Devizine Review of 2021; Marginally Better than 2020!

If we recently reviewed Ian Diddams and friends meeting at the Vaults for their annual festive Jackanory, the first article of 2021 was the very same funny fellow reciting his yarn as a live stream from his mocked garden grotto, and in that, surely displays how far we’ve come from the restrictions of lockdown we entered the year with. Though not without the same notion as last Christmas looming over us, like a dirty black shroud, that it was, perhaps, all too soon, and we’ve not seen the backside of the Covid19 yet.

Summarising, 2021 was marginally better than 2020; there were gung-ho moments of throwing caution to the wind, and there were others to make us stop and ponder the consequences of our actions. There’s little doubt the world will never be the same for decades to come; social interaction, shopping, even work practises; but we did get to party on occasions, and when it was good, it was really good.

And if it ended with a Boxing Day brawl, I suspect some wished for the bash-a-sab fest. Even police it seems, who would likely send in The Wealdstone Raider to crowd control a Wealdstone V Whitehawk FC game, if given the assignment. Did I predict this when I said “make no mistake, there’s a civil war under our noses, which comes to an apex when blood-thirsty predators triumphantly parade their wrongdoing on a day when most of us struggle out of bed to reach the fridge?”

Hardly crystal ball stuff, tensions at their highest for rural Wiltshire’s most contradictory dispute, it was on the cards since day dot; when the county voted in a foxhunting Police Crime Commissioner, whose misadventures in drink driving caused him to pull out at a cost of millions to the taxpayer. A calamity most shrugged off with “oh, ha-ha, those naughty Tories, bless ‘em.”


Allowed Out to Play

It was May before I set foot in a pub, lockdown eased and live music was back on the agenda, albeit with hefty restrictions; early ending times, remain seated, table service, no mingling outside of “bubbles,” and deffo no dancing or singing. It felt awkward to begin with, not quite the same, but it was a start, and who better to kick off proceedings than the brilliant Daybreakers, gracing the trusty Southgate? One could sense the joy from Cath, Gouldy et al, to be singing to an audience once again, proving their dedication to the cause. A handclap emoji just isn’t the same.

For a while then The Southgate remained the only venue in Devizes providing live music, and we thank Deborah, Dave and all staff for working within the rules to create a safe space to be blessed with music; it was like they were on roller-skates at times, up and down the beer garden, ensuring not a mouth was left dry!  

I also ventured out to the Barge at Honeystreet, to see how they were coping with the boundaries too. And what a show The Boot Hill All Stars put on there, under a spacious marquee, so tempting to get up and dance, but couldn’t; mastered foot-tapping though.

The return to some normality for many in Devizes came in clement early June, when Devizes Lions held a fantastic car show, plus, on the Green. With side stalls aplenty, nervously folk began to socially distanced mingle; it was a breath of fresh air and a testament to what can be safely achieved with forward thinking and dedication.

Image by Nick Padmore

By July I made it out a few times, the idea of Vince Bell teaming with the individual performers of The Lost Trades, Phil, Jamie and Tamsin was too much of an irresistible hoedown of local talent to miss, and a third trip to the trusty Southgate to tick TwoManTing off my must-do list also proved to be a memorable evening.

The beginning of August I ventured to TrowVegas to tick another off said list, catching those Roughcut Rebels with new frontman Finley Trusler. They blasted the Greyhound, and didn’t disappoint. The month shifted gear for many, and things simply blossomed like there never was a lockdown. Back-to-back weekends saw both my favourite largescale of 2021, the single-most amazing festival near Marlborough; MantonFest is a real gem, professionally done with a real communal atmosphere, the type perpetual drizzle couldn’t put a downer on. This event wowed.

Back in Devizes, the events of the year were the weekend which followed, sitting nicely between a stripped back version of DOCA’s International Street Festival sprinkled across town, was of course, The Full Tone Festival. Without the refreshing emergence of folk out of lockdown, this would have still been something for the town’s history books, but being as it was, the opportunity to head back out and enjoy life once again, the timing, the best weather, the whole ambience was electric. The time and work gone into pulling this off was absolutely outstanding, and for which folk of Devizes will forever mark it as a celebration of post lockdown.

Awakenings even drew Andy out of hiding by September, and I was overjoyed to have him back on the team, without putting his bag and coat on the hook, he went out to play, reviewing Devizes Musical Theatre’s Gallery of Rogues, and Devizes Town Band’s Proms in Hillworth Park. Meanwhile I was delighted to see The Wharf Theatre reopen with a fantastic performance of Jesus Christ Superstar.

September also saw the welcome return of Devizes Comedy at the Corn Exchange, and The Long Street Blues Club, who, kicking off with Creedence Clearwater Review, wasted no time catching up with their rescheduled programme of the most excellent blues nights money can buy. Andy covered these, while I ventured to see Kieran J Moore’s new digs at Trowbridge Town Hall. After a brilliant street art exhibit from Tom Miller, I went to taste the music there, with a most memorable evening from Onika Venus. I returned to the scene in November, for a great gig from Ålesund with support from Agata.

Other than a trip to the White Horse Opera and Southgate to see Jon Amor’s King Street Turnaround, Andy pitched a tent at Long Street Blues Club, one time shipped out to the Corn Exchange in late November for Focus, which Andy crowned best gig of the year. I made it out to the Cross Keys in Rowde for The Life of Brian Band, and to the Southgate see Strange Folk again, since their fantastic set on Vinyl Realm’s stage at a Street Festival of yore. But October held my best gig of the year, the reasons manyfold, and I’m lay them on the line….

For the outstanding fundraising efforts of the Civic award-winning local supergroup, The Female of the Species, I hold them all up as my heroines, therefore the chance to see them again at Melksham’s fantastic Assembly Hall too much to miss, and the fact they’d chosen this time to raise funds for another of my local heroines, Carmela Chillery-Watson, was almost too much to take! With an electric night of awesome danceable covers and a massive raffle, they raised a staggering £1,763 for Carmela’s Therapy Fund.

It will never cease to amaze me the selfless lengths our musicians will go to for fundraising. Even after a year and half of closed hospitality and no bread-and-butter gigs, they continue to offer their precious time to help. While events blossomed late this year, and November saw the return of TITCO, and Devizes Arts Festival added a spellbinding mini-autumn-festival with Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Sally Barker and Motown Gold, Devizine continued also to preview events and do what we had being doing to find content during lockdown. Yeah, we rattled some cages with social and political opinion pieces, tasted some great takeaway tucker, and we reviewed recorded music further afield as well as local, but we had a number of feelgood stories, most memorable being things like our snowman competition in January, but there was a project which highlighted the sterling effort from musicians to fundraise, and it will be something I’ll never forget.

Image: Gail Foster

So, in April I announced we would be putting together a compilation album, fundraising for Julia’s House Children’s Hospices and by late June it was a thing. It was hard work to put together, but I’m astounded by the plethora of great bands and artists who took the time to send us a tune for inclusion. Knowing time was precious for artists popping out of lockdown, in need to source bookings and rehearse, I only asked them to provide us with an existing tune to prompt their albums, but some went beyond this, giving us exclusive outtakes such as the brilliant Richard Davis & the Dissidents, or some even recorded new songs, like Blondie & Ska, Tom Harris and Neonian.

I picked a staggering forty-six tracks to bind together, to create a boxset so humongous it would need far too many CDs to make it actual, so due to this and the expense of outlaying, it exists as a download on Bandcamp. Think of it as a teaser for the many great acts we’ve supported and reviewed over the years, and for a tenner, it works out under 5p a tune.

For me this was a momentous achievement, and can’t thank them enough. While I’ve put it out to the right places, to the Gazette & Herald and Fantasy, and airtime on West Wilts Radio’s fantastic Sounds of Wilderness Show, there is obviously more I need to do to get the message out there, as sales have been slow, unfortunately.

I could fathom a number of reasons for this, but in all, we’ve raised approximately £177 for Julia’s House, hoping to reach a £200 target before we send them the money, still sales have waivered off so significantly I feel I need to send what we’ve had so far. Please help us to up the total if you’ve not already bought this fantastic album. Gloom aside I will say I’m planning a second volume, and already have a few contributions from incredible acts such as Nick Harper, Onika Venus and Catfish.

Returning to events for the last part of the year, While Andy fondly reviewed Focus, I popped into the Corn Exchange for a quick interview with The Lost Trades, and left to attend a great art show at the Shambles. That weekend the Full-Tone Orchestra played Swindon’s Wyvern, and I’m grateful to Ian Diddams for his review. This is what we need, people, we cannot cover everything, but if you’ve a few words to say about an event or anything local, please, help to make Devizine a comprehensive community, erm, thing!

Of course, one delightful addition to our team TD Rose has been submitting some lovey features, firstly of ramblings, and more recently she made friends with Wiltshire Museum, and reviewed DOCA’s Winter Festival. Thank you so much Tyg, I’ve yet to meet, but we need to arrange this for the new year.

Image: Chris Dunn

Towards the end of November Andy remained seated at Long Street, I did the rum bar thing. Such a refreshing addition to Devizes, The Muck & Dundar pulled off a blinder with Bristol DJs, The Allergies. This was one smooth funky night, best for an age, and it was great to shake my greying tailfeathers. Both Andy and I finished off the year with a Boot Hill bash at the Southgate, where hip hop misfits Monkey Bizzle supported, and was shocked by Andy’s positive reaction, being more my cup of cheddar, this was an awesome night too!

Kossoff played Long Street, Andy also went to White Horse Opera’s Winter Concert and other than the hugely successful Tractor & Tinsel Run, we’re back to where we started with an Ian Diddams’ spoken word showdown the Vaults!


On Stats and Boring Stuff

Our Annual Stats Doubled from Last Year!

Having live music back, no matter the limitations was a breath of fresh air. Prior to it I was still scrambling around in the dark as I was in 2020, hunting for something to write about. But I guess a year of lockdown had given me time to contemplate and improve on the content. This boosted the stats, for if 2020 saw a drop in readership, I hoped to better it, and I’m pleased to announce we had a record amount, well over doubling the figures of 2020. This is awesome news, and I thank everyone for keeping the faith in us, and continuing to support Devizine.

I keep looking at the bar graph of stats, not believing the skyscraper which is 2021. How much we’ve grown, become a “thing” now. It’s fantastic and I hope we will continue to entertain you. I must stress though, we don’t harass you to subscribe or any rubbish like this, we keep advertising to a minimum, and nothing should pop up and distract your reading, and we uphold the ethos features should be free to the end user.

Yet we do need to maintain some budget to keep the site going. That’s currently around £60 a year; we fund our own beer money, thank you, we’re not MPs, we have no expense forms! So please consider donating to keep Devizine afloat, please donate when sending us an advert, unless it is fundraising. I’d really like to build up a small fund to get some charity events off the ground, as I believe the artists should be paid for their time considering their predicament too. So, anything extra will go towards this, and promoting the Julia’s House album.

What can we expect from Devizine in 2022, you might ask; well, if it’s not broken……let’s happily bash on shall we?! Thank you all so much for your support over 2021, the stats show we’re heading in the right direction.


On Food

Said this before, but I take pride in repeating myself; food reviews get an enormous response, yet still eateries seem reluctant to come forward. A food review here will do wonders for your sales, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a greedy so-and-so. Places we’ve eaten out or takeaways we’ve had which failed to live up to our expectations have not been mentioned. I’m no Gordon Ramsey and I’m not about to publish a slagging off. I’d rather tell you to your face why I’m not reviewing it!

During lockdowns the takeaway became essential part of a weekend treat for families with nought else to do, and new establishments opened, while pre-existing ones flourished. In January we praised the Massimos’ Pizza, and the following month saw me queuing halfway down a frozzled Nursteed Road for a rather tasty Greek Gyro from the Cosy Kitchen mobile van; such was the popularity of these mobile units during the bleakest of times.

When things begun to open up in April I went for my first vaccination jab, where they told me not to drive for fifteen minutes. They didn’t say go find a new Indian lunchtime takeaway in the Brittox, but we did, and long should Naan Guru live on!

Not much further into the same month, I tracked down The Feisty Fish, a fish n chips van like no other. They don’t come into town being there’s chip shops here, but track these guys down for the single best gourmet fish n chips you will ever taste, I tell no lie!

June saw a second IndieDay, organised by InDevizes, and prompted people to get out and shop with a bustling farmer’s market, in which I discovered the rosy cheeked benefits of Lavington’s Rutts Lane Cider, and merrily made my way home on the bus! I also had to mention, unsurprisingly to those who know me, that month, that Plank’s Dairies introduced a new locally-sourced organic milk, yogurt and juice range, in sizable and reusable glass bottles, which has proved hugely popular.

Naturally, without a main stage this year, there was a greater interest in the food market at The Devizes Street Festival in August, and the following month we mentioned Devizes Food & Drink Festival’s Market, where I was reunited with Rutts!

It was July when we discovered Thai-day Friday, and that was just delicious!

Mildly amusing than most, I offered a Battle of the Best Devizes Breakfast, in November, something we need to follow up on when the kids are back in school, as Round One, The Condado Lounge Vs New Society was a popular post. I bloomin’ love food, me, y’know, invite me to your café, pub or restaurant and I’ll give you my honest opinion, except I don’t do eggs or liquorice; yuck!


On Music

If I’ve already mentioned our awesome 4 Julia’s House project, and all the artists who contributed are in my good books, we also covered a whole heap of new releases. Plus, we started a Song of the Day, where we post a YouTube link for your pleasure, and generally don’t say much else about it, rather waffle on a tangent! But mostly recorded sound reviews waned when live music reopened, still we strive to continue telling you what we like.

Will Lawton

Will Lawton proposed to open a music school, JMW held a lockdown festival in support of musicians, Wiltshire Council asked Gecko for a Road Crossing song and video, and Wiltshire Rural Music’s announced producing live steams from Trowbridge Town Hall.

Kirsty Clinch announced her music school and book plans, and covered Swindon’s sound system Mid Life Krisis’s live streams. We chatted to The Scribes, announced The Lost Trades Live Stream in Advance of Album Launch, and The Ruzz Guitar Sessions, and Asa Murphy returning to Devizes.

We announced Sheer’s Salem gig, the Dear John Concert Album for War Child, and the bid to help Calne Central. Announced Sheer’s Frank Turner gig at the Cheese & Grain, chatted to Blondie & Ska. Announced Wharf Theatre’s Youth Theatre, Pound Arts Blue Sky Festival, My Dad’s Bigger than Your Dad Festival in tribute to Dave Young. This list goes on, but most enjoyable recently, meeting up with Visual Arts Radio who moved from Frome to Devizes.

We reviewed Terry Edwards Best of Box Set, Ain’t Nobody’s Business by Ruzz Guitar Blues Revue and Pete Gage, Skates & Wagons, Kirsty Clinch, Small Town Tigers, Django Django, Chole Glover, Araluen and Ariel Posen. Trowbridge DJ and producer Neonian, The Direct Hits, Andy J Williams, Erin Bardwell, Nigel G Lowndes, Mike Clerk, Cutsmith, Timid Deer, and Cult Figures.

Horses of the Gods, Lone Ark & The 18th Parallel, Longcoats, Black Market Dub and The Lost Trades.

Brainiac 5, Sitting Tenants, Stockwell, Storm Jae and Nory, Sam Bishop, Longcoats, The Bakeseys and Elli de Mon.

Liddington Hill, Boom Boom Racoon, Longcoats, Girls Go Ska and Daisy Chapman.

Monkey Bizzle, Webb, The Hawks, Captain Accident & The Disasters, Onika Venus, Death of Guitar Pop, The Burner Band, Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer, and Scott Lavene.

Spearmint, Captain Rico & The Ghost Band, Sonny Vincent, Freya Beer, Near Jazz Experience, Beans on Toast, Old Habits, and most recently, Paul Lappin! That enough for you?! 


On the Social and Political Side

The fate of every nation depended on how their governments dealt with the pandemic, and how the public responded to them. I’m not here to dwell on international or even national politics, for this is a review of Devizine, what I define loosely as “an entertainment news and events guide,” for the locality of Wiltshire, focussing particularly on our base, Devizes. Yet tenaciously it is linked, undeniably affecting limitations to what we could and couldn’t do. By the very appalling national statistics, despite rolling out vaccinations like no other country, it revealed true horrors of conflicting government decisions, their general disrespect and selfishness for the public they’re supposed to serve, and the public’s reaction to them.

Like a blind vacuum, sucking in every government blame game, it never ceases to amaze me keyboard warriors on social media turning culpability onto mainstream media, when their task is purely to report news, and capture the mood of the nation. The mainstream media is ruled by the elite, funding the government, they’re in bed together, literally. To publicise shortage of goods is informing of a potential issue, they didn’t enforce panic buying, the public did; chicken and egg. Equally, to publish mood change in the majority lost faith in government, is because there’s a mood change; we’ve lost faith in government.

I’m not here to say I told you so; I’ve not lost faith in this government, I had none to start with!

Take the last set of pandemic announcements, made only hours after government-controlled media broke news of Downing Street Christmas parties, best part of twelve months earlier. A day where the public felt betrayed, even those who voted for Bojo and his cronies held their heads in shame and had to confess it was all too much for a government to break rulings it set itself, and party on while the public suffered, and died. The mood was understandably bleak; why should we do what they say when they clearly don’t?

Why, you ask, for crying out loud? To protect ourselves from a global pandemic, numpty! Government announcements are fed counsel from health organisations and medical experts, skewered by bent politics, naturally, but the bullet points are there. It is not the same self-entitled buffoons, they’re voiceover artists on this occasion; given free reign they’d have “herd immunity,” against WHO advise.

Can you not see through the wool? The government press released the Downing Street Christmas Party scandal themselves, bang on cue of an announcement, so we would all think precisely that, why should we do what they say when they clearly don’t? If we rebel from their restrictions, we’ve only got ourselves to blame when the virus spreads. The government gets what they always wanted, herd immunity, and they’ve shifted the blame away from them and onto you, me, and everyone else.

Therefore, we need to take precautions ourselves, be a community, care for others around us. No hard and fast lockdown is needed, if common bloody sense prevailed, but government seem intent to rinse it from our craniums. We’re not self-service tills, do not robotise us!

We know now how to prevent the virus spreading; keep your distance from others, wear facemasks in public places, follow NHS guidelines in testing and get vaccinated as soon as possible, whether they tell you to or not.

These things should be commonplace, but whenever restrictions ease, like a naughty school-boy triumphantly marching out of detention only to offend again, we forget everything we’ve learned and pay the cost for it. I’m not preaching like a saint, caged too, I urged for a pint, to lob my facemask into the air, hug, and flaunt the rules when the rules relaxed, at times reflecting if we did the right thing, least if we did it too soon. But it’s done now and we can’t turn the hands of time. If we could, I’d still be on Castlemorton Common.

Old Skool Rave

In this, one series of articles I was proud of this summer was in reminiscence of my youth, being the thirtieth anniversary of 1991, an explosion for the rave scene. But another similar premise based on news of illegal raves happening in lockdown, was to ask those old skool ravers if they’d still go raving if there was a similar pandemic in the nineties; with interesting results.

Return of the Rave

And if it sounded like I was defending mainstream media, I wasn’t, only applying a smidgen of sympathy. With Facebook, Twitter et al, media is everyone now; I’m living proof any idiot can publish a blog and make look it like reputable news! Reason why, I guess, criticising other local outlets always brings hits, the occasion I felt the need to defend Devizes against the sharp eye of local gutter-press Wiltshire Live, proved to be our third most popular article of the year.

Devizes is a great place to live, Tory top-heavy, but that’s something anyone with an alternative opinion has to unfortunately suck up. Our fourth most popular article this year was in January, breaking the news Tory PCC candidate for Wiltshire, Johnathan Seed, was a bad card. Something as more evidence came to light, namely drink-driving offences, proved to be true, at the time I put my finger on something conflicting in his chat with us, calling anyone who cared to address fox hunting a “troll,” but requesting we talk on his trespass pledges, blatantly linked to restrict the movement of sabs, the only folk we see actually policing this disgusting and unbelievable smokescreen of trail hunting. Something we covered more recently, suggesting Boxing Day Hunts need better policing.

Moan I’m bias, yeah, no shit, Sherlock. Do I attempt to hide it like others? Why the hell should I side with anyone butchering wildlife for so-called sport, and in that, why the hell would you?! But hey, I remained impartial during local elections, giving each and every candidate a platform, so there!

Never has a PCC election run with such controversy. Aggravation between sides fired, and we did more than blow the lid off Seedy’s bogus campaign, causing some alarming revelations in local social media bias. Tories back Tories, no matter what they’ve done wrong, it’s an allegiance to admire, even if you feel it’s malicious. As well as chatting with Lib Dem candidate Liz Webster and independent Mike Rees, we tried a few spoofs: Play the Wiltshire PCC Game, Basil Brush Missing, and upon the Tories hustling in an alternative candidate by stalling the re-election, we ran a short story The Adventures of Police Crime Commissioner Wilko, which was based upon a better received satire, a long-running mock of Wiltshire Council, in The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead.

At times Mike seemed such a threat to Wiltshire’s Tory totalitarianism, a media attack seemed the best method to deflect people taking the common-sense vote. The first bout came in January, when Mike was barred from volunteering to administer lateral flow Covid tests, the second in July affected me personally as the Devizes Issues Facebook group revealed its fiercely denied bias, by banning me for using a George Orwell quote to express my concern at the taxpayer having to fork four million quid for a re-election which was clearly the Conservative Party’s fault! I’m adamant it was justified.

Nineteen-eighty-four was supposed to be a warning, not a fucking self-help guide.

Annoyed, I struck out, naturally, and was begged back, after the full-gone conclusion a Wiltshire majority blindly vote for the blue rosette no matter what! But it was a month after the ban, the smear reached its apex, with all posts about the independent candidate immediately banned and deleted on the popular Facebook group, and anyone complaining were blamed by members for the downfall in Mike’s success! You can’t make up hypocrisy that nasty. 

Tory Devizes Town Councillor Iain Wallis on “the Devizes Issues.”

It’s not the politics which bothers me as much as the kind of world they envision. Stories of injustice swamped Devizine this year, more than ever before, even our April Fool’s Joke had stark repercussions. 

Every minute an adolescent arm reaches out of a window, unceremoniously handing a bag of fast food to a driver, they nod a thanks, and leave. That seemed to me to be the maximum social interaction of 2020, yet commonplace in modern living, pandemic or not. I recalled going to a Tesco, paid at the pump, masked expressions as I sauntered the aisles, paid at the self-service till and on the way out considered one could live their life in modern times completely unnoticed, months need pass without human contact. My mind meanders if that’s something young folk actually want, or if they’ve been robotised, or if it’s an age thing leaving me in a care-home for terminally bewildered.

The best hitting article of the year was again, our April Fool’s Day joke, where this time I misleadingly announced the opening of a McDonalds in Devizes. Maliciously planned, it broke the local internet, and despite suggesting it was All Fools Day in the piece, comments and messages flooded in from headline scanners. In favour of it or not, the debate is such popular the joke was lost on many desperate souls dying for a McFlurry; causing faith, just like Chippenham’s recent pandemonium for a bucket of battery chicken in gravy, yes, Aldous Huxley was bang-on, many folks do want to live in this commercialised bubble, void of individualism.


On Everything Else

Individualism, free thinking and fair and just causes we stand for here, it is not my fault the many attempts to counteract this seem to come from a conservative ethos, and therefore get criticised for it. I’m not dead against conservativism, but they seem dead against me, as if we’re supposed to know our place tip our hat and reply, “very good guvnor, I’ll bail your shit for a shilling!”

My god, how they hate common people who can articulate, that’s’ why they slash away like Freddy Kruger at the education budget while back the grammar school relaunch. Then keyboard warriors whinge at juvenile delinquency like it’s a new thing and something stringing them up for will somehow solve. We’re heading into days as dark as the early eighties, perhaps medieval for some, days I remember with a horror in my heart.

The audacious legacy building bashes on with grand and glorious plans, I reported Stonehenge had been saved by the High Court, but they operate above the law and continue to ignore the justice system, plotting to bury a road underneath it, shaking it to ruin, least knocking it of the World Heritage List, for the sake of knocking minutes off commuting times.

I criticised the reality of building a whole new train station miles out of Devizes, against popular opinion, cos I’ll believe it when I see it, and furthermore, I feel there’s more pressing issues which looking at. If not our terrible infrastructure, the state of our roads, and the endless chain of bureaucratic nonsense to get the simplest of notions pushed through bumbling pompousness of councillors and apparent do-gooders, it’s the increasing homeless on our streets, the need for Food Banks which the Tories selfishly assume is a good thing, the poverty level submerging a continuous population and the outright condoning of racist, sexist and homophobic acts. Sort them out, and I’ll gladly stand on Devizes Parkway platform with you, or any other brazen legacy-building pledge you dream up!

Every time I’m duped, I feel like an idiot, unable to get my message through the red tape. You want a train station, yet I reported the dangerous state of a Wiltshire Council playpark in Rowde, FIVE years ago, and I have to seriously throw my toys out of the pram to get anyone to pay it any attention. In February this year I was delighted, based on my article, Councillor Laura Mayes secured £20,000 from WC to re-design the playground and she proudly used it to publicise her election pledge.

But still the playpark remains in the same state of disrepair, not a penny pledged has been spent. Whether this is WC’s fault or the Parish Council I don’t know, they got what I suspect they wanted, a successful election result, and my whinging reduced too. I’ve just lost all faith and interest in continuing to bother with it. You want a train station, huh? Traffic lights at the Black Dog crossroads? A no left turn sign at the top of Dunkirk Hill? Yeah, good luck with that, we’re moving into six years for them to fix a dangerous baseplate of a bouncy chicken in a playpark!

Yet perseverance can pay off; we loved it when Rab Hardie of Duck N Curver broke into Stonehenge to raise awareness of his wish to film a video inside the stone circle, we asked if the Fire & Rescue Service were Cutting Vital Flood Equipment, defended Wiltshire Police from keyboard warriors upset they used a rainbow as their Facebook logo during Pride Month, wished Devizes Lions a happy 50th, supported Joe Brindle on his campaign to save Drews Pond Wood, attended Save Furlong Close protests, added some reflection on the Travellers based in Bromham, praised local artist, Clifton Powell when he was commissioned for English Heritage Exhibition, The African Diaspora in England, had a great time at Breakout, Chippenham’s Alternative Art Show, congratulated the award-winning British Lion. Crickey, the list goes on; the vast array of subjects we’ve covered, even war memorials which look like bins!

I must be boring you into an early grave, which isn’t the best way to start a new year!

One last thing, we did plenty of spoofs and satirical pieces, too many to name, yet, all’s fair in love and war, and it was a great year; here’s to 2022! I leave it there before your head explodes!


Wiltshire to Freeze in Ice Age Temperatures, Especially Devizes!

We’ve teamed up with Wiltshire Live to bring you this clickbait and vastly overemphasised weather warning exclusive.….

The MET Office (MET stands for my exaggerated template) forecasts plummeting temperatures are to hit Wiltshire this week, as if it was December or something.

Being our friends at Wiltshire Live detest murder capital of the world, Devizes, so much, I’ve agreed to announce, in our own little fantasy, Devizes will be hit the most of all by the worst snowstorm since the Late Paleozoic ice age, 360 million years ago; so take a scarf if you’re going out.

Iain Wallis’s internet connection froze

Traffic will be severely disrupted, but do not worry, the Wiltshire Live editor and I will be pointlessly live at the scenes of any congestion, adding to the congestion, and proudly wearing the thermal long-johns we bought with the advertising revenue from our last weather warning scare story.

The canal and Crammer will freeze over, taps will cease up, and town councillors are advising not to wee outside like they do, or at least, take the piss.

Ruth and Doug on Monday Market Street, this morning.

The good news is, Greggs say their sausage rolls will be no colder than they usually are. Remember, buy Greggs sausage rolls, because they’re really great and no local small patisery businesses exist, so don’t bother looking for them. This has nothing to do with any sponsorship deal I have with them, and you are liable for suggesting it is, so, see you in court if you think you is a playa and wanna play me, brah.

Rising levels of oxygen during this cold spell, similar to the late Paleozoic icehouse, are due to have major effects on the evolution of plants and animals. Higher oxygen concentration and accompanying higher atmospheric pressure, will enable energetic metabolic processes which will encourage evolution of large land-dwelling and flight vertebrates. This is true, right, and not something I copied and pasted off Wikipedia.

You can expect your pet dogs to super-evolve into woolly mammoths and your cats into saber-toothed tigers by Friday. Teenage door-kicking Tik-Tokkers be warned.

Average Devizes teenage Tik-Tokker meets their match at Hillworth Park ealier this morning

You can expect to see aerial predators evolve in places such as Sidmouth Street, dragonfly-like Meganeura, with a wingspan of 60 to 75 cm, and fangs as sharp as the Wiltshire Live Editor’s wit. These carnivores will eat anything to survive, so keep your eye on your Chick-o-Land kebab at all times if eating outside.

Remember to stay safe by clicking on every article of ours you see shared on Facebook, and don’t forget to comment on our phishing posts, such as find out your eskimo name by adding your first pet’s name with the last 3 digits on the back of your credit card, and your date of birth.

We will be back with another update by this afternoon, whether or not any changes occur, because we have to appease our advertisers.

Battle of the Best Devizes Breakfast Round 1; The Condado Lounge Vs New Society!

Ladies and gentlemen, live from the Market Place, through ongoing bouts, it’s high time to discover who will be the title holder for the heavyweight Devizes breakfast champion. Tonight, in the Little Brittox corner, a newcomer to the competition, weighing in at twelve pounds seventy-five pee, all the way from the The Condado Lounge, the Big Lounge Breakfast!

And in the erm, middling corner, the undefeated heavyweight champion of Devizes’ breakfasts, weighing in at nine pounds and seventy-five pee, ladies and gentlemen, I give you, all the way from New Society, the High Society Breakfast; let’s get belly to rumble!

No messing around, we want a good, clean, fight. There’s gonna be blood, sweat, toast, and perhaps a few tears, but my belly and I are determined to, by left hook or crook, find the best breakfast in ol’ Devizes town; or die trying.

And I feel it goes without saying, first rule of breakfast club, is we talk about breakfast, and secondly, breakfast means breakfast. If I’m patriotic about only one thing, I stipulate it HAS to be a full English breakfast, a large one, without avocado or maple syrup, plated, not squelching from the sides of a bread roll.

Don’t get me wrong, I like pancakes, on Shrove Tuesday, I like a pain au chocolat, as a snack, I like a selection of marmalades, cooked meats and bouncy cheese, for lunch. And for breakfast, yeah, I do every cereal from muesli to Coco-Pops, at home. But when I’m out to eat, in the a.m., there isn’t, and never will be, anything better, worldwide, than a full English cholesterol-hugging breakfast. Correct me if I’m wrong, pancake consuming Yankee-doodle-do.

With something to prove, new kid on the block, The Condado Lounge came out fighting. A wide, open-plan restaurant with décor a fusion of English pub furnishings and Mexican design, it’s colourful and welcoming. There’s comfy sofas and generously distributed seating.

Putting up their décor guard, New Society is equally welcoming, with a cross between wine bar and grand home kitchen, the partial antique look is wonderfully fitting with the town, and includes the stunning stained-glass window bearing the Devizes crest; evidence this was once the tourist information building. Yet they never did serve sausages, so to hell with them. It is as it has been since it opened its doors two years ago, homely and snug.

The Big Lounge Breakfast dealt some serious body-blows; this was an exceptionally tasty breakfast, tomatoes sprinkled with basil, it struck out with herby double-sausage, eggs and bacon combo, with black pudding, mushrooms, toast on the side and that little pot of baked beans. I must say, all these we’re cooked to perfection. Though it promised hash browns, they didn’t deliver, thus the Big Lounge Breakfast left itself open for retaliation.

Please note, I was too hungry to time out and take snaps, these images are taken from the respective websites and Facebook pages!

Spotting its opportunity, the High Society Breakfast served up a less spiced but equally scrumptious breakfast, with precisely the same items, but posher condiments. While it was clear this was going to be a tough fight, it managed to deliver everything it sworn to, and low and behold, with the addition of hash browns, especially when so crunchy and golden-brownly cooked, it put the Big Lounge Breakfast on the ropes.

But for our first time in there, we were welcomed at the Condado by manager Joel, who expressed his dedication to his customers and staff; the hospitality was convivial despite the busyness. This forced the boxers to the centre of the ring, clinching.

For a moment there was a notion of level-pegging, being New Society also put their baked beans in a pot. I sigh, seemingly standardised practice these days. Warming to concept I originally deemed sacrilege, on the grounds tipping them out is optional. Which I did at the Lounge, to soak up the goodness and bind the meal with their sauce. Though I figured I give leaving them in the vessel a try at New Society, it only ended with flaking bits of dipped hash brown floating in the pot, which was uninvited; I’m tipping them from now on! Fat was good for you, then it wasn’t, now it is again, who knows what’s what, and when in consumption of a full English, who really cares?

The main thing is taste, and I’m having trouble deciding, both were great, and both replaced the eggs I don’t care for with another item of my choice, without asking, and this is always a point-scorer for me. But admittedly my tummy felt fuller at New Society, and it’s a biggish one to fill! The Big Lounge Breakfast is forced to the ropes once more!

It is a shame, because The Big Lounge Breakfast put up a good fight, but price-tag has to come into play, and for the consistency in baking a splendid breakfast, it could have gone either way. It must be said, heftily weighing in at £12.75 against the middle-weight £9.75, three quid goes a long way in the finale. Therefore, New Society’s knockout High Society Breakfast dealt the final uppercut, sadly, The Big Lounge Breakfast hit the deck with a thud, the ref threw the baked-bean-stained towel in, and in assuming the hash browns watched helplessly from the kitchen, it was all over, save those cores of the tomato which no one finishes.

Please note, I was too hungry to time out and take snaps, these images are taken from the respective websites and Facebook pages! This is the vegan breakfast at New Society. Very unprofessional of me, I accept, but I didn’t know at the time I would write this; blame a slow news week!

An impressive bout puts New Society top of our leader board, and will go up against the winner of round two, which maybe sometime what with the cost of Christmas to cough up. Unless, of course, your Devizes café or restaurant wishes to rise to the challenge sooner and can invite my better half and me to taste your lovely breakfast; do let me know, before I prep porridge!

Wherever there are sausages, you will find me. Wherever bacon is suffering from being undercooked, we’ll be there. Wherever liberty is threatened by beans in pot, you will find… Devizine’s Battle of the Best Devizes Breakfast; it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.


Trending….

Facebookland, Really?

I’d always imagined a virtual reality internet, but honestly, with Facebook, sorry Meta, (which incidentally sounds like the name of a hard rock magazine,) announcing it will create one, has to bring about an element of slight concern. It’s not just since Zuckerberg has made the billionaire club his liberal stance has warped into the ultimate conservatism, rather judging by the content and actions of users on Facebook, they’re best hidden behind a screen.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook, addicted to the bloody thing, can’t keep my fingers off it. I check it at breakfast, lunch and tea. I check it on the loo; if I liked your status today, I probably didn’t actually read it, rather I accidently clicked it while rescuing my phone from the u-bend. I check it night and day, and when I’m asleep my dreams come over as a newsfeed.

Like many others my initial reaction to the news was jaw-dropping, I was held in awe. The more I think about it, though, I beg you consider, your Facebook feed, in reality……

If an actual place, Facebookland would be, best guess, an irrelevantly violent place, with a lot of obnoxious bigots. Think how many people’s comments you read make you wish you could punch them on the nose, praise be the day you could do it.

As soon as you arrive in Facebookland numpties will be thrusting dishes of food in your face, not offering you any, rather just to show you what they’re eating. “Look at what my wife made!” They’ll bellow, “look at what I got at Nandos;” for crying out loud.

Cats and other pets will be everywhere, doing cute stunts, and people will demand you watch them. The skyline will be filled with billboards of misinformation and propaganda in block capitals and primary school grammatical errors. Every book or newspaper will be in emoji, everyone will be shouting, few people somehow liking, but not really listening, because they’re too busy doing their own shouting.

Opinionated keyboard warriors you can punch, Facebookland would resemble a Tekken tag team tournament more than real life. I’d give Greta Thunberg about thirty seconds in there. Endless chains of people, stopping you to ask if you know what time Lidl is open, can you recommend a carpet fitter, or asking if you know what the handbrake light on their car means. If anything, the internet has lessened idle chitchat between strangers on the street, and you want to head back into a virtual realm where it perpetually occurs? You’ll be late for work every morning.

Late for work because fifty people stopped you on the street to thrust a photograph of a renowned philosopher in your face, only to ramble off some supposed inspirational quote you doubt they even said. Late because you had a dying need to discover your Star Wars bounty hunter name, by melding letters from your postcode with the name of your first pet, and returning home to find someone ransacked your flat and emptied your piggy bank.

No need for a police force, face it, everyone is a cop, everyone is a robber. Power-hungry group admins acting like bouncers at the door of a nightclub, spammers saunter town like chuggers, eavesdropping your every word. Whisper the word trampoline, I double-dare you, and a hundred frenzied trampoline salesmen will mob you.

My last Facebook Messenger request was a message from a total stranger who felt the need to tell me her “vagina was very beautiful.” For reasons of account privacy, I ignored it, I get similar messages racing through my spam filter daily. Another one said, “I’m naked, without my clothes,” which in itself is either presumptuous, assuming I don’t know the definition of the word naked, or they have devised some ingenious method of being clothed and naked simultaneously. Imagine these in real life, it’d be harder to ignore. You’re walking with the wife, and a woman saunters up to you to tell you her vagina was beautiful; where do you look?

Alongside this constant red-light district, life for the beautiful would be an endless building site, where wolf-whistles and chauvinistic taunts ring out perpetually. There’s a cathedral of far-right knuckle-draggers and a flat Earth theorists beach café; are they the kind of Facebook users I really wish to bump into on the street?

Child free too, Facebookland, teenagers all live separately in Instagramville and Tik-Tok Town, twerking and kicking each other’s doors. The entire day spent in the park choregraphing a Kayne West move, where bikini-clad chicks are pranked by a twentysomething so-called magician, else trying to craft a diamond sword in a pixilated universe, while a Superman skin is kicking the butts of innocent bystanders on an urban street.

Guess you’ll find me at the gig, where I don’t need put my beer down to clap at the end of the song, just fire off a handclapping emoji. And every so often, people ignore you, because they’re busy checking their real self in some far-off realm called reality, where everyone lives in a plastic box floating in the ocean; it’ll never catch on, least not until 2030.

And we’ll eat, imaginary humus and iceberg lettuce, drink nettle tea and be merrily, liking each other’s status updates in real time, remembering those sadly passed over to the other side, Twitter Island; we had to let him go, by the end he was talking in hashtags.

And you thought a holographic Abba concert was annoyingly cutting edge.


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Real Cheesemakers go Head-to-Head with Professor Elemental in Chippenham

So, you’re planning to go out-out, the decision rests on music or a night of comedy. An unnecessary dilemma, no need for a crystal ball, tarot cards or Paul the psychic octopus, you can do both in the land of chips n ham. In fact, if you happen to own a psychic octopus, this will be right up your street.

I’ve been waffling on the subject of comical music of recent, reviewing release from Monkey Bizzle, Death of Guitar Pop, Mr B, and Scott Lavene, but here’s an evening not to be missed for your dancing shoes and funny bone alike.

Professor Elemental

Lord of whimsy himself, Brighton’s steampunk chap-hop artist Professor Elemental, who’s been in a friendly feud with the very same Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer, goes head-to-head with Calne’s nonsensical Real Cheesemakers, and the ref will be Chippenham’s own legend and Edinburgh Festival favourite Wil Hodgson in a night not to be missed or dissed.

The Real Cheesemakers

One randomly selected lyric of Professor Elemental might whet your appetite, “this one’s for the crusty festivals and shows, where a fan tries to hug me and I get a dreadlock up my nose,” and honey, he’s got rhymes you haven’t heard yet. Expect hilarity at the Old Town Tavern on 16th October, demand trousers, horses and dinosaurs, tickets are eight quid, a brown one on the door. Facebook yo bad self, tell ’em you want in.


Win 2 free Tickets HERE

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The Adventures of Police Crime Commissioner Wilko

This is a work of fiction. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this book are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


The Case of the Missing £1.5 Million. Chapter 1.

Stealthily, he crouched down to Sam’s eyelevel, fingered a small pot of black boot polish and smeared the contents unwillingly over Sam’s face. “Numpty night ops, I need you in full kit, infra-red goggles, the works,” he ordered. “This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill.”

In his hard-back chair, Sam reeled back from the new leader, not knowing he was going to be this hands-on. He fearfully mumbled something about pen-pushing, but his trembling made it inaudible to the remaining members of the team.

Wilko stood back up, reached for his war-stick, swung it wildly above the heads of the troops and shaved the last few strands of hair from the top of Davies’ balding crown. While Davies locked in shock, Wilko bought the baton down firmly on the table-map of Miltshire, precisely landing it close to the village of Potshot.

With swift and certain drive, he manoeuvred ten plastic M4 Sherman tanks across the map to face the centre of the village. “Battalion five CPA, stand by at the pond, 51.3492° N, 1.9927° W is that clear?” he commanded, any question was interrogation, rhetorical anyway, fail to comprehend it and you will be called a numpty, or better still, shot.

“Ground troops will move in at 06:02, synchronise watches, and back up with battalion six,” he continued, “any of you bender boys cut the shit and bail, I will personally slice you a new arsehole, is that clear?!”

All in attendance remained hushed, just nodding with dread.

“Now, Combat Search and Rescue squadrons, Apache, Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk, I need you guys held back by the A362, MRI the surface, carpet bomb, shoot to kill any survivors, joggers and dog walkers; they might be in on it.”  

Police chief Andrews sighed, “we’ve only got the one Bell 429 GlobalRanger, and that’s kind of broken at the moment, thanks to Martin for jumping on the skids.”

Sitting in the back, colouring in a Jimbo and the Jetset colouring-in book, Martin giggled, “was funny though….”

“I was just going to send in Sandra,” Andrews explained.

“Sandra? Really?” Wilko looked sternly at him, “a woman? Have you lost your balls as well as your mind, Andrews? State your number!”

“Sir!” Sandra protested.

Wilko pointed at her, “isn’t there some mugs and doughnut plates need washing up in the staff kitchen?!”

“With all due respect, sir,” Andrews retorted, as Sandra threw her jacket on the floor and left, mumbling some rather strong words about how she felt about the new PCC, and about quitting too. “It is only a teenager who nicked a pork pie from the village community shop!” he added.

“Crime is a disease, chief numpty,” Wilko responded in anger, “I am Miltshire’s cure! First a pork pie, next a full pack of six pasties, then who knows what, the scum will suicide-bomb the Ginsters’ factory. Evidently, you have underestimated the gravity of this crime, as the numpty you quite clearly are. The village of Potshot, chief numpty, what does this suggest to you?”

“A, erm….” Andrews started.

“An open invitation for junkie scum to congregate,” Wilko rudely interrupted, “that’s what! This stoned-out dissident has quite obviously been radicalised by far-leftie woke parish councillors, thinks he can satisfy his munchie cravings by outright robbery, and I will not stand idly by while he terrorises good conservative villagers with inexcusable pie theft!”

The police force sat silently, with either expressions of confusion, shock or plain astonishment.

“Theft of savoury snacks is equally as significant as smoking crack!” Wilko added.

“Tee-hee,” Martin giggled, “you said crack!”

Wilko drew his pistol and open fired, placing a bullet in Martin’s temple, his head collapsing onto the desk in a pool of blood.

“Well, done,” Andrews said, “he was getting the next round in tonight down the Dog N Duck.”

Wilko shifted over to Andrews’ back, placing his hands gently but threateningly around his neck, “Helmand province, October 18th, 2001; one private, the joker of the pack, told a joke about a man going to the doctors with a bright orange cock, the punchline, something about watching porn and eating Wotzits, caused a recalcitrant uproar within the troop. While they laughed, rebels snuck in, killing two of my best men, chief numpty. With a gunshot to my left leg, I carried their mutilated bodies over my shoulders, across the barren plains of Karabakshi to Turkmenbashi, took control of a Turkish civilian vessel by force, charted passage back to the UK, where I marched nonstop to their respective hometowns of Hull and Newcastle to deliver their remains to their families. As I watched their children break down and cry, deciding it was in their best interest, given their grief, to shoot them and put them out of their misery. So, you see, I will not stand for jokers in my battalion, numpty, they are a liability!”

“I erm,” Andrew was lost for words, “I don’t think that sort of thing will happen here, though, just, like, you know, saying?”

“Are you disrespecting the service of these men, chief?” Wilko angered.

“No,” he answered nervously, “merely saying, it’s just a kid, pinched a porkpie, is all. We need to think intuitively, about the negligeable……”

Receptionist Becky called from the hallway and broke the awkwardness of the moment, “Police Commissioner, I’ve a James Seedless on line one for you, sir! He says there’s been a murder in Broomhamton!”

Wiko frowned, “perhaps you think I’m being unfair, chief numpty? I will not have a man down on my watch, take the thief out by use of extreme force, if necessary or not, it’s the way things will be around here, and if you’re too woke chickenshit, I suggest you join the girl guides instead.”

Sincerely sounding, yet in a mocking way, he bowed down to Andrew’s level, “Once the mission is complete, and the target is eliminated, you will find I am not such a bad person after all, numpty. We shall drink to our new union triumphant, and I will personally pay for some oriental whores, for all of my battalion, from any brothel in Miltshire, your choice.” Producing a digestive biscuit from his top pocket he smiled, “now, the last one to cover this digestive in their own spunk gets to buy the first round, I need to take this call…”

About foot, he marched ardently from the room, smashing Davies on his now completely bald head and pointing at the lifeless body of Martin. “You, numpty, clear up that mess you made!”

To be continued……..


Play the Wiltshire PCC Game; Fun for All the Family!

Here’s a fun and free game to play for all the family over the school holidays, where you can find out which one of you will be the new Wiltshire Police Crime Commissioner!

Well, actually, it’s a bit rubbish. But face it, once our council tax hits the roof to pay the £1.4 million for another PCC election, after the Tories made what is technically known as a cock-up, you won’t have the spare cash to buy another board game, so you might just as well print out this game board and make do.

You need five people to play the game, each player decides to take the role of a candidate respectively, no arguing now, not everyone can be Mike.

You will need to find a dice, who do I look like? Rich Uncle Pennybags? This isn’t Waddington’s you know. Oh, and some counters too, one for each of the following colour codes:

Blue: Conservative

Red: Labour

Yellow: Lib Dem

Orange: Independent

Murky Grey: Reform

Put your counters at the start and the first to roll a six, starts. Move around the board and the winner is the one who reaches the end first, democratic huh? But beware, if you land on a square corresponding to the colour of your candidate, you must obey the command written on it without question, as real police would. No Dirty Harrys here please; play fair, just like all the real candidates.

Best of luck, and have fun. Just think this could be the first Wiltshire election where the Tories don’t win hands down, but I doubt it, they paid me a backhander to rig the game! If you do win remember to whoop whoop, because that IS da sound of da police.

Gull Able Part 2

Continuing from last week, here’s the second episode of our crime-drama, Gull Able…. if only Netflix was reading this we’d have ourselves a hit series quicker than you can say “mummy, that nasty seagull shate in my ice cream.”


To be continued next Sunday…..if I can be bothered.


How to Discourage a Tory from Coming to your Party!

Now lockdown restrictions are looking to be eased, you might be considering hosting a party.

Given the last thing you need is for a conservative supporter to gate-crash and ruin the atmosphere, we’ve ten handy top tips on how to discourage a tory from attending your bash.

History proves conservative thinkers wouldn’t know a party if it came up to them holding balloons, cracking party poppers and wearing a large and loud T-shirt with “hello, I’m a party,” written on it in bold, unmistakable letters, unless it’s holding a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

Incredibly thick-skinned at the best of times, if we remember what the best of times was once like, they’re renowned for failing to comprehend exactly how repugnant and deplorable their ethos generally is. If they sniff a party going on, they might want to attend, if a new series of Game of Thrones hasn’t started on Netflix, blind to the notion they’re as much wanted there as a touchy-feely leper, or a starved sabre-toothed tiger.  

You know they’ll eat all but one vol-a-vaunt and flaunt about how they’re allowing that one to trickle down. You understand they’ll be loudly scoffing and chortling at anyone unable to afford a tux, or anyone who might arrive in anything less than a seventy-plate Chelsea tractor. You can take it as red, they’ll boast about their luxurious holidays, and why everyone needs to go to Hilltop Villa, for the sake of the indigenous people of Fiji, and waffle on tedious random tangents about their charity donations are tax deductible, how the footsie 100 is bearing up against their shares, or why everyone should invest in a tax-free wine collection.

They’ll gush piffle phrases of management speak and hypocritical twaddle until your other guests excuse themselves and leave, or are physically ill. At its basic level, the majority of Tories are killjoys, fact. You don’t need that, your guests don’t need that either, so we’ve produced a list of budget ideas and accessories to dissuade tory scum from infiltrating your party.

Perhaps you could think of some more; join the tory-bashing fun until they Tweet how they’re not as wealthy some might think, and were tormented so much they had to book an emergency flight to their Caribbean beach condo for rehab. We can at least hope, but don’t overdo it, lockdown has been hard on them too, furloughed on only eighty percent of their £80K salary, some with only the single tennis court and a regular sized heated swimming pool and sauna.

Of course, not every Conservative supporter is so wealthy to afford a luxury villa on an exotic island, and many are simply insentiently transformed working-class patriots who digested too much Daily Fail bullshit and think the Queen loves them, and there’s no better alternative than voting for a party which hates them with a passion, but hides it behind the fat aging arse of a pitiful clown prime minister; there is no hope for them. You could try the tips below, but it’s not guaranteed they will be intelligent enough to take the hint.

 1- In preparation for your party….

Capture and hold captive a small number of pheasant prior to your party. If a tory is loitering on your lawn, blagging something along the lines of “Tarquin said we were invited, Ho-ha,” secretly release the pheasants and point to them shouting, “I think I just saw some game!” Hey presto, while it may be animal torture, it’s a small price to pay to see your unwanted guests gathering their shooting rifles and not bothering you again.

2- Put a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Jeremy Corbyn by the door.

Infallible this one; cardboard cut-outs of the tory nemesis, grand-wizard JC can be found online. No matter what you think of the dude personally, this will scare the bejesus out of the most lenient tory. Even if you suppose the most lenient, middle-of-the-road kind of tory might be just about acceptable to allow in, a word of warning; once you’ve let one in, they’ll all want to follow, and behind every half-decent tory, there will unfortunately be a thousand insane bastards behind them.

3- Tell your guests to pretend the cakes were made by Diana Abbott, should a tory ask.

To the average tory, Diana Abbott is the socialist equivalent of Typhoid Mary, who should be deported, and the thought of her afro-Caribbean-rooted fingers kneading dough will sicken them to the core; job done.

4- Tell unwanted tory guests you’re just popping out to Lidl for more gin.

Tories hate affordable supermarkets; Tories are narcissists, and will assume you are a peasant and waddle off muttering something about how much better Tarquin’s, or their own party was, because they used an online Waitrose delivery service and even tipped the driver 20p.

5- Ensure you have invited some Europeans, eastern ones if possible. Failing that, encourage your guests to chat among themselves in French accents.

The last thing a Tory needs to notice is Johnny Foreigner breaking through the toughened border control, and Brexit is a sham. Encourage your guests to discuss how they came for summer fruit-picking jobs, and Tories will automatically find the door.

6- Play music defined as ‘Merseybeat.’

Playing music such as the Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers and the Searchers, at least until suspicions you might be scousers creep in and they bugger off, is a failsafe. Tories have something against natives of Liverpool, which we need not get into the details of, but suffice it to say, this will work a treat, particularly if you hire a DJ of the LGBT community.

7- Announce the first party game will be truth or dare.

The thought of telling the truth will crumble the even most central-standing tory, and they’ll be making excuses about having to go home to feed the horses. Have their coats ready.

8 – Tell your guests they can camp the night in your garden.

Without official glamping facilities such as electrical hook-up, room service or even four poster beds, the average tory will assume your guests will overstay their invite and you’re effectively setting up a gypsy traveller encampment. They’ll be off to complain to your parish councillor in no time at all, safe in the knowledge racist slurs towards travellers is the last nationwide acceptable form of prejudice other than red-heads.

9- If you spot a Tory gate-crasher, introduce your them to your frontline doctor friend.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve not got a frontline doctor as a friend, beat them at their own game and lie; pretend they are. Initiate a conversation about the NHS, and the gate-crasher will flee the scene because they know a doctor will fact-check from personal experience and their “clapping” fiasco cover will be blown. Many Tories even unbelievably blag that the Conservative government created the health service, to smokescreen the irrepressible desire to privatise it to US companies.

10 – If all else fails, tell anti-Semitic jokes.

It may go against all your stable moral judgements, I know, but you could try this desperate measure as a last resort. Most Tories have the bizarre concept that criticising the actions of an oppressive government committing genocide is somehow racist, possibly to overshadow their own unmerited prejudges. To hear an anti-Semitic joke will misleadingly convince them they were right. Note; it is very simple to convince a tory they are right. With any hope, they will be heading for the door in no time at all, mumbling double standards like, “I told you so, Harry, they’re all the same these intolerant lefties, just like Hitler,” and you can return to your politically correct and balanced banter as soon as they’ve driven off in their Range Rover Discovery.


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Webb Dreams of a White Christmas

If we had a lot to say about Webbs’ head-turning metal EP Disenchanted, back in August, there’s a version of Irving Berlin’s classic, White Christmas out tomorrow, Friday 3rd December, here. Yeah, it’s a sluggish haul building into Webb’s emblematic hard rock style, and the sonic fuzz-box crooning will shake the baubles off your tree! … Continue reading “Webb Dreams of a White Christmas”

Wiltshire to Freeze in Ice Age Temperatures, Especially Devizes!

We’ve teamed up with Wiltshire Live to bring you this clickbait and vastly overemphasised weather warning exclusive.…. The MET Office (MET stands for my exaggerated template) forecasts plummeting temperatures are to hit Wiltshire this week, as if it was December or something. Being our friends at Wiltshire Live detest murder capital of the world, Devizes, … Continue reading “Wiltshire to Freeze in Ice Age Temperatures, Especially Devizes!”

Wiltshire Blues & Soul Club Brings Blues Royalty to Devizes

If local media are reporting tomorrow’s arrival of the Duchess of Cornwall to Devizes, here to browse Wiltshire Museum’s Ravilious Downland Man exhibition, and erm, wave and stuff, here at Devizine we’d rather do cartwheels over the breaking news of Wiltshire Blues & Soul Club’s spring time ball, which promises to bring local blues royalty … Continue reading “Wiltshire Blues & Soul Club Brings Blues Royalty to Devizes”

Thieves Break into Ambulance in Devizes

Devizes-based event medical company, GWP reported their rapid response vehicle was broken into over the weekend, and approximately £1,000 worth of vital lifesaving equipment and uniform was stolen.… We make a point of avoiding local news items, rather concentrate on feelgood magazine stories. Leave the hard work and nitty-gritty to Newsquest I say! But sometimes … Continue reading “Thieves Break into Ambulance in Devizes”

Chatting With The Lost Trades

Local newspapers ran with a yarn of snow blizzards, due Saturday, and illustrated the clickbait with scenes of worst weather of yore. The laughable reality was there was a blustery storm which bought five minutes of flurry. I don’t conscribe to sensationalising, neither need to interview for the emblematic promotion of a new product. The … Continue reading “Chatting With The Lost Trades”

REVIEW – Antonio Forcione @ LSBC, Devizes – Saturday 27th November 2021

Italian Jazz Guitarist Andy Fawthrop This was the third Long Street Blues Club weekend gig on the bounce for me.  Following Gerry Jablonski Band two weeks ago, and the blow-away Focus gig at The Corn Exchange last week, it was back to the familiar surroundings of the Con Club in Long Street for (yet again) … Continue reading “REVIEW – Antonio Forcione @ LSBC, Devizes – Saturday 27th November 2021”

Chapter 6: The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead: The Case of the Pam-Dimensional Pothole

Chapter Six: in which, to much surprise, the Davizes Town Council pull off a viable solution, and we complete this general silliness once and for all.

“You might be right, for once, man,” Briggs gulped as he stood outside the Davizes Town Hall with his senior chief councillor, the mighty Yellowhead. “They seem more like the guardians of the galaxy then just the Guardians of Davizes!”

“Nonsense,” Yellowhead spurted, with his hands on his hips, staring at the great building. “It was but a joke, not that I’m terribly good at them I’ll be the first to admit, but the satire is in ironic overstatement; they believe they’re as powerful as the guardians of the galaxy, but far from it. They’re actually just a bunch of no-hoping conceited and arrogant do-gooders!”

“Oh, it’s just the way the town hall is hovering three foot above the ground with a lime green misty light beaming underneath it, is all,” replied Briggs. If he thought the circular design of the Davizes Town Hall resembled the archetypical flying saucer of 1950s B-movies, he did now it was as he said, hovering a foot off the ground with an eerie lime-green light below it.

“Do not allow their silly tricks to fool you, Briggs,” Yellowhead assured, “they are no more alien than I am Karl Marx.”

The fact a tractor beam had engulfed his superior, and was currently dragging him upwards towards the vast opening doors enlightened Briggs’ suspicion, yet it didn’t worry him any more than he thought it might.

“Do not fear, Briggs, neither attempt a rescue. It’s standard council procedure to apply a tractor-beam and hoist in any suspicious looking strangers,” Yellowhead assured further, “just another extravagant show of false power tripping! They use it to pull in anyone they suspect might be a challenge to their leadership. The devise was first pioneered by Noel Edmonds, off the telly.”

“Really?” Briggs reacted unsurprised, “You, like, sure it was him?”

“Looked like him,” Yellowhead asserted, “yes, same name, and same leftie trimmed grey beard. Even likes telly, put cameras all over town, but the irony is, they used his weapons against him when he signed up as the Labour Party candidate for town council elections, ha-ha!” Then he waved his fist at the building he was being forced up to, and shouted at it, “I’m as tory as you, you flipped out loons! I knew the transfer of obligations from county council to town council would go to your heads; you could’ve given your kids a splashpad, like the folk of Milksham, instead you spend it on this tomfoolery! We will take Pews Bond Wood for this; you’ll see if we don’t! Two hundred new homes for tory voters if you don’t put me down right now!”

The tractor beam continued pulling him inwards to the great doors of the town hall, as they opened to accept him. A second tractor beam pulled Briggs in too, it was rather alarming, he very near dropped his spliff. “Like wow, I’m just like, floating man; pass my meds!”

“Three hundred houses!” Yellowhead threatened, “and, and an English Defence League HQ if you don’t put me down immediately, I’m warning you!”

With the roach resting casually on his chin, Briggs asked a scrawny green alien at the door, “have you, like, got a light, man?” but all the creature did was lower his halberd and inaudibly communicate his order for them to follow him.

“Telepathy!” Yellowhead grumbled, “I ask you, what other clichés do the Guardians have at their disposal? Pathetic showy arrogance!” And then he addressed the alien, “we have telepathy at county council level too. You’re not showing us anything new!”

In a vast futuristic hall, sat around a Perspex table on high back chairs, six giant green alien beings with oversized piercing black oval eyes and even more oversized brains, the veins of which were pulsating. Around the edges of them another six nerdy human beings also sat, wearing patterned cardigans and spectacles with thin chains. In unison the aliens spoke in a deep, haunting tone, “we are the Guardians of the Galaxy!”

“Told you so,” Briggs boasted.

“We’re not!” added one of the human councillors, “we are the few conservatives trying to take over the independents, and we’ll never get there if I fail to insist, we must push on with the meeting!”

A rotund fellow bravely stood up, “I’m only here because I have a non-bias Facebook page with over a thousand likes!” Everyone in the hall ignored him.

“Firstly, I’d like to raise my point once more,” the original human councillor continued, “that they are not the Guardians of anything such, they are the so-say Guardians of Davizes, and nothing more!” This amused Yellowhead. It was the first time he had felt any connection to this place.

“We are the Guardians of the Galaxy!” they bellowed again in unison.

“You are guardians of nothing more than a few trees in the town’s market place,” Yellowhead stated, “you pathetic oaths!”

“Okay,” the aliens confessed, “we were guardians of the galaxy, from a planet where trees are sacred. We came here to save the trees, but we liked it so much, we stayed. Something in the water.”

“Like duh, cow dung!” Briggs giggled.

“Now listen,” Yellowhead sternly addressed the board. “Something is terribly amiss here. Your consistency has transformed into a leftie terrorist love-in festival and I don’t give a hoot what stupid game you think you’re playing, but it needs to stop with immediate effect!”

“Yeah, man,” Briggs added, “I reckon we’re in the wrong dimension!”

A county gent in a flat-cap stood up, “I have an objection, this is not on the agenda!”

Grouplike, the aliens gave great thought, and finally said unto Yellowhead, “your complaint will be put forth for discussion shortly. As I can confirm you are from an alternative dimension, just like independents and lefties, your priority to speak is lower than that of our right-wing residents. If you wish to make a point, you must follow the correct procedure. Fill out a complaint form, send it to your local councillor, who will forget about it for a month, then you must resend until they raise it at the monthly meeting, and the council will decide to take a vote on whether to hear it, then if they do, they take the vote and hear it, then it goes out for discussion. The results are published in the minutes and read at the next monthly meeting. Suggestions on how to solve it are discussed, voted on and discussed again. Then, after coffee, the council raises the point it’s been a while since the original complaint, and wonder if it’s all blown over, which hopefully it would have.”

“We, like, just wanted to know,” Briggs started, “if we’ve entered another dimension, or not, if you knew?”

“We have answered that,” they replied in unison. “and it is confirmed. I shall put the resolution to the issue on the agenda. If you would like to fill out a complaint form, send it to your local councillor, resend until they raise it at the monthly meeting, and the council will decide to take a vote on whether to hear it, then if they do, they take the vote and hear it, then it goes out for discussion. The results are published in the minutes and read at the next monthly meeting. Suggestions on how to solve it are discussed, voted on and discussed. Then, the council raises the point it’s been a while since the original complaint, and wonder if it’s all blown over, which hopefully it would have.”

“For the love of Adolf Hitler!” sighed Yellowhead.       

The aliens addressed the flat-cap country gent, “you may say your piece, Alf.”

“Oh, yes your highness,” Alf mumbled under his overgrown moustache. “I propose the building of a six-by-four shed in my back garden.”

“No chance!” interrupted Yellowhead, “as chief county councillor I take presidency over all here, and I say no, that land is, erm, protected, because of a rare breed of newts found there.”

“Yet in your own dimension, councillor Yellowhead,” the aliens retorted, “your council have passed the building contract for over five hundred houses on the very field behind Alf’s premises, precisely where the newts were discovered.”

“Poppycock!” Yellowhead blurted, “it’s the newts we want to protect, it has nothing to do with any such backhander from the building company I’ll receive. How dare you even suggest it! Now, our situation is far more urgent and I demand it takes priority!”

“We have other urgent matters on the agenda,” the aliens claimed. “Gavin wants an extension to his garage, and Mabel is hoping to campaign to clean the areas of interest road signs. Please, we must adhere to the schedule, I have outlined what you must do, do not anger the chair.”

“How can you, like, anger a chair?” Briggs giggled, “call it a pouffe?!”

The rotund man stood up and pleaded before the Guardians, “please, I beg of you, spare my fellow conservative any pain, he know not what he say, he know not what he do. He hasn’t even got a Facebook page.”

“If my point is not heard soon,” Yellowhead demanded, “my head will explode with the influx of leftism bureaucracies, there is only so much utter piffle my mind can take. I say burn Alf’s shed to the ground, Gavin clearly wants an extension to his manhood, and I would smash Mabel in the chops with a filthy area of interest road sign!”

“Then,” the Guardians spoke, “let us pass this notion, so we can move forward.”

“Whatever! Just get on with it.”

“Permission for Alf’s shed is passed. You may build your shed Alf,” the Guardians said.

Alf was grateful and stood down.

“Now, Mr Yellowhead,” they addressed our hero. “I shall call you, as your councillor title means nothing here. Your monkey is correct when it surmised you slipped into another dimension when you fell through a porthole. The idea of inter-dimension tourism is too much for your council to accept, so they disguised them as potholes many years ago. The multiverse is real, hence the obscene number of potholes. We can, and regularly do pass through the portholes, but we cannot send you back through them. Not without the cognisant of the full council, a subject which could take decades following aforementioned procedures.”

“That I don’t doubt!” Yellowhead stated. “Miltshire Council could have closed twelve care homes by now!” 

“It’s the interfering conservatives in our council,” the Guardians claimed, “they’ll claim to be doing something about an issue, but if there’s nothing in it for them….”

“Oh, but there is,” Yellowhead affirmed, “to get me off their backs! How they, and you for that matter, let things get so utterly low and leftie is beyond me. Do you realise there is graffiti on the walls of the Corn Exchange?”

“It is not known as that here,” one conservative councillor added.

“No,” informed Briggs, “they call it the Porn Exchange here. Blooming marvellous, spent hours in there the other day.”

“The graffiti is by a top artist known as Banky. His pieces are highly sort after in the art world. He is the only bank the council trust,” the Guardians explained.

“Filth! Get rid of it, paint over it immediately!” Yellowhead demanded.

“We would rather proceed with the process of getting you back to your own dimension,” the aliens sighed, “you don’t fit in here.” It was a hard pill to swallow, to accept you fit in less on your home planet than a bunch of aliens, but Yellowhead was that thick-skinned, and never really watched sci-fi anyway.

“Good,” he stated, “and what do you imbeciles propose to do that, being you said you cannot send us back?”

“Not through dimensions, no,” the aliens replied, “but we can send you back in time, back to the point just before you fell into the porthole. We can send a carrier pigeon to give you a message, a message you yourself will write in your own handwriting, fully convincing your previous self not to enter the pothole. You will have no memory of this ever happening, see?”

Yellowhead thought about it and was shocked not to see any issue with it. In fact, it sounded better than he wished for, not knowing anything about this sick world full of lefties. Even in his own dimension he had some keyboard warrior disciples of Corbyn, and but it was nothing compared to this. “Yes, that sounds, adequate. Briggs will fill in the finer details.”

“I’m, like staying here, man.”

“You most certainly are not, Briggs, will escort me back to our own dimension and through a series of painful electroshock treatments and Morrisey songs on repeat, you will reform back to a conservative attitude and pledge your allegiance to Sir Boris Johnson, and beg that he forgives you for your sins. And you can remove those nipple rings too!”

The rotund fellow waddled forward with a pen and paper. “Write your message to yourself on here. It will be in strict confidence what you chose to write, but you should refrain from explaining why. To provide information about the potholes to your former self could prove disastrous to the space time continuum and implode all known dimensions, including your own. Furthermore, and even more importantly, if you post any news of it on my Facebook page, I’ll ban you outright.”

“Petty Facebook group admins,” Yellowhead laughed in his face. “Give them an inch of responsibility and they think they’re Mark Zuckerberg. Just give me the paper, fatso.” Yellowhead thought for less than two seconds, then scribbled out a message to his former self. He rolled it into a scroll, tittered, and handed it back to the fellow. “Done! Now, how do you alien cretins propose to send us back in time?”

“Via a DeLorean which when it, like, hits 88mph,” Briggs anticipated, “we catch fire and travel through time, I’m hoping.”

“Are you kidding?” the Guardians frowned. “Hitting anything near 58mph on Miltshire roads is taking your life in your own hands! The likelihood of you falling into another porthole and into another dimension is virtually a given thing. We will do it by chanting a scared Guardian verse from ancient times, around the sacred pyramid of Albion Place.”

“Great,” Briggs said, “I’ll be able to smoke my last joint on the way. Care to partake, Yellow, it’ll make you mellow, or at least slightly mellower?”

“Have you completely lost your mind, Briggs?”

Briggs laughed, “I’m not the one with an alien tentacle stuck on my bonce!” Which was true, at least.

“Firstly,” one Guardian continued, reaching out a long tentacle and affixing it onto Yellowhead’s yellow forehead, “you must be implanted with the notion find love for your fellow man, and take heed of all god’s creatures, for they may hold a message for you. This will ensure you notice the pigeon is carrying a message. As a complete ignoramus towards all forms of life, there is a danger you will shoe it away.”

They marched down to Albion Place quite silently. Even Yellowhead was concerned about mind meddling aliens controlling him. He was usually the one controlling everyone else. Suddenly, after only a small chant, Briggs called out, “oh wow, far out! Just like, like, like dreaming, man!”

“Don’t be a dreamer, Briggs,” Yellowhead snarled but was unsure why he said it, “we don’t have a bottomless pit of funding.”

Briggs pulled the van over. The potholes here resembled an asteroid impact zone. “This will save us some pennies,” Yellowhead observed, “something to do other than blasted Zoom meetings. Cut out the middleman, Highways Agency are a hinderance on our budget,” he stated as he gulped Briggs’ Bollinger. “If a job’s worth doing…. Now, get out and spray a yellow circle around that one!”

Briggs got out to paint the circle, despite not be trained. Yellowhead followed suit, to fart. Briggs opened the van’s rear doors and climbed inside to fetch the spray paint canisters. Councillor Nora Fayes popped up from behind some road signs. Briggs jumped out of his skin. “Say anything to Yellowhead and I’ll do you!” she claimed, yielding a hunter’s dagger and pointing at him in a threatening manner. “You, kid,” she added, “are worth so much more than Yellowhead’s plaything. You will go up to the pothole, and you will fall into it, making it look like an accident. Do I make myself perfectly clear?”

“Um, yes, I suppose,” Briggs confirmed, and he stepped out of the van. He looked rather flushed, but Yellowhead failed to notice it. Nora peaked through the gap of the van’s backdoors and startled.

She saw a gull, of all things. It had descended upon Yellowhead and was frantically fluttering around his head. He considered shoeing it off with his arm, when a random and unsolicited thought occurred to him: find love for your fellow man, and take heed of all god’s creatures, for they may hold a message for you.

Yellowhead questioned his own thoughts as he grabbed hold of the gull, mumbled something about leftie snowflakes invading his psyche via telepathy being the final straw, and yelped, “Nora! Where are you when we need you the most?!”

“Gull!” shouted Nora, bursting from the van and taking Yellowhead unsuspectingly. She ran directly at the bird with angry expression of hate and murder.

“Find love for your fellow man,” Yellowhead called, “and take heed of all god’s creatures.” And he pulled off a message attached to the gull’s leg, just in time before Nora pounced on it and bludgeoned it with the dagger. Blood filled her face as she buried it into to the dead bird, feeding off of its meat.

“It’s quite a deep one,” Briggs observed the pothole. “Maybe pop a cone in it?”

“Yes, yes, whatever!” belched Yellowhead, the kerfuffle and also, the fresh air taking effect on his drunkenness. “You are sick, woman!” he said as he ignored her from here on whence, and read the message.

Briggs dropped the cone in the centre of the pothole. It floated for a matter of seconds and then sank out of sight into the muddy puddle. “Oh, it is deep,” he noted.

“Get that cone out of there!” Yellowhead demanded as he retched up pheasant chunks. “We’ve not the cash lying around to lose a cone.”

Briggs hesitated, then attempted to straddle the puddle, but it was too large. His right foot went partly in, and so he naturally extended his left foot outwards into the centre. Next thing Yellowhead noted was Briggs completely disappearing under the water. “For the love of Thatcher!” he moaned. For on the note, it expressly told him, whatever he did he should not enter the pothole, in his own writing. On a footnote it said Briggs was a traitor, a leftie dissident, and should he fall in, not to concern himself too much about it. A further footnote, which was not in his handwriting apologised, for not having a carrier pigeon to hand, therefore they would have to make do with a gull.

Yellowhead pulled his phone from his pocket. “Yes, it’s me,” he reported, “yes, I will fill out the minutes to the last meeting as soon as I get back. Sorry? Yes, on a mission, yes. Look, this is an emergency, I need a new junior councillor sent out, one with some water wings.”

There was a cold silence as Yellowhead listened aghast to his superior. He tutted at Briggs’ stupidity, but supposed he asked for it, his naivety cost him his life out here. It was untamed territory, life was hard. He wasn’t completely inhumane, and he mourned the boy’s death for the best part of ten seconds. “What do you mean, the one I’ve got? He’s an idiot, sir, with all due respect.” He hung up, put the phone back in his pocket.

Briggs appeared from the opposite side of the van, strangely he wore different clothing, tighter and silver coloured.

“Ah, Briggs, good to see you, young fellow!” Yellowhead asserted. “Thought you was a goner for a second. But all’s well that ends well. It feels like some enormous mission has come to a final happy ending, despite all we’ve done is drunk some Bollinger, painted a yellow circle around a pothole and sung some flag-waving anthems. But,” he let out a huge belly-laugh, “what else is there to do in the day in the life of a Miltshire Councillor?!”

And, for this tale it was indeed the end. Yellowhead thought they’d collect their things and venture back to county hall, maybe strap the insane Nora to the roof rack. However, Briggs seemed distraught, he lobbed a flamethrower at Yellowhead, told him to point it at Nora and fire. Then he rushed into the van, took it into a spin, smashing Nora to the ground. He leapt from the van, dowsed it with petrol, lit it and jumped clean out of the blast zone.

Screaming, the silhouette of Nora in the centre of the blast, amidst a bellowing of black smoke could be seen. “Oh, jolly good show, Briggs, you’ve burned Nora alive. Imagine the paperwork now.”

“Blast her!” demanded Briggs as he ran for his life.

Yellowhead knotted his brow, “I think she’s toast, really……” then he stopped in his tracks, as the figure moved sharply towards him from the burning scene. It retained the shape of Councillor Nora Fayes, but was sparkling, like silver under flame. Red lasers appeared from her eyes and scanned the area, like a robot.

“Dear me,” Yellowhead exclaimed, “she was such a do-gooder, I feared she might turn into a leftie. But an ultramodern cyborg sent to kill me from some apocalyptic future, is nearly as bad.” He open-fired the flamethrower, but it barely left a scratch on her metallic body.

“Briggs, have we any nuclear arms at County Hall?” he asked, “could do with a couple.”

“I’m Briggs,” the man said, reaching out his hand as the robot approached them at speed, “but not the Briggs you know! Come with me, if you want to live!”


That’s all folks, I do hope you enjoyed our fictional fable; worked out alright in the end, kind of!


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Chapter 4: The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead

The Case of the Pam-Dimensional Pothole

Chapter Four: in which our heroes awake in unusual circumstances.

Recap: Can you stop asking me for a recap, and just read the chapters before this one? I got to keep going over the same shit, just because you cannot be bothered to keep up with the story, is that it? Look, just read the previous chapters, or wait for Spielberg to notice the movie potential of this humble fable, won’t you? I’m done with recaps.

There was something divinely erotic being one of thousands of workers in a foetus position, imbibing on one of the many lactating teats of a larvae queen with the head of Margaret Thatcher in a sado-masochistic pupae dungeon, at least to Councillor Yellowhead there was.

Hymenoptera knew their place in the nest and never questioned authority; he liked it here. When the lactose ran dry, they’d head out for duties without question. Though to Yellowhead feeding was sexually stimulating, he never wished for it to end. He yearned the Gyne would churn her pulp royal jelly once more, but with bellowing, unquestionable authority her words echoed around the chamber, “to those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-churn, I have only one thing to say: You churn if you want to. The lady’s not for churning!”

Yellowhead squirmed with excitement, near ejaculation, as she continued in a less conversant voice, “now, Mr Speaker, I suggest you wake up, wake up, WAKE UP!” Confusion to the alienness of the accent, saw off his climax, and he felt rejected despair. Yet, somewhere deep in an archive of Yellowhead’s mind, it had familiarity, as if from long lost past, another time, another realm.

Yellowhead’s mouth overwhelmingly tasted of mud, water spurted from deep down his oesophagus and sprayed from his lips. The light hurt his eyes as their lids unlocked involuntarily. The Thatcher Gyne fizzled out of reality, ignoring his pleas to stay, and the equivocal outline of a human head came into his focus. “Wake up!” the voice came again, this time he recognised it.

“Get off me this minute, Briggs,” Yellowhead commanded, “you necrophiliac homosexual!”

“You lost breathing,” Briggs pointed out, highly tense, “and had no pulse…. I……”

Yellowhead pulled his torso up and rested on his elbows, “did you perform CPR on me, Briggs, just answer me that?”

“Sir,” Briggs implored, “there was nothing else I……”

“You are a sexual predator, Briggs, a sexual predator of corpses, and I was your prey!”

“It was necessary,” Briggs pleaded his cause, “there was nothing else I could have done to save you, and sir, I did it, I saved your life!”

Yellowhead stood up as Briggs scrambled away from him. Remaining on the tarmac he looked up to his superior, feeling the wrath of his outraged expression. But Yellowhead took a moment to compose himself, and sighed. In a whisper he told Briggs, “young man, tell no one of this, for as long as we both shall live. Do I make myself perfectly clear?”

“Yes, sir, oh yes,” Briggs whimpered, “I’m just glad you’re alive!”

Yellowhead bit his bottom lip, it still tasted of sludge. “Quite; well, I must say, I mean, I find it difficult, erm, in a situation, I find, you know, at times I, and there are times, many, of which the erm, timing is not right, but let me say, if I can, that, I, damn, Briggs this is hard, so very hard for me, to, you know, find the right words, but yes, I erm, I thank you, Briggs, for, you know, saving my life!” He sunk in his own admission and self-loathing.

Briggs beamed a smile from ear to ear.

“Look, Briggs, I think that’s enough for one day,” he confessed while composing himself from his horrid ordeal; showing his gratitude was an unimaginable desolation of his principles and character and an unwarranted prevalence for Yellowhead, the near-death experience wasn’t particularly nice either. “Just paint that yellow circle around the pothole and we’ll be off, I think, Briggs. There’s a good fellow.”

Herein is where Briggs showed signs of astonishment and confusion. “That’s the thing, Sir,” he announced, “there is no pothole!”

“What are you dribbling about, Briggs?”

“The pothole, all of the potholes, they’ve all disappeared!”

“Don’t be so stu……” Yellowhead looked around him. Scanning the area which once looked like an asteroid impact site. The A342 appeared untainted, completely even, and not a pothole, rut or divot could be seen as far as the horizon. Yellowhead scratched his bald patch, looked to Briggs for his expression, which was the confused jollity of a maniac headless chicken. He mumbled, double-checked the road, double-checked Briggs’ grin, felt faint, and suggested, “well, I guess, erm, I guess our work here is done, erm, Briggs, me lad. Let’s head back to Davizes; I think a pint of best is the order of the day.”

“But, sir, how did……”

“Don’t ask, Briggs.”

“But, sir, the road, it couldn’t……”

“What did I just say Briggs?”

“It couldn’t, like, repair itself, I mea……”

“That’s an order, Briggs.”

 They got to the van, parked just as it was before the incident, but it looked somewhat different. Briggs noted the subtle changes, Yellowhead became outraged by its graphics. He slammed his palm on the side panel. “Briggs?! Why has this van still got our old motto printed on it?”

“You mean the, Where Everybody Matters one?”

Yellowhead quivered, “Don’t! Just don’t even say it! We rid ourselves of that slogan some time ago, and for good reason, Briggs!”

“Because it’s untrue, everybody doesn’t matter, sir?”

“NO! Because, Briggs, because, there’s too many letters, it costs too much to keep adding it the vans,” Yellowhead explained, “and that’s the truth behind that. What really gets my goat up and sends it galloping from its pen, is the stupidity of you to book out an old vehicle with the incorrect graphics, Briggs; these should’ve been put out of service years ago.”

Briggs stood motionless, his face one of ghostly expression. “Sir, I didn’t, there’s the thing, it’s out there….”

“Didn’t what, Briggs?” Yellowhead questioned, “think? You didn’t, Briggs, you didn’t think at all!”

“No, sir, I didn’t take out an old van with the old slogan printed on it. It wasn’t like that when I took it out. In fact, it’s not an old van at all, but a new one. Look, it’s electric-powered!”

“Ye gods!” cried Yellowhead, “a monstrosity! What low-level leftie scum replaced our vehicle with this, this environmentally-friendly milk float!”

Briggs pointed out the horizon. “It’s, erm, not just that, Sir, look!”

Yellowhead followed the angle of his pointing, to note across the land was situated tens of wind turbines, their propellers turning by the gentle breeze. “No!” he screeched, “get Christina Brownie on the phone, development project department, I want names, I want dates; who gave permission to wreak havoc on our beautiful landscape with these, these conservational eyesores?!”    

“Sir,” Briggs hesitated, but it was the only explanation he could fathom. “I think we were out, you know, drowned in that pothole for longer than we think we were.”

As Yellowhead wore an expression of total disbelief and confusion, a horse pulling a gypsy caravan passed by. A gaunt dreadlocked Caucasian youth with full beard and Romany attire called out, “hi there, y’ need any help?”

Yellowhead looked up at him with distaste, “not from you, beatnik heathen! Solstice is not for another two months; get your hippy bandwagon out of our county, or I will be forced to have you removed by force, by our constabulary! For the love of Priti Patel, I thought you lot had been deported to the inferno of abyss you came from?!”

The hipster shrugged as the caravan passed by, “suit yourself!”

Yellowhead confessed to Briggs that he didn’t feel well. “I fear I’m going to puke, if I don’t pass out, Briggs. This overload of leftie growths is like a wart on the backside of Satan, and they’re making me nauseated.”

“Maybe we should get in the van,” Briggs suggested, “and make our way to town. I think you need to see a doctor.”

“I am not getting in that van! Not without petrol in it!” Yellowhead least tested the water, by peering in through the window, and outraged, “reformist bastards have replaced my Bollinger for soya milkshakes!”

As a succession of eco-friendly traffic, hippy buses and horse drawn gypsy caravans gently passed them by, Briggs supposed, “maybe it’s always been this way, and we’ve been so wrapped up in our conservative ideology to notice!”

“What conservative ideology, Briggs, you daft wazzock? It’s just the natural order of things. There’s no obsessive notion to any such right-wing agenda with me,” Yellowhead assured him. “No, I think this is still part of my dream, the nightmarish end section. I favoured the beginning part most, would you care to imbibe on Thatcher’s teat too, Briggs?”

Briggs looked sincerely at Yellowhead. “I think I’ll give that a miss, sir, if it’s all the same to you?”

“As will I to your requisition I board this eco-fiendly passion wagon!” asserted Yellowhead with arms folded.

“Eco-fiendly?” Grant smiled, appealing to his better nature, or searching for it at least. “I see what you did there, clever stuff. You can sing your patriotic hymns all the way to Davizes.”

Yellowhead gulped, held his nose and sat in the passenger seat. “You should note I’m getting in because there is nothing better to get into. Besides, I am reasonable, you may listen to some pop music, if you wish……”

“That is considerate of you….”

“……provided it’s Morrisey or the Who.”

“The Who?” Briggs laughed, observing the small compact disc selection had mysteriously changed to the likes of the Bob Marely, the Clash, and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

“Indeed!” Yellowhead announced proudly, “great bunch of Brexiteers. Boris listens to the Who, he was instructed to listen to the Who, even the lefties said he should. I trust I can let you know, Briggs, I was with him and a bunch of others at the Cheltenham Festival, just last year. We sat in his limo, drinking Chateau Le Pin, snorting a nosebag off the tits of some top brass prostitutes and listening to their greatest hits, when we suddenly realised, they meant The World Health Organisation. Oh, how we laughed!”

Briggs sighed, and tried to hold in the notion it was a mistake which caused the spread of Covid19 and the deaths of thousands. Yellowhead was so engaged in his fond memory he had failed to notice the vast changes in Davizes, and how they increased the closer they got to the town centre.

Hordes of youth walked at liberty, grouped they wandered the streets attired in crusty clothing, many with braids or dreadlocks. They were a wider racial demographic then before too, and they mingled with joviality. Houses hung speakers from their windows, and small crowds gathered to dance in the streets below, as DJs spun their tunes. Live acoustic music too was sporadically dispersed along the road, tents hosting wellbeing workshops, Buddhist meditation and Indian head massage. People held up signs for free hugs, others responded. Children ran free without care, playing together and making petty mischief for their own amusement.

By the time they had arrived in the Market Place, gone was the void and the patch of grass. A multitude gathered around a huge stage in the centre, an afro-funk band played lively African rhythms on drums and guitars. Scattered around it were hundreds of stalls, selling a variety of street food and international cuisine, chai, clothes and charity fundraising tents. A comedy marquee sat at one end of the market place, a children’s area at the other, with traditional fairground rides rising behind them both. The whole place lit up with the colours of the rainbow, décor and dress, the smells of food, sweating people, unwashed dogs and cannabis melded and the sounds of joy, laughter and the bass of the music, blended; it resembled a festival. Grant Briggs gulped.

“There was a time, Briggs, when….” Yellowhead continued, then looked up, “what in the good name of Mosely is going on here?!” He stuck his head out of the window. Briggs suggested he didn’t, but it was too late. “What in the name of Thatcher do you think you beatnik scum are doing?! This is not some Glastonbury love-in, this is a level-headed insular Miltshire market town, full of law-abiding conservatives, you have no right to invade it with your hippy bandwagons and freeloading festivities; now go, clear off before I am forced to inform the police. This is against lockdown restrictions, and even if we weren’t protected from a pandemic, I’d still enforce the limitations of showcasing what is clearly a leftie act of terrorism on England’s green and pleasant land!”  

A slender earth mother dressed in a loose Kaftan pointed and giggled, “man, you are like, too funny!” She nudged a fellow next to her. He wore a tie-dye t-shirt, khaki sand shorts and sandals, and was currently engaged in sliding a cold, half-eaten burrito in his wiry beard for safekeeping. “Farquhar, look! There’s some street theatre. A delightful comedian, clearly too old to be from the council is shouting abusive satire and pretending to be all anti-alternative, from a mock council van; it’s hilarious!”       

“I’ll give you too old!” Yellowhead screeched back her.

“Is he for real?” Farquhar gasped, “like hey man, git outta there, there’s no one allowed to be on the county council aged over twenty-seven!”

The earth mother elbowed him in the ribs, “silly man, it’s a joke, Farquhar, you fool!”

The man went for the burrito, “well, it’s not funny.”

Councillor Yellowhead burst from out of the van to parade the area, verbally assaulting everything he saw in such quickfire horror the puss of his global acne turned a fiery red and looked certain to blow at any given moment. Concerned, Briggs followed behind, trying to warn him yet keeping what he considered a safe distance. If the yellowhead was to detonate, Briggs was uncertain of the epicentre of its impact zone.

“These, these, vehicles are parked here illegally!” Yellowhead ranted, while people formed a circle around him, still believing it was a comedy act of street theatre akin to that of Alf Garnett, though they never had heard of that character. “Even if they have paid the fees, which I highly doubt, and can and will be checking, they are not within the white lined parking spaces. And are these street stalls licenced?” He leaned into a noodle bar, the lady at the counter nodded her head to inquire of his order, but he lambasted her, “licenced, are you? Permission to be here?”

Without waiting for an answer, he begun addressing the crowds once more, too many inconsistences and misconducts were happening at once for him to focus on a particular one. The earth mother and associate known as Farquhar sauntered behind them, still debating if this was a comedy routine or not. “You are all here illegally!” Yellowhead continued, “Miltshire Council has given no permission for any kind of, of, whatever this is, a hippy love-freak-out festival, you should stay in your homes, watch Netflix!”

“Hey buddy!” someone called from the crowd, suspicious this was no act, “this isn’t a festival, this is just an average weekend in Davizes!”

Yellowhead spat his words as his face reddened, “it is a Thursday!”

“Ain’t no one work Fridays, man, not for centuries!” laughed another, imagining the absurdity.

“You should come here when we do have our monthly market place festivals!” another giggled.

“The guy is a sham!” the calls came quick and fast;

“I think he’s funny!”

 “Do the one about the pandemic again; like, too funny man!”

Yellowhead’s yellowhead was spinning. “the Covid19 pandemic is not a subject for comedy! I am not a comedian, it is very real, and you are contributing to the spread of the virus!”

“Ha-ha!” the crowds laughed, “the virus was obliterated a year ago, government closed the country down!”

“I remember,” one said, “how they stopped international airship travel, boats too. I remember how they vaccinated the key workers first, how they only invested in bona-fide companies making protective clothing and how that wonderful app worked so well because they funded the contract to a renowned and established internet organisation! They capped new laws until objections could be heard effectively, ensured immigration was protected, housed the homeless, secured care homes foremost, and yes, it was a hard six months, but with faith in our government and their ability to set a good example by complying to the regulations themselves, we got through it!”

Yellowhead was lost for words, confused in mixed emotion. These people were not the extremist anti-governed anarchists he believed them to be. “Yes,” he stumbled, “I errm, well, I am glad to hear of your love and respect for the government, but still, this illegal gathering is unlicenced and no permission has been granted by the council to allow it to happen! So, I order to cease your festivities, return to your jobs, if you have one, return to the jobcentre if not!”

The crowd laughed once more. “Where is this guy from?” many questioned, or similar responses.

A nearby dreadlocked crusty leaned into Yellowhead, “you need to chill, my friend,” causally he offered Yellowhead a large hand-rolled smoking cigarette. It smelt rather exotic to Briggs, who tried to stop the crusty. Yellowhead took a look at the fellow, aghast.

“Is that what I think it is?! Is, is that a cannabis cigar? Is that Tweed you are smoking?” He did not wait for an answer, but yelped to call it to the attention of a casually dressed passing police officer. “Arrest this man at once, officer!”

The policeman strode towards the commotion. “Hand over that spliff!” he demanded.

 The man handed him the smoking implement. The officer took a puff, “where did you get this from?” The crusty pointed out a small stall, in front of Greggs. “Cheers, I knock off in an hour, might get me some, it’s good shit!”

In absolute revulsion Yellowhead quivered, this was the final straw. Briggs warned the officer and the crusty to step back. The chief councillor looked up at the sign for the Greggs bakery, which now read: Greggs Bakery and Riff Raff Spliff Café.

Now desperate from leftie surplus and in a state of horrified overload, he turned urgently towards Briggs for assistance. “Tell me this is a nightmare, Briggs,” he uttered insanely, “pinch me, punch me, clout my very chops with an iron if you must! Whatever it takes to wake me, I plead, I implore you!”

It was at this injunction he noted his assistant had his mouth sealed tight enough to whiten his lips, his cheeks were bulging, and with an unintended giggle, a puff of smoke exited his lips. “Briggs!” he shouted with all his might, “are you……”

Behind his back, Briggs quickly attempted to pass the joint back to the crusty unnoticed.

“…. Are you?” Yellowhead gasped.

 Briggs turned his head downwards and pointed it away from Yellowhead, to exhale the smoke. It was a pathetic attempt to hide the truth.

“….. Smoking…….”

Briggs looked back at his superior with the fake expression of shame.

“A…A….” Yellowhead enraged, his pimple-head boiled puss at critical mass, “…. A…. A…. A whacky-baccy cigar? For crying out loud to the good god Oswald Mosley, man! Are there no depths of depravity you are willing to descend to? Is there no act of villainy you will refute?!”

With that, those who took cover were shielded as best as they could. Others, unaware of the explosive nature of Yellowhead were covered in yellow pus.  

  


Will our hero councillor survive this weird influx of unlicenced carefree festivities? Just what is going on with the usually conservative town of Davizes, and has the whole world gone as mad as Diana Abbot on nitrous oxide, or is just the moonrakers? Find out in our amazingly liable continuing fable, next Sunday morning….

Chapter Three: The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead: The Case of the Pam-Dimensional Pothole

Chapter Three: in which our intrepid heroes arrive in Davizes, stop for refreshments and move onwards to face the mighty potholes of the A342.

Recap: As our heroes head out into the big, wide world and have shaken off the seagull obsessed councillor at Matalan, Yellowhead has pointed out the standard procedure for repairing potholes in the county of Miltshire, and it’s fair to say, it’s quite longwinded. Out story continues, for what it’s worth….


Councillor Yellowhead snarled at the lack of people parking in the Market Place, as he dismounted his lard from the van. Potential revenue was being lost here, Yellowhead made a mental note, tripling the parking fees would be the best solution, and he need add it to his notes for the next meeting.

From the safety of the driver’s seat, Briggs peered out in wonderment at the goings on in Davizes Market Place, while Chief Councillor Yellowhead ventured outside to fetch some light refreshments. Briggs observed a bus leaving the stop, how pensioners on it seemed to wear their facemasks as chinstraps, and they sneezed on students on the seats in front while brandishing them for not social distancing.

Other than the odd passer-by, and I mean odd, not much was happening. The only gathering appeared to be centred around a tacky layer of fake grass akin to what fruit and veg market stalls used. A few pub benches were busy with coffee drinkers, chatting happily away and breathing carbon monoxide from the few passing cars with affluent drivers able to afford the parking fees. Others circled the town endlessly looking for a free parking spot on-street. Some only popped in for a loaf of bread, the cost of which would be quadrupled if they had to pay the minimum hour parking fee. Others could not understand how to use a smart phone to pay for the parking, ergo no other option was available.

Briggs recalled the memo, it was something the Council promised to fix, maybe, he figured with no clue of his impending fate, when he passes his training, and became a real councillor it was something he could raise at a meeting.

Yellowhead returned laughing hysterically and pointing profusely at a small child who had tripped on the fake grass, which was curled up at the edges. A dog had just urinated on the exact same spot minutes before. He struggled back in the van launching a brown paper bag at Briggs and waving two bottles. “Here you go, partner!” he smiled, “a pheasant and truffle bake, and two bottles of Bollinger!”

Briggs looked surprised. “Is that your definition of light refreshment?”

“You’re not wrong, the foie gras and swan bakes were overpriced and my expenses form is already maxed. Just thank the good lord Enoch Powell no snowflake Corbyn legionnaire recognised me; they’ve still got their knickers in a twist over the traffic lights system on the London Road in this pathetic market town.”

“It just needs a filter light for the traffic heading right,” Briggs observed.

Yellowhead snatched the pheasant bake back. “Watch your step young trainee, we’ve not got that kind of cash lying around for filter lights,” he warned. “Now, head out towards the proposed new railway station site, there’s a good fellow. We need to prioritise the potholes closer to my house first.”          

Briggs shrugged, he wanted to sit and admire the fake grass and white picket fence, which didn’t look at all out of place in a historic and idyllic town centre, not one bit. Yellowhead noted the direction of his gaze. “Ghastly, isn’t it?” he sniggered. “That’s the lively entertainment space those nonces at the town council were forced to put up to keep keyboard warriors from losing their shit over, and still, they lose their shit over it.”

He belly-laughed, “And they call themselves Guardians! Ha, of all things; Guardian readers more like! Meanwhile we rake in parking fees,” with a huff he scanned the lack of parking in the Market Place, and the traffic building to find on-street free slots, “least that was the plan; bloody freeloaders.”

“Why they ever accepted your ultimatum, I mean acquisition of duties, sir, is beyond me,” Briggs laughed. “I mean, you just gave them control of all the shit bits Miltshire Council couldn’t be arsed to take responsibly for!”

Yellowhead popped the champagne and lugged at the bottle top, clearing quarter of the contents before coming up for air. With a burp he noted, “precisely Briggs, have your bake back. Because, young padwan, they’re do-gooding busy-bodies with the political awareness of a hedgehog, in command of an indoctrinated majority willing to blindly conform to Tory totalitarianism. Putty in our hands, Briggs, putty I say.”

“They crave more power; we say they can have control of the swings in the playpark but you must raise two thousand K in parking fees annually; it’s a win-win, really is!” He took another gulp of Bollinger, “the land out in Rude, by example, Furry-long Close, worth a fucking a mint, but houses adults with so-called learning disabilities. Adults, for crying out loud into Nigel Farage’s blessed lap, if they’ve not adjusted to real life yet the losers never will. So, we close the facility, blame the charity, and send them out into the real world; it’s easy to convince the majority here it’s in their best interest.”

Yellowhead projected his arm across the windscreen, encouraging Briggs to look at the view beyond.  “Look around you, Briggs, look at these imbeciles; the Furry-long Close residents will blend in just fine, and the land is ours for seven thousand luxury homes, and four affordable one bed flats. I’m on for a new stable if we pull this off, the old couple are looking a bit dated. You’re welcome to come visit once the pandemic is over, I’ll have some guttering jobs for you.”

Briggs just shrugged, and drove on.

Past the school, Yellowhead continued his rant. “Houses, houses, houses, Briggs my dear fellow, take heed, rich people need houses too. Look at the size of that sports field, and for what, I ask you? Most kids are obese anyway, what do they need a sports field for, dropping empty packets of Wotzits on? They can’t even vote! No, lower the school budget, I say, and the council are mostly unanimous, make them pay for their repairs by selling off that land. The Constabulary headquarters too. Protected wildlife they cry. Why? Tress and fields and country walks, so dog-walkers can hang doggie poo bags on trees?”

Briggs just shrugged, and drove on.      

“Look around you now,” Yellowhead demanded, “and tell me what you see?”

“Farmland?” Briggs answered, though wondered why he bothered.

“Are you drinking that plonk?” Yellowhead asked, snatching it from the driver and launching his empty bottle out of the window. “I see potential! A railway station, so our lustrous MP Danny Cougar can get to Westminster, a business park, alive with industry, a tunnel under every monument so tourists don’t get a sneak peek of it without paying, a velodrome, Briggs, think about it my boy, a velodrome, a monorail, glass tubes vacuuming people to work, a space shuttle launchpad, the possibilities are endless.”

“Affordable homes too, sir? Homeless shelter?”

“Don’t be a dreamer, Briggs,” Yellowhead snarled, “we don’t have a bottomless pit of funding.”

As ordered Briggs pulled the van over. The potholes here resembled an asteroid impact zone. “This will save us some pennies,” Yellowhead observed, “something to do other than blasted Zoom meetings. Cut out the middleman, Highways Agency are a hinderance on our budget,” he stated as he gulped Briggs’ Bollinger. “If a job’s worth doing…. Now, get out and spray a yellow circle around that one!”

Briggs got out to paint the circle, despite not be trained. Yellowhead followed suit, to fart. Briggs opened the van’s rear doors and climbed inside to fetch the spray paint canisters. Upon his return he looked rather flushed, but Yellowhead failed to notice it. A gull, of all things, had descended upon him and was frantically fluttering around his head. He shoed it off with his arm, when a random and unsolicited thought occurred to him: find love for your fellow man, and take heed of all god’s creatures, for they may hold a message for you.

Yellowhead questioned his own thoughts as he scared the gull away, mumbled something about leftie snowflakes invading his psyche via telepathy being the final straw, and yelped, “Nora! Where are you when we need you the most?!”

“It’s quite a deep one,” Briggs observed the pothole, despite it was filled with water, so hard to tell exactly how deep. “Maybe pop a cone in it?”

“Yes, yes, whatever!” belched Yellowhead, the kerfuffle and also, the fresh air taking effect on his drunkenness.

Briggs dropped the cone in the centre of the pothole. It floated for a matter of seconds and then sank out of sight into the muddy puddle. “Oh, it is deep,” he noted.

“Get that cone out of there!” Yellowhead demanded as he retched up pheasant chunks. “We’ve not the cash lying around to lose a cone.”

Briggs hesitated, then attempted to straddle the puddle, but it was too large. His right foot went partly in, and so he naturally extended his left foot outwards into the centre. Next thing Yellowhead noted was Briggs completely disappearing under the water. “For the love of Thatcher!” he moaned to himself, and pulled his phone from his pocket. “Yes, it’s me,” he reported, “yes, I will fill out the minutes to the last meeting as soon as I get back. Sorry? Yes, on a mission, yes. Look, this is an emergency, I need a new junior councillor sent out, one with some water wings.”

There was a cold silence as Yellowhead listened aghast to his superior. He tutted at Briggs’ stupidity, but supposed he asked for it, his naivety cost him his life out here. It was untamed territory, life was hard. He wasn’t completely inhumane, and he mourned the boy’s death for the best part of ten seconds. “What do you mean, the one I’ve got? He’s an idiot, sir, with all due…….”

Another cold silence as Yellowhead listened, even more aghast. He gulped, “erm, drowned sir, in a pothole……Have I what, sir? Well, no, I erm…. Now see here, you cannot seriously be propo…. Yes…… Yes, I know that, but……paperwork, sir, liable?…… Okay, okay, I will see what I can do!”

With that Yellowhead sighed like he’s never sighed before, not even when Tony Blair outlawed fox hunting. He waddled reluctantly to the van, cursing under his breath that lefty altruists had infiltrated the top hierarchy of Miltshire Council and plagued it with a sickening level of compassion. Once there he thrust open the van door, examined the contents of the footwell, considered the quarter-full bottle of Bollinger, exhaled, and selected Nora’s machine-gun.

Waddling over as close to edge the pothole as he could bear, still complaining, he pushed the barrel of the gun into the puddle. “Briggs!” he bellowed, “Grab hold of this!” That was when the gun accidently went off. It had a kick harder than Yellowhead’s hunting rifle, and stunned, it knocked him backwards.

Unaware, perhaps due to his levels of intoxication, that a spray-can obstructed his path, and rolled under his left foot, Yellowhead then fell forwards with a cry out to Churchill to save him, and with a splash he entered headlong into the water.

Tumbling and frantic he gurgled under the water, scrambling to find the edge, but failing. All he discovered was a sunken traffic cone, which promptly bobbed away. The surface seemed unattainable as he gasped for air and the scene fell into a ghostly dark black.


How will our heroes survive the devastating predicament of sinking into a gigantic pothole on the A342, if they have, and would you really want them to, anyway? How much more would it have really cost to put some decking in the Market Place, rather than tacky fake grass? How can you have any faith the council will build these extravagant projects, like spaceship launchpads and train stations, when it cannot even fix a pothole? Find out, or not, next week, on The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead: The Case of the Pam-Dimensional Pothole!


Trending…….

McDonalds Coming to Devizes….

Yes, you read it right, it’s been confirmed in a Devizes Town Council Zoom meeting this week, permission has been granted after decades of rejections, to build a McDonalds restaurant on the outskirts of town, and work could be starting as early as July.

In an exclusive conversation with MP for the Devizes district, Danny Kruger said he is delighted at the news. “With the Devizes Gateway station proposal looking likely,” Mr Kruger explained, “this will be of great benefit to the town’s economy, will provide jobs for local chavs, thickos and acne-covered juvenile delinquents, and will also fill in all the potholes along the main road with discarded slices of pickles.”

“Face it,” he continued as if someone cared, “no one is going to stop off to visit Devizes if they look out of the train window and see the Lydeway as it currently stands; all muddy fields and an elderly trailer trash park. No, people need to see the golden arches, they need to know they can get a Big Mac, or a Fillet o’ Fish. Heck, when I get back from Westminster, all I crave is a nice Twirl McFlurry, but no, not here, pal; whad up wid dat shit?” 

Danny K is Lovin’ It; you will too!

Despite the train station project not being complete until a predicted 2025, local franchiser and entrepreneur, Mr Michael Hunt of The Bottom, Urchfont has pushed for development of the land surrounding the site into a multi-purpose entertainment complex, with many other facilities, including chain restaurants Wagamama and Nandos, as well as a multiplex cinema, and an American style bowling arena, with a regular free bus service from the town centre and surrounding villages. But, for Mr Hunt, construction of the McDonalds is paramount and prioritised. “I’ve given the Town Council an ultimatum,” he claimed, “build a Maccy D’s now, or businesses will shift out of the area long before the first train stops here.”

Asked if Mr Hunt is laying down a rather rigid and uncompromising petition to the Council, who have rejected many past proposals of having the fast-food giants in town, Mr Kruger replied, “No way, Mike Hunt is a softy. Anyone can enter [the debate] and slip their piece into it.”

Therefore, local busy-body Liam Wallis, no stranger to a burger or three himself, has set up a steering group on Facebook, The Devizes McIssue, here, where tory partisans can air their views, but has warned members of the group he won’t stand for personal attacks on the businessman, who is known for making outlandish claims. “I love his proposal of having a McDonalds,” he cried, “but many locals see my Mike Hunt and laugh. I will not have Mike Hunt compromised, if people come to stick two fingers up,” he demanded, “they will be banned from the group.”

Clerk for the Town Council has spoken negatively about the idea, but feels they have no choice. “We don’t think it’s time to change our traditionist ethos and move with the times. But Mike Hunt is big, and hairy, and everyone on the council is afraid. He’s not just some tittering schoolboy blogger’s running joke wearing very thin, and one which, I might add, will undoubtedly get him in a lot of trouble. He is a risk to everything we stand for, and Chick-o-Land. I went to a McDonalds once, when I was about twenty- eight, or was that The Michelin star Hand & Flowers in Marlow? Oh, whatever, they gave me this cheap plastic toy with my meal, and it broke within five minutes of playing with it and I cried all the way home, and my mum told me off. Is that the kind of fiasco we need for our children?”

You can join the Facebook debate group, and give your views, by clicking here. Perhaps you think a McDonalds is well peng and you is lovin’ it, or is as unlikely as a train station, or maybe symbolic of an undesirable insignia of mass US commercialisation, an institute of Satan, or maybe you just prefer the gravy in KFC.

Or perhaps, you’re bitter because I led you up a garden path and everything I’ve said, if you’ve bothered to read this far, is simply an April Fool’s joke, and now, right, you’ve got a craving for a thick shake. Well, friend, you’ve gotta, like, get out of your onesie to drive to the Sham, else chance an underpaid Deliveroo driver will enter our Tory haven with gun-toting rednecks waiting to pick them off in the hills of Bromham.

Oh, and if you get to the Sham, be sure to adhere to the local tradition of jettisoning your mountain of waste packaging out of the passenger window onto the leafy lane of a quiet, unsuspecting village at three in the morning, you know, so your mum doesn’t see it and tell you off. Yeah, I like your cut G, you is Chuck Norris gangsta. Big up Danny K for gittin’ us a golden arches!


The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead: The Case of the Pam-Dimensional Pothole Chapter Two.

Chapter Two: in which we meet the gunman, and Councillor Yellowhead heads out for the mission.

Thought I’d present a weekly story feature, for Sunday entertainment during lockdown…. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Read the first chapter here, if you missed it, else carry on reading for a recap…..

Recap: meeting our intrepid hero, the firm-but-fair Councillor Yellowhead and his trusty sidekick, Grant Briggs at Miltshire County Hall, the chief councillor expressed he had an important mission, but spent too much time insulting the enlisted men, arguing on his state-of-the-art Nokia with the Chief Crime Commissioner, and generally being an arse, to reveal the nature of the mission. Then, a mysterious lone gunman entered the quarters to fire off a machine gun. That’s about the short of it. Our story continues……. 


In the aftermath of machinegun fire, a stony hush filled the quarters, and through the dense smoke, a petite woman appeared. Emotionally frozen, the enlisted men gazed up to her from their hiding places, behind the beds of their dormitory. Councillor Yellowhead pouted in disbelief and turned to his imaginary camera to address it. “Really? Strong female characters now; what depths of depraved political correctness and predictable cliché will this story descend to? It’s becoming nearly as leftie-snowflake as Star Trek Discovery.”

Lowering her machinegun to her side, the strong female character required for this politically correct story sucked her bottom lip and growled, “where are they?!”

“Where are who, Nora Fayes?” Yellowhead inquired sarcastically.

She stormed up to him, aiming the barrel of the gun at his nose, a tiny amount of yellow puss dribbled out of it. “You know full well who, the seagulls! I saw them coming this way. If I have to go through you to get to them, so be it!”

“This is becoming something of an obsession for you, councillor,” Yellowhead uncompromising expressed, raising his face from his palm. “You did your public survey, you’ve announced your abhorrence for gulls, and still fail to note, despite umpteen amendments to the minutes of numerous meetings, there’s no such thing as seagulls, just gulls. We are inland, councillor, do not let Bythesea Road fool you, it doesn’t mean it’s actually by the sea. We are not harbouring birds of any species, here in the enlisted men’s quarters, much to their reasonable disappointment. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we are very busy. My colleague here, and I are preparing for a mission of high priority!”

Slightly insanely, and continuing to aim her rifle at the chief, she circled him, “you don’t look like RSPB, but you cannot trust anyone.” Nora took Brigg’s collar by the fist and curled him closer to her. As he gawked in shock, she popped a small pill into his mouth and spoke sincerely to Briggs. “They’re everywhere, infiltrating their way into society. Do not trust anyone, especially if they have bird poop on their shoulder. If captured do not repeat what I am telling you, if they interrogate you, bite down on this pill, it’s cyanide!”

“Erm,” responded Briggs, “thanks, I think.”

“Pay her no attention, Briggs,” Yellowhead ordered, “she’s cuckoo.”

“Where?!” demanded Nora, spinning to reface Yellowhead, her gun aimlessly free to wander. “Where’s the cuckoo, if I can’t bag me a seagull, I’ll make do with a cuckoo, I’ll paint the fucker white!”

“You are insane, quite clearly!” suggested Yellowhead.

“You are the one who lives in Cuckoo Close,” she accused the chief, and he couldn’t deny it.

“I happen to like Urchfunk,” he informed her, “a place so posh, even the road signs are thatched!”

“I saved a Miltshire Council owned children’s playpark in the village of Rude, from dangerous dilapidations by convincing the parish council to take it sold as seen, with our blood money,” she reminded him, “whereas Urchfunk gets its own doggie playground ten times the size, and better equipped; where is the justice in that?!”

Yellowhead frowned and took hold of the barrel, pointing it to his temple. “Do it, Nora, and my ghost will see to it that it never gets a slide, and the bouncy chicken replaced. There will be not so much as a tacky noughts and crosses block plaything! Playgrounds have always been, and will continue to be as long as I am in command of Miltshire Council, covered in bird shit. It helps build a child’s immune system. Seagulls are a major contributor to this. Now, should you not reconsider and defer, then you just jolly well open fire!”

Nora trembled in fear, weighing her options as the barrel wobbled under her anxiety. The tension was at its apex, Yellowhead encouraged her. “Go on then, Fayes, pull that trigger, finish me for good; you know you want to!”

She thought again, of the paperwork involved, and lowered the gun. Yellowhead snatched it off her. “Ha! Strong female character indeed,” he bellowed with laughter, slapping her behind. “Now jog along, and don’t worry your pretty little face about the gulls. There must be something that needs a good scrub around here, or you could join Hannah Curthbart, she’s finally turned up for work and is doing the dishes in the kitchen.”

She scurried off, as Yellowhead threw the gun on Grant’s cot. “Take this with us, Briggs, it may come in handy when dealing with leftie terrorists subverted into the general public.”

“That was well handled, sir,” Briggs thought it proper to say, despite not believing it himself. If he wasn’t so profuse forming his own opinions, he would be ideal for total conservative emersion, his lie proved this. 

“Thank you,” Yellowhead replied, grasping him on the shoulder in a friendly manner, “I’m warming to you, Briggs, I must say. To think we’ll be out there, in the field together, fighting the good fight.” As he said this, he begun to take off his uniform. “We leave no man behind, Briggs, no retreat, no surrender. We will fight aside each other, eat from the same can, sleep cold nights on the same makeshift beds.”

Briggs considered biting on the cyanide.

“I think you’ll find, Briggs,” Yellowhead continued whilst changing, “when I’m out in the field and the assignment is complete, I tend to let my hair down a bit, you know. We may just get along yet.”

Briggs sighed, “I’m sorry sir, I find that very hard to… oh, you’re wearing hot pants?”

Yellowhead stood proudly displaying a tiny bump in his snug florescent-coloured short shorts, barely visible at all under the folds of dense tummy bulge. “We have to blend in with the natives,” he publicised. “What do you think, Briggs, no flattery cos I’m the boss, I don’t tolerate brown-tonguing, give me your honest opinion; Dwayne Johnson, yes?”

“More Boris Johnson,” Briggs heaved.

“So critical of fashion,” came the retort, though Yellowhead took it as a compliment.

“It’s just, well, there’s a tad too much flesh on show, sir,” Grant appraised, “this is rural Miltshire, not California. Maybe try a flat cap, green wellies and a Barbour jacket, I mean, if you wish to blend in.”

With that Yellowhead grunted in agreement and instructed Briggs to get the cones and paint. In no time at all he paced the pavement of county hall’s carpark, eyeing a van. Briggs arrived shortly after, laden with cones, spray-paint cans and followed by an irate Nora Fayes. “Gimmie back my gun!” she demanded, “there be seagulls out here, I’m coming with you!”

“You most certainly are not!” commanded Yellowhead. “Load the van, Briggs.”

He clambered into the passenger seat and readjusted his aging posturer, “run along, Fayes, polish the cupboards or whatever it is you women do around here.”

Briggs got into the driver’s seat and started the engine. “Where are we going to?”

“I don’t wish to shock you Briggs, but we’re heading towards Davizes!”

“This gets worse,” Briggs noted, as he pulled out of the carpark. Salivating, Nora leap onto the bonnet, screaming something inaudible about gulls.

“For Christ’s sake, don’t you ever give up?” cried Yellowhead. He mouthed through the windscreen, “we are not hunting gulls, now get off of the van, you silly moo!”

The town centre was void of life, hardly anyone wandered the streets. Not that Briggs could see much, moving his head up and down as Nora bounced around the bonnet, clutching onto the windscreen wipers for dear life. “Drop her off at the shops!” ordered the chief, pointing to a Matalan superstore. Briggs swerved and Nora flew off the bonnet at great speed.

Yellowhead checked the back wheel by thrusting his head outside of the window. Given he felt no bump, he was distraught. “Reading between the lines is a councillor’s number one crucial skill, Briggs. You failed to run her over and finish her off, potentially leaving this story open for a sequel!”

“Really?” Briggs answered, “that’s a bit much!”

“I beg to differ,” Yellowhead said, as he produced a chart from his briefcase. “You get twenty points for a councillor with a tendency to get things done effectively, despite being a Tory. See here, the tally. Fifty points for an immigrant, same for a darkie or a crusty, seventy-five for a single mother with child.”

“Who are you, Frankenstein from Death Race 2000 now?” Briggs inquired, “that’s sick! No wonder you don’t want the pavements widened!”

“Not at all, Briggs, as I told the Gazelle and Herod, I like living in country roads and I like living in country villages with little lanes. I’ve got no pavements at all where I live whatsoever, that’s the way I like it.”

“So you can mow down dissidents?”

“It was just a joke, Briggs,” Yellowhead irritably explained, “you do realise it was just a joke? Upholding tradition is why we don’t need silly pavements things, and anyway, we don’t have single mothers, immigrants or wogs in Urchfunk. You see what I mean, Briggs, about me letting my hair down when out in the field? Laughing and joking is what I’m all about.”

A cold silence followed, until Briggs broke it in his best sarcastic tone. “You could get booked for the Brexit Festival with a comedy routine like that, sir. God knows, they need some acts besides Morrisey.”  

Avoiding suspected sardonic overtones, Yellowhead slipped a compact disc into the radio, “ah, you like music?”

Briggs sighed, expecting the worst. Yellowhead begun to sing, encouraging Briggs to do likewise. “And did those feet in ancient time,” he bellowed out of time and tune, at the top of his voice. “Walk upon England’s mountains green!”

“Could I ask what the nature of our,” Briggs swallowed, “mission, erm, is, sir?”

“Not now,” Yellowhead replied, plucking his Adam’s apple, “and was the holy Lamb of God, On England’s pleasant pastures seen! And did the Countenance Divine, shine forth upon our clouded hills?!”

“Please, sir?” Briggs wasn’t too proud to beg. Not understanding why anyone would want to build Jerusalem here, anyway, but mostly because he wanted Yellowhead to stop the hymn, more desperately than anything he had ever wanted before.

It was at the point of “bring me my chariot of fire!” when the front tyre bounced up and took the van slightly off-guard, the back wheel then struck the same obstruction. “What in the good name of Nigel Farage was that, Briggs?!” Yellowhead exclaimed.

“Just a pothole,” Briggs observed.

“I’ve never experienced one quite that badly,” Yellowhead followed.

“In fairness, you probably wouldn’t have,” Briggs offered, “in your Land Rover Discovery, sir.”

“Not even in the Porsche Cayenne,” Yellowhead added. “Little wonder why there’s a tendency for the chavs to complain. I mean, I can’t understand why they’d not just get themselves a Porsche Cayenne like me, but ours is not to reason why, Briggs. Is this Davizes? We should stop, get some light refreshments.”

“Quite sir,” the sarcasm doubling with every reply Grant made, “makes one wonder. But I’m fine sir, I don’t need a drink.”

“Nonsense, on the drinks! Good on the notion!” Yellowhead nodded, “I’m glad we agree on that much, young Briggs. You see, you asked as to the nature of the mission, and quite accidently, but also literally, you fell right into it! As you know, Briggs, the procedure when a member,” he huffed in anger at the thought of having to say the word, “of the public complains about a pothole, is to file it until such a time we receive over a hundred or so similar complaints regarding the same pothole. A report can then be drawn out and raised at the next monthly meeting. If all councillors agree the matter should be addressed a report will be extracted from the minutes and filed. Once the file reaches over a hundred or so reports the issue can be raised once more at the monthly meeting. If all councillors agree the matter of the matters of files should be addressed, then a vote is taken. If the vote is successful, a councillor is drawn out of the hat to file a report and raise the issue that the Highways Agency need to be contacted, at the next monthly meeting. If all councillors agree the matter of matters should be addressed, and the Highways Agency need to be contacted, a report will be extracted from the minutes and Highways Agency will be contacted. After the supplement report to the Highways Agency is complete, it will be raised at the next monthly meeting that the supplement report to the Highways Agency is complete, and they will file a report to send a worker to the pothole, in a van, and he will assess the significance of the pothole and carry out a risk assessment. That assessment will be sent back to the council to be assessed, and should the funds become available, it will be raised at the next monthly meeting, and voted on. If the vote is successful, and all councillors agree the matter of matters should be addressed, and the Highways Agency has been contacted satisfactorily, then they will file a report back to the Highway Agency, who will send another worker out in a van to spray-paint a yellow circle around the pothole, or if it’s significantly deep, he will pop a traffic cone in it. Now, the confusion comes when all councillors have agreed, but the file…….”

“Sir!” Briggs protested, “I’ve, erm, changed my mind, I would like a drink after all.”


Will our intrepid heroes ever reach Davizes, without boring themselves into an early grave, reciting council procedures? Will Councillor Nora Fayes ever get to kill a seagull in cold blood again? And why the hell can’t a pavement be widened for safety purposes because it doesn’t fit in with the traditional looking village roadside, but a Hermes driver can dump his van in the middle of the green? Will we find out next week in: The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead: The Case of the Pam-Dimensional Pothole!    

The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead: The Case of the Pam-Dimensional Pothole

Thought I’d present a weekly story feature, for Sunday entertainment during lockdown…. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Chapter One; in which we meet our intrepid hero and his trusty sidekick Briggs in the enlisted men’s quarters at Miltshire County Hall.

The wooden door splintered off its hinges and the clammer reverberated through the galleries of County Hall on Bythesea Road. Which, incidentally isn’t actually by the sea at all, given Miltshire is landlocked.

It was however, of slight relevance to this tale, that during the week-long monsoon season Englishmen refer to as “spring,” the county’s low marshland looked akin to a coastal resort at high tide. It is also of average importance to note, the setting for this story begins at the headquarters of a county council duly responsible for over-filling the obligation to build umpteen affordable housing estates, but tends to build them on said floodplains. Why is only a matter for their attention, and to fathom reason, is merely speculation, but the general ethos portrayed in this wholly fictional fable by aforementioned councillors might provide a clue…. I said might.

“Stand by your beds, you yellow-bellied imbeciles!” roared the broad-breasted fellow, the volume of which twitching his full moustache. He paraded the surprised junior councillors as they hurried to attention, each at the foot of their cots, and he allowed what remained of the door to collapse onto the deck.

With sharp efficiency he snapped his pace stick under his left arm, flush with the limb, and paced ardently through the aisle. He abruptly extended it to prod the nearest enlisted man to him, in the belly. It wobbled, but only slightly.

“And, why is your vest not tucked into your briefs, you scruffy oaf?!”

“Sorry, sir,” the youngster stumbled on his words, at least he was young compared to Yellowhead, at about forty-three.

“Do I have a name, cadet?” Yellowhead bellowed.

“Yes sir!”

“Would you care to address me with it, or do I have to insert this brass baton into the anal region of your brain? It’s not a task I take lightly, but feel it’s critical to add to this week’s agenda.”

“No, thank you, Councillor Yellowbeard, sir!”

Chief Councillor Yellowhead projected his face so close to the enlisted man’s, he could feel the whiskers of his moustache niggling his cheek. Yellowhead snarled at the boy. “Then, pray tell me,” he whispered, “why is your vest not tucked into your briefs, as is the compulsory unform requirement for all junior councillors?”

“I, erm, just woke, sir…” he fumbled the words.

“Woke? Woke, young man?” Yellowhead questioned, “are you woke, cadet?”

“Am I, sorry, what?” the cadet muttered in confusion.

“Woke,” Yellowhead repeated, “I know you know I know what it means in your youthful street slang, cadet, do not play the innocent with me! You mean to suggest you’re a leftie extremist, Corbyn’s vest-licking snowflake dissent and unpatriotic partisan, don’t you?!”

“Oh, right; no sir, just that I literally just woke up.”

Yellowhead scanned his expression with his beady eyes, in an attempt to detect any signals of traitorship. But all he perceived was an indoctrinated devotion to the cause, equal to those icons he admired the most, Churchill, Thatcher and the contemporary Boris Johnson. Aching to note a sign of reformist tenet, so he could take his stress out on the individual, he sighed, and turned on his foot. “Good, cadet; you know the penalty for treason.” Unsaid, the punishment was suspected by the enlisted men to be to kiss the aging backside of Theresa May, right in the crack. The cadet shuddered at the thought, a true test to his dedication, should it not prove to be hearsay.

Meanwhile Councillor Yellowhead marched on down the aisle, scorning each man standing to attention by their cots. His Nokia 3310 rang and the councillor fumbled his pocket to locate it.  He frowned and answered, “Yes, what now, MacFurryson, I’m really rather busy?!”

Some inaudible but apparently irate chatter flowed out of the phone’s speaker; Yellowhead listened and responded, “….and what, you want another medal, police crime commissioner? May I just enquire what your men were doing at Swan Meadow in order to cap……”

Yellowhead hesitated, and huffed his anger. Steam from his ears reduced the redness surrounding his pus-face. “Look, Fungus, or whatever your name is, I expressly told you to order your men to guard the King Alfred statue in Poosea, and now you tell me they’re gallivanting the council estates, arresting a known rapist? What if Black, or even Nordic Lives Matter scum try to tear the statue down? Is the 878AD Battle of Edlington, and Alfred the Great’s honour sacred no more; would you not care one iota if EU militia invaded, bringing their croissants, French onion soup and filth like that? Fungus? Huh?”

The line fell silent.

“Yes,” Yellowhead huffed, “I thought as much. Now, quit conforming to woke-obsessed leftie philanthropists; historically sexual attacks have always occurred, yes, they’re sad, but unfortunately the problem will never go away, whereas if we lose the statues our pride in England is lost, FOREVER!” The chief councillor let out a heavy sigh and addressed his phone once again, “we’ve had several meetings about this, MacFurryson, where you confirmed your allegiance to conservatism, now let’s hear some it coming through, okay?!”

Whimpering could be heard from the phone’s speaker.

Out of character, Yellowhead was sympathetic. “I’m on your side,” he snivelled, “honestly, Fungas, except when you allowed silliness, like adding rainbow colours to the Miltshire police Facebook page logo. Look, you’ve only got till May and you can retire; remember the condo we promised, eh, remember the conservatory, the chocolate-box cottage? Well, then, listen, there, there; I’ve got to dash old friend, talk soon.” With that the chief councillor threw the phone into his pocket.

“I need someone I can trust,” he asserted his dominance over the enlisted men, “for an imperative mission behind enemy lines.”

The men gasped in horror. “You mean,” one dared to utter, “outside? Out there?”

“Yes, cadet!” the chief councillor snarled, snapping his head around to see who muttered. His head was, as his name suggested, one giant, pus-filled zit, ready to detonate if just one of these imbecilic straight-out-of college plebes squeezed his patience too far. “I’m fully aware due to the pandemic you have not been allowed out since last year, but I’m old enough to have been vaccinated, twice, so it matters not that you will accompany me on this mission, you have to come to terms with your expendability. Outside contractors are clenching the budget, and complaints have been raised by,” Yellowhead shuddered with mere mention of them, “by, by the general public.”

He turned to face a randomly selected skinny fellow and launched his baton outwards towards him, “You!”

“Me?”

“Yes, you boy! State your name and rank!”

“Briggs, sir, Grant; trainee liaison officer!”

“Liaison eh? Perfect, you will be adequate. Report to supplies immediately, request some traffic cones and yellow spray paint,” Yellowhead announced, “and call your wife, tell her you may not be home until after teatime, if at all!” He then turned and pouted at an imaginary camera, “there’s a savage world out there, wrought with danger and perilous unknown, erm, things, and we have to face it with a sense of hope once more……”

“Really?” mumbled Briggs in jest.

“…. Think Calne,” Yellowhead acutely juddered, “but worse….”

For the first time, mild-mannered Briggs was afraid.

“You should be grateful, Briggs, you’ve been selected to brave the fresh Miltshire air, if this bunker had windows, you’d note it is spring. But you should also note, it will test every section of your training here at Bythesea Road.”

“One question, sir,” Briggs inquired, “if I may?”

“If you must, cadet,” annoying muttered Yellowhead.

“Why do they call it Bythesea Road, then, sir, when, you know….?”

“Did training meetings not cover this?” Yellowhead tousled, “perhaps it’s top secret, but seeing as you’re coming on this mission, there’s some details you need to know…” He leaned in close to Briggs, his foul breath whisked up Brigg’s nostrils, and Briggs winced. Ensuring no other enlisted man could hear, Yellowhead whispered, “all part of an experiment, to see if the, the damn public of Miltshire are intelligent enough to detect our lies. Create a bleeding obvious one, see if they notice Trow Vegas is landlocked and the road cannot possibly be by the sea at all, and if not, which I’m pleased to inform you was hugely efficacious, it gives us license to propagate and spread as much bullshit and fabrications as we see fit; we can fib till our hearts content, they buy it every time.”

“Genius!” Briggs sparked.

“Precisely,” Yellowhead grimaced for the first time, the closest he came to smiling. “This is why we flush out any leftie terrorists infiltrating our council, their schmaltz compassion and nauseating morality is treacherous, they’ll whine-hole health and safety regulations like biblical passages. Be warned, Briggs, insiders lurk in these corridors, tell no one of your mission, fetch the cones and spray paint, take out anyone who might be wearing a charity shop brown suit, and return with your life; clear?”

“Crystal, Sir!” replied Briggs, but as he started on his journey, the sound of machine-gun fire reverberated around the quarters. In a murky haze few of the enlisted men noted the scant figure standing heroically in the doorway, clasping a smoking machine gun, dropping a cigar end to the floor, and extinguishing it with a hefty boot. Most of the men hit the deck, else cowered behind their cots, but all of them quivered in fear, as Councillor Yellowhead turned to face the mysterious intruder.

Who is the mysterious gunman? Will Yellowhead and Briggs escape with their lives, if not for the reason stated, why the hell is it really called Bythesea Road, when it’s about as far away from the sea as possible? All might yet be revealed next week, in The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead……

Read Chapter 2, here.

Devizine’s Review of 2020; You Can’t Polish a Turd!

On Social and Political Matters……

For me the year can be summed up by one Tweet from the Eurosceptic MEP and creator of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage. A knob-jockey inspired into politics when Enoch Powell visited his private school, of which ignored pleas from an English teacher who wrote to the headmaster encouraging him to reconsider Farage’s appointed prefect position, as he displayed clear signs of fascism. The lovable patriot, conspiring, compulsive liar photographed marching with National Front leader Martin Webster in 1979, who strongly denies his fascist ethos despite guest-speaking at a right-wing populist conference in Germany, hosted by its leader, the granddaughter of Adolf Hitler’s fiancé; yeah, him.

He tweeted “Christmas is cancelled. Thank you, China.” It magically contains every element of the utter diabolical, infuriating and catastrophic year we’ve most likely ever seen; blind traditionalist propaganda, undeniable xenophobia, unrefuted misinformation, and oh yes, the subject is covid19 related.

And now the end is near, an isolated New Year’s Eve of a year democracy prevailed against common sense. The bigoted, conceited blue-blooded clown we picked to lead us up our crazy-paved path of economic self-annihilation has presented us with an EU deal so similar to the one some crazy old hag, once prime minster delivered to us two years back it’s uncanny, and highly amusing that Bojo the clown himself mocked and ridiculed it at the time. I’d wager it’s just the beginning.

You can’t write humour this horrifically real, the love child of Stephen King and Spike Milligan couldn’t.

Still, I will attempt to polish the turd and review the year, as it’s somewhat tradition here on Devizine. The mainstay of the piece, to highlight what we’ve done, covered and accomplished with our friendly website of local entertainment and news and events, yet to holistically interrelate current affairs is unavoidable.

We have even separated the monster paragraphs with an easier, monthly photo montage, for the hard of thinking.

January

You get the impression it has been no walk in the park, but minor are my complaints against what others have suffered. Convenient surely is the pandemic in an era brewing with potential mass hysteria, the need to control a population paramount. An orthornavirae strain of a respiratory contamination first reported as infecting chickens in the twenties in North Dakota, a snip at 10,400km away from China.

Decidedly bizarre then, an entire race could be blamed and no egg fried rice bought, as featured in Farage’s audacious Tweet, being it’s relatively simple to generate in a lab, inconclusively originated at Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, rather spread from there, and debatably arrived via live bat or pangolin, mostly used in traditional Chinese medicine, a pseudoscience only the narrowminded minority in China trusts.

Ah, inconsistent pseudoscience, embellished, unfalsifiable claims, void of orderly practices when developing hypotheses and notably causing hoodwinked cohorts. Yet if we consider blaming an ethos, rather than a race, perhaps we could look closer to home for evidence of this trend of blind irrationality. Truth in Science, for example, an English bunch of Darwin-reputing deluded evangelicals who this year thought it’d be a grand and worthy idea to disguise their creationist agenda and pitch their preposterous pseudoscientific theory that homosexuality is a disease of the mind which can be cured with electro-shock treatment to alter the mind inline with the body’s gender, rather than change the body to suit the mind’s gender orientation, to schoolchildren!

Yep, these bible-bashing fruit-bats, one lower than flat earth theorists actually wrote to headmasters encouraging their homophobia to be spread to innocent minds, only to be picked up by a local headmaster of the LGBTQ community. Here’s an article on Devizine which never saw the light of day. Said that Truth in Science’s Facebook page is chockful with feedback of praise and appreciation, my comments seemed to instantly disappear, my messages to them unanswered. All I wanted was a fair-sided evaluation for an article, impossible if you zip up.

Justly, no one trusts me to paint an unbiased picture. This isn’t the Beeb, as I said in our 2017 annual review: The chances of impartiality here, equals the chances of Tories sticking to their manifesto. Rattling cages is fun, there’s no apologies I’m afraid, if I rattled yours, it just means you’re either mean or misguided.

Herein lies the issue, news travels so fast, we scroll through social media unable to digest and compose them to a greater picture, let alone muster any trust in what we read. I’m too comfortable to reside against the grain, everyone’s at it. I reserve my right to shamelessly side with the people rather than tax-avoiding multinationals and malevolent political barons; so now you know.

February

If you choose to support these twats that’s your own lookout, least someone should raise the alarm; you’d have thought ignoring World Health Organisation advise and not locking down your country until your mates made a packet on horseracing bets is systematic genocide and the government should be put on trial for this, combined with fraud and failure of duty. If not, ask why we’re the worst hit country in the world with this pandemic. Rather the current trend where the old blame the young, the young blame the old, the whites blame the blacks, the thin blame the fat, when none of us paid much attention to restrictions because they were delivered in a confused, nonsensical manner by those who don’t either, and mores to the pity, believe they’re above the calling of oppressive regulations.

If you choose to support these twats, you’re either a twat too, or trust what you read by those standing to profit from our desperation; ergo, twats. Theres no getting away from the fact you reep what you sow; and the harvest of 2020 was a colossal pile of twat.


Onto Devizine…. kind of.

For me what started as a local-based entertainment zine-like blog, changed into the only media I trust, cos I wrote the bollocks! But worser is the general obliteration of controversy, criticism and debate in other media. An argument lost by a conformer is shadowed behind a meme, or followed up with a witch hunt, a torrent of personal abuse and mockery, usually by inept grammar by a knuckle-dragging keyboard warrior with caps-lock stuck on; buy a fucking copy of the Oxford Guide to English Grammar or we’re all going to hell in a beautiful pale green boat.

We’re dangerously close to treating an Orwellian nightmare as a self-help guide, and despite fascists took a knockdown in the USA and common sense prevailed, the monster responded with a childish tantrum; what does this tell you? The simple fact, far right extremism is misled and selfish delinquency which history proves did no good to anyone, ever. Still the charade marches on, one guy finished a Facebook debate sharing a photo of his Boris “get Brexit done” tea-towel. I pondered when the idiot decided a photo of his tea towel would suffice to satisfy his opinion and convince others, before or after the wave of irony washed over his head in calling them Muppets.

I hate the term, it’s offensive. Offensive to Jim Henson’s creations; try snowflake or gammon, both judgemental sweeping generalisations but personally inoffensive to any individual, aside Peppa Pig. I wager you wander through Kent’s lorry park mocking the drivers and calling them snowflakes rather than tweeting; see how far you get.

So, the initial lockdown in March saw us bonded and dedicated, to the cause. We ice-skated through it, developed best methods to counteract the restrictions and still abide by them; it was kind of nice, peaceful and environmentally less impacting. But cracks in the ice developed under our feet, the idea covid19 was a flash in pan, akin to when Blitz sufferers asserted it’d all be over by Christmas, waned as we came to terms, we were in it for the duration.

Yet comparisons to WWII end there, lounging on the sofa for three months with Netflix and desperate peasants delivering essential foodstuff, like oysters, truffles and foie gras is hardly equivalent to the trench warfare of Normandy. Hypocritical is me, not only avoiding isolation as, like a nurse, my labour was temporarily clapped as key worker in March, I figured my site would only get hits if I wrote something about Covid19, and my ignorance to what the future resulted in clearly displayed in spoofy, ill-informed articles, Corona Virus and Devizine; Anyone got a Loo Roll? on the impending panic-buying inclination, and later, I Will Not Bleat About Coronavirus, Write it Out a Hundred Times…

The only thing I maintained in opinion to the subject, was that it should be light-hearted and amusing; fearing if we lose our sense of humour, all is lost. Am I wrong? Probably, it’s been a very serious year.

It was my first pandemic-related mention, hereafter nearly every article paid reference to it, no matter how disparate; it’s the tragedy which occupied the planet. But let’s go back, to oblivious January, when one could shake hands and knew where the pub was. Melksham got a splashpad, Devizes top councillors bleated it wasn’t fair, and they wanted a splashpad too. They planned ripping out the dilapidated brick shithouses on the Green and replacing it with a glorious splashpad, as if they cared about the youth of the town. I reported the feelings of grandeur, Splashpad, I’m all over it, Pal! A project long swept under the carpet, replaced with the delusion we’ll get an affordable railway station. As I said, convenient surely is the pandemic.

So many projects, so many previews of events, binned. Not realising at the time my usual listing, Half Term Worries Over; things to do with little ones during February half-term… would come to an abrupt halt. Many events previewed, the first being the Mayoral Fundraising Events, dates set for the Imberbus, and Chef Peter Vaughan & Indecision’s Alzheimer’s Support Chinese New Year celebration, to name but a few, I’m unaware if they survived or not.

March


On Music……

But it was the cold, early days of winter, when local concerns focused more on the tragic fire at Waiblingen Way. In conjunction with the incredible Liz Denbury, who worked tirelessly organising fundraising and ensuring donations of essentials went to the affected folk, we held a bash in commemoration and aid down that there Cellar Bar; remember?

It was in fact an idea by Daydream Runaways, who blew the low roof off the Cellar Bar at the finale. But variety was the order of the evening, with young pianist prodigy Will Foulstone kicking us off, opera with the amazing Chole Jordan, Irish folk with Mirko and Bran of the Celtic Roots Collective and the acoustic goodness of Ben Borrill. Thanks also has to go to the big man Mike Barham who set up the technical bits before heading off to a paid gig. At the time I vowed this will be the future of our events, smaller but more than the first birthday bash; never saw it coming, insert sad-face emoji.

We managed to host another gig, though, after lockdown when shopping was encouraged by In:Devizes, group Devizes Retailers and Independents, a assemblage of businesses set up to promote reopening of town. We rocked up in Brogans and used their garden to have a summer celebration. Mike set up again, and played this time, alongside the awesome Cath and Gouldy, aka, Sound Affects on their way to the Southgate, and Jamie R Hawkins accompanied Tamsin Quin with a breath-taking set. It was lovely to see friends on the local music scene, but it wasn’t the reopening for live music we anticipated.

Before all this live music was the backbone of Devizine, between Andy and myself we previewed Bradford Roots Music Festival, MantonFest, White Horse Opera’s Spring Concert, Neeld Hall’s Tribute to Eddie Cochran, and the return of Asa Murphy. We reviewed the Long Street Blues Club Weekender, Festival of Winter Ales, Chris O’Leary at Three Crowns, Jon Walsh, Phil Jinder Dewhurst, Mule and George Wilding at The White Bear, Skandal’s at Marlborough’s Lamb, and without forgetting the incredible weekly line-up at the Southgate; Jack Grace Band, Arnie Cottrell Tendency, Skedaddle, Navajo Dogs, Lewis Clark & The Essentials, King Street Turnaround, Celtic Roots Collective, Jamie, Tamsin, Phil, and Vince Bell.

The collection of Jamie R Hawkins, Tamsin Quin and Phil Cooper at the Gate was memorable, partly because they’re great, partly because, it was the last time we needed to refer to them as a collection (save for the time when Phil gave us the album, Revelation Games.) Such was the fate of live music for all, it was felt by their newly organised trio, The Lost Trades, whose debut gig came a week prior to lockdown, at the Pump, which our new writer Helen Robertson covered so nicely.

For me, the weekend before the doom and gloom consisted of a check-in at the Cavy, where the Day Breakers played, only to nip across to Devizes Sports Club, where the incredible Ruzz Guitar hosted a monster evening of blues, with his revue, Peter Gage, Innes Sibun and Jon Amor. It was a blowout, despite elbow greetings, I never figured it’d be the last.

It was a knee-jerk reaction which made me set up a virtual festival on the site. It was radical, but depleted due to my inability to keep up with an explosion of streamed events, where performers took to Facebook, YouTube sporadically, and other sites on a national scale, and far superior tech knowhow took over; alas there was Zoom. I was happy with this, and prompted streaming events such as Swindon’s “Static” Shuffle, and when PSG Choirs Showed Their True Lockdown Colours. Folk would message me, ask me how the virtual festival was going to work, and to be honest, I had no idea how to execute the idea, but it was worth a stab.

One thing which did change, musically, was we lowered our borders, being as the internet is outernational and local bands were now being watched by people from four corners of the world, Devizine began reviewing music sourced worldwide. Fair enough, innit?

The bleeding hearts of isolated artists and musicians, no gigs gave them time on their hands to produce some quality music, therefore our focus shifted to reviewing them, although we always did review records. Early local reviews of 2020 came from NerveEndings with the single Muddy Puddles, who later moved onto an album, For The People. Daydream Runaways’ live version of Light the Spark and Talk in Code’s Like That, who fantastically progressed through lockdown to a defining eighties electronica sound with later singles Taste the Sun and Secret.

We notified you of Sam Bishop’s crowdfunding for a quarantine song, One of a Kind, which was released and followed by Fallen Sky. Albums came too, we covered, Billy Green 3’s Still in January, and The Grated Hits of the Real Cheesemakers followed, With the former, later came a nugget of Billy Green’s past, revealing some lost demos of his nineties outfit, Still, evidently what the album was named after.

Whereas the sublime soul of Mayyadda from Minnesota was the first international artist featured this year, and from Shrewsbury, our review of Cosmic Rays’ album Hard to Destroy extended our presence elsewhere in the UK, I sworn to prioritise local music, with single reviews of Phil Cooper’s Without a Sound, TheTruzzy Boys’ debut Summertime, Courage (Leave it Behind), a new single from Talk in Code, and for Daydream Runaways’ single Gravity we gave them an extensive interview. This was followed by Crazy Stupid Love and compiled for an EP, Dreamlands, proving they’re a band continuously improving.

April