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BARRY LEIGHTON WRITES WHAT HE WANTS... EVERY WEDNESDAY
5:30am Wednesday 5th March 2014
PERCHED on stairs, crammed into the kitchen, squatting on the floor, sinking into the settee, circled around the dining table and occupying just about every other mode of seating that she has resourcefully amassed… it is another full house down at Joy’s Joint.
1:44pm Wednesday 26th February 2014
12:40pm Wednesday 19th February 2014
5:30am Wednesday 12th February 2014
3:39pm Wednesday 5th February 2014
AS A Swindon bus driver Jeff Starr’s route regularly took him to all corners of the borough but as he ferried passengers through the estates of Penhill, Freshbrook and Moredon his mind was usually elsewhere… around 4,000 miles away on the Great Plains of North America where his forefathers once hunted buffalo.
12:43pm Wednesday 29th January 2014
THE Great Wall of China, the Pyramids at Giza, the Grand Canyon, the Coliseum, the Rose Red City of Petra, Niagara Falls, Pompeii, Machu Picchu, the Parthenon, the Tower of London, the Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal.
10:46am Thursday 23rd January 2014
2:40pm Wednesday 15th January 2014
HAVING tragically died before the full bloom of youth, the body of the boy priest Hatemui was meticulously prepared for that final journey through the darkest chasms of the Underworld in anticipation of attaining the ultimate, eternal goal… a place in the Afterlife.
2:32pm Wednesday 8th January 2014
STANLEY Frost – ex-prisoner of war, artist, electricity board employee and, as it transpires, a true romantic - is walking through Swindon shopping centre when he is stopped dead in his tracks. He cannot believe his eyes. He is aghast.
10:55am Wednesday 18th December 2013
PROPPED up in bed at Princess Margaret Hospital, old school bobby Richard Webb is in all likelihood wondering what has happened to his life after it has been turned upside down by a particularly savage blow.
3:30pm Wednesday 11th December 2013
AS THE needle drops onto The Family That Plays Together, a long playing record by the Los Angeles-based Sixties hard rock psychedelic blues quintet Spirit, Eric Stott proclaims, with a mixture of conviction and satisfaction: “You can’t beat vinyl – there’s nothing like it.”
10:22am Wednesday 4th December 2013
HARVEY and The Rent Boys, Bantu, Ska Trek, Up Yours, Pignose, The Mill, Erin Bardwell Collective, Vindaloo Brothers, The Unmistakable Paul Cooke, The Michael Alexander Express, Sneaky Feet, at least half-a-dozen varied incarnations of the Teddy White band; mustn’t forget greasy rocking rodents The Hamsters From Hell.
1:52pm Wednesday 27th November 2013
9:24am Wednesday 20th November 2013
NOT for the first time – but certainly the last – protesters are brandishing banners and chanting slogans outside a cinema in the middle of Swindon. Like their heroes John Wayne and Clint Eastwood they have a cause worth fighting for.
9:18am Wednesday 13th November 2013
HE walks past that fading, threadbare little shop, with its cracked and rotting wooden frames, grimy windows, crumbling plaster and peeling pink paint, at least a couple of hundred times. Glenn Mason nearly always stops and stares in, even though nothing ever changes. The box of Whiskas Cocktail cat food, as always, is sandwiched between the family-sized packets of Corn Flakes and Quaker Oats.
7:10am Wednesday 6th November 2013
JASON Moore is in the midst of a violent melee as dozens of Palestinian demonstrators hurl rocks and stones at Israeli troops. Armed soldiers charge protesters and everyone runs for cover. Well, almost everyone. Jason, a photographer, is keen to capture the dramatic scenes as they unfold so he decides to hang around. He is close to a demonstrator who is about lob a hefty missile. Jason has him in his sights. Click. Gotcha.
7:30am Wednesday 30th October 2013
5:14pm Thursday 24th October 2013
AS dusk is about to fall on a drizzly summer evening I am in West Swindon contemplating a futuristic structure held aloft by an ensemble of yellow painted tubular steel columns that, from a certain angle, resemble spiders’ legs.
10:30am Wednesday 16th October 2013
10:10am Wednesday 9th October 2013
IT is, everyone agrees, a jolly good day for boating. Ablaze with celebratory bunting a modest cruiser chugs triumphantly up and down a sun-dappled stretch of waterway while a Victorian skiff called Emily expertly skirts the grassy banks and rushes.
9:38am Wednesday 2nd October 2013
STANDING in a muddy field on the edge of Chiseldon Peter Hyams peers into a shallow hole that he has just finished digging and studiously appraises what for most of us would appear to be the remnants of a rusty bucket or perhaps a crumpled paint pot.
9:52am Wednesday 25th September 2013
4:30pm Tuesday 17th September 2013
EVERY morning when I draw the curtains and look out of the window of my modest town centre flat I am confronted with a vision so surreal it is almost as if I am still dozing with a head full of dreams.
3:00pm Thursday 12th September 2013
AS the huge metal doors scrape slowly open I cannot resist summoning that supreme moment from the annals of archaeology when Egyptologist Howard Carter – having been asked whether he can see anything – utters three immortal words: “Yes, wonderful things.”
7:20pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013
12:01pm Wednesday 28th August 2013
WE don’t exactly boast an Eros, an Angel of the North, a Liver Bird, or a monumental chunk of bronze depicting a rampant Boadicea about to decapitate a cohort of fleeing Romans from her war chariot, as they do elsewhere.
10:10am Wednesday 21st August 2013
8:30pm Tuesday 13th August 2013
HE fought at the Battle of Hastings alongside his half-brother William the Conqueror before commissioning the famed Bayeux Tapestry in which he is depicted cheerfully wielding a club amidst much carnage and mayhem.
4:30pm Tuesday 6th August 2013
9:00am Thursday 1st August 2013
1:10pm Wednesday 24th July 2013
10:03am Wednesday 17th July 2013
1:30pm Wednesday 10th July 2013
IT would be fair to say that the cannibalistic tendencies of dark elves or the killing capabilities of a specially programmed breed of T-Rex are hardly the kind of subjects that occupy most people’s thoughts when they retire.
1:47pm Wednesday 12th June 2013
GAUNT, anxious, hungry faces peered from the gloom of a tumbledown slum in the worst part of town. The children were dehydrated, malnourished, head-lice ridden, suffering from scabies and riddled with worms.
9:56am Wednesday 5th June 2013
THERE were two shows worth hurrying home from school to watch during the Sixties which didn’t involve an outbreak of serious hostilities bordering on violence between me and my sister over what should be shown on our grainy black and white television set.
12:00pm Wednesday 29th May 2013
GUITARS, PA system, microphones, amps, kettles, footage of atomic explosions, lumps of crystallised industrial dry ice, grandfather clock, clapped out TV set, sledgehammer… being Swindon’s premiere psychedelic blues band held certain responsibilities back in the late Sixties.
4:32pm Wednesday 22nd May 2013
12:10pm Monday 20th May 2013
7:40am Wednesday 15th May 2013
WITH his trusty wooden staff, flowing white robes and bushy, chest-length grey beard there is a definite whiff of Gandalf about Terry Dobney as he contemplates from this magnificent vantage point the surrounding Wiltshire countryside in all its pomp and glory.
7:40am Wednesday 8th May 2013
MORE by luck than judgement I found myself behind the defence and was hurtling goal-wards through the driving November rain. A second or two later and a satisfying bulge was destined to appear in the back of the net – no sweat.
7:40am Wednesday 1st May 2013
SOME of us had squeezed two or three abreast onto table tops; others were craning their necks while standing on chairs; several of the more enterprising had managed to position themselves, somewhat precariously, high up against the side of the walls. Towards the front there was a sticky huddle of bodies; a frantic, formless, ecstatic mass. Summer was still officially several weeks away but it was hot and humid inside The Affair that night – not to mention bursting at the seams.
2:30pm Thursday 25th April 2013
9:37am Wednesday 24th April 2013
ON the edge of a secluded valley, with its pretty woods and pond, Frank Hunt utters a short, shrill whistle. We both crane our necks and gaze expectantly at the bright early evening sky. Complete silence – where could she be?
11:30am Wednesday 17th April 2013
11:02am Wednesday 17th April 2013
12:42pm Thursday 4th April 2013
IT is a warm Saturday evening as I saunter into the Royal Festival Hall on July 8, 1972. I sit down in the third row a few feet from the stage – Gangway 2, Row C, Seat 4 (still got the ticket, price £1) - and suddenly feel a little conspicuous.
1:20pm Wednesday 3rd April 2013
THE church bells “rang merry peals”, the pubs opened for two days without respite and the beer flowed free-of-charge. Flags fluttered from windows while the village brass band cheerfully discharged Handel’s See the Conquering Hero Comes.
7:30am Wednesday 27th March 2013
AS a downstairs maid in 1930s Swindon Phyllis Holcombe started work at five every morning, clearing the ashes and lighting the kitchen fire before embarking on a variety of household tasks that would take her through to the evening.
12:10pm Wednesday 20th March 2013
RUDDY-cheeked and snugly buttoned-up in coat, hat and gloves, little Tony Winslow can hardly contain his joy as he toddles excitedly after his dog and dips into a bag of boiled sweets during an outing to the Wiltshire countryside.
9:14am Wednesday 13th March 2013
IT could have been Jailhouse Rock, maybe it was Rock Around The Clock, or perhaps even Blackboard Jungle. Pete Cousins doesn’t actually know. But whatever rock‘n’roll film his mum took him to see at the long gone Gaumont cinema in Regent Circus helped shape his life.