See Behind the Scenes: Open Day at The Wharf Theatre

Saturday April 1st, between 10am and 2pm The Wharf Theatre in Devizes are holding their second ever open day, it’s free and open to all. Whether you’ve been in the theatre before, or not, everyone is welcome to come and see what goes on at the Theatre and what goes into putting on a show…..

There will be a collection of costumes, and guided theatre tours – even to darkest depths of the Wharf visitors don’t usually see, like the tech box and green room.

An entirely free event which will be offering refreshments. If you’re interested in joining the theatre groups, either on the stage or behind the scenes, people will be on hand to chat about the various roles, but even if you fancy popping in for a cuppa and a look around, they’re welcome.

Publicity director Karen said, “following the lockdowns, when it looked for a while that we might not survive, we were saved with the help of the lovely local people who donated to our Just Giving Page, we would like to think that we are the little theatre who the town took to its heart and helped to save.”

Next show at The Wharf is hidden Shakespearean gem, Measure for Measure, running from March 27th to the open day on April 1st. See our preview here.


Danny, Champion of the Food Bank

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

Song of the Week: Lucky Number Seven

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

The First Ever Devizes Pride Announced

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

An Amazing Devizes Concert for Opendoors

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


Danny, Champion of the Food Bank

Featured Image: Bob Naylor/WaterMarx Media

While The Trussell Trust created the first food banks in 2000, under Tony Blair, usage of them rose by a staggering 2,612% during David Cameron’s term as Prime Minister. It didn’t stop him barefacedly posing for a Tweet mucking in with Chipping Norton’s “Chippy Larder.”

Devizes MP Danny Kruger joined the food poverty hypocrisy voting against Marcus Rashford’s campaign to extend free school meals over lockdown. Speaking in defence of ministers’ continuing refusal to U-turn the policy, he reasoned in the Gazette & Herald, “the problem is generous, unconditional, universal benefit entitlements trap people in dependency on the state and rightly enrage people who are working hard for themselves. That’s why I believe in a more flexible, community-led approach to welfare.”

To address local causes of financial hardship, community organiser at Devizes and District Foodbank, Alex Montegriffo, arranged a meeting with Danny Kruger last month, with members of Devizes community, and representatives from local charities; let’s see these “generous, unconditional, universal benefit entitlements,” panning out in the real world, shall we?

One hot topic was people living on houseboats, who’ve not had access to the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme since it began. Out of the estimated 550 people living in houseboats in Wiltshire, only houseboats with a permanent residential mooring are now able to access the fund, leaving regulations for those in non-residential moorings, like marinas, in the dark, literally.

Danny Kruger agreed to write to the Canal and River Trust about using their database of houseboat license fees to distribute the £400 payment, by taking it off license fees, and potentially using their offices as permanent addresses for those with continuous cruising licenses.

Another topic was the insufficiency and lack of flexibility of the social security system, with benefits like Universal Credit often leaving applicants below destitution level. A member of Devizes community spoke, “every day I see my husband come back from work exhausted. He counts all the bills and has said, if prices rise again, he doesn’t know what to do. He uses some of my disability benefit to pay his bills, and then pays me back when he gets paid. That shouldn’t be right in this day and age.”

If claimants get into debt, even more money is taken away from their Universal Credit allowance, leaving sometimes just £100 a month or less for food and electricity.

Long and complicated application processes, even for small amounts of money or basic support, causes barriers for those who need help but are unable to fill out forms, or feel stigmatised by the process. As a result, there’s £10 million of unclaimed Pension Credit in Wiltshire, a benefit which unlocks Cost of Living Payments. Attendees heard Wiltshire Council are currently in discussion with the community organiser of Devizes and District Foodbank to simplify the application process of one of their support schemes, the Local Welfare Provision, to alleviate this issue.

A couple from Devizes described their frustration at not being encouraged to work, and feeling judged as ‘lesser’ for not being able to work. Volunteering is not counted as work, despite the attendees contributing significantly to their community, spurring a discussion on the topic of the impact of part-time work versus full-time work versus volunteering on benefits, where the taper rate for Universal Credit discourages part-time work, and leaves some people better off not working if they cannot work full-time due to health conditions or disability.

Localising the social security system, so there’s more human contact and agency for recipients, as well as better advertising of support through local trusted individuals, was also discussed. Proposing how schemes such as The Homes and Money Hubs of Barking and Dagenham could be adapted to Devizes, as the Integrated Care Alliance already brings together some departments of Wiltshire Council with social prescribers.

If those with second homes have received their Energy Bills Support Scheme payments, but people living in houseboats are struggling, if people need more support than ever in the current cost-of-living crisis, if people feel they’ve no one to talk to, or are unable to get through on the phone for help with applications, clearly there’s lots of work to do; the food bank isn’t just about giving out tins of beans.

Suggestions were made of a community hub in Devizes, with support for applying for and receiving benefits, or developing the several organisations existing at the St James Centre further. Here’s a group conversing specific topics and looking for solutions to this cost-of-living crisis in Devizes. They meet again on Thursday 30th March, 2:30-3:30pm at the Cheese Hall in Devizes Town Hall to plan and implement a project in Devizes addressing issues raised, which might be adopted in the rest of Wiltshire; if you feel you can assist, please attend.

“It would be great to get more people there to plan a project, and also be consulted on uses of the Community Fridge in the Shambles,” Alex explained, “although Danny agreed to do one action, which I’m not sure has been done or not, we agreed that sometimes it was quicker to do things ourselves.”

Attendees agreed to act, as they can quicker than local authorities and government. Cameron’s defunct socio-political soundbite “big society,” in action during these trying times, I could scoff, but tip my hat to all involved with this, for their enthusiasm and dedication. Not only Alex, but Suzanne Wigmore of Citizens Advice Wiltshire, Richard Oliver of Devizes Opendoors, Graham Martin of Sustainable Devizes, Martin Elliott of Warm Spaces Devizes and Devizes Community Fridge, Kate Brooks, Sarah Cardy and Rachel Clarke of Age UK Wiltshire, and those active members of Devizes community, thank you.

Day-to-day, though, we can all help, supporting Devizes & District Food Bank. Currently supporting an average 220 people per month, over 1,980 meals per month are supplied, which wouldn’t happen without donations. You can download a BanktheFood app to keep up to date with their shortages while shopping, and drop off points for items can be found here.


Potterne, and its Festival

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

Song of the Week: Sara Vian

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

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 15th- 21st March 2023

Windy but warm, no, not me, the weather, I mind my manners, I thank you! Here’s what’s going down this coming week across our green and (mostly) pleasant land……

You should know the score by now, adding links here, ain’t nobody got time fer dat! You can find all that, details, links for tickets and stuff over on our main event calendar, and you can use it to plan ahead, good huh?

Wednesday 15th Memory Cinema, wonderful idea, dementia friendly film screenings, at Swindon Arts Centre, this one is Dad’s Army.

New York’s musician and writer Franz Nicolay, member of cabaret-punk orchestra World/Inferno Friendship Society, the Hold Steady, Balkan-jazz quartet Guignol, and co-founder of Anti-Social Music, comes to the Pump, Trowbridge with Aimless Arrows in support.

Acoustic jam at The Southgate, Devizes.

Original music at The Bell, Bath with world-folk into jazz artist Solana.

Thursday 16th is comedy night at Trowbridge’s Civic.

Dirty Sound Magnet at The Vic, Swindon, while the The Rosellys play The Tupenny.

Will Page plays Chapel Arts in Bath.

Friday 17th find Sour Apple at the Condado Lounge in Devizes, and The Truzzy Boys play The Bridge Inn, Horton.

Damn! at The Bear in Marlborough, with Al Jenkins at The Green Dragon.

Melksham Assembly Hall prepares for Giants of Rock.

Sound Affects play for St Patrick’s Day at The Talbot in Calne.

Junkyard Dogs at Old Road Tavern, Chippenham.

Upcoming local punk-based Foxymoron are at the Pump, Trowbridge; you need to see these guys rock, and they’re with The Easy Peelers and Lonely Daughter. Be Like Will play the West Wilts Conservative Club in Trowbridge.

Hacksaw & Hot Pink Sewage & Altermoderns at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, while Karport Collective are at The Boathouse, and Ineza Women’s Words, Sisters Stories is what’s in store at Wiltshire Music Centre.

House Above the Sun at Chapel Arts, Bath, and our Full Tone Orchestra are at Bath Abbey Churchyard with Karl Jenkins Adiemus.

The Unravelling Wilburys at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Come What May is the play at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon. The Pre-Fab Four Beatles tribute at the Vic.

Saturday 18th is the opportunity for families to see what the fabulous Calne River Warriors get up to, and join in raft making and a woodland hunt, see poster below. In the evening, Six O’clock Circus take over The Rec Club in Calne.

The Hoodoos are at The Southgate, Devizes, with Rev at The Three Crowns, Ben Borrill at The Moonrakers, and Southern Ruin at The Dolphin. Smackdown at The Corn Exchange with CSF Superstar Wrestling, and DJ Flash is in the mix at the Exchange.

Pink Floyd night at The Barge on Honey-Street.

Songwriter’s Circle at the Pump in Trowbridge provides us with Editor’s Pick of the Week; with Annie Dresser, Lucy Grubb, Dan Wilde, and Luke James Williams.

Find Custyard Pye at Stallards, also in Trowbridge.

Orange Skies Theatre offer some riotous, narrative cabaret with Wild Onion at Swindon Arts Centre, while the musical theatre concert tour of Beyond The Barricade is at the Wyvern Theatre.

The awesome Barrelhouse play the Queens Tap in Swindon, Chop Suey bring nu-metal vibes to the Vic.

Some Indian classical music with Pooja Angra’s new project Creative Unity, with vocalist Karan Rana, sitar player Baluji Shrivastav OBE, and tabla player Mitel Purohit, at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon. Ragged Union play The Three Horseshoes.

Jenny Colquitt plays Chapel Arts in Bath.

Blur tribute Blurd at The Tree House in Frome, with Hayseed Dixie at The Cheese & Grain, and Be Like Will at the Artisan Pub & Kitchen on Christchurch Street.

Sunday 19th sees Trowbridge Symphony Orchestra play Wiltshire Music Centre, in Bradford-on-Avon, and find Bob Bowles at The Three Horseshoes.

The FOS Brothers play The Bell in Bath.

Arch Garrison at The Vic, Swindon.

And a record fair at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Monday 20th and Sue Harding & Gabriel Moreno’s Troubadour Bandits play The Bell in Bath.

Tuesday 21st and the regular spoken-word open-mic Poetika is on at The Winchester Gate, Salisbury, every third Tuesday of the month. This session with guest poet, Claire H has a Through The Looking Glass theme.

That’s all folks, but remember do check ahead for those ticketed events, keep on scrollin’ our event calendar and watch out for updates. Have a fantastic weekend. Tell us if we missed anything, it’s free to list here, but you must send me some details, I’m not mystic Meg.


Song of the Week: Deadlight Dance

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

Devil’s Doorbell Live EP from the Pump

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

Song of the Week: Atari Pilot

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

Here Comes the Girls; Celebrating International Women’s Day with our Local Musicians

Opps, it didn’t occur to me until afterwards, we only had the lads play for us at my birthday celebration at the Three Crowns on Saturday. Not intentional, just the way the cookie crumbled, but it’s no coincidence that today, my actual birthday, falls on International Women’s Day!

Like any other industry, the history of the music biz’s treatment of women may be questionable, but it’s fair to say as far as creative output goes, girls have been at the forefront since pop begun. There are so many talented females on our local circuit, so boys, go vegetate with your X-Box for a moment while we give a deserved roll-call to as many of our favourite girls on the scene as I can think of…… (in alphabetical order so there’s no arguments or hair-pulling!)


Oh, for the haunting vocals of Annalise, fronting Salisbury’s purveyors of folk-gothic rock, Strange Folk. So captivating, so evocative; think Amy Lee of Evanescence, and you’re not far off the mark.

Becca Maule

Promising Salisbury teenager Becca is an acoustic singer-songwriter who has been known to occasionally strap a band of friends together. Coming from a post-punk angle, there’s some chatty punk-rock Kate Nash-fashioned vocals on some astutely self-penned songs and covers. Themes include contemporary teenage anguish, climate change and mental health.

Becky Lawrence

Drifted from the shores of the Isle of Man to anchor in Wiltshire, I first heard country singer-songwriter Becky Lawrence supporting the annual Female of The Species fundraiser. A young Becky started out in musical theatre, then trekked to London to attend London School of Musical Theatre. This training shows in her confident and accomplished solo show, and within powerful original compositions. Again, themes of maturing and relationships are key, and if you think this is somewhat cliché, Becky puts her stamp on them with poise and exquisiteness. Her first single You Say reached the number 1 spot in the UK Country Music Charts on iTunes, her second gained over 90K streams on Spotify, but her latest my favourite, Loud and 17 is what kept me in awe of her performance.

Belinda Lee

Fronting Bristol soul four-piece Belle Day, this is a new one on me though they’ve been on the southwest circuit for some years, and I’m happy to report being blown away by these breath-takingly powerful vocals, of the classic Stax-Motown era. It’s smooth blues flavour is ballroom jazzy with a hint of R&B.

Charmaigne Andrews

Melksham’s premier rock soloist, tattoo artist, and one-fifth of The Female of the Species, Charmaigne is a force to be reckoned with. Powerful, soulful vocals enrich either solo performances or her newfound rock covers four-piece, Siren.

Chole Jordan

Perhaps the odd one out amidst these pop performers, but when you hear music teacher and classically trained soprano Chloe sing, angels will come down from the heavens to listen, officially!

Claire Connor

Show me a female-fronted Muse trump card, and I’ll raise you Trowbridge based acoustic trio Be Like Will. Popular on our pub circuit, they’ve already got some originals under their belt, as well as their popular rock covers. Claire controls the lads, and will hold you captivated too! Book these guys.

Claire Grist

Formerly of People Like Us, Claire now performs with six-piece function band LiveWired.

Claire Perry

Self-described as “barking!…daft…loyal…technophobic…achey chunk!” we love Claire, for her outrageous onstage banter, and her contribution to Female of the Species. Find this devilish diva fronting Melksham’s most popular cover band, Big Mamma’s Banned.

Evie Halpin

I’m yet to catch Evie play live. Pewsey’s resident Joss Stone, she brings soulful vocals to her solo show, the like you wouldn’t believe; ergo, Evie is on top of my must-see-list. A singer-songwriter citing Billy Holiday and Nina Simone as influences, so expect some blue soul. You can find Evie regularly at the open mic nights at The Exchange in Devizes, often playing the Moonrakers in Pewsey.

Harmony Asia

Folk with a touch of soul for this knockout singer-songwriter and acoustic musician from Chippenham, look I’ll leave you a YouTube link from Mr Moore’s days at Trowbridge Town Hall, and you can make your own mind up, but we think Harmony Asia is really something special!

Helen Carter

One half of husband and wife Devizes blues trio, 12 Bars Later, this wonderful couple can hold the kind of crowd spellbound which would usually take a six piece supergroup of legends!

Julia Hanratty

Frome-based Julia Greenwood is probably the vocalist of the Female of the Species I’m least familiar with, but through her soul ballads she wows me every year. Lead singer from Soulville Express, it is as it says, Julia can hold the note of Aretha Franklin with remarkable ease.

Julie Morton

Ah, our Jules, jewel in the ska crown of Wilsthire. Train to Skaville is the longest-running, chugging along since 2011, bestest ska and reggae cover band in the county, and let the lord Walt Jabsco strike me down if it isn’t so. Also, key member of charity fundraising supergroup, Female of the Species, Jules skanks and we love her for it!

Katie Mills

Be it as a solo performer or with acoustic guitarist Sue in the duo Sour Apple, Katie commands any generation-spanning cover with all the power and finesse of the original. Breath-taking to think Katie will attribute a Whitney Houston set with certain ease, and her powerful vocal range I liken to Alison Moyet. Yet through her work in Sour Apple, the duo has set about creating many a sublime original, and works them into a set with equal passion. Prolifically gigging locally they’re the up-coming name which can accommodate any kind of venue or pub, and bring their shine to the punters.

Listen to their recent interview with Peggy-Sue of Swindon 105, here.

Kirsty Clinch

What can we say about Westbury’s finest musical export, Kirsty Clinch that we haven’t already? Concentrating on her children’s music school First Melodies primarily these days, on the rare occasion our wonderful country singer-songwriter and music teacher is performing, you need to be there when she does. Kirsty is prolific in releasing some of most beautiful songs to bless my ears, and is astute with her business plans, self-managed, self-promoter and recently launching her own brand of clothing and merchandise.


Chippenham based duo, David and Lorraine take tribute acts to the next level. Lorraine makes the perfect Blondie, but they’ll add popular two-tone ska covers in too, making for a highly entertaining show. Blondie and Ska will liven your pub up, and get everyone up dancing.

Lucianne Worthy

Plan of Action are the Wiltshire rock, blues and alternative band which pack a punch. It’s loud and proud, and for every loud and proud rock band you need a killer bassist, the only girl in the group, Lucianne is the personification of rock bass!


Lead singer with Salisbury’s nu-cool indie sovereigns, Timid Deer. Arguably the most underrated local band, Timid Deer’s unique sound is enchanting, Naomi’s vocals are stunning, and this band does to indie-rock as Morcheeba did to trip hop.

Nicky Davis

Last but by no means least, we come to our final contributor to fundraising supergroup Female of the Species, Nicky Davis. Whether upfront vocalist or behind her landmark red keyboard, Nicky is a powerhouse. Fronting function band The Reason and lifetime member of our celebrated covers band, People Like Us, entertaining our pubs since 2016, Nicky, we love you!

Sally Dobson

Haven’t heard from Sally for a while, I know she moves about a bit and believe she resides closer to Oxford. Still her wonderful acoustic sets a few years ago justify her presence on this here hall of fame, and her work with the gothic duo Strange Tales, which seems a little inactive of recent. Still, I never forget a talented musical lady when I meet one!

Sarah C Ryan

The Sarah C Ryan Band describe themselves as “melodic low slung rock pop with a country/folk tinge,” and I always feel they sell themselves down, unaware of how completely mind-blowingly fantastic they are. This, if you perchance to see them at a gig adds a delightful element of surprise. If the name comes over a tad “function band” too, you should take heed, they’re far from run-of-the-mill. Recently did one of the best Visual Radio Arts features I’ve seen, I see if I can drop the link to it……

Sara Vian

Frome based Welsh hippy-chick singer/songwriter Sara Vian is in her element singing jazz, soul and blues with a fabulous sunny vibe which charms and disarms with a distinction all her own, and she rides this with bells on.

Collaborating with the Graham Dent Trio, Sara has also released a number of singles over the Lockdown, and wonderfully acoustic goodness they are too!

Sienna Wileman

Daughter to Swindon’s answer to Mike Oldfield, Richard Wileman, an incredibly prolific composer of pre-symphonic rock band Karda Estra, where there is nothing vertical or frenetic about his musical approach, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Though where singer-songwriter Sienna differs is theme, we hear topics of adolescence, youthful relationships, and perhaps their collapses, in this angelic voice of reason. Sienna’s music is experimental too, easy-going, and ambient, and I predict great things from one the most promising young artists locally.

Sophia Bovell

Sophia & Soul Rebels

Swindon’s astounding and versatile singer of soul, Sophia has many guises, as lively five-piece soul, Motown, disco, and reggae band, Sophia & The Soul Bothers, formerly Soul Rebels, and more recently a jazz ensemble simply called Sophia Bovell – Jazz. Sophia can hold that note like the great soul divas, and with skilled backing can put the funk into any event.

Sue Harding

I first met Sue as an interviewer at the now based in Devizes, Visual Arts Radio, but soon came to realise she is a magnificent Celtic and Americana acoustic folk singer-songwriter too, of the Wilts-Somerset border.

Tamsin Quin

Last in our alphabetical hall of fame, but certainly not least! One third of our beloved acoustic modern country vocal harmony trio, The Lost Trades, Tamsin is the stalwart female acoustic singer-songwriter on our circuit, and her flair partly the reason for me starting Devizine as this voyage of discovery into the mostly undocumented wealth of local talent we have here. It should be pointed out the combo was created out of their many collaborations with each other in the past, and each of them, Phil, Jamie, and Tamsin, have had and continue to pursue solo careers aside The Lost Trades. Since highlighting all the individuals of this fantastic trio, The Trades continue to go from strength-to-strength, and are bonded so specially I cannot now visualise life without their wonderful harmonies in it! And Tamsin is the connecting link between the guys, and long may be so.

I do ask Tammy about a second solo album, since the amazing Gypsy Blood debut, and while she never brushes off the notion, her dedication to the Trades is paramount; yeah, I totally get that!

That’s about all I think of, and I like thinking about girls! But I know a few are going to say, hey, you missed me out! I’m sorry if I did, and can edit it if you let me know! Have a great International Women’s Day, and to everyone listed on this “hall of fame” just keep it up, girls, continue the amazing contributions to our music circuit, for without you the guys would probably just be hanging around a kebab van wondering if they’re on yet, and asking where is the gig anyway!

What Passes for Entertainment in Seend, Rolling Naked in Muck Heaps?!

Got to be the most bizarre village group Facebook post of the week, when Seend resident Amy Plumb caught a fellow rolling in her neighbour’s muck heap on Sunday evening, stark naked!

They’ve got their community centre and two great pubs, is this what passes for entertainment in Seend, or just in the Cleeve, I wonder, or was he just trying to keep warm?! More worryingly, could this become something of a trend? Are you contemplating a liberating naked roll in a muck heap anytime soon, and now you’re gutted because this guy beat you to it?! Provided it’s not a satanic worship sort of thing, we’d love to hear from you, after a shower, that is. This is Wiltshire street theatre gold.

After his solo romp in the steaming heap, Ms Plumb told the Facebook Seend Village Group, “he jumped in the car covered in it!” Probably made him late for work at county hall!   

Noted residents didn’t recognise the vehicle sounds like an attempt to divert any media coverage from suggesting it’s exclusively a Seend kind of pastime to me, they’ve probably been at it for centuries! While Seend village is considered sophisticated, it’s those Cleeve lot you’ve got to watch out for! Some residents said they were glad they’ve spread theirs, others pointed out it’s where you find the best eggs!

“Keep an eye on your muck heaps,” is the worthy advice given, for who knows when or where this mysterious naked muck heap rolling prankster will strike next! What a mucky imp.


Trouble at the Vic, Ant Trouble….

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

Song of the Week: Ajay Srivastav

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

Swan Dies in Road Accident at The Crammer

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

Song of the Week: Sara Vian

Normally Wednesday, Song of The Week, but I was having one of those Wednesday days, you know the sort, too middley aren’t they, bit gloomy? Couldn’t find a recent single release, whinged about it on Facebook, no one helped, then remembered I had this beauty from Frome folk singer-songwriter Sara Vian, out last week. It’s called Brighter Days, and what could be a more perfect fit?

Save it on Spotify here, it features David Setterfield guitarist from Strange Folk, it’s very spring, wonderful.


Song of the Week: Sienna Wileman

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

On The Wayside with Viduals

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

Old Wharf Café to Become Meeting Room

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

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 22nd – 28th February 2023

Last week of February, then; winter, do one! Lots going on as ever, so let’s not beat around the bush, because left to my devises I know I tend to waffle, and no one ever just stops me and gives it, “just get on with telling what’s happening, for crying out loud, man!”

I do need to say this though, as usual, more information and ticket links can be found at our ever-updating event calendar. If your event is not on there you didn’t tell us about it, no fault of mine! I do this shit for free, but I ain’t going to chase you up! Tell us about it next time, bring cake.

Wednesday 22nd and Visual Radio Arts stream one of our favourite bands on the circuit, Concrete Prairie, into the comfort of your own front room. If you’ve not seen this band before, do not miss this. Meanwhile it’ll be the regular acoustic jam at The Southgate, Devizes.

Theatre Accord in association with The Production Exchange Ltd. Presents She at Swindon Arts Centre, charting the experiences of different women from childhood to old age, these stories, each with an intriguing twist, are visceral, poignant, and laced with humour.

Prue Leith’s Nothing in Moderation is at Bath Forum, with Grace Campbell’s A Show About Me(n) at Komedia.

Thursday 23rd sees an open mic at Stallards in Trowbridge.

National Theatre Live with Othello at Pound Arts, Corsham.

Concrete Prairie’s name crops up again, they’re with Cooper’s Creek at The Tuppenny, Swindon, while Kotonic and Failstate play the Vic, with a debut tour for comedian Chloe Petts at Swindon Arts Centre.

Tribute Local Cohen play the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, while Eleanor McEvoy is at Chapel Arts, Bath, “Swiftogeddon,” Taylor Swift club night at Komedia, and Michael Jackson tribute show at Bath Forum.

Regular children’s Music 4 Fun session at Brown Street, Salisbury.

Friday 24th Always a great night with the Celtic Roots Collective, who play The Pelican in Devizes.

Over in Trowbridge, chap-hopper Thomas Benjamin is at the Pump.

Native Harrow: Old Magic Tour at Pound Arts, Corsham.

The Jerry Lee Lewis Story at Chapel Arts, Bath, while The Fleetwood Mac Story is at Bath Forum, and cabaret night at Komedia with The Ministry Of Burlesque.

Riot Ensemble at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

Gary Delaney’s Gary in Punderland comes to the Wyvern, Swindon, while tribute Dire Streets play Swindon Arts Centre, and Rush tribute Moving Pictures are at The Vic.

AC/DC tribute Livewire at The Cheese & Grain, Frome, and an intimate evening with Will Varley at The Tree House.

Saturday 25th and it’s Devizes Lions’ Fashion Show at the Devizes Conservative Club, Gardna arrives at The Muck & Dunder, Bone Chapel are at The Southgate, Scott Browne is at The Three Crowns, and Sour Apple play at The Lamb. The Wharf Theatre hosts the Apollo Theatre Company’s Ode to Joyce, about the songs and monologues of Joyce Grenfell.

As if there wasn’t enough to choose from in Devizes, I’m out of town for our Editor’s Pick of Week; Will Lawton and the Alchemists are at The Pump in Trowbridge, and it’s a double-whammy if I’ve correctly sussed the anagram of the support act; “Slotted Hearts!”

Hairy Stars at The Neeld, Chippenham.

Mickey Ace & The Wildcards play Melksham Rock n Roll Club, and Mixed Bag play The Pilot.

Phoenix River Band play Chapel Arts, Bath, while Suzanne Vega is at Bath Forum.

Ravers head for The Vic, Swindon, where Midlife Krisis crew are in effect, with a Diversify night.The Blind Lemon Experience play The Swiss Chalet.

Salisbury Arts Centre have Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood.

And a Retro Electro night at The Cheese & Grain, Frome completes our Saturday.

Sunday 26th sees Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club at the Wyvern, Swindon, while there’s a secret session at the Vic, with Mickelson.

Simon Brodkin’s Screwed Up is at Komedia, Bath.

Monday 27th sees Gigspanner Big Band play Swindon Arts Centre.

Tuesday 28th and KT Tunstall is at Bath Forum.

That’s all I got folks, tell us about anything we missed and I’ll slip it in! Don’t forget I’m getting close to 50, and that might mean it takes a little longer, but you’re all invited to laugh at me at the Three Crowns in Devizes on March 4th; oh yeah, we’ve got some amazing live music too, naturally.


Delicate, Like A Psychedelicat

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

The Bradford Roots Music Festival Returns

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

Brave New Broken Hearts Club at St Johns, Devizes

by Helen Edwards

Picking our way around the back of St John’s church in the dark, unsure where the gig was being held, I was reminded about how I’d walked down that long aisle years earlier. About my children’s christening there and the more recent funeral of my father-in-law. So, as we entered the grand church’s side door, despite my quip about having ‘the blood of Christ’ as my BYO drink, I was feeling deeply reflective. I was open to what was to come.

After making ourselves comfortable in the pew, pouring our drinks and looking around at the congregation, faces lit by trails of fairy lights, the music began.

First, came the singer/songwriter, Pearl Fish. Now that I write that name I wonder if this is her given name or a performance muse [Editor’s note; yes, she told me it was her real name!] Either way it is very apt. Pearl exudes a coy, bouncy, and ever-so-slightly ethereal energy.  She shines but in a subtle and gentle way. When introducing her songs, she seems to have an intriguing mix of shyness and self-assuredness. And when she sang these qualities, showing vulnerability with an undercurrent of solid confidence filled the church. Her words, many of which escape me now, reflected this feeling and as an initial doubter (to explain; I gravitate towards a more rock-ier vibe) I was converted. Pearl’s voice is floaty and soft and helped take you away to reveries within yourself. I especially liked one song which changed tempo and sang like a cross between a folksy ancient tale with a sea-shanty beat.  I will be downloading Pearl’s album and feel delighted that my open mind allowed my heart to consume Pearl’s creative output.  I do think the church ambience helped with that.

A little more unholy wine later and Neil of Brave New Broken Hearts Club (I so want to write ‘Band’ at the end of that!) took the space of Pearl and the vicar’s usual spot.  The church was growing colder in the February night but Neil’s warmth, his fun and gentle manner and his evident kindness filled the atmosphere.  His conversational chat between songs bought smiles to all of us watching and gave an insight into this seemingly self-deprecating but obviously deep thinking and amusing guy. I bet he’s a great crack to sit and have a drink with.  Anyway, on to the music….

Neil is an accomplished songwriter.  He tells a story with each of his tunes and touches a chord in his audience with themes that we can all relate to.  I spoke to him afterwards to say it was lovely to hear the personal journey he is on, that he showed through his songs. As with Pearl and one of Neil’s favourite thinkers, Brene Brown, he has exposed his vulnerability and in doing so has produced some magnificent music.  His tunes are catchy, melodic, and chilled and his voice is awesome; clear and engaging with (my favourite bit) a heart-warming London accent.

An unexpected night and one of unearthed pearls (sorry bad pun) and catchy thoughtful songs.  Who knew the power of the-gig-in-the-church.  I will be part of their secret promoting crew when they are next in town by persuading my friends to join me.


Full-Tone Festival Announce 2023 Line-up

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

Ten Top Tips for Driving in Devizes

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

Devizine Review of 2022!

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

Devizes Town Council Reject Proposal for a Safety Sign on The Crammer

In the same week Corsham Town Councillor Ruth Hopkinson unveiled a sign, warning drivers to slow down for their peacocks, designed by a schoolgirl via a competition, a swan on Devizes Crammer flew into a passing car and died. Residents called upon Devizes Town Council for signage warning of the dangers, but the idea was doggedly rejected by councillors at a meeting on Tuesday….

Friends of The Crammer campaign group thanked members of the public for attending the meeting. The application was discussed at great length, often meandering. Campaigner Sally Noseda said “it got off to a good start with one Councillor [Cllr Bridewell] saying she thought it was a good idea and proposing it. Then, there was a barrage of objections from several councillors – too much signage there already, warning signs never work, too distracting, swans die all over the town, its people’s fault for feeding them, too expensive, etc., etc.”

Councillor Iain Wallis said that whilst he believed the whole council supported making the area safer, he did not think that signs were the way to do this. Making one wonder what hairbrained invention would be deemed suitable, perhaps training swans to push the traffic-light button with their beaks?!

He felt that signs would not work as drivers should already be alert in this area; well, duh, alertness is best while driving anywhere! They also questioned the need (the need for basic road safety, duh again?!) and warned about overloading the area with signage, when it’s no more overloaded with pointless signage than any other area of the town centre. So, he poo-pooed the idea, which is what he said he would do on his bias Facebook group, therefore meeting about it was a complete waste of oxygen, as his proposal was seconded by Councillor Hoult, supported by Councillor Nash, who raised the financial pressure on a council who recently forked out far more for some oversized flower pots in the Market Place!

A member of Friends of Crammer group contacted Barefoot Signs for a quote, which pushed the boat out to a staggering £30 plus VAT! But Sally explained, “the council were mostly thinking about formal Ministry of Transport wildfowl signs and the costs attached to those. I couldn’t really put in an official application for “unofficial” signs – they would need to be done afterwards. So, the discussion was based on official signs. Having said that, all the nonsense about costs, history, swan behaviour, swans dying in other areas of the town, too many signs… They threw everything at it, aided and abetted by the mentioned member of the public.”

Cllr Giraud-Saunders felt that feeding the swans by the road may be making the issue worse so suggested that maybe feeding could take place in another area, which is, with all due respect, total piffle; with the railings in place, the larger birds only have one exit-entrance from the water to the land, and that is at the roadside so to get to another area would still mean travelling along the roadside! Now, I’m no expert, unlike others I’m not pretending to be, but you only must go and look at it to work that out!

Cllr Greenwood, who was Charing, (not charming!) felt this was something that could be looked at under Cllr Wallis’ proposal. Well quite; ideas have been put before via Crammer Watch that, ideally, the Crammer needs to be swizzled around, so the wildfowl’s access to the water is on the grass rather than direct onto the road, but this would obviously need a huge investment, and being the council are doing everything in their power to reject a simple signpost might suggest anyone with the slightest faith this will happen is not living in Devizes, but cloud cuckoo-land!

The minutes then go onto say, “the member of the public who brought the item forward said they understood the council’s position, but was concerned that the crammer working party may not deal with the issue in a timely fashion.” Now, at this stage we need to point out, if you’ve not already guessed what’s coming, this crammer working party set up Devizes Town Council consists of…. wait for it…. councillors Iain Wallis and Chris Greenwood!!

Cilla Black level of surprise, surprise; the very one’s campaigning against every proposal put by any member of the public concerned about recent happenings at The Crammer, the two who blatantly lied about the suspected bird flu outbreak and DEFRA’s imaginary collection of the dead swans on their Facebook groups. Facebook groups which have seen anyone disagreeing with Mr Wallis outright banned from the group, even the Crammer Watch page set up to support the Crammer! The councillor who encouraged the public take matters into their own hands and reprimand anyone feeding the swans, knowing full well without a natural food source they would’ve died anyway, bird flu or not! You can’t make bureaucratic gobbledygook like this up!

And, sigh, the minutes conclude: Following the public statements Cllr Wallis amended his proposal to add a timeline to the working parties brief with a first report due in six weeks’ time at the next Recreation & Properties meeting. This was passed with two abstentions. In other words, although the proposal for the most proactive doable solution was squashed, they’d all sit around and talk about it at later date, which is what I thought they were doing there and then?!

It feels like “Crammer” is a swearword at Devizes Town Council, any mere mention of it, for some unexplained reason breathes fire from the mouths of certain councillors, and their apathy towards any issue arising from the Crammer is questionable. How councillors can outright lie leaves me beyond hope for a simple solution, and I believe they should be held accountable for their dishonesty. As Sally expressed to the Friends of the Crammer group, “I was looking at a circle of rather disinterested faces. I did accept Iain Wallis’s offer to bring it into the WP remit – but stressed that this was an urgent matter and I was unhappy at how long they’d taken to get this far with the Working Party.”

Working party, indeed, shirking party I think you’ll find! One of the best responses from The Friends of the Crammer Facebook group stated, “I think DTC need to show some interest and love for the Crammer. They give the impression that they don’t care about this special, historic, and beautiful spot of nature right in the centre of the town. Everything that has been asked for (which is very little and low cost as far as I can see) they appear to have resisted or turned down or gone very slow. This group has gathered 210 members in a very short space of time in a small town and I’m sure there are a lot of others who are equally concerned. DTC are the servants of the town. Surely these little things being asked for aren’t a big deal and would be of some help in protecting the wildlife on the Crammer. It is worth a try and would certainly go some way to alleviate this problem. Just put up a few small signs what harm would it do?”

But perhaps the best comment came from neither the group nor council, but from the unrestricted local page, Devizes Issues (but better) in which someone added something along the lines of, “it’s just swans on a pond fffs!” adding there were more important issues, and I agree, after feeling driven to type a thousand words on it, for if they can pass off public ideas of such a simple notion as a signpost, what poppycock will they make of the bigger issues?!


Swan Dies on the Crammer, Devizes

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

Devizine Christmas Podcast!

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

Carmela To Help in Local Care Home

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

Sustainable Devizes Christmas Toy & Book Swap

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

My Dad’s Wackier Than Your Dad – a night of nostalgia and karaoke at The Castle Inn, Old Town

The team behind My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival are hosting a night of karaoke at The Castle Inn, Old Town on Saturday 4th March as part of their efforts to raise funds for Prospect Hospice.

My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival, organised in association with South Swindon Parish Council, is held in tribute to Dave Young, the former landlord of The Victoria and 12 Bar who died in early June 2021 at Prospect Hospice after a hard-fought battle against cancer.  

During his tenure at The Victoria, Dave’s Wacky Wednesday fast became one of the most popular nights of the week amongst Swindon revellers, with Dave regularly coming up with themes such as ‘Christmas in July’ and ‘Barnyard Fancy Dress’, much to chagrin of his staff who had to tidy up the next day.

Festival co-organiser and ex-employee of Dave and his wife Anna, Gemma Denley-Doswell said “Wacky Wednesdays came up in a lot of people’s fondest memories of Dave when he passed away and so we knew we had to recreate it at some point for the people who used to attend back then. We’re all sadly much older now and not quite brave enough to attempt it midweek anymore so picked a Saturday and luckily Audrey and the team at The Castle volunteered to host us!”*

My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival’s Raffle is also being launched at the event, after last year’s raffle of a guitar clock made and donated by Holmes Music raised nearly £1000 for Prospect Hospice.

This year there are several prizes to be bagged including another guitar clock from Holmes Music plus a haul of other fantastic gifts kindly donated by local businesses.  

One lucky winner will net a year’s free membership to Anytime Fitness in Hooper’s Place, Old Town, with the gym generously providing another two three-month memberships to add to the prize list.

Also up for grabs is a Photoshoot Experience Day from Marlborough based Imagine Photography and a spa voucher from the newly-refurbished Sorella Spa located in the Swindon Marriott Hotel.

Other prizes are yet to be announced, with the final draw being held in July after the festival. Tickets are £1 each and will also be available at Holmes Music, The Tuppenny and The Castle after the 4th March.

My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival 2023 is being held on Saturday 22nd July in The Town Gardens, Old Town. Already announced on the line up is Imperial Leisure, True Strays and The Real Cheesemakers. Follow the festival’s social media pages for regular updates.

Get your My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival 2023 tickets now by visiting the website  

Prospect Hospice, based in Wroughton, provides palliative and end of life care for people across the region and has to raise the majority of its costs through fundraising. My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival has raised over £24,000 for Prospect Hospice in its first two years.

*Gemma added “For those who can still handle staying up late on a school night, The Victoria is still proudly flying the flag for Wacky Wednesday to this day!”

Painting With Sound; Will Lawton & The Alchemists New EP

Perhaps you’ve noticed of recent, my overuse of the word “sublime?” I could apologise, and worry abusing a word lessens its clout, despite happening to like it, but I ask you humour me; I’m going to use it again today, in a thoroughly slamming-my-fist-on-the-desk-like-I-really-mean-it type way! Malmesbury’s purveyors of cool, Will Lawton & The Alchemists have an EP due for release on 3rd March, and yes, I’ll confirm now without thesaurus, it’s erm, sublime!

They’ve contributed to both our Julia’s House compilations and though I shouldn’t pick favourites…. ahem, and to note our roving reporter Andy has had the pleasure of fondly reviewing these guys live. I confess it remains on my to-do-list, but via Alchemy, this new three-track EP, I’ve knocked it up in priority to top of the list, above the heading.

Our given press release enlightens the EP’s title Alchemy “is a reference to the alchemical process of creativity with this EP being a fusing of Will’s masterful song-craft and the band’s dextrous flair for instrumental flourishes and lush, subtly evolving arrangements,” and I couldn’t put it better myself. Not for weird explosions in fogs of coloured smoke, but for the tentative and inventive melodious architecture, this is a Sagrada Família of sound.

 It opens with haunting piano and Will’s sonorously equable vocals. An eight-minute masterwork called Daughter, will invoke imaginings of the most memorable parental occasions, the unconditional love, as subtle drumbeats roll over this drifting euphoric sonic soundscape, akin to Pink Floyd’s finest hour.

Alchemic as in experimental, naturally, as the texture of drum timings fragment from piano for the second tune, then conjoin to a fix. The single pre-release out now, Black Bricks, rolls into something exceptional, an unsolidified musical edifice, overlapping layers and smooth vocals on social commentary of the ordinary, bad day. The discomforting, yet almost satirised theme perhaps makes this the standout tune, this is rich and creative genius.

Cast Iron is the final tune, cryptic and abstract, it evokes the quest to fulfil dreams and ambitions and the sense of powerlessness that emerges from this questing. The only downside is it ends, for this is incredibly morish, and leaves you dripping to dry, but quality above quantity is key, and again, this is as smooth as a well-oiled boob! We’re treated to Eastern promise through subtle tabla in the introduction to the finale, amidst these gorgeous established layers of electric guitar, rolling drumbeats, both male and female uplifting vocals, and simple beguiling keys. But what becomes in this song, as best example for the EP, is of no standalone individual element or instrument, rather the composition, for this is the musical equivalent to Da Vinci.

Seriously, Will’s profession as a music therapist means he has a high degree of self-awareness when it comes to the cathartic, healing power of creativity. Ergo, if art students are taught the eight pillars of composition are balance, contrast, focus, motion, pattern, proportion, unity and rhythm, the only images this EP will blissfully summon in your mind’s eye would be BA standard and you’d be exhibiting in the Louvre in no time! This is how to do it; this is painting with sound.

Will Lawton & The Alchemists have steadily built a solid live following with shows across the South West of England, and garnered support from Scala Radio, BBC Radio Wiltshire, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Radio Somerset, and BBC Introducing for the West. They recently supported Brit-pop legends Space to great acclaim.

The EP is produced by Patrick Phillips at Play Pen Studios, Bristol, mastered by Pete Maher at Top Floor Productions, and released via Supermarine Music. It will be supported with a tour, dates below.

Alchemy EP Tour Feb/March 2023

16th Feb: The Old Stables, Cricklade

25th Feb: The Pump, Trowbridge

27 Feb: The Prince Albert, Stroud

2nd March: The Railway Inn, Winchester

4th March:The Hop Inn, Swindon


Alex Roberts at The Barge, Honeystreet 

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

Illingworth Celebrate Their 100th Gig!

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

Mighty Mighty; The Scribes Storm the Muck!

Another fantabulous evening at Devizes’ tropical holiday resort, The Muck and Dunder rum bar, where Bristol’s boom bap trio I’ve been hailing since day dot,…

Song of the Week: Sienna Wileman

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

Song of the Week, think I can manage that, just! Let’s reintroduce it now, every Wednesday without fail, pinky promise, and do the first one right about now! Swindon Songstress and actor Sienna Wileman released this gorgeous song, For Nobody Else, this week.

And bonus, the video has some shots of Devizes in it, which doesn’t give her extra points, but then again, it doesn’t need them, it’s a hauntingily angelic song, as is Sienna’s style. You can find her first single, Petals, opening our Julia’s House compilation album, volume 2.

This one echoes that beauty and improves on it, too. Keep up the great work, Sienna!

Marlborough’s Lamb Landlord Farewell Gig Will Be Pants!

Marlborough News reported “in the Seventies, Marlborough boasted well over twenty pubs. Now there are just six,” in an article about the retirement of longstanding landlords of The Lamb, Vyv and Jackie. Marlborough being Marlborough, most of these remaining pubs are aesthetically pleasing, least that’s my apprehensive hypothesis! But for the 100 billion years, or 43 to be more accurate, their stay at the helm of the Lamb is surely a testament to the notion the landlord maketh the pub….

Being local rock comedy band Pants will be playing their farewell gig at this historic testament on to how run a great pub, on Saturday 4th February, I asked their blickum Dan Tozer, and guitarist and paediatric first aider, Fal Carmichael, who is criticised by the other band members as a “thoughtless bastard,” for never trimming the ends of his strings, and leaving them “dangling about like a bunch of sentients, malicious, jangly antennae ready to take someone’s fucking eye out or stab someone in the neck,” if they agreed; I think you can imagine where this interview is heading!

“I would,” Dan replied, adding, “we have had other good landlords in Marlborough, well, when they let us play there! Trevor Stannard was a hero too in that respect. But for longevity, Vyv tops the lot, and never moaned when we trashed the gaff with confetti cannons and other explosive toys! And he still paid us!”

It takes me back to my days in Marlborough, when the Lamb was the choice of watering holes, and in those hazy recollections, I seemed to remember Pants thrashing out a heavy metal version of the Mr Blobby single. For this is their panache and ethos, if they own them; covering cheesy pop songs in a metal fashion. And the result is, while accomplished, highly amusing. They didn’t seem to recall covering Mr Blobby, “although we did once play Bob The Builder,” and thus my diluted memory stands corrected. “Apparently, our first ‘performance’ was 1996……. but we did drink a bit in those days so it might have been earlier.”

Recently the band have covered Boney M’s Rasputin, Cliff’s Devil Woman, and the BBC Snooker theme, I wondered if anything was off limits. “Nobody will let me play the Jim’ll Fix It Theme,” Fal expressed, “bunch of squares!”

To wonder if Pants are more Spinal Tap than Barron Knights, conversant Dan informed, “we try to be a combination of the two. A few old favourites and some new stuff, all bolted together by TV themes and poor-quality heavy metal, plus the occasional Christmas Carol.”

If Scott Garcia recorded speed garage track, “it’s a London thing,” Pants are the Marlborough equivalent; strictly a Marlborough thing. I asked them if anyone else ever booked them, other than the Lamb and the football club, and if so, did they regret it?!

“We did gig outside Marlborough in our earlier years when we had a mate with a van. We’re lucky if we play twice a year these days and, as we all suffer from acute travel sickness, prefer to stay local. And I think anyone who booked us would have regrets!”

As well as Fal and Dan, the band consists of Sean, “sometimes Steve,” with the bonus of Moose Harris, former bassist with New Model Army and The Damned. When the focus of the article centred on Moose, as “Moose’s band,” the exasperated reaction of the band was priceless, so I figured I’d add salt to the wound, enhancing “according to a recent Marlborough News article, it was all Moose’s doing and you others just came along for the ride!” But they didn’t take the bait!

“That’s a little harsh on Moose!” Dan gasped, “I’m sure he wouldn’t want to take the blame! I seem to remember that Fal, Moose and myself were having a quiet lemonade, and decided it might be a laugh. We stole Sean from some other crummy old band that he was wasting his time in.”

See, Pants come across how I promoted my books, this self-mockery banter. If I remember Mr Blobby so vividly, but it was Bob the Builder, it can mean only one thing; they’re a bunch of liars, and essentially, they rock!  

It’s a fashion questioned by an American book reviewer who commented on a cover sticker saying in small letters “this will never be a” and in much larger letters “major motion picture.” Their argument was I was deliberately selling myself down, suggesting I was actually a pretty good writer and only using this kind of twisted irony as self-promotion, which I think is a similar ethos to Pants. So, I put this in a two-part question, if Dan and Fal think this reflects Pant’s tenet too, and if they, like me, think twats like that should fuck off?!

“We always think we’re crap,” was the revelation, “but people seem to like it! Well, we can play I suppose, and all of us have for years. We do subscribe to the “by the seat of our collective pants” ethos, and so things do go wrong. I suspect that adds to the enjoyment for the audience as much as us. And I speak for all of us when I say ‘Yes! Fuck Off Twats!’ – which at my age pretty much includes everyone.”

It goes without saying, we wish Vyv and Jackie all the best for their retirement, and thank them sincerely for the wonderful times at The Lamb. Though we hope this will not leave Marlborough pantless, and some nutter will book them. This is legacy we’re talking about here, a very serious issue. So, as a final reflection on the future, I ended noting there’s a trend of all-female tribute acts doing the rounds, wondering if they could you foresee “Knickers,” and if so, what colour would they be, but I believe they got the wrong idea; the knobs.

“We rock like navvies in a cradle using pneumatic drills. It’s dangerous but in a slightly unstable comfortable setting. And we’re bound to have an accident,” Dan expressed creatively, with emojis and everything. “By all means, throw your scanties our way. But only if they’re clean! The only skid marks on our Pants will be ours! (Preferably red!) See you all at the Lamb on Feb 4th.”

Safe to bet, taking all this seriousness on board, the farewell gig will be historical and hysterical in equal measure, as the members in Pants signed off with, “when I said red, I meant the pants, not the skid marks!”

Note they’ve even got merchandise, HERE is their online shop with the slogan “either buy something or fuck off.”

Truly was a class and memorable interview!


Dr John Otway Rocks Trowbridge’s Pump

By Lorraine Briggs The last time Otway played Trowbridge was in July 2003 at the Village Pump Festival, he returned last night to a gig…

DOCA Step into Christmas!

As sparkly as Elton John at his most sparkliest, Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts pulled the tinsel out of bag for the annual Winter Festival yesterday…

Devizine Podcast Pilot!

Okay, so, everyone is doing a podcast these days, and I’m a sucker which finds it impossible to go against the grain. Here’s my pathetic…

SGO Folk Up The Southgate

What of the apostrophe, diacritical, a punctuation marking a possessive case of nouns, a contractive omission of letters, or perhaps, in this case, a leftover…

Old Wharf Café to Become Meeting Room

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

It is now available as a meeting facility, charged out at competitive rates. It also offers the opportunity to service light refreshments.

More specific details on availability and charge-out rates can be obtained from Carolyn Calder at and on 07739 330159. There’s plentiful pay carparking, but personally I’d like to think the beautiful space could be better used for arts, events, or charity purposes, but we all need a nice meeting every now and then, don’t we?!

Argh, I’m so excited about this I simply don’t think I can contain myself and I’ve come over all management speak; moving forward to some blue-sky thinking, then….


Town Council Register Warm Spaces Devizes

Like a descriptive paragraph from a Dicken’s novel, as similar across the UK this season, Devizes Town Council has provided information about a local “warm…

Review: Cracked Machine at the Southgate

by Ben Romain and Victoria Stanley Following a night in the Corn Exchange Friday, the chance arose for something completely different, something new to our…

Delicate, Like A Psychedelicat

What is a psychedelicat, a tin of magic mushroom flavoured Felix?! His picture on the tin certainly displays some suspiciously dilated pupils, but this exaggeration maybe just artistic licence for commercial purposes. In any case, they’re not as dilated as the kitty on the cover of a new album by Marvin B Naylor and Rebsie Fairholm, a Gloucestershire-Hants duo who operate under the pseudonym Psychedelicat; justice sufficient to take a listen……bring out the lava lamp……

Because, a kindly Manchester chap who was always sending me seriously outrageous noises he dubbed “psychedelic” has finally got the message. I don’t mean to be unfair, but music, whether it be as described, a mess of every known subgenre since rock n roll, or not, it must have harmony and melody, or it is borderline industrial noise. Seriously, listen to it under the influence of a single aspirin will likely find you gripping onto the sofa suffering a psychotic episode!

I felt he lacked the concept of psychedelia, for it is surely supposed to be benign, calming and mellowed, inducing a positive karma, rather than a full-blown Cheech and Chong fashioned freak out. On the other hand, when Marvin sent us the opening track of this album, Like a Delicate Psychedelicat, called Ark, as a submission for our Julia’s House compilation, while I was impressed, I wouldn’t have branded it psychedelic; mellowed and beautiful, but nothing particularly Sgt Pepper about it.

So, in the dark wee hours in a village on my milk round, I wedged the air-pods in with the illusion it wouldn’t be half as psychedelic as it said on the tin, especially with this Anthony Burgess approved cat on the cover, the pet of Alex or his droogs. But the glorious Mike Oldfield chimes and reeling soft vocals of Marvin and Rebsie of Ark are merely characteristics of the anticipation of an LSD trip, and before long I was beginning to suspect another milkman had dropped some liberty caps into my travel-mug of tea!

By track two, Steer by the Stars, you begin to obtain the illusion that you might not be in total control of your own mind, as you would if indulging in hallucinogens, without actually having to. That’s the exquisiteness of this, it’s a beautiful journey, to Itchycoo Park. Unlike the excruciating juxtaposition of random noises of our Manchester friend, this just flows gorgeously, like the perfect mellowed trip. If I go AWOL now, they’ll likely find me swaying cross-legged on the village green with flowers in my hair like it was some 1969 San Francisco love-in! “Oi, where’s my pint of semi-skimmed?”

“Like, hey, man, just, like swirling among the milky way, tee-hee; come, sit, can you see it?!”

A pipes and acoustic guitar instrumental flows for the next couple of minutes, then the soothing vocals of Rebsie returns for Green Adieu, to make The Byrds sound like death metal! “Don’t be deceived by the opening track-Ark,” Marvin messaged me far too late, I’m horizontal now, “there are several different styles!”

With a delicate beating drum, Icy Window is trippy, as we move positively from beatnik to hippy, to the sounds of the renaissance. It’s the little chimes and swirly effects amidst the tunes which exhales this impression of underground counter culture of yore, yet still there’s more going on. Sixteenth century triple-time dance shanty unexpectedly comes into play, with a version of John Dowland’s Captain Digorie Piper His Galliard, which Marvin describes as “complete with a psychedelic freak-out, and lots of harmony singing throughout,” akin to what The Horses of the Gods are putting out.

This is an accomplished eleven track strong album in which Marvin and Rebsie are clear on their approach, and if it’s lost in time against everything since the rise of punk, I suspect that is precisely the aim. As Like a Delicate Psychedelicat settles to a conclusion, you are immersed in its gorgeous portrayals of pliable soundscapes, lost in its forest of musical delights. Of harpsichords, twanging guitar on Promenading to the ambient finale, Bright Hucclecote, the only issue with this superb album for the counterculture bohemian of yore, is what to listen to afterwards.

Drained of inspiration, there’s a comedown on the horizon; abruptly you cannot connect the dots of your modest explanation for the meaning of life involving a dreamcatcher and some leftover twigs, and hey, who dumped that milk-float in the middle of Stonehenge?!


Billy Green Three’s Endless Scrolling

That Bill Green and his trio are back, WhatsApping me and spreading the news via social media about his new sardonic rap tune, condemning overuse…

Barrelhouse Rams The Gate!

When Barrelhouse visited the Southgate last easter, it was a great affair, though I was surprised to have been among a lesser crowd than a…

Female of the Species; Deadlier in Seend!

A glass half-full or half-empty scenario, to be at Seend Community Centre. The optimist in me ponders least it’s central, bang tidy between the Sham,…

Devizes School; We Will Rock You Review

By Bill Green

Devizes School excelled during the week of 05 December 2022, putting on a spectacular rendition of the West End show ‘We Will Rock You’...

The Main Hall thrummed with expectation as the compere announced some housekeeping rules, including flash lighting and actors moving amongst the crowd, which had the audience murmuring with anticipation, then silenced as the lights dimmed.

The show then opened in a dystopian world, three hundred years into the future, where music has been banned, and all records (pun intended) deleted by the evil Globalsoft corporation, headed by the sinister Killer Queen played by Ella Petherick.

A chorus of students across all year groups burst onto the stage for the opening song, which set the pace for a break neck ride through a set list of Queen songs, which narrated the tale of our protagonists Galileo and Scaramouche searching for hidden instruments, heralded by lyrics heard in Galileo’s dreams. The Killer Queen instructs her Chief of Police – Khashoggi played by Imogen Newcombe – to find the ‘Dreamer’ and stop his quest. Galileo and Scaramouche search for the instruments with the help of a group of outlaws, and on the way find an unexpected love for each other, despite their opposing characters.

And it’s this juxtaposition which carries the plot with wit and warmth, with Izzy Lane and Ella Phillips delivering note perfect and emotional renditions of both upbeat Queens songs – bringing the audience to their feet, arms in the air – and reducing the assembly to silence and tears during the more introspective tracks. Both leads have incredible and complementary voices, chiming perfect harmonies, a real accomplishment given the complexity of Queen’s songbook. The ensemble cast were all on cue and on song, whip crack humour delivered by the cast, not in the least due to the underlying in joke of the contrasting characters named after unexpected real-life stars, Ozzy, Britney etc. The show ends with a full-on singalong of ‘We Will Rock You’, everyone on their feet, and sheer joy showing in all the cast’s faces – above all these kids had a ball, as did the audience.

The production was a fantastic interpretation of a technically complex show, delivered with ease, belying the work behind the scenes in the intense rehearsals leading up to the opening night, balancing studies and home life. The aim of entertainment is to lose the audience for a couple of hours, take them out of the routine and transport them to a place of joy, and all the players and team delivered note perfectly.


Anyone For Table Tennis at Hillworth Park?

Yep, it’s true, Devizes’ wonderful Hillworth Park is to get an all-weather outdoor table tennis table, installed over the coming weeks, agreed at a Devizes…

Wiltshire Against the Badger Cull Expresses Outrage as Farmer Buried an Active Badger Sett

Amidst the number of other suspicious, much less futilely brutal activities, in the pursuit of rural blood sports, we’re currently knee-deep in the badger cull,…

Gastard’s Billionaire’s Tax Free Mine

I thought it’d be nice to have a localised “did you know” type article today, during this era where everyday folk die on our streets waiting for an ambulance, nurses cannot afford the petrol to get them to work, pensioners huddle together in community-led halls to keep warm, and a government which blames everything from a pandemic through to gas prices, Russians, and unions rather than its own incompetence that there’s “systems in place to help,” so, on a completely unrelated note, here goes…..

Did you know between the villages of Whitley and Gastard, on the Melksham to Corsham road, there’s what looks like a modest warehouse with a sizable office atop called Cert Octavian?

From ground up it looks like any other small business premises, other than the high security fence and gatehouse, but inside there’s a goods train which decends into a mine, of over a million square feet.

During the war the mine was used to store munitions, today, because of its constant ambient temperature it’s the perfect environment to store wine. Cert Octavian are a logicistics company, storing bonded wine from worldwide collectors and traders. Their collections are recorded, photographed and documents are sent to the clinet. Then it’s stored underground, millions of pallets of it. Anything from twenty to fifty pallets can arrive there daily, from every corner of the globe but mostly, obviously, from the Châteaus of Bourdeaux. Pallets of eight crates a layer, seven high, each crate with twelve bottles inside, ranging an average of £1,000 a bottle and gaining value with every second that passes.

The owners of the wine rarely see any of it, let alone drink it. A tiny fraction of their collection might be called on for a special occasion, but more likely its traded with another collector, so it will be bought to the surface, sent to the clinet, or to Sotherbys, Christie’s in New York, or similar auction and sent back to Cert Octavian to restore by a different customer, or more generally, simply bought to the surface, relabelled with the new clinet’s details, and sent back down again.

Traders usually buy in yen and sell in US dollar to achieve maximum profit, but why you may ask. Why have all this wine, so much wine they or their conceited bum chums couldn’t possibly drink it all in their lifetimes?

Because they are not wine conissours at all, and have no intention of ever taking so much as a sip. If they pose as them it’s a smokescreen. They’re worldwide investors, and as wine is a liquid assest they pay no tax on it; not a stitch, not a single penny. Billions upon billions of untaxable stock, just sitting down there, collecting profit and dust. Dust, sitting atop more money than you or I could possibly imagine.

The only people who will ever see it are the warehouse staff. Ask me how I know; I was, for a short peroid, one of those staff members; even honoured to drive the train once, choo-choo, which wasn’t as much fun as it sounds!

I saw it with my own eyes, saw the millionaire contracts from a single crate, and when I left they asked I return the polo shirt workwear they gave me!

Not that it’s for me to suggest the sickening inequality, a tenacious link between this economic recession and the greed of billionaires, simply because they, quite literally, want the shirt off my back. Neither is it for me to suggest how much revenue taxing this vast stock would procure, or the effects if a government had the balls to demand it’s now taxable, or even weighing it up against the NHS or the £2,436.7 billion national deficit, though I’m sure it’d cover both with enough spare to throw a party or twenty.

Or further still, not that it’s for me to suggest the billionaires could engage in what us peasants are asked of us; to “pull together for the good of the country.”

No, of course not, it’s not for me to suggest at all, anymore than the notion the trillions of untaxed pounds stored under Gastard is but a small player in the global untaxed wealth stashed in offshore accounting, tax loopholes, bogus company money laundering and illegal trades of drugs or weapons, but, you know, just thought it was an interesting bit of local historical information, that’s all. You have a good day now, you hear? Work on, pay your taxes,  choose between heating your home or feeding your kids, and be bloody grateful!

Former Devizes Resident Brings His Broken Hearts Club to St Johns Church

Brave New Broken Hearts Club is the acoustic folk-indie project of Neil Phillimore, who might sound as cockney as Ray Winstone singing Any Old Iron on his Facebook videos, but says he’s a former Devizes resident, and he’s returning for a one-off gig at St Johns, Friday 10th February…..

With his trademark brand of “engaging storytelling and warm, affecting songwriting,” he brings waterways London folk poet-singer Pearl Fish with him too.

Promising “an intimate evening of beautiful songwriting and human connection,” tickets are a tenner, HERE.

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 4th -11th January 2023

Well, as you could probably imagine, after yule celebrations the start to the new year is kind of quiet. At least, that’s what we’re seeing; it’s all broken, all over, only empty wrappers and toffee pennies left in the Quality Street tin, your Lynx Africa deodorant set is in the cupboard, Christmas cracker hat left on the floor of the bedroom where it fell, red wine-stained glasses on the side but no refill. You might just as well go back to work……

Wednesday 4th, Thursday 5th I got nothing for you, I’m afraid, enter sad face emoji.

Friday 6th and there’s open mic at the Barge on Honey-Street, while Shades of Seattle’s MTV Unplugged set featuring Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and more at the Vic, Swindon.

Saturday 7th and you’ll find the talented Adam Woodhouse at The Three Crowns, Devizes.

The Beat play MECA, Swindon, which must be Editor’s Pick of the Week, told I was going, but still no official invite! What the hell is that all about?! January blues really kicking in now!

Meanwhile, The Bowie Experience play the Vic, and there’s magical comedy at the Wyvern with The Mind Mangler’s Member of the Tragic Circle show.

Sunday and Monday, I got nothing to report, but Tuesday 10th there’s a lunchtime piano recital at Pound Arts, Corsham with Emma Abbate & Julian Perkins.

Wednesday 11th and being the Southgate reopens on the Monday, the usual acoustic jam will be on.

However, after this first week, things are really beginning to look up, so keep in the loop, check out our event calendar, it’s a noticeboard of upcoming fun!

Tally-Ho for Boxing Day; Avon Vale Hunt Ride Again Admist Protests

Here we go again, Lacock’s Boxing Day incongruous pageant of corruption and barbarism plans to go ahead this year, despite protests, as The Avon Vale Hunt will gather in showy and shameless glory.….

Safe in the knowledge the single patrolling WPC, Laura Hughes was a member of the hunt, and it was suggested did little to remain impartial, last year’s Boxing Day fiasco turned nasty, with violent clashes between hunt supporters and protesters. The protesters intend to be in attendance again, for peaceful intent as always, but hoping for safety in numbers.

While you’d like to think Wiltshire Police have learned a lesson, and this year’s event will be more efficiently manned, no charges or disciplinary was deemed necessary for the officer in question, despite publicly stating “we do accept a potential conflict of interests should have been declared,” and claiming they were unaware of her association with the hunt. Well, they’re aware now, only time will tell.

We also hope Wiltshire PCC Phillip Wilkinson’s recent crackdown on rural crime strategies, which has seen recent arrests for hare coursing, will extend to hunting, but he has shown little respect for hunt protesters in the past, apparently calling anti-hunt individuals, “balaclava wearing thugs.” In similar logic as Nelson Mandela was a deemed terrorist, no doubt.

With Conservative MP James Gray accused of being in attendance last year, in support of the hunt, sonething he later denied although photographed there, it would seem there’s a clear aborehence of the Hunting Act within many powers that be, resulting in these clashes, which sadly takes costly lawsuits to justifiably resolve. Something avoidable with proactive policing, me thinks; or is that a tad too bleeding obvious?!

In April, three hunt supporters were convicted after pleading guilty to using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause unlawful violence.” In September though, the anti-hunt individuals were acquitted. Judge Dickens said, “ultimately, the evidence is pretty thin, wafer thin…While there is just about a case to answer, the evidence is wafer thin and it won’t get any better, and for those reasons I won’t be able to be sure they were not acting in self-defence.”

What is becoming clearer through this, is the wheels of the ‘trail hunting’ smokescreen are coming off, as the populous accept it’s a charade, and leaving hunters frustrated, and aggressive. I can understand this, they’ve taken their toys away, and in the name of tradition it would seem a shame, if the activity wasn’t a completely unnecessary bloodthirsty and barbaric activity which has been democratically deemed unwanted and unlawful in today’s society.

It now falls on town and parish councils, landowners and pub landlords to accept the majority’s appeal on this matter, and outright ban all hunting meets and activities on their land, regardless of these petty bogus claims of lawfulness, until such a time they can prove no acts of animal welfare have been breached. Which, and let’s be frank, they can’t, ergo they react in force of vengeance. For if they could, there would be no valid reason to behave with this thuggish mentality.

So, I cannot advise you attend, for your own safety, but the Boxing Day meet will start at 10am in Lacock, but doing so at your own risk will show support for the rising campaign against this, and, as I said, it is the responsibility of Wiltshire Police to ensure the event runs more smoothly this time. Here’s to a peaceful protest, then, and also to those risking themselves to protect our wildlife, not just on Boxing Day, but throughout the year.

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 7th-14th December 2022

It’s beginning to look a lot like…. another week in early December; bar humbug! Therefore, here’s what’s doing in and around Wiltshire, all of which can be found on our event calendar, with further info and ticket links.….

If we missed your event, did you tell us about it? It’s free to be listed on Devizine, just drop us a message.

Ongoing, is Sustainable Devizes’ Advent{ure} Reuse Christmas on The Little Green, Devizes, where you can be part of a living Advent Calendar! So many organisations have gathered for this, it’s all very festive, and running until Christmas Eve.

Wednesday 7th is the regular acoustic jam at The Southgate, Devizes, while White Horse Opera hold their Christmas Concert at St John’s.

Thursday 8th, there’s Craft and Chat at Chippenham Library, and the 14th Annual Pound Arts Open Exhibition at Pound Arts in Corsham.

Find a Vocation Naughty & Nice Drink-a-Long at The Snuffbox, Devizes, Oxbowlake & Shedric play The Tuppenny, Swindon, while Boo Hewerdine’s Understudy Tour happens at Chapel Arts, Bath, with The Wurzels’ Christmas Tour comes to Komedia.

Friday 9th Southbroom St James Academy in Devizes have a Christmas Fayre from 5-7pm.

Little Red Riding Hood – The Panto opens at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes, running until December 17th, sorry, this has sold out.

Elsewhere in Devizes though, find a Christmas Celebration Concert with Devizes Good Afternoon Choir at St Andrews, and it’s the grand evening for Longcroft Productions with Lachy Doley at The Corn Exchange. Sour Apple play The Three Crowns, and The Muck & Dunder have a Ten Hides Distillery Tasting session.

Sandi Thom plays Pound Arts in Corsham, Courtney Pine’s Spirituality is at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, while Severance plays The Three Horseshoes there. The Super Skas at Chapel Arts, Bath. On my must-see list, Ant Trouble, Adam & His Ants tribute plays The Tree House, Frome.

The Guns & Roses Experience at The Vic, Swindon, while The Britpop Boys takes Level III, Behind Bars at The Rolleston, and the Tuppeny has The Electric Kool-Aid Audio Test. Night one of The Great Gatsby at MECA.

Saturday 10th, regular Lego Club at Chippenham Library from 3-4pm.

Mark Smallman plays The Southgate, Devizes, while Illingworth are at The Crown, Bishops Cannings.

Be Like Will play The Talbot, Calne, while Old Friends are at The Wheatsheaf.

Homer plays The Lamb, Marlborough, while its sound system night at The Barge on Honeystreet, with the Jah Lion Movement Sound System, a fiver on the door.

Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood by The Cabaret Geek at Pound Arts, Corsham, while The Choir of Clare College Cambridge are at the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

Untamed Burlesque at Chapel Arts, Bath.

While The Great Gatsby continues at MECA in Swindon, ZambaLando are live at Baristocats, and ravers flock to Level III for the Midlife Krisis Crew will be in effect.

Sunday 11th Devizes Town Band have a Christmas Party at The Corn Exchange.

Wiltshire Young Musicians Christmas Festival at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, while Cydernide & Tharsis play The Three Horseshoes.

A Winter Union at Chapel Arts, Bath, and Frome Vegan Fair at the Cheese & Grain.

Monday 12th and Saint Michael and All Angels in Hilperton have a concert; Follow the Star – Doves Peace Choir & Ebonite. And there’s the Rock the Tots Christmas Show at Pound Arts, Corsham

Tuesday 13th and find Beer & Carols at The Southgate, Devizes, and some Christmas Memories at Melksham Assembly Hall.

Wednesday 14th regular acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes, a lunchtime harp recital by Lise Vandermissen at Pound Arts, Corsham, and Chuckles Comedy Club at MECA in Swindon.

And that’s all I got so far, folks, but we do update regularly, so keep one eye on our event calendar. It’s also good for future planning, just keep on scrollin’, dude!

Things you need to be thinking about for the following weeks ahead: starter for ten, the Butch Hopkins Memorial Gig at The Corn Exchange, Devizes Friday 16th and you’ll be hard pressed for tickets to Bublé at MECA or The Sweet at the Cheese & Grain on that day.

Breathtakingly amazing local soprano Chole Jordan’s Classical Christmas on Saturday 17th at Devizes Town Hall, in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, but I’m planning be at Marlborough Memorial Hall for MantonFest are having a Christmas party with Barrelhouse and Slade tribute Slyde, and you know it’s not Christmas until Noddy calls it! Do join me for that one.

Have a great weekend but behave; he knows if you’ve been bad or good!


Song of the Day 45: Funkin Hell

Corporate decision made today with our board of directors to bring back our song of the day feature. Once a regular thing here at Devizine,…

Nothing Rhymes Orange, Fact

Oh, for the enthusiasm of emerging talent; new track from Nothing Rhymes with Orange is a surprisingly garage band delight…… My dad never revealed his…

Lou Trigg, and Some Flowers

Uplifting and sentimental, Flowers is the new song by Chippenham singer-songwriter Lou Trigg very worthy of your attention and playlist. A chorale delicacy, it trickles…

Remembrance Service in Devizes, 2022

Featured image: Remembrance Sunday 2019, Devizes by Gail Foster. With thanks to the secretary of The Devizes Branch of the Royal British Legion, Vera Richmond,…

Sustainable Devizes Opens Community Fridge

It’s early days, but it’s great to see the Devizes Community Fridge standing proud in the Shambles today. Running since the beginning of the month…

Illingworth Celebrate Their 100th Gig!

Salisbury-based acoustic rock duo John Illingworth Smith and Jolyon Dixon play The High Post Golf Club, between Amesbury and Salisbury this Friday 2nd December, and celebrate that it’s their 100 gig.

Although the duo had been collaborating musically for over three decades, gigs dried out proir to 2019, and they stopped, as Jolyon vaguely explained, “for one reason or another!”

He told of how around the Christmas peroid of that year, “John and I were chatting about how we missed doing gigs, wondering if we should maybe get a set together and have go at performing again as a duo.”

We wasn’t certain if anyone would want to listen,” Jolyon continued, “if we could actually get any gigs at all, or even how to get the songs working with just the two of us playing.” Today it’s still a wonder to us how they manage such a gorgeous sound as a duo, but they do! At Bishop’s Cannings’ CrownFest this summer they stole the stage following two heavy rocks bands, and to see Illingworth stamp their mark on a cover as technical as Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, or The Beatles’ Hey Jude, is something really special.

To maintain a pub circuit, Illingworth have mastered the cover scene with a plethora of memorable and sing-along rock classics, but neither are they strangers to creating originals, knocking out two breathtaking albums to date. This is where their relationship with Salisbury’s Tunnel Rat studio producer, Eddie Prestidge, comes in handy.

Our good friend Eddie encouraged us to give it a try,” Jolyon said, “offered to become our manager and handle the bookings. So, we gladly accepted and sure enough we got our first booking in February 2020, with several more following soon after. Of course, early in March the lockdowns started and we couldn’t go out and play. We were gutted, but, undeterred we used the time to make a new album of original songs and we did gigs whenever the restrictions allowed.”

Well, this weekend will be our 100th gig, So we would just like to say thank you so so much to all the excellent venues that have booked us, the weddings, parties, festivals, celebrations and absolutely everyone who has come to see us along the way! It’s been an absolute blast getting to this point. We still love doing what we do, and hope to make it to our 200th gig!”

With the trajectory these guys are flying on, I estimate that’ll be around spring! What more of an apt venue name, then, for their 100th gig than the High Post?! But seriously, these guys could bring joy to punters and provide a cracking night to any pub. I’d wager they could even raise the morale of the Queen Vic in Eastenders given half a chance!

Congratulations to John, Jolyon and Eddie, and hope to catch you again soon, guys.

Devizes Girl Wins Vernon Kay’s Talent Nation

A huge congratulations to Jess Self, 13, from Devizes, who has won Vernon Kay’s Talent Nation…..

Presented by Park Dean Resorts, Talent Nation had over 2,500 applications and  ran at 52 holiday parks across the UK.

Jess travelled to Skegness where she made the final twelve, and was then crowned the overall winner by judges, including Alison Hammond and Strictly star AJ Pritchard. She performed a medley from Hairspray The Musical.

Jess said, “it’s like a dream come true. It was such an amazing experience and was a great opportunity.”

You can see Jess, performing as Red Riding Hood at the Wharf Theatre’s pantomime, Little Red Riding Hood, running from 9th to 17th December. Tickets HERE.

Jess, who loves performing, and is currently at Stagecoach performing arts school in Trowbridge, added she “can’t wait” to perform in the Wharf Pantomime and is excited to see everyone’s hard work come together. She says she’s extremely grateful for every opportunity that comes her way.

Well done, Jess; keep up the amazing work, fingers crossed, next stop, Broadway!

Town Council Register Warm Spaces Devizes

Like a descriptive paragraph from a Dicken’s novel, as similar across the UK this season, Devizes Town Council has provided information about a local “warm spaces” initiative, of which you need to resigter your venue or activity, if you can help.

Register HERE.

They will be adding a downloadable list of all registered warm space venues to their website soon. I hope we can replicate it here to spread word of this saddening yet essential service. Feel free to contact us if we can help in any orher way too.

Warm Spaces Devizes is a local community provision of safe, welcoming warm spaces that are free and open to all in Devizes and nearby villages. The spaces will provide a warm location, refreshments, companionship and information on how to weather the cost of living crisis. You do not need to freeze this winter.

This follows a similar pattern across the county, Wiltshire Council has created an online interactive community directory to help people find warm spaces and community food providers in the county to support them.

Access this HERE, to find what support is available nearby and across the county. Go to the directory and select your postcode area, this will automatically generate a list of what is available, as well as a host of other useful features.

Those in other locations, can find their nearest warm space HERE.

Naturally, they all suggest attending can help to reduce your heating bills. In this “starve or freeze” coming winter, make no mistake, this is a disheartening article to have to publish, particularly in an area assumed to be affluent.

While I’m pleased to hear such schemes are being created, it is clearly symbolic of the absolute failure of this government, and while county councils like Wiltshire continue to tow the Conservative line, I’m of the honest opinion they are duty bound to attend to this crisis. We will not thank them here, but we will acknowledge their efforts.

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 10th – 16th November 2022

Deliberating if these weekly roundups are worthwhile, being it’s already on the event calendar came up with some helpful feedback, not much, but some! Seems some don’t like to scroll through the entire month and the roundups work better for them. In that, I could do as I once did before the calendar was set out monthly, and delete past dates so the current week is always at the top. What do you think, good idea? Why not stick a broom up my arse too, and I’ll sweep the floor while doing it?!

Only kidding, if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it, probably be playing squash or something stupidly energetic like that; ha, imagine! So here, for all you lovely people is what we’ve found to do this week. I would still encourage you to scroll through the months as the bigger events need tickets and you’ve got to get in there fast these days, early bird, and something about a worm, and all that, and where was I anyway? Ah, yes……

Details on remembrance service and parade in Devizes, HERE, for all other places you’ll need to resort to relevant local Facebook pages, there’s too much to get down here.

Thursday 10th November then, and the usual Craft and Chat at Chippenham Library.

Keith James Performing the songs of Nick Drake at Chapel Arts in Bath. Meanwhile, tribute over in Swindon, Clearwater Creedence Reviva at Meca, but, and this is a big but, a contender for editor’s pick of the week, if it wasn’t for the fact it’s a Thursday, and I can’t make it, which isn’t fair but gammons tell me life isn’t fair, likely because they make it unfair, and I’m getting tetchy now, but one of most favourite-most reggae bands in the UK, Captain Accident & The Disasters play The Vic, and they’ve toured regularly supporting Toots & The Maytals, that’s how amazing they are!

Friday 11th running until Sunday, is the Terrace Soul, Jazz & Funk Winter Weekender in Swindon, and Friday night also sees our pick of the week, which I’m also gutted to have to miss, especially being Long Street Blues Club’s usually run Saturdays. Still, at the Corn Exchange, Devizes, they’ve the homecoming gig for guitarist Robin Davy, but otherwise all the way from California, Beaux Gris Gris & the Apocalypse, that one will go off, guaranteed.

Sheer Music is down the Pump, Trowbridge with Katie Malco, and the other prize gig this Friday, Harmer Jays with Chasing Kites and one of our new favourites, Nothing Rhymes With Orange at St James Vaults, Bath, has sold out. Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip is at Chapel Arts, Bath.

Travelling Wilburys tribute, The Unravelling Wilburys at The Melksham Assembly Hall. Sour Apple play The Mason Arms, Warminster, Taunts & Arizona Law at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, Michael Hennessy at The Wellington Arms, Marlborough.

No Middle Ground over in Swindon at The Vic, The People Versus & Tamsin Quin at The Hop Inn, and the Beverly Maye Band@ The Sun Inn, Coate.

Rob Newman is at Salisbury Arts Centre, The Scribes at The Winchester Gate. Sex Pistols Expose at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Saturday 12th and there’s the regular Lego Club from 3-4pm at Chippenham Museum. St Andrew’s Devizes Christmas Fayre from 10am-12pm. Saturday night in Devizes and highly recommended Clock Radio supports Cracked Machine at The Southgate. Rockhoppaz play Condado Lounge.

Sour Apple play The Brewery Inn, Seend Cleeve, and Pete Lamb’s Heartbeats are at Seend Community Centre.

Siren are at The Pilot, Melksham. Junkyard Dogs at The Somerset Arms, Trowbridge, while The Sylvertones play Stallards. Americana at the Pump, with Truckstop Honeymoon and the Shudders in support.

2 Tone All Skas play Chippenham’s Consti Club.

Wiltshire Police Band play a Remembrance service at the Bouverie Hall, Pewsey. Back to the 80s party at The Lamb, Marlborough with Rubix’s Groove, and a punky reggae party at The Barge HoneyStreet with Cara Means Friend.

Gaz Brookfield is at The Hop Inn, Swindon, with 12 Bars Later at The Manor Farm.

Bill Lawrence is at Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon, Emily Breeze & Leathers at The Three Horseshoes. Tony Christie & Ranagri – The Great Irish Songbook Tour at Chapel Arts, Bath.

And there’s The Hooten Hallers at Salisbury Arts Centre, Wishbone Ash’s “Argus 50th Anniversary show at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.

For a lively Sunday afternoon on the 13th, Plan of Action are at The Foresters Arms, Melksham from 5pm. For a mellower one, try Cantamus Chamber Choir at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

TITCO’s Dinner Party opening night on Monday 14th at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes, and running until Saturday 19th. And other than our acoustic jam at the Southgate on Wednesday, that’s all I got for now; have a groovy weekend in a groovy kind of way.


Talk in Code: The Big Screen

Talk in Code’s second album has been out a while, overdue to mention it…… January 2019, and I find myself making several eighties cultural references…

Excelsior and Some Worried Men

Patiently awaiting the school run to take a listen to Excelsior, this new album by The Worried Men, after witnessing them at a blinder down…

Devizes Public Living Room Finds New Home

It’s great news today, as the social circle Devizes Public Living Room has been offered The Cheese Hall to continue their weekly gatherings, by Devizes…