GOP Guide to the August Bank Holiday Weekend in Stroud

Stroud Fringe 2017 by TammyLynn Photography

Stroud Fringe 2017 by TammyLynn Photography

As many of you might now have heard sadly the Stroud Fringe is no longer taking place this year. Putting together a free festival on such a scale in the centre of Stroud is a gargantuan task which relies on a hoard of volunteers and funding to continue (see this month’s article in Good On Paper)

The current Stroud Fringe team took over in 2015 and for the following three years built the festival into one of the biggest free events in the South West bringing thousands of festival goers to Stroud not to mention boosting the local economy.

Since 2015 we have worked closely with the fringe team - producing the programme in 2016/2017 and putting on our own Good On Paper stage in St Laurence Church as well as producing Stroud Fringe Special Editions of the magazine. All though we couldn’t be involved this year (mainly due to the demand of putting GOP together in our spare time every month plus organising our new venture Hidden Notes!) we we’re very much looking forward to the mass celebration of Stroud that the fringe brings forth.

Fingers crossed that it will be back in 2020 in some shape or form but until then we have collated everything else taking place in Stroud (including Live @ St Laurence - see - which is a lot!!

So read on for our Guide to the August Bank Holiday Weekend in Stroud. Share, invite friends from further afield to show them just what an amazing place Stroud truly is…And do come back to this page for news and updates as there will no doubt be much more to add!


Clay Sinclair, Cleo Mussi and Paul Grellier

Clay Sinclair

Provocative post-pop paintings on Perspex by local/international artist Clay Sinclair situated at 48 High Street. Plus prints for those on a budget and People's Republic of Stroud tat for those joining the revolution. Open Mon – Fri 11am-5pm/Sat 10am-5pm

Fri 23rd – Mon 26th Paul Grellier: Outside Inner Space
Grellier, who studied alongside Gillian Wearing and other YBAs, is well-known for his large, semi-kinetic sculptures involving heavy blocks of salvaged stone and agricultural steel floating in space, and for his “Suspended” installations. Often drawing from his personal and professional experiences including a rural childhood and interests ranging from medical instruments to shamanism, Paul’s pioneering and intriguing creations invite audiences to explore imaginary realms and peer beneath the visible and ordinary surfaces of things…10am-6pm

Mon 19th – Sat 31st Bombshells, Heroes and Icons
A new exhibition at the Diner on Nelson St. dedicated to Bombshells, Heroes and Icons ft. works by Tamzin M.M, David Horton and Helen Fox. Tues – Thurs 10am-11pm/Fri 10am-11pm/Sat 9am-11pm. Private view Mon 19th 6-9pm

Sat 13th July – Mon 26th Aug Mussi’s Herbal
A new collection of inventive mosaics by Stroud-based artist Cleo Mussi. An ornament of comely grace featuring garlands of the head, nosegaies and poesies for the recreation of mind and wholeness of being. An exploration of ‘all the idle weeds that grow’, the vegetable guerrillas and common place plant escapees and trespassers that mark the well-trodden tracks of human migration and movement. After exploring the exhibition, be sure to take a wander around the Walled Garden, Cleo’s living, growing, every changing mosaic of colourful and dramatic plants and flowers. Look out for special linked workshops, family drop in activities and a talk on plant lore by acclaimed author Roger Phillips.

Fri 9th – Sat 31st Stroud Summer Show 2019
In the long shadow of Parisian salon exhibitions and the RA, Stroud Summer Show shows work by makers and artists for the community, in the community and by the community. This exhibition is being organised by Cast Space, an arts platform run by James Holliday, with SVA. Organised by Cast Space with SVA. Cast Space is a platform for art and ideas to be realised and tested. At the core of Cast Space is community and collectivism and the benefits of artists and makers to the societies we occupy. Open Fridays and Saturdays 10am-3pm (John Street)

Sat 17th – Sat 31st Water of the World

A celebration of water through the eyes of artists from around the world. Including Aboriginal Art from Australia, woodcuts from Japan and works inspired by France, Southern Europe and the British isles. Open Weds-Sat 10:30am-4:30pm

Sat 17th – Mon 26th Aug
Ten days of individual artists’ exhibitions; exhibition of entries for the ‘Character of the Cotswolds’ prize competition (judged by Mary Portas and Emma Falshaw of T&C Financial Planning), ten open artists’ studios, Gloucestershire Society of Artists annual exhibition, St Mary’s Church floral display and the Rococo Garden Sculpture exhibition. The festival also includes eight weekend Art Master Classes and daily children’s Art Experience workshops. Visit the website for the full programme!

Sun 26th May – Sun 8th Sept Art Unbound

This summer, renowned curator Anna Greenacre brings together works from both established sculptors and emerging British talent, set against the stunning backdrop of Painswick Rococo Garden. In a range of media including wood, stone, wire, ceramics and bronze, this contemporary outdoor exhibition has been designed to embrace the natural beauty and creative energy of the rococo period. Sculptors include Peter Beard, David Begbie, Aly Brown, Mike Chaikin, Alison Crowther, Sophie Dickens, Luke Dickinson, Kim Francis,Alex Jones, Tony Lattimer, Sophie Marsham, Rebecca Newnham, Yorgos Papadopoulos, Joe & Jenny Smith, Guy Stevens, Anthony Turner, Clare Trenchard and Dominic Welch.


Fletchstock at the Fringe: Be Humble, Stroud Dub Club Presents: Fringe Fever, The Outer Fringe at the Crown and Sceptre, the Diner, Unconventional

Fri 23rd Slimline Shufflers
The Slimline Shufflers play a New Orleans style of rhythm'n'blues pioneered by such luminaries as Professor Longhair, James Booker and Dr. John. Eric Arthur, Bristol's finest exponent of this piano style, provides a virtuosic base and is joined by Henry Slim bringing horn-like amplified harmonica and baritone vocals to the mix. 8:30pm Free
Sat 24th Los Gusanos, Molly-Anne, The Shaggy Dog Raconteurs
Los Gusanos: An eclectic mix of blues, jazz, latin and afro-colombian music. Vivan Los Gusanos! 8:30pm Free. Molly-Anne: A young and upcoming musician from Gloucestershire, looking to make a positive impact. With a soulful, country inspired sound fused with elements of indie folk…5pm Free. The Shaggy Dog Raconteurs: A folk/blues Americana quartet with a dash of jazz, ragtime and bluegrass. They write songs to make your grandmother blush and your grandfather whistle. 2pm Free
Sun 25th Hipkiss HIPKISS features Muddy Manninen (ex Wishbone Ash) on guitar and acclaimed British saxophonist and vocalist Patsy Gamble. The band play a mixture of their own original material and covers in a blues, rock, soulful style. 8:30pm Free

Fri 23rd The Outer Fringe: The Soul Destroyers, the Leon Daye Band, the Virtual Kevins
The Soul Destroyers: thirteen piece soul/pop/cheese/funk/groove party band! The Leon Daye Band: Upbeat pop-rock sing a longs to folk based traditional song writing with delicate melodies and heartfelt lyrics. The Virtual Kevins: A combination of chilled soul, funk and dance. Free
Sat 24th The Outer Fringe: Tree Top Flyers, Loan Sharks, Off Script, Tazmin Barnes, Bob Porter Project, Mr Marko’s Outer Space Emporium, Tom Clissold
Treetop Flyers: London based folk rockers “like witnessing some stoned gods at the Filmore East in '69.”. The Loan Sharks: South West's pop-punk kings. Off Script: five piece ft. guitar and sax – all original songs. Tazmin Barnes: Actress, model and singer inspired by the likes of Jessie J, Adele and Meghan Trainer. Bob Porter Project: A fine blend of Americana, roots, rock and blues…Mr Markos Outer Space Emporium: Soundscapes, big beats, big bass and 80’s synths in a sci-fi style. Tom Clissold: Singer song writer performing originals and covers. Free
Sun 25th The Outer Fringe: Luke Philbrick and Solid Gone, Shady Past, John Dalton, The Scrutineers, Nigel Gardener, The Lynchpins, Stroud Red Band
Luke Philbrick and Solid Gone: Raw Delta Blues guitar and an almost tribal foot-stomping beat combine to create their own original Skiffle-Blues blend. The Shady Past: Revved up kick starting rock n roll. John Dalton: Scouse troubadour…The Scrutineers: Local indie/pop/alternative duo. Nigel Gardener: Beautiful acoustic guitar melodies. The Lynchpins: Eight piece barbershop men’s group. Stroud Red Band: A scion of the London Big Red Band, which has been in existence since the 1980s. Like them they play music from the heritage of the labour movement. Free
Mon 26th The Outer Fringe: Yard Sale, DJjerksauceproject
The pub hosts a Yard Sale Flea Market in the Big Tent in the garden! Plus a Pad Thai Noodle Bar and tunes from DJjerksauceproject…Free (click here for facebook event page)

Fri 23rd Drag Night and Karaoke
The Diner opens up for the bank holiday weekend with a drag night and karaoke thrown in for good measure! Go Blonde or Go Home…Follow the Diner on facebook for news and updates!

Sat 24th Bongo Mondo Fringe Spectacular
Sean and Tom from Sound Records return after a triumphant first event with a bag packed full of musical gems from Lebanon, Nigeria, Japan and, of course, Venezuela, as well as many more dancefloor fillers from across the globe. The cocktails will be flowing, the shirts will loud and the dancing joyful...9pm Free (click here for facebook event page)

Fri 23rd Joe Reeve Is…Elvis

Back for a Summer Spectacular at The Hottest Venue in town, Elvis is jumpsuited and booted and ready to curl his lip just for you baby. Uh-huh...9pm Free (click here for Facebook event page)

Sun 25th The Stroud Red Band

Stroud Red Band's pop-up participation music event - all brass, woodwind and percussion players welcome - the more the better. Assemble at one end of Horns Road, and process along to the Crown and Sceptre, playing easy New Orleans-style Jazz. Message Stroud Red Band on facebook for links to downloadable parts for your instrument! And be sure to wear some horns on your head! And bring flags ad banners! 1:15pm (click here for facebook event page)

Fri 23rd Fletchstock at the Fringe – Be Humble
Flipside: Stroud’s finest regroup to Jam 4 Jamie. Daddy Skitz: hip-hop album of the year winner and purveyor of fine quality beats. Errol’s Kitchen: One of Bristol’s finest live fierce funk bands. The 3 Scratchateers: Turntablism from 3 past Stroud based DMC maestros. Pete Daisy and Jamie Rainbow: Chunky beats, funky breaks and bangers! Threebagsfull and Sista Oona: Dirty dub. Home grown. Hombrelobo: Something old something new but all god damn funky! Sparkplug: Live global hip-hop sensation dropping J. Fletch Produkshunz. 7pm £10 from Trading Post - 100% of profits to fund launching The Fletch Music 4 Life Foundation. (click here for facebook event page)
Sat 24th Stroud Dub Club: Fringe Fever Stroud Dub Club proudly present a night of jungle vibes! ft. DJ Threebagsfull, DJ Rudini, DJ Nicky Blackmarket, DJ Dubbu, Gardna (Live PA) x Fat Stash and MC’s Speng Bond, Mr Melody, Sista Oona plus special guests...Soundsystems – Jungle Box Audio and Majestic Vision. 9pm £10adv from Trading Post/£15otd (click here for facebook event page)

Sun 25th Unconventional
Monobrow (Stroud Block Party/Sound Records) and DJ Darius (Crooked Stylus) combine for a five hour bonanza of head nodders, floor fillers and party tunes. Not only that but they've got the best drinks in town with the mighty Wild Boar Gin Bar in a fantastic venue. Admission is by ticket only in advance from Sound Records and capacity is 120 so make sure you get in there quick once tickets go on sale for £6. It's gonna be big! 9pm – 2am (click here for facebook event page)

Fri 23rd The LBJB’s, Trongate Rum Riots

Following their sold out (and still talked about!) show at the Good On Paper Rodborough takeover back in May the mighty LBJB’s return to the Prince Albert…The Bristol based heavy funk/soul supergroup ft. Kieron Bon Suis Dunne, Marcel Osborne, Billy Weir, Rafaelle Dornelles (Rafa Dornelles Trio) and Andrew Neil Hayes (Tezeta/Run Logan Run) high energy performances have secured them shows with heavyweights on the funk scene including the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club…Get down y’all!! The Trongate Rum Riots hail from Glasgow, a city as soaked in salty maritime tradition as their music.Their style ranges from sweaty punk to dirty folk, with the occasional bluesy lick and Balkan riff, and is equally as visceral in its plugged-in form as it is in its stripped-back acoustic set.
Late afternoon and early evening sounds in the yard. Dubbu and Mendoza are the spinners on the decks with the best in dancehall, hip hop and old school sounds. Food served from Cappeninis Wood Fired pizza out the front…
Sun 25th DiscoNature
Party Animals! Get your dancing paws, flippers and hooves on and join us for an afternoon exploring animal behaviour through music, games, dance and comedy. A fun body and brain workout for all.DiscoNature is an interactive live show combining natural science, comedy, music, dance and games, developed in collaboration between musician Josef Reeve aka JoeisElvis and Kaoru Blackstone from Wild Things, Stroud-based natural science and art group. It starts at 2pm. It's not a drop-in club - it's an interactive live show where we all dance. To make the most of it, please arrive by the start time.Dress code: no strict one, but nature/wild wear welcome! Aimed for families with children aged 3 to 10, but all welcome!
Sun 25th The Scribes, Frankly Skanky
The Scribes are a new wave hip hop three-piece consisting of co-lyricists Ill Literate and Jonny Steele and beatbox maestro, who's unique talents have combined to make a much heralded sound quite unlike any other. Storming the Prince Albert stage at this year’s Chalfest do not miss their triumphant return to Stroud…Frankly Skanky: Stroud dwelling sacred dub roots reggae band. Bristol influenced dubbed up versions of rare roots reggae tunes they’ve discovered and loved.

Sat 24th The Starttles, Ewan Young, DJ Dr Cheese
The Starttles: Rock and pop duo, Ewan Young: Singer/guitarist, DJ Dr Cheese: Does just what his name suggests….
Sun 25th JP Brass All Stars Band, A’La-Ska JP Brass All Stars Band: A traditional brass band playing very non traditional brass band music. Rock covers, pop songs, show name it. A’La-Ska: Six piece traditional ska band up cycling a fusion of classic reggae and ska... With a twist

Sat 24th Midlife Crisis
What better way to spend August Bank Holiday weekend that with a proper 'Midlife Crisis'! Bringing you a broad range of Stonkin' House, Funky Breaks & New Disco ft. Bean, Blakey, Jamie Rainbow and Sam Taylor…

Sat 24th Lengdems: Fringe Takeover
This party will be something different from what Sama Sama and Lengdems have ever put on before so make sure you come along! They are pulling out all the stops in providing a day party like no other! Sun, good vibes and good community is their mission statement for the event. Local up and coming DJ’s will be providing a huge selection of genres including UK funky, garage, dnb, disco, house and everything and anything in between! Lengdems is all about bringing communities together as well as giving with that said they are proud to be supporting a charity which is close to one of their staff member's hearts. The charity we will be donating to is called Money for Madagascar and they fund Grass-roots conservation and development in Madagascar. They also work closely with another charity called Akany Avoko who provides homes, an education and a healthy life for more than 120 of Madagascar’s most deserving but neglected youth. 2-8pm (click here for facebook event page)

Fri 23rd Felix Jupiter
An evening of chilled out indie and folk music, live and in concert featuring Felix Jupiter, Nell Rosa, Zarina and Days of Pure Enjoyment. Limited space in the venue so make sure you're there for doors! 8pm Free (click here for facebook event page)

Fri 23rd - Sun 25th Live & St Laurence
Stroud Fringe may not be going ahead as planned, but the fringe team are delighted to announce that the concerts in St Laurence Church over the Bank Holiday weekend are still on! There’s a brilliant line-up including free daytime sound installations and evening performances by alternative duo Samana (Friday), Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor (Saturday), former Wild Beast Hayden Thorpe (Sunday) and a supporting cast of rising independent music stars. Tickets for the evening shows are only £5 (plus booking fee) and all proceeds are going to the Fringe. Visit the website for full details! (click here for the facebook event page)

Fri 23rd Fringe Global Beats

Stroud’s original purveyors of funky tunes from all around this groovy globe delivering an earth shattering party with a bass bias. Expect the usual lashings of Reggae served up with oodles of Cumbia, Gypsy, Balkan, with side servings of Bhangra, Latin and Afro beat all at Strouds best funky cafe. One love, unity and tolerance. 8pm £5/£3adv (click here for facebook event page)

Thurs 22nd – Sun 25th Food and Music Weekender
Great music, food plus Sunday family entertainment with walk about circus acts. With multiple food options, loads of great beer and the launch of the Breweries new gig space, you are all in for a treat! (click here for facebook event page)

Mon 26th
Stroud Yard Trail is back! Follow all the festival fun with Yard Trail on Monday 26th August. It's a great way to get to know your neighbourhood, hunt some bargains or make some cash whilst saving the planet by reusing and recycling and building stronger communities! Sell (or purchase) your old vinyl, cd’s, cassette tapes, 8-track tapes, books, comics, artwork and much more…As well as outside people’s houses locations also include the Crown and Sceptre, Trainspotters and Spacehoppers. (click here for facebook event page)

Fri 23rd – Sat 24th Aug

A cricket field, beer, cider, wine, music and lots more…For over thirty years the Frocester Beer Festival has been serving the local community and recently the world! It is a fantastic event which attracts nearly six thousand people over two days on the August bank holiday. The ethos of the festival is for you to enjoy a fine selection of ales, whilst raising much needed money for local charities.



Fri 23rd Co-Operativerse
Jeff Cloves and Philip Rush are reading poetry at the Old Co-Op Shop in Horns Road. They’d love you to come.There’ll be an exhibition of photographs at the Old Co-Op and you’ll be able to look at those, too. Everything will be done and dusted by 8.30 pm so you’ll be able to go on to enjoy what other delights the Bank Holiday Weekend offers, perhaps beginning at the Crown and Sceptre which is almost next door. There will be some seats and plenty of room, but if you want to bring a cushion (or evening a folding chair) that will be fine. 7:30pm Free


Giffords Cicus: Xanadu

Giffords Cicus: Xanadu

Thurs 15th – Tues 27th Xanadu
Roll up, roll in to the stately pleasure-dome for miracles, song, symphony and enchantment. Musicians, horses, clowns and tumblers enfolded in this joyful paradise, with music loud and long – the Giffords Circus caravan will be taking to the road for a 2019 summer of love. It is midsummer 1973 in Hyde Park and the flower power movement is at its height. Hippies, hipsters, rock stars, musicians, wild women and global nomads with Shamanic horses gather to play, sing, dance, protest and perform. Policemen and a family of out-of-towners get caught up in the celebrations. Will they get in the groove? Nell Gifford builds a pleasure dome and Tweedy has a job in the kitchen as he thought everyone was talking about “Flour Power”. As evening approaches, the ever more chaotic event careers towards a joyful, transcendental finale. Be there or be square! Minchinhampton Common (remainder of the tour also includes Stratton Meadows, Cirencester 12th – 16th Sept and back to Fennells Farm for the final shows 19th – 29th Sept)

Mon 26th Outdoor Theatre: IKProductions – Sword in the Stone
Wizards, magic swords, knights in shining armour and the throne of England. There are fights to be fought, knights to be knighted, and quests to be… quested. See for yourself exactly how Arthur became the most renowned King of England in this madcap, hilarious retelling of the legendary English legend of The Sword in the Stone…2:30pm

Good On Paper's Alternative Christmas Playlist 2018

Merry GOPmas

Here’s our Christmas playlist.

Click here to listen to it.

It ft. the likes of Beak>, Mark Kozelek, Sufjan Stevens, William Shatner and more…

Merry GOPmas to ye all

Alex and Adam

Good On Paper


1 - Mark Kozelek I Believe In Father Christmas | 2 - Josh T Pearson Angels We Have Heard On High | 3 - Sufjan Stevens That Was The Worst Christmas Ever! | 4 - Low Silent Night | 5 - Bonnie Prince Billy and Dawn McCarthy Christmas Eve Can Kill You | 6 - Feist Lo, How A Rose E’re Blooming | 7 - Iain Archer Little Drummer Boy | 8 - The Civil War Years I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day | 9 - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs All I Want For Christmas | 10 - Minuteman Last Christmas | 11 - Sufjan Stevens Coventry Carol | 12 - Mark Lanegan We Three Kings | 13 - Mark Kozelek The Christmas Song | 14 - The Polyphonic Spree Happy Xmas (War Is Over) | 15 - Bright Eyes God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen | 16 - Beak> (Merry Xmas) Face the Future | 17 - William Shatner ft. Iggy Pop Silent Night | 18 - Andrew Bird Auld Lang Syne

Stroud Folk Weekend: Join the Orchestra


By Robin Burton

If you play anything that can be squeezed, blown, plinked or scraped and can follow a line of music, then the Stroud Folk Weekend Orchestra needs you!

You will practice 4 - 5 traditional tunes drawn from the music of the British Isles. A 2 hour workshop on Sunday 23rd September will be followed by a performance at the start of the afternoon concert at 1pm. It will be a glorious noise!

The event is led by Fran Wade who has been playing folk music for decades in various bands and has led orchestras and choirs both locally and at festivals further afield.

The cost is just £5 (not including refreshments). Bring a pencil, highlighter pen, music stand and your instrument. Arrive 10.15am for a prompt 10.30 start. Workshop finishes at 12.30 with the concert following at 1.00 – 1.30. Lunch after the concert slot!

This event has been put together following the success of last year’s “Playing Duets” workshop which has since evolved into a folk orchestra which meets once a month at Rodborough Village Hall and played its first gig in June.

The Stroud Folk Weekend offers three days full of song, music and dance on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of September. The weekend features many completely free concerts and other events. This includes a day of dance on the Saturday taking place throughout Stroud. In addition there will be ticketed events at the Subscription Rooms and other venues and throughout the weekend there will be sessions and sing-arounds open to all comers in the Little Vic and in the Ale House.

Visit for the full programme and further info.

Review: Chalfest 2018

Headliners - Basement Jaxx

Headliners - Basement Jaxx

By Laura Clark

40+ bands, 5 stages, 1 hill. On Saturday 21st July, Chalfest returned to the (not so) sleepy village of Chalford for the second year running. The prognosis was looking good from the outset, with a cheerful volunteer stationed at the gates, offering glitter to new arrivals. Once inside, I was transported to a simpler time - standing in the middle of the village green with Johnny B. Goode playing in one ear (Drifted, Albert Stage) and the Royal Wotton Bassett Swing Band's version of 'Summer of 69' in the other. The band gave an impressive rendition of Bryan Adam's hit, with crystal clear timing and plenty of pizzazz. It was a quintessentially British scene, with the obligatory mad characters entering stage left, right and centre. 

Young and not so young people were playing with hoola-hoops across from the bandstand; a trio of tie-dyed boys with electric blue Mohicans darted past; mythical creatures and mad scientists wandered the plain, looking to get back to Narnia or maybe Bussage - going by the sign post. Alice was already half-way down the rabbit hole, before she'd hit the 'drink me' bottle.


The Bob Porter Project, in the Bar stage went down like a smooth pint of Budding. The Cheshire cat art work (designed by students at Thomas Keble School) might have claimed 'we're all mad here', but Bob and his gang's blend of Alt country and Roots Rock was nothing but cool, calm and collected. Alice and the rest of her gang could be found congregating at the side of the bar; the life size sculptures were another impressive student creation - a nod to Chalford's popular 'scarecrow hunt' perhaps?

While some punters were busy relaxing at the Bar Stage, others opted to get their 5 a day (and 5 minutes of exercise) at the Bike Access Project stall. Judging from the queue for their bike-powered smoothies, the only peddling needed was during the making process. I managed to grab a quick interview (and much need rest!) with company member, Alfie Stephens: 'We're here at Chalfest for the second year and it's really cool because we've seen the festival triple in size in one year. Last year we did 300 smoothies, 350 in fact and hopefully we're going to do more today. The sun's out a little bit, so it could happen...'

Over on the mainstage, Dick and Dom had ventured out of the bungalow and were causing havoc in the neighbourhood. Meanwhile Tootles and Nibs (not to be confused with the rodent YouTube sensation 'Nibs and Tootles') kept the younger children captivated with their imaginative, immersive theatrics.

Another highlight from the day-time line-up had to be Solomento; they certainly made the sun shine a little brighter with their up tempo, traditional East African beats, which incited some not so traditional dance moves: demonstrated by a Greenpeace volunteer, who skilfully combined dancing and litter picking during the set.



Chalfest's Got Talent runner up, Ben, also demonstrated a plethora of skills: channelling a young Bob Dylan, with a punk edge: smart Doc. Martin shoes and sharp-edged rhymes. His lyrics are seemingly timeless: the line 'carousel inside your cell' was inspired by David Cameron's stint in government, but could be aptly applied to the recent cabinet reshuffle. Ben gave a self-assured performance and credence to the claim that 'Chalfest has talent'.

But it's not only Chalford that has talent; the Stroud Fringe Choir gave a heart-felt performance and delivered a well-balanced sound. Their spine-tingling harmonies, interesting use of percussive effects (reminiscent of Eric Whitacre) and sense of camaraderie, drew in the crowds. From fuzzy feelings to furry creatures, jazz wizards Cantaloop and Tek Gremlin followed commendably with a technically accomplished set that got toes tapping.

Providing a less civilised alternative, but equally quality playing and singing - The Dry Seamen's post-pillaging after-party was well under way at the Bar Stage. Front man Bill Flint-Heart Billinski cut a wild figure, with a vocal style resembling Suggsy and Captain Jack Sparrow after a few rums. When lyrics are supplied with the proviso 'for mutinous mob participation' you know you're in for a good time. As promised on the website, a billboard with the words bobbed up and down amongst the audience, like the Jolly Roger navigating the high seas. 

No hymn sheets were needed for Casual Six's set of 1980s classics. Playing hits from the Rolling Stones, Wham! and Queen, dressed like Wimbledon's mixed doubles line-up Casual Six were knocking them out of the park. The spirit of Bucks Fizz in the body of John McEnroe, their pitch perfect performance had the audience singing along from start to finish. Game, top set, unmatched.

Meanwhile at the Bar Stage, Sasha and The Shades were shaking the dust from the stage with their tumultuous Texan sound - don't let the Hawaiian shirts fool you, these guys are mad, bad and mean business.

On the other side of the hill The Proclaimers provided the perfect tonic for a humid summer's evening. The much loved Scottish ensemble put in a top quality performance and got everyone marching to their beat.

Rounding off proceedings at the Bar Stage, special forces were at play during The Secret Police's set. The band had the whole tent singing in unison and grooving until closing time. 

Creating a scene over at the Albert Stage that Hunter S. Thompson would have been proud of were Tankus the Henge. For one night only, trading Route 66 for the dusty trail to Chalford hill, they had the joint jumping and the piano rocking - literally. Either it was the cider deceiving me or by an extraordinary feat of engineering, the piano rocked back and forth with every Grieg-esque 'power' chord and ragtime roll. Every instrument seemed to have its own unique sound world, veering vociferously from Baroque to boogie-woogie. One thing is for sure, they had the crowds bopping to their beat 'on the road' back to Chalford.

Basement Jaxx

Basement Jaxx

Taking the audience to another place entirely, somewhere 'Over the Rainbow' were the mainstage headliners, The Basement Jaxx.  Seamlessly mixing one classic hit after another, with some unexpected alternatives thrown into the mix, they had the crowd throwing some serious shapes. 'Are you alive Chalfest?' they called out - after brief glance at each other for confirmation, we decided to answer in the affirmative. As for Chalfest, it is undoubtedly alive and well. Long may it continue!

Laura Clark is a freelance journalist based in Stroud. She has written for: Musical Opinion; Teaching Drama; The Kensington Magazine; the CBeebies annual; Top of the Pops and the BBC Music Magazine newsfeed.

Good On Paper Playlist June 2018

Each month we put together a YouTube playlist featuring artists taken from our music listings. Click here to listen and see track list with dates below…

1.Rachael Dadd: Strike Our Scythes (Sat 30th, the Goods Shed) | 2.Mikey Kenney: The Counsel of Owls (Thurs 14th, the Prince Albert) | 3.Bryde: To Be Brave (Fri 1st, the Marshall Rooms) | 4.Peter Bruntnell: Yuri Gagarin (Thurs 28th, the Prince Albert) | 5.Takeo Toyama: no.2 Onomichi Trilogy (Sat 30th, the Goods Shed) | 6.Simon McCorry: Invocation (Sat 9th, Museum in the Park) | 7.Carducci String Quartet: Philip Glass – String Quartet No 2 2nd Mvt. (Fri 22nd, St Laurence Church) | 8.The Correspondents: BOSS (Sat 23rd, the Subscription Rooms) | 9.The Fantasy Orchestra: Moonage Daydream (Sat 9th, the Goods Shed) | 10.Don Kipper: Stamena (Thurs 14th, the Marshall Rooms) | 11.Kabantu: Ulidzele (Sat 30th, Prema) | 12.Whiskey Shivers: Reckless (Fri 29th, Prema) | 13.The Boxcar Boys: The Table and the Chair (Weds 13th, the Prince Albert) | 14.The Cody Sisters: Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right (Fri 29th, Lansdown Hall) 

Pick up issue 39 (out now!) for further info...

Good On Paper Playlist May 2018

Each month we put together a YouTube playlist featuring artists taken from our music listings. Click here to listen and see track list with dates below…

1. Mesadorm: Yours and Not Yours (Fri 11th, SVA Goods Shed) | 2. Sam Brookes: Numb (Weds 2nd, the Prince Albert) | 3. Christoph van der Ven: Empty Handed (Weds 2nd, the Prince Albert) | 4. Dakhla: Gorilla Gorilla (Sat 26th, SVA, Goods Shed) | 5. Eyebrow: Eye Pod (Sat 26th, SVA John Street) | 6. Modulus III: Waiting for Network (Sun 27th, SVA Goods Shed) | 7. Ivo Neame Quartet: Vegetarians (Sun 27th, SVA Goods Shed) | 8. Nubya Garcia: Lost Kingdoms (Sat 26th, SVA Goods Shed) | 9. Andy Nowak Trio: In the Leaving (Fri 25th, the Ale House) | 10. The Sugarhill Gang: Rapper’s Delight (Sun 27th, Subscription Rooms) | 11. Mik Artistik: David Bowie Was A Funny Man (Sun 20th, the Prince Albert) | 12. K.O.G and the Zongo Brigade: Baajo (Sat 12th, the Marshall Rooms) | 13. Dutty Moonshine: Super Sharp Swinger (Sat 5th, the Marshall Rooms) | 14. Marty O’Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra: Cold Canary Gaslight (Tues 1st, the Prince Albert) | 15. Rum Buffalo: Whiskey on Fire (Sat 19th, the Prince Albert) | 16. Chavo: On the Tiles (Thurs 3rd, the Prince Albert) | 17. Young Waters: Swimming Pool (Sun 13th, the Prince Albert) | 18. Woody Pines: Addicted to Blood (Thurs 24th, Subscription Rooms) | 19. Dear Robot: Nowehere (Fri 11th, SVA Goods Shed) | 20. Footshooter: Portals (Sat 26th, SVA John Street) | 21. Anchorsong: Oriental Suite (Fri 25th, SVA Goods Shed) | 22. Sarah Connolly: Pie Jesu (Sat 12th, St Mary’s Church, Painswick) | 23. Ruth Royall: 4 U (Sat 26th, the Marshall Rooms) 

Pick up issue 38 (out now!) for further info...

Review: Bandit Music Projects by Leah Grant


On Thursday 5th April, sixteen bands took to the stage at Stroud’s Subscription Rooms to perform a variety of songs in front of an eager and excitable audience. The gig – a culmination of a week’s worth of intense musical development at the hands of The Bandit Music Projects – was more than just a karaoke contest. Over the preceding four days, 64 school-aged children had formed bands, written songs and learnt a variety of skills that would stand any aspiring musician in good stead. The result was an evening filled not only with great music, but with a youthful energy that was both charming to watch and inspirational to hear.

Running three times a year across the Easter, Summer and October school holidays, each Bandit Music Project encourages children to write new and original songs centred around a chosen theme. The songs crafted for Bandit 21 focused on ‘emotions’, a topic that holds a great deal of relevance in the 21st century as we continue to battle the stigma that surrounds mental health. The evening kicked off with a warm-up, one that held its own emotional resonance as the audience were encouraged to join in with one band’s insightful words: “Won’t let it beat me, won’t let it defeat me, I’m fighting this battle, yeah I’m fighting this battle tonight…”

After such an emotional start, I was genuinely excited for what was about to come and the following two and half hours did not disappoint. Each band had clearly injected their music with emotions that were wide-ranging yet significant to us all; Rage Assassins performed Angry Silence, TNT Isolation (a supergroup) bought us Explosion of Happiness, It Could Be Worse belted out Green Eyed Monster and one band even wrote about the emotions involved in writing a song with their aptly titled, The Journey of the Song – all followed by rapturous applause from audience members and fellow students alike.

However, it wasn’t just the theme that showcased the students’ ingenuity. The originality of the songs, the uniqueness of each band’s musical voice and the variety of instruments skilfully utilised (including a saxophone, trombone, keyboard, flute, drums, guitars and vocals) were impressive to say the least. Even the broad range of genres employed, and the striking visuals displayed behind the musicians as they performed, left me in complete awe.

As the evening drew to a close, it was clear that some firm friendships had been made across the course of the week and the confidence of those involved, particularly of the Bandit first-timers, had rocketed to an all-time high. There were a couple of bands – Drifted and Bones Like That – who, after forming at previous Bandits, had already garnered a devoted following and were now playing gigs outside of the classroom (one band even had their own merchandise!) and their shared love for the music they were creating was palpable.

To watch these talented youngsters perform in front of an audience, to see their parents’ pride and admiration and to be part of an evening that was filled with enthusiasm and enjoyment was an absolute delight. The hard work and effort of both the students and the Bandit team paid off in such a musically inspiring and heart-warming way that I left with a huge smile on my face (and a slight ringing in my ears!).        

To find out more about Bandit visit their website or pick up a copy of the latest issue of Good On Paper (out now!) to read Leah's interview with organiser Kevin Howlett.

Leah Grant is a writer and photographer with a keen interest in art and literature. On her blog, My Belly Full, you can find reviews of exhibitions, installations, dance performances and literary events as well as her own lovingly created pieces of short fiction

Good On Paper Playlist April 2018

Each month we put together a YouTube playlist featuring artists taken from our music listings. Click here to listen and see track list with dates below…

1. Laucan: Wait for the Impact (Weds 4th, the Prince Albert) | 2. Yama Warashi: Tangled Roots (Sat 7th, SVA) | 3. London Afrobeat Orchestra: Burning Down the House (Fri 13th, the Marshall Rooms) | 4. Alabaster dePlume: I Feel Good (Fri 13th, SVA) | 5. Urban Voodoo Machine: Fallen Brothers (Fri 6th, the Marshall Rooms) | 6. Ma Polaine’s Great Decline: Suffer It Well (Sun 22nd , the Prince Albert) | 7. Heath Quartet: Mendelssohn Quartet Op 80 (Sat 28th, St Mary’s Church Painswick) | 8.Raphael Wallfisch and John York: Bloch from Jewish Life - Supplication (Sat 14th, St Mary’s Church Painswick) | 10. Bristol Ensemble: Ritual Fire Dance (Sun 15th, Christ Church, Nailsworth) | 11. Bronnt Industries Kapital: I Will Become An Engine Operator (Thurs 12th, SVA) | 12. The Turbans: Live at Wilton’s Music Hall (Fri 27th, the Marshall Rooms)| 13. Sam Green and the Midnight Heist: Hitchin A Ride (Thurs 19th, the Prince Albert) | 14. Laish: Learning to Love the Bomb (Fri 20th, SVA) | 15. Marla: In the Wind (Thurs 5th, the Prince Albert) | 16. Graeme Miller and Steve Shill: The Moomins Theme (Fri 6th, SVA)

Good On Paper Playlist December 2017

Each month we put together a YouTube playlist featuring artists taken from our music listings and features. Click here to listen and see track list with dates below…


1. Boca 45: We’re Right Here (Fri 1st, the Marshall Rooms) | 2. Mammal Hands: Hourglass (Fri 8th, SVA Goods Shed) | 3. Honeyfeet: Sinner (Fri 8th, the Marshall Rooms) 4. Euros Childs: My Colander (Tues 5th, The Prince Albert) | 5.  Pictish Trail: Dead Connection (Thurs 7th, The Prince Albert) | 6.  Emily Barker: Little Deaths (Sat 2nd, The Marshall Rooms) | 7. Thabo: Run and Tell (Sat 30th, the Marshall Rooms) | 8. Dreadzone: Iron Shirt (Fri 8th, Subscription Rooms) | 9. Macka B: Rasta Rise Again (Sat 16th, The Marshall Rooms) | 10. Dr. Feelgood: Roxette (Sun 3rd, Subscription Rooms) | 11. Nick Helm and the Helmettes: Let’s Get Married (Thurs 21st, the Marshall Rooms) | 12. Chinese Burn: Shut Your Mouth (Sat 23rd, Crown and Sceptre) | 13. The Ballina Whalers: Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy (Mon 18th, The Prince Albert) | 14.  Le Page Ensemble: Barcos (Fri 22nd, St Laurence Church) 

Pick up issue #33 (out now!) for further info...

Good On Paper Playlist November 2017

Each month we put together a YouTube playlist featuring artists taken from our music listings and features. Click here to listen and see track list with dates below…

1. Syd Arthur: Sun Rays (Fri 3rd, The Marshall Rooms) | 2. Cousin Kula: Hesitation (Fri 3rd, The Marshall Rooms) | 3. William the Conqueror: Tend to the Thorns (Sat 11th, The Prince Albert) | 4. Jono McCleery: Ballade (Thurs 30th, SVA Goods Shed) | 5. Martha Tilston: Nomad Blood (Fri 17th, SVA Goods Shed) | 6. Leonie Evans: Distractions (Thurs 9th, The Prince Albert) | 7. The Spindle Ensemble: Panic Amongst the Dragon Flies (Fri 24th, SVA Goods Shed) | 8. Pierre Kwenders: Mardi Gras (Thurs 2nd, The Marshall Rooms) | 9. Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra: Something Blue (Fri 3rd, The Prince Albert) | 10. Margo Cilker: Used to Be Montana (Tues 7th, the Prince Albert) | 11. The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc (Fri 17th, Ruskin Mill, Horsley) | 12. Blowzabella (Fri 3rd, Prema Arts Centre, Uley) 

Pick up issue #32 (out now!) for further info...

Good On Paper Playlist October 2017

Each month we put together a YouTube playlist featuring artists taken from our music listings and features.

Click here to listen and see track list with dates below…

1. Low Chimes: Sleepwalking (Sat 28th, SVA Goods Shed) | 2. Moviestar: Monroe (Sat 21st, the Prince Albert) | 3. Ian Dury and the Blockheads: Wake Up and Love Me (the Blockheads, Fri 13th Subscription Rooms) | 4. Soccer96: Megadrive Lamborghini (Sat 21st, SVA John Street) | 5. Rachel Baiman: Shame (Sun 15th, the Prince Albert) | 6. The Magic Lantern: No One’s Fault (Sat 28th, SVA Goods Shed) | 7. Yolanda Brown: Tokyo Sunset (Sat 28th, Subscription Rooms) | 8. Kevin Figes: New Clothes (Thurs 12th, SVA John Street) | 9. Swing from Paris: Sweet Georgia Brown (Sat 28th, Stroud Brewery) | 10. Don Kipper: Stamena (Sun 22nd, the Prince Albert) 

Pick up issue #31 Oct 2017 (out now!) for further info


Stroud Fringe: Sing Along Social by Anna Jacob

You lucky people!

Amongst the many delights on the Stroud Fringe programme this year, one to look out for (if you’re a fan of singing, dancing and ‘the craic’ in general)  is the first UK outing of an Irish phenomenon: Sing Along Social.

What is it? The Sing Along Social is a zero-commitment choir, or ‘mob karaoke’ depending on how you want to look at it. You don’t need to be able to sing, you don't need to practice, you don't even need to know the words. It's about caterwauling along to some great songs in the company of friends and strangers. We choose a different playlist for every event, often with a theme, for example: ‘Pop Battle’, ‘Guilty Pleasures’ or ‘Kate Bush vs. Stevie Nicks’.

Conceived in 2015 by writer/DJ/events organiser Aoife McElwain, Sing Along Social has gathered a dedicated, sell-out monthly audience in a Dublin pub and pretty massive crowds at festivals and events around the country. I jumped on board as co-host earlier this year to help manage the extreme excitement of 2000 people screaming along to ABBA, Britney and Mariah (amongst others) at this year’s Body & Soul festival in Westmeath, (and because Aoife couldn’t set off two confetti cannons at once). Being a Stroudie myself and knowing how much the fringe crowd would dig a good singalong I managed to sneak myself and Aoife on to the festival programme this year. You. Are. Welcome.

When is this wonderful thing happening? Saturday eve, Canal Stage. Exact time TBC, check the fringe programme out soon...

What should I bring? Bring your lungs and your enthusiasm. You may walk away with a prize if we think you’ve given it your all.

What kind of songs will there be? We are working on a playlist tailored to the very musically discerning Stroud crowd… expect a bit ‘o’ Prince… Queen… Kate Bush… plus some surprises.

Where else can I find this brilliant event? We will be at Another Love Story (Co. Meath) and Electric Picnic festival (Co. Laois) and there’s an Irish tour planned for October. If you’re in the Emerald Isle, the monthly Singalong happens at MVP (Harold’s Cross) on the last Sunday of every month. More UK dates will almost certainly be announced for 2018...

I’m confused… More info pls? Click here for a lovely article about SAS 

Follow @singalongsocial on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram for videos, photos and more, and we’ll see you at the fringe!

Anna Jacob is a renaissance man who splits her time between Stroud and Dublin. Check out her latest nonsense @annaflaps


Good On Paper Stroud Fringe 2017 Playlist

This month's playlist features some of the musicians, bands and artists confirmed so far for this year's Stroud Fringe...Click here to listen and see track list below!

1. Sweet Baboo: Pink Rainbow / 2. Low Chimes: Blood Orange / 3. Bryde: Honey / 4. Lowes: Awake At Night /5. Douglas Dare: New York / 6. Body Clocks: Dialogue / 7. The Nextmen ft. Dynamite MC: Round of Applause / 8. DJ Format: Seperated At Birth / 9. Manu Delago: Almost Thirty / 10. Adam Betts: Drumbones / 11. WOWH: Right Away / 12. Fours: Fade To Love / 13. Blurt: Vous Etes Ici / 14. Run Logan Run: No Body / 15. Modulus III: Waiting for Network / 16. Mira Calix: Umbra/Penumbra / 17. Curtis Eller’s American Circus: Busby Berkeley Funeral / 18. Bert Miller and the Animal Folk: My Dad Can Fly / 19. Simon McCorry: Second Light / 20. Emily Hall: Mantra / 21. Emily Barker: Sister Goodbye / 22. Rhain: Time Traveller / 23. The Magic Lantern: No One’s Fault


Live Review: Hattie Briggs by John McLellan

Duffle Vintage Outfitters in John Street isn't an obvious place for a gig but it provided a glorious setting for the gems offered up by Hattie Briggs last Friday evening (May 19th).

Back in January this focused 24 year old announced 12 Months of Madness and boldly promised to issue a different limited edition CD in each month of 2017. So it was that over 100 people squeezed into this eye-catching venue to catch Stroud's sweetest songbird launching May's release, the 5 track EP Hide... 

Amidst a colourful array of jackets, shirts, dresses, footwear, furniture, lamps and guitars the audience were first treated to a Tennessee-drenched set from husband and wife duo The Black Feathers. It was the perfect warm-up: opening up ears to harmonies and hearts to human warmth. There was a brief interval punctuated with free cup cakes courtesy of one of Hattie's super-fans before we resumed. 

Tonight Hattie is flanked by cellist/vocalist Jasmine Scott Neale and guitarist/pedal steel maestro Matt Park, and the sound is sensational. Something about the soft furnishings, the crowd, the ambience, the evening, colludes to create such a sumptuous sonic landscape and from the off it's clear we're all in for a treat. 

Hattie moves effortlessly between keyboard and guitar, the songs interspersed with stories and tales of her, her life, how each slice of ear-watering aural brilliance came about.  Never one to avoid covering any song she loved, she now has a back catalogue many artists would die for and can re-visit her own earlier material and breathe new life into it. It's a measure of how much she has developed as an artist that she can do this. Not only that. She writes to order. "A gentleman approached me" she tells us in crystal clear soft tones. "His wife is a well known poet. He asked me to put one of her poems to music and record it for her birthday." She continues. "The poem was only 8 lines long". Her eyebrows shoot up and she bursts into a broad smile. "That will get you about, I don't know..." she shrugs "30 seconds". The audience laugh. We've all taken her into our hearts. "So I wrote another four verses, and it goes like this". With that she turns to her companions to check they are ready. They must have heard that story many times before, but they're looking at her. They are ready, and like us, they love her too. 

The EP itself is a marvel. Not a duff track on it and both the title track and her song “Just Breathe" stand out for the strength of her songwriting, the extraordinary depth of her voice, the wisdom in her lyrics and the sheer downright musicality of it all.  If she comes anywhere near you or your friends, do yourself and them a favour. Go see her. Buy something. Tell everyone. She's unlikely to fit into venues like the marvellous Duffle for much longer...

Hide is out now and available via  

John McLellan (@JohnMacOchAye) is a music-loving Scot regularly found dancing inappropriately in the Stroud area. He cut his writing teeth with the Stroud Pamphlet Poets and regularly polishes them with the Montpelier Writing Group in Cheltenham. . 

Mr Marko’s Outer Space Emporium Beams into Stroud...

Image by Andrew Longhurst

Image by Andrew Longhurst

If you’ve been paying attention to the news coming from the scientific community, particularly the recently beamed-down images from NASA showing stars that hold seven planets in their orbits only a handful of light years away, you’ll have been getting pretty excited by the possibilities of life beyond the reaches of the currently bewildering atmosphere of Earth.

You may not yet have noticed a space collective who have recently beamed down into Stroud, who have chosen to come to this quiet backwater of the galaxy to spread the word that this is just the beginning for the next great space adventure – through the medium of beat-infested synth driven dance music which they will be bringing to the venues of Stroud this summer. “We are exploring the universe one small town at a time!” says Mr Marko, founder of the Outer Space Emporium, who was initially drawn to this planet by big beat and early 80s synth pop. “A little like Doctor Who, but with bigger beats.”

Mr Marko is accompanied in the Emporium by a disco dervish in a glitter dress, the space siren Cheroona Moonchild, as well as rapper Jake Kirton and, as a terrestrial extra, poet Adam Horovitz. “We want to create a euphoric, beautiful place where aliens, space robots and humans mingle in glorious multi-hued harmony, listening to Quantum Physics they can dance to,” says Mr Marko.

Think Barbarella meets 60s Star Trek in a club somewhere off the autobahn playing an eclectic mix of the Chemical Brothers, 70s and 80s synth legends such as Kraftwerk and variations on the work of Ron Grainer’s theme for Doctor Who, written in the darkest, strangest and most delightful recesses of the Radiophonic Workshop. “That’s what we’re aiming for,” adds Mr Marko, “sci-fi with a sense of fun.We don’t want to think outside the box so much as imagine a universe where there is no box, where we can take our place in the great wide forever amongst the stars!”

Mr. Marko’s Outer Space Emporium will be beaming into a venue near you in late May and early June. You’ll find them at Mr Twitchett’s Café at the Subscription Rooms on May 26th from 8pm (tickets cost £3 - click here for further info)and at the Crown and Sceptre, Horns Road on June 9th from 8.30pm  (entry free click here for further info).

Soundcloud:  / Facebook:

Moviestar by Sarah Phaedre Watson

Is Stroud ready for time travelling Norwegians from the future sent to save our musical souls? (YES).

A month or so ago I got a message from the esteemed Pavlos Kyraciou of infamous Stroud band Square Bomb asking me if I’d be interested in helping put on a gig with a visiting band. Now before I go on I’d like to remind you all of the Daddy Long Legs gig they put on with the SVA at the Good’s Shed on last year. THAT gig. That gig was one of the best bands I have ever had the pleasure of seeing in the town. So, based on the reputation of the mighty Squares and their immaculate musical contacts I was pretty certain I was going to say yes.

By the time I’d watched the first few seconds of their video Monroe (bearded ladies, men in sequinned hot pants AND Adam Ant-esque face paint?) I realised that Norwegian band Moviestar were exactly what Stroud has been waiting for. 

“There are bands that are quite ordinary and traditional and there are those that are, well, quite unique. Norway’s Moviestar definitely fall into the latter camp.”

Of course I’m completely unfazed when I’m told that Moviestar claim to originate from the distant future, or that band members Infinity Vik, Anaconda and The Octopus Goddess, claim to have landed their spaceship in Norway before touring the UK, France and the US. That’s like an everyday thing in Stroud, right? In fact, I have it in good authority that Viktoria Winge (AKA Vik Inifinity) used to live in Stroud, but that's pretty similar to having lived in the distant future is it?

So how can I describe their sound? Well, although they may define themselves as Sci-Fi Rock, as I have no idea what that is I am going to presume you don’t either, but you might recognise it as a new incarnation of Art Punk Pop, reminiscent of bands like Television, B52’s and LCD Soundsystem.

“Some might call them ‘quirky’ whilst others might grope for different synonyms. You cannot deny they stand out from the crowd and bring character, colour and oddity into music.”

Watching their live shows (about a hundred times a day over the last few weeks) I have fallen in love with their performance, their impeccably delivered theatrical ridiculousness: costume, humour, music…  Infinity Vik is a true performance queen with an explosive stage presence, the love child of a tryst between David Bowie, Freddy Mercury and James Brown.

“(Vik) sounds like a young Debbie Harry, a little less crazy than Juliette Lewis, more edgy than Lily Allen…"

The band cite Queen, David Bowie, Björk, Elvis, Goldfrapp, Michael Jackson, Genesis, LCD Soundsystem, and Daft Punk as their inspiration and promise a live performance out of the ordinary, steeped in cosmic chaos.

And so Movistar will be appearing in Stroud on May 25th at the Old Town Hall, for a sneak preview of their debut album, Stupid People Happy Days, due to be released in 2017. (I’m not sure if they took their spaceship or a more traditional mode of transport, but make sure you watch the skies for flashing lights next week just in case??)

They’ll be supported by Square Bomb, because who else could possibly match such an extraordinary band, and between them they promise an evening of musical playfulness, punk poetry, extreme anti-pretentiousness, and another unforgettable night for Stroud.

And on a Thursday too. Oh, Stroud, we spoil you.

MovieStar + Square Bomb Thursday 25th May, Old Town Hall, Shambles, Stroud. Doors 7.30pm - midnight. Tickets £6 (adv) from Trading Post Records, or £8 (door). Visit the facebook event page here for further info. 

You can find out more about the extraordinary Moviestar by visiting their website, capture a flavour of their performances via the May Good On Paper playlist here or peruse their EP on Bandcamp at 

No one knows what Sarah Phaedre Watson really does, she spends time gallivanting off to Africa to make films, writing for various publications, or passionately supporting community arts and events. She certainly gets about a bit

Good On Paper Playlist May 2017

Each month we put together a YouTube playlist featuring artists taken from our music listings. Click here to listen and see track list with dates below…

1.Mammal Hands: Hourglass (Sat 27th, SVA Goods Shed) / 2.Get the Blessing: Phaenomena (Fri 26th, SVA Goods Shed) / 3.The Evil Usses: Pre Op Pop (Sun 28th, SVA John Street) / 4.Eyebrow: Eye Pod (Sat 20th, The Prince Albert) / 5.Moviestar: Monroe (Thurs 25th, Old Town Hall) / 6.Mik Artistik: David Bowie Was A Funny Man (Sun 21st, the Prince Albert) / 7.Jordan Mackampa: Midnight (Fri 26th, the Prince Albert) / 8.The Breath: Antwerp (Fri 5th, SVA Goods Shed) / 9.WAAJU: Alis Mali (Fri 5th, The Prince Albert) / 10.Tezeta: Wormhole (Sun 28th, SVA John Street) / 11.Dakhla: Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla (Fri 26th, SVA Goods Shed) / 12.Run Logan Run: No Body (Sat 27th, SVA John Street) / 13.Spindle Ensemble: Panic Amongst the Dragonflies (Sun 28th, SVA John Street) / 14.The London Bridge Trio: Mendelssohn Piano Trio No 2 (Sun 21st, Christ Church, Nailsworth) / 15.The Sixteen: Handel – Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened (Sat 13th, St Mary’s Church Painswick) / 16.The Schmoozenbergs: Sweet Georgia Brown (Ale House, Sat 27th) / 17.Barbarellas Bang Bang: Here and Now (Thurs 18th, The Prince Albert) / 18.Emily Barker: Sunrise (Thurs 11th, SVA Goods Shed) / 19.Kathryn Williams: Monday Morning (Thurs 25th, Nailsworth Town Hall) / 20.Hattie Briggs: Share Your Heart (Fri 19th, Duffle) 

Pick up issue #26 (out now) for further info!

Record Store Day 2017 @ Trading Post by Dan Guthrie

Image by James Kriszyk (  ), from Good On Paper, Issue #2

Image by James Kriszyk (, from Good On Paper, Issue #2

This year’s Record Store Day takes place this Saturday the 22nd April, and Stroud’s cherished independent record shop Trading Post will once again be celebrating it in style...

With 300 to 400 vinyl exclusives shipped in by owner Simon Vincent especially for the day, covering everything from the hardest dance music to sixties Japanese psychedelia, there’s something for everyone in stock. As always it’s on a first come, first served basis, so if you want to get your hands on the best releases I suggest you get down and queue up early!

The doors open at 8 am, where the day kicks off with a DJ set from Dubbu (aka Neil Wilson). After him at 9 is Steve Brown from Marling School and he’s followed at 10 by Andy Edwards playing straight soul through to 11. Carl Harrison (Sisters of Mercy) is on till quarter to 12, where Threebagsfull takes over for forty five minutes of dub and jungle. Will Cookson, one half of DJ duo Stroud Calling is on till 1 pm, when it’s the turn of Neil Walker from the SVA followed by Neil Arthur from synthpop legends Blancmange. Clare Honeyfield, director of Made in Stroud is spinning till quarter past 3, and then Nadine Phillips (Simon’s better half) is playing music till 4. The day then finishes at Trading Post with a joint set from Keith Allen and Tamzin Malleson (actors, musicians, parents and restaurateurs). 

But the music doesn’t stop there! In the evening, Simon and Neil Wilson have organised a gig at the Prince Albert, all in aid of the National Star College in Cheltenham. Live music comes in the form of Rev Schneider and the Band of Angels providing wacked out country and western weirdness and Stroud’s favourite punk rockers Chinese Burn. After they’ve finished, the DJ sets continue into the night, all raising money for a great cause. "None of this would be possible without the coordinating extraordinaire and right hand man that is Neil Wilson, along with the assistance of Lottie and Miles from the Prince Albert and Ed Butcher of Chinese Burn." adds Simon.

Visit the RSD at Trading Post facebook event page here for news and regularly updated lists of titles and here for further info on the evening event at the Prince Albert.

Simon’s Top 5 Picks for Record Store Day 2017:

  • Reissue of Elastica’s self titled debut album on red vinyl, complete with a 7” flexidisc and a fanzine
  • Picture-disc version of Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack, released 35 years on from the premiere of the film
  • Limited edition Thelonious Monk double LP made up of songs he recorded for the 1960s film Les Liaisons Dangereuses
  • Boxset of ten pre-eighties, US released Ramones seven inch singles
  • Soul Jazz Records Studio One Hi-Fi Special box set , featuring rare collectors tracks

Dan Guthrie is an aspiring teenage journalist with a passion for music, who lives in Stroud. He can be found on twitter at @danylkurtbeng, and writes a blog called Black Boy in Da Burbs

Ruth Royall by Adam Horovitz

Image by James Kriszyk ( )

Image by James Kriszyk (

I meet Ruth Royall in Woodruffs cafe. ‘My favourite spot!’ she says, settling in at the table by the window upstairs, from where we can see the hardier worthies of Stroud pottering blithely about their business on a chilly March afternoon.

Having moved back to Stroud after nearly a decade of living between Bristol and London, studying and making music, Ruth has come back to the town an accomplished and sought-after musician, described by BBC Introducing’s Sam Bonham as ‘the South West’s Princess of Soul’. She left Stroud aged sixteen and, after studying in Bristol, has been working with the likes of Mo Pleasure from Earth Wind and Fire, Kevin Mark Trail from The Streets and Vula from Basement Jaxx. She has also toured Germany, Holland and the UK, and has performed in the iconic Abbey Road studios, at Glastonbury Festival, in The Roundhouse, the Jazz Cafe, and the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Club.

This hectic session musician schedule hasn’t stopped her from working on her own music, however – she is about to release her debut EP, recorded in the UK and the USA, about which we will no doubt be hearing more soon, but in the meantime she is about to embark on a tour, which will stop off at the Lansdown Hall in the heart of her home town, with a group of musicians she met in Berlin.

Perhaps slightly awkwardly for an accomplished musician about to release her official debut record, I remember Ruth from years back, when I was editing the arts pages of a Stroud newspaper. Aged just 13, she had formed SubJustice with a group of friends, and took their chunky, funky sound out to the venues of Stroud, full of youthful energy and fire when in full throttle performance mode, but always charmingly coy between songs.  I wrote encouraging reviews, which I note with glee are quoted on the internet in write ups of Ruth’s progress. At the time, though, they were one of the most exciting bands in Stroud, a young group that clearly had potential – especially Ruth, who wrote most of the songs – and warranted such enthusiasm.  Ruth blushes, winces and laughs when I remind her of the band - ‘you don’t still listen to that do you?’ she asks, a sort of pleased embarrassment painted all over her face.  ‘I’ve always been drawn to ballads and mood music, and jazz was a big part of my life when I was a child,’ she says, moving on. ‘I progressed into soul from jazz and I think that all that was naturally there when I began writing music – I never consciously sought out a style, it just came up. I come from a musical family. There were always instruments in the house, so writing was something that I just did, and didn’t think about. I was about 12 or 13 and my uncle asked in passing what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I said I think I want to do something with my songs. I hadn’t realised until I said it out loud and I was like, "Oh! Actually yeah, that’s what I want to do". I never had any formal song writing training, it all came about just from writing as much as possible.'

I tell her that I have been listening to SubJustice’s self-produced album Cato Street on and off for years and that, set against her recent recordings, I can hear a definite progression in her voice from the sometimes awkward rock’n’funk stylings of that debut to the very powerful and polished jazz- and soul-inflected vocals she delivers now, influences which filter through alluringly into even the poppiest music she makes. It’s definitely a progression rather than a change I’ve noticed. There was always something unique and potent waiting to be fully unleashed in her voice, I tell her.  ‘I was a very earnest, misunderstood teenager,’ she says with a self-deprecating chuckle. ‘I’ll have to listen to that again. I’ll have to re-listen and see if I can see it!’

Not entirely misunderstood, mind; Ruth has clearly had a great deal of support for her choice of career from her family, notably her mother Helen, who gave Ruth the space to be creative from the age of eight. That support has paid off in spades – the track I was lucky enough to hear from her forthcoming debut EP, Lover You Need, which is to be released in the summer, is a beautiful nu-soul song that, whilst it clearly owes a certain amount to bands like The XX and London Grammar, is distinctly and defiantly Ruth. The live videos she posts on her social media are equally exquisite and accomplished. This is a voice that has been allowed a little time to reach its peak, and Ruth has clearly relished the space to find something original to say with her songs. Shows like The Voice often neglect the inner voice, but Ruth has that in spades, to go with her potent singing voice.

Ruth has without doubt put in a great deal of hard work and slog over the past few years – she has paid her dues as far as musicianship goes several times over – but the big step up, the thing that has got her firing on all cylinders, seems to have been a trip to Berlin a few months ago. ‘I went to Berlin for a holiday,’ she tells me, ‘and got up to sing in a couple of clubs. I hit it off with some of the musicians so much that they asked me back. I also kept getting asked by the audience when I was going to do some more sets, so I went back to Berlin twice and connected with some seriously wonderful musicians.’

Now she is about to embark on a pre-EP tour called The Berlin Connection, a show featuring some of her favourite musicians from the city, including Lionel Haas on keyboards, producer, composer and drummer Jerome Bonaparte and Or Rosenfeld on bass.  Ruth and the band will be celebrating the jazzier side of her musicianship on the tour. ‘I love that city,’ she says, ‘and can’t wait to show off what I found there.’ 

Ruth Royall and The Berlin Connection come to Stroud’s Lansdown Hall on Friday, April 28th. Tickets are £10 in advance and £12 on the door and the band will be playing their longest set of the tour there in honour of Ruth’s home town. Visit the facebook event page here for further info. 

It’ll be very interesting to see where her music takes her next...

Adam Horovitz is a writer with a particular interest in poetry, which allows him to scrape a living and keeps him (for the most part) off the streets. He has also worked as a journalist and editor for local papers, literature festivals and, from 2000 to 2008, Glastonbury Festival’s official website.

Dispensing With the #Altfacts, What is the Real Value of the Subs? by Sarah Phaedre Watson

Image by Tammy-Lynn Photography

Image by Tammy-Lynn Photography

Facts and figures are brilliant aren’t they?  As someone who works in marketing (or “hot air” as my friends like to call it) I am more than aware of how powerful a statement with some good old £ signs and statistics can be, and just how much they are manipulated.

The events of the last week or so has proven one thing to me for certain, there has to be transparency and honesty from everyone in order for a genuine debate to take place on the future of the Subscription Rooms. So, lets take a few minutes to look at some pretty powerful statements or beliefs that surround the building (apart from how much we all hate the colour of the ceiling in the ballroom), before we move onto the real questions that need to be answered.

You can thank me for trawling through so many mind-numbingly tedious documents on your behalfby buying me wine when I see you. Several times today I nearly gnawed my arm off with frustration trying to find some of the figures and statistics here.

To make it more fun I’ve made some stuff up too.

Fact #1 The Subscription Rooms only benefits Stroud Town residents

People seem to think that only the people of Stroud step through the doors of the venue but  *clears throat to divulge some actual facts* “Using 11,500 unique postcodes from ticket purchases it was discovered that visitors attending events in the past two and a half years came from well outside the county, with concentrations in Bristol, Birmingham and London, with further large attendances from Gloucester and Cheltenham.” 75% of tickets sales are across the whole district, the rest are people from people who visit the town because of the Subscription Rooms. Those people will visit our shops, pubs, bars and restaurants too if we do a bit of clever marketing right? With a capacity of 450 people in the Ballroom, the building has the ability pull in acts and performers, to provide arts, culture, education and entertainment for the whole district, that our smaller (and equally brilliant) venues just aren’t able to do. And ticket sales show that everyone throughout the area appreciates that.

Fact #2 The Subs only puts on Tribute Bands

*sigh* No. It. Doesn’t.  Can I leave that there?  No? Ok so, yes, over the course of year, you can expect to find around 8 tribute bands playing in the building. Now bearing in mind that the annual programme includes at least 400 performances and workshops, that actually can’t be true now can it? People love tribute bands, they contact the venue asking when the next Chuckle Brothers impersonators will be there all the time*, those events sell out, those people spend money on the bar, and that helps to keep the doors open so that a whole range of performances can be put on. I will never personally understand why someone would buy a tribute band’s CD, but they do you know, and if the building’s job is to provide something for everyone then they need to cater for people who buy tribute bands CDs too.

*this is a lie, but other favourite tributes are requested.

Fact #3 The programming is terrible

Nope. I’m just not having it.

Now given, not every performance, band, workshop or class is for everyone, but that’s the whole point of a community venue isn’t it? To provide something for all tastes.  And if you are providing something for a whole district (and beyond) i stands to reason that people will like one thing and not another. So when someone says “the programming is terrible”, what they’re really saying is “there’s a huge range of stuff available at the venue, but only a small amount is what I’m interested in.” Which is pretty much as it should be, and is the only thing that stops me from screaming in frustration when I hear this said for the 27th time in one day. Could the programme be improved? Yes. Which is why it is always being reviewed and the venue loves it when people get involved, or make suggestions.

Fact #4 There is already too much arts and culture in the area, forcing competition

Repeated over and over again; we already have so many cultural and entertainment venues that the Subscription Rooms just can’t compete, or it detracts from the over venues. But then I take solace in reading a report that our very own Council had the foresight to have put together a decade ago which suggests that (prepare for more actual facts from an actual Council report): “However the centre has to draw on a very fragmented settlement. Real success means appealing to diverse communities, not just ‘pubbers and clubbers’, as one consul-tee put it. This is difficult as the venues are very dispersed. Hence getting the basics right is fundamental. Promotion is also key. The Sub Rooms should become the focus for efforts to promote activities in Stroud outside normal shopping hours, working with a Leisure Forum to encourage joint marketing of activities that bring people together, including arts, sport and continuing education…” Maybe they forgot about that report?Surely if the District is to build upon their reputation as a thriving, alternative arts and entertainment community, which will continue to attract people from all over the UK (see excellent Fact #1) closing down the largest venue, right in the heart of the town would be bonkers right? What if they were to use it as a hub for the whole District, marketing and promoting all of our leisure facilities from one convenient location to underpin a carefully considered arts and culture strategy (which doesn't exist). Blimey, what would happen then?

Fact #5 The Council aren’t very good at running the Subs so they shouldn’t do it anymore

Erm…  What?  So let’s get this straight shall we? “The Council is committed to providing leadership to the community, to serve those who live, work and visit the Stroud District, and to improve the quality of life for all members of the community.” At no point do they say “except for the Subscription Rooms or other arts and culture stuff because, you know *shrug* it’s not our strong point”. We all pay our taxes, which in turn they are supposed to manage for us. Full stop. If they are failing in a specific area, or they have “some weaknesses to address”, how about they pop on their big boy pants and sort it out. Because I’ve tried to get out of all the things that I don’t like doing (and the list is extensive believe me) by sulkily kicking the ground with my hands in my pockets and through lowered eye-lashes suggesting that I shouldn’t have to because, well you know, I’m just not very good at vacuuming. And not a lot happened. Let’s hold the Council accountable the way my children hold me accountable for things, like getting out of bed and functioning as a human being.

Fact #6 The Sub Rooms is an empty shell of empty seats and empty souls*

Ticket sales in the building have doubled since last year, the programme for the coming months looks AMAZING, and the venue is voted the fourth best arts and entertainment in the Cotswolds on TripAdvisor I’ll have you know. Over 400 events take place over the year, with tens of thousands of people in attendance. Only last week there was a queue around the block to get into the building, and events are selling out regularly. It's rated one of the most poplar places to visit in Stroud, both by international and national guests, and the people of Stroud on FaceBook.

To be fair I just provided you with a long list of facts, and not a huge amount of description, but that’s how good those facts are. They’re called stand alone facts I believe, and not just because they are a bit boring and no one wants to talk to them in the pub.

*a bit of melodrama does the world of good when you're trying to break up a #longread right?

Fact #7 If the Subs is “sorted out” all of our arts and culture venues will be saved

Ah, I’ve got some bad news for you on this one. This isn’t a “Sophie’s Choice” of the arts venues in the area, this is a clear signal as to what our Central and Local Government believe to be importantand a priority for spending. This is their tester, if we let this venue go then how on earth are we going to fight for the rest? I say we do what Stroud does best, we pull to our collective bosom what we believe to be important to this town, and we work out how to make it work… and then we all listen to some great bands, dance, and drink a bit too much of our local ale obviously.

Fact #8 Everyone who works for the Council is doing a terrible job and is pushing lies

One of the worst messages I received over the last week was from someone in the Council who felt demoralised by the attention being given to the Subscription Rooms, and the negative press that the Council, and therefore the Council workers are getting. This made me really sad.  I know a lot of people who work for Stroud District Council, they’re passionate about working for our district, and brilliant at their jobs. The issues surrounding the Subscription Rooms, and many other departments down at Ebley Mill, are not their fault and without those committed, dedicated people we’d all be buggered quite frankly.  So next time you see someone who works there, give them a little hug. As an added bonus the few bad apples among the extensive good ones will hate that.

Fact #9 The Council “loses” £415,000 per year on The Subscription Rooms

£415,000 per year lost on one building, during these times of Central Government cuts is a hell ofa lot! And a HUGE CONCERN. If it were actually true.  This is probably my favourite #alternativefact and guaranteed to cause a lengthy debate. So, let’s get to the bottom of it shall we?  Deep breath now kids, we’re nearly there!

Two big figures which can be taken off that £415,000 figure: Depreciation of £60k per year is included: To quote someone anonymously when I asked what that actually was“Whatever it is, it's not a real running cost, just a % of the estimated market value of the building, which is crazy and only a local government accounting thing.” Which pretty much sums it up. *puts maths brain on* So now we’re down to £365,000 a year “lost” by the Council. That still seems like quite a lot right? Ok, so now if you remove the “uncontrollable costs” (they sound like LOADS of fun to have at a party right?) what would happen then?  “Uncontrollable costs” are sadly not a rebellious lot you’d find dancing on a table at a party (*whistles nonchalantly*), they are costs that the council racks up throughout the authority, which are then split out across departments.  They cover exciting things like IT, HR, legal services… You get the drift. So how much does the Subscription Rooms pay each year for these services I hear you ask! Surely these services are being economically provided centrally by the Council and would absolutely save the building money, and provide a valuable service?? The answer is approximately £120,000 per year.  £10,000 per month. Nope. So, without me falling down the never ending worm hole of the minutiae of the rest of the annual accounts you can see what happens once you start to dismantle this annual “loss”.Let’s whip that £180,000 off the figure and see what we’re left with; £235,000 - that’s more realistic, but I’m not done yet because…

Fact #10 If over £400,000 weren’t being spent on the Subscription Rooms (which we all know it isn’t now right?) we could buy a new Brexit Bus

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  But let’s get this straight shall we? If the amount that it is claimed is being “lost” on the venue each year is being “saved” by leasing it to another organisation, or heaven forbid, selling it, then that money would most certainly not be ploughed into another area. For starters, as noted above, the budgetary amounts stated are some rather bizarre Council accountancy practices…And also the money for Council-wide “uncontrollable costs” would have to be found elsewhere anyway, removing it from the Subscription Rooms “budget line” (I know, I know, I should quit with my sexy talk), will only result it having to be allocated to another department within the Council. And that remaining quarter of a million pounds, will it be used to ensure that the revenue that the town and local businesses gain from the Subscription Rooms customers is maintained through marketing and promoting of the District? Will the District use it to ensure that the arts and cultural provision for every resident is preserved? I’ll leave you to answer that yourselves shall I?

Before I go and rest my repetitive strain injury that writing this long article has brought on, I’d like to pose the questions that I think we should all be answering in reality: Stroud District Council subsidise the Subscription Rooms by a current figure of around £235,000 per annum.  Do we believe that during this time of austerity and budget cuts this is a good use of the tax payers money? How can we work together to ensure that the Subscription Rooms becomes a hub for our vibrant district using a progressive and economically beneficial arts and culture strategy?And how can the Council ensure that they fulfil their public duty to oversee the future of just one of the area’s most historic buildings?

And finally…

Isn’t it interesting how “an annual loss of £415,000” sounds so much worse than say:  The Council is committed to addressing how a subsidy of just £2.08 per person, per year for the biggest, and oldest, arts and culture venue right in the heart of our town, can be reduced further, whilst service is further improved for the benefit of the District and it’s visitors.

An on-line petition has recently been set up by  Save Our Subs click here for further information. A Celebrate the Subscription Rooms event has also been organised for Saturday 1st April ft. Boss Morris, Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company, Adam Horovitz. Crispin Thomas and more tba...

No one knows what Sarah Phaedre Watson really does, she spends time gallivanting off to Africa to make films, writing for various publications, or passionately supporting community arts and events. She certainly gets about a bit