Upstairs at Jacks with Bryony Cox

I don’t know who “they” are, but Bryony tells me they say you shouldn’t mix dry and wet mediums. “I thought why not,” she shrugs, as we ponder a stunning pastel and ink landscape of Alton Barnes.

Why not indeed? In this painting of an atypical day in Wiltshire, a dark cloud looms over the down, the ink emphasises its shadows across the fields impeccably. In art, rules are made to be broken, provided you understand them first, and judging by the range and panache of Bryony Cox’s paintings, she certainly does.

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You’ve a day left to drop into Upstairs at Jacks and see this Devizes based artist, who studied and remains in Falmouth, and her humbling exhibit as part of Marlborough Open Studios; I suggest you do. I first met Bryony as an aspiring singer, but it’s in her paintings where she really shines.

“You’ve got to be the youngest artist at the open studios, haven’t you?” I asked, knowing how to flatter a girl! She suspected she was but wasn’t completely sure. If it’s true her work certainly fits the bill, it comes across as sophisticated and as mature as anything else on display throughout the county.

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A moody sky landscape takes pride and place, so we ponder Turner; it’s takes no words to see his influence on Bryony’s work. Turner has that instantly recognisable style, rare in a landscape artist and as well as major inspiration, I can see a definite style in Bryony’s work developing.

She appears most comfortable with landscapes. Although there’s a detailed range of pencil studies of animals and wildlife, some sublime scenes from travels in Sri Lanka and even an instantly recognisable wildcard of fellow singer George Wilding with birds nesting in his scraggy hair to add a slither of humour. Although these other subjects show Bryony’s skill has range, the landscapes are simply breath-taking.

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Beauty in small moments of stillness is the essence of what she wants the viewer to engage with; I was just passing while on my way to the supermarket! Unusual for me to do the shopping, I find myself very structured and meticulous while undergoing the task, ensuring I get only what I need and get out as fast as possible. This is so unlike me, who favours to stop and stare at the wonders around me, so if you’ve a spare quarter hour or more, need a break from the shops as I did, I’d recommend you stop by Upstairs at Jacks tomorrow and check it out.

Bryony’s Website

 

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Devizes Scooter Club’s Grand BBQ

All images used with kind permission of Ruth Wordly

@ MoongypZy Creative Photography

 

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If last weekend in Devizes belonged to rockers, as the Sports Club shook by the awesome Saddleback Festival, it was small mercies for the Mods this Saturday as Devizes Scooter Club hosted a more moderately proportioned charity BBQ day, which wasn’t without equal summer fun and frolics.

The corner of Hillworth Road and Long Street became a haven for scooter enthusiasts, who’d travelled from far and wide, and local lovers of soul, reggae and ska who gathered outside the Conservative Club to raise some funds for the Devizes and District Opportunity Centre.

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How much was raised at this tender morning moment (at the time of writing this on Sunday) is unconfirmed, majority of organisers I’d wager are taking a fully-earned rest, if not nursing a sore head!

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I’ll let you know the grand total as soon as I get some feedback, but cake stall helper Paula told me she’d sold twice as many as last year’s family fun day, as husband Andy, whose task it was to man the barbeque looked vacantly into space through sheer tiredness. “I reckon he’ll be flipping burgers in his sleep,” I imagined.

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The bar and garden packed out by lunchtime, extending to the car park, which converted into a showroom of lamberttas and vespas, with an added parts stall. As enthusiasts admired each other’s “hairdryers,” their families enjoyed the plethora of side stalls, the hall of bouncy things (castle and a Gladiators-styled battle arena) and the quality music.

Contrary to their name, Swindon’s Daybreakers turned up early afternoon. Thank heavens I figured, lesson learned that day; a cider breakfast does no good when attempting to operate a mixer. Thanks to Tony who danced around me doing all the technical wizardry and gave our musical show a voice.

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By 2pm The Daybreakers were off, with no one willing to stop them they revved through a glut of benchmark early 80s pop, the likes of the Specials and Dexy, to sublime renditions of crusty rock, such as the Levellers. Wherever Cath, Gouldy and gang land there’s guaranteed to be a blinding show and today was no exception.

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An awesome team effort blessed the event with an uncompromising community spirit. From face-painted kids guessing names of teddies, shooting footballs and munching cake, to adults estimating the weight of a ham, shooting down beers and munching burgers, a village fete atmosphere ensued with a retrospective, hedonistic angle, as opposed to being all vicars and teacakes on the lawn.

By late afternoon Chippenham duo, Blondie & Ska had pitched inside and began their dazzling show; a precise Blondie tribute meshed with other two-tone classics in a style as if Debbie Harry would’ve covered them. They made a fantastic sound for just a duo and relished every minute despite fatigue setting in with the punters, who tended to loiter outside to begin with.

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With most exhausted from the day’s affairs already, it took a while for the show to push the audience into gear, hangers-on remained in the shadows of the garden to begin with, or those with families retired home with worn-out youngsters. I thought it a shame the club could’ve shown how we welcome acts as good as Blondie & Ska, but the thought abruptly ceased as the evening took hold and sweltering members graced that dance floor.

I offered a rock steady break for the band, but dancers yearned for some Northern Soul, so that’s what I did. Then Blondie & Ska continued and took us to into to the close. If you need more of these guys, or if you missed this thoroughly enjoyable show, I strongly advise you check out future gigs on their website. Closest to us, is The Wroughton Club on August 11th, The Royal Oak Corsham the day after, and the Gladstone Road Club in Chippenham on October 27th.

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As for the Daybreakers, well they’re never to be missed. Catch them again for an afternoon in Devizes, when they’ll be at Vinyl Realm on August 4th, and check their Facebook page for an extensive gig guide.

Back to the BBQ Day though, it was in observing the quantity of people gathered, and their enjoyment of the day which gave me both enormous optimism for a very successful Scooter Rally next summer, and a pride in our small town’s Scooter Club, where everyone contributed a gallant effort to ensure a grand day out was had by all, most laboured until they dropped, notwithstanding, some money was raised for our preschool for children with disabilities and learning difficulties. So full steam ahead for the Scooter Club now, as tickets for a brilliant sounding, soultastic Motown-eske band, All That Soul, are now on sale at the Cons Club, Jeffersons and Vinyl Realm.

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Colour in Billy the Burger and Sid Sausage and WIN a Burger or Hotdog!

Billy the Burger and Sid Sausage are raring to get to the Devizes Scooter Club’s Charity BBQ Day at the Conservative Club on July 21st, but they’re looking paler then Scooter Club’s organiser Adam Ford after a few blackcurrant Fruit Shoots. Can you help by colouring them in?

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Ask Mum or Dad to stop watching the football for just a few minutes and print out either picture, or both, below. Give it your best colouring-in job, bring it along with you to the family fun day and hand it to the DJ, who I think will be me. I’m a very tough judge, so make sure it is your best work!

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The winners of each age group will get a free snack of their choice, be it a hotdog or a burger. Age groups will be 2-5, 6-10, 10-100; See you there!

 
If you can’t print this out, don’t worry; I will try to get the Club to photocopy some too, and we’ll bring them and some colouring pencils with us; give your Dad something to do won’t it?!

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Meanwhile grownups will be treated to the excellent DayBreakers, who I’m delighted to announce will be playing live. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the day; let’s raise some funds for the Devizes & District Opportunity Centre, a preschool for children with disabilities and learning difficulties.

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The Day has FREE entry from midday, with music, fun & games , soft play and bouncy castle, a BBQ and other food and drink including cakes, teas and coffees, a Mega-Raffle plus side stalls, lots of scooters naturally, and trophies for the best scooters.

Click here for more info!

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Guys Over Forty, Don’t Ignore It: The Loganberry Trust and Wiltshire Freemasons Raising Awareness of Prostate Health with FREE Checks in Devizes

For a change his Sunday, I thought we’d talk ABOUT bollocks, as apposed to just talking bollocks. Or, more precisely, we’re talking about that walnut-sized gland just above them. Ode to your prostate, without which the acidity of a lady’s special passageway would neutralise all your little fishes and none of us would be here today, talking about it…..oh grow up, this is serious.

 
Sadly, cancer of this gland is nothing but serious, unless you like your doctor prodding his mid-digit where the sun doesn’t shine. While you can check yourself for testicular cancer, can even be a superb excuse if you’re caught by the missus bashing the bishop, you don’t know what’s-what in that prostate thingy-me-jig. And face it, we’re men for crying out loud, we stuffed a few burgers at last night’s barbeque, love our cheesy chips with pizza, aren’t too keen on eating greens, and consider there’s no need to bother a doctor unless we’ve physically dismembered all of our limbs.

 
It only takes a couple of seconds to check for testicular cancer, according to the limerick, only half the time if you’re Hitler. So, grasp each beauty in your nadsack separately, between your thumbs and fingers of both hands and roll that beastly meatball gently between your fingers. Find any hard lumps, or smooth rounded bumps, or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of the testicle, get over yourself and call the flipping quack for crying out loud.

 

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So the simple bit done, but a check for prostate cancer is nothing more than a PSA blood test; no coughing with a cold spoon on your gollies, no probing your Bournville boulevard, nothing to be sacred of, for peace of mind. Now, I know, about 99% of cases of prostate cancer occur in males over the age of 50. But fifty creeps up on you like a cheetah on a promise, it’s advisable to get checked if you’re in your forties.

 
So, in conjunction with The Loganberry Trust and Wiltshire Freemasons, all men aged 40 or over are welcome to be tested, free, although a donation to the cost will be gratefully received. It’s on Saturday 29th September, from 10:30 AM – 1PM, at The Conservative Club, 30 Long Street, Devizes SN10 1NW. You don’t even need to book an appointment, just turn up guys, and help raise awareness of prostate health, even if show no symptoms; early prostate cancer shows no symptoms.

 

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So, let’s get it out there now; if you find yourself getting up for a wee in the night more often than normal, and not just to check your Facebook, if you’ve trouble starting or maintaining a constant stream of piss, have any pain, or see blood in it, or in your gentleman’s relish, you really need to get a test done, and if you’re busy on 29th September and can’t make it, phone, for fucks sake don’t ignore it, it won’t go away like a bought of green apple splatters or a paper-cut on your thumb; call your doctor.

 
Being the Trust and Freemasons haven’t created a Facebook event of this, I have, so you can click you’re interested and it’ll remind you to come along, no excuses. I’d kind of imagined our first Devizine event would be a knockout musical extravaganza, but needs must. Check that out here.

 

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Devizes Well Being Day

Saturday 23rd June is Well Being Day in Devizes, I had to wonder what that’s all about, so here’s a shared post from The Rotary Club website to explain…….

 

Devizes Rotary, working in partnership with Devizes Communty Area Wellbeing Group, is hosting the inaugural Devizes Community Area Wellbeing Day on Saturday 23 June 2018 on the small green in Devizes.

On the Rotary website you’ll find all of the information you need to know about the day, including the Venue Layout and timetable for the day, what entertainment there’ll be, what exhibitors will be there and the parking options available to you. However if what you’re looking for isn’t here, or if you have any questions about the day, please get in touch using the contact menu.

The aim of the day is to provide FREE entertainment and information to the over 55’s in the Devizes Community Area. Visitors will have a great day discovering what activities and services are available to them, and will enable the organisations, charities and clubs that provide those services to promote what they do.

So, if you are over 55, or know or care for someone who is, why not come down to The Green and find out what is happening locally? There are so many activities in the Devizes area that you may not realise are available, so it will definitely be worth a visit.

Devizes Rotary, working in partnership with Devizes Communty Area Wellbeing Group, is hosting the inaugural Devizes Community Area Wellbeing Day on Saturday 23 June 2018 on the small green in Devizes. On this website you’ll find all of the information you need to know about the day, including the Venue Layout and timetable for… Continue reading About

via About — Devizes Community Area Wellbeing Day 2018

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Saddle Up! Devizes Most Prestigious Festival Steps Up Their Game

Your creative sorts usually appreciate music, but, stereotypically, entertainment for “sporty-types” would rather be waving fists and hurling abuse at a team projected to them via a widescreen TV, seemingly oblivious; television is a one-way communication devise. It’s not until someone puts “Eye of the Tiger,” on a jukebox, or Bonnie Tyler croaks she’s holding out for a hero, that they get all sweaty, and start flexing biceps in a dance comprising of getting friends in a headlock and rubbing knuckles atop their cranium.

 
It couldn’t be further from the truth for the Devizes Sports Club, and anyway, my generalising just a witticism in hope the lady’s rugby team might fulfil my daydream and chase me down the street! The Sports Club, enthusiastic for the remaining month before their Saddleback Festival, are serious about presenting the town with an exciting and professionally organised festival.

 

It’s the music festival’s second innings, after the sun-drenched blues event last year, and they’re determined to up their game…..not a lot, no point in running before they can walk, but enough to make this, in my opinion, our most anticipated event of the year.

 
For starters, they’ve dropped the “blues” tag from its title, making it less specialised. While the concentration on blues music still sturdy, it’ll be joined predominantly with rock, acoustic and folk.

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Certain other moves are to be introduced, I’m at the British Lion, having a pint with organiser, Mirko Pangrazzi, to find out what they might be.

 
I suggest they could drop the “music” label too, add a comedy tent, or possibly street theatre. Mirko considers, but stops at the idea of a “dance” tent. Their chosen genres equate to a family-styled event. A mass of fledgling “ravers” descending brings its own issues.

 
There’s an air about the conversation which leads me to believe the organisers value quality over quantity, with no intentions of expanding to Glasto proportions. We laugh as Mirko recalls people last year leaving, only to return with chairs in which they would switch the angle of to face their chosen stage; that is sooo Devizes and surely associates this family ethos.

 

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Jon Amor

Mirko is keen to show me a list of activities they’ve organised for children; a fun bus, inflatables, face painting, a bungee run, Striker game, slot machines and of course, a sweet stall, to name but a few. Plus, it goes without saying it’s at a sports club with abundant space to kick a football till you drop.

 
For here’s a thing, I’m convinced no one is to get fleeced at Saddleback, the food stalls enter freely, organisers only asking for a donation to chosen charities; Julia’s House, Wiltshire Air Ambulance and others, while punters get value with a wealth of talented acts for a reasonable twenty-five quid, and their kids under 13, well, they get in for FREE and for 13-17 it’s just a fiver.

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Mirko introduces me to John, a newcomer to the committee but with a wealth of experience on the festival scene. What John doesn’t know about coordinating a festival could be written on the back of a matchbox, with diagrams, pie charts and a few dirty doodles on the bottom.

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Mollie Marriott

Having worked on littler-known events like, say, Glastonbury and Boomtown, John is a welcomed asset to provide a fully professional team, determined to make this work wonders. There’s more than meets the eye to arranging such an event, a note others need take heed of in these cliché days of any Tom, Dick, Harry, or Harry’s pet dog attempting to hold one. They’re delighted to have halted construction plans for a new pipeline running through the site, due bang on the 14th July when Saddleback takes place. For when music promoter Mirko and Sports Club owner Rick get going on a project, they’re the sort who work tirelessly to make it the very best they can.

 
It didn’t matter of the success of last year’s, though Mirko was pleased with the result, they’ve assigned themselves to this ongoing project and intend to make it an annual event.

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Marcus Bonfanti

So, the second major change is camping. People will be able to set up a tent this year, from Friday to Sunday, for a tenner, or just fifteen smackers to bring their campervan on site. This will add an extra dimension to the ambience, with visitors able to mingle with locals. Add this to the real ale and cider bars, prosecco, Pimms, wines, soft drinks, and craft beer from Devitera, merge it with a wide assortment of food stalls, such as Happy Hog Catering, Asian cuisine, obligatory barbeque and a tea/coffee and crepe bus, I think they’re building the perfect recipe for a blinding day which will go down in Devizes history and will firmly put our town on the festival map.

 
Notwithstanding an unforgettable line-up, with blues singer, songwriter and guitarist, Marcus Bonfanti, rockers Bad Touch, ballad-esque pop-rockette, Mollie Marriott, daughter of Small Faces and Humble Pie singer and guitarist Steve Marriott, Devizes-own blues/alternate rock deities The Jon Amor Band, Bradford’s legendary John Verity, Blues/Rock guitarist Innes Sibun and Avebury’s own George Wilding.

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George Wilding

If you need further proof of the authenticity of my recommendation, bear in mind it was a great thing when George Wilding won his place at the festival at the Battle of the Bands earlier this year and said he’d do it, if the other contestants could have the opportunity to play too. But it’s an even greater thing when Rick and Mirko took heed, and before we knew what was what, a third “acoustic” stage was added, introducing local heroes and heroines Mike Barham, Jamie R Hawkins, Alex Cash, Sally Dobson and Clare, who was coincidently serving at the British Lion at the time!

 
She smiled when we chatted, not realising who I was she said, “but I’ve known you for years!” That is what’s special about Devizes, that is what Saddleback will adhere, and that is also what’ll make Saddleback a knockout.

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So, don’t miss out, leave a comment on a local Facebook group, giving it, “whats that wonderful music I can hear from my garden?” – there’s tickets on the gate, or in advance, here.

 

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Wharf Theatre Brings Local Playwriter’s “Broken Wing” to Life

Zara is therapist to a sixteen year old refugee, trying to come to terms with the brutal horrors of war. Her own adopted daughter of the same age is dealing with her ‘inner’ conflict. As the characters of the two girls, Layee and Thea, emerge, they tell not only their own stories but each other’s, to a world which they often feel doesn’t listen or understand.

 
Showing the deep anguish, feelings of loss of identity and abandonment which can link both adoption and asylum, it’s the intriguing plot of Broken Wing, the world premier play of Devizes author Annie L Cooper. Annie was prompted to write it after her personal experiences as a therapist working in Bosnia with the victims of concentration camps, and having witnessed the complex issues involved in adoption. It’s being staged by director Lewis Cowen at The Wharf Theatre in Devizes for Tuesday 19th to Saturday 23rd June.

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Not set in any specific time or place, because sadly these issues still occur in all corners of the world, it’s a powerful production with strong language and disturbing themes, hence its over sixteen guideline.

 
What an inspiring move for our local theatre, adapting a local author’s work and staging an exclusive play which hopefully will be taken up elsewhere.

 
Catch Broken Wing at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes: Tuesday 19th – Saturday 23rd June 2018 @ 7.30pm Tickets £12/£10; concessions can be purchased from the website: wharftheatre.co.uk or at the Devizes Community Hub and Library on Sheep Street, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm or by ringing 03336 663 366 For further information contact Karen Ellis www.publicity@wharftheatre.co.uk  

Ticket Source here

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