If I can, which I think is best after one too many visits to the Stealth bar, sum today in Devizes up in a word, the word would be “balanced.” Perfectly balanced….
DOCA smashed day one of the 2023 street festival, the sun shone and a brilliant day was had on the Green. We see our town turned into a festival of colour, circus, street theatre, music and dance annually and it never fails to impress and inspire, we’re accustomed to how great this event is. Today in particular, though, managed to pitch that perfect balance in supplying enough for everyone of all ages.
Myself, I bussed it in to find brass nutters Tuba Libres in their civvies busking in the Brittox, making for a grand teaser. The remaining wander to the Green buzzed with anticipation as Devizes was already bustling.
Enter the Green to see folk preparing to be Pac-Man while kids dressed as chaser ghosts and other dads were hit with sponge hammers purely for popping their heads from holes, and other curious video game related shenanigans, but in reality. If there is one thing to distract gamer kids from screens, this was it, and it worked, and it highlighted my point about the perfect balance as others gathered between the willows of a sustainable architectural stroke of genius to hear fantastic upbeat folk duo, Bonnie and Pete encapsulate the audience as Manchester-based Good Habits; they simply charmed and were so apt for chilling in the sanctuary.
With a witty finale folk-disco medley of Those Were the Days and I Will Survive, which worked a billion and one times better than it might sound, Good Habits habitually joined the crowds, while Sustainable Devizes took the mic for a environmental chat, and I sauntered around the site.
Behind us trapeze equipment was proudy erected, but rather than wait for the performance at the end of the day, was being used as a trapeze workshop where revellers queued to give it their best shot. Ten out of ten for interaction, obviously I’d have given it a go, but a food van operated with a virtual queue, and if the mobile device was to vibarate while I was up there my cheeseburger would’ve gone to waste; priorities, see?!
Tuck options aplenty, I confess to a rather splendid cake from the Devizes for Ukraine stall, who had a lovely selection of pastries and cakes you’re unlikely to have seen before.
Jealous because I forgot my sunhat, Welsh-queer mesh dancers plodded to ambient a soundscape, eerily building to a high energy folk dance, here presenting the wild card and receiving mixed verbal reviews from the crowd; certainly had impact.
I say wildcard, I mean, look, there’s a tricycle ridden around by a giant octopus, while its tabletop presents two aquabatic fish-dancers; this isn’t the usual day out in Devizes. But amidst the bizarre Lucid Acid’s Cat Sith was perhaps the most mesmerising, taking the pantomime horse to a whole new level. If it was a botheration to distract my eyes from the genius method of making this acrobatic puppetry appear genuinely feline, it was only to note the toddler next to me completely captivated by it, and my vision circled the crowd to note every person young and old watching in awe.
Miraculous changed into eighties keep fit attire The Tuba Libres blasted their brass at the Willow Sanctuary, and cockney sounding upbeat folk collective The Great Malarkey were as the name suggests, great with a two-tone twist, only to be followed by a spectacular display on the trapeze and now we await day two, which, by the time you read this it will be underway, in the Market Place this time; get your crocs!
If Lidl Shoes, April’s blast from our aspiring homegrown four-piece indie-punkers, Nothing Rhymes With Orange certainty raised the rafters with energetic enthusiasm, I held subtle solicitude, despite the amusing name, it did only a smidgen to progress the band any further than their mind-blowing debut EP Midsummer. By contrast today’s new single, Butterflies, is a Neil Armstrong sized leap in the maturing direction they need to be heading to attain a mass appeal.
With an infatuation theme, the band express a continuation of narrative relating to Lidl Shoes, yet while maintaining their archetypal jab of youthfulness, Butterflies ventures into a pensive mood, it’s dreamier, swapping guitar distortion and resounding choruses for a softer emotional sound. Don’t run off with Coldplay connotations, it remains punchy enough to warrant influences they cite, like Arctic Monkeys, The Killers and The Wombats, and it lies equally as beguiling as their most celebrated tune to-date, Manipulation.
If the chorus of Manipulation is hailed back at them by fans, Butterflies is clearly in the making to evoke the same effect. It’s instantly loveable, their best work so far, proving as I said since day dot, Nothing Rhymes With Orange are going places.
With this interesting development, I wonder how their predominantly teenage fanbase have responded to this, as they will mature in-line with the band, and should, in theory, relate. Idolised acts of teenage years always rely on this familiarity with the path their fanbase are personally on, and their songs become stories of their own life. Butterflies identifies definitively, calls out to them, it’s an anthem, I tell you!
Frontman guitarist Elijah Easton, drummer Lui Venables, guitarist Fin Anderson-Farquhar and bassist Sam Briggs have cracked it again, furthering a natural development in their sound, and in conglomeration have penned another standout masterpiece; you’d be a fool to yourself for failing to make it down to the mainstage of Devizes Street Festival on Sunday by 2:30pm, where we should join in celebration at the remarkable achievement this young Devizes-based band has made, amidst the selection of international acts on show.
I’ve a mildly interesting word origin urban myth to bore you with before we begin on an opinion piece about the latest petty squabbling at Devizes Town Council, which, beggar belief, causes no consequence or botheration to proceedings of the town’s affairs, but stands to illustrate how pathetic and time wasting it’s all become; a council supposed to diplomatically decide necessary changes to better improve facilities in a town yet cannot even concur which hall to hold meetings in without toys being thrown from prams; so, back ofthe class, pay attention!
Word of the day is “text,” as in a body of words most commonly used in “text message.” Obviously, there’s a derivation from the term textiles, but how it came to be was pre-industrial revolution when weavers worked outside as the cloth was too large to manage in small houses. Being outside, they got to hear the word on the street, a bygone equivalent of taxi drivers and hairdressers! As public opinion mattered to early politicians they would gage and take notes from the weavers as they cast their opinion on current affairs, to take to parliament. The annotations, words from textiles, ergo, came to pass text would mean any body of words.
But it illustrates a point, as to read the recent lone ramblings of one rouge councillor’s renownedly biassed Facebook group, that Devizes Town Council aims to bar the public from attending meetings by switching back to a meeting room though historically used and deemed by a majority of councillors more suitable from another used only recently to insure social distancing during the pandemic, that really, upstanding politicians and councillors alike both want and need to gage public opinion, therefore, logically would encourage public interaction.
The Marketplace this weekend might be for street festival, but next Saturday, 27th May, is a bit of a letdown by comparison as the Devizes Town Council have their roadshow, unless they intend to break into a cover of Wonderwall, which is, fortunately, unlikely! But it is a regular occurence, the purpose of which is for the public to meet the councillors and pour out their concerns to them. In turn, it goes to prove the majority of councillors welcome public opinion. Which begs the question, why go to all that trouble, if this rant is genuine and to be believed, that the council doesn’t care for public interest?! It simply doesn’t make sense.
Two other town councillors have independently taken to other local Facebook groups to elucidate the reasons for the room switch, but being like many members of the public who dared to offer a differing opinion to the admin and town councillor of the page that the rant was posted on, the Devizes Issues, their pledge lies separate from the original post and they are unable to comment upon it. This leaves the admin, again, with the final say on the matter there, that other councillors are according to him, switching rooms in order to bar the public from attending meetings.
Longstanding councillor and former mayor Judy Rose was the one who proposed the move from the Town Hall Assembly Room back to the Council Chamber. “The reasons for wishing to return there have been suggested by a Conservative Cllr, Iain Wallis, is in order to keep the public out,” she explained, “I can state clearly that this proposal has nothing to do with keeping the public out, nor the spurious idea of ‘returning home’.”
She continued to outline the reasons for the move,”the acoustics of the Assembly Room are poor for the spoken word, even with mics. At our last Council meeting, an invited speaker used the mic, but still remained inaudible to many of us, and frequently, the same thing happens with councillor’s contributions. The arrangement of tables facing each other does not, at times, make for co-operative, civilised debate or behaviour.”
The public have always been able to attend meetings in the Council Chamber since the Town Hall was built. Prior to Covid, the meetings were moved to the Assembly Room when a larger contingent of the public was expected, a move which was relatively easy to anticipate from the contents of the agenda.
Judy expressed, “the public never have, nor will they ever be excluded from meetings, save under GDPR for certain exempt items concerning staff matters and commercial information about the properties owned by the Town Council. To suggest otherwise is completely mistaken, and to imply such a hidden agenda is not constructive and indeed very unhelpful in aiding the knowledge and understanding of how the Town Council operates.”
Guardian leader Jonathan Hunter also expressed his concerns, “this move is not about excluding any members of the public; it’s about promoting a more positive and cohesive environment. Councillors do not want to exclude members of the public and to suggest that this is the case is completely false.”
“Whilst the super-sized venues of the Corn Exchange and Assembly Room were appropriate for Covid protocols, the Assembly Room has become a venue that promotes distance between councillors and the public. Regular difficulties with communication and, at times, an adversarial and confrontational atmosphere all make the Assembly room a poor choice environment and a venue that isn’t fit for purpose. Councillors should be working together, and the environment should be positive, focused, and non confrontational.”
“Members of the public that were also present last night were asked for their views. Their conclusions were that the Assembly Room was confrontational. In an attempt to sway opinion, it was unfortunate that one or two councillors stated that the public would be sat behind the backs of councillors within the council chamber in future meetings, even though the room layout hasn’t been set up for future meetings. Councillors do not want to have their backs towards members of the public.”
Devizes Guardians, along with the Labour councillor, the Independent councillor and the newly elected Mayor all voted in favour. Three Conservative councillors abstained. The proposal was approved with a majority vote. But with these facts obscured from the more popular Facebook group the readers are faced with a one-sided evaluation of the issue and will likely believe what’s said because no one has come forward to challenge it; ministry of truth type stuff.
The very fact this has happened, and is of no rare occasion, implies more generally, that these accusations made against opposing councillors are in fact, nothing more than the power tripping ramblings of a particular councillor who’s only intentions are to belittle their fellow councillors and create the illusion he is the superhero of hour here to bound in wearing his spandex and restore public access to council meetings; is it a bird? Is it a plane?!
Yet, being a majority of residents, and councillors have been banned from the group, and/or are silenced by comments deleted, alternatively implies otherwise.
Now, I stand accused myself of “bullying and harrassing” this councillor, by none other than him, on an occasion where he posted a request for people to advertise upcoming events consequently causing a number of people to mention that Devizine was a good place to find such information. I didn’t encourage them to do this, and have no access to the group yet sonehow this constituted “bullying.”
Every comment which stated this simple fact was deleted, and many were banned from the group. Suggesting there appears to be a personal vendetta against us, when really, as we cover discrepancies and problematic issues arising from local politics, it so unduly seems to be near every time such a happening occurs within Devizes Town Council it seems the same councillor is at the heart of the squabble. This doesn’t mean we have deliberately targeted anyone in particular, and we certainly haven’t bullied or harassed anyone.
I could go out on a whim and suppose, on this occasion the councillor in question is right, and all the other town councillors intend to bar the public from meetings, but unfortunately for him, there’s simply no logical explanation as to why they would want to do this, and furthermore, if it is the truth, has he never read The Boy Who Cried Wolf?!
Ask yourself this question, who would you believe, the individual town councillor who has lied, maliciously exaggerated and skewered facts, censored anyone opposing him then plays the victim, or a majority of councillors simply motivated by the notion of doing what’s best for our town?
Just remember all this come local council elections, boi, I did say pay attention; it’s petty, I know, but makes one wonder how they fair on bigger issues when they throw their toys out of pram over what room to hold a meeting in to solve said bigger issues! Mind you, if I was mayor the council would be Playboy bunnies and meetings would held in a hotub, so no one’s perfect!
OMG, OMG, another bank holiday weekend coming up, who’s excited, who’s coming out to play?! Here’s what we’ve found this week, find the info and links, and for planning ahead, here, on our event calendar. No prizes for guessing Editor’s Pick of the Week this week!
Obviously more stuff will be added to our event calendar as and when it comes to our attention, this is not comprehensive, so do check in later in the week, and let us know what we missed, we charge one cupcake to add an event, but it must be a chocolate one!
Don’t forget to check out Hail the Curious, the debut exhibit at The Forbidden Carnival in Chippenham, running until 30th June.
Regular acoustic jam at The Southgate in Devizes.
Skimpy & The Triniti Band at The Bell Inn, Bath, where Little Shop of Horrors runs until Saturday at The Rondo Theatre.
Emmanuel Sonubi’s Emancipated at Swindon Arts Centre, and Gretchen Peters at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.
The Mead Community Primary School presents Forever Treasure Island at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon.
Pierre Novellie and Huge Davies, Comedy Previews at Pound Arts in Corsham.
Shindig Festival opens its doors, have a great weekend to all at Shindig, you lucky lot; have a boogie for me!
Open Mic at Stallards in Trowbridge.
Lady Maisery at Pound Arts, Corsham.
The Soap Girls play The Vic in Swindon, I say, ding-dong! Reverend Ferriday is at The Tuppenny, Jen Brister’s The Optimist at Swindon Arts Centre, and it’s all soul at The Wyvern Theatre with the Luther show.
Octopus Dream Theatre presents I Love You, Mum, I Promise I Won’t Die at The Merlin Theatre, Frome.
Lou Cox’s n o holds barred one-woman show, Having a Baby and the S**t They Don’t Tell You, at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes for Friday and Saturday; highly recommended from us, but not for the faint hearted!
Meanwhile, 12 Bars Later make a welcomed return to The Three Crowns, Devizes, with the incredible Mark Colton’s solo show at The Pelican.
John Watterson’s celebrated tribute to Jake Thackray, An Evening Without Jake Thackray comes to The Bouverie Hall in Pewsey. Billy & Louie at The Castle & Ball, Marlborough.
Running until the 29th, it’s the opening of Chippenham Folk Festival, while the fantastic Triple JD Band plays The Old Road Tavern.
Find Castro at The Wheatsheaf, Calne.
The most amazing young soul singer I’ve heard for an era or four, Franki Soul is at Trowbridge Town Hall. While Fly Yeti Fly have a double-bill at The Pump with Alex Roberts and Graeme Ross.
The Karport Collective are the Seven Stars, Winsley, Bradford-on-Avon; fantastic these guys are. Dervish, legends of the Irish folk scene at Wiltshire Music Centre.
Break Cover are at Brown Street in Salisbury.
Tapped at the Theatre Royal, Bath, and The Lynne and McCartney Story Theatre Show at Chapel Arts.
We Were Promised Honey at Pound Arts, Corsham.
Here Come The Crows at The Vic in Swindon, while Rosie Jones’ Triple Threat is at Swindon Arts Centre, and The Roy Orbison Experience comes to The Wyvern Theatre.
Ultimate Coldplay at The Cheese & Grain, Frome, and The Urban Voodoo Machine at The Tree House.
You know it has to be Editor’s Pick of the Week, The Devizes International Street Festival is free, it’s the best weekend in Devizes, and it starts on the Green on Saturday and continues on the Sunday in the Market Place; see you there!
Street Festival after parties, then, find Jonah Hitchens Band at the Southgate, Devizes, Ben Borrill plays at The Moonrakers, and Gerry Jablonski Band plays at the Long Street Blues Club. The Snuff Box has an International Craft Beer Festival, and The Exchange hosts guest DJ, Castro.
Direct from the Pump, Fly Yeti Fly, Alex Roberts and Graeme Ross fly over to The Barge on HoneyStreet, while the Chaos Brothers are at The Lamb in Marlborough.
Be Like Will & Band Of Pilgrims are at The Pump in Trowbridge.
End of Story at The Talbot, Calne, while Band-X play The Wheatsheaf.
A fundraiser for Swindon’s Ukrainian community at Swindon Hub, Rave Against The Regime at The Vic, The Black Hole Sons at the New Inn, Walk Right Back at The Wyvern Theatre, and Tom Davis’ Work in Progress at Swindon Arts Centre.
Ma Bessie and her Pigfoot Band at Chapel Arts, Bath, with You Are The Sun at Theatre Royal, running until 29th May, and A Shining Intimacy at The Egg.
Triple JD are at the Sun in Frome, the Cheese & Grain have Lindisfarne while The Burning Hell are at The Tree House.
Devizes International Street Festival continues, in the Market Place this time, too much to mention here, but do look out for our homegrown upcoming talent Nothing Rhymes With Orange on the main stage at 2:30pm.
The Barge, Honey-Street are Celebrating 50 years of Dark Side of the Moon with Atom Heart Floyd.
Jon Amor Trio at The New Inn, Bath, Jolie Blon at The Bell Inn.
Last Call at The Vic, Swindon.
Frome’s Spring Vegan Fair at the Cheese & Grain.
Bank holiday goodness then, arty kids will be pottery painting at Hilworth Park, find Kate and The Unpredictables at The Three Crowns, Devizes.
Swindon’s famous duck race, see poster below.
Mono at the Cheese & Grain, Tryani Collective at The Bell in Bath.
Tuesday 30th I got nought, unless you know better; always tell us if we’ve missed something! Mind you, I think that’s enough for one week, have a day off, stay home and make beans on toast; you can add a little chilli powder to fully clear your system if you so choose! Have a great weekend, stop me and give me grief if you spot me at the Street Festival, I don’t bite…..not on the nipple at any rate!
For eight years on the trot, minus the lockdown year no one needs reminding of, local all-female supergroup, The Female of the Species have performed a one-off gig raising funds for various local charities; 2023 is no different as they announce this year’s will be on 21st October at Seend Community Hall….
It’s an amalgamation made in heaven. Five frontwomen of various local bands join in celebration, which is the sum of all their individual talent and a whole lot more. Nicky Davis from People Like Us and The Reason, Julia Greenland from Soulville Express & Delta Swing, Claire Perry from Big Mamma’s Banned & The Misfitz, Charmaigne Andrews from Siren, and Julie Moreton from Train to Skaville and Jules & The Odd Men make the line up, and if you’ve seen these any of these girls in action solo or with their own bands, you’ll know they’re all 100% dynamite; imagine this times five, forget the maths, the result is greater than 500%, an atomic detonation of wonderful!
I’ll see your examples of legends upstaging each other when on the same stage at the same time, as it’s fair to wonder how on earth something so right like Mike Jagger and David Bowie recording Dancing in the Street could’ve gone so utterly wrong, but raise you my assurance this is not the same ballpark here. The girls of Female of the Species work together in unison, back each other’s solos with such gusto, skill and friendship, it’s a sight to behold.
From Teen Talk to Young Melksham, and even once for Carmela’s Fight Against Muscular Dystrophy, Female of the Species must have raised tens of thousands of pounds by now, and received a civic award three years ago. Last year was a Halloween theme, this time the girls cover “the MTV years.” And will raise funds for Alzheimers Support.
I mean, yeah, it’s an assortment of sing-a-long covers, but with the adjoining of so much talent, it’s the unmissable cover show bursting with energy and fun you must see for yourself; the likes you only know if you know. Because of this ever growing need to know basis, it will sell out super fast, so….
The Female of the Species throw absolutely everything they have at this annual event. With great support acts and on stage banter, it’s something to behold. Here at Devizine we congratulate and thank the girls and all involved in this annual event which has become as special on our local event calendar as Christmas day!
Hey you, had one of those weeks so far, and need to blow off some steam?! I know I have, but you don’t need me to get started on my problems, you need to hear about all the events happening this coming week in Wiltshire; here’s what we’ve found, but there’s always more to come, so info on these, links and further updates can be found on our Event Calendar.
It’s about this time when you really need to be looking over next month too and planning ahead. So much going on in June, from Pride to Devizes Arts Festival and, and, and, well, just have a sneaky peak HERE.
Ongoing: do check out Si Griffith’s new gallery The Forbidden Carnival in Chippenham. There’s an exhibit currently running until the end of June, and it is amazing; see the poster below, and review HERE.
Wednesday 17th: the regular acoustic jam at The Southgate, Devizes. Also, a piano lunchtime recital from Helen Farrar at Pound Arts in Corsham.
The Tight Lipped Combo at The Bell Inn, Bath, and Tiff Stevenson’s Sexy Brain at the Rondo Theatre.
Opening at Swindon Arts Centre and running until 20th May the TinkCo Theatre Group presents Calendar Girls. And Kate Rusby is at the Cheese & Grain in Frome.
Thursday 18th: And The Drystones play The Pump in Trowbridge, with a Comedy Network night at the Civic.
Happy Place at the Rondo Theatre in Bath.
Ghosts of This Town play The Vic in Swindon, Somerset Velvet & James Turner at The Tuppenny, and Lulu’s For the Record is at The Wyvern Theatre.
Jon Royon is a Corsham based potter who took up pottery 5 years ago after taking classes at The Pound, and you can meet him at the Pound in Corsham, and it’s free. In the evening there’s a National Theatre live screening of David Harewood (Homeland) and Zachary Quinto (Star Trek) playing feuding political rivals in James Graham’s (Sherwood) multiple award-winning new drama, Best of Enemies, set in 1968 America, as two men fight to become the next president. This is also showing at the Merlin Theatre in Frome.
Friday 19th: The Reason, are at The Three Crowns in Devizes, and that is never a bad thing! Sarum’s Lot are at The Barge on Honey-Street.
There’s funky jazz and soul from the Shilts at the Civic in Trowbridge.
The Mark Harrison Band at The Rondo Theatre, Bath.
2 Sick Monkeys headline The Vic in Swindon, with Borrowed Time, The Liabilities and Room 10, while The Music of Meatloaf can be found at The Wyvern Theatre with Hits Out of Hell.
George Egg’s Set Menu at Pound Arts, Corsham. The South play the Cheese & Grain in Frome, with A Band Called Malice at The Tree House.
Saturday 20th: Find a 75-minute chaotic journey through the minds of two dudes; Jack & Jordan at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes, Lazy Dog Comedy comes to Devizes Con Club, and some edgy folk from Caute’s Plastic Army at the Southgate.
The Travis Waltons at Heartwork at The Pump, Trowbridge, the wonderful Strange Folk play Stallards, and Marty’s Fake Family at the Wiltshire Yeoman.
The Hi Fi’s at Melksham Rock ‘n’ Roll Club, Triple JD Band at The Constitutional Club in Chippenham.
Homer at The Baker’s Arms, Swindon, The Roughcut Rebels at the Swiss Chalet, Faux Fighters at The Vic, Tim Vine’s Breeep! at The Wyvern Theatre.
The Archive of Dread at Rondo Theatre, Bath, with Blurt at The Bell Inn, and Ricky Cool and the In Crowd at Chapel Arts.
Mara Simpson at Pound Arts, Corsham.
But I’m seriously thinking of crossing the border for our Editor’s Pick of the Week, Big Country playing the Cheese & Grain, with Spear of Destiny in support, amazeballs! Meanwhile Muse tribute Muze plays the Tree House.
Sunday 21st: you can find the Madhatter’s Wedding Fayre at Devizes Corn Exchange from 11am-3pm. From 5pm in Devizes, find the Eddie Martin Trio at the Southgate.
Jaywalkers at The Bell Inn, Bath.
All for the kids at Swindon Arts Centre with Grooving with Pirates, and Pop Princesses at The Wyvern Theatre.
Illyria presents Robin Hood in an open air performance at the Merlin Theatre, Frome.
Pasha Finn & The Ellipsis at The Bell Inn, Bath, and Monday also kicks off SparkFest at the Mission Theatre, running until 27th May, there’s lots going on there.
War of The Worlds at Swindon Arts Centre, Li’l Jim at The Bell Inn in Bath, and an Exhibition on screen at Pound Arts in Corsham, called Tokyo Stories.
And that’s all folks. Big weekend next time, bank holiday again, and Devizes Street Festival with so much other great stuff going on it’s going to take me until next week to type it all out here! Have a good one, big love, Darren.
Friday night saw the launch of an entirely new musical experience from good old Devizes Town… “The Four Sopranos”….
Attendees at the full house in the Town Hall may well have been familiar with those in the quartet already… Jemma Brown, Terésa Isaacson, Lucia Pupilli and Tabitha Cox. Yet whilst they certainly have historical and ongoing connections with “The Invitation Theatre Company” and “The Fulltone Orchestra”, nonetheless “The Four Sopranos” are a separate entity in their own right; four friends coming together to perform something presented a little differently for audiences to enjoy. As Lucia says, “We have worked on the harmonies collaboratively, we didn’t want to just take them off the shelf and let people hear what they might have heard before, it’s been a fantastic way of working, but is also hard work – but it means our sound is absolutely ours”. And I can confirm it absolutely is.
Doing what their name says on the tin, “The Four Sopranos” were exactly that… four talented and musically excellent sopranos, delivering a widespread program of harmonic song, from opera, stage, film and popular music, sung in harmony – as per the above!
So what of the show? The foursome started with a couple of crowd favourites – two numbers from “Les Mis”; “I dreamed a Dream” and “Stars”. It is true there were some nerves showing – but understandably. A new venture, a new idea, a new approach… but with these two songs under their belt a noticeable lifting of confidence, a collective “what’s going on – let’s get over it” so to speak was evident. And the rest of the show delivered with verve, panache and oozed with the talent before us.
The Musical Theatre genre continued with “Somewhere over the rainbow” and “You’ll never Walk alone”. Followed by a change into a more classical and operatic tone with solos and duets, Terésa with Gounod’s arrangement of Ave Maria, Lucia – a fluent Italian speaker in her own right – with O Mio Babbino Caro by Puccini. And “Sull’aria” by Mozart performed by Lucia and Tabitha plus Delibe’s “Flower duet”. Our quartet finished off a whirlwind first half with numbers from “Phantom of the Opera” and “My Fair Lady”.
The second half followed in similar vein… I won’t bore you any further with lists of songs performed and if you want to find out what they were you’d best get to one of their gigs! I will add that Tabitha and Jemma also performed solos – with “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” and “She Used to be Mine” from “Waitress” respectively. Other than those two, needless to say it was just more high class, perfectly delivered songs from film and musical theatre including the breath-taking four voice rendition of Adele’s “Skyfall”.
It would be remiss of me to not say that the evening’s performance was accompanied by the hugely talented pianist (and all-round musical virtuoso!) Dominic Irving, whose ivory tinkling was sublime in itself. And making a rare appearance for him of facing the audience rather than with his back to them, Anthony Brown charmed as the evening’s ringmaster.
So there we had it – a whistle-stop tour of music from multiple genres, in a beautiful building, created uniquely by four maestros of their art. What more do you want? Well, for a start… chances to see more of them that’s what!
You can catch all four next Friday night as it is, in Cheltenham Town Hall, including reprising “Skyfall” and “Somewhere over the rainbow” – amongst many other wonderful pieces of music including the phenomenal choral piece “Symphonic Adiemus” by Karl Jenkins; see the link at the bottom for tickets… and keep an eye on the Facebook page for “The Four Sopranos” for more dates and news in the future of course.
From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow… or words to that effect. And on Friday evening we saw one such acorn planted….
Okay, the king’s bank holiday is over, put your bunting away it’s turning into soggy mush now! Onwards to what’s happening across Wiltshire this coming week…..
As usual, find info and links on our event calendar HERE. But do check in on the calendar throughout the week as updates will be added when they come in, and are not included here. It’s the conflict between getting this out there as early as possible for tickets to ticketed events, and balancing this with the smaller venues who will sporadically put up a social media post on Thursday night! So, it’s not comprehensive, just a guide, check a check on the calendar.
Ongoing, lucky you if you have a ticket for the Railway Children at the Wharf Theatre, which is nearly sold out, and running until Saturday. We reviewed it here.
Also find a review HERE for Hail the Curious alternative art exhibit at the newly opened Forbidden Carnival in Chippenham, go see this!
Wednesday 10th, and there’s the usual Acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes.
Anu Vaidyanthan’s BC:AD – (before children, after diapers) at the Rondo Theatre, Bath. Hang Massive at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.
Broken Robot Production Presents Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Magical Bones at Swindon Arts Centre, and Tony Blackburn brings his Sound of the Sixties to The Wyvern Theatre.
Thursday 11th Spare Snare with Ravetank at The Pump in Trowbridge.
Mark Simmons’ Quip off the Mark at Rondo Theatre, Bath.
Modern Evils & Cosmic Ninja at The Vic in Swindon, Good Habits at the Tuppeny, with Johannes Radebe’s Freedom Unleased at The Wyvern Theatre.
Friday 12th sees The Four Sopranos at Devizes Town Hall, and The Unpredictables at the Condado Lounge. SynthCity plays the Bear in Marlborough.
Bath Festival starts Friday, running until 21st May, lots to see and do there. Rock the Tots are at the Rondo Theatre with some One Hit Wonders.
ZZ Topped at The Vic in Swindon, Suzie Ruffell at Swindon Arts Centre.
Gary Davis BBC Sounds of the Eighties at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.
Saturday 13th is the annual Stert Country House car boot sale near Devizes, for Cancer Research. Rock Hoppaz at The Three Crowns, Devizes that evening, The Duskers at The Southgate, Ben Borrill is at the Moonrakers, and Slade tribute Sladest at the Cavalier for a Devizes Scooter Club night.
Static Moves play The Barge on Honey-Street, Trash Panda at The Lamb, Marlborough, @59 play the Bear.
Scott Doonican’s Bar-Stewards Sons of Val Doonican is at The Pump, Trowbridge; long since sold out I’m afraid; you’ve got to keep scrolling through our event calendar, and be quick!
The Green Man Festival in Bradford-on-Avon, free, see poster below.
Simon Munnery’s Trials & Tribulations is at Rondo Theatre, Bath
Alasdair Beckett-King at Swindon Arts Centre.
XSLF at the Tree House in Frome, Eric Bibb at The Cheese & Grain.
Sunday 14th sees Avebury Artisans Market, and a Wellbeing Nature Day at West Lavington, and Jack Grace Band is at the Southgate, Devizes from 5pm.
Monday 15th I have nought, nada, let me know if something crops up!
Tuesday 16th is Poetika 111, The Great Outdoors at The Winchester Gate in Salisbury,
Anton De Beke & Friends at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, and the Pretenders, yes, I said The Pretenders, at the Cheese & Grain; wowzers, every town needs a cheese and some grain, don’t they?!
Looking forward for needy speedy timely ticket takers, Thursday sees folk dance fusion at the Pump with The Drystones, and Lulu come to Swindon, Jack & Jordan’s Sketch Show at the Wharf in Devizes on Saturday 20th, and Lazy Dog comedy comes to the Devizes Cons Club, Big Country at The Cheese & Grain. So much more going on, all you gotta do is keep scrolling, and have a great week.
Director Freddie Underwood and the cast of The Railway Children absolutely smashed it last night at Devizes’ Wharf Theatre, and that’s coming from someone who doubted it would be their cuppa…..
Said doubt derived from the social expectations and restrictions of my own childhood; aware of the Railway Children film, it just wouldn’t have done to have watched something I’d deem “girly,” and outdated (the film from 1970;) imagine the teasing from my elder brother, and I’d dread to think what would’ve transpired if my school friends found out! Though, at a younger age I relished in children’s period drama, of Enid Blyton, The Velveteen Rabbit, and archaic representations in The Beano comic where teachers still wore mortarboards. But by the grand age of ten plus, there were expectations of me to rather indulge in “boy’s stuff;” The A-Team, Monkey Magic, and a series with a talking car!
Coincidentally, much of the context of the Railway Children deals with social expectations and reputation, yet in a far stricter Edwardian era in which the book was written and set. A fairly affluent London family is uprooted to Yorkshire when the father is unexpectedly taken away by his employers at the Foreign Office. While the mother deals alone with the grief, the social etiquette of keeping the reasons secret from the children only shrouds the affair in mystery. Dealing with newfound poverty and cultural differences between London and the North, the mother and particularly the three children take a few hard-knocked lessons in the mannerisms of the working class.
Yet it is in the misadventures the children engage in, willfully upstanding by all modern reasoning, which the emotional roller coaster evokes the most prevalence and where lessons are sorely learned, yet in turn, sees their father acquitted from the accusations of spying. Not only dealing with the social ethics of the rich/poor and north/south divides, the two eldest children also contend with the issues of coming of age without a father figure.
But its beauty lies not from the genius plot, rather its point of view taken from a children’s innocence perspective. In this, the three children are the only ones allowed to break the fourth wall, as their excitable narration is so cleverly blended with the happenings. It all makes for a highly emotional ambience and thought-provoking mood. With minimal props or effects, the flow feels as imaginative as in the mind of a child. Of course, this couldn’t be carried off with such precision without the need of some top class acting, and herein is the icing on the cake.
The side characters are played enchantingly, Mari Webster as the emotional mother, the kind hearted well-to-do nature of Wharf boss John Winterton as the old gentleman, and the bubbling pomposity of Jon Lewthwaite as the doctor are all played superbly, but it’s within the comical hard-knock mannerisms of station master Perks and the amusing bumbling of the Russian exile Mr Szezcpansky which this play really shines, played with certain skill by Debby Wilkinson and Ellie Mayes respectively.
The play hinges rather on the three protagonists, the children, and, for me, this made it the breathtaking experience it was, plentiful to revert any preconceived doubts on their head and go for broke that this is the best performance I’ve seen at our wonderful Wharf Theatre so far.
Both the eldest child, Bobbie, and middle boy Peter, played immaculately by fifteen year old Katy Pattinson and twelve year old Poppi Lamb-Hughes, just oozes delight and believability by their dedication to the parts and the divine proficiency in which they carry this off. It is with such utter conviction I had to duck back into my car straight afterwards, because as such talented actors it would be impossible to imagine these two as anything but the Edwardian children they were portraying. Ergo, the chance to meet and witness them chatting as usual twenty-first century kids I feared would’ve broken their perfected illusion!
If Bobbie and Peter deal with the conflict of expectations versus growing up and their confusions between what’s right and wrong while everything they expect praise for seems to be returned with reprimand, and equally, anything they seem to do right is hastily turned on its head by the misunderstanding of working class etiquette, the absolute icing on this performance’s cake is without doubt the comical element of the far more carefree youngest child, Phyllis. Influenced by both older brother and sister, she plays the two against each other, and charms all with gusto, wit, and risk taking, just as the typical youngest sibling tends to do!
The mechanics of the part of Phyllis is where this play could have taken a nose-dive, for this surely needs a certain something, a sheer sparkle. And that star is fourteen year old Jessica Self. Simply put, Jessica’s acting ability is sublime, of West-End/Broadway level already. She cam charm when charm is needed, evoke emotion and amuse at the drop of a cue.
Since returning last night I’ve been pondering two possibilities, the first being this part was made for her, but I’m tendering towards the latter possibility, that Jess has the natural skill to become whatever character she is given. I gave thought to the best movie actors, of Dustin Hoffman, of Tom Hanks; how you cannot imagine the persona of the real Tom Hanks through the character he’s playing in each and every film he becomes. I similarly cannot imagine Jessica as being anything like the cheeky girl of Phyllis, rather an imminent actress of boundless talent.
This combination of genius plot, perfect direction and the wonderful acting of particularly Katy, Poppi and Jessica, makes this a delightful, thought-provoking marvel. But you need to hurry as this is near sold out, as expected and deserved.
Another landmark performance at our wonderfully welcoming and devoted little theatre, the pride of arts in Devizes. And if it’s the family oriented ethos you love about it, note it is director Freddie Underwood’s eighth production here, the first time she’s directing her husband Chris, who plays the Father, and of whom she fell in love with during a performance together at the Wharf, and their nine year old daughter Gigi, who is named after said play, and appears in the Railway Children as the child of the station master, Perks; I mean, unless you’ve a grandad you could find a walk-on for to make it a hattrick, you cannot get much more family-felt than that!
Virtual bouquets thrown, then, to all involved with this fantastic show from someone who, if they had Steven Crowder’s “Change My Mind” Campus Sign meme template in the eighties may’ve added “The Railway Children is soppy girly mush!” As you did change my mind, with bells on!
In strict contrast to the synopsis and setting of the Railway Children, the upcoming Girls Like That is the next production I’m advising is unmissable, my preview here. Find all forthcoming events at the Wharf Theatre on our event guide and at their website.
Long Street Blues Clubs’ offering for the coronation weekend.. Kyla Brox…..
The bunting is still up for those keen to celebrate, personally I was looking forward to this gig as the crowning moment in my Saturday, and I was not disappointed!
Opening up proceedings the ever-excellent and irrepressible Tom Harris. Tom has ‘Written hundreds of songs and released none,’ he quips before launching into a great set with lots of original songs.
Three Word Slogans, my personal favourite, a genius political anthem. Should be released digitally come local election time, such is this song’s genius.
An observational rhyme on the hollow meaningless billboard contradictions of the (I agree with him!) broken political system…
Classic blues material frankly but delivered in Tom’s moderately manic and good humoured manner. With a disclaimer that it wasn’t necessarily aimed at conservatives..! (Editor’s note, you are in the Conservative Club, after all!) A local gem you are only likely to enjoy by getting out to pubs and venues like this.
Kyla Brox, the main event, I wanted to see this lady for a good while; friends had advised me this was an essential gig for me.
I’ve had the album Pain and Glory for some time, and my anticipation of what that record would indicate with regard to a live experience was not wrong.
Kyla attests her incredible voice and total embodiment of soulful blues to singing in her father’s band from twelve years of age;
no surprise, you don’t just learn to embody soulful blues to this standard, it seems to me like that would require those musically enriched genes and history.
Proudly sharing a little of her family and musical history in passing on stage, you realise very quickly this phenomenal voice has been nurtured over a lifetime, not forced and it shows in the stunning, natural way she sings from the heart.
I feel like I am a little late to the party here, my first time seeing this band live, a good few old friends in tonight by the looks.
Hats off too, to her sensational band, painting the scene for the stars’ vocals.
Superb musicians all.
An outstanding gig, I was enthralled from start to finish, ‘ Queen of the UK blues scene’ as I’ve read elsewhere, not an overused moniker for a coronation day gig, a reflection of the musicianship on display.
Absolutely bowled over and will be making sure to see her again.
Thank you to Long Street Blues Club for continuing to bring the best bands from across the blues scene to Devizes.
A quick one from me today, offering our congratulations to our new writer, Helen Edwards from Devizes, who read out her poem “Motherhood,” on BBC Wiltshire this week on James Thomas’s Upload show. “It was fun,” she told us, “except my phone started ringing!”
Without cloning technology it was another Saturday night dilemma still as easily solved; Concrete Prairie were at The Gate, arm twisted…. From The Barge to the Pump we were spoiled for live music choices; any decision made I could predict would’ve paid off. But after fondly reviewing Swindon’s dark roots Americana five-piece, Concrete Prairie’s self-titled…
Bestriding The Stage By Andy Fawthrop Seems like an absolute bloody age since the last run-out for the Long Street Blues Club, but here we were back on the old stomping ground again. So good to be back and see some familiar faces. What a shame to have to choose between LSBC and the Southgate…
Okay, I know, last thing I want is to be is a stuck record, always waffling about a pond in Devizes, but allow me thus, to express concerns in line with public opinion over the recommendation by the Crammer Working Party that the Committee endorses the approach being adopted by the Crammer Working Party in…
Song of the week this week comes from Brighton’s singer-songwriter Lewis McKale, a Billy Bragg-ish harmonica and guitar combo breakup song from his forthcoming album, Self Help Tape….Retrospectively shouty, Thanks For Nothing is as anti-Against All Odds, as Dylan’s Positively 4th Street, but if that’s not selling it to you, it’s a moreish grower with…
All the ickle birdies singing in the blossom, and it’s beginning to look at bit more like spring, which it should, being equinox, which basically means, take a raincoat to all the events we’ve found to do in Wiltshire this coming week! As usual, more information and ticket links to everything I waffle on about…
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…..…
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…
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, Marker Pen. It’s neo-goth come post-punk, relished in Bauhaus lachrymose and passion, yet twisted with Foo Fighters’ fervidity, tumbling like iced water over rocks, it’s a rollercoaster four minutes full…
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 of small towns, even villages hosting Prides, as Devizes LGBTQ+ announce the very first Pride in Devizes on Saturday July 1st…. It was an overexcited notion I put to Devizes…
I’m having a nose at Devizes Arts Festival website, as they’ve just published this year’s line-up, which you can find HERE. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t know of this year, but that’s no bad thing, because I’m something of an uncultured swine! This wonderful annual arts festival on our doorstep has cultured me;…
Long overdue is our annual poking our nose into Devizes Scooter Club, see what peaky blinders they’re pulling off, including of course, the Devizes Scooter Rally 2023; because no matter what the people say, this sound leads the way…..
While I’d half-heartedly shrug at critics giving it scooter rallies can be a niche market, retrospective lager-fuelled skinheads admiring each other’s hairdryers in an overgrown field while some northern soul DJ spins his 7” rare grooves, this is where Devizes Scooter Rally differs from the status quo. Of course, appeasing the diehards who will trek vast land to amass at such events is crucial, but on its third year, Devizes Scooter Rally never feels insular, rather it’s the genuine article, affordable fun and welcomes curious townsfolk and those who may only have a passing interest in the scene. That’s its beauty, and long shall it be so.
You only have to check the interest when the club ride the carnival parade looking dapper in suits and braces, to note this is more than a retrospective cult; the merger of youth cultures of yore, the mod, the soul boys and skinheads and all inbetween is something impossible for those caught up in to let go off, simply because it’s irresistibly beguiling, and fun. To relish in soul and reggae of yesteryear is valid, as all mainstream pop since relies so heavily on its influence.
So, we’re talking the weekend of 28th-30th of July, when the club invites all to gather at Lower Park Farm, just off the dual carriageway on Whistley Road, where scooters will be on show, and will ride out no doubt, but that’s not all. Activities for the children will be added, with food stalls and of course, the bar! And all raising funds for such a wonderful organisation, The Devizes & District Opportunity Centre, our most fantastic pre-school for children with disabilities and learning difficulties.
Expect legendary Northern Soul DJ Terry Hendrick of the Soul Pressure sound system to be spinning tunes between bands, and the bands are, a reunited, I believe, Killertones, the perfect ska outfit of Cath and Gouldy from Sound Affects and the Day Breakers, who are stalwarts on the local scooter scene. Those trusty Roughcut Rebels, who never fail to bring the party with them, as is their era-spanning repertoire of anything from swinging sixties to Britpop.
The other locally-based act is perhaps the wildcard; Trowbridge’s 41 Fords play with all the vigour of ska, but are decidedly more rockabilly with a dash of scrumpy & western folk. We fondly reviewed their debut album Not Dead Yet, last month. Here’s a shining example of what I mean about the congenial and welcoming mesh of subgenres you’ll find at Devizes Scooter Rally, see, rude boy? There were no mockers in eras past, they’d have been fighting each other! Thus the scenes merge and it’s a one love happy aura for everyone to enjoy as, which is ironically the entire ethos of reggae and soul in the first damn place!
And reggae I’m certain you’ll find there, of the boss variety of yore, predominantly, and of course it’s predecessor ska, which though saw a second generation influx through Two-Tone in the eighties, thrives today on the scene. Now, if you know me, you’ll know I’m something of an aficionado of this, and seen many a great ska band; Orange Street, named after the location of Duke Reid’s legendary Kingston studio, Studio One, are one of the tightest ska bands I’ve witnessed, blowing my socks off at the inaugural Devizes Scooter Rally in 2019; having them return is the icing on this cake.
Going in blind for the last two in the line-up, first, Sharp Class, with a corporate identity akin to The Jam causing me to ill-conceive it would be an old bunch of mods knocking out Jam and Merton Parkas covers. Rather this young, fresh-faced London-based trio have a sharp image, hence the name, and original songs grounded in realism and spattered with an English essence. Merging punk and soul into power-pop and Britpop, they claim. They’ve recently released a debut album “Tales of the Teenage Mind,” and are set to tour Boston this month, but you can say you saw them in Devizes!
And the Butterfly Collective, Southampton based ska, soul and mod covers and originals five-piece, heavily influenced by The Who and the Mod/Rock fraternity including Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene, Kinks, Small Faces and The Hiwatts. They have become a renowned band within the Scooter and music scenes across the U.K. Being The Devizes Scooter Club tend to evaluate their lineup based on past experience touring other rallies, I’m assured we’re in good hands, and this weekend will deliver a damn fine spectrum of entertainment to get you snapping your braces and skanking up the Whistley Road!
Now, if you’re thinking where the catch might be, it’s only your two-tone trouser suit, with a weekend wristband at just thirty notes and cheaper day options, you’ve got to hand it to Devizes Scooter Club for maximum dedication to making this jumping jiving rally affordable and irresistible.
Prior to skanking up Whistley Road, the club’s base at The Cavalier in Devizes sees Slade tribute Sladest on May 13th, and following the rally, Bristol’s big boss sound of Ya Freshness and the erm, aptly titled Big Boss Band will make their Devizes debut on Saturday September 9th. Self-styled rude boy Ya Freshness has worked with two-tone’s best, from the likes of Neville Staple, and made groundbreaking original work with Bristol’s retrospective reggae greats through his label Strictly Rockers. If you recall my radio show on Boot Boy Radio, those shout-outs were by this absolute legend.
Then, on 28th October it’s the mandatory skalloween night at the Cavy, with ska band Skamageddon, and the club see of 2023 with a NYE party. Though as I said, there’s a welcoming atmosphere for those with a passing interest, local scooter enthusiasts should contact the club for ride-outs, social get-togethers and beanos to other rallies and clubs are organised. So get up on your feet, put your braces together and boots on your feet, and give me some of that old moonstomping!
Since the recent byelection for Devizes East, Guardian Vanessa Tanner was welcomed to The Town Council this month; Guardians of the Galaxy ensemble, or, maybe just Guardians of the Devizes, but you get the general gist!
“Not everyone would stand in an election,” Vanessa said, which is a good start because I wouldn’t want to; I could sit in one, maybe slouch a bit and snooze until it was time to hit the pub, but that’s about it!
Apologies, ignore my silly edits to bulk this out; Vanessa continued, “by putting yourself forward as a representative for your community, you may open yourself up for criticism along with praise. We are hard-wired to remember the bad over the good so for your own self-preservation, you need to develop a tough skin and constantly remind yourself why it is important.”
“So why was it important for me to stand as a candidate in the recent by-election? I wanted to really engage in Devizes and be part of the community. I’m not a local born and bred, but Devizes has become my home and I love living here. Shortly after moving in, I met a group of people who are passionate about ensuring this little part of England remains beautiful and thriving. Those people are The Devizes Guardians. Each one of them with a story to tell about why they wanted to become Town Councillors.”
“My story is simple. I want to represent the people in my local area, to bring issues to the table and hopefully find solutions. Also, I’m already involved in a number of community groups, (Sustainable Devizes, CUDS, Devizes in Bloom, Dorothy House) so I wanted to represent them on the Town Council, to ensure their voices are heard. All that remains now is to do what I promised to do. Be a decent, honest and effective Councillor. Roll on the next couple of years.”
Roll on indeed, in our pre-election interview, well, I called it an interview, was more of a nice chinwag, I genuinely came away positively knowing Vanessa would make the perfect town councillor. Leader of the Guardians Jonathan Hunter commented, “we are grateful for the magnificent support shown by constituents in East Ward, along with the superb encouragement from those across the wider community who supported Vanessa Tanner’s positive election campaign.”
“It was a hard fought campaign between the Conservatives, Labour and Devizes Guardians but despite lacking the resources of a national party, Vanessa won the election with an impressive 44% of the vote. The postal vote was incredibly strong, as was the strength of support for Vanessa on the doorstep.”
It was a testament to what can be achieved; though for the Guardians to have lost this seat, it still would not have tipped the balance to a Conservative majority. Local councils do not need persuasion from national political parties. They should be about what is best for the town. The Guardians are a conglomerate of independents. Jonathan touched on this point too, noting, “residents expressed their dissatisfaction with national and county politics and were keen to back an energetic and community-focused candidate from a party that champions local issues and campaigns for a better deal for Devizes and the local community.”
“Devizes Guardians recognise the selfless public service from former Devizes Guardian and Town Councillor, the late Jane Burton, whose sad passing triggered this by-election.
Standing in an election isn’t an easy decision and I would like to thank the other candidates for their efforts and support.”
Vince is often shy of praise, yet his gentle, respectful delivery of his own wonderfully written songs and carefully chosen covers deserve a celebratory mention….
There are many a-decent artist in the public conscious who would envy the beautifully crafted lyrics of songs like Lisa’s Kitchen, or Spider-Man Pyjamas , and our town anthem, of course Vince’s Devizes song.
Whether it be a reflection on life’s changes and fragility or the wry comical observations on youthful misadventure, those of a mind to settle and really listen are rewarded with a most engaging and enveloping warmth.
As ever, I want to extend my warmest thanks to not only Vince but, of course, Deb & Dave who’s own passion for music gives us these wonderful gigs and harmonious relaxing Sunday sessions.
This is my town, and this is one of the biggest reasons I ain’t never leaving!
Whoa, decided today, Thursday, I’d have to start planning this one immediately, because there’s soooo much going on, and all, or mostly all, because of that King bloke, who I just thought had a pop hit in 1984 with “Love & Pride,” but apparently it’s a smidgen more complex than that, the guy is royalty or something. So, grab your celebratory mug, wrap it around your bunting, and let’s have it out now…..
Firstly, I must interject and explain; our article highlighting coronation-related events received criticism from anti-royalist keyboard warriors who either didn’t digest if bothered at all to read the article, just jumped to conclusions, they did. If you think for one second I’d support a defective archaic institution which uses tax-payer’s money to bail-out nonce family members then you don’t know me at all. I do, however, despite being as anti-royalist as the next anti-royalist, support the Coronation for all the local entertainers and small businesses which will benefit from getting bookings, only a couple of short years after having no revenue at all. So, wind your neck in, and I hope that’s cleared that up!
There’s plenty of stuff to do this coming week, if you want flag-waving or not, so let’s drop the subject and get on with listing them. Don’t forget, all links and info can be found on our event guide, and updates through the week will be added, so keep abreast, and up-to-date; this article is not conclusive.
Ongoing from Monday 1st to 7th May, is the Swindon Festival of Literature; lots happening there worth checking out.
Opening night for Zog at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, on Tuesday 2nd, and running until Thursday 4th, family entertainment based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Wednesday 3rd, is the regular Acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes.
Seeds of Memories is a wistful and uplifting show packed to the brim with puppetry and poetry. It offers a gentle exploration of losing a loved one and dealing with grief through the magic of the memories they leave behind, and it’s at the Rondo Theatre, Bath.
Thursday 4th: Sees Derailer & Dangermind at The Vic, Swindon, the Hothouse Flowers at The Cheese & Grain, Frome, and some raw, open and honest but most importantly…funny comedy at the Rondo Theatre, Bath with Richard Hardisty’s Silly Boy.
Friday 5th: and King Charles Coronation kicks off, with a school art exhibition at St Peters Marlborough, events at Hilperton Village Hall, and the Junkyard Dogs are in Bromham.
The Blackheart Orchestra are at the Pump in Trowbridge, Sack Sabbath tribute at The Vic, Swindon. A homecoming for Will Lawton & The Alchemists at Malmesbury Town Hall. Six O’clock Circus at The Three Crowns, Devizes.
Rock For Heroes at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, and an extra show for John Kearns’ The Varnishing Days at Rondo Theatre, Bath.
Saturday 6th: Wiltshire Farmers’ Market in Devizes.
King Charles Coronation continues, you’ll find live music from 4pm at The Crown, Bishops Cannings with White Horses, Tom Davis & The Bluebirds, and Plan of Action, other events include Urchfont, Picnic in the Park at King George’s Playing Fields in Melksham, Coronation Live Screening at John Coles Park, Chippenham, at Foxham Reading Room, Seend Village Community Centre, The Parade Cinema in Marlborough, The Cooper’s Arms Pewsey have a great music programme, in Westbury Be Like Will are at The Players, and Westbury Cons Club has a party too. Picnic in the Park at The Rec in Calne from 10am-9pm, looks amazing, Coronation Celebrations at Devizes Market Place from 10:30-4pm.
Away from all that, find the Leon Daye Band at The Southgate, Devizes, and Kyla Brox Band at Long Street Blues Club; it’s all too royal with cheese for me, so yeah, Kyla Brox, Long Street you got my Editor’s Pick of the Week, hands down!
Acoustic punk band, Abdoujaparov of ex-Carter USM guitarist Les Carter headline the Pump, Trowbridge, with support from former Browfort frontwoman, Claire Kearley, and “Song for Trowbridge” hero Gavin Osborn.
Rammlied at The Vic, Swindon, Sonic Alert at the Queens Tap, Homer at The Sun in Coate, Rosie Holt’s Woman’s Hour at The Wyvern Theatre.
Jah Wobble’s Invaders of the Heart take the Cheese & Grain, Frome, nice.
Sunday 7th: King Charles Coronation celebrations at Ogbourne St George Primary school, Ludgershall, All Cannings with Alfred’s Tower, Rowde with People Like Us, Parade House Trowbridge, and Spring in the Park at Westbury. Devizes Town Band have a coronation concert at the Corn Exchange, called Animal Magic.
Unmissable monthly jaunt for Jon Amor & Guests at The Southgate, Devizes. Phil Samuel’s The George Michael Experience is at the Bridge Inn, Horton, Devizes.
Open Mic night at the Barge on Honey Street.
The King’s Reggae at The Castle & Ball, Marlborough, with Razah-I Fi; ding!
Courting Ghosts & Becky Lawrence are at The Stallards Inn, Trowbridge.
Sour Apple at The Kings Arms, Amesbury.
Blues Jam at The Vic, Swindon.
Magpie Market at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.
Monday 8th: King Charles Coronation at The Crown in Bishops Cannings with Illingworth, also a Produce Show at The Village Hall.
By the time you read this I’m predicting it a sell-out, but worth checking, opening night for The Railway Children The Wharf Theatre, Devizes, running until 13th May.
Tuesday 9th: Seven Drunken Nights at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.
And that’s your lot, enough for you to do?! Here’s to the king, let us hope his reign is long and healthy, even if only so I don’t have to type all that for one weekend again for a while!!
On Saturday 24th June from 9.00am to 2pm, its regular home The Corn Exchange in Devizes, Wiltshire will once again be filled to the brim with beautiful vintage and antique finds……
This wonderful fair has been established for more than ten years and showcases a veritable cornucopia of delights from some of the very best vintage sellers from across the South-West and beyond. The fair has a well-deserved reputation amongst interior/fashion designers, vintage enthusiasts, makers and anyone who just loves beautiful things. It is one of the top vintage fairs in the UK, having featured several times in the national press and with customers travelling from as far as the US to visit!
At the event expect to find wonderful French brocante, beautiful period clothing, textile treasures from France, shoes and accessories from the 1920s to the 1970s, wonderfully faded antique fabric and textiles, lace, linen, jewellery, homewares and collectables. Many dealers save their best stock for the fair, and it shows, the displays are stunning.
As well as all the fantastic vintage dealers there will also be some carefully selected designer/makers there showcasing their wares. This is a really friendly fair with a relaxed atmosphere and knowledgeable sellers who are always ready to help. Entrance £2.
Hey, how’s you? Ah, been better, been worse, thanks for asking. Here’s what we’ve found to be doing over this coming week…….
All links, info and updates can be found on our event calendar. Other incoming events will be added there when we discover them, so do check in later in the week. For now though….
Tuesday 25th April:
Deadlight Dance on the Radio! Yes, Marlborough’s goth-rock duo Deadlight Dance will be live and chatting to Peggy on Don’t Stop the Music Show tonight, on Swindon 105.
Staying in Swindon, The Cavern Beatles pay The Wyvern Theatre.
And there’s the regular jazz night at il Fiume in Bradford-on-Avon, with the Graham Dent Trio.
Acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes.
Sirius Chau at Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon.
Running until 29th April, opening night for Julius Caesar at Rondo Theatre, Bath.
Also Running until 29th, Phoenix Players presents The Business Of Murder at Swindon Arts Centre.
Open Mic night at Stallards, in Trowbridge.
Alex Lipinski and The Crown Electric & Matt Owens and The Delusional Vanity Project at Chapel Arts, Bath.
Mr Love & Justice play The Tuppenny, Swindon, while there’s a Chuckles Comedy Club at Meca, and The Diana Ross Story at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon
Marillion tribute Marquee Square Heroes play the entire Script For A Jesters Tear for its 40th anniversary at Marlborough Town FC. Laurence plays Motown and soul classics at The Castle & Ball.
It’s The Final of Take the Stage 2023 at The Neeld, Chippenham, and Mr Love & Justice play The Old Road Tavern.
A Moroccan Banquet at Trowbridge Town Hall.
Billie Bottle’s Temple of Shibboleth – Solarference at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, while Brake Lights play The Boathouse.
Tribute to Bonnie Raitt at Chapel Arts, Bath,The First Raitt Band.
Oasish & Stereotonics at The Vic in Swindon, The Illegal Eagles at The Wyvern Theatre.
The Big Excuse: Featuring Solcura, Bit Bigger, and Big Dog at 23 Bath Street, Frome, and the Toasters play The Cheese & Grain.
Is Seend Beer Festival, also the start of Urchfont Scarecrow Festival, which is running until Monday.
Mr Love & Justice is at The Southgate, Devizes, Ben Borrill at the Moonrakers.
The Duskers at The Barge on Honey-Street.
Barrelhouse plays The Bear in Marlborough.
The Woodbridge, Pewsey has a hog roast with live music from The Busy Fools.
From Jovi & Dragoneye at The Wheatsheaf in Calne.
The Upbeat Beatles play The Civic in Trowbridge, sold out already at The Pump for Carsick with support from Nothing Rhymes With Orange and Meg.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Masquerade – The Mayor’s Charity Ball at the Neeld, Chippenham.
Operation 77 at the Westbury Cons Club, Local Heroes Inc at Prestbury Sports Club, Warminster.
The Lost Trades return to Wiltshire after a national tour, and play the Hop Inn, Swindon. Meanwhile it’s emo night at The Vic with Black Parade. Paul Young – Behind The Lens at The Wyvern Theatre.
Lucis Choir at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Pop-Up Bowie at Chapel Arts in Bath.
The Cheese & Grain in Frome has Peter Hook & The Light, and Greg Lake tribute Lucky Man at the Tree House.
Dr Zebo’s Wheezy Club will be at The Southgate, Devizes from 5pm.
May Day Musical Mayhem at The Talbot Inn, Calne, raising funds for Campaign Against Living Miserably, they have Six O’Clock Circus, Peaky Blinders, One Chord Wonders, Red Light, Absolute Beginners, The Killertones Underground and The Daybreakers.
Family Concert at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon,Noisy Nature with the Magnard Ensemble.
Devil’s Doorbell are live in session at The Electric Bar, Bath
Raver Tots comes to Meca, Swindon, while The Wyvern Theatre has the Ministry of Science.
Running until 7th May, Swindon Festival of Literature opens.
Monthly album listening club, The long Player at The Vic, Swindon.
And that’s it, do check out Zog with the kids at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, opening Tuesday 2nd, and running until 4th May. Then we have the King’s Coronation next weekend, lots going on to do with that, and lots happening if you wish to avoid that! Do keep a check up on the calendar.
I could’ve guaranteed myself a great night with peers and those purveyors of space rock, Cracked Machine down the trusty Gate, or danced socks off with twenty/thirty-somethings at the Three Crowns to the unique take on covers of the ever-entertaining People Like Us. But, oddly if not in the know, I opted for a Saturday night at West Lavington village hall, nodding my approval as frontman Elijah Easton mingled with a gen z frenzied crowd singing back to him their beguiling magnum opus, to-date, Manipulation, for an encore the fans will forever cherish…..
For if it’s Devizine’s intention to highlight all that’s great about our music scene, it’s surely a priority to point out what’s upcoming, and Nothing Rhymes With Orange are the freshest squeezed fruit on that tree right now. I’ve been singing their praises since reviewing their EP Midsummer, unseasonably released last November, and now I can tick catching them live off my must-do-list I’m only going to enforce my words on how astoundingly awesome these youngsters are.
With blow-up orange segments bouncing between them on stage and their enthused blossoming fanbase, I figure I’m witness to a burgeoning local phenomenon akin to the roots of any mainstream band, left pondering the pensioners once screaming teenagers at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, when Beatlemania was imminent. If you consider that’s a tall order for comparison, I’d shrug, but while NRWO can clearly rouse the crowd, it feels like the building hysteria is a newfound blessing for them and they’re unsure how to react. This is a wonderful inaugural experience for a blossoming band, exposing them to reactions to the hard work they’ve clearly put in, and digesting those streams are from real kids, appreciating their sound.
For the fanbase so young in our rural zone, it’s not so simple just to rock up to venues, particularly pubs, and if the village hall is kinda “village hall like,” it’s because it is, but it’s an adequate space with a hospitable outlook. The band and their families have self-organised this sell-out gig with the intention of making this a homecoming atmosphere for a local band venturing to Bristol, Bath and Trowbridge’s Pump, and who will undoubtedly take that road a lot further in the near future.
For the time being, they are here and they are now. If seeing Springsteen in the eighties was an amazing experience, seeing Springsteen play New Jersey was another ballpark, ergo in this case, Lavington is those Badlands.
The sound is frenzied indie-pop, but not all-out ferociously punk, they find the perfect middle-ground; easy on the palate for any age demographic. Precisely why they’re subject to my highest acclaim, homing in on what the kids want, is, historically, the recipe for success. They did this with bells on, belting out their known EP tracks, a couple of defined Arctic Monkeys covers, their latest release Lidl Shoes, and treated the crowd to a sneak at the forthcoming two singles.
But not before a triple bill of support they’re introducing to home fans. First up Dauntsys own Paradigm, who, though I only caught the final couple I’d suggest are a promisingly tight young band to watch out for.
Secondly Frankcastre from Portsmouth with a frontman originating locally, even penning a song named after Great Cheverall, which has to be a first! Perhaps as oddly as their name, to generation X a band attired in Fred Perrys and skinheads might connote mod influences, but the confident frontman was looking decidedly teddy-boy!
Trivial is the significance of the uniforms of youth cultures of yore to this era, their originals came fiery and skater-punk; they refined the contemporary noise with brewing confidence and it was welcomed by the NRWO fanbase, particularly the girls. Two covers either side of their set though revealed a penchant for sixties blues-rock, covering firstly The Doors’ Break on Through, and The Animals’ version of House of the Rising Sun, with gritty vocals and devine accuracy. Something for the parents to acknowledge, perhaps, though the frontman delighted to elucidate his fondness for the era to me and I had nothing but to accept his knowledge on the subject. Their sudden usage of a keyboard, for example, to replicate The Animals classic was different, tilting it to one side while playing was beyond Jerry Lee Lewis; put him in your Google search bar!
Arguably the more accomplished of the two, Bath’s StoneFace produced lengthier original compositions, evoking mood with pitch and tempo alterations. With an air of neo-emo Stooges, interestingly with saxophone, damn they looked the part of Iggy Pop to envy!
Though sounding as good as they looked, this volatile style didn’t seem to wash down quite as well with the teenagers as Frankcastre, who, like punk, seem to favour the frenzied three-minute hero, though I personally fished with their hook. Introducing a new track Blue for You, and a particularly adroit one called Cave, the downtempo was plodding indie of perhaps a previous generation, but they did it exceptionally.
To conclude, those in local media sensationalising a minority of hooliganism for click-bait would’ve had their tails between their legs if they’d bother to attend this last night, for all I saw was the new generation, clean-cut by comparison of formers, thoroughly enjoying themselves and causing no issues in the slightest. Just in awe of four of their own, who’ve worked tirelessly to perfect a cooperative brand and inspire others. The forthcoming single Rishi speaks volumes for a current tongue-in-cheek satire they’re intelligent self-penned anthems extend to, though for the most part politics are avoided in favour of topics relative to gen z, like romantic interludes breaking down, and for this Nothing Rhymes With Orange prove their diversity.
It was an astounding achievement, bringing some class acts to Lavington’s youth, and onwards for NRWO I’m pleased to say in collaboration with DOCA, Devizine is proud to now annually suggest a best upcoming local act to feature on the main stage at the Devizes Street Festival, and you can bet your bottom dollar they are the chosen ones to get that ball rolling on Sunday 28th May.
You can also catch them next Saturday, 29th, at the Pump in Trowbridge, Bath’s Party in the City at St James’ Vaults on 12th May, at Corsham Rugby Club’s CorrFest on Sunday 17th June, The Barge on Honey-Street on Saturday 1st July, Marlborough Festival July 8th, and Urchfont’s Boundary Bash on the 15th July…. The future is bright, and doesn’t rhyme with orange!
Pride of the arts in Devizes, The Wharf Theatre say,“if you love the story of The Railway Children, first serialised in The London Magazine in 1905 and published as a book in 1906, before being made into the classic 1970 film; then we can assure you that the stage play will not disappoint.“
Being honest, it’s a story I’m unfamiliar with, believing, if memory serves me well, there was also a popular TV series of it in the early eighties, but at the time I was cosumed rather by Monkey Magic and The A-Team! I think today, though, I can look upon this with matured eyes and be equally as intrigued by its genius synopsis as those the Wharf deem “lovers” of the story.
Therefore, I’m pleased to highlight that they’re proud to present this renowned story of a prosperous Edwardian family from London, forced into near-penury in the rural north of England, after their Father is falsely imprisoned. Come and meet ‘Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis as they adapt to their new life in the cottage by the railway and join them as they meet someone who might just be able to help them get their happy ending.
Under Freddie Underwood’s direction, this stage adaptation perfectly captures the anxieties and exhilarations of childhood with great tenderness and insight. Adults and children will be enthralled by the heart-warming story and the clever use of imaginative theatricality. This is definitely one ‘not to be missed’…
Running from May 8th to May 13th 2023 @ 7.30pm. As you might predict, tickets are selling well on this already, so I encourage your urgency to snap up a seat.
Tickets can be purchased by ringing 03336 663 366; from the website and at the Devizes Community Hub and Library on Sheep Street. For group bookings, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonight we‘re in the land of Springsteen, Van Zandt and Southside Johnny. We’re on the New Jersey shore, swinging with the band. It’s late, it’s hot, the room is absolutely rammed and The Billy Walton Band are in town. Well, only just, after a late-afternoon scare when their van broke down on the way to the gig. But, hey, that’s rock n’ roll, that’s life on the road. Unfazed, the band played on, and what a show they gave us….
But first things first. Support act for the evening, all the way up from that there London were new (to me) Interstellar Duo. Consisting of sisters Charlotte and Heather Sterland on every combination of piano, viola, violin and vocals, the pair presented something very different indeed. Finalists for UK Country Duo 2022, the two girls gave us some absolutely beautiful, haunting and delicate harmonies. Both vocals and instrumentation were precise and stripped back, reducing the massive crowd to a hushed and respectful silence during the performance, and loud applause as they finished. A hot, noisy blues club may not be the best platform for their brand of vocal harmony, but they absolutely nailed it anyway. Nearest thing I could compare them to was early Kate & Anna McGarrigle, but that might slightly undersell the beauty and ethereal quality of a great performance. Hats off!
Billy Walton is described on his website as “an accomplished guitar master from the vibrant New Jersey Shore music scene. He earned his stripes in the rock & roll trenches, playing lead guitar for many years with Jersey icon, Southside Johnny. He has also shared the stage with music legends; Little Steven, Gary US Bonds and Steven Tyler, to name a few”. Well – wow! That’s a huge reputation to live up to, but there was nothing for us to worry about. The man turned up with a five-piece band behind him and simply let rip with his winning brand of bluesy rock n’ roll.
On stage with him were bassist William Paris, Tom Petraccaro on sax, Eric Safka on Hammond B3, Shane Luckenbough on drums, and vocalist extraordinaire Destinee Monroe. As a unit they were tight, musically adept and extremely powerful, helping Billy to drive forward through a great show.
With his musical background it would have been all too easy to fall back on the old Southside Johnny classics, but instead were treated to a lot more recent material. Yes there were a couple of covers (I Can’t Stand The Rain and I Feel Good), but these blended seamlessly into a near two-hour set of sheer entertainment and showmanship. There was plenty of chat, lots of humour, and great audience interaction. There were deliberate false intros – Stairway To Heaven, Smoke On The Water, Kashmir and even (unbelievably) Puff The Magic Dragon – just to pull the laughs and the applause. We even had a couple of rounds of Happy Birthday! But whilst these guys sure knew how to fool around, they sure as hell knew how to be serious and to deliver a truly great set.
Destinee shrieking high-octane vocals, answered note for note by a wailing keyboard was one of the highlights for me, but this was no one-trick pony. Whilst there were always the wham-bam-thank-you-mam numbers, the band also displayed a lot of depth and texture, mixing up the slower tempos with faster, driving boogie-woogie rhythms.
Lots of applause, dancing, a standing ovation, and an almost psychedelic encore. What more could you possibly want? Yet another great gig at Long Street Blues Club, and what live music is all about.
Saturday 6th May 2023 Kyla Brox Band Saturday 27th May 2023 Gerry Jablonski Band Saturday 10th June 2023 Eric Bell Band Friday 13th October 2023 Mike Zito & Albert Castiglia band Saturday 28th October 2023 Susan Santos
I know, I keep missing this supposed weekly feature, no matter how I might promise. I did have one for last week but the dog ate my homework, and, I dunno, procrastination takes control over me like I’m possessed by lethargy and need of an exorcist like Mr Motivator; whatever did happen to him?!
But it will have to wait for another week, as the Devizes imminent indie-poppers I tip to be the best upcoming local act of the year, Nothing Rhymes With Orange have surprised us with another upbeat cracker aligned with their intramural style of the debut EP Midsummer. Amusingly called Lidl Shoes, which besides the point, can be surprisingly durable as well as affordable(!), this single reaches its bridge like mountain boots, but without the rough grip of what you might expect from the stage-diving gen Z, this is flexible for ageless appreciation, just damn good, constantly improving intelligent punk-pop.
Do check it out, and remember next Saturday (22nd April) they’re a DIY gig at West Lavington Hall, tickets here.
I’ll do this now, get it ticked off, although I probably shouldn’t, a bit wobbly still; strictly professional all the way!
Said it before, Andy has too, and once Mr Ian Diddams wished to express it in his own words, a sentiment we can all agree on; Devizes is truly blessed when, monthly, our homegrown blues legend Mr Jon Amor, as regular as clockwork, arrives with cat and mouse team, drummer Tom Gilkes, bassist Jerry Soffe, and a guest of honour at the trusty Southgate. If this month was our easter egg, we stuffed our faces…
A week later than the usual first Sunday of the month, Jon’s superb trio did again, tore the place down with an electric set of electric blues, and the juke joint was bumping, grinding like sardines with shades on. It’s the highlight of the month in Devizes, worthy of giving up your Sunday roast for.
Thing is, it seems to be an occasion I never tire of, for as samey as it might sound, it doesn’t, it matures like a fine wine. Any similarities are welcomed; we love what Jon and Tom and Jerry do, but the diversity hinges on the guest.
For their touring efforts, they bring us back a souvenir, a musician friend who you’d gladly buy a ticket to see play. I asked Jon if they “knew what they were letting themselves in for?!” He assured me not all of them. But from what I witness, they always come away with a ‘well, that was well worth the squeeze’ expression.
This occasion was of no exception, Philadelphian soul blues virtuoso Leburn Maddox was mingling among the punters, likely in an attempt to keep awake. Missing his flight from Paris, he kipped in the airport and came to us via Dublin, but when it came for his time to shine, it was immaculate.
With fruity banter, exceptional finger-picking, and that authentic grizzly blues vocals, Leburn is the real deal, and Southgate regulars were in awe. He gave us some of his originals and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, as well as customarily jamming with the trio.
It only leaves me dripping in anticipation as to what delights Jon can pull from his magician’s tophat next. Tune in next month, folks.
Writer, poet, TV & Film producer, founder of the Manchester Poetry Festival (now the Literature festival) and co-founder of the Nottingham Poetry Festival, Henry Normal brings his new tour, Collected Poems and Other Landfill, to The Assembly Rooms in Devizes on Friday 3rd November.….
In June 2017 he was honoured with a special BAFTA for services to Television, credits roll like the ultimate résumé. He co-wrote and script edited the multi-award-winning Mrs Merton show and the spin off series Mrs Merton and Malcolm. He also co-created and co-wrote the first series of The Royle Family. With Steve Coogan he co-wrote the BAFTA winning Paul and Pauline Calf Video Diaries, Coogan’s Run, Tony Ferrino, Doctor Terrible and all three of Steve’s live tours and the film The Parole Officer.
Setting up Baby Cow Productions Ltd in 1990, Henry executive produced all and script edited many of the shows of its 17-and-a-half-year output during his tenure as MD. Highlights of the Baby Cow output during his time include the Oscar nominated film Philomena, I believe in Miracles, Gavin and Stacey, Moone Boy, Uncle, Marion and Geof, Nighty Night, The Mighty Boosh, Red Dwarf, Hunderby, Camping and Alan Partridge.
Since retiring in April 2016, Henry has written and performed eight BBC Radio 4 shows combining comedy, poetry, and stories about family. His tenth show A Normal Home will be recorded on the 18th November 2022 for transmission on the 20th December.
In April 2018, Two Roads publishers released his book of memoirs ‘A Normal Family’ which was written with his wife Angela Pell, drawing on his family experience. It immediately became a best seller on Amazon and has already been reprinted.
Henry performs poetry at Literature Festivals around the UK and has eleven poetry books available from Flapjack Press including the latest entitled Collected Poems Vol.2.
He was recently given an honorary doctorate of letters by Nottingham Trent University, another by Nottingham University and has a beer and a bus named after him in Nottingham!
Support for Henry Normal’s show comes from very special guest British actor, comedian, musician, novelist, and playwright Nigel Planer, perhaps best known for his role as Neil in the BBC comedy The Young Ones and Ralph Filthy in Filthy Rich & Catflap. He has appeared in many West End musicals, including original casts of Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Doors at 7.30pm, on Friday 3rd November. Tickets (£17.50 + booking fee) are available now HERE.