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Posted on 6:22pm Wednesday 21st January 2015
Shortly before Christmas 2014 I paid a visit to the studios of Swindon 105.5 for a couple of reasons. One was to talk to Shirley Ludford, the station manager, about the money-raising initiative the station was running in December whereby local businesses could, for a very small fee, have a song of their choice played and talk about their business. I was delighted to kick the initiative off on the 1st of December with a chat over the phone about my own business, AA Editorial Services: http://www.aaedits.co.uk I also had a few minutes on the actual radio talking about this here blog.
Posted on 4:24pm Wednesday 7th January 2015
Happy new year listeners! I hope that the festive season was kind to you and that 2015 will bring you some good things.
Posted on 12:14am Saturday 6th December 2014
After being humiliated in Cheltenham a few weeks ago, Town find themselves kicking their heels for a weekend as the F.A Cup takes centre stage across the footballing calendar.
Posted on 6:00am Friday 28th November 2014
Ten years after their last victory at London Road, Town produced a superb away performance to move themselves within one point off the summit in League One.
Posted on 6:00am Friday 14th November 2014
Last Saturday was a humiliating day to be a Swindon Town fan.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
If you're a frustrated tea shop owner with time to give then the Richard Jefferies museum needs you!
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:
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.
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.