the first place. Question is, do you want the short story, or the long, drawn-out one?

Oh well, that’s just tough luck then, isn’t it?! You can’t stop me in full shit stream, because, everyone’s good at something, mine is endlessly waffling on about crap, so that’s what I’m going to do. In the words of the unforgettable Lesley Gore, it’s my party I can waffle on about crap if I want to, or something like that.

In consolation, I’ve sprinkled this piece with a lot of lovely photos, well, it’s been five years and we’ve a lot to show off about. And what a wonderful ride it’s been; dancing, dodging, meeting so many wonderful and talented people, rattling a few cages, and I hope it will continue to be so, if I do say so myself.

Best, if any, place to start is childhood aspirations. Note, I never had any dreams of writing, let alone journalism. English at school was a pet hate, like every other subject, especially spelling, I was atrochous…… atreechois…. really bad at it.

Though I have to humour the media industry, I’d grow to detest Fleet Street wank-stains. To be a cartoonist was the thing for me, the like of Charles Schultz or Jim Davis favourably, they did, after all, make the most money. But I’d write for magazines, zines and FINs I submitted cartoon strips for in support, because they needed writers…. bloody slave drivers.

As time moved on and I created my own comic, reviewing works of other creative types within it was an aid to networking, and, most importantly, getting freebies. I also suffered with a lack of writers but plenty of artists, so I’d script for them, and gradually the writing took prominence over the artwork.

Self-publishing is a labour of love, and any excuse for procrastination was on the cards. Unpredictably stumbling upon family life was the perfect excuse for giving it up; there were nappies which needed changing before cross-hatching a nudy caricature of Cameron Diaz, and besides, I’d grown out of the psychedelic nature of the zine; fatherhood can change a lad. Word of warning, whippersnappers.

But once bitten, the creative cannot help but create, that’s why they call them creatives, see? I picked self-publishing up again when eBooks came around, as it was easy, and not so time consuming. As an author I spaffed out more books than Boris Johnson did lies, happy as a method of improving my writing skills; though it’s still a learning cuve…. curth… bendy thing. And okay, that’s the same joke, get used to it.

Devizine came about simply for looking at other avenues in which to offload my wobbly words to the unfortunate world. I pitched to satirical, (or “fake news,” to gammons of which satire is above their understanding) websites, but was only sporadically successful, even lesser-so my attempt to create my own satirical website, called Poop Scoop. Until I noticed a new local news-site called Index;Wiltshire. There, finally through this insane waffling lies the kingpin to Devizine.

The editor wrote to me, “you’re the most powerful person in Devizes,” as my weekly rant column amassed a thousandfold more hits than MP James Gray’s did. Dishonest flattery works; I marched on, slagging off everything that was shit about Devizes as I could possibly think of, for humorous effect, you understand? Some didn’t, and Monday morning hate-mail filled my inbox, which was amusing to start with but being grew tedious.

Aside common complaints from any medium-sized market town, the joke wore thin due to decreasing ammo. Devizes is actually a great place to live; could be better, like freewheeling Frome, or like Tijuana, the murder capital of the world, it could be worse. The need to keep the ideas flowing caused me to post a gathering material question on a local Facebook group. It was Jemma Brown who raised the most important point: why didn’t I focus on the positives about living in Devizes? Of course, she was bang on the money, but it simply wouldn’t do, for that’s not the nature of satire, that’s not the idea of “No Surprises Living in Devizes.”

At the time, I’d just crawled out from my hermit hole and seen for myself talent lurking in the mists of this Tory haven. Richie Triangle played The Black Swan, spurring me to meet Tamsin Quin, who was crowdfunding for a debut album. Jemma, naturally was aiming my attention to her productions, as the TITCO theatre company. I wrote of my findings in an ever-increasingly heavily edited version of my rant column, claiming I was spinning the negatives around, though it was lagging in ethos, because to know me is to know I’m happy-go-lucky, and I couldn’t keep the pretence of being some kind of left-wing Alf Garnett any longer.

The column suddenly became more about what events were forthcoming in Devizes, rather then ranting about how rubbish everything was. I think at one point I joked, “what do I look like, some kind of event guide now?!” Not realising I’d predicted the outcome.

Frustrated the column was so heavily edited, now a new editor took over, I took to publishing them on a personal blog, but blogs need love and attention, in other words shameless self-promotion. Devizine though, as I came to knock up a new blog with the idea of doing precisely what we do now, promotes itself, as featured creative types share the fact they’ve been featured, and generally, people seemed to flock to this gap in the market. The first ever article was an unedited version of the that week’s column, the second was about Tamsin’s Crowdfunder.

I never understood, and probably never will, why aside perpetual splashes on national news stories as an aid to fund submissions to scoop sites, regional newspapers here couldn’t at least mention, or give credit to all the talented people here too. There’s room in a newspaper for both surely? But their downfall is our triumph. Devizine is now the go-to to what to do, the rest of it is me just mucking about!

This, coupled with our policy of brute honesty, will always be why Devizine has become something of a (slightly) respectable local institution. Though it may not have started out this way, because a few who were supposed to be responsible for what’s on sections of local media outlets fell short of lifting a finger, and thought it better to sought to trash Devizine’s pending reputation. Funny world, I thought Devizine would be welcomed, and I opened, and still do, my arms to the chances to work with them regardless; c’est la vie.

I believe it’s levelled now. Hardly anyone posts on local Facebook groups, “any live music going on tonight?” And if they do, rather than being directed to Devizine by yours truly, someone else beats me to the recommendation. Which brings me nicely on to the ten zillion quintillion thank you accreditations.

For aside my waffling, the bulk of this article is nothing more than a tedious clip show, which has taken longer to load up than I planned, probably be the sixth birthday by the time I publish it! Maybe we’ll refer to it as a “photo gallery in dial-up connection speed!”

Cider in one hand trying applause without spillages, my photography skills are best avoided whenever possible. Though I do believe I’m getting better, nothing illustrates a review better than a professional or semi-pro photographer. We’ve used and abused so many, and other than Nick Padmore, who makes me sit on his knee, most of them allow us to use their wonderful snaps for free! Which is handy, cos Devizine has not made millionaires out of us, quite yet.

So, a massive thank you, which would deserve a huge hug, if I wasn’t to wonder if that was a zoom lens in their pockets, rather than them being pleased to see me, and also an apology, there’s so many photos here it’d be a minefield wracking my miniscule mind recalling who took what, so excuse me, I hope that you don’t mind, I’ve not been able to credit them individually. Take it as red, though, the out of focus ones are likely from me. The rest I owe to so many photographers, some mentioned here and now: Gail Foster, Nick Padmore, Simon Folkard, Helen PolarPix, Ruth Wordly, Matthew Hennessy, Abbie Asadi, and Chris Dunn of Inscope Design. Please give them a virtual applause and go check out their work via their websites and social media.

But everyone needs a thank you, don’t they? So many good people have come to my rescue, submitted reviews, scoops and content, to make Devizine both comprehensive, and how I see it; a community-led, erm, thingy. I’d appreciate any help I can get, I’m totally overloaded here, and apologise to things I’ve missed, but Mrs Miggins has to get her pint of semi, also. You know you run a what’s on guide when Facebook pings the notification, “you have 55 events this weekend!”

Sporadically then writers have contributed, and I have Ian Diddams, Jemma Brown, TD Rose, Jenny Dalton, Phil Bradley, and Helen Robertson to sincerely thank too. But none more than our esteemed man in the field, the brilliant Andy Fawthrop, for his constant bombardment of most excellent reviews have been a godsend, to the point we need a statue of the good fellow here, front and centre of the lobby in the prestigious Devizine Towers. Seriously, if I cannot get hold of any marble, though, it might have to be made of paper cups.

All I have to say now is thanks everyone, everyone who has supported us, everyone I missed on the roll-call, contributed in some way, and that’s a long list, folk like the ones who’ve helped us out with technical bobs and bits; Ida McConnell, and musically, Dean Czerwionka, Mike Barham, Cath, Gouldy and the DayBreakers, Clifton Powell and Nick Newman, Daydream Runaways and The Roughcut Rebels.

Or those who’ve given their time to play for us at one of our fundraising gigs, the above mentioned, plus, Chole Jordan, Will Foulstone, Tamsin Quin, Phil Cooper, Jamie R Hawkins, George Wilding, Bryony Cox, Lottie Jenkins, Mirko Pangrazzi, Bran Kerdhynen, Finley Trusler and Sam Bishop.

And I think I’ve waffled enough; sorry if I missed anyone, but they know who they are. Bloody love ’em too, I do; group hug.

Being the Wiltshire Air Ambulance bear, touring homemade breweries, the Palace cinema, spending a day with Clifton Powell with Arts Together, going behind the scenes with DOCA, a day on tour with Talk in Code, press screening of Follow the Crows, riding an E-bike with Sustainable Devizes, meeting Neville Staple backstage, plus all the event invites, and so much more my brain is aching, there’s been so many fond memories, but I think, if you had to ask me to pick just one, it’d have to be the time I did my milk round in my Spiderman onesie and met with Carmela Chillery-Watson and her lovely family. A day I’ll never forget.

It leaves me now, to sign off, you must be tired looking at all those people having fun, but I did pre-warn you about my waffling! Enjoy the remaining pictures in our picture show, maybe you’ve spotted yourself in there, five or less years younger. If so, I want you to know, you’re still that gorgeous, gorgeous for showing us your support and partying with us; here’s to another five years, gorgeous!!

Trivia: What is the most popular article on Devizine to-date?

A: The April Fools Day joke 2021, when I announced, McDonalds was coming to Devizes. I believe that one broke the internet! Sad, but true.

Trivia: When did you first force Andy Fawthrop against his will and better judgement, to write reviews?

A: I believe it was October 2018, and the first review was Joe Hicks at the Three Crowns; I maybe wrong, I often am.

Trivia: Who was that country looking gent who used mascot on Devizine?

A: I don’t know, stop hassling me with inane questions like a fanboy at a Star Trek convention!

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 8th-14th September 2022

Slight seasonal changes, wetter but still warm, slight Prime Minister changes, dryer but still a narcissistic numpty; ah well, let’s see, a day later than usual I know and apologise, what’s happening in Wiltshire over the next week……

The one link you need as usual, is our event calendar, where it’s all listed with ticket and info links, and it’s updated (fairly) regularly, so bookmark the beast and remain as you will be after reading this; in the know.  

Thursday 8th and there’s the Swindon Comedy Club at Kioki, with headliner Abi Clarke.

Friday 9th Hedda Gabler begins at the Wharf Theatre, Devizes and runs until 24th September. Hedda Gabler is recognised as one of the world’s great plays written by one of the world’s great playwrights and is generally regarded as Ibsen’s masterpiece. Hedda, on the face of it, is not your archetypal tragic heroine. Starting quietly, and quite humorously, the drama builds to its terrifying and riveting climax, involving the presentation set of pistols that Hedda inherited from her father.

One to watch, Sour Apple play the Pelican in Devizes on Friday, and look out for a new music program called Vamos, at The Old Road Tavern, Chippenham, they’ve got the wonderful Harmony Asia supporting Hoggs Bison. And find Illingworth at The Royal Oak in Marlborough, all free gigs.

“Hurrah, they are back to School” runs the tagline of the end of summer barbeque at Seend Community Centre.

Our renowned house DJ, George G Force is at Marston Park, Frome, while tribute The Smyths play The Cheese & Grain. Festival season hasn’t quite closed yet, it’s The Mucky Weekender Festival at the Winchester Bowl.

Meanwhile, In Swindon, Dangerous Kitchen play The Vic, The Salts at Swindon Arts Centre, and A Country Night in Nashville at the Wyvern Theatre.

Saturday 10th and back by popular demand, the start of the legendary Pewsey Carnival, yay! Procession is next Saturday 17th, with the Wheelbeero race on Thursday 15th, but this Saturday is Pewsey Carnival Wine Race.

Our editor’s pick of the week; Party for Life, Melksham

A world suicide prevention day fundraiser in the Sky Bar at Melksham Town FC. The Soul Strutters, Blind Lemon Experience and Roughcut Rebels play this big one, with DJs and pizza and others; sounds fantastic, we did preview it a while back, and I believe a few tickets are still up for grabs, follow their Facebook page for more details.

Staying in the Sham, The Pilot has a Family fun day with music and, fundraising for MIND, see the poster for details.

Crafts, stalls and entertainment are promised at Devizes Rotary Club’s Health & Wellbeing Showcase on the Small Green from 11am-3pm on Saturday, and for a musical evening in Devizes, rock covers band Black Nasty are at The Southgate, while People Like Us do their awesome thing at the Three Crowns.

Time also, for the Burbage Beer, Cider & Music Festival.

Another upcoming local band to watch is Salisbury indie-kids Carsick, who plan to blow the lid off of Trowbridge Town Hall.

Contrasts in Swindon as Rage Against the Regime play The Vic, while Shape Of You brings the music of Ed Sheeran to the Wyvern Theatre.

You might have caught him at Devizes Arts Festival this summer, Alfie Moore’s show Fair Cop Unleashed comes to Salisbury Arts Centre.

No prizes for guessing who Motorheadache is attributing, they’re at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while Dana Gavanski plays their sister venue the Tree House, with Cornelia Murr in support.

And unfortunately, The International Comics Expo, ICE in Birmingham which I’ve still got listed, has been cancelled, I’m just being too lazy to delete it!   

Sunday 11th, after terrible weather last Sunday postponed Devizes Town Band’s Children’s Proms in the Park at Hillworth, it will be combined this week with the planned main Proms in the Park.  

And save a Recital Series at Swindon Arts Centre, also on Sunday, that about wraps it up for the weekend, unless you know different? Unless you dare to tell me that I missed something?! Please do, I don’t bite, at least only a nip, on the bum; it’s free to list stuff on Devizine, just message us, we’re in it for the love.

Through the week I’ve not got much, but you know updates of the event calendar occasionally happens, though I’m currently undergoing the arduous task of getting next year’s calendar up and running, so bear with, bear with.

Tuesday 13th, I’ve got Kaleidoscopic at Salisbury Arts Centre and a RSPB: A Victorian Birder’s Wiltshire at the same venue.

Next week though you can look forward to Pewsey carnival, Swindon Shuffle, and the White Horse Opera is back too, along with lots more events to get your teeth into; I’ll catch you around at one sometime, maybe? What else are you going to do, “Simpsonise” yourself with a phone app; get real?!!


Trending…

Big Events Like Confetti Battle are Great for Devizes, But Where Can the Disabled Park?

I believe I speak for most of us, when I say we all love that Devizes punches above its weight when it comes to hosting some grand universal events, such as yesterday’s historic, if bizarre local ritual, Confetti Battle. DOCA and others, such as the Devizes Food & Drink Festival, use the Market Place to be exactly what it was intended for, free social gatherings. They take a lot of organising, and are open to everyone to enjoy, or are they?

When the parking places in Market Place are occupied by an event and carparking is closed there, there is no provision or replacement for the absence of disabled bays, and a lack of them causes some disabled people to be unable to attend.

I spoke to Claire, who is disabled and lives in Devizes. Claire would’ve liked to attend the Confetti Battle this year, “I would like to attend Christmas events too,” she said, “but there is no option for disabled people to park.”

“I do appreciate how hard people work to make our lovely town fun,” Claire expressed, “but I had to miss last night because there was nowhere close enough to park.”

I must confess, in promoting our events I hadn’t stopped to consider this, and would like to be clear, this is, I suspect, an oversight on Devizes Town Council’s part. Therefore, I’m not out to point fingers and play the blame game, (ha, not this time!) rather to suggest some provision is introduced so when disabled bays are closed for events, suitable temporary bays can be created specifically for disabled badge-holders. “Even if one extra disabled person could enjoy the events,” Claire stated, “this will make a difference to someone’s life, rather waiting to see it all in Facebook, which is what I do.”

This is unfortunate and unfair, certainly unintentional, but I’m confident with some awareness spreading it’s easily resolved. I’d be interested to hear any town councillor’s views on this, their feedback would be helpful; hey, no, their feedback is essential! I will call out ignorance on the issue if not, (they know that by now!)

No large-scale event goes ahead without meeting requirements for the disabled, simple as. I’d suggest perhaps arranging a booking-in system so a specific number of parking bays can be reserved, this way everyone with a blue badge who wants to attend can, and needless spaces wouldn’t be used as disabled bays. That would take one DTC admin and one spreadsheet five minutes to produce.

“These events should be for all,” Claire asked me, “wouldn’t you agree?” That doesn’t need answering, Claire, not from me I’m afraid, I’m with you fully, and I’m here to pitch the same question to the powers that be. Perhaps there is some provision already in place that we don’t know of, but I’m happy to publish any such answer too.

I’m aware Wiltshire Council is introducing paying for disabled parking in their carparks, but that is a different topic for another time, don’t even get me started on that. We’re here today to assume something as simple as allowing space for disabled folk to accessibly park to be able to enjoy the events as we do, be resolved. Whether or not they have to pay for that space is the responsibility of Wiltshire Council, who, to be honest, I’m at my tethers end with anyway.

“I had to cancel plans this weekend in town,” Claire continued, “because I couldn’t park close enough. Not even close enough to get to the pharmacy, so I went without my pain relief.” We await your response with thanks, Devizes Town Council.


Click to buy Vol 2 of our compilation album; all proceeds go to Julia’s House

Trending….

The Scribes on a Journey

In the distressing event of a relationship breakdown some take to drinking their sorrows away, others might venture off to “find themselves,” whereas creative types often channel their innermost moods into their art. Themes of love lost are commonplace, arguably cliché, but where Phil Collins sang, “take a look at me now, there’s just an empty space,” Bristol’s multi-award-winning hip-hop trio, The Scribes, geographically map that space, using the metaphor of being shipwrecked on an island, in a new four-track EP called “The Journey.”

We love the Scribes here at Devizine, but this really is frontman Ill Literate solo and on top form. It’s out today, 2nd September, folks, forming a continuous narrative over four tongue-twisting tracks, the first of which, The Shipwreck is out as a 7″ picture vinyl and has the perfect accompanying music video. Forget the Streets’ Dry Your Eyes, this is a punchy boom-bap emblematic work of art, this is as if Wu Cheng’en teamed up with Emily Bronte and wrote Nas’ Undying Love after being dumped by TikTok video, perhaps add a dash of Robert Louis Stevenson on samples!

As said, the character associates their breakup with being shipwrecked, track one, waxing lyrical like the rolling waves, it’s knee-deep in similes crafted with perfection, and it moves onto the second tune, The Desert, with a snake-charming pungi the condition of lostness beats our poor character down. Then it’s onto the Forest, perhaps the darkest of beats on offer here, as the “pull yourself together” stage takes hold, using a slice of Grandmaster Melle Mel’s it’s like a jungle. The finale elements on “moving on,” rather than revenge, time is a healer, and the Return compiles the previous songs, headlong into facing the future positively. Yeah, he stuck on the island but he’s climatised.

Created with GIMP

This hip hop odyssey is both written and performed by The Scribes frontman Ill Literate and produced by digger and producer Risk1 Beats, from Pontypridd. The EP will be available on Spotify and online retailers from Friday September 2nd, and it is a journey worth making, the quality of hip hop is sublime, of which we’ve come to expect, but the “concept album” complement takes it to a whole new level.


Trending…..

Party For Life Reveal Final Lineup

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

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

Let’s help this event be a sell-out!


Wharf Theatre Opens For Autumn/Winter Season with Hedda Gabler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor’s Pick of The Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Opera Meets House at Devizes Full Tone Festival

Featured image above by Gail Foster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image: Gail Foster

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

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

Image: Gail Foster

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

Image: Gail Foster

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

Image: Gail Foster

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12 Bars Later at The Southgate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


September in Swindon; Shuffles and Jazz Knights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Devizes Church Helps People Steward our Planet

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

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

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

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

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

Talks and Other Creationtide Events for 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A practical guide from a guerrilla gardener.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the cover to download

1 – Sienna Wileman – Petals

2- Nick Harper – Riverside

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

4 -Paul Elwood & Alice Simmons – Andromeda and Perseus

5 – Amy Fry – Home

6 – Josh Lobley – Glorious Mind

7 – Nigel Mines – Land on Mars

8- N-SH – Elemental Times

9 – Rebsie Fairholm & Marvin B. Naylor – Ark

10 – Sean Amor – Follow Your Own Way

11 – Bob & Amanda Condrey – No Barriers

12 – Lawrence Williams – Love Will Carry On

13 – Fly Yeti Fly – Shine a Light

14 – Daisy Chapman – Generation Next

15– Illingworth – Mockingbird

16 – Onika Venus – Reaper Man

17 – Hooch – Aluna

18 – Aural Candy – Arabella Whitely

19 – 80 Proof Mojo – A New Trick

20 – The Dirty Smooth – Black Jack City

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

22 – Talk in Code – Young Loves Dream

23 – Subharmonic Ensemble – Worm Holes

24 – Brillstereodeck (produced by Robert Ellis) – Sunset

25 – Victims of the New Math – Twilight

26 – Zaia – Can it Be True

27 – Monkey Bizzle – Oi Mate!

28 – The Hotcakes of Wildfire – War of Words

29 –The Birth of Bonoyster – No Love Law

30 – Chloe Glover – Silver Lining

31 – Catfish – Clifton

32 – Salamander, feat Curtis Simmons – No Wrong

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

34 – Richard Wileman – Butterfly

35- John Wright – Little Nell


1 – Sienna Wileman – Petals

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

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


2- Nick Harper – Riverside

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

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

Website: https://harperspace.com/


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

Will Lawton

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

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

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

Heroes on Apple Music


4 -Paul Elwood & Alice Simmons – Andromeda and Perseus

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

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

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

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

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


5 – Amy Fry – Home

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

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


6 – Josh Lobley – Glorious Mind

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

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


7 – Nigel Mines – Land on Mars

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


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

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


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

What A Sell Out

Andy Fawthrop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Future Long Street Blues Club gigs:

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

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

Saturday 5th November 2022  Robbie McIntosh Band

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

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

Friday 23rd December 2022  Gee Baby I Love You