Friday, 27 December 2013

Crafted for Christmas 2013: New Brewery Arts Gallery until Jan 4th

So good the Chamber of Commerce had to visit...
Awe inspiring pieces of art and craft are currently on display at New Brewery Arts, Evan Burgess found out more...

Intricate and lavish pieces are currently on exhibition in Cirencester at New Brewery Arts. Crafted for Christmas is a seasonal show following on the tradition from 2012's exhibition. With a diverse array of crafts represented, pieces vary in price from a suitably gift friendly £15, to a diamond encrusted £12,000. The artists who have contributed to Crafted have seen an already strong turn out from the public to view their expertly fashioned wares.

Why not treat yourself to a slow and steady appraisal of
Kate Kelly's birds and Ray Mallaney's light shades
some of the finest local artists Gloucestershire has to offer. Though not all artists are based locally, some makers can be found from NBA’s premises. Such talent as Louise Parry, Richie Alli and Helen Nottage work onsite at NBA and have been making waves with gallery goers since November.

The popular Gratitude Tree from Oxford based wire sculptress Rachel Ducker is interactive. It has allowed the public to leave a leaf on one of the many branches which states what they are grateful for. Among many comments left, the dramatic “For finding my melanoma before it spreads” stands out. A romantic shared leaf left by a couple warms the heart. “Waking up with my girl Kim” stands proudly on one side, whilst ”Finding you when I did” sits on the other.

The intensely popular Gratitude Tree
Louise Parry’s beautiful and intricately made jewellery has often drawn gasps when people look at the carefully made clocks, earrings and necklaces. Helen Nottage’s ceramics have also impressed with many people stopping to stare and wonder at the different textures the vessels possess.

If you wish to stand a chance of getting something from the gallery, then be quick! With only until Saturday 4th January, time is running out. Seeing, let alone owning a piece from any one of the 28 makers/artists on display is pure eye candy.

For more information click here. To connect with NBA on facebook click here.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Pancast Poductions Are Busy Documenting Culture, We Found Out More...

Neil and Pavo
Pancast Poductions is a locally based duo of podcasters, Pavo and Neil, who are currently taking the area by storm with their relaxed and informal interviews of local people of interest and even those from further afield.

With a large bank of past interviews, the two formats are “Movie Heaven” and “Live @ the Shed”. Having fun is the key component that makes the podcasts accessible and enjoyable. We caught up with Pancast Poductions in order to find out how things have been going for the local lads!

1. How long have you been going with your interviews, and so far which one has garnered the most attention?
We’ve been going since April this year. The podcast that had the most interest worldwide was with Mike Beckingham Simon Pegg’s brother.

2. How much thinking do you put into making the interviews before you do them, or is it more spontaneous?
We like to go into interviews with hardly any preparation so we are genuinely interested in the answers to the questions.

3. Which people would you like to interview that no one would believe you could get in?
Simon Pegg, Harrison Ford and Paul McCartney.

4. How have you found social media’s ability to spread the word?
Social media is a necessity. It helps tell everyone in the world what is going on and to gain access to the podcasts.

5. What is the most exciting project you’re working on right now?
Our next live show at the vaults on Tues 17th Dec. Also we have plans for our 1st Anniversary in April and ideas for new podcasts.

To find out more about Pancast, visit them online!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Brewery Blues Review: The Curious Little Big Band Dec 13th 2013

The Curious Little Big Band
Evan Burgess reviewed Friday 13th's gig at the Brewery Arts Theatre, bad luck? Not at all...
With a well earned reputation for lively and entertaining gigs, the Brewery Blues was to host yet another stormer for the local population’s consumption. With a sold out show the audience was treated to a varied and delightful group of performers, starting with an a cappella choir Prima Donnas. With versatile foreign language songs, the group also left us with a Christmas feeling by adding in a few carols. Enjoyed by all, they made way for the next act which was quite a contrast.

Rosie Blackallar played the keyboard proficiently accompanied by dynamic bass player Henry Blackallar and neat drumming from Andy Hughes. A mixture of covers and originals, the singing was well honed and the overall effect of the music was warm and inviting. The keyboard and bass worked well together to create a sound bigger than three individuals. Finishing on an uplifting note with a cover of Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac, the audience were finding it hard not to get up and dance.

Rosie Blackallar
Following Rosie was the last ever gig by band The Blues Grinders. Doing what you’d expect of such a name, people were more than welcoming to the fun loving and well known band’s solid beats and tight phrasing. Brewery Blues promoter John Drummond got on the mic for some all out blues numbers. Charming and crowd pleasing, the band did a great job and left the audience wanting more.

To finish the night, headliners The Curious Little Big Band were yet again completely different to any act so far on the bill. With a line up of rich instrumentation and colourful attire, the singing stood out as top notch with sometimes four band members providing full overtones. Lead singer Miles was not going to waste time being shy, and held eye contact with almost everyone in the room throughout the show. Clearly excited to be on stage, the band were determined to have fun. Polished and full of surprises, every part worked and added something to the show without anybody being overshadowed. With a magnificent rendition of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, it’s clear that it will take a lot of beating for the Brewery Blues to find a more entertaining set of performers.

Use Facebook? Follow the Curious Little Big Band here.

Details for the next Brewery Blues show can be found here.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Find out more about Progressive Pictures UK, a locally based film company!

An example of Progressive Pictures work...
Evan Burgess interviewed local film maker Jamie Blackburn, who specialises in aerial film using his camera drone...
EAB: Was it easy going self employed?
JB: It's something I've always thought about but no, it was a tricky decision which involved lots of research and number crunching. Ultimately though if you want to pursue an ambition you know you'll have to work hard and take some risks, so I decided to go for it.
EAB: Your work with a drone is just a part of your repertoire, but how much does it separate you from other film makers who use more ordinary equipment?
JB: I think being a filmmaker & photographer with access to a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is quite a unique way of working in the industry. It's a difficult course to gain permission from the CAA to operate commercially so despite the technology becoming more available it's still quite a specialist service. However I don't just look to use it for my own projects and separate myself from other more conventional filmmakers, but rather provide everyone with the opportunity and access to include aerial work in their projects, whether it's for a production company, event organisers, construction and surveying or archaeologists etc.
EAB: How did you present your plan to the Prince’s Trust? Did they give you anything valuable apart from money?
JB: Working with The Prince's Trust has been fantastic. I signed on with their Enterprise Programme where I completed a course in the basics of running a business and was then assigned a personal tutor to help develop a solid business plan over the following 6 months. Once the plan had been approved I then gave a (more friendly) dragons den style pitch to a panel of business specialists and entrepreneurs. It was a bit nerve-wracking giving the presentation but I had a lot of confidence in my plan and particularly the figures and I also included some of my short films to make the whole thing more engaging. In the end they liked me and my business plan and I was successful in getting a low interest start-up loan. As well as this I now have access to a Prince's Trust mentor for the next 2 years to give me any advice or guidance should I need it, as well as internal access to the wider Trust network.
EAB: How much time have your jobs taken you?
JB: On average an aerial photography shoot will take between 2 and 4 hours and filming a bit longer, but it depends entirely on what's being shot and where. My conventional film work usually takes between 1 and 2 days but again this can vary. In the summer I spent 3 days filming for Lamborghini in the Scottish Highlands and then in December I'm filming in the French Alps for 2 weeks so each project is fairly unique. I also offer a retouch service for photography and editing for film so projects can continue for several days after the shoot.
EAB: Do you have other interests in film like screen writing and working with full length movies?
JB: I've been filmmaking for over 15 years now and doing it professionally since 2007 so over that time I've had a go at most aspects of film production. For my degree my specialist area was editing and this is also what I've worked professionally in for the most amount of time but I also have a keen interest in cinematography and the use of camera angles and lighting to help boost the impact of a scene. One day I would love to develop my own feature film but at the moment I'm really interested in creative marketing so I'm happy developing my short web-based promotional work and doing the scripting, shooting and editing for each project. However from time to time larger projects do require hiring in additional freelance specialists for certain aspects of the production.
EAB: What is the best way of drumming up interest from clients?
JB: Quite a lot of clients are developed through word of mouth and other contacts and networks, however a good marketing strategy includes a descent website and hassling anyone and everyone via email and phone. In the visual industries it's also really important to be able to demonstrate examples of your work through portfolios and showreels. I try to put together a new showreel every couple of years to demonstrate the current styles and techniques as well as the clients I've worked with. My latest aerial showreel can be found here;
EAB: Where can people find your work?

JB: You can get in touch with me and find examples of my work at and more regular updates on projects at

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Old Town Comedy Club @ Suju, Swindon, Nov 7th with Zoe Lyons

Why not go to the next show?

Evan Burgess investigated the charms of Old Towns slickest comedy club...

The old town Comedy club has had an array of great comics come through since its inception. With a price tag of only £6 advance and £9 on the door, seeing three high quality comics and a great host was clearly a good deal.

Nish Kumar started the night with great energy and all the appropriate crowd skills and banter you’d expect of a compere. Able to improvise fast and build the audience up for the acts, Nish was a safe pair of hands.

First up was Romesh Ranganathan, seen often on Channel 4 recently as a guest on panel shows and performing his act. Solid and raw comedy, Romesh could say things others couldn’t get away with with a deadpan and self deprecating manner.

Pete Teckman was on next, and after crowd banter where “Fanuary” was invented by an audience member jealous of Movember, Pete gave us a cooly delivered set which was rude but never offensive. Enjoyable and self aware, it’s clear why Pete was booked for this night, he could keep the audiences attention.

Headliner Zoe Lyons was a clear draw, as many of the audience seemed to know her and her temperament well. The response to her material was strong, and no one seemed to want her set to end. End it did however. Nish came back onstage to complete the night with an announcement tickets were on sale for the next show on December 5th.  If the crowd knew what was good for them, they should have taken up the offer!

The next show is Thurs Dec 5th, more details can be found here!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ridgeway Mindful Psychology Brings Mindfulness Course and Taster Session to Cirencester.

Click for larger image...
Lizzie Cambray, a chartered counselling psychologist has a great deal of experience with bringing the benefits of mindfulness to people of all walks of life. The course fee of £250 shouldn’t be off putting as if you are able, referrals are possible that give bursaries and some may be referred by their doctor. Mindfulness stems from ancient eastern meditation techniques, yet is non-aligned to any religious orginisation and is accessible to all. If you wish to improve the quality of life, become more efficient and even cope with severe physical or mental trauma, mindfulness may help.
A taster session will take place on the 9th December at the Ashcroft Centre in Cirencester at 4pm. 15 places are available though some have already been taken by those keen to find out more. This taster session gives people some information, and a "felt sense", of what the 8 week course will involve.

Starting on Weds 5 Feb, 7 - 9 pm, the 8 once-a-week sessions, and the home practices in between, will give participants time to learn mindfulness skills.  (There is also a lunchtime course running in Swindon beginning on 6 Feb). These skills will enhance their day to day lives through many beneficial manifestations such as reduced stress, improved temperament, calmness and counteracting some of the symptons of mental illness.

Mindfulness can’t change what has happened, but it can lead to a more positive frame to view that which has gone by and what may occur in the future. Ongoing problems can often be alleviated by the fact that first the entrant will learn to notice what is going on in his or her internal and external world, and then begin  to accept what has occurred. This alone can often lead to real insight. Just noticing things in this way means taking a tiny step away from difficulties, facilitating a subtle shift in experience, which reduces suffering.

Even people who don’t have severe problems find that mindfulness boosts already productive behaviour. Many business are booking some of their employees onto mindfulness courses which correlates with reduced absenteeism, increased production, enhanced creativity and reduced stress.

If you wish to find out more about the Ridgeway Mindfulness course in Cirencester, details are listed below. You will need to download their application form from their website, or pick one up at a Taster Session. A £50 deposit should be paid to register on the course and the balance should be paid 3 weeks in advance of the course start date.

For further details:

07941 841174

Sunday, 17 November 2013

“We’re all Going to Die” Richard Herring at the Parabola Theatre, Fri 15th Nov 2013, Cheltenham Comedy Festival

Evan Burgess sees Richard Herring celebrating death!..

The man on stage was clearly well rehearsed and versed on many taboo busting views on death. “Why do people say ‘At least they didn’t have kids’ when someone dies? Surely that is a good thing!” he states to laughter and discomfort as we all faced our own mortality. Explaining how he hoped to leave a legacy by attaching his name to a certain male body party, Herring won over the audience despite the morbid and undoubtedly offensive material.

Offensive it was, but it is the reality we will all pass away, apart from Richard though, who is currently convinced he is immortal as he has no proof to the contrary. The topics picked up on through the spectrum of death were despicably funny and gallows humour of the darkest nature. Quite probably he’s had the odd remonstration, but it is just a show. Most people who wouldn’t want to see it would probably be put off by the show title “We’re all going to die”.

People die in many quite frankly, ridiculous ways. Richard’s programme, or “bookazine” as he took to referring to it, was a free hand out to the crowd and had a list of humorous passings. Though distinctly morbid, the crowd were in raptures of applause and at the end money was raised for the charity Scope through collections at the end. Having done this over the years Richard has managed to raise over £100,000 for the charity. Macabre yet hopeful, bring on a new show! 

Mark Thomas at the Parabola Theatre, Weds 13th Nov 2013 Cheltenham Comedy Festival

Evan Burgess got down to see some campaigning comedy from the dynamic Mark Thomas...
The first time I saw Mark Thomas, he was performing at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon and a large amount of the material was about Balfour Beatty and the Kurdish situation in Turkey. Impassioned and powerful then, not much has changed apart from the material he has been drawn to on this tour. You can tell there is a great excitement and urgency in his interest in the topics that he covers.

The stories told are captivating. You can really sense the personality coursing through as the tales of being arrested, hounding politicians and businesses he deems culpable of bad behaviour are explained with a stock of one liners that show his talent as a stand up aside from his campaigning.

Of course a lot of what he says comes down to his feelings, but most of his feelings are based on well researched documents and evidence.

With a political nature, you might think any heckling would come from a person of a different political belief. Of course, you can’t pigeonhole Mark’s political views in the normal political matrix, but he will bump most people’s sensibilities. In fact, the first and only heckle of the night was at a slight tangent to the topic of arms dealing. “Razor wire!” shouted out a lady as he stated what type of things arms dealers might sell. It didn’t take long for Mark to batter the jovial enthusiast to silence, but she did put up a fight. Unfortunately for her Mark has obviously had a lot more practice.

The show ran over and no one seemed fussed. On sale was the interesting book “The Peoples Manifesto” and stickers available mimicking the types you’d find in Waterstones or a supermarket, but let’s say, a slightly different message than would officially be accepted. No doubt book heckling has all of a sudden caught on in Cheltenham, with among other sections, moving Tony Blair’s biography to the true crime section!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Carl Donnelly-Cheltenham Comedy Festival-11th Nov 2013

Evan Burgess visited the Hobgoblin Cheltenham Comedy Festival as it launched last night...

Festival Opener Carl Donnelly!
The bar of the Town Hall was the venue for the kick off of the wonderful and engaging Hobgoblin Cheltenham Comedy festival. The week started off in the comfort of a beautiful listed building. The 80's Hair Rock pumping out the speakers before show-time somewhat juxtaposed the locale.

“You like my playlist?” Queried Carl as he stormed on stage in leopard skin Cuban heals. Carl Donnelly explained that he had always had a slightly different look. Deliberately cutting his hair from the fluffy afro he had before, he hoped to slip the mocking of mates. Only then, he found himself slightly resembling Rolf Harris just as charges were filed. What to do?

With a sense of fearlessness about his embarrassing personal stories, Carl laid a lot bare as the audience got to know the act quite well. Happy to out himself and members of the audience for their toilet habits, the first half was friendly yet challenged personal boundaries.

“Who´s had a wee or a poo?” Came the inquisition as we rejoined our host for the second half. A few people raised hands and called out, he´d found his audience.

Gaining ground with the audience was just one aspect of the quality show. The strong material was so laid back that you didn´t quite realise how concise the timing was until the lines hit. Apparently he tried out new material. It was hard to be sure how much was genuinely first time on the night. Perhaps that statement just softened us up for a more refined joke than we were expecting, but the laughs were consistent and storytelling lucid.

By the end of the night, the exit from the stage wasn´t as easy as some other venues due to the layout, but people were quite happy to keep clapping for 2 minutes. After that some launched straight to the conveniences, “That’s a fine example of perfect timing” said a gent as he strolled to the loos. “The material?” I thought, misguidedly. “I couldn´t hold it in any longer” he exclaimed to his companion whilst nabbing the closest urinal. Carl certainly knew how to leave the public satisfied!

Invitation For Aspiring SMES To Benefit From A Master Class On Business Growth.



Ian Thomas, Business Wealth Club Cheltenham
BUSINESS owners and entrepreneurs from across Gloucestershire are invited to join a meet-and-greet opportunity and take part in a business growth master class in Cheltenham.

Led by Ian Thomas, of Business Wealth Cheltenham, the event takes place at the Cheltenham Chase Hotel, Shurdington  Road, Brockworth, GL3 4PB on Thursday November 21 from 7am.

Ian Thomas said: “I’m really excited to meet new and dynamic business owners and entrepreneurs and to hear their stories. I’ll be sharing with them the unique format of Business Wealth Cheltenham which is designed to deliver personal and business development to achieve success faster, better and more distinctively. “During this morning workshop, I’ll be sharing some of the keys to achieve that success.”

Business Wealth Cheltenham has been set up by Ian this year and welcomes business owners from across Gloucestershire. Members embark on a learning journey which involves meeting twice a month in small groups with some one-to-one support.

Ian, aged 57, has been running his own business for several years after a successful career in the chemicals, oil and marine industry. A trained chemist, Ian worked his way up to worldwide marketing director for a FTSE 100 chemicals company before deciding to run his own business. 

“After many years working at board level in a global company, I realized that I wanted to use my knowledge and skills to support and empower local business owners. Gloucestershire is my home county and I’m passionate about being part of a successful SME community here.”

Anyone interested in attending the event should visit to register or call Nicola on 01242 898222. The event is free but there is a £15 charge to cover the cost of breakfast.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Watch out for that Wax, Boys!

Beauty comes at a price...Jo Barrett´s price is reasonable!
Take your pick!
Jo Barrett of Beauty @ Home, originally wanted to study Beauty Therapy after she left school, but the courses weren´t as readily available then. She finally took the plunge later on, when her children were older.

Jo told me, “While training to be a Nail Technician, my husband Steve, of Barretts Window Cleaning, was very supportive. He let me practice painting his nails. Once he even let me wax his legs, but couldn’t take the pain and refused to have the second leg done! I did give him a relaxing facial to make up for it though.”

Jo is currently studying A&P (Anatomy and Physiology) aiming to train in Massage Therapies, and is booked in to do the Gelish Nail Art Course which she´s very excited about...

Jo loves to visit all ages, young and old, with her mobile service in Cirencester and the surrounding villages, everyone deserves a treat! “If your nails aren´t becoming to you, you should be coming to me” she laughs. 

For More Information Call:
07709 091 006
01285 659 674

Phill Jupitus at the Sundial Theatre 18th October...

Local author Wilkie Martin writes...
The characters...
Phill Jupitus, a comedian familiar from such TV programmes as Never Mind the Buzzcocks and QI, gave us an outstanding performance on Friday 18th October. You´re Probably Wondering Why I´ve Asked You Here..., an act in three parts was quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, with Phill playing three extraordinary characters in turn. He solicited questions from the audience, answering in character with improvised responses that were always funny, often hilarious, and sometimes surreal. Several times, he couldn´t contain his own laughter, which somehow increased the hilarity.

Firstly, he played the late Vernon Herschel-Harley, a crusty, self-acclaimed legend of stage and screen, who passed away in bizarre circumstances, ages just 114. The late Vernon, although knowing all the greats, was not, however, unfamiliar with hard times, having once been forced to advertise himself as willing to tap-dance for oysters; as a bon-viveur, he´d always been partial to first-rate starters. He also claimed to have inadvertently invented Buckaroo and that Sir Laurence Olivier, while offering the part of Godot, had stolen his idea and made a fortune.

His second character, the late Kurt Schiffer, captain of U42B, an reluctant scourge of the Atlantic, died in 1945, having cocked on a cocktail onion. It was ironic that, although three of his crew were called Heidrich, non knew the Heimlich manoeuvre. Amongst Kurt´s reminiscences, I particularly enjoyed his account of falconry onboard the U-boat, which began after he had encouraged his crew to have a hobby. He also explained how Hitler´s trade-mark moustache was created for him by Steve, a hairdresser from Hull.

The final character was the late Phillip Jupitus, beloved entertainer, who died on June 24th 2052, on the eve of his 90th birthday, but was being projected back to talk to us. Sadly, he refused to reveal Saturday night´s lottery numbers.

It was a brilliantly funny evening with some memorable moments.

Phill ( will be at the Roses in Tewkesbury on 15 November and at Evesham Arts Centre on 23 November.

The Sundial Theatre, based at Cirencester College on the Stroud Road, has a varied programme with top notch comedians as well as plays and films. Comedian Robin Ince will be at the Theatre on 22nd November. Also, don´t miss To the Manor Married a comedy musical by local writer, Alison Mizzi on 14-15th November.

Santander raise £1400 for Cotswold Care Hospice!

We take a look back at last Sunday´s mammoth walk!..
The Cirencester team after the walk!
On Sunday 3rd November the Cirencester and Stroud branches of Santander raised £1,400 for Cotswold Care Hospice. The money was raised with a sponsored walk where the Cirencester branch walked to Stroud and the Stroud team walked to Cirencester. With the weather improving from the downpour of Saturday, the brave Cirencester team got to Merrywalks Stroud after 14 miles on foot with a smile on their faces after a job well done!

4 miles into the walk!
Tim Morris Branch Manager at Cirencester said “It´s great to support Cotswold Care Hospice, a local charity that does so much to support its patients, their families and carers and hopefully this walk will help raise awareness.” 

Operating 7 days a week 365 days a year, Cotswold Care Hospice requires around £2.8million to run in 2013. Helping people with terminal illnesses and their families to cope with all eventualities from diagnosis to the bereavement process, Cotswold Care offer an invaluable source of support for those in difficult situations. With 600 volunteers the Cotswold Care Hospice can always do with more help, so if you wish to find out more about the Hospice visit the link here.

The team congregating before the walk.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Santander Charity Walk to Take Place Sunday Nov 3rd!

Cirencester´s Santander will be raising money tomorrow on the 3rd November. The joint effort with Stroud´s branch will involve a lot of walking, approximately 14 miles! The Cirencester team will be walking from the Market Place to Merrywalks in Stroud, whilst the Stroud team will aim to reach Cirencester´s Market Place from Merrywalks in a better time.

The effort is in aid of The Cotswold Care Hospice, a local charity close to the branches heart.

Wish the team luck and we will have pictures and an update of how the walk went! To donate simply visit the store.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Writers in the Brewery 31st October-Spooky Tails to be Told!

The autumn has crept in, and what else might be creeping tonight in town?..

The new book...
In the centre of a dark and perhaps paranormal Cirencester tonight, local author Wilkie Martin will be performing a reading at the Brewery Arts Theatre alongside other local writers. Being Halloween, Wilkie’s supernatural series of books are set in a town not completely dissimilar to Cirencester. See if you can spot any references!

The New Brewery Arts hosts the event where many students from its creative writing course showcase their original work.

Many of the attendees of the creative writing course recently read their work at the Cheltenham Literature festival earlier this month. The course is ran by Rona Laycock, who has a PHD in English and works hard to make the experience fun and sharing for optimum learning and enrichment.

Feel welcome to the open and diverse atmosphere tonight from 19:00 with an entry fee of £4. Perhaps one day soon you will be reading your work!

Find out more about the author:

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Within 60: Svea Cafe and Restaurant, Cheltenham

Smörgås Platter
In our new section about things to do and places to visit within 60 miles of Cirencester, we look at Cheltenaham’s Swedish restaurant Svea, which has recently been admitted into the prestigious Michelin Guide...

In this cosy little boutique on Rodney

Road, Svea is a rather different proposition from the norm. Swedish food whilst not as famous as many other nations, is known for being straight forward, honest and natural. Homemade meals are much more common in Scandinavia than the UK and this restaurant brings you into the heart of Nordic life.

By the famous bike handing out cakes!
Sweden wasn´t always one country. Svea was just the middle bit radiating out from Stockholm, which eventually consumed the battling regions around the Baltic. Svea gave this country it´s name, Sverige, meaning the kingdom of Svea. Despite losing territory, this name stuck giving us modern Sweden. With fish abundant and farming producing lots of egg and meat, the clearly defined seasons also left an impact on the nation’s palette which may be enjoyed at Svea.

Sticking with Swedish custom, Svea picks some of its produce locally going on mushroom and berry expeditions. The drink on sale however is typical of what you´d find back home! With a draught beer on tap and a wide selection of spirits, you almost want it to be winter as you come into the friendly diner and warm up with schnapps or vodka.

The ever popular Smörgåsbord has always provided a diverse and tasty selection for the customer. Crayfish parties go down well, but even more than that the set meals are well presented and go down a treat with any of the beverages on sale.

Puddings on offer are typical of Sweden, made to be enjoyed with a coffee or herbal tea after a few courses. With a charming niche, if you are a fan of Wallander, Millenium, The Bridge, Borgen or any of the other books and series that have brought focus on Nordic life, pop into Svea for the real thing!

To keep up to date online with Svea, visit their pages here or book by phone:
01242 238 134

Friday, 11 October 2013

Andrew Lawrence "There is no Escape" review, Sundial Theatre, 27th September 2013

With Phil Jupitus coming to the Sundial on the 18th October, Evan Burgess takes a look back on the last big name to come through Cirencester...

Regularly on Radio 4, many times on TV, Andrew Lawrence is developing nicely as a personality in British comedy. Touring extensively through the UK and also Dublin, we met Andrew well into his September schedule. The Sundial had a knowledgeable comedy audience and were more than receptive to the stars act!

The first half was full on banter, destroying members of the audience with personal digs and ritual humiliation, you’d have thought this would serve as a bad advert for sitting at the front! But by the second half, all the tables by the stage had filled up with eager punters ready to talk back. Even with his particular style of getting to know the audience, one guy had been to see him four times before. After a brief chat about what a good gig the last one had been (if he said so himself) the second half went on!

With his negative and twisted view of the world, the audience was lead through a path of (hilarious) despair. What’s wrong with the world today? Andrew brought his list and was keen to get all the way through it. The humour was often in the recognition, but often his peeves were deeply personal. We all went away the wiser knowing that Andrew has very few guests to his house because he can’t stand people (even good friends) using his loo. Why? He didn’t really know, but claimed to be more than prepared to hide behind his sofa than let in a mate. You know, just in case.

Drawing to the end of the show, we didn’t quite get an encore, Andrew couldn’t be bothered to leave the stage and come back on so just ploughed through until he couldn’t take it anymore. Though not glamorous his method was effective. The applause was intense and next time Andrew is in town it won’t just be one person who’s seen him before!

The next big show at the Sundial will be with Phil Jupitus on the 19th October! Buy tickets online here!

Art in Cirencester 2: Faisal Khouja

 Faisal Khouja is an artist based in Cirencester. Working with multiple mediums of expression, he has achieved a great deal of diversity in his work. Originally focusing on more abstract work, someone dared to say this was because people do that kind of thing only if they can’t draw! To prove a point, Faisal delivered a beautifully rendered portrait of the man’s dog, which not only won the argument, but added a new feather to his already crowded cap.

Q. 1. When you do original art, what was the motivation?

I started doing Artwork in earnest as a form of therapy during a long period of ill health where I was looking for a creative outlet to help in my recovery. I got totally hooked on mixing paint and thinking about how to harmonize shapes, lines and colours to create original work.
Q. 2. Has your commission work helped your original material?
Yes, the detailed portraits I have done for the past 10 years or so have really helped hone my skills as a draughtsman and also provided me with an income to plough back into my own more exciting projects.
Q. 3. How do you feel presenting your work to a customer for the first time?
In the early years I was terrified due to my perfectionist streak. One word of criticism would crush me. Nowadays I enjoy presenting an artwork to a client as their reaction is likely to be really postitive which makes all the hours at the drawing board worthwhile.

Q. 4. What was the biggest mile post in your career so far? (exhibition, commission etc)
Unfortunately I am yet to make a really significant breakthrough in the Artworld that I could count as a milepost as such. However all the effort I have put into my career so far is resulting in my style becoming more commercial so that the chance of earning a decent living from my passion is getting closer by the day!
To find out more about Faisal and his work, visit any of his online presence here:

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Interview with Oliver Wakeman who is now touring "Ravens and Lullabies" with Gordon Giltrap

Oliver Wakeman came to town on the 4th October to the wonderful Sundial Theatre, promoting his album with collaborator Gordon Giltrap, "Ravens and Lullabies", Evan Burgess found out more about Oliver´s extensive musical experience including how to avoid fate!..

EB: Are you the type of person who loves to tour, or do you miss home comforts?
OW: I enjoy both. When I finished touring with the rock band YES I worked out that I was away from home for over 12 months in total over a 3 year period which is quite a large amount of time to have been away.

But with modern communication getting better all the time I never felt too far away from my family. I'd call them everyday on Skype and watch them sit down for an evening meal and join in conversations which was a bit strange but kind of fun. Especially if I was on the other side of the world and having breakfast...!

I have spent the last year only touring the UK and Channel Islands so I haven't been away from home too much which has been great. Particularly as I now have a baby daughter as well as an 8 year old son and so I have enjoyed being around to help my wife out with the kids

EB: What makes working with another artist rewarding?
OW: The exchange of ideas is always very inspiring. When I write or perform with another musician I find that seeing how some else approaches music and writing can alter the way that I play and write. I find myself doing things in a slightly different way to fit with the other persons style. I'm always keen to learn more and understanding the approach of another musician isn't something that can be learned from a textbook, it only comes from immersing yourself in other peoples style of music.

EB: When you get inspired, how quick are you to get an idea down, do you ever find yourself accumulating bits of paper with jotted notes, or do you have a more organised approach to creating?
OW: I have a Dictaphone app in my iPhone and am always singing little ideas into that. I find that really useful and much better than the old way I had which was phoning the home phone and singing to the answer machine...

Once I have a collection of ideas that work I start arranging the piece using my Pro-tools studio system at my home and slowly an organised finished piece emerges.

EB: What is the worst food you've settled for on tour?
OW: I had a chicken breast in Rome which was not cooked properly at all. A well trained vet could probably have saved it...

I remember sending it back. I don't think the chef was too pleased but I didn't fancy when it came back and left with out finishing the meal. There may have been others but that sticks in my mind...

EB: Going to different cities, do you get a chance to look around them, or is it more like a changing planes at an airport?
OW: I always try and find some time to look around a bit otherwise I know I'd end up regretting it if I had just sat in a hotel room.

I remember being in Washington DC for a concert and only having an hour to spare and so someone from the venue drove me to the White House to get some photos just so I could remember being there.

I've been very lucky though on tour managing to see many great sights around the world that I would probably not seen if I wasn't a musician. I also take the opportunity to meet other musicians that are playing on tours when I've had a night off as it's great to hang out with people who are living a similar lifestyle. 

EB: Do you need a solid routine when playing live, or can you just switch on to performing mode?
OW: No routines at all. I find that it would just get in the way. I've had occasions where time has been so tight that I wouldn't have had time for a routine anyway.

I always used to go to check out my keyboards but, on one occasion when I was in Oklahoma in America, the hotel was too far away from the venue to be able to check them all and get back to the hotel and get ready in time. So on this occasion I decided to stay at the hotel and go just before showtime to check them quickly.

I was in my room watching the news on TV when they showed footage from a helicopter with a stage structure that had been hit by a tornado and had collapsed onto a keyboard rig. I then realised that I was looking at my keyboard rig ruined on TV. I was so glad I hadn't gone because if I'd had a strict routine I could have been hit by the lighting rig section of the stage and might not be around to tell you about it.

Find out more!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Zombie Run at the RAU!

Some of the gang assembled at the RAU Gym!

The Zombie Run craze comes to Cirencester! The Halloween special will be at the R.A.U and MacKenzies on Wednesday 30th October!

Last year the Royal Ag College played host to the first zombie run in Cirencester! David Long, personal trainer at the onsite gym no doubt sick of every holiday being associated with sugary treats, decided to stamp his trainer upon the notion Halloween has to be a pig out. A zombie run was put together where members of the gym as well as the general public were allowed to set up a course through the grounds and play!

45 runners turned up, and this year it is looking even better!

Zombies got right into the spirit and in this horribly fun version of tag those players that were caught and lost their three lives became zombies! A Darwinist game allowed only the fastest and smartest to survive to the end.

This year the fun will be repeated, but this time a party at MacKenzies afterwards will be in full swing from 8pm to 2am. The event will be free entry with fancy dress and the best costumes stand to win prizes! Proceeds from the night will go to charity and special drinks themed drinks will be on sale!

For more info contact David Long at Cross Fit Cirencester or Alex Wager at Mackenzies!

More Info:
David Long:
Alex Wager: