Sarah Singleton looks at what's on in Swindon this weekend

Rose garden of Celtic delights in pub gig

ROCKY, rootsy Dorset band State of Undress will be playing at the Beehive in Swindon tonight.

State of Undress plays a distinctive and exuberant brand of original music, moving from poignant to foot-tapping, with a blend of roots, rock, country and Celtic in their songs.

The regular line-up includes Charlie Rose on lead vocals, Alan Rose on vocals, guitar and mandolin, along with Jerry Bird, Rob Boivin and Rick Hambleton.

The Roses have been writing and performing as State of Undress for many years, and went full time a few of years ago. They have a number of CDs under their belt and perform at gigs and festivals around the country.

They will be performing at the pub on Prospect Hill from 8.30pm. It is free entry.

The geek, c’est chic

COMEDIAN Steve Bugeja is heading to Swindon this weekend, having had great fun playing the geek opposite the alpha males in a spin-off from the big hit of the summer, ITV’s Love Island.

Steve appeared in Love Island: Aftersun on ITV 2, hosted by Caroline Flack, where his joke persona of a geeky loser tries to match up to the bronzed adonis of the main show.

“The joke was me interacting with these alpha males. They took me on a night out in Hertfordshire. They dressed me in a pink vest and skinny jeans. It was good fun and great to be part of,” said Steve.

The stand-up comic is currently on tour in the UK and he is bringing his Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show, Summer Camp, to Swindon. The show is based on Steve’s real life experience of volunteering at a summer camp in America.

“It is a true story of when I was 18 years old and woefully naive. I thought it would all be partying and American girls, but in reality it was looking after a camp full of teenagers with autism.

“It was intensive training. In my show, along with the comedy, there is the story of building relationships, drawing on emotional resources and poignancy,” said Steve.

Like many comedians, Steve uses the Edinburgh Fringe as a testing ground for his new shows.

“Some comedians hate Edinburgh — exam season they call it — but I love it. It is my favourite time of the year. There are a lot of friends all in one place, and we hang out, and the place is full of comedy fans.”

Steve is a sought after comedy writer and works regularly for TV’s Mock the Week and comedian Russell Howard. He says he learned a lot from Russell who is a total perfectionist.

“Working with Russell was amazing, intense, hard work but it was an education and rewarding, as many clips go viral on social media. I looked up to him. As for Mock the Week I would love to be on it, or another comedy panel show, but I am happy writing for the show and it is good practice.”

Other works in hand include writing a film, and he has a few sitcoms in development. His style of comedy writing is always story led and his shows are based on a core experience. He also writes for BBC Radio 4.

Steve is relatively new to touring and clearly remembers his first experience when he had not realised he needed to bring his own music to play while the audience was getting seated.

“I did not know what to expect, I remember it was in Cambridge so I had to use my iTunes from my lap top. The tech man came to get me and when I was called to the stage I realised it was playing an audio book on how to be successful, very sombre stuff. No one believed I hadn’t done it as a joke.”

Steve was not the practical joker at school, he says he was the quiet kid in the corner reading a book. It was at university that he rebelled against his own image and took to comedy. I broke out. On stage I can express myself, I am acting out a heightened persona of myself,” he said.

Summer Camp is at the Swindon Arts Centre tonight at 7.30pm. Tickets are £14.50 from 01793 524481 or visit

Walking soul to soul with ghosts

FEARLESS explorers are dared to join the first ever Ghost Walk, deep in the bowels of the Brunel shopping centre, in Swindon.

Called Will You Scream this Halloween, the free ghost walks take place on Saturday, at 3pm and again at 4pm.

Brave ghost hunters will be met by a guide outside Eggelicious, in The Crossing, and escorted into the depths of the shopping centre for a 50-minute voyage into the unknown.

“It is rumoured that the basement of the centre is haunted,” a Brunel spokeswoman said.

“And it is rumoured that part of this centre was built on what was a morgue.

“We have taken inspiration from these rumours and have decided to use our imagination and put together a Halloween event.”

She would not draw back the veil any further, nor explain what hidden secrets might be revealed in the darkness beneath Swindon’s central shopping centre – but up to 20 people on each of the walks will have a chance to find out what lies beneath.

“We are really excited about this event and it is quite different from our normal Halloween activities. Watch this space,” she said.

The Ghost Walk is not suitable for children or young adults under the age of 16 and participants should be able to negotiate three flights of stairs and walk the distance of the tour to fully embrace the experience. A lift is available.

Two evening events, combining the ghost walk and a supper, have already sold out. No admission fee will be charged.