Saturday, March 31, 2007

Local Politics Resembles Dung-Heap ; Good Feed For Roses

As the local elections near, Swindon Centric isn't the only place to have become chocked with the literature of prospective councillors, all jockeying for our vote, as our web-colleagues at komadori's green corner have also found out.

We don't mind the leaflets, that's what happens at election time. This is the wonderful system that exists that allows any Tom, Dick or Harry to try and persuade us to vote for them.

What we do object to is a certain party (who shall remain nameless for now, if they continue to nark us off we'll name and shame them), who claim not only what they have achieved, but also what they haven't! They list a number of problems which they would have sorted out (these are the reasons to vote for them that they're putting across).

We have a problem with that.

If the party who distributed the leaflet are also the party in overall control of the Borough Council, how can you list stuff that you HAVEN'T done as reasons to vote for you? And when the things you haven't dealt with are graffiti and antisocial behaviour (not huge, how-do-we-land-on-the-moon conundrums), it does make you look rather ineffective. Or worse, assume that the electorate are gullible.

The Swindon Centric Blog Says ; It's said that local politics is where it's all decided. In which case, if you've had a couple of years to sort out a problem, don't campaign on the same things again and assume we've forgotten that if you haven't fixed them this time you will after May 3rd!

Its like saying to your employees, when you run the company and you're family own it ; '' Sorry we couldn't fix something, but we will next week, even though I've had a couple of years to fix it!'' Come on! If you're gonna shove dung through our doors, make sure it has a slight whiff of truthiness!

Town's Estate Not As Bad As We Really Needed For This Report

A report that another town news outlet was hoping to make on the toughness of a Swindon housing estate didn't have the outcome that our fellow reporters wished.

The report in the Swindon Advertiser about Penhill, saw an account on the area's problems with anti-social behaviour. The reporter spent an evening on the estate, trying to sniff out any roaming gangs which have been ''reported to us''.

One group of kids are seen hanging around Welcombe Stores, causing no trouble, indeed, they are in full view of CCTV cameras.

An investigation was made following the news early last week of Derek Holmes, who was stamped on in an attack on Tuesday evening.

Swindon Centric Says ; The demonising of estates throughout the town only creates ill-feeling between areas, which itself can breed crime and fear of crime that isn't really there. It's time that the whitewashing of Penhill, Pinehurst, Toothill, Park North and Park South as no-go areas was changed, then perhaps bigotted attitudes would fade away also.

We forget too easily the phrase 'we have nothing to fear but fear itself'.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pensioners Get Ugly

This week, a group of pensioners have decided to take justice into their own hands by getting their own back on a recurring confidence trickster.

A group of pensioners talked their way into a well known con-man's flat in Eldene this lunchtime and one of them snatched £254 from a drawer while the con-man, who refuses to be named, was distracted when the rest of the group said they were collecting bric-a-brac for charity.

'' Clearly we hope this is an isolated incident, but urge any other pensioners to keep their tempers under control''. That comment from Martin Smyth, spokesman for Wiltshire Constabulary.

Warnings were made by the council that they would instruct police to 'shoot to kill' if groups of pensioners were seen roaming the streets after dusk tonight.

Swindon Centric Says ; Lock Your Windows, Bolt Your Doors, Say Your Prayers!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Shock & Awe In Swindon At Bus Fares

There was consternation in Swindon this Wednesday with no reaction to bus price rises.

'' I really have no opinion on the matter, '' that comment from a 35 year old, full-time briefcase carrier, spoken to in Commerical Road this morning.

The media were all poised to leap on negative comments made about price rises coming into effect on 1st April, but have been left disappointed.

Swindon Centric Says ; No bad news today, wow!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bristol Airport Delays Due To Snapped Belt

After disruption at Gatwick Airport due to a failed luggage belt, the region's airport has suffered a similar fate. Bristol International suffered multiple belt failures this morning, causing delays and a small number of cancellations.

'' It began about eight o'clock this morning, without any word of warning people's trousers and skirt belts began failing all over the terminal. It wasn't confined to just airport staff, but all airlines and some catering outlets. While this was happening, no check in was available, the whole place came to a complete halt.'' That comment from Roger Crew, general manager at Bristol.

There is an unconfirmed report of the problem affecting a pilot in mid-flight as it was due to land at Bristol. A source at the as yet unnamed airline said the pilot was incapacitated and the flight was landed safely by the co-pilot who landed ''by the seat of his pants''.

Swindon Centric Says ; Lose weight or buy stronger belts, one of the two!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week

This idea is taken from an original and still the best at at this fantastic website about the tube .

1. Why does it cost £2.50 for a dayrider on stagecoach but £2.90 for one on Thamesdown, do you get a cushion and coffee?

2. How did you get on last night...oh... yeah, best not to talk about it on the buses, wait until we get off.

3. He's just come out of prison and unless he watches out, he'll be back in before too long.

4. Could you press the bell for me?

5. That bloke in the paper who got chucked off the number 1 for carrying paint, people'll just be hiding them in bags and covering them up.

6. The pensioners go for free after 9.30, so why are they moaning that they want to get on for free at 9am? Just pay like everyone else?

7. They didn't give any warning before they replaced those traffic lights at Farringdon Road. I reckon the council had a whole load of money to use up before the end of the financial year.

8. Did you see those daffodils tied to the railings round the mechanics institute?

9. I'll get some potatoes.

10. You've got to have the right change now, or the driver has to kill you, its company policy.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Husband's Ransom Not Worth It ; Wife Goes To Nail Bar

A drama was played out today in the city (ok, town) with a thousand stories ; Swindon. A local woman came home from her part-time job at Marks & Spencer to discover her husband had been kidnapped.

'' I came home about one o'clock and expected to find Steve in the garden, he was due to pot up some nasturtiums ready for the warm weather. I opened the patio door and found compost scattered all over the flagstones and a ransom note weighed down with the trowel.'' That dramatic account by Claire Whitaker, 36, of York Close, St Andrews Ridge.

Once she informed the police and after conversations with her mother and best friend Nat who lives several doors down, Mrs Whitaker decided the fifty pounds ransom being asked was far too high for her lazy, unfaithful, passive agressive husband and rang the number on the note to refuse to pay the demand.

Mrs Whitaker further added, '' he really isn't worth fifty quid.''

An unnamed source revealed Mrs Whitaker had coped with the stress of the situation by going to a local nail bar for a manicure and joining friends at the Outlet Village for some moderate to heavy designer discount shopping.

Swindon Centric and This Reporter Says ; Wanted Dead Or Alive? She Doesn't Want Him At All!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Graffiti Artists Could Lose Hands In Strong Cleansing Trial

Swindon continues the never-ending (it seems) War On Terror, (we apologise, our budget has been cut on sub-editors), War On Graffiti today with a new weapon in the battle to stop the taggers spraying everywhere.

Swindon Contractors have unveiled a brand new mixture for removing solvent paint from aerosols and marker pens from one-hundred and sixty-three different surfaces. '' We were searching for a more effective remover that we could get for a reasonable price and we stumbled on XClean2000. After testing a small amount at a controlled location, we bought a joblot from ebay.'' That comment from Alf Stanley, 56, from the Borough Council Cleansing Department.

The cleaner is being introduced this week to all hotspots effected.

Rumours that the remover is too dangerous to use have been denied after a report of a bottle being spilt near Eldene and twenty minutes later half the wall they were cleaning had dissolved have been strongly dilluted (as has the XClean2000).

Discussion has taken place by several people overheard on a number 18 bus this lunchtime that the XClean2000 should be used on the hands of taggers who break the law then the blighters wouldn't have half as much fun. Additional comments, which are unrepeatable on this site, included rounding off with the words, ''Hitler had the right idea''.

Swindon Centric Says ; We Bet It Still Doesn't Get Magic Marker Off Your Hands!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Please Have Your PE Kit And Passport Ready

In a landmark move today, a Swindon school has become the first in the UK to not only install heavy duty, ten foot high fencing, but also passport control on the main gate.

'' We believe this is the only way to ensure that terrorists can't gain access to our school'' , that comment from Headteacher Alexandra York of Jennings Way Secondary School, Ash Brake this lunchtime.

Unconfirmed reports by students at the school suggest that there is an underclass of students who gain illegal access to the school by means of a sty at the back of the main field, where no border checks are made. These 'students' as they like to call themselves have the benefit of all the facilities that the legitimate pupils do, but without the humiliation of passport regulations.

Further rumours that the school's governing body is in talks with the highly effective US Department Of Homeland Security to negotiate a contract to franchise out the border control process for pupils and staff at the school has remained unconfirmed.

Reports that the headteacher had been caught up with the sense of fun in the innocent classic Ealing film Passport To Pimlico are being downplayed by the local branch of Blockbuster.

Swindon Centric Says ; Welcome To Swindon, Don't Out Stay Your Visa!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Swindon Needs Banksy!

After a Banksy mural appeared on the side of a house in Bristol and locals got worried council contractors were about to clean it off, a poll of the Swindon Centric office has found a unique solution to Swindon's image problem.

Why don't we try and persuade Banksy to Swindon to do a mural?

Don't know who he is? Have a look at this video from BBC2's Culture Show

Our town has a history of murals with the Ken White paintings during the 70s and 80s with some remaining, though in a deteriorating state, the most prominent being the picture of the old canal footbridge that covers the end of a terrace house on the Whalebridge roundabout.

Getting Banksy to Swindon and doing a mural would raise Swindon's profile and give locals a real boost. It could eventually get us to shrug the 'cultural desert' tag that seems to hang round the town's neck like a millstone.

Swindon Centric Says ; If you agree with this, leave a comment and say yes!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Traffic Disruption - Hellmouth Opens ; Follow 'Diversion' Signs

A sixty foot long, four foot wide hole has opened up this afternoon across the intersection on the Kemble Drive side of Bruce Street Bridges, the hole isn't due to simple subsidence, no dear residents.

Swindon Centric can reveal today the hole isn't simply causing traffic disruption to people heading into town and to the outlet village, the whole hole is actually, local hole experts conclude, the Swindon gateway to hell.

'' Every couple of decades, somewhere in the UK, a hellmouth or gateway opens up and allows access to the devil's playground. How convenient it happens to have opened up smack bang on our doorstep''. That comment from Derek Johnson, 54, local hole and hell expert said from his house in Toothill.

Rumour that the hole swallowed up a double decker working the route number 10 has been denied by Thamesdown Transport, all their buses are accounted for.

Swindon Centric Says ; We're On A Highway To Hell ; 30mph Limit Strictly Enforced!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Old Town Tunnels Hired By Bond Villian

With the discovery this week of tunnels and caverns running all under the streets and cellars of Old Town, Swindon Centric has got an EXCLUSIVE break on this curious story.

The long rumoured tunnels were used to smuggle illegal spirits around the town out of sight of the excise men during the 18th Century. But a new use has been found for these historic and eerie places we can reveal.

A letting company in the town has leased out several of the larger tunnels to a man know only as Doctor Blofeld. He didn't tell the letting agent exactly what his intentions for the spaces were, but several Old Town residents and late night revellers have reported seeing dozens of jumpsuit clad extras entering the tunnel complex through a fake electricity substation on the corner of Cricklade Road, atop which a smug looking long-haired white cat sits.

Swindon Centric Says ; We've been expecting you Mr Blofeld.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bath Uni Plans Thrown Out By Swindon's Yellow Ducky

In a shocking and dare we say unique move, the attempt by the University Of Bath (which Swindon Centric reported earlier last month) has been officially rejected. The Bath University did have a plan with housebuilders for a Swindon Campus at the Coate Water site, but they hadn't considered Swindon's duck population.

A sit in protest was staged by the residents of the Coate Water Country Park lakes. Their forces were strengthened by allied troops of Swans and even Canadian Geese (currently on holiday) who joined the 24 hour operation which certainly sealed the fate of the Uni plan for the town.

The developers say they are 'bullish' on the opportunity to construct a campus with another education organisation.

Protesters say that the Coate area is an 'all duck' community and that the introduction of any bulls, of any kind, could upset the social balance of the area.

Joint duck and police patrols were walking and waddling the streets of Coate last night in an attempt to keep the peace.

The Swindon Centric Blog Says : If we don't fight them in the Bath, then we'll have to fight them in the shower!