No Surprises Living In Devizes: Exchanging Preconceptions

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Music on Friday night in Devizes


Ah, nights at “the Bin,” I remember them……erm…. well, I remember them. The aptly dubbed “Corny Bin,” for those out of town and few who care not to venture the rough streets of Devizes at night (they can be irregular,) is Devizes’s only real nightclub, situated at the basement of the Corn Exchange, hence the name, see?

Subject of ridicule for many a decade, (ha-ha, as if Devizes would have nightlife,) it never did itself favours. One night I recall I paused to observe that while the blokes were having a pint and laugh at the bar, the girls were fighting on the dancefloor.

A flying knee-length boot flew past my eyes and broke my concentration, I ignored the sentiment; this is Devizes.

Could a £45,000 renovation, removal of chewing-gummed carpets, conversion of the DJ booth and bar, and an identity change cleanse its reputation and wipe away the title “Bin?” Manager Ian Mathews believes in time it will; it certainly looks the part.

Essentially, I always liked the layout of the place, meek as an amphitheatre, it’s simple design with the bar across the rear and a square dancefloor with seating looking onto it, is functional and practical. The issue was the clichéd and formulated entertainment on offer for the past decade, something which no matter how much silver paint you lick onto walls is going to benefit.

So, the last Friday of the month embraces an under 16s disco, or “nappy night,” as adults used to dub it when I was a nipper; our generation had to endure their patronising smears, I don’t see why you kids should get off so lightly. Scot free you already are with the old blackboard rubber launch, you don’t even know what a flipping blackboard rubber is. Teachers nowadays sacred to throw a reprimand at a child through fear of a lawsuit, let alone an oak-edged armament; they say it doesn’t hurt so much if you don’t know it’s coming.

Whereas, other Friday nights bring us tribute acts and themed nights. This Friday, 29th, is a night for new romantics, as leading synth-pop covers-band, Paul Dodson and Andy Randle, aka BINOMIAL and top international tribute act Keith George, alias ‘The Boy George Experience’ share the stage, sure to redefine the club’s reputation and send a signal to Devizes that times a changin’.

Amusingly, the only comment on the Gazette’s article on the revamp was, “It’ll take quite a lot to shift the name corny bin;” defining Devizes to a T. While we yearn alteration and updating, we crave our traditions and values too much to fully embrace change, undoubtedly because perpetually mocking ourselves is the backbone of our sense of humour.

Take the public meeting on Thursday at the Town Hall, “a vision for Devizes; the next conversation,” sounds like a poor sequel to a movie franchise which was okay to begin with. Organised by The Trust for Devizes and Devizes Area Board, chairing the meeting is none other than Claire Perry, who said, “I’m really looking to being part of the next conversation about the vision for the future.” (Unsure if the word “forward,” is missing from that.)

Now don’t get me wrong, I think there’s far worse a right-wing politician to be our spokesperson for Westminster; Enoch Powell, Napoléon Bonaparte, Alan B’Stard, to name a few. Yeah, make no mistake, I like some things Claire says to the community, but she’s hardly a worthy contestant for Catchphrase; “say what you see.”

Being a method of attaining affordable housing is key subject, Claire Perry, really? Who during the “bedroom tax” outrage, voted for reducing housing benefit for applicable social tenants? Claire Perry, who unswervingly voted for phasing out secure tenancies for life, and charging a market rent to higher earners renting a council home? (theyworkforyou.com)

With the political ethos in which Nick Clegg leaked the Tories refused to build social housing, because it would ‘create Labour voters’, can they really risk a torrent of affordable homes in such a safe consistency? Especially while May annoys Brexit leavers and remainers alike, in one swift goof.

Minister Gavin Barwell confessed to Inside Housing Magazine, they were scheduling to build higher rent homes, and supplying socially rented council housing was just a giggle. Upon being asked if homes planned would be of lower-level council rents, the minister said, “No, I think the idea is that they are what you’d call affordable rents in housing terminology, but they are social housing.” Shamefully, what’s “affordable” to a minister, far out-stretches what’s affordable to most.

So, a meeting to discuss future housing in our town, with an MP who, according to theyworkforyou, “has never rebelled against their party.” A parliament which can’t guarantee safety in existing social housing, and u-turned their flagship pledge to build the “a new generation” of social housing announced in their manifesto, okay, I’m not holding my breath; preparing for a winter of discontent like a Tory; I’ve got my badger-skin hat on already.

I’d rather take my chances with a Boy George tribute act, than a hag like May from the church of the poison mind. Good luck to the Exchange, we’re gonna need to let our hair down.

DARREN WORROW

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