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View From The Sticks

Shopping Therapy

Swindon Advertiser: Dave Wallis

Posted on 10:07am Friday 21st November 2014

You know what they say about shopping therapy?

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Derby triumph can make up for our cup capitulation

Posted on 6:00am Friday 14th November 2014

Last Saturday was a humiliating day to be a Swindon Town fan.

Born Again Swindonian

Swindon in business and my journey into self-employment

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:29am Friday 7th November 2014

Hello listeners. Just for a change here’s a blog post about me, myself and I – in my other hat as AA Editorial Services:

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Williams has done enough for a start

Posted on 6:00am Friday 7th November 2014

After a rare away defeat last Saturday, Town got back to winning ways this week with an important win over 2nd place Preston North End.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Skipper Thompson's midweek return shows why he is so crucial

Posted on 2:40pm Thursday 30th October 2014

Both Jordan Turnbull and Jack Stephens are good defenders but their shortcomings were highlighted without Thompson alongside them.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Putting Trust in the fans

Posted on 6:00am Friday 17th October 2014

Our current chairman Lee Power is doing a sterling job.

View From The Sticks

Wailways and Carnage

Swindon Advertiser: Dave Wallis

Posted on 1:48pm Wednesday 15th October 2014

There’s a circumstance that will develop over the next few months which will have huge consequences for traffic movements around north Wiltshire and Swindon, and there appears to be very little attention being paid to it.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: The Orient showed us the way

Posted on 6:00am Friday 10th October 2014

Last week I briefly mentioned that the clubs biggest test of the season would be when the clock strikes midnight on 1st January.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Town’s excellent start to the season is like a trip back in time

Posted on 6:00am Friday 10th October 2014

NINE games into the season and Mark Cooper’s side continue to upset the odds and entertain the fans.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Saturday’s win was also a victory for the manager’s persistence

Posted on 6:00am Friday 10th October 2014

LAST Saturday, Town put in their best performance of the season as they brushed aside promotion contenders Sheffield Utd with ease in one of the best footballing displays I’ve seen at the County Ground.

View From The Sticks

The future is bright. If you believe the artist’s impression.

Swindon Advertiser: Dave Wallis

Posted on 10:17am Thursday 9th October 2014

It’s occurred to me, and rather frighteningly so, that it’s more than 40 years since I first started reading the Adver. Since I began taking a look at my parent’s paper until today, I will have paid attention to what the Adver had to report through well over 10,000 copies. And while there is much to say about modern technology and accessing the news through a variety of ‘technological media platforms’ or however the jargon goes, there’s nothing like sitting down with a hard copy, perhaps with a coffee, or even better a beer, to catch up on local goings on. The daily ritual of buying it (and that’s not always easy out here in the sticks where there’s no shop in the village and the closest place to pick up a copy is a good four miles away), to the time earmarked in the day to sit down and have a good perusal, has become a way of life. If Swindon have played the night before you need to get in early, otherwise likeminded Town supporters will have wanted their regular match report fix and the shop may have sold out. Some newsagents think Swindon is too far away to be of interest and don’t stock it, while some neighbouring towns can be complete Adver-free zones, stocking things like the Bath Doodah instead. Missing my Adver is something I don’t entertain easily. It has become an old friend whose presence is missed if holidays intervene, and just like old friends it’s sometimes infuriating, frustrating and downright annoying. But it’s a relationship that has endured and over the years I feel I know some of the journos personally. Barrie Hudson usually makes me laugh and I often think Graham Carter and I must be brothers separated at birth, so many things he writes that have me nodding my head in agreement. And when I spotted Barry Leighton’s piece this week detailing all those developments that have been proposed for Swindon over the years it really struck a chord with me. Because I remember all of those ‘artists impressions’ showing the Shangri la of peacefulness that Swindon was to become, and I know just how few have come to fruition. To celebrate the successful library development that was built after 40 years of talking, (that would have started around the time I started reading the Adver I suppose) is pretty hollow for a town that regularly entertains thoughts of becoming a city. Almost all other redevelopment proposals have fallen by the wayside. Of course the Regent Circus rebuild is nearing completion, but that attracts more negative comment by the affect it has had on traffic flow and danger to pedestrians (that’s pedestrians. Not pedestrains), than it does positive. Similarly with Whale Bridge. Almost all town centre restructuring plans involve ‘restaurants’ (fast food outlets), shopping complexes (further discounters) and offices… despite the surplus of free office space the town has always had and can never fill. There will be talk of bars and pictures showing half a dozen people sitting outside enjoying some café culture, but it won’t show the fight going on outside at 2:00 on a Saturday morning when kicking out time arrives. Take a trip to Bath and see how the old bus station area has been redeveloped and you can see what can be achieved, and just how it can enhance a city/town. How new buildings can be integrated into the surrounding architecture in such a manner that they don’t jar the senses. And I’m afraid that difference encapsulates why Swindon’s persona is perceived the way it is outside of the town. Recently there was a fad for cladding parts of buildings with wood, such as those of the Plaza 21 development and the revamp of the old Nationwide building in Princes Street. This looks OK for around 18 months before the lack of required maintenance to protect it from the weather leaves the building looking like a shanty town built from old pallets. The proposed developments are presented in such a manner that they look modern and imaginative, which is how Swindon appears to want to be seen, but as everyone has become weary of expecting them to happen, there seems little reason to pay much attention to them. And those that happen won’t end up anything like the artists impressions.

Born Again Swindonian

Vendor of soulful streetood Eggelicious is expanding into Old Town

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 12:09pm Wednesday 1st October 2014

I popped into Eggelicious recently as is my wont, and fell into conversation with an interesting chap who works at English Heritage over near STEAM and the Outlet Centre – and there may well be a blog post in there somewhere – but to return to the raison d’être of this particular blog post… Sharing the counter and ‘breaking bread’ with your neighbour is very much what Eggelicious and its new sister ship E2, soon to open in Wood Street, is all about.

Born Again Swindonian

Moving over to the dark side - a burgeoning cafe culture in Swindon

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:59am Wednesday 1st October 2014

The newest coffee shop in town, Dark Room Espresso, is gaining ground as a cool place to go.There’s certainly much to delight the coffee lover here and in the plethora of coffee shops around Swindon generally.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Nathan is burning bright in Town's good start to the campaign

Posted on 6:00am Friday 19th September 2014

The squad has adapted well to the managers new system, and some players are flourishing in their new roles, especially Nathan Byrne.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: If Town are going to cash in, they will need to make it pay

Posted on 6:00am Friday 19th September 2014

EVERY week that goes by, it looks less and less likely that Massimo Luongo will be a Swindon player when the January transfer window slams shut.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Town's deadline day mirrors successful transfer window

Posted on 6:00am Friday 5th September 2014

Since the first transfer deadline day on 31st August 2002, it has become a key date for millions of fans, but throughout it’s 12 years, Town aren’t normally anywhere to be seen.

Born Again Swindonian

Further adventures of Born again Swindonian & Swindon Driver - with Swindon Bear

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:58am Wednesday 3rd September 2014

Hello listeners. Here we have the second installment of posts featuring just a few of Swindon's roundabouts and the reasoning behind their names. In the first post - Round and Round - I looked at roundabouts that are related, by dint of name and location, to some of Swindon's industry. This time around it's pubs. Unsurprisingly, what with coaching inns in days gone by often being on road junctions, a number of Swindon's pubs are situated on or near to roundabouts thus giving the planners a convenient handle for said roundabout. So on a somewhat dreek and dismal day, @Swindondriver, Swindon bear, Penny penguin and myself set out on a second EXPOTITION to check them out.

Born Again Swindonian

The story behind some of Swindon's many roundabouts

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:15am Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Swindon, as we know, is famous – even infamous – for its roundabouts. Of course there’s the grand-daddy of them all, the Magic Roundabout. Such a rich vein of material is that particular jewel in Swindon’s roundabout crown that it has its own category on the blog. Better than that though, is that the imagined guide-book entry I wrote on it for my travel writing module, helped me to a 1st for the module and a 1st class degree overall. So huge thanks go to the Magic Roundabout for being such a great creative source!

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Kasim continues to steal the show

Posted on 6:00am Friday 29th August 2014

Despite being on the end of a 4-2 defeat on Tuesday night, Town’s performances continue to give fans hope for the upcoming season.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Striker Smith coming good in promising opening

Posted on 6:00am Friday 29th August 2014

Last season’s fall guy Michael Smith has been one of the most impressive performers so far, the former Charlton man scoring four goals in as many games.

View From The Sticks

Lydiard Park. Just passing through.

Swindon Advertiser: Dave Wallis

Posted on 1:12pm Tuesday 26th August 2014

I have a bit of a reputation for being a devil’s advocate. Show me a story and I’ll try to see another way of looking at it. I like to feel that’s me being open minded. Others think I’m being a pain the rear end.

View From The Sticks

The continued debate on Regent Circus

Swindon Advertiser: Dave Wallis

Posted on 2:13pm Tuesday 12th August 2014

The Regent Circus redevelopment continues to focus attention on, what appears to many, the folly of blurring the distinctions of priorities between motorist and pedestrian.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Can Town win anything with kids?

Posted on 6:00am Friday 8th August 2014

Due to a long overdrawn court case to see who owed the club at the start of the summer, Town’s quest for new additions has been seriously affected.

Born Again Swindonian

A guest post on BAS from Councillor Jim Robbins on Lydiard park & House

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:15am Tuesday 15th July 2014

A few days ago #BAS published a guest post from Councillor Jim Robbins concerning his visit to and reflections on #Swindon splendid STEAM Museum. Now here is his report on Lydiard Park and House another of Swindon’s gems – this one well-known though sadly so many aren’t. Like the West Swindon sculpture trail to give but one example.

Born Again Swindonian

If you're a frustrated tea shop owner with time to give then the Richard Jefferies museum needs you!

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:09am Tuesday 15th July 2014

I was up at the Richard Jefferies museum again this morning. I’ve written about the place before here so this post is largely to share some snaps I took around the garden while I was up there and also to make a plea:

View From The Sticks

Park… and taken for a ride

Swindon Advertiser: Dave Wallis

Posted on 12:08pm Thursday 10th July 2014

This blog is all about how Swindon can be viewed from outside the borough’s boundaries, and so often I read yet another story that suggests it has taken another step to be visitor unfriendly.

Born Again Swindonian

A guest post on Born again Swindonian from Councillor Jim Robbins

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 10:28am Tuesday 8th July 2014

Social media can, I feel, be likened to an out of hours water cooler. A place where you can pick up all sorts of interesting titbits. Like for instance that Councillor Jim Robins had been fortunate enough to have a guided tour round Lydiard Park and House. Never one to miss an opportunity I tweeted him in request of a guest post about what he’d learned. So full was his response that I’m actually dividing what he kindly sent into two posts – cos it transpired not only had he been gallivanting round Lydiard Park but the wonderful STEAM museum as well. So here’s what he sent me about his visit with the people at STEAM. I’ll give you all a few days to digest this one then I’ll release his writings about Lydiard.

Born Again Swindonian

Beatrice from Athens, via Sydney Australia, reflects on Swindon's art scene: Out of Centre

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 9:41am Tuesday 8th July 2014

For some time now I've had a section on Born again Swindonian for guest bloggers. It adds another dimension to blog apart from which I can't know everything, be everywhere etc.etc. I haven't until though shared them on here because, apart from some context that I write around them, my own work. However I'm reviewing that policy because I think perhaps they deserve to get to another audience.

View From The Sticks

Take me home, country roads

Swindon Advertiser: Dave Wallis

Posted on 2:35pm Wednesday 18th June 2014

Well it’s been a crash course in ruralisation which I’ve loved. Moving to the ‘real’ country at the turn of the year is everything I’d hoped.

Born Again Swindonian

Fun facts about Swwindon. Titter ye not - there are lots!

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 9:56am Sunday 15th June 2014

Okay, following on from the A to Z of Swindon and inspired by a leaflet picked up in the Thamesdown Transport travel shop I thought it might be cool to have a post about Swindon fun facts/did you know stuff. When I decided to start this blog I conceived a list of 10 things to celebrate about Swindon - some of it still work in progress. So here is a random list, excluding the items on the leaflet seen below, of 10 fab facts about Swindon:

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Swindon Town at the World Cup

Posted on 6:00am Tuesday 10th June 2014

Football’s biggest prize might be held thousands of miles away, but for the first time in 20 years, Town fans can look forward to watching a current player take to the field in the most famous cup competition in sport.

Born Again Swindonian

An A to Z of what makes Swindon great

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 10:55am Thursday 5th June 2014

Monday 26th May 2014 Okay – I think this has to be done now. There has recently been some furore in the media about some pointless celebrity who will be forgotten soon enough, having a pop at Swindon.

Born Again Swindonian

The Richard Jefferies museum needs you!

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 10:14pm Friday 23rd May 2014

Hurrah! At last I have managed to get to the Richard Jefferies museum. It has only taken me the twenty years. One doesn't have to rush these things does one?

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Who was hot and who was not this season?

Posted on 6:00am Friday 9th May 2014

AFTER waving goodbye to the 2013/14 season last Saturday, it’s time to take a look back at Mark Cooper’s squad, and how they performed over the campaign.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Pritchard stands above the rest this season

Posted on 6:00am Friday 2nd May 2014

SATURDAY'S defeat at Notts County ended Town's season as a competitive concern but, overall, I would class the campaign as a success.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: A forgotten face keeps our dreams alive

Posted on 6:00am Friday 25th April 2014

He has a big future ahead of him in the game, although I don’t think that will be at Spurs and I can see him lighting up the Championship next season.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Facing a battle to hang on to prospects

Posted on 6:00am Friday 18th April 2014

LOUIS Thompson’s second goal in three games saw Town pick up another impressive home win against Brentford in this unpredictable season on Saturday.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: So have we had a good season, or not?

Posted on 6:00am Saturday 12th April 2014

AFTER Louis Thompson’s winner against Sheffield United gave Town some play-off optimism a couple of week ago, most of that hope has started to drain away over the past week.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Oh brother, are we still in with a chance

Posted on 6:00am Friday 4th April 2014

ON Saturday the Town End witnessed a moment that will be remembered for many years to come.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Keeping it local is the only way to get the real football supporter’s experience

Posted on 6:00am Friday 28th March 2014

In my experience you can’t rule out anything, especially with Swindon Town.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Standing up for a common sense solution

Posted on 6:00am Friday 21st March 2014

After experiencing a couple of months of stagnant performances from Town, it was exciting to once again experience some passion and it came in the shape of a West Country derby.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Questions to answer after dramatic slump

Posted on 6:00am Friday 14th March 2014

IF Swindon Town’s play-off hopes weren’t over before this week, Milton Keynes and Wolves have firmly hammered the final nail into the coffin.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Campaign progress dividing supporters

Posted on 6:00am Friday 7th March 2014

DESPITE a much-improved performance against Crewe last Saturday, Town’s poor league form continues to gather pace.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: A big summer overhaul is in the offing

Posted on 6:00am Friday 28th February 2014

If Town were going to be involved in the play-off hunt this season, we had to enjoy a successful February.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Wembley dream dashed, but could have been a different Storey

Posted on 6:00am Friday 21st February 2014

TOWN’S dream of making their third trip to Wembley in five years came to a dramatic end on Monday night.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Wembley is the carrot

Posted on 12:24am Friday 14th February 2014

NATHAN Byrne bundling in Town’s winner at Port Vale was the second time in just four days that Mark Cooper’s side had comeback from a two-goal deficit.

View From The Sticks

Under the weather

Swindon Advertiser: Dave Wallis

Posted on 8:52am Wednesday 12th February 2014

Something that is uniting both town and country at the moment is surely the weather and the drenching that we are all experiencing every time we step outside the door.

Born Again Swindonian

In the mosh pits at the Central library

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Sunday 9th February 2014

Saturday 8th February Mosh pits? Music? In a library? Yes. You heard it right. Today is National Libraries day and in honour of the occasion public libraries up and down the land have been up to all sorts of things. And Swindon’s central library put on a free live acoustic music set in the Chapters cafe area over the lunchtime period. What a superb idea!

Born Again Swindonian

Band on the Run – to success as they ‘Talk in Code’

Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 11:30am Sunday 9th February 2014

I won’t lie. Prior to writing this I had no real idea of what indie-rock is. My musical tastes are catholic but somewhat time-lagged being as how I’ve not much moved on from the 90s.

Dan Johnson

DAN THE FAN: Latics show up problems

Posted on 6:00am Friday 7th February 2014

LATE goals from Nile Ranger and Michael Smith papered over the cracks against Shrewsbury, but Town weren’t so lucky against Oldham last weekend.

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