I’ve been meaning to do this post about Revolution Performing Arts for a while now. But y’know how it is. I’m sorry Fi!
Fiona Di Silva Adams invited me to attend the show, by Revolution Performing Arts, called Be Your Unique at Swindon’s Arts Centre earlier in January. It’s taken me until now to get round to give it a mention here.
‘Being unique is better than being perfect‘
‘RPA Rapport is a performing arts company with a difference – actively encouraging young people to find and celebrate their differences.
Changing young people’s lives. RPA nurtures all young people, empowering them to feel fabulous and celebrating the amazing individuals they are: revolutionpa.co.uk
In this annual sharing performance, the teenage members of RPA Rapport worked with professional arts practitioners to create pieces that explored what it means to be unique. This uplifting and thought-provoking performance comprised short drama, dance and music pieces all designed and technically managed by the young people themselves in their own words and attitudes.”
There were insightful monologues written by the young people themselves. They did the choreography themselves also. And, above all, as it says on the groups Facebook page: ‘showed that with young people in this world we can all make a difference to embrace our uniqueness and make the world a better place.’
As a friend of mine, Carole Bent, said of the dress rehearsal of this performance:
‘A genuine privilege to witness the dress rehearsal of ‘Be Your Unique’. Very well done to every single young person taking part, RPA team & the Arts Centre.
Am sure that the audience tonight will be as moved and engaged as I was & hope that everyone on stage enjoys every moment. Thankyou Fiona Fi Da Silva-Adams Paul, Sam Olly & all xx’
And Amen to that says I. Because being unique is sooooooo much better than being perfect!
The ‘Tomorrow’ festival is the brainchild of Science Swindon. This collaboration between local company, New Elements, and STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway, brings together the latest scientific discoveries and cutting-edge technologies in this two-day event.
The festival features a range of ticketed science shows, talks and panel debates with government and industry. There’ll also be a free-to-enter interactive zone. In the interactive zone visitors can meet real scientists and engineers working at the cutting edge of research and try out some of the latest technologies for themselves.
Set against the backdrop of Brunel’s railway engineering legacy, the event will explore:
The future of health & medicine
Energy & environment
Gaming & VR
Space & astronomy and the future of travel.
Space shows and workshops from the Science Museum
Recognising Swindon as home of the UK Space Agency, London’s Science Museum is sending their popular space shows and workshops to run on both days of the festival.
The action-packed show, called Out of this World, will take visitors to the festival, at STEAM museum in February, on a journey into space. Led by the nationally recognised Science Museum outreach team, they’ll discover what it takes to become an astronaut, launch a rocket, explore the Solar System and look for alien life. The show promises explosions, super-cool liquid nitrogen, eye-popping vacuums and even wee drinking!
This festival is shaping up to be a fantastic celebration of the innovation in Swindon and the region,” said Ian Larrard, Director of the Business West Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative. ‘Swindon is at the forefront of tackling our greatest challenges and opportunities, from climate change and vehicles of the future. Encouraging young people in Swindon to enjoy STEM subjects is critical to Swindon’s future.’
We’ve had a great response to the festival idea. We’re delighted that Business West have decided to support the event,” said Rod Hebden, from Science Swindon.
Science Swindon is a collaboration between New Elements and STEAM museum, in Swindon, who are running the festival.
‘We’ve got an incredible line-up of events and activities. I urge people to follow Science Swindon on social media, book tickets to the talks as soon as possible, and come along to the festival next month.’
Now, before I go much further I have to confess that folk music is not particularly my ‘thing’. I’m more than happy to confess that my tastes are middlebrow in all things: music, art, literature, theatre. There’ll be odds and sods that I like from other genres – but for the most part I remain middlebrow.
But ages back now, Bryony Gramont messaged me on my Born again Swindonian Facebook page asking me to come along. And because Born again Swindonian aims to be all things to all people I was delighted to agree. But then life got in the way as life does. And then I got ill – for ages ….but at length I managed to get it together.
Thus, thanks to the kindness of club member Alan Rothwell who gave me a lift, I made a visit to the club.
Swindon Folk Club: Traditional, modern and accoustic folk music in Swindon.
About Swindon Folk Club
I was somewhat surprised to discover from the club’s website, that it came into being in 1960! Who knew?! Not me. As the website says, ‘Founded by Ted & Ivy Poole and friends in 1960, the club (formerly Swindon Folksingers’ Club) has a long history of keeping traditional music alive in this busy town in north-west Wiltshire.’
Anyhow, off I went with eyes peeled for beards and fingers and ears!
So what did I find?
Well listeners, there was a noticeable and, slightly disappointing, lack of fingers in ears. But, you’ll be pleased to hear, good news on the beards front. Phew!
Aside from beards though, the other thing I found was a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The night I attended was an open mic affair with a guest band. It being an open-mic-everyone-that-wants-to-having-a-go evening some of the voices were not – how shall I put this – recording contract quality. Not that I can talk mind you – my three year old granddaughter tells me to stop when I sing!
Anyway! That didn’t matter at all. Because what shone through was what a wonderful, welcoming, inclusive and safe environment Swindon Folk Club offers. This group is a wonderful place for anyone with an interest in folk music to have a go. And that’s a wonderful thing wouldn’t you say?
So if having an interest in folk music – whether listening or participating – I’d urge you to pay a visit to this lovely bunch of people.
Taken from the group’s Facebook page is their own write-up of the eveningwhich will give you a good flavour of one of their events:
‘On Friday 6th December at Swindon Folk Club, we welcomed The Marsh Starlings, a folk/bluegrass trio performing a range of songs as well as their own material. A great mix of laid back and up-beat folk tunes. Singer & guitarist Lynn Marie Bateman, Banjo player Kevin Starling and Guitarist & singer Ian Marsh. Thank you, we really enjoyed your two sets, and are still chuckling at Kev’s solo singing spot, ‘In the Morning!’
The evening started with the usual singaround from club members, starting with Dave our MC for the evening. It was nice to have one of our youngest members Lucien (12) singing for us whilst his older brother was at home ill. Great to see Trevor back again to play and sing for us now that his hand is healing well. Che gave us a couple of numbers and was joined by Lynn and Kevin for an impromptu session for his second one.
The dreaded lurgy was still playing havoc with some of our singers but Steve Anderson managed a couple of beautiful instrumentals on his guitar and a vocalzone for Chris Turpin helped him give us a rousing song in the second half.
Bryony, who usually prepares this write-up, is also still under the weather so this one is much shorter than usual. Despite the inclement weather the turnout was quite high and an enjoyable evening was had by all, even those that just came into the RAFA club for a drink, paid, stayed and enjoyed, made favourable noises about returning.’
A few photographs of the night
When and where and all that stuff
Swindon Folk club meets on the FIRST and THIRD FRIDAY of every month from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
The venue is the RAFA Club, 41-43 Belle Vue Rd, Swindon SN1 3HN. The club has a licensed bar, car parking (at the rear) and level access.
It’s so fabulous to meet another Swindon enthusiast. Which is why, the other week, I enjoyed having a good chat with Michelle Jones – the power behind the Positive Swindon social media campaign, over coffee in DaPaolo’s on Commercial Road.
Four years ago, in 2015, Michelle wanted to do something to help local people to speak in positive terms about Swindon. She also wanted to encourage more pride within the town.
At the time Michelle had two young daughters and she didn’t want them to feel embarrassed about the town of their birth. She also felt the need to reduce the amount of negative press the town received.
From living in Portsmouth and London for a few years, Michelle realised that most of the negativity was actually aimed at Swindon came from some Swindonians. But then working on Swindon economic development marketing campaigns showed Michelle the opposite side of the coin. People that want to combat the negative perceptions by being positive about the town.
The We Are Swindon Instagram account was born and the hashtag #we_are_swindon became tagged on more and more positive photos. By sharing local people’s own positive photographs of Swindon, Michelle has been able to share over 1,000 photos. The #we_are_swindon hashtag has now been used over 5,000.
Michelle said “I remember when I first started #we_are_swindon on Instagram and got stuck on 17 followers. In the main my friends. I felt so frustrated and almost gave up.
In the end though, my determination and belief in Swindon kept me going. I’d like to thank all the 2,415 followers we now have. The campaign would be nothing without them and I’m so proud that it is giving people with positive things to say and photography to share a platform”.
The blurb on the book’s back cover tells us that George Ewart Hobbs deserves a place in the hallowed ranks of fellow Swindon writers, Alfred Williams (see Secret Swindon for some information about him) and Richard Jeffries – see also Secret Swindon and Swindon in 50 Buildings.
Our man Hobbs was no exception to the general Swindon rule: for over half a century he worked as a Great Western Railway engineer.
That aside, he wrote prolifically – largely in weekly columns for the Swindon Advertiser.
This book then is more than an account of his life and times. It also, as the title suggests, republishes some of his works. Including articles about religion, philosophy and more.
As the book blurb says: ‘George Ewart Hobbs’ vivid writing provides us with a unique and brilliantly observed insight into everyday and so-called “ordinary” life in Swindon a century ago.’