RHYME AND REAL ALE: MORE FREE CARDIFF OPEN MIC SPOKEN WORD

RARA returned to the Mackintosh Sports Club Roath, Cardiff for its first 2015 night of open mic poety, spoken word, song and story. Regular reader, Nick Lovell (pictured below) hosted the event for the first time and my full ‘report’ can be found after the pic of me below the pic of Nick.

Next time, I will be hosting, and RARA will be launching its second anthology of work by readers who have taken part in this free event, where new readers and regulars are equally welcome.

Further Details Click Here

I will be belting out Theme For Spectre (Into a Living Nightmare for the second time) and as host may slip into a few of my other pieces like The Booty Song and 73.831776% Bullshit. If all goes to plan the evening will be filmed by Made in Cardiff, which means exciting times ahead for RARA!

Rhyme and Real Ale 12/01/2015
NEW YEAR…NEW HOST…NEW TV CHANNEL

RARA returned to the Mackintosh with its adopted ‘offshore poet’ regular performer Nick Lovell taking on hosting duties at the event for the first time. Strictly speaking, in this context ‘offshore’ means ‘lives in Swindon’ meaning quite a journey to Cardiff for London born Nick who has himself been on quite the journey: taking up performance poetry a little over a year ago but bringing a lifetime of experiences to his mix of satirical and realist topics for exploration. Humorous letters to Bob Marley and the makers of Lynx deodorant have previously been read out to us at RARA, as well as poetry questioning use of language such as ‘friendly fire’. Even the notion of performance poetry itself is not safe from Nick’s talent for skillful verbal evisceration.

Opting to avoid eviscerating any of the open mic readers who signed up to share their musings, Nick proved a capable, calm and gracious introducer of word weavers after offering some syllables of his own, taking potshots at one of his favourite targets: Bullshit…

Having set the scene, Nick called up the first reader…

Christian Searle, who charmed the night with his characteristic gently mocking wickedness exploring the endless problems experienced by those poor and unfortunate souls whose lives are turned upside down by winning the Pools or the Lottery…Next up…

Julie Pritchard, RARA creator and introduced by Nick as ‘The star we all orbit around’ incorporated references to recent events in Paris to her reprise of her own very personal heartfelt examination of human conflict around the world as she wonders “Why is the world breaking its own heart?” Then came…

Clive Oseman, travelling once again with Nick to Cardiff, bringing a different kind of heartbreak to his words, that of the father left waiting for time to allow acrimony, accusations and obfuscations to fade so that a child of divorced parents can reach their own conclusions about whether or not there is more than one version of events leading to a marriage breakdown. ‘Circle’ was the open and raw wound of a piece ending a reading that brought painful subject matter but also self-effacing wit to the Mackintosh.

Then Nick introduced “…Not Chuck, but Chris Norris…” who delivered a confident and poised RARA debut, referencing Shelley’s Ozymandias and also Tellytubbies, truly diverse points of reference there! After Chris (not Chuck) Norris was…

Bridget Leggy Tanner, a RARA regular, converting the recent experience of a Christmas works do into performable words…the normally uptight atmosphere of the office gave way to discussion of who would do who and booty, harsh words and sexual tension emanating from colleagues, described in sing-song style by Bridget as ‘Strangers in the night, do be do be do…” Also returning to RARA was…

Nia Strong, with a piece about a serial killer and her reprise of her “I am an Octopus…” poem turning a satirical eye (and eight appendages) on a world made up of harsh realities and virtual life via the internet. Always a confident presence behind the mic…which can’t be said of the timid shrinking violet known as…

Dave Daggers (who probably smiled at that total misrepresentation of his stage persona) returned to RARA with a first live outing for his many sound effect accompanied tale of a haunted iPhone, which followed a tale from beyond the grave from a narrator who begins his story with ‘Today I shot myself in the head…’ before bemoaning the lack of exciting sin in a rather boring Heaven, despite the chance to meet people like Joan of Arc and St Peter. Inventive and surreal stuff from Dave as ever. Next…

Patrick Widdess made his debut at RARA, delivering material he wrote last November as part of a ‘poem a day’ challenge. A prompt to write of superheroes led him to imagine the fictional Robin Hood lamenting that he was not real and therefore could not help right the kind of wrongs in the real world he could in fictional form. Further lamenting came in the form of ‘Going Digital’ as the loss of things that can be held in the hand and felt physically are increasingly lost to technological advances. Patrick was followed by…

Mario, who was another new face to RARA but clearly a man comfortable with performance as his words flowed freely over the details of imagery of automated bureaucracy reducing people to bits of information being sent here and there as the machine puzzles over the information from its ‘Algorithmic Perspective’. The inhumanity of this state of affairs envisaged by Mario may have left some needing an antidote and one was duly provided by…

Gordon Anderson, who after several requests from me finally brought RARA his surreal, highly comic and sometimes macabre ‘Commercial Presentation’ espousing the life enhancing, body and soul saving, infinitely applicable attributes of BANANA GUARD…followed by…

Leon Lazarus, once more offering RARA slightly bashfully presented voyages into the vulnerabilities and darknesses of the heart and the soul. Hope for love and the fear of not finding it in the cracks between the fractures of our lives are all over Leon’s words and his admiration for David Lynch is perceivable in his approach to his verbal art. The very worst thing or very best thing may be encountered at any moment, and the tension about which one of these will be encountered next by the audience is something Leon appears to enjoy creating. Next, Nick introduced…

Josie Quarrington, making her debut at RARA, in fact reading her words to an audience for the very first time ever, bringing the night breathily delivered verbal portraits of her relationship with Nature, painting word pictures of rainbows that touch the Earth with visible auras and the more animalistic nature of lovers entwined. A confident appearing first time behind the mic, which is often a scary thing for people to put themselves through but something RARA encourages anyone to try, because so many people get so much out of sharing themselves as much as their words. Next, Nick called up the last reader of the first half…

Will Macmillan Jones, very experienced self/word sharer as a comic fantasy novelist and spoken word performer. Jokingly apologising for being cheerful, he delivered a piece about new beginnings before exploring the slightly darker scenario of the Laws of Night. Blank Screen Blues came next detailing the stresses of a family in poverty while a writer, being urged to get a proper job and bring in some money ponders over what he can come up with for the upcoming Rhyme and Real Ale event!

After the toilet/cigarette/bar/conversation break Nick got the second half underway, introducing…

Will Ford…I try my best to push myself in unexpected directions and this time I brought a Bond song I wrote just to see if I could. Nervously at first I sang Theme Song for Spectre (Into a Living Nightmare). No objects were thrown. Result! Next came…

Fran Smith, with a piece reflective of her interest in how we treat each other and how that is played out in how we treat the world, this time offering RARA a lament for the fate of a polar bear standing on an icy landscape that melts and shrinks, until he is left swimming until he can swim no more…And then, also with a keen focus on how we treat each other, was…

Des Mannay, beginning with a piece that has been published in the I Am Not A Silent Poet’ journal, his words being a warning shot aimed at men who believe they have the right to take what they want from women. Then he delivered a satire on the choice of a Welsh name for a Cardiff pub, the Mochyn Du, which translates as the potentially offensive ‘Black Pig’. Then he got into the mind of a heckler who thinks he is being witty then realizes everyone hates him. Finally came a treatise on the notion of socially acceptable assisted suicide, from the point of view of someone who very nearly ended it all because of their health problems but lived a useful life they might never have had, if the notion of assisted suicide had existed back then to possibly imply their existence was a burden to others. Strong and sobering words, followed by no words at all from…

Meirion Boudier, a really brilliant instrumental guitarist, picking, strumming, rocking and caressing his way through a musical odyssey on 12 strings. Stirring stuff as always from Meirion. Then Nick introduced…

Phil, who, in his first RARA open mic slot delivered tale of experiencing a lustful assignation while on holiday and very honestly depicted the nervousness and doubt over whether the faltering first conversations are going to lead to what is obviously wanted, and implying how, in fact, getting it on with someone is often remembered as being more free flowingly effortless than it actually was. Another new reader to RARA came next as Nick introduced…

Allie Dowling, confidently reading three poems. One for a troubled friend needing to hear how basically great she is. One of a political flavour, a critique of NHS cuts mediated through her mother’s humiliating experience of a mammogram procedure carried out in a van in a Morrisons supermarket car park. Finally Allie made a verse form apology, to a lover, transcending the fact it began with the words ‘Screw you’ and with a touch of the kind of rhythm and flow you might expect to hear from Kate North. Then…

Vincent Thomas, last on the open mic list, expressed anger at the word synergy and how it is used as a buzzword to suggest great things are happening, even when they clearly aren’t. The repeated use of words beginning with S created the impression of Vincent as a snake, hissing threateningly at the despised word and by implication, the idiots who use it. Then an emotionally raw break up related rant was followed by the second piece of the evening referencing Ozymadias, albeit in a more acerbic manner than that offered earlier by Chuck…sorry, Chris Norris. Vincent felt that he went out on a personal limb re relationships issues this time out at RARA but neither he nor anyone else should be afraid of revealing their inner self via their words at an open mic night. Isn’t treading where we fear to tread one of the many reasons to put pen to paper in the first place?

Vincent would have been the final reader of the night, had Julie Pritchard not insisted that the host give us another of his offerings, so Nick Lovell duly supplied us with ‘Are Fish Really Brain Food’ featuring a character so hypnotized by the carefree nature of the fish he observed in a tank that he wanted to join them. So he tried and in the process smashed the tank and the fish ended up being killed. So careful what you wish for! And then he closed proceedings on a great start to the year for RARA, continuing to offer a free monthly platform for anyone wishing to share their creativity. Eclectic is the only word for the range of voices and moods and styles heard at a RARA night.

As well as sterling duties as host, Nick has been receiving submissions for the second RARA booklet, which will launched at the next RARA, February 9th 2015 at the Mackintosh Sports Club, as always. I will be taking my latest turn as host that night, hope you can come along. If all goes to plan, the evening will be recorded by the recently launched Made in Cardiff Channel.

Exciting times lie ahead!

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