Sarah Singleton checks out what to do and see this weekend

Alan Clayson, rock lune and pop writer returns to Beehive

A SINGER reputed to occupy a premier position on rock’s Lunatic Fringe will be performing at Swindon’s Beehive pub tonight.

Alan Clayson – pop historian, author, sometime leader of Clayson and the Argonauts, and once a member of Dave Berry’s Cruisers and Screaming Lord Sutch’s Savages – will drop into the pub on Prospect Hill for a concert at 8.30pm.

Born in 1951, Clayson had a mixed career of writing, performing and recording – publishing articles in a variety of venues, including The Guardian, Vintage Rock and Hello! He has written over 30 books, including an authorised biography of The Yardbirds.

The first non-compilation CD by Alan Clayson and the Argonauts for over three decades, called This Cannot Go On…, was released this autumn. He has also completed an autobiography with the working title Nut Rocker – a colourful account of his artistic voyage through life.

It is free entry to the gig. For more details call 01793 523187 or visit

Byrne bustles in on tour

ACCLAIMED comedian Jason Byrne brings his new show The Man With Three Brains to the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon tonight.

Byrne, heralded as the fastest thinking comic around, has had a busy few years with extensive touring around the world, and a BBC Radio 2 show that was awarded a Sony Radio Gold Award. He fronts a new studio-based comedy chat show called Jason’s Byrne’s Snaptastic Show, for TV3 in Ireland, and he is co-host of Sky’s hugely popular new entertainment programme Wild Things on Sky 1.

He may also be familiar from turns on BBC1’s Live at the Apollo, and the Royal Variety Show.

The title of Byrne’s show tonight was inspired by the idea that he has three brains which kick into action when he hits the stage – the left brain scanning the audience for improvisation moments, the right bran collating stand-up material and stunts, and the centre brain taking the coach role, pushing him to the limit.

The show is suitable for people 14 and over. It begins at 8pm and tickets are £23. To book, call 01793 524481 or visit

Branch out to learn new skill with trees

LEARN the history, theory and practice of the ancient art of coppicing in an event in Swindon’s Coate Water Country Park.

Running from 10am to 2pm on Sunday, the event, Coppicing at Coate, will be led by the ranger team in Paddy’s Copse.

This age-old country skill, of cutting back trees to a low level so they will grow new shoots, has been used as a part of sustainable woodland management for centuries. It helps produce useful timber and has become valued in recent times for the benefits to wildlife and woodland flowers.

It exploits the ability of many species of tree to put out new shoots from their stump or roots, if cut down. A coppiced wood was traditionally called a copse, and the stump from which the new shoots grew was a stool. After a few years of regrowth, the coppiced tree is cut again, providing useful timber.

Participants will learn about the history of the practice, how coppicing works and practical skills. The coppicers will be firing up the outdoor kettles for a hot drink at lunch time, Meet at Coate Water Ranger Centre and be sure to wear warm, waterproof clothing, as well as strong shoes, gardening gloves, a packed lunch and a drink.

For information call 01793 490150 or email