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Badger and the pick of the pops



badgerOVER the last couple of weeks, even by his own benighted standards, Badger has been a gloomy soul. However, readers, this week Badger resolved to strike an altogether lighter and less sombre note; with what is, admittedly, variable success.

As Badger was listening to the wireless the other day he slipped back into a time warp. There he was, Tony Blackburn, who sounded as gruesomely cheery as Badger remembered from his childhood. Tone was playing the top twenty selling singles from 1985. At that time it took significant sales to get into the top twenty, let alone the top ten, and it was not uncommon for singles to sell in the hundreds of thousands.

For those of Badger’s readers who are not familiar with the concept, a swift history lesson is in order. In a world before CD’s, and long before downloads, the purchase of seven inch disks of vinyl to be played on a Hi-fi turntable – or even, if one was lucky enough, a music centre. In fact, music centres gave one the option of just recording the top forty and adeptly editing out the disc jockey banter between records: particularly useful for avoiding Bruno Brookes.

Anyway, Badger digresses. There Badger was, back in 1985, with Tony Blackburn doing the top twenty-selling singles of the year.

1985: The year of The Smiths, The Cult, The Cure, The Style Council, Bruce Springsteen, Prince. Badger settled down for a treat.

Oh dear, readers, oh dearie, dearie, dearie me.

Badger listened aghast.

Apparently, when Morrisey sang the lyrics ‘the devil will find work for idle hands to do’, the thing the devil found for idle hands to do was to buy singles perpetrated by Jennifer Rush, Barbara Dickson & Elaine Paige, and Foreigner.

Asbestos-lunged American power-ballad diva, Jennifer Rush bellowed The Power of Love to five weeks at the top of the chart in October. As Badger discovered to his horror when researching this article – La Rush had recorded the UK’s best-selling single by a solo female artist until overtaken by something equally interminable by Whitney Houston several years later.

Memory, not the most reliable of mediums at the best of times, had somehow preserved for Badger the memory of Walls Come Tumbling Down, Between the Wars, and Close to Me, but erased Easy Lover, and the knuckle-whitening horror of Frankie.

Now, Badger is many things but he is no musical elitist. He can be found a-shuffling his paws along to tunes – if you excuse the pun – of any stripe. But the discovery of precisely what had been a hit when the world was young and green came as a mortifying surprise to Badger. 1985 was no golden age of popular music, it was an age right up there with the horror of times when young girls chanted for the Bay City Rollers or David Cassidy.

Readers, it was an age of Phil Collins.

Phil-bloody-Collins. I mean it is not as if Genesis was not quite bad enough, Phil had to distil its essence, cube it and record it. Those are not only musical crimes, readers: they are crimes against humanity. Phil Collins constitutes the final proof of the proposition that the only band in which the drummer was the most talented member was Nirvana.

And it came to Badger that much of the mid-80’s had been erased from Badger’s mind by a combination of Phil Collins and Margaret Thatcher. Shaken by the sheer awfulness of the period, musically and politically, Badger had expunged its recollection and retained only the memory of little shafts of light to illuminate the gloom.

On reflection, the whole period from, say, 1982 to the end of 1990 seems a little hazy. Not so much never glad confident morning again, as an abrupt break in cultural transmission that only picked up again a long time later. Lager and despair might have had something to do with that, readers.

But still Tony Blackburn endures: we are now past post-modern irony – way past Smashy and Nicey territory -and into the realms of complicity.

We know he is corny, we know he has hung around longer than a fart in a freezer, but Tony Blackburn is a reminder to us of a time when what went to the top of the charts had a certain cultural currency.

Popular music is less a sign of our times than a diary marker in our memories. If pressed to remember a specific day or month, you might fail. But people always remember what they were doing when they first became aware of a certain song, or a certain artist.

The old joke about innumerable progeny being conceived to the melodic rumbling of Barry White probably has a certain ring of truth about it; although in Pembrokeshire in the 1980’s, Badger is pretty sure that it was more likely to be to the strains of Hi Ho Silver Lining leeching through the windows of the village hall into a darkened car park at the end of a disco. Or possibly to the apparently endless long version of Freebird if you ventured out to The Old Rectory near Nash of fond Badgery memories.

The truth about the eighties, is that like Auden’s 1930’s, they were a low, dishonest decade. Their altitude and dishonesty is worse than some and better than others. (Don’t get Badger started on the 1970’s and the type of modern comedian who asks the audience whether it remembers Spangles.)

For all the gleaming newness of the now, and in the knowledge of its gloomier corners, the past still has its pull. Even now, even after Badger has discovered the unfortunate musical truth about 1985, his memory insists that for the portion of the year that Little Red Corvette was not number one, She Sells Sanctuary was in its stead.The thing about nostalgia, readers, is that nothing can kill it. Not even the truth.

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Man found not guilty of stalking beauty salon owner



FRANK JANIUREK, 43, of Heol Glyndwr in Fishguard, has been acquitted of stalking the owner of a beauty salon after a trial at Swansea Crown Court. The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict following approximately two-and-a-half hours of deliberations.

Janiurek was accused of causing serious alarm or distress to the woman between 25 March and 10 July 2022. The prosecution claimed that after receiving a facial treatment at the salon on 8 March 2022, Janiurek began sending numerous emails and making frequent calls to the salon, often repeating questions that had already been answered. He was also alleged to have walked past the salon daily and liked one of the complainant’s Instagram pictures using an account under a false name. Additionally, it was claimed that he stared at the complainant for an extended period while she was out in Cardigan celebrating her birthday.

Caitlin Brazel, prosecuting, argued that these actions constituted stalking, causing serious alarm or distress. However, Janiurek pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Matthew Murphy, defending Janiurek, contended that the complainant had not directly communicated her discomfort to the defendant until 1 June. Murphy stated, “She doesn’t tell him anything about his behaviour and the effect it’s having on her before June 1.” He argued that if the complainant felt uncomfortable, she should have been more direct in her communication.

Murphy also highlighted that the complainant’s actions, such as signing off emails with ‘All the best’ and stating she had an injured arm and was not taking on new clients, did not clearly indicate that she wanted the contact to end. He noted that Janiurek, who is neurodivergent and has Asperger’s syndrome, was primarily engaging with the business, not the complainant personally. Murphy emphasised that all of Janiurek’s messages were related to beauty treatments, except for one occasion when he inquired about the complainant’s injured arm.

Regarding the Instagram picture, Murphy pointed out that it was posted on the business’s account, not the complainant’s personal account.

Recorder David Elias KC, who presided over the trial, thanked the jury for their careful consideration of the case. Following the not guilty verdict, Janiurek was allowed to leave the dock, having been acquitted of all charges.

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Cannabis factory with over 800 plants found in west Wales drugs bust



POLICE in Carmarthenshire made a major drugs bust this week when they found over 800 cannabis plants in what was supposed to be a vacant property.

A 26-year old man was arrested and has now been remanded into custody.

The police are appealing for information and have released photographs of the illicit cannabis production facility.

A police spokesperson told The Herald on Friday (May 24): “Dyfed Powys Police executed a warrant at the Mountain Gate, Tycroes, Ammanford on Tuesday May 21.

“The vacant property was found to have a large hydroponic set up inside, with approx. 800 cannabis plants seized by officers.

“One man, Beni Mirashi age 26, was arrested and was charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis.

“He appeared at Llanelli Magistrates Court on 23 May and was remanded to next appear at Swansea Crown Court on June 24.”

Police asked that if anyone has any information that may support officers in their investigation, they are asked to contact us either through a direct message on social media, online at:, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 101

Quoting reference: 24*459007

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Red Bull Hardline Wales confirms rider list for 2024



RED BULL Hardline, known as the most challenging downhill mountain bike race world wide, confirms the final rider list for this year’s Wales event. 

Following its first event overseas, with a stop Down Under, Red Bull Hardline returns to its home in Wales’ Dyfi valley to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The brainchild of Dan Atherton a decade ago, 34 of the brightest and best talents in downhill mountain biking are set to descend on the north Wales course. With the 2023 event sadly curtailed by the Welsh weather, there’s old scores to settle and it’s all to play for in 2024.

Confirmed Rider List:

Ronan DunneIRL
Bernard KerrUK
Brook MacDonaldNZL
Charlie HattonUK
Adam BraytonUK
Craig EvansUK
Theo ErlangsenSA
Matteo IniguezFRA
Juanfer VelezCOL
Gaetan VigeFRA
Jim MonroUK
Matt JonesUK
Edgar BrioleFRA
George BranniganNZ
Sam GaleNZ
Jono JonesUK
Sam BlenkinsopNZ
Brendan FaircloughUK
Josh BrycelandUK
Dennis LuffmanUK
Sam HockenhullUK
Josh LoweUK
Taylor VernonUK
Thibault LalyFRA
Thomas GenonBEL
Szymon GodziekPOL
Sebastian HolguinCOL
Alex StorrUK
Vincent TupinFRA
Harry MolloyUK
Matteo IniguezFRA

Female riders will begin training on Monday, giving them ample time to familiarise themselves with the new course, with Tahnée Seagrave, Cami Nogueira and Hannah Bergmann all set to continue to push the boundaries of their sport once again. Louise-Anna Ferguson will be returning to Wales fresh from her success at Red Bull Hardline Tasmania, putting on a gutsy performance to finish a full finals race run despite an early crash. New to Red Bull Hardline, Vaea Verbeeck will make her first appearance, bringing fresh fire power to the women’s lineup 

Following his stand-out success at Red Bull Hardline Tasmania, Ronan Dunne will be taking to the start line with aims of achieving the double. Nipping at his heels will be three-time winner Bernard Kerr, who placed second in Tasmania back in February. 2017 champion Craig Evans is back once again and eager to replicate his success of 7 years previous.

The breathtaking race will be broadcasted live globally on Red Bull TV on Sunday 2nd June at 2.30pm GMT. Ahead of the event, fans can enjoy the week’s best action from course walk and practice on the Red Bull Bike YouTube ahead of the main event. 

For further Red Bull Hardline rider updates and for more information visit and make sure to save the link to Red Bull Bike YouTube: to not miss out on the week’s best action.

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