Song of the Day 1: Atari Pilot

Irregularly I share a music video to our Facebook page with the status “song of the day,” or week, or whenever, as if it’s a daily occurrence. When the reality is it’s a big, fat fib on my part, it’s only when I happen to find such a video and can be arsed to share it. What-cha gonna do, sue me?

So, just in case your lawyer says you have a case, I thought I’d streamline this sporadic idea for 2021, make it an actual feature on the site rather than a Facebook post, and show off that I know what long words like “sporadic” mean.

Little more gone into it than this, you should be used to it by now. I’m not going to review them, just embed them here for your own appraisal and entertainment purposes. Potentially, it’ll be a groundbreakingily breif post, a simple but effective phenomenon, and something I can do without missing the Simpsons.

The challenge is consistency; whether I actually stick to the idea or, like others, it’ll be a flash in the pan. Who knows, this could be the start of something beautiful, this could be the thing they’re talking about in decades to come. A holographic Ken Bruce could be asking “what was the very first Devizine Song of the Day” in a Pop Master 200 years from now.

And you can answer it with who I bestow this honour, Atari Pilot. They’ll be revelling in the triumph of the hour if it wasn’t lockdown, I bet.

History in the making then, the only issue I foresee is I over-waffle any old crap, which is, incidentally, not what’s happening now and rarely does here; I had to explain myself, didn’t I?

Okay, I get message; here it is then, enjoy the tune, enjoy the rest of your evening. Good job, carry on.


  • Black Uhuru UK Tour Cancelled; The Plight of International Touring Post-Brexit

    They can get no time to press,
    Because of all the distress that the society leads. What I’m a longing for is some happiness,”

    Black Uhuru “Happiness.”

    Frome’s Cheese & Grain today annouced the booking of The Counterfeit Beatles in November, which is all fine and dandy, but yesterday it sadly had to notify ticket holders for next month’s appearance of legendary reggae band Black Uhuru that the show had been cancelled.

    In fact, after numerous postponements, the entite UK leg of the tour has been axed, due to a backlog in visas. The Cheese & Grain expressed their sorrow, explaining they’ve “been assured that the band and their representatives have tried everything in their power to make this work, but unfortunately there is now no option but to cancel this show.”

    Kinda reminded me of my favourite upcoming ska band, Girls Go Ska, from Mexico, proudly posting their European tour dates on Facebook, without a single date on England’s green and pleasent land. I commented, “I wish you could come to England.” And though the South America ska scene developed separately from the retrospective niche of Two-Tone here, the girls are fully aware of our nation’s importance within the roots of international ska, and replied with sad emoji, “so do we.”

    Now the tour is reality, all I get is fantastic looking video clips from Germany, of crowds enjoying the pinnacle of contemporary South American ska, when I’ve no hope in hell of ever seeing them live.

    Not to moan too much about the divided issue, and as much as I enjoy a Beatles tribute, I have to ponder, is this what Brexit Britain has become? Barricaded in from outside influence, regurgitating archived moments of British achievements in the form of tribute acts, much less, extremely unlikely for upcoming UK artists to export their wares in the same method the flagwaving-idolised achievers of yore once did?

    Ironic in considering if we had Brexit in the sixties, we wouldn’t have had The Beatles. Derry and the Seniors were doing well in Hamburg for booking agent, Allan Williams, whilst the young skiffle band on his books, who had recently rebranded from The Quarrymen were paltry amateurs, lost amidst the flooded market of the Merseybeat circuit. So Williams sent the young hopefuls on a similar path, to Hamburg, and what came out the other end was the greatest band ever; every gammon wave your union jack now.

    Everything about the Beatles was honed and shaped in Germany, from their performance skills, their association with Brian Epstein, and even the famed hair-do. The ability for UK musicians to tour other countries, particularly in Europe was paramount in shaping pop music, and equally, from Buddy Holly to Kraftwerk, the influence of international acts touring the UK.

    I have to tip my hat to Frome’s Cheese and Grain, how such an average sized Somerset town can attract the standard of act usually reserved for cities. On Beatles, the venue has built the kind of reputation whereby Paul McCartney will pitstop for an intimate gig on his way to Glastonbury. But for want of an influx of international artists seems reserved for megastars on the Springsteen level, of which you need a stadium-sized venue, and you’d need to morgage your home for a ticket.

    Longleat hosted a Diana Ross concert, and a number of other household names this summer, in the kind of conservative thinktank arrangement which took an average three hundred notes off each punter then told them they couldn’t bring in a folding chair. As if anyone who had amassed that kind of wealth to wantingly throw three hundred quid at one gig, and who would be eager to see a heronie of 55 years past would be of a suitable age to stand like a teenager for four hours; you can bet your bottom dollar a few deckchair hire conpanies rubbed their hands together that night. The young get tetchy when being herded like cattle, I can only imagine the disappointment from their elders.

    Live music is big business, I get that, the hospitality industry was bought to it’s knees through lockdown, I get that too, but relaying the deficit onto the punter will not bring a stream of genuine fans, it will only bring an inequality culture of those who can afford to will, those who can’t have to suck it up.

    But it’s not just about way to go to whack up the price of a Womad ticket, but more about the missed opportunities for amateur and semi-professional artists to export their talent further afield. What’s the point of extending a reputation internationally online, if you cannot follow it up by appearing live without an unaffordable bill, a financial advisor and a year’s worth of paperwork to fill in just to take a tambourine on a continental flight?

    And what do we get in return for this supposed will of the people? An oil rig dragged into Weston-super-Mud and decorated with taxpayer’s much needed banknotes to resemble a pathetic play on words, “See Monster.” Yes, I do see a monster, as I swig from my crown embossed pint margo, pointlessly waving my blue pissport; it’s stranded us on this island with a bunch of self-serving, ignorant bastards.

    Best we can do right now, is support the little man, to show our love and support to the burgeoning DIY ethos promoting local live music. This is where fervour remains, in the enthusiasm of imending talent, and pray for a better day when the red tape of
    welcoming international acts will be cut.


  • Drag Me Down are Invincible; Fact!

    Ah, hark the beatific resonances of an adolescent choir, in their prime; Swindon’s metal-skater-punk three-piece Drag me Down have a new single out, destined to take no prisoners.….

    Released on 26th August (2022) Invincible is fresh loud and proud, if contemporary pop-punk bands like Sum41, just as a for example, are sounding tad commercialised and lite, either/or, Limp Bizkit be too rappy for your palette, this local garage powerhouse packs the punch of metal’s finest hour and plunges the rest of said genre against the ropes.

    And they sent it to me for my appraisal, unaware I’m approaching fifty and should be looking over my glasses at them in disgust, complaining about skateboards in the park while sucking on a pipe and adjusting my slippers until the nurse passes me my meds; and I reckon it’s having it.

    Its intro is unpredictably electronica, but kicks within ten seconds with a grungy carefree “this is our time” notion, and rolling drums of pop-punk is the hook which confirms it is exactly that, a beguiling up-to-date anthem. If, like me, you were unaware of these guys, this will permanently scar them into your neurons as they go from strength to strength, claiming to have learned “a few new tricks along the way.”

    Formed in Swindon, the band have been friends since their pre-teen years and suggest they’ve “gone through every trial a young person could face while growing up in the UK,” yet emerge from the other end as a “no-nonsense unit of friends with only one goal: to put smiles on the faces of everyone who listens to us.” Ah, I can’t give ’em that, sorry, they don’t know they’ve been born!

    If there was any truth in what I just said, least they’ve top marks on how to rock.

    In true counterculture ethos, they’ve a DIY label, Whatevercords, and have teamed up with The Bottom Line, Hightail, and From Here On Out producer Zac Pritchett to whisk an ever-growing discography. They’ve played Furnace Fest at Swindon’s Level III with the likes of Polar, TRC and our purveyors of noise buddies NervEndings.

    I forgo my right to a free bus pass unless it’ll take me to a Drag me Down gig, because based on this single alone, they’ve got every ingredient firmly placed for the lively, youthful denotation you need to be at when it goes off. So, yeah, I’m predicting these kids will go far, and as for pensioner whinges I’ll stop at: if not I want a full enquiry into why not.

    Pre-save said ticking-timebomb HERE, and wait for detonation Friday week (26th August.)


  • Citizen’s Advice’s Plea for Funding From Local Councils as Wiltshire Council Slash Their Budget

    Do you take Citizen’s Advice for granted? For many it’s a lifeline, the first port of call for any issues rising from legal, debt, consumer, and housing, yet Wiltshire Council has slashed £100k off its funding, about one-third of their budget. Makes you wonder why they ever dropped their slogan, “where everybody matters,” really, doesn’t it?!

    The independent organisation has been rallying local town and parish councils for support. A spokesman from Citizen’s Advice was heard at the Devizes Town Council Committee Meeting on Tuesday 16th August, to plea for financial help.

    The trade publication Third Sector states around 60% of Citizens Advice funding comes from government sources, but Citron contends there’s tension between Citizens Advice and the government, because while the charity relies on government funding to survive, it’s most effective as a high-profile critic of government policy. As if the government has any policies worthy of criticism! But cuts like these forces the bureau to seek much more funding from other sources. Locally, they’re approaching major towns and parishes for support.

    As well as rising prices, Devizes Town Council explained the spokesperson was keen to point out this was “unfortunate in timing as they anticipated a rash of applications for help when the next raise in energy caps occurs, as well as coping with the other challenges of inflation.”

    Councillor Ian Hopkins rightfully criticised the savagery of the cut and the timing, suggesting the town council “were not the authority to whom they should be appealing but, in suggestion a more rational approach, suggested an application in the autumn, prior to budget setting.”

    Our local branch is situated in New Park Street, yet serves a wider community across villages and other local towns, so, Councillor Burton’s enquiry if funds would be spent on supporting Devizes people only could not be reassured by the spokesperson. She did however confirm they had received some responses offering various sums.

    Councillor Hunter asked whether any other of their services could be redirected back to Wiltshire Council or other agencies. The representative confirmed that Age UK has been supportive but CAB remains the first port of call during which they hope to empower clients to follow up themselves, leaving it unlikely that Wiltshire Council would be impacted.

    There was a surge amidst Devizes Town Council of favouring grants which would be kept for local use, but the councillor Hopkins suggested that £1,500 should be given, pending a more formal application for better funds, a proposal that was carried unanimously.

    So, well done DTC, you’re officially in my good books (were you ever not, you need ask?!) No, really, I’ve applied some Lynx Africa and I’m coming in for a group hug, asap! Citizens Advise is a sustenance for so many, providing free advice and help is essential even more in this day and age, yet it’s a sad reality of a failing government when Citizen’s Advise needs its own advice on how to fund itself.


  • Wadworth Put Best Paw Forward with Wadwoof Walkies!

    Wadworth are raising money for Dogs Trust on International Dog Day with their very first Wadwoof Walkies event!

    On Friday August 26th, dogs and their humans are invited to take a stroll starting and ending at the Wadworth Brewery Tap & Shop, in aid of the charity. The UK is currently experiencing a dog welfare crisis following an increase in ‘lockdown dogs’ bought during the pandemic and now being abandoned due to the cost-of-living.

    REWARDS FOR THE TAIL-WAGGERS

    The first five people to sign-up will receive a special ‘thank you’, a ceramic dog bowl personalised with their pooch’s name by Wadworth’s super-talented sign-writer, Wayne Richings.

    Wadworth will also reward every dog that completes the walk with a rosette, as well as some treats and a much-deserved glug of dog beer that’s guaranteed to get tails wagging at the finishing line.

    TREATS FOR THE LEAD-HOLDERS

    For the humans, there’ll be hand-made pizza, available to buy from The Woodland Pizza Kitchen between 4pm and 8pm, as well as beer and other drinks to wash it down with from the Brewery Tap. Wadworth recommend pre-ordering pizzas before setting off on the walk.

    Participants will also get the chance to have a professional photo taken of their dog looking their best with their Wadwoof Walkies rosette. Wadworth will share these with event-goers after the event.

    SIGN UP TODAY

    Entry costs £10 per person and is payable by card only on the day. £5 from each ticket sale will be donated to Dogs Trust. Sign-up HERE.

    The walk starts promptly at 5.30pm and event-goers can choose from a 30-min or 1-hour route.
    The route is mainly shaded with few roads to cross.
    There will be a water station en-route.
    The Woodland Pizza Kitchen will be open between 4pm-8pm and pizzas can be pre-ordered via direct message on their Facebook page.


  • Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 17th-24th August 2022

    Ah this is more like it, the English summer we know and love! Tad wet, but here’s what we have to do this week and the last weekend before the big summer blow-out which is the August Bank Holiday.….

    Don’t forget, more info and all links for bookings are on our event calendar, where you can also plan ahead, so long as it keeps updating, which I’m trying my best to, honest!

    There’s a floral demonstration at Devizes Town Hall on Wednesday 17th August, by the Devizes Flower Club; opens at 7pm, £5.

    Parents head for the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon where there’s a messy art session and a singing day ahead.

    Manchester’s noughties art rock band Everything Everything play the Cheese & Grain, Frome.


    Thursday 18th, and again, kids can visit The Musical Zoo at the wonderful Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon. Three bands at The Beehive, Swindon on Thursday, The Acoustic Buzz 52, Larkham & Hall and Jol Rose. Also, at The Vic the have Monasteries, Creak, Persadian & Chasing Dolls. The Summer Youth Project performance of Legally Blonde is at the Wyvern.


    Onto Friday 19th, and it’s the Wine Tasting event at St Mary’s Devizes, previewed here.

    If you’re lucky you can still book a fantastic Survival Camp for any young adventurous children who are aged between 10 years old and 12 years old, with the Wild Edge Survival Camp at West Lavington.

    Folk duo Fly Yeti Fly are at The Bear Inn, Bradford on Avon, The Beverley May Band at The Kings Arms, Melksham, Hayden Lloyd at Komedia, Bath. @59 play The Wellington in Marlborough.

    In Swindon, Judas Rising plays the Vic, while Bobbi Nicholles is at Woodlands Edge.


    Saturday 20th, it’s my pick of the week; the Bath Comic & Gaming Festival at Bath Uni. Full of UK based comic artist guests, some film and tv guests and cosplay guests, a dinosaur zone, Stranger Things, Ghostbusters and Star Wars props, and lots of stuff for kids to empty fanboy dad’s wallet! Lord, help me!

    Roots and folk at the Southgate Devizes, with Barney Kelly, and the welcome return of Long Street Blues Club with Skinny Molly, I believe is a sell-out. Worth checking though, I might be wrong, as, I sometimes am; I said sometimes!

    Dutty Moonshine Big Band play The Barge, HoneyStreet, Emily Barker is at The Pump in Trowbridge, and another successful Pipe & Slippers Rave at Trowbridge Town Hall goes off; I have to see this for myself; dust off the old whistle and white gloves! Oh, and if Sausage & Cider is more your thing, there’s a Day of it at The Brewery Inn, Seend Cleeve.

    Shame Live at Lydiard had to cancel, but People Like Us play The Swiss Chalet, Swindon and Click! are at Woodlands Edge.


    Sunday afternoon on the 21st August then, has another Fantasy Radio Lark in Hillworth Park, Devizes, though I’ve no idea who’s playing, because they never say. But Chaz Throughgood is at the Southgate.

    It’s the August Jam for the exclusive Wiltshire Blues & Soul Club, in their hiding place at Lacock, while the fantastic Sarah C. Ryan Band play a lazy afternoon at Richard Jefferies Museum, Swindon, and Jim Blackmann plays Komedia, Bath.

    And that’s your weekend over. On Tuesday 23rd Radio Banska play Jazz Knights at The Royal Oak, Swindon, and at this moment in time I’ve nought else in the week until Thursday’s opening of HoneyFest at the Barge on HoneyStreet.

    But it will be bank holiday next weekend, and there’s much to be looking into and planning. We’ll be at The Full Tone Festival on the Green in Devizes, and that one, I promise you, will be awesome, but not the same without you, so get your ticket as soon as possible!

    But yeah, same weekend you can find Reading Festival, GoatFest, Potterne Festival, Holt Scarecrow Trail, the Great Cheverall Soap Box Derby, Mini Talbot Fest at The Talbot, Calne, LodgeFest at The Lodge, Warminster, an M4 Classic Car & Bike Show in Chippenham, Chippenham River Festival, a live music festival at the Lamb Yard in Bradford-on-Avon, 21st Century ABBA at The Bowl, Town Gardens, Swindon as well as multitude of smaller gigs at just about every local pub and venue you can mention; and it’s all here on our event calendar, just hope the rain gives it a break!


  • Devizes Rotary: Support for Ukrainian Families

    https://wp.me/p4BT9k-1pw

  • Really Got Me Now; The Roughcut Rebels Storm the Three Crowns

    Prince Akeem of Zamunda, that’s the bugger, least the fictional character played by Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, who walks over a shower of rose petals; that’s the Roughcut Rebels gigging in their hometown right now, but replace the petals with “party!” Yes, they dance over a bed of party, waltzing the crowd with them, and punch above their weight for the mod covers championship belt.….

    For a band that know they can switch from the Beatles’, Hard Day’s Night, to Jack Bug’s Lighting Bolt, a local crowd will lay the petals for them. More so, they bring the party, as they saunter through them with a breeze of confidence. Confidence in their younger frontman, Fin, but also in the tightness of the knowledgeable band; it’s one not to be missed, as it was in the Three Crowns last night.

    In pub with a McDonald’s-paced drinks service, due to its cashless agenda, there’s a marvellous outside venue completely covered with sparkling canope. The boss here knows his customers as he flicks me through his diary; The Three Crowns pays particular attention to accomplished local live cover acts it knows will bring the party, such as People Like Us, Illingworth, Paradox and, as clearly evident last night, those Roughcut Rebels.

    They push the boundaries of eras, spanning in comfort any anthem with a mod tinge, and saunter from sixties to eighties, from Rolling Stones to The Jam, yet slide equally as neatly and timelessly as a Fred Perry shirt into Britpop and into contemporary indie sing-a-longs.

    Polishing the evening off with the Stereophonics’ Dakota, it’s a scooter rideout through time, from The Who to Oasis, and everything in between. This equates to a highly entertaining show, akin to a Now, That’s What I Call Mod Music compilation album, but live and with Wiltshire hint; I honour Fin doesn’t attempt a cockney accent when reenacting Phil Daniels’ Parklife monologue, because it’s a little west country thing, and it rocks!

    With a extensive gourmet burger type menu, The Three Crowns is a golden nugget on our pub circuit, and Finley and Mark of the band are the next stop musically, playing the bank holiday Monday in support of The Reason.

    The Roughcuts can be seen again at The Barge in Seend Cleeve on September 2nd, and appear at the highly anticipated Party For Life fundraiser at Melksham Town FC on the 10th September.


  • Sour Apple’s Kate Goes Diva at The Pelican

    Safe to say, I’m reckoning, we’re now back to full velocity for live music and entertainment in Devizes post-lockdown, and once again, for a small town it’s punching well above its weight for choice.

    Rare for me to be out on the tiles on a Friday due to real work commitments, but I’m off the hook and starting my adventure in a pub I also rarely frequent, Wadworth’s The Pelican Inn.

    An historic stalwart in the Market Place, The Pelican reliably never changes its spots because it needn’t. It’s that testament to the community-led tavern you’d usually find in villages, housing estates or hidden away in a city alley, but in the centre of our market town. It’s welcomingly local, with a maze of decorative and comfy cubby holes, if you’d favour privacy from the lively communal area.

    Kate stands close to the bar, singing along to well-known backing tracks, a practical method that while common and not really my cuppa, is a far, far stretch from Karaoke, with such a powerful and soulful voice at the helm. One half of acoustic duo Sour Apple, Kate can deliver a note crisp as if Alison Moyet came after Celine Dion, and affirmed regulars on the circuit, Sour Apple, onto my must-see hitlist.

    Power ballads of era-spanning exceptional divas proved no challenge for Kate, and engaged the crowd to join in.

    Friday is live music night at The Pelican, as landlady Sarah explained Saturday is a no-go, preventing a rude awakening Sunday morning to prep the kingpin of The Pelican’s agenda, the popular Sunday roast. With a takeaway option, capped under a tenner and with vegan alternative, the Sunday roast maybe the icing on the cake at the Pelican, but weekday specials make for a tantalising tradtional pub grub menu.

    Considering comedy, but revealling their live music lineup up till Christmas, there’s a good variety of worthy local talent at The Pelican. On Karaoke, Confetti Battle night, 3rd September, sees the regular and ever popular Krazee Devil Karaoke, but not before Bran and Mirko’s unmissable Irish-folk duo, The Celtic Roots Collective play the bank holiday weekend, on Friday 26th August.

    Kate returns as the aforementioned duo Sour Apple on September 9th, and master of all trades, the amazing Adam Woodhouse, regular support act at Long Street Blues Club, pays the Pelican a vist on 30th September.

    Saxy local elders, Funked Up arrive on 14th October, followed by Krazee Devil’s Halloween Karaoke on the spooky 29th, again on Lantern Parade night, 25th November, and Funked Up provide a Christmas party on 25th December.

    Though the real beauty for my personal tastes comes on Friday 18th November, when Chippenham duo Blondie & Ska play the Pelly. Part Blondie tribute, part classic Two-Tone covers with a hint of Blondie makeover, it’s orginal, progressivly acomplished, but more importantly, a whopping chunk of fun. Throughout lockdown this wonderful duo kept fans entertained prolifically live streaming, and for that alone, I bloomin’ love ’em!

    With offerings as good as this, The Pelican is a welcomed return to the live music circuit, aside it’s cracking menu and cheery hospitality.


  • Weird, I Find Myself Agreeing With Danny Kruger Over Station Road Carpark Closure!

    It’s quite alright, you’ve not entered the Upside Down from Stranger Things, or another theoretical parallel universe. Station Road carpark in Devizes will be closed overnight to cars, effective immediately. MP for Devizes Danny Kruger pushed for this Wiltshire Council order, and in hindsight, I happen to agree with them and wished it had come proir to the terrible incident which spurred the notion….

    Wiltshire Council has today (11th August) obtained a Closure Order for the carpark to help prevent anti-social behaviour in the area. It will mean the car park is closed between 6pm and 6am every day for a period of three months, for anyone other than season ticket holders, buses, lorries and coaches.

    Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said “This will be enforceable by the police, who will be regularly patrolling the area to ensure that people are abiding by the Closure Order.” And yes, that’s the same police force recently put into special measures, red in all areas. One cannot help but think about the word “proactive” here, and perhaps regular monitoring of the carpark should’ve been a priority before said terrible incident.

    Sadly, if it has to be, and does what they suggest it will do, “help prevent anti-social behaviour” in the area, then I agree. Yet I cannot help but feel they’re putting a plaster on a severed limb, and this will only push activities elsewhere. Proactive policing, engaging with youth, providing facilities they want, and building trust with them is a better way to deal with the situation than bricking them in.

    And no one shrugs at the hypocrisy, where an MP takes a stand on youth crime yet backed a criminal Prime Minister. So you may’ve raked back a few popularity points with the constituency after using your political position to voice your relgious beliefs on abortion, Danny K, but to be honest it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, really, now does it?!


  • You’ve Only Got Until Monday to Sound Your Opinion on the Devizes School Land Sell-off

    You’ve only got until Monday to sound your opinion on the Devizes School land sell-off, the consultation ends Monday 15th August. Go give your verbal muscle, here, for all it’s worth.

    I’m not well-travelled but I did once go to Barbados, where people live in humble breezeblock shacks yet their schools are immaculate. How this system works on such a small island with its eggs only in tourism and sugarcane baskets is beyond me, when we surrive in a so-called developed nation in which our state education system is flawed and failing.

    Education is a service, should be funded by taxation, not a flipping business, yet sad reality is so, Federations like White Horse are running them as if they were a business, and I can only point the finger at the Conservative ethos of Parliament, as the buck clearly stops there. The fact a school needs to sell land to repair the building is a shining example, surely?

    So if you’re wondering why I haven’t used Devizine to cast a rant-like opinion on the selling of Devizes School land, it’s because, as an individual issue I’m sitting on the fence. But it’s a windswept, broken fence I’m due to fall from, because the rabbit hole is deeper than if they should, or  shouldn’t, sell off land to housing in order to carry out needed repairs of the school and its infrastructure. It goes as deep to suggest it’s part of a bigger, national disaster that we are sadly, failing our children.

    Something which has frustrated me long before this niggly local issue, which as we speak is thrown around for political pointscoring on bias local social media groups, in a Boris Johnson era where nothing is sacred, and nothing is off limits. Let’s not debate, rather open new Facebook groups with hidden agendas, and delete valid opinions because they don’t match ours, while our children suffer from this uncaring and wonky shitstem.

    There was even a point in all this which made me contemplate that’s my angle, to join the pathetic parade of keyboard warriors, waffling political propaganda for the sake of saving their beloved party in blind faith. But I thought, no, focus should be on those affected, the children.

    By selling off the land The White Horse Federation says they hope to “release a significant amount of capital to reinvest into maintaining and modernising school infrastructure; enhancing school and community sports and performing arts facilities; and working more closely with the local community to support better physical, mental and economic well being,” and for that I cannot argue with, if I could trust the Trust as far as I could throw the Trust, to spend it wisely in favour of the children’s education. Then I’d sigh, suppose if it needs to be done, sadly, it needs to be done, and perhaps the loss of conservation is the unfortunate price to pay. It is, after all, a reality of any building project. But hey Joe, did you even know there was a conservation issue? Were residents actually consulted in the expected manner?

    It’s come to our attention, once your only chance to be heard runs out on Monday, meetings will be run behind closed doors. It’s suggested there’s definite transparency in this consultation, the Trust accused of explicitly stating at a resident’s meeting they had no plans to sell, when evidently they did.

    The White Horse Federation also faces accusations that appropriate organisations and councils have been ill-informed and unable to comment on the website. Residents of Pans Lane, Festival Close and Edward Rd, say they got no letters, and only residents of Nursteed Rd did. With Devizes Town Councillors also saying they’ve not been informed about the conservation issue, it seems the consoltation is not as public as it should be.

    No reference has been made by The White Horse Federation to loss of conservation, though we’ve suggestions the matured woodland near the nursery on the Leisure Centre road, which they plan to flatten for cricket nets and softball is home to foxes, deer and badgers.

    We sacrifice our town’s green spaces for extended carparking, disturb an established wildlife habitat, possibly for astroturf, and while considering the need for improvements to the school building to better aid the pupil’s education, are these really necessary?

    I, for one, am still shaking my head, and would suggest townsfolk require to be better informed. White Horse Federation need to extend this deadline, and invite further public consultation.

    Here we have a Federation-run school which reprimanded and punished pupils, by including time spent off self-isolating due to a positive Covid result on their attendance records, when they were only obeying the law. When questioned the headteacher at the time pushed the responsibility onto the Education department, and dared me to contact MP Danny Kruger with a laughing emoji, suggesting I wouldn’t get a response.

    Though the last laugh was on them, as Danny knows better than to not respond to me, he only threw the butt back by suggesting the Education Department had no such ruling, I find myself forced to wash hands on the issue. Pushed from pillar to post, I can’t figure out who to believe, and I’m aghast I’m possibly having to take the word of a Tory MP over my own local school! Now, I ask you, does this sound like the type of organisation who has the best interests of the children’s education and wellbeing at heart? There’s butterflies in my stomach, that I’d rather trust Captain Birdseye, because his captain’s table doesn’t sound quite so fishy!


Blank Pages of an Atari Pilot

This extensive belter of eighties-fashioned high-fidelity pop waits for no man, a sonic blast opens it, and the riff wouldn’t sound alien appearing in a John Hughes coming-of-age eighties movie. Visualise Jud, Molly, Emilio et all, dancing around a school library to this latest track from Swindon’s Atari Pilot.

After our glorious appraisal of their previous single Right Crew, Wrong Captain in July, they reckon I’m going to be fair on them again, but really, there’s nothing to dislike about Blank Pages. A review in which they quoted me suggesting, “this sound is fresh, kind of straddling a bridge between space-rock and danceable indie.” Here though, save the strong bassline, the space-rock element is lessened and retrospective synth-pop chimes in a racing beat, twisting this into a real grower on the ears.

Press release aptly cites “everything from Springsteen to Daft punk, Kathleen Edwards to Love,” as influences. As if Daft Punk would work with Springsteen, but if they did, I’d imagine something rather like this. And that alone, makes for an interesting sound, again akin to what Talk in Code are putting out locally, perhaps more so for this single. While we could hinge on an inglorious comeback from an eighties pop star and be thoroughly disappointed by their timeworn platitude and fame induced narcissistic attitude, nostalgia has never been so energetic and fresh when it’s channelled as an influence rather than comeback or tacky tribute act.

There’s a backstory about Atari Pilot, I may have mentioned before but worth reminding. After their debut album “Navigation of The World by Sound” in 2011, a long hiatus took in a serious cancer battle for Onze. But getting a second chance at life gave him the inspiration to get back to writing, and Atari Pilot reformed in 2018 with an acoustic set at the Swindon Shuffle. Reforming the band was actually planned from his hospital bed.

With this in mind, Onze describes the thinking behind this great song, “Blank Pages, like the other songs for the struggle, were inspired by being diagnosed with and recovering from cancer. The songs reflect the highs and lows of life and the struggles we are faced with and have to overcome to reach where we want to be.”

There’s a heartening theme of struggle in the face of change, “it’s also about trying to recognise that we can’t escape ourselves, and asks whether we can use our history and baggage to fire a brighter future,” Onze explains.

It’s a DIY production, recorded and mixed in Onze’s home studio by using Logic Pro X, but sounds stunningly professional. Atari Pilot are Onze (vox,) Paj (bass,) Frosty (guitar) and drummer Andy, and we look forward to hearing more from them. I even managed to review this one without mentioning retro-gaming:


Atari Pilot’s Right Crew, Wrong Captain

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

0_ZLZc3c-m3HYdeF0L

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

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

atari2

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

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

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

atari3

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


Adverts & Stuff!

rockgazsuperheroholdclubeatout1wp-15952278837674305734103090329981.jpgrainbowlogo

“Static” Shuffle; Swindon Shuffle Live Streams This Saturday

If you rarely venture into Swindon, July is the month in which to make the journey. Swindon Shuffle celebrates and backs local music, since 2007 hosting a weeklong town music festival at its hottest venues; namely The Victoria, The Beehive, The Hop, The Tuppenny and Baila Coffee & Vinyl. In association with Swindon Link and the West Berkshire Brewery, last year they presented forty-four bands over the weekend, all free, and supported mental health charity MIND.

I was forgiven in thinking this year would be virtual, saving some petrol money at least, but the organisers inform me this weekend’s Virtual Shuffle is only to breeze over this gloomy, Groundhog Day isolation period, and they cross their fingers for the real thing on the 16th-19th July; crossing my toes too!

shufflepost

So, yeah, but yeah, whoop-whoop, Swindon Shuffle will indeed fill this gap with plentiful live streams this Saturday 11th April, kicking off at 3:15pm. Streamed direct from their Facebook page, expect to catch all local acts; Jim Blair of Hip Route, the bearer of Devizine’s heart Miss Tamsin Quin, Mr Love & Justice himself, Steve Cox, jazz pianist, singer-songwriter Will Lawton, Harry Leigh, frontman of indie-pop outfit Stay Lunar, experimental Karda Estra project runner Richard Wileman, Onze from Atari Pilot, Joe Rose and Nash.

mrlove
Mr Love & Justice, Steve Cox

Our favourite Swindonian music journalist, the one and only Dave Franklin, if there’s another he’s a phoney, is all over helping organise this sofa bash. He states “obviously there’s more important things going on in the world right now than worrying about a local music festival, but it is also at times like these that music, art, creativity in general, helps get us through or at least offers an oasis of calm where we can retreat to and forget the day-to-day worries for a bit.”

karda estra
Karda Estra

For me personally, I’m continuing to toil with the worth of the live stream against a real gig, ponder it’s currently all we have, worry either punter or musician are forced onto the ropes when it comes to how they should be arranged and financed and have even encountered and engaged in heated debates as we scramble in the dark trying to make this work best for everyone. This said, if anyone can I’m reckoning the Shuffle team will make an amazing job of it. If there is an upside to it, it is that one can check these artists out for when the gig scene does take off, and boy, I’m predicting it’ll go off like an atomic blast, and it will encourage many to take the journey to festivals such as Swindon Shuffle, in this example.

Will Lawton

In the meantime, enjoy the streams and not let it miff us too much at missing the real thing. I tell myself the scene is dormant; it will erupt again. It should go without saying, but I’m going to spell it out; B, for BUY, U for Yourself (sort of,) Y for some local music, (okay, that didn’t work) Look, just support the artists and buy their music from their websites and Bandcamp sites!

%d bloggers like this: