WHERE? At Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, usually in the calmer part of the cafe/bar area called The Cwtch

WHEN? On the fourth Friday of each month.  10 a.m to 1 p.m

WHY? So that all kinds of writers of all levels of experience can gather to connect and explore creativity in any way they see fit! Commune with other writers, or find a space and make it your own and write something, off the cuff, previously planned, or however you choose. TODAY  I wrote a completely unplanned piece called…


Which I had planned to include in this blog but now have different plans. Can’t blog it because that would count as ‘published’.



Second monday every month: RARA!!

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”

So begins A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens…by sheer coincidence, as part of the 2015 Made in Roath Festival the ‘special edition’ October Rhyme and Real Ale Open Mic Night invited readers to play along and interpret any way they wished the theme of BEST and WORST 

Meet one of the Hosts: Dave Daggers


Fresh from performing at Made In Roath: Octopoet the night before, co-host and organiser Dave Daggers had a secretly planned prank in store for his fellow host…

Will Ford (me).


Unaware of Dave’s evil plan, I expected the night to merely involve us alternately introducing those signing up for the free open mic. After I bellowed a shouty piece at the audience to kick things off, up came… 

Chris Norris


A familiar face and voice to R.A.R.A, Chris offered spins on traditional forms, and rather than electing to call one worse than the other, left it to us to decide. Next came…

David Foster Morgan


With subtle touches of observation and wit, David’s words were warmly embraced and his forthcoming book will no doubt be too! The pics for this blog (except the one of herself) came courtesy of the next performer…

Paula Hughes


A regular attendee (and photographer of) R.A.R.A and other wordy events, this was Paula’s first time behind the mic for us. Her ‘worst’ was a poem she wrote as a young girl to the Gary Numan Fan Club, which was very sweet and pretty funny viewed by adult eyes through the prism of time! She followed it up with a lovely and well delivered song, and hopefully this first time is far from the last! (thanks for this pic, Bridget Leggy Tanner).

Next up…Christian Searle


Intellectual gymnastics and vicious wit are always evident in Christian’s readings, as well as genuinely heartfelt pieces. Certainly a reader to keep your ears on their toes, as it were…And then it was time for…

John Eliot


John  (author of Shh!) brought the best of his softly spoken words to the night and his appreciation of the variety of material that crops up in open mic situations :-). He was followed by the often verbally playful…

Bridget Leggy Tanner


Unfortunately, Bridget had a slight case of Frog In The Throat, and giggled her way through her voice tailing huskily off while delivering a verse taking the mickey out  the funny shaped balls of rugby and the proximity of players eyes to bums in scrums! 

Patrick Widdess


Poet and Podcaster Patrick delivered a comic diatribe against poets who read their work from their phones as his interpretation of ‘worst’ and for ‘best’ delivered his semi-scary, semi-humorous piece about seeing a man-eating butterfly, a poem that helped him to runner up position at the Made in Roath Summer Festival Poetry Slam…see Headstand Radio for his podcast series

Then came the first break so we could put some money in the till of the Mackintosh Sports Club in Roath, who let us have the room without charging us, so thanks to the Mack once again for that! 



Jacquee Robb

Returning to R.A.R.A to read for the second time after recently moving to Cardiff, Jacquee opened the second section. She delivered a slightly edgy mix of urban-ish rhythms sprinkled with bursts of the the song Love is All Around. As with some other readers on the night, the efforts to write the best stuff possible were in slight conflict with deciding what is our worst, and as Jacquee suggested, writers views of their best or worst material aren’t necessarily borne out by how the words are received anyway! Jacquee was followed by… 

Ben Meadon


Ben also left it to the audience to decide the relative quality of his words, opting to read Mad Carrot’s Disease, his contribution to the third Roath Writers Group Anthology, launched at the previous R.A.R.A event in September. Next came…

Fran Smith


Fran, philosophical body poet and compassionate humanist read a piece from her usual angle of seeking the best in people and life to conquer the worst and invited listeners and readers to attend and if possible take part in an event Saturday, October 17th (details at the very end of this blog, scroll down to there even if you don’t read the rest of this account of the night)

And stepping up next, the one, only and the uniquely bemused appearing persona behind the mic of…

Simon L. Read


Simon’s self selected worst piece involving the use of a new shampoo that was in fact, the hair removal product Veet called The Last Word Is Not Feet and his best (selected by those he offered the option to) was his tale of a humorously dangerous night in The Unicorn Dance Hall…And then up came

Paddy Faulkner


Pausing only to smilingly bemoan the difficulties of following Simon L. Read, Paddy announced a workshop he planned to run the next day for Made In Roath on Communicating With An Audience (it will have happened by now, so hope it went well, Paddy). Then came two poems, the second being particularly poignant in its narrative conceit, of soldiers who had previously died for us commenting on what we have done to the world with the freedom they won for us via their sacrifice…

And then…

Dave Daggers


Starting with his best, Dave showed off a book of artwork and verse he has put together, saving the worst for last. He correctly said that the worst didn’t have to be one of our own pieces…


…so he did a parody delivery of a piece by ME. He also managed to satirise the Ace of Spades shirt I often wear at readings by cutting out a large ace of spades and sticking it to his chest. Mortifying cruelty beyond compare!

This is what I looked like when I realised he was doing his version of The Booty Song…


And this is the awkward smile of someone thinking “Daggers, you magnificent swine”


I said “Daggers, you’re a dead man” when announcing the second break. And I killed him during the break, but he came back to life and is now a Zombie, an unstoppable, prank pulling Zombie!


I opened the third section with my best and worst efforts, The Idea that Could Change The World and If Batman Did Open Mic Poetry…Then for the first time at R.A.R.A we welcomed…



A confident and poised first timer deserves better than to have his surname written down illegibly and then not properly remembered by me, so Tom I will definitely rectify this situation and correct this blog if you come back and bring more words, which we hope you will! 

Enter the Prince of Darkness…

Leon Lazarus


Leon ‘Laz’ Lazarus pens and delivers words that acknowledge the dark while hoping for the light to peep through every now and again to land on little areas of beauty, and his performance was as uniquely pitched as always…And then there was…

Ellie Powell


First Ellie Delivered Manual For 2015, her contribution to the Roath Writers recently launched third collection. Then Patrick Widdess, having presumably been horrified by me reading from my phone must have suffered further as Ellie’s second piece was delivered from hers. Forgive us Patrick!

Lloyd Houston


Lloyd, another first timer at R.A.R.A read from a book containing poems by his father, to honour the work and words, rather than imply anything best or worst about them. A very sweet thing to do 🙂 Then it was time for us to hear from a Roath Writer and semi-regular R.A.R.A reader…

Vincent Thomas


Horrors of Modernity formed the spine supporting Vincent’s confident slot, and his presence behind the mic continues to develop. The same is true of…

Bryan Marshall


Despite Bryan’s self-proclaimed worst piece being the result of shoving two half finished pieces together it certainly had the feel and sound of only being one piece, judged a little harshly by its creator! And then came the last reader on the open mic list, the very busy and prolific…

Mark Curtis


Mark’s second piece was a deliberately chosen antidote to a very dark opener based on the life and works of human skin wearing murderer Ed Gein (the inspiration for Norman Bates and Leatherface). Horrors of the genre kind and the personal kind feature in Marks work, but a joy also permeates his work and person, as expression of all kinds is embarked upon by him with a sense of adventurous experimentation.

And that would have been it for Best and Worst at Rhyme and Real Ale if I hadn’t been egged onto do the Booty Song properly after it had been so beaten up by Dave Daggers earlier on…and during the performance the evil Dave Daggers struck again…


I thought he was coming over to join in with the Booty


Which he did…


But what I thought was a pat on the back for being a good sport about his gag


Was an evil, truly nefarious plan to stick something on my back…


And then photograph it


Which I only found out about when Paula Hughes took this pic…Mark Curtis, Damn you and your laughter!


Ah well, if you can’t handle looking foolish every now and then life finds ways to make you look an even bigger fool, doesn’t it? No harm, no foul, really 🙂 After the silliness, the punters and poets variously chatted and drifted off into the night. Thanks all readers and listeners and watchers for coming along and thanks Paula and Bridget for the pics for this blog!

Come again, second Monday in November for more free Open Mic with Rhyme and Real Ale, Mackintosh Sports Club Bar, Keppoch Street, Roath, Cardiff…7.30pm onwards





FRAN SMITH’S EVENT…SATURDAY OCT 17th 2015…In Fran’s words…

As part of a Social Action Project – Pilar and Ishah my friends with me last night, and myself have an awareness event next Saturday 17th October. We will be in Bute Park from 10.30am moving to Wales Millenium Centre for open mic at 1.30pm.

If any one would like to read some poems for anti slavery day or write some new ones then we will be doing open mic outside the Wales Millenium Centre between 1.30pm and approx. Be delighted to have poets and musicians. Please message me if you interested or see me when you arrive.


I was one of the readers at this event planned for Floor 5 Cardiff Central Library, 5.30-7.00pm, Thursday Oct 8 2015…click pic for more details…UPDATE…just before the event began the library was dramatically evacuated and cordoned off and people were ordered back, back, no further back and left wondering what the hell was going on…

poetry day evrnt

Host and organiser Gordon Anderson, exasperated at first, suddenly took on a sort of Ringmaster persona, as he gathered those who were still present available and willing to perform in the street and bellowed at the thronging crowds to bear witness to the first Central Library Guerilla Style street performance…and those of us who were able to perform in the chaotic street did…I, Fran Murphy, Lisa Megraw, Bryan Marshall (who had only come to watch the originally planned event but stepped up manfully) and more!!!

This was our performance spot…


Some of what I planned to perform was ditched in favour of reliably shouty pieces 

But I made sure to include The Idea That Might Change The World, as it was written for the event and (EDIT) was included below in the form of a photo of the handwritten and illustrated original form of the poem, but I have entered the poem in a competition, with Rules and Regulations that specify the entries must be unpublished and for the organisers, inclusion in a blog equates to publication.