Devizes Corn Exchange; Vaccine Clinic Accepting Walk-Ins

The Devizes Corn Exchange is holding vaccine clinics on Wednesday 4th of August, Friday 6th ( Pfizer only) and Saturday 7th August ( Astra and Pfizer) between 8.30 and 5pm each day.

They are accepting walk-ins, you do not need to book. If this is to be your second vaccine, you must be at 8 weeks between your first vaccine, as per government recommendations.

The Corn Exchange The Market Place Devizes SN10 1HS

Devizine would like to extend its eternal gratitude to all the staff and volunteers working so hard at the Corn Exchange, and I hope that speaks for the town. I’m thinking we should organise a club-together, get them each all a small gift of thanks from Devizes folk. What do you think?


Still Love in Devizes and Pewsey; Covid Community Groups, Love Devizes and PCCA Continue After Pandemic

Hey, guess what? I’ve got the callup and I’m down the Bin tomorrow to get chipped! Only kidding, but I am being vaccinated. Although I’d still recommend you refrain from hugging me, as much as I know you yearn to, but try to resist the urge; I’m still me and I still smell a bit!

Between lockdowns someone said to me they enjoyed the first lockdown; it was peaceful and there was a sense of community spirit about the town; obviously doesn’t go on Facebook much! But yes, there the big question is, will it continue after this madness has said its farewells? Only we can achieve this.

As things start to look positive and fingers and toes are crossed, it is good to hear from Jonathan Hunter of the volunteer group set up to provide help, services, information and also companionship, Love Devizes, as they plan to continue their sterling work in our community.    

“We are still here as it’s clear that loneliness, isolation or those who don’t have support infrastructures isn’t just a pandemic thing,” he tells me. “We’ve kept going and many of our fantastic volunteer team have said they are keen to continue after the next phase of restrictions are lifted. My plan is that Love Devizes carries on and helps those in need after the pandemic if the community still need support.”

The helpline is still operating from Monday to Friday, 9-12, and supporting many people outside those hours. “We are still shopping, picking up prescriptions, supporting the vaccination programme and we help with transport to various medical appointments in Bath, Oxford and Swindon,” Jonathan explains. “We also operate a befriending network with dedicated and experienced volunteers who make regular phone support calls to those are lonely.”

I know I’m hardly a spokesman for the town, but I’d imagine we are all eternally grateful for all the hard work the Love Devizes team has accomplished and performed, and a whooping great big thank you is overdue. They’ve managed to support over 6000 people in the past year.

“I’m currently working on scheme whereby I hope to buddy up volunteers with those who’ve been isolated or shielding and support them when they make their first trips outside,” he continued. “My plan is to team up with a few local cafes or pub gardens and we would pay for these residents who’ve been locked down and treat them to a coffee and cake with a friendly companion which will help make that first step outside easier. I’ve budgeted some funds to try and make this happen with the people we know who’ve been badly affected with isolation.”

So, please, no suffering in silence, if you are someone, or know someone who may be in need, the helpline will carry on running, which is fantastic news. The team have also started some partnerships with other charities and organisations, working together to help people with independence, i.e. Opendoors and Wiltshire CIL.

Helpline – 01380 722160

Website: www.lovedevizes.org

Meanwhile, over in Pewsey, the PCCA have been serving the community now for just over a year, with several services and activities set up in response to the pandemic which have adapted to the community’s changing needs. While some of these services have been reduced, many have increased and have become invaluable to many members of the Pewsey community, and this amazing work will be continuing too.

Currently operating from their Scout Hall, the PCCA tell me they’ve “recently applied for and been granted a £5K grant by Wiltshire Council towards a converted double decker bus to be used to continue our much-needed services in Pewsey. PCCA will fund the balance of the purchase as well as maintenance, insurance and running costs. It is possible that we could use the bus for many activities within the community and would be open to partnering with likeminded charities and groups in Pewsey as needed.”

“We continue to offer vital services to our community including, BURP (Basic Universal Resource Plan) essential food and household supply boxes going out each week to families in need in and around Pewsey. Community Meals: Over 30 freshly cooked hot meals going to those in most need each week. Pewsey Foodshare: We organise food donations twice weekly from local supermarkets and the general public to reduce food waste and to serve the local community.”

“Creative Communities: (The Spirit of Pewsey, Spring To Life etc) unifies our neighbourhoods with creative activity. We try to brighten up people’s lives by organising creative things to get involved in while adding a bit of sparkle and colour to where we live, work and play. All of 9 schools got involved in creating artwork together for our current Creative Communities project ‘Spring To Life’.”

“The Buddy Crew:  PCCA volunteers who are in touch with those isolating, helping prevent loneliness and mental health deterioration, and now helping people to get out and about.”

“Pewsey Friendship Cafe & Community Market: our free, spatially distanced safe space for those who desperately need social connection with free tea, coffee and cake and fresh fruit & veg produce to take home afterwards.”

The PCCA also work together with Wiltshire Libraries to deliver services through click and collect and to the doorstep. Another huge thank you goes out to this team, and long may they both continue.

Helpline: 01672 487022

Website: https://pcca.org.uk/


Trending……

The Return of Local Live Music; should I add a question mark?

“But I’m bidin’ my time

‘Cause that’s the kinda guy I’m

While other folks grow dizzy

I keep busy

Bidin’ my time,”

George Gershwin

It’s important, I think, not to get over-excited, but I understand and expect a major outbreak of momentary bipolar disorder from myself and many others when we look somewhere over the rainbow at the prospect of events restarting, and live music in particular.

How the next few months pan out will be crucial to this concept of returning to normality, and we all play the part of Sarah Connor in Terminator 2; Judgement Day, when she said, “the unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope.” Hereafter the bit about a Terminator learning the value of human life is inconsequential to our particular occasion, but maybe has some relevance. We have to hold it down, guys, we have to be like little Fonzies here, and as Samuel L Jackson will ask you, Yolanda, what’s Fonzie like?

If we charge this thing it could backfire. It was heart-breaking and annoying too, running through our event calendar deleting everything, and despite the concern I’m going to be a busy bee updating it when events actually start happening, I’m like George Gershwin, biding his time. This said, you should note month-to-month the event calendar is far from void, there’s lots of live streams, online events and popup kitchens to check out; do not abandon it. But, and this a big but, bigger than the butt of Rod Stewart and Jennifer Lopez’s lovechild, we should keep in mind the word of the day is possibilities, and nothing should be set in concrete yet.

Still the local rag seems more gung-ho than me, which is odd until you figure they’ve staff to pay, advertisers to appease and content must be attractive. As I write this, they announce the headline “Fulltone Festival will be back in town this summer!” as I’m sure you’ll all be happy to hear this news, planning to go ahead on the 28th and 29th August, as am I, but I worry for the word “will” in this piece of clickbait, because right now can we really say will?

Look, my ol’ mucker, I don’t want to pop your bubble of optimism, I’m just playing the realist. Tomorrow sees schools and higher education heading back out; how strict testing will be, given pupils will test themselves in some circumstances, the same pupils who created the user-name “reconnecting,” so teachers would think they’re having connection issues with their online class! The R-rating hinges on this moment and its success, ergo the rest of this so-called roadmap does.

The second part of this giant step, on the 29th March includes the use of outdoor swimming pools, for example, but pubs won’t reopen until step 2 on April 12th. How are fifty-plus bods dribbling into a swimming pool safer than a socially distanced pint in your local? There’s inconsistences and flaws, to be expected, the further the pitch extends, but the wording is all made up of “we hope,” and “the government will look to continue easing limits,” there is no “Will,” therefore no media outlet should be using the word, unless mass hysteria is what they want.

The COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 (Summary) on Gov.UK is quite clear, “in implementing this plan we will be guided by data, not dates, so that we do not risk a surge in infections that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. For that reason, all the dates in the roadmap are indicative and subject to change.” Yet bands are getting bookings, events are being arranged, money is being pumped into thin ice. The Victoria in Swindon is planning a comeback with Ion Maiden, Iron Maiden tribute on 14th May, but The Tuppenny aren’t announcing yet. Bradford-on-Avon’s Three Horseshoes haven’t added anything on Facebook until 7th August, when the brilliant Strange Folk are booked, whereas same band are the only thing to be listed at Devizes Southgate on 9th October.

But can you rely on the Fakebook as a source? Southgate landlady Deborah has been “quietly booking up bands,” with seventeen in the pipeline to date, starting from 22nd May. “This year,” she explained, “we’re concentrating almost entirely on just one gig per week. The earliest gigs will be outside with early evening start and finish times, but we hope to get back to our pre-COVID timings as soon as possible.”

The Long Street Blues Club state “there is light at the end of the tunnel,” aiming to restart their program on Saturday 18th September with the popular Billy Walton Band. This is brilliant news, but here, I believe is where the boundary lies, the smaller pub and club gigs. The idea of large-scale concerts and festivals, and upholding conditions are simply incalculable, for some.

Devizes Scooter Club have sadly cancelled their brilliant rally, as organiser Adam Ford said after making the decision in February, “even if it were allowed to proceed, we feel it will not be possible to host any event to the standard we would want to, and that attendees deserve.” There’s a similar feeling at Devizes CAMRA who have cancelled the Beer Festival. This is, sad but true, the exact logical response we should respect from those in the responsibility of organising events, well done to them both.

One should follow the lead of the Eavis family, experts in, quite literally, their field. If Glasto says no, then you, as an organiser should perhaps take heed. Meanwhile, Lydiard Park in Swindon is set for MFor 2021 is set as early as 31st July, and tickets are 50% sold. They remain adamant they’ve not the massive structure and organisation as Glasto, and will proceed with social distancing measures in operation. What I am questioning with these events still on the agenda, will we need proof of vaccination, as we’re a long way from vaccinating the country? Unless you imagine an evening with only over-70s going to watch Craig David, it’s a melon twister.

Talking with Kieran J Moore of Sheer Music, he stated, “the proof question hasn’t been answered by the Music Venue Trust yet, so there is no guidance or anything for the venues to base their decisions on. We can’t do gigs until May either, so still plenty of time for the working outs to begin.” Sheer has something in pipeline in Frome at the end of June, but isn’t really resurfacing until the highly anticipated Jon Gomm gig with support from The Lost Trades at Trowbridge’s Emmanuel’s Yard on the 15th October.

Satisfied that their safety measures conformed to the government regulations last Summer, the Southgate will do the same this time around. “Government guidelines have not yet been published,” Deborah said. “Unless we are required to do so, we have no intention whatsoever of  demanding proof of vaccination.”

Loz of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts, who give us the unforgettable carnival, street festival and winter ales events, among others is looking forward to coming back “to help us make amazing things happen in the future.” She said, “I’ve spent every spare minute searching for and writing funding applications to ensure DOCA can relaunch at the end of this crazy blip in our history. I’m currently working on an Arts Council Cultural Recovery Bid; it’s a lot of work and I am supported by our fantastic Trustees whenever I have a question I stall on.”

But still, carnival in Devizes hangs in the ropes. But this is how it has to be, unfortunately. Believe me, I am adamant my next gig will not be when a kindly lady wheels her Bontempi organ into my care home to recite Bridge over Troubled Water, all I’m urging people to do is keep things in perspective and not raise their hopes, or more-so, let their guard down, just yet.


Trending…

Candidate for Wiltshire Police & Crime Commissioner barred from Volunteering to Administer Lateral Flow Covid Tests

Is it campaign point-scoring, as the authorities seem to presume, or concern for health which encouraged Wiltshire PCC candidate, Mike Rees to volunteer to administer lateral flow tests? Whatever, the bottom line is discouraging anyone from attempting to help out during this crisis is bureaucratic nonsense.

And besides, just a brief chat with Mike recently, throughly convinced me his motives are genuine. He’s an open minded, authentic and down-to-earth guy, with experience in the field and a passion for the role.

Mike explains: “It’s with great surprise and disappointment that I have to let you know that I have been stopped, and apparently barred, from becoming a volunteer in the police effort to combat Covid19.

As a retired police officer I put my name forward for volunteer duties last year when the pandemic struck.

Mike Rees

This month I answered another call to volunteer to administer lateral flow tests to police officers and staff. I had a training session earlier this week and completed the online NHS assessment and passed to certificate my competency for the task.

Today I was expecting to attend a ‘dry run’ session however I’ve now been told I cannot attend as they have to investigate the ‘rules’ as allowing me to volunteer may suggest bias on their part because I’m a candidate for the role of Wiltshire Police Crime Commissioner.

I’m disappointed and dismayed to be denied the opportunity to volunteer to support the police, a force I worked in for 30 years.

I’ve asked for the ‘rules’ to be clarified as I see no possible concerns.

For your information, I do not agree with this decision to bar me from volunteering. 

I’m standing as an independent candidate, not aligned to any political party and volunteering was a personal decision.”

Mike is fast becoming the outside chance of becoming our PCC, and we’re backing him fully here on Devizine after his Malmesbury boxing club recently helped out the homeless, appealing for  donations of sleeping bags , food and clothes from locals and delivering them to the OpenDoors support agency in Devizes.

Plus, this is, by far, not the first charitable thing Mike has engaged in.


Wiltshire Council’s Live Covid Update

Wiltshire Council are hosting a live public COVID-19 update on Tues 3 Nov at 5pm.

The online broadcast will feature Wiltshire Council Leader, Philip Whitehead, Chief Executive, Terence Herbert and Director of Public Health for Wiltshire, Kate Blackburn.

They will be providing an update on the latest number of positive cases and the rate of COVID-19 cases in Wiltshire, and the arrangements in place to mitigate the spread of the virus. There will also be details on how schools, care homes and council services are responding to the situation and planning for the coming weeks.

They want to hear from you.

You can submit your questions about COVID-19 and the local response in advance by emailing communications@wiltshire.gov.uk, no later than 5pm on Sunday 1 November.

Full details: http://orlo.uk/szlOg

The Ladies Shout as I go by, oh Danny, Where’s Your Facemask?!

On the day the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance predicts 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October in the UK, leading to over 200 deaths per day a month after, still the rules are being flouted, and we shamelessly play the blame game, because we’re encouraged to grass up our friends and neighbours by a government who aren’t playing by the rules themselves.

Two days into the facemask covering law, my eagerness to grab some Derick’s Deals saw me headlong into the Spar shop without a facemask, I confess. We’ve now had two months to get used to it, and for me, like all of us, it’s become routine, a habit. It is also, because not wearing one in indoor public places meets a £100 fine. A fine Danny Kruger needs cough up, if a local university student whose party got uncontrollably out of hand faces a £10,000 fine.  

Oops a daisy, and other timid posh-boy idioms for I’m pretending to care, our local MP was pictured on the train without his mask. For the entire London to Hungerford journey it didn’t cross his mind, bless. Because, as he explained, he forgot, the train carriage was empty. Obviously not empty enough for someone to snap a photo, though, to which his reaction, according to Wiltshire 999’s was, “If the person had reminded me rather than taking a photo and posting it on social media, I would of course have put on my mask then and there. I do apologise for my mistake.”

He said this, in a country with standards and decorum so high most are uncomfortable pointing out minor transgressions, like not wearing a facemask, in case the perpetrator is exempt. They may be suffering a medical condition or severe anxiety, and be subject to enough harassment from so-called do-gooders. Last time I did bag me some Derick’s Deals there was a facemask dissident in the shop, did I growl at them? No, I have basic manners.   

He said this, working for, as I said, a government who encourage us to report such misdoings, precisely what the photographer did. It’s not under the control of the photographer if a social media witch hunt ensues.  

Predictably, Priti Patel said she’d dog in her neighbours, as if living next door to the home secretary wouldn’t be traumatic enough. Boris waffled, as he does, something about only grassing if it’s an “animal house,” party complete with a hot tub. Uncertainly looms if he referred to the National Lampoons movie, or animals really need to be present at the party. If so, this leaves David Cameron’s idea of fun questionable, if he was still around of course.

Oh, but he is, magically popping up like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn this week to tell us all his forbidding austerity cuts prepared the UK for the pandemic, despite we were the single most unprepared nation in the developed world, and are consequently reaping what we sowed. Just what the NHS needed, cuts, keeps the staff on their toes, doesn’t it? The ones still alive that is.

What an absolute crock-of-shit, of which, unfortunately, Danny Kruger’s blatant flouting of the regulations is trivial, but relevant to the undeniable feeling building in this country, that it’s one rule for them and another for us. Given Danny’s last newsletter to his constituents reads, “I detest the rule of six, the compulsory facemasks, the Covid marshals and the snooping on your neighbours (not that we’re doing that in Wiltshire, I’m glad to say,” it doesn’t look as if wearing his mask is top priority for him, which is a shame, I bet he’s got a really fancy one.

Though I suspect the issue will fall into the archives after the social media assault mellows. He’s conservative, so every conservative will defend him, and those not will sneer. We make political point scoring out of a deadly pandemic, then wonder why we’re suffering the worst.     

I’ll confess, I found myself disagreeing with left-wing rags, painting a picture of a stressed and exhausted Prime Minister, forecasting the end of both his teether and reign. Aching to show him in a bad light, selective photography; the guy had more getaways than Judith Chalmers, missing vital Cobra meetings about an impending pandemic. Having financial difficulties, now he is; Earth calling Boris.

Do you ever get the uneasy feeling our Prime Minister is rubbing his hands together behind closed doors, sniggering like an insane Bond villain? Logical steps are indisputable; it’s unavoidable if we ease restrictions, more cases will occur. Yet daily it feels more like an ingenious trap. Conservatives crave traditionalism, whether the public feel rudiments maybe outdated, oppressive and intolerant or not.

A Matrix red pill revelation, are they using the pandemic to maintain control, make their prejudicial vision a reality, Morpheus, and as an excuse when it goes economically tits up on their watch? The tranquillity of the initial lockdown trashed as they encourage us to shop our neighbours, because that’s how their own backstabbing agenda functions. Face facts, it’s up the swanny because day-to-day they move the goalposts and confuse all, abuse their own loopholes and encourage every cluster of the public to blame another while nipping out for a Nandos. Ha, there was me thinking the buck stopped at the top.

Hancock’s Half Hour has never been so dreary, as the health secretary blathers “follow Covid rules or they will get tougher.” Surely a case of do as we say and not as we do?

Clamping down on the reappearance of illegal gatherings; they’ve craved this since illegal gathering begun, yet freedom to jet around the world is fine and dandy. Pubs shut early, like the good ol’ days, because drinking at 10pm rather than 11 makes a massive difference. Places of worship get special attention, unless you’re a pagan. Then consider this exemption for hunting and shooting wildlife from the rule of six regulation, symbolic of this notion they’re using Covid19 as an excuse to return us to an era of yore, tally ho. Exemption depends solely on Boris’s personal preference. 

If you want your hobby or interest exempt from the rule of six, be like Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross and slip Boris £15,000 for a winter break in the Caribbean. Or is it coincidence the guy owns two grouse moor estates? This bothers me, enough to warrant contacting our local hunt sab group. What did they say? That’s for next time, folks, stay tuned; I’ve waffled enough over something trivial; politician is a stressful occupation, I wouldn’t want it. Forgiveness is a virtue; apology accepted, Danny, get your wallet out and let’s move on with the next inconsistent contradiction from our leaders.


From The Specials; Neville Staple Band in Lockdown

Photos by John Coles
Artwork by Sugary Staple

If last year’s fortieth anniversary of Two-Tone Records saw an upsurge of interest in this homegrown second-generation ska, it shows no sign of flawing anytime soon. Perhaps you could attribute parallels to the social and political climate of our era, or debate intransigent devotees are reliving their youth, but I’d argue it’s simply an irresistible sound.

One thing our eighties counterparts didn’t have to contend with was the Covid19 pandemic, and musicians of every genre are reflecting on it. Ska is of no exception, we’ve seen many contemporary performers releasing new material on the subject, but here we have a legend doing his thing, topically.

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The Neville Staple Band releases this timely single, Lockdown. A dynamic modern-sounding reggae track, yet encompassing all the goodness of the Two-Tone era of yore. Understandable, original rude boy Neville Staple is conversant with this, a founder member and co-frontman of The Specials, Fun Boy Three and Special Beat. Those influences shine through here. There’s something very Fun Boy Three about this tune, with a slice of poetically-driven Linton Kwesi Johnson to its feel.

As true as the song suggests, in lockdown Dr Neville Staple has teamed up with wife Sugary Staple, to pump out this relevant single, commonly reflecting on the feeling of many concerning the virus and staying safe. “Sugary came up with the idea to write a song about the lockdown,” Neville explains, “which, at first, was a very fast-stomping ska track. We then realised that it was too fun and happy a tune for the theme. Most of us have been quite down about the whole virus thing, so we decided to take it on a more sweet but moody 2Tone reggae route, in a similar vein to ‘Ghost Town’, with some music we had worked on previously with Sledge [Steve Armstrong.]”

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While I detect echoes of Ghost Town, this tune also breathes originality and present-day freshness, confirming progression of the genre rather than a frequently supposed nostalgia. Being a local site, some may recall his visit to Melksham’s ParkFest last year, where an unfortunately damp evening didn’t stop the revelling, and Neville stole the show with an assortment of Two-Tone classics. I was backstage with the wonderful support band Train to Skaville. A chance meeting with Neville, when he popped out of his tent for pizza, humourlessly failed to engage long enough to explain who I was, and ended with him pointing at his pizza-box and saying “yeah, I’m going off to eat this.” I should’ve known better than to harass a legend when their pizza is chilling in drizzle! I nodded my approval, knowing I’d have done the same thing.

Neville was awarded an honorary doctorate from Arden University last year. With a tour, and so many international shows and festivals postponed, the couple decided to do a lot of extra charity work as well as new song writing. DJ recordings for people sick in hospitals or in isolation, personally dedicated to them, was just the start. Sugary and Neville wanted to highlight the work of Zoe’s Place, a charity run for terminally ill babies and toddlers. As ambassadors for this charity, Sugary expressed, “charities like these really do suffer at a time like this, as the focus is on other things. But the work they do at Zoe’s Place is like one of a kind and so very special. They step in when families really do need the support, providing 24-hour high quality, one-to-one palliative, respite and end-of-life care for children aged 0-5 years. A heart-breaking time for anyone involved. We must not lose a charity like this – it is too important and so we will be supporting this, along with other charities we are patrons or ambassadors to, with this single.” And the duo dedicates this song to all those who have been affected by Covid-19.

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Shared to our Boot Boy Radio DJs, you can expect we will be spinning in for the foreseeable future, but you can get it here:

7″ vinyl order https://bit.ly/2NeeoUA

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/1s2wuLNQ3q4wsvq7tOUfVh

iTunes https://music.apple.com/gb/album/lockdown-single/1515072018

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Lockdown/dp/B0894K4G1Q


SPECIAL NOTICE – FROM THE SPECIALS, NEVILLE STAPLE & SUGARY:

A MESSAGE TO YOU..! The Legendary Neville Staple (Dr), Sugary Staple & the Band, need your help please.

Can you wonderful people please donate just £3 towards this project (which will also get you 2 signed exclusives pics), or any random amount, or check out the mega exclusive vinyl 45 & CD gift set offers (these are going really well, and are extremely rare limited edition items, so grab them while you can). You just click this link and choose your reward, to then register your donation.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fromthespecials/lockdown-ska-2020-from-the-specials-neville-staple-and-sugary/   


If you like a bit of ska and reggae, catch me on www.bootboyradio.co.uk Fridays from 10pm GMT till midnight!

skaingwestcountry


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