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.