Sunday, April 27, 2008

What Swindonians Have Learnt Recently...1

A new regular (we hope) feature about what recent events have told us about life in our wonderful/bizzare (delete whichever you find inappropriate) town.

- Just because you haven't got a driving license, it doesn't mean you can't still be banned from driving.

- Children being made to stay at home, due to a national strike, would much rather be at school, according to their parents. Hmm.

And finally...

- If we object to the canal scheme, we're going to find even more outlandish suggestions coming out of the woodwork, like 270 feet high white horses over the centre of town, no we're not kidding.

If you have an hints of hindsight from the recent goings-on in and around Swindon, then email us at

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 52

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. They're allowing Yorkshire Terriers to have the vote now.

9. I know I shouldn't be, tell me the bleedin' obvious why don't you.

8. You should need a license to carry this amount of shopping.

7. I was thinking about doing something amazing with a potato for dinner.

6. You'll never get me in a gym, I have willowy, unmanly arms.

5. Here come the pensioners.

4. Does anyone even care that he's gone the wrong way?

3. Everyone knows that's an ancient Indian burial ground, I'm not buying a house there.

2. She came home in the early hours, minus her shoes and fell asleep on the bonnet of the Honda.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. I don't understand why he stood up in the middle of the meeting and announced to all of the department that he'd started to shave his chest.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Barge Pole Politics Dominate Council Meeting

The canal saga, that seems to make the US election process seem like a half-hour sitcom, rubbles ever onward, at walking pace. A council meeting about the proposal descended into the muddy silt as tensions came to the surface. Seems odd that something as slow, gently and lazy as a canal can provoke such outrage, before any digging even happens.

The Canal King, Rod Bluh said it wasn't a question of "if but when" the scheme comes to the town centre. The person who tried to calm everyone down, former mayor Stan Pajak, pushed a motion to let voters decide in a ballot. The most curious remark of the night is that labour councillors opposed the motion because they didn't feel it was right for Swindon. What the heck does that mean?

Many politicians who oppose the plan keep using the immensely vague phrase, "it wouldn't work here, although it's worked in other places." Can't they come out and give some evidence to back this up, it'd make a change from the constant condemnation of the project because it's outrageous.

Swindon Centric Says ; It'd be interesting to compare the local opinions voiced when the original canal was proposed with the current ones being spouted. We're one narrowboat away from sounding like the people that objected to the railways in the 19th century.

Objections ranged from the smoke from the engines making crops die, to the breakdown of society if men and women were inside the same carriages.

PS - Lets not forget also that travellers would be risking ungodly behaviour by traveling at high speeds, ten to fifteen miles per hour, as the only other thing that traveled that fast was the devil himself.

Look out for these objections and more coming to local media soon on the canal issue!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good God, Is Nothing Sacred?

People are parking in a church carpark while they nip to shops nearby, shocking, just shocking.

What Reverend Burles hasn't grasped is the chance to get these people in his church. Why not put leaflets on driver's windscreens, inviting them in.

Swindon Centric Says ; If he doesn't fancy that, how about getting people to buy tickets, like in a Borough Council carpark. He could put issuing machines in the carpark, that dispense tickets and holy proverbs.

They could be called Pray And Display machines. We couldn't resist.

PS - Or maybe he should just invest in a Sherman tank!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yes, Dear, Erm Minister, What Time's Dinner?

This story seems to have flown pretty low, but with this MP's track record this is hardly surprising. One of Mr Gray's constituents, Ken Edwin-Scott brought things into stark relief when he reported that the North Wiltshire MP has four other staff, alongside his girlfriend as his diary keeper.

Eddy Shah, spokesman for the North Wiltshire Conservative Association, didn't choose his words very carefully when he tried to defend the MP saying it was "logical to have one's partner as your diary secretary because they know where you are all the time."

Swindon Centric Says ; Oops! Since Mr Gray's previous diary secretary was his wife, who he cheated on with his current girlfriend (who's the new diary keeper), Mr Shay's words have as much conviction as Mr. Gray has integrity among his constituents, none.

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 51

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. If that's a headline then I'm a lemon meringue.

9. She asked if going on strike meant you still got paid.

8. I gave the leftover date and walnut cake to the birds, there's a lot of heavy pigeons in our neighbourhood.

7. It tells you to swim anti-clockwise.

6. He thinks screengrab is when someone nicks a TV.

5. It's only the 51st time I've done it, so I probably will just get a fine.

4. You can phone me at 3am, I wouldn't actively encourage you to, but the option is there in case.

3. They were going hell-for-leather, the engines are all knackered.

2. He wasn't even allowed to have breakfast on his own, they were all watching him.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. Don't worry, I've got some pigs trotters if nothing here takes your fancy.

Overheard something we've missed? Then email us at or leave us a comment and your phrase could make it onto next week's list!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Man Named Sadam Is News (Hmm)

That's right, there's a man in a Swindon chip shop called Sadam Hussein.

Why should we care?

Because it's news, damn it!

Swindon Centric Says ; If you know of any locals who look like anyone famous then please, keep it to yourself and don't tell us.

An Excellent Swindon Link

For a town that often boasts it's large number of hi-tech businesses, you'd think there'd be an awful lot more local Swindon websites. However that doesn't seem to be the case.

There's the excellent Komadori site, this one of course and a newly discovered site, Hidden Swindon.

Swindon Centric Says ; Do take a look.

Bingo-ing Mad 3 ; Horses, Councils & Big Stable Doors

The efforts (of sorts) of Swindon Borough Council to get the Regent Circus bingo hall reopened have proved much too little, much too late. After the operators Rank blamed the double taxes they have to pay under gaming laws, the Council bought the building with no thought as to what would happen to it in the short to medium term before the redevelopment of the area happens.

Announcing, like a drunk waking up to find themselves in the bath and a hazy recollection of the reason they have a new building on their books, they tried to make amends. But the regional manager of the Rank Group said no.

Plenty of comments were made by the company as to the reasons it wasn't viable to keep running the Swindon hall. However, there were no further comments made by any councillors, particularly those responsible for economic development and regeneration. Also, the New Swindon Company stayed out of the whole situation.

Swindon Centric Says ; Congratulations, SBC win the award for Most Ineffective Council Activity for week ending Saturday 19th April. Along with the win, there's a new dictionary in the post to Councillor Phil Young, (member for economic development, regeneration and for good measure development again) who admitted he has no plans for the site, so he can look up the words that are used in his job description.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 50

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. Who ever said it was going to be easy?

9. It's sunshine and showers, well it is April.

8. The hailstones were the size of meatballs.

7. The meatballs were the size of hailstones, why does no one say that?

6. I wonder what's wrong.

5. It was given a double page spread, you'd think the French had invaded and set fire to all our beef.

4. Several minutes passed before I realised I lacked any trousers.

3. Grab ahold of this for a second, careful, it's a bit cold.

2. As a nation, we don't eat a lot of pumpkins.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. Rumour has it Mohamed Al-Fayed had a hand in the closing of Mecca Bingo, but it's just a rumour.

Overheard something we've missed? Then email us at or leave us a comment and your phrase could make it onto next week's list!

Bingo-ing Mad 2 ; Council Tries To Change A Bad Call

Swindon Borough Council appear to be trying to do something about the sudden and pointless closure of the Regent Circus Mecca Bingo hall. A meeting is due to take place today between our favourite councillor, Phil Young, member for economic development, regeneration and for good measure development again, and a Mecca Bingo area manager.

The worrying words from Mr Young about what's planned for the site, "We've got no timescale. We're drawing up the plans for what we'd like to see there. But we do want to make the most of it until we know what's happening. We're going to look into it and if there is potential to keep them there then we'd be delighted to do so."

Mr Young also uttered this gem, "We hope to talk on it's future to get him to understand the importance of the bingo hall to the people."

It's shocking to think that the council member for regeneration and economic development has no timescale or clue as to what they'll now do with their latest property acquisition. Another hint to the obvious may come from the use of the former cinema as a bingo hall since 1974, which would give councillor Young a clue as to, "if there is potential" for bingo on the site.

But Mr Young's winning ball is his intention to tell the Mecca Bingo area manager the, "importance of the bingo hall to the people." Perhaps Mr Young should have noticed this too before agreeing to the purchase of the building from Mecca without asking any questions and just accepting closure like a mug who's been door-stepped by a utility company and signed without looking.

Swindon Centric Says ; Mr Young and the council seem to have looked up the words 'economic', and 'development' in the dictionary over the weekend, however they still haven't grasped the definition of both.

Next lesson, look up the word 'regeneration'.

Then use all words in a sentence Mr Young.

PS - Are the people from the New Swindon Company on holiday throughout all this?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bingo-ing Mad Moves By Council

The word cackhanded seems appropriate for today's news that the Mecca Bingo hall at Regent Circus is to close - in a week and remain empty for years.

Owners Rank have sold the building to Swindon Borough Council, who might have accepted the offer after one too many drinks at Rudi's next door if the surprised attitude of the councillor for Covingham and Nythe is anything to go by. Councillor Phil Young, cabinet member for economic development, regeneration and development said they have no plans to do anything with the site in the near future.

The council have a policy to take ownership of sites that form part of future regeneration plans, but when the member in charge of implementing that policy says "we have no plans", why didn't they make the Rank Group sell it onto someone else in the meantime? This seems to be the Tented Market scenario all over again, but even with a plan in place, there's no promise that the developers will come up with anything progressive.

Swindon Centric Says ; What the hell is going on at Swindon Borough Council? Is the whole coachload of councillors asleep at the wheel? So the member for economic development is to achieve his objectives, by leaving usable buildings vacant? Where is the New Swindon Company's voice in all this, or are they on the same bus as the council, snoozing?

PS - If this continues, the new central library is going to look bizzare with the hulking ruin of the college at the foot of Victoria Hill and a boarded up bingo hall across the road for company.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 49

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. Moaning old git.

9. Several things rankled my chain and that was only one.

8. We had nothing in common.

7. She wore flat shoes, nobody mentioned that he had heels on.

6. If she asks where the rest of the shopping is, say we sent it via Terminal 5.

5. Light after seven o'clock, something's not right.

4. Where did I put my trousers?

3. At 8 to 1, was in for a tenner, ninety pounds winging it's way.

2. It might snow, then again, they seem to say that every week.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. I received several things in the post, your letter bomb wasn't one of them.

Overheard something we've missed? Then email us at or leave us a comment and your phrase could make it onto next week's list!

Can I Have a Super-Sized Football Strip Please?

McDonalds, the company that is giving A-levels and is trying to get the word 'Mcjob' removed from the dictionary has gone one better. In a press release not even thinly disguised as news, the local franchise is willing to sponsor football teams needing the money.

As the owner and operator of all the town's outlets, Paul Booth, says himself that they've sponsored teams over the past three years.

Swindon Centric Says ; If this has been going on for the past few years, what's so special that deems this news? Selling food with high fat, sugar and salt content and promoting fitness at the same time seems two-faced at best and irresponsible at worst.

School Mergers Part 3 ; Wiltshire County Council Sees The Light

The proposal to merge an infant and junior school has been thrown out by Wiltshire County Council. Wootton Bassett Infants School and Noremarsh Junior School will now remain as they are after major opposition to the plan was voiced by parents.

Swindon Centric Says ; A council listening and responding accordingly to a public consultation. Is Swindon Borough Council reading this?

Swindon Centric ; Now An Award Winner!

Thanks to M's Way, we've been award an XXtraordinary Blogger Award.

Swindon Centric Says ; And Judy Dench or Helen Mirren weren't even nominated? Fancy that!

Rail Town Councillors Show Their Poor Knowledge Of The Railway

Councillors meeting staff from Network Rail and First Great Western to discuss railway travel showed little professionalism when it came to the questions asked. Councillor Peter Greenhalgh (for Freshbrook and Grange Park) said that for him there is no incentive to use the train. He missed the incentive of the smaller environmental impact and when reading his comment and question in full, sounds more like an angry and narked rant from a passenger than a representative of the people.

His colleague, councillor Peter Mallinson (for Walcot) faired little better. He was appalled that people have to stand and "can't believe it's in line with health and safety". Maybe if he'd done his homework he could have answered his own question that there is no legal limit on number of passengers in a railway carriage, says the Office Of Rail Regulation. The question was pointless when directed at Network Rail and First Great Western, as they don't set the rule on capacity.

Swindon Centric Says ; Can someone arrange for Mr Greenhalgh and Mr Mallinson to visit the Department for Environment and Office Of Rail Regulation respectively and explain to them what their policies are and what they do?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Top Ten Things Heard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 48

Click here for the original and still the best at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. That's only two grams of fat.

9. Only twenty-five miles to go now.

8. I've got to walk on.

7. Just because McDonalds has got green seats, doesn't mean it's food is any healthier than a tin of lead paint.

6. Too late, he's already put a deposit down on it.

5. Thank god she's resigned, now I can breath out.

4. He advised me to get my head examined, I advised him to shove his up his arse.

3. I'll be so glad, bet I'm the only one.

2. When he said she was only 14 I nearly fainted.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. Word is there's a secret tunnel that links all the Council offices in town, that's why you don't see any councillors on the streets anymore.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.