Tuesday 12th December 2103 GMT
Weymouth BID (Business Improvement District) have applied to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council for a substantial cash loan which has been refused according to DN sources.
The revelation comes as the BID, who are looking to secure another five year term to help businesses with footfall by the way of events and marketing in the Dorset seaside resort from mid 2018.
Back in May 2013 former chairman Nigel Reed claimed in the BID’s introduction that the 1.5% levy that’s paid by businesses with a rateable value of £6000 and over will ‘for the first time ever the business community will have a sensible budget which can be used to create change and increase business in the resort.’
A manifesto also claimed to break even but with a small surplus year on year but it seems it has failed to strike harmony with business owners in Weymouth, many who are very unhappy that they can’t opt out of paying.
Reed has since left his role to take up a similar position at Go Southampton.
Looking at accounts for the twelve month period between 1st August 2015 – 31st July 2016 show that the BID show a deficit of around £77k, they also show ‘website costs’ of over £90k and ‘advertising’ of around £70k in a three year period.
Other fees have soared, in the initial manifesto it was claimed that £44k per annum would be the rough figure over five years for staff but in two years ’employment costs’ were nearly £160k
An angry local businessman who pays more than one levy into the BID and wished to remain anonymous said “The bid collect hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of money from levy payers each year. What the hell have they done with the money?!”
There are bands whose breakthrough music got played on the radio back in the day but never get any airtime in the UK nowadays. There’s several to mention who put out some great tunes but radio stations choose to ignore those tracks unless they feature on a golden hour or mystery year.
Those songs were written by Sian Evans, the talented Welsh-born singer/songwriter who fronted the Bristol based band Kosheen until they officially disbanded in 2016 following five studio albums.
Now working on her solo album Sian has teamed up with long term writing partner Ron McElroy, a new band and a fresh new sound.
Having just returned from shows in Russia & Ukraine we managed to catch up with Sian, who spoke to us about the past, present and her future gig in Cardiff.
Photo by Ubik Litvin Photography – Kiev
– Past or present what’s the best band/musician that has supported you or vice versa?
“We were very lucky to bag a tour with Faithless. We were on the same label and I guess it made sense to try to expose us to the massive Faithless following. I learned so much from this experience. Maxie (Jazz) took me under his wing and we have remained friends. It was exhausting but inspirational. We were in the smallest tour bus with no thermostat so the first 20 hour travel day to Portugal was a sharp learning curve! I remember the boys all on the back of the bus sweltering sat in their boxers gasping for air out of the smallest window!
The first show, as we expected was pretty dry, people don’t usually show up for the support , which is a great shame as sometimes there are real gems to be heard. Hide you was just released and no one knew who we were, but as soon as that intro came through people’s heads turned. The next gig more people showed up for us and as the tour went on we were playing to practically full houses.
It was also my first experience with a full professional crew, we borrowed mostly from Faithless, and Simon Thomas who was fantastic teacher. I was like a sponge.. just wanted to get it right and live up to the amazing shows we were supporting”.
– You’ve done a fair bit of touring overseas. Where is your favourite place in the world to perform and why?
“I am such a foodie! I learned how to make meals using only a kettle and a microwave! So when we would land in different cities I would be straight on to the local crew to find great eateries. I must admit that I could probably tell you cities where it was super hard to find a decent meal.. but my favourite cities for food are Vienna, Prague, St Petersburg and Bern.
I love Prague, the Roxy will always have a place in my heart after a 3 night sell out back in 2006 i think but please don’t pull me up on dates! It was a whirlwind from the start.
St Petersburg is my second home and I am blown away with the warmth and loyalty of the fans there who are so romantic and emotional.
Austria is beautiful, I usually sleep in splitter vans or busses which is a talent in itself but in Austria you have to sit up and gaze at the mountains.
I always get proper nervous for a London gig.. Koko will always be a fave but when we first sold out the Brixton Academy I was on top of the world. it’s not a big venue but I used to jump the train when I was a teenager to go to watch the ORB all nighters!”
– Are you enjoying your solo work more than when you were in the band and would you ever go back to work with them?
“It was the best and worst times really. We weren’t managed so we were thrown from pillar to post. I was a single mum and I missed my son so much with the tours taking up most of the year. I would have a bag packed in the house and literally drop off a dirty one and pick up the clean one, squeeze my boy and out the door.
Any schedule like this would test the strongest relationship and it was fraught. I felt isolated. My songwriting suffered and we drifted apart. I believe we had a golden chemistry, balanced in a respect we had for the elements we brought to the table.
When the boys steered the sound toward a clubby more DJ related record I lost my place, I didn’t relate and we stopped writing. As a writer you are defined by your last composition. I needed to write so I wrote with other people. This seemed to widen the distance between us.
“It is good to be working with a band again. what began as an acoustic project, a kind of reaction to 20 years of electronic music, has become more electrified and beatsy. I have known Ron McElroy for over 25 years and we have always written together. It was so natural to perform and write again with him. He helped to carve me as a writer and it still feels so fresh.The Songs we are writing and performing fit beautifully beside the reworked Kosheen numbers that make up the set.”
– What career would you have taken up had you not been a singer/songwriter.
“I would have loved to be an actress. I have discovered later in my life that I love teaching. I have worked on some wonderful youth projects, using songwriting and performing to build confidence and promote expression. I lecture and give masterclasses and I get so much from this.”
– Where in the UK do you like to holiday and why?
“There is an island, off an island, off an island in North Wales I have fallen in Love with…. I am often in West Wales. I am discovering Cornwall. I will always be a traveller at heart.”
– Biggest influences in your career?
“Being a mother makes you address the human condition in a deeper way. I have seen the world through my sons eyes and that has been my muse. He is an incredible adult now making his way in the world and I am so proud of his development and achievements both professionally and emotionally.
I am a good listener, I try to figure things out and be an open and non judgemental friend, songs help me untangle the muddle. Good therapy!.”
I hear you’re going back to playing in your native Wales soon, are you looking forward to the gig?
“I am Playing The Globe on the 8th December alongside Future Dub Orchestra who are from Bristol, they blew me away in the summer with a blinding set, Bristol fashion DnB, great vocals and stomping beats.
Ragsy is a friend of mine and he will open the show with his bitter-sweet songwriting. It is going to be a lovely way to kick off Christmas”.
The latest single ‘Boy in the picture’ with Kid Crème & Jolyon Petch
By Lee Dolbear @LeeDolbear7 on twitter – Dorset Newsdesk
Many thanks to Sian, Kelly and Maria.
Weymouth will provide a warm welcome back to Boycie next Saturday, where he will be appearing at the Riviera Hotel.
I managed to catch up with the evergreen John Challis for a chat about what to expect from his hugely popular show ‘Only fools and Boycie’, and of course we talk Only fools and his role in the hit ITV comedy show Benidorm.
I’ll leave the rest to Boycie….
– Without giving too much away, what are your Only fools and Boycie shows about?
“My one man show Only Fools and Boycie has been going for over four years now and it began on P&O cruises where it was very well received. I thought it might go well on the mainland and with a local journalist Andy Richardson we organised a tour of small venues around the UK. I have published two volumes of autobiography called Being Boycie and Boycie and Beyond and people seem to enjoy the stories from my long and varied career, so that’s what I do on stage-tell stories! The show is just me talking about myself which is what actors like to do, but I do have some great stories from backstage and behind the camera”
“There’s lots of name dropping and recognition stories, but mostly people want to hear about my time in Only Fools and Horses. The show is in two halves of 45 minutes with a twenty minute interval. There is a Q&A at the end of the second half for anyone to ask anything they’ve been dying to know! Afterwards I meet and greet the audience in the theatre foyer, there are copies of my books on sale and I will sign those and write any special message. I’m happy to do selfies!”
Have you ever performed at the Riviera Hotel before and when were you last present in Dorset?
“I’m looking forward very much to playing the Riviera Hotel at Bowleaze Cove. I’ve never been there before but my wife Carol is a Dorset girl and remembers it fondly from her childhood when it was a Pontin’s Holiday Camp! What a fantastic building on such a beautiful piece of coastline and what a relief that the place is still standing. Carol’s brother lives near Dorchester and we always stay with him when we’re down in Dorset. This year was my first time at the Dorset Food and Art Festival in Poundbury and the Dorset County Show where I had a chance to showcase my books under the name of my own publishing company Wigmore Books. I also spent a few days selling books over the August Bank Holiday at the Great Dorset Steam Fair which was phenomenal!”
What about Benidorm, you’re part of the fabric there now?!
“I’ve been very lucky to have been part of such an iconic show as Only Fools and Horses but a couple of years ago I was asked to create a new character in ITV’s hit comedy Benidorm. The writer Derren Litten was always a great fan of John Sullivan and Sullivan rated his work highly as he asked Derren to write for the Green Green Grass. I think that Derren is a great talent and a worthy successor to Sullivan. I was thrilled when I was asked to appear in Benidorm as Monty Staines, a love interest for Joyce Temple Savage. He’s had to fight off a few of her suitors but he’s finally got his girl. I started off in Series 8 I think as a real estate wheeler dealer and then came back in Series 9 as a contender for Joyce’s affections, but she’s a tricky lady and not really sure what she wants! See what happens in Series 10 which we filmed on location in Benidorm over five months when it comes out on ITV in January. I had the time of my life and was well and truly welcomed into the Benidorm family. It’s a great friendly company, cast and crew alike and they like to party! There were lots of guest artistes, all of them legends and you’ll just have to watch to see what happens. The first episode of the new series is fantastic – the most fun you could wish for!”
An OFAH revival?
“I’m often asked if there will be another one off special episode of Only Fools and Horses. The answer is probably not, as our brilliant writer John Sullivan passed away some years ago. Nobody could do it better than Sullivan and his family is keen to protect that legacy. Both David and Nicholas have said that if a script came along that lived up to the standard of John Sullivan, then they would be up for it, as would Sue Holderness and I, but to be fair with you it’s not very likely – sadly”.
Last few weeks of 2017…?
“I spent the first half of this year in Spain so this last part of the year is galloping away, I’ve got four more dates on this tour including Brighton, Bournemouth, Weymouth and Bath then it’s home to the Midlands for an evening in conversation with Nick Owen at the Brierley Hill Civic near Birmingham. Most people will know Nick from TV’s Good Morning With Anne (Diamond) and Nick. He’s a great sports fan and loves the same blues music as me; he’s an old friend so we should have a good evening asking each other about our long careers-over 100 years clocked up between us!”
“I’ve got lots of book signing opportunities coming up, mostly local at the Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fair and Shrewsbury Christmas Fair, then two days in Wrexham at Wales Comic Con which has grown and grown into this mega event! I usually do panto over the Christmas period but this will be the first time in 26 consecutive years that I won’t be either Captain Hook or Abanazar . I just decided to have a break but I’ll probably miss frightening the children, so I might go back to it in 2018”.
What you got for 2018?
“As for 2018, like most actors I haven’t a clue what’s in store. No filming next year for Benidorm as we’re taking a year out, so who knows what will turn up. Our business is notoriously fickle but when it’s good it’s very, very good. Watch this space”.
John Challis will be back in Dorset with his one man show ‘Only fools and Boycie’ on Saturday 11th November at the Riviera Hotel, Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth
SAT NAV – DT3 6PR
John Challis on twitter @BeingBoycie
Riviera Hotel, Weymouth on twitter @RivieraHotel3
By Lee Dolbear – Dorset Newsdesk – @leedolbear7 twitter