Monday, 22 May 2017

I know Steve Andrews, read about him in The Sun.

Why should we take heed of what mainstream media publishes as "news" yet disregard what the free press issues?

Politics aside for this, here's a shining example of my point. The tabloids go to town on singer/songwriter Steve Andrews this week because he appeared on Britain's Got Talent.

Steve in the Sun!

Here though is a page from my very first publication, the crazy comic zine Toonedelic Times from 1994; scream if you remember it!

Yeah its raw, its hand written and photocopied but displays Steve Andrews singing is hardly news; the guy's been doing it and loving it for an age.

The other significant difference from my report to today's tabloids is I concentrate on his music rather than his beard.

Too keen are the tabloids to point out Steve experimented with psychoactive plants as if man using such herbs for hallucinogenic properties is some new-fangled trend. This is not news, folk been doing that since the dawn of the neanderthals.

Not necessarily reflecting negatively, Steve is relishing the media attention and laughing off the eccentric image it portrays of him. Our zines and punk-paste publications could never achieve anything near the same distribution.

I only wish these Fleet Street drones could latch onto the real story as I know it; Welsh guy loves entertaining and writing encyclopedic guides to mind altering substances, has been doing it all his adult life and has achieved respect, admiration and light -hearted mirth for it.

In my opinion there's nothing here to mock. So I suggest you scan the headline and occupy your time better by searching for Steve Andrew's musical talents or checking out his books rather than reading more than you need to of the spoiled garbage newspapers shove down your throat.

For one it has altered the way I view contestants on these talent shows, the ones the media mock and rip into.

Damn these guys got up there and did it, with a variety of professionalism and skill, but still they did it and you slump on your sofa stuffing pizza into your cake-hole and criticise their every movement.

Steve was among the talented here but would never fit the needs of the show, others strive to apease the masses, while he did what he always did and bought about a togetherness through his music by engaging the audience and making them part of his act.

These are the points the tabloids should focus on but being I know the whole story I know how inaccurate these articles are; makes me ponder the facts for the articles I know nothing of.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

No Surprises Living in Devizes: A Country Gone to the Dogs

No Surprises Living in Devizes

A Country Gone to the Dogs

Darren Worrow

Tories dubbed Labour’s nationalisation manifesto as “a return to the 1970s,” while our titanium-lady called for a return to ripping foxes to shreds, pulling wheelchairs out from under the disabled and squabbling with Europeans akin to Sir Francis Drake. Whatever fluctuations, Mrs May is certain we’ll face them together; no dinner for her then.

What British institutions will she reintroduce next on her maniac “mainstream” death-tax-manifesto; voting restricted to gentry, public executions, the slave trade, or burning witches perhaps? Bell-bottoms and Love Thy Neighbour aside, if we’re going backwards either way, I’d rather return to the 1970s then the 1570s.

Can we expect the return of plague (solving NHS underfunding,) a reappearance of grave robbers maybe? Or will Jim’ll Fix It be back on tele? Can we hope to see white dog poo again?

Just because things happened in days gone-by doesn’t make them right. Our fondness for a bygone era is shrouded with nostalgia; crushing white dog poo underfoot and hurling brown snowballs really wasn’t as much fun as you reminisce.

Oh dog poo; a subject I’ve avoided to date, primarily because it’s a national issue and secondly, because I talk enough toilet already. However nothing floods local Facebook groups with comments like a dog poo rant; election, Brexit, even bad parking doesn’t compare. So I’ve been driven to slip in the matter.

Believe it or nuts, dog fouling has been illegal for twenty-one years. Turd bagging has become as second nature as Facebooking a picture of your tea. Now though, owners are fed up with pocketing poo and have returned to antiquated methods, covering with environmental excuses.

Alas I know nothing of the thrill of poop scooping. So blindly pondering; who here packages biodegradable matter in an imperishable bag and who opts to stick-flick it at passing ramblers? And what to do with your bag of poo; take it home, try find a bin not teetering already or post it to 10 Downing Street?

I’m told some opt to tie the bag to a tree like an undesirable Christmas decoration; well done you, double whammy for irresponsibleness. While five-pee reduced our usage of plastic shopping bags we’ve upped other uses; dog poo, nappies and sick bags every time Katie Hopkins Tweets.

Our villagers travel afar sanctioning their pooches to defecate along the school path, because we live in such an urbanised area with lack fields to walk dogs. “Just taking Fi-Fi for a dump on the council estate honey…”

Unsure if they uphold increasing our children’s immune system, they figure it’s harmless because they bagged it, or they simple don’t give a shit.

My confusion; how can baggers be sure they've collected all the pulp matter, doggies squish too?
Owners shriek, “what can I do, I’m doomed if I bag, doomed if I flick?” The answer is simple, to other single-celled organisms and above. Buy a flipping reusable lunchbox and a bottle of water, scoop your doggie doing in it, wash down the affected area, and take said lunchbox home for washing. Is that as hard to grasp as squelcher?

Better still; train your pooch to poo in your own garden rather than leave it to the heroic CUDS and Wiltshire Council Green Party candidate Geoff Brewer, who have been tidying discarded poo sacks in Drew’s Pond Wood, the worst affected area of Devizes. At last, here’s a councillor cleaning poo rather than dishing it out.
Why do we make an issue of dog’s doings, while cats poo at liberty in neighbour’s gardens, or roadkill sprawls over our highway; a testament of our need to speed to work, or even, particularly in Wiltshire, horse poo is legal tender; they’re permitted to produce a mountain of the stuff in any road and no one raises an eyebrow?

Someone always brings horse poo to the table on any online dog poo debate, but it’s fiercely defended because we love a bit of that round ‘ere; spread it over yer field, proper jarb.

One memorable response I read appealed you couldn’t expect a horse rider to dismount to clean as the horse would bolt. These folk never watched westerns; cowboys been tying horses to posts for centuries to go play poker in the saloon, drink a bottle of bourbon and have a gunfight; I’m sure you could tie yours too for the duration of a quick shovelling.

Opps a daisy, did I offend the wealthy again?

I asked this and the response was; “not all horse riders are wealthy what-what?” Slightly misguided in a country where nurses need food banks; looks like my column has come full circle.

Is dog poo as bad as the poo spluttering from Theresa May’s lips as it quivers under the weight of progressive alliance and the young tactically voting? The media walkies the right-wing; fouls the campaign trail with obscene budgets and slogans derived from Mein Kampf (true,) but cannot dump over the freedom of social media (yet;) snooper’s charter, pooper’s charter.

Sure we’ve a responsibility to maintain the cleanliness of our streets, but there’s a mountain of other faeces to sort; and its rotting our country. We have a duty to vote in this strategically placed election, to turn tables, but unfortunately here in the Conservative safe-zone we can hope only to scoop a miniscule dog turd against the mountain of manure.

I don't know what came over me as checked Facebook before my mid-morning nap. Saw this news post from a site I'd not heard of before, Index: Wiltshire. I quickly despatched a message to them, without any real thought as to the implications of my actions. That moment of lunacy is why we are here today, with this book; all I can do is apologise. Forward wind a year and No Surprises Living in Devizes has become a bit of a "thing," the best description I can come up with. Every Sunday a new episode goes live like the unleashing of a crazed dragon on steroids. I face a plethora of responses and feedback; some are nice. There's brute honesty in the causerie journalism doesn't usually convey in this day and age. It also brings a straightforward view on life in our traditional market town, with wonky edges.

Relive last year's No Surprises columns with this gorgeous paperback or kindle book, 'cos you're worth it.; 6 quid paperback or 2 for the ebook!

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Sunday, 7 May 2017

No Surprises Living in Devizes: Feeling Lucky Punk?

I can tell it’s Taser when my eyes are shut.

Okay, joke may go over the head of younger readers. You don’t see the citrus fizzy pop much these days; it’s all about electrical weapons.

Being Wiltshire has one of the lowest crime rates in the country but peculiarly police Taser usage is above national average, how does Chief Constable Mike Veale celebrate this incongruity? He gives out Tasers to any old PC Tom, Dick or Dirty Harry. And even more bizarrely his reasoning? You guessed it; it’s all these darn terrorist attacks happening in our God forsaken county.

Fear of terrorism resided over common sense, again. Take heed of Yoda’s words of wisdom this Star Wars Election Day, “fear is the path to the dark side.” With zero terrorist attacks here and the obvious effectiveness a Taser would have against a nutcase with machine gun, explosives or a lorry through a shopping mall, absurd uneasiness procures the unsuspecting masses.

I never the envy the job of the police, if there’s two muscular louts knocking seven bells out of each other in the street most would cross and walk on the other side, whereas Bobby has to go and sort it out.

The thing we need to learn is, if you’ve got a beef with another bloke that’s an issue between you both; best not involve anyone else, especially someone trying to prevent you from having your head smashed in.

Try to remember no matter how drunk, beneath the uniform there’s a real person, maybe with a family, with a life, just with a job to keep the peace; sumbuddy’s gotta.

In turn the police need to drop the condescending discourse and treat civilians as equals. Unfortunately if you’re pointing an electric-shock gun at someone, you’re immediately intimidating.

If you ask me the police need training by Doctor Who scriptwriters, cos the Doctor has been talking down entire alien races hell bent on destroying mankind for eons, never used a Tazer in any time-zone.

The police need to understand life is a struggle and our government are not making it any easier. Anyone can have a bad day and flip out, it doesn’t’ make them a terrorist; like the man killed by police Taser in Warminster in October.

Neither does throwing your pants deserve a Tasering, Tom Jones would never get through a song. But despite being caught on CCTV, the Melksham officer who superfluously zapped a naked suspect for such a petty wrongdoing was cleared of assault.

This is not NYC, as much as I sympathise with police tasks, a lethal weapon is not bridging a divide between officer and civilian. It’s a responsibility I trust with most, but you know there’s always one bad egg. My other concern is you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight; if cops are armed the robbers will match.

Make no mistake; in the aforementioned street fight scenario I’d have Tasered both rather than wrestle them. I’d Taser anyone if my boss gave me one; lucky I’m not a police officer and just the milkman. Still, Mrs Smith, you can put those away you filthy cow, if you can’t pay your two pound eight pee this week I’m going to have to Taser you.

Yeah, I’d Taser anyone; kids arguing over the best X-Box controller; I’m going up there to Taser their heads together. Local election candidates’ campaign-posting on the Devizes Debate Facebook page; TASERED. Lad tying a soiled dog poo bag to a tree in Drew’s Pond Wood; TASERED! New owner of a landmark pub suggests its ceiling needs a lick of paint; TASERED!

Dress up as a Muslim to protest against the cancelled May Fayre; TASERED! Ye gods, let’s get this one cleared up shall we? The complexities of a safety form prevented Wiltshire Council and Lions Club arranging the fayre this year; it had nought to do with Islam. I don’t know if it was satirical discord which badly backfired, but whatever was going on, it was in exceptionally bad taste.

While I never disagree with protest, perhaps the organisers of it could have concentrated their efforts on arranging a fayre instead; give it a go, see if it’s so easy. But because the tabloids went to town over the bullet-point of covering for a possible terrorist attack, no matter how absurd, some idiot decided to dress in Muslim attire. As suspected, this terribly tenacious link sadly deposits Devizes central on the xenophobic map.

Yeah this week, local Facebook group members went hammer and tongs over this, scrolling comments got as far as screenshots of Koran and Bible passages when really, the May Fayre has nothing to do with any of it.

Forgot the bank holiday is Beltane? A Gaelic festival anglicised forcibly by Christians, back in an era prior to this religion being all tea and cupcakes on the village green, but in a day when fear and terror were trappings thrusted upon heathen folk to accept the word of God or be burnt on a plinth. Irony, just a tad, we attempt to clear our town of dog poo, when there’s a lot of other fetid matter we need to sort out.

Maybe there’s the police’s confusion, the difference between a terrorist attack and a terrier attack. And not from the barking, biting end but from the depositing end. Oopsy daisy, now I’ve opened a whole new Pandora’s pooch poo bag, without the time to finish what I started.

So, it’ll be a scatological themed next week; if I’ve not been Tasered by then. I hope to chat with Wiltshire Council’s Green Party candidate Geoff Brewer who along with Zena’s CUDS and other volunteers, have been clearing Drew’s Pond Wood of littered dog poo bags. At last here’s a politician cleaning up shit rather that talking it.

Now you can relive all last year's No Surprises Living in Devizes column; ewe lucky buggers.
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