R.A.R.A. Returns To The Mackintosh Sports Club, Cardiff…11/01/2016…with pics by Paula Hughes


January came, as it does every year, and brought with it the first 2016


Co-hosted for the second time by…

Fran Smith and Bridget Leggy Tanner!

12465987_10153925041361095_2037554103937823596_o (1).jpg

Sadly, due to annoying temporary partial deafness I was not there in person, but I was there in spirit, and by all accounts the usual good time was had by all, with a great mix of all that is lyrically profound, emotionally frank and comically bizarre. There were some sadly necessary tributes to David Bowie who passed away the previous day…

If like me, you missed out on this event, you missed missed read, recited, raucously rendered, robustly ranted and some sung performances from…

Fran Smith


Bridget Leggy Tanner


Dave Daggers


Patrick Widdess


John Brookes 


Mark Curtis


Mario Umberto Fiorillo


Bel Blue


Kat (aka Kathryn Davies)


Mark Blayney


Des Mannay


Ellie Powell


Francesca Murphy

12489209_10153925043091095_5967808677645185864_oPaula Hughes


Bryan Marshall


Laz Lazarus


Thanks to everyone who came, very sorry I couldn’t come too, but I will definitely be there on February 8th, so to close this less wordy than usual blog for RARA, just want to say many thanks to our lovely hosts Fran and Bridget, and a big thank you to Paula Hughes for wielding her camera at Rhyme and Real Ale and letting me use her pics in my blogs!



my Website



Kindling the fire (totally NAKED self promotion)


willdeanford's Blog

Stories in verse form, from the spoken word stage to the electronic page, each one costs less than a pint…


The Coward,  a deserter, sentenced to death during The Great War spends the last night of his life putting pen to paper as the candle signifying the time he has left to live burns down.

Available on Kindle 


The shadow of Jack The Ripper looms large over the foggiest London night anyone has ever seen. A non-linear narrative sees a Time Traveller’s ambitions and hope for a brighter future intersect in curious ways with an angry mob, a mouse, a rat, a cat, a dog. Satire and social commentary with humour of the dark and light kind.

Available on Kindle


Cupid’s Evil Twin fires poison tipped arrows into the hearts of the lonely on a very cold night

 Available on Kindle


View original post

HEY, JUKE…19/01/2016…Spoken word night with some tributes to The Thin White Duke

“It was a reasonable request

From Renn, who’s flamboyantly dressed

Bring a tribute to David B

For this evening at J, U, K E…”

With this affectionate (and slightly cheesy) reworking of the opening of Life On Mars I began my slot during the open mic at…


Will say more about my own Bowie tribute  after the following…

JUKE is a free monthly open mic spoken word event organised and hosted by Renn…


Via JUKE (held at The Little Man Coffee C0, third Tuesday every month), Renn aims to provide a showcase for spoken word performance and poetry that explores, stretches and even sometimes breaks the boundaries and delivers the unexpected to the impressive audience numbers JUKE attracts…

Much of the evening is open mic but there are always feature performers and this month they were…

Gemma June Howell, author of ROCK LIFE



Beatbox Hann


Gemma’s reading, mostly from Rock Life, played with, argued with and embraced the stereotypical images often portrayed of people from the valleys, filling her words with the realities of life as lived by people who are more often than not mocked for merely existing and being poor. As a council estate born kid who ended being taken into care along with my sisters, I certainly appreciated the humour and fire of poems demanding people consider that there might possibly be more to people from whatever their circumstances are than meets the headlines of our national press

Beatbox Hann, as his name suggests, produced simultaneous sounds from what seemed to be his entire body  assembling grimy heavy beats element by element until there was so much going on at once that the audience reaction can only be summed up as ‘Holy Shit!’

Not only did features set up the mood for the open mic sections, they also returned at the end to combine their talents, with Hann providing the backing for some soulful singing from Gemma…

Gemma and Hann created the frame for the evening and now it is time to fill in the rest of the picture…firstly, given the Bowie tribute theme of the evening, special mention must go to…Fran Smith


A lifelong fan of Bowie, Fran turned up having gone ‘The Full Ziggy’ make-up wise and backed up her costume, as did Renn when she opened the night, with poetry constructed from references to classic Bowie hits. Renn and Fran, each of them a Star, Man 🙂

And now, with pictures from Fran and me, an overview of the evening…

Memorable in some ways you had to be there to truly appreciate, Renn’s January  JUKE welcomed a head spinning variety of approaches to the written and spoken word from the warm, to the icy, the intellectual, to the surreal, moments of edginess, hilarity and drama in the verbal selection box that is JUKE. Many thanks to Renn and the venue for what has become a very popular night out!

JUKE will be back in February at The Little Man Coffee Co…

ADDENDUM: My own Bowie Tribute…

Being not the flamboyant type generally, I pushed the boat out according to the parameters of my rather self-conscious personality and deliberately, recklessly wore…


Odd Socks…

Having got a (small) laugh from the audience out of that, in response to the death of Bowie I mused on mortality with Post Mortem Blues and put out hope that people don’t merely aspire to be like their icon of choice, but work to complete the picture of themselves, for themselves, with All Stars Will One Day Die

Then, at severe risk to my dignity, I attempted theatricality,  asking the audience to pretend I was capable of communing with the departed Thin White Duke  and through me he would sing my attempted Bowie style tribute to…


Odd Socks

No pair



Beneath a

Suit so sharp

That it severs…

Persona, conceal you

Peel back surface, reveal you

You got no one, you got no one

You got no one but each other…

Odd socks, odd socks,

We’re all

Odd socks, odd socks…

We got no one, We got no one

We got no one but each other…



New Year…New JUKE…Bye Bowie…




JUKE is a free open mic spoken word event organised and hosted by this person, whose name is Renn…12362862_10153864102681095_7861383272887287800_oRenn’s JUKE event wants to push the boundaries of spoken word performance and all kinds of verbal shenanigans will be found there, from guest performers and the open mic section. Come along, look, listen, put your name down if you have five minutes of stuff to share or want to try out your stuff and your style on living and breathing audience members! COME ALONG, IT’S FREE AND THE NIGHT IS SURE TO BE A BLAST!!!

The recent loss to the world of David Bowie has led Renn to suggest participants may if they wish pay tribute in whatever fashion  suits them, in word or clothing choices. I plan to have a go at that, and when I opened the evening last time for the Christmas JUKE, my slot included my face looking like this…12356974_10153864102651095_5239389099271487519_o

I’ll be making more faces Tuesday nght, and below you will find lots of other faces in photos from the night of the Christmas JUKE , like all of these in this blog, provided by poet and singer Paula Hughes…


So roll up, roll in and join JUKE, to listen, to take part or both!! FUN WILL BE HAD SO BE GOOD TO YOURSELF AND COME TO JUKE!


MY WEBSITE (with details of my three e-books and other wonderful things))



The first MEGAVERSE of 2016 took place in The Full Moon (Womanby Sreet, Cardiff), as part of the 2016 FREE FOR ALL festival. All photos by Paula Hughes. Sketches by Pauline Williams

The seventh of these  poetry/spoken word events  I have organised, hosted and performed at presented a slightly uncomfortable challenge…a seasonal Christmas bout of cold/flu/lurgy/ear infections had left me more than slightly deaf…meaning I might HAVE had some trouble MODULATING the tone of my VOICE!!!


Despite my difficulties, the evening proved to be a great mix of the heartfelt, the honest, the entertaining and the just plain daft as the performers each brought their own unique way with words to the stage, and after a silly rap parody opening from me came…

Julie Pritchard


Preferring to perform without the  microphone, ‘The Walking Poet’ offered up her soul in word form, her poems taking in the nature she observes joyfully and the world wide conflicts that break her heart.  A published poet with a new collection due in 2016, Julie also runs a regular open mic event, and started the R.A.R.A open mic night that meets on the second Monday each month at the Mackintosh Sports Club Bar in Cardiff. Next to the stage came…

Sheila Hart


Playful at times, with a degree of venom lurking beneath the the surface, Sheila held the attention of the room effortlessly. Next, with a mix of the bawdy and the personal came…

Fritz O’Skennick


Equally at home covering the questions within the mind in turmoil and playfully rhyming his way through cheeky takes on the masculine life experience gone wrong,  Fritz was a welcome voice on a rainy night night.

This summary of the evening  will continue after these sketches of several performers made during the event by Pauline Williams, featuring Sheila Hart, Fritz O’Skennick, Paula Hughes, Gordon Anderson and Clive Oseman…12512031_10154624111563975_1705991520_n12540380_10154624102613975_679445978_nFritz O’Skennick was followed by a very different kind of performance from…

Paula Hughes


As a very young Gary Numan fan, Paula wrote a poem about her hero, hoping to get it published by his fan club magazine. Young Paula was left sadly disappointed, but today her youthful words about Gary, his hair and music provide a time machine in words revealing how funny and sweet what we do and say can be looked back on years later! And with a powerful voice she followed up on exploring youthful passions with a more current driving strong desire to see a dream of hers come to  be…The Green Mile has no official Musical adaptation thus far, but Paula has  embarked upon creating one!

Following Paula, came…

Gordon Anderson


Normally more cheerful looking than this snap suggests, Gordon was playing a character at the time…Slightly morally askew character monologues are a feature of Gordon’s performance pieces and those of us with memories of  of the adverts featuring Barry Scott for Cillit BANG chuckled along to a  twisted surrreal(ish) reimagining of the screen persona fronting the ads in question…Next,  Straight Outta Swindon came…

Clive Oseman


At times, Clive feels compelled by the reaction to certain of his pieces to point out they reflect neither his real life history nor his personal desires and there are, in fact, acts of creative writing involved…irony and imagination may in short supply in some people but definitely  no such drought in Clive’s lines…next, with observational humour and and also occasionally revealing the contents of her life and heart, came…

Bridget Leggy Tanner


The behaviour at office parties, contraceptives discarded in car parks, the proximity of rugby players faces to each other’s bums in scrums and honest reflections on some of the aspects of her life she would rather have done without are likely to be encountered upon listening to BLT perform…next came…

Patrick Widdess


Poet and Podcater, Patrick weaves a little surrealism into his world of words, where  nightmarish encounter with a giant moth might be matched up with a tale of purchasing excuses or with passionate plea that people not read their poems off their bloody phone. Check out his warm and insightful interviews with fellow poets on Headstand

Then, not doing headstands, but waving his arms at me to call me to join him at the mic when my rather deaf ears missed the verbal invitation, came…

Dave Daggers


A lover of life with a heart of gold, Dave had decided my stage costume, an Ace of Spades T-shirt needed replacing, so he handed me a card he had got poets to sign during the night to thank me for organising Megaverse events and a new Ace of Spades T-shirt.  Then he performed Ace Of Spades, accompanying himself on electric ukulele with a built in drum machine…would Lemmy have been honoured or horrified? Who can tell? With typically enthusiastic abandon Mr Daggers threw himself around the stage during a tribute performance that was as truly unique as his approach to the poetry he also lobbed in the general direction of the audience! Then came…



Those who have heard Renn perform never know if she will bring her joyfully outrageous side or her more calm and considered elements to her performance and keeping people on their toes seems to be a definite aim from this performance artist who recently incepted JUKE, a monthly free open mic night she hosts, welcoming all kinds of spoken word performance. Click here to find out about the next JUKE (the first since the death of David Bowie, so expect tributes, including one from me). After Renn at Megaverse came…

Gareth Davies


Often aiming for the funny bone with brief pieces, Gareth didn’t disappoint the audience at Megaverse, so I will have to trust the reception he got as a big thumbs up, since my pesky ears were failing me again…thanks for putting yourself forward to perform on the night, and hear you better soon!

After Gareth, I called to the stage…

 Francesca Murphy


Warm, inventive, friendly and as likely to sing as recite or read, Francesca once again delivered the goods with her presence and enjoyment of what she does adding extra levels to already polished performance skills! And when she was done, along came…

Fran Smith


Fran, Philosphical Body Poet, delivers words that reflect her work and her attitude to life, seeking to promote physical and psychic healing through promotion of postivity and compassion in her writing and therapeutically with her practice of kinesiology, aiming to  treat the mind and the body and explore the effect of one on the other…the mad rush and novelty addiction of the modern world have a lot to answer for, according to Fran’s words!

And Fran’s words would have been the final ones from the poets and performers I was introducing, had it not been for…

Jacque Croupier


Jacque was an unexpected and very welcome addition to the list of performers at the Megaverse at the Full Moon, stepping up from serving drinks behind the bar to deliver lines behind the mic. Influenced by hip hop, he is no stranger to performing his work and introducing that of others in his non bar work life via Left Suit Events who will be putting on a benefit gig in memory of David Bowie (SOLD OUT, I’m afraid, I didn’t get a ticket in time, either).

The words of Ssh author John Eliot also featured in Megaverse 7, though he became unable to  make the event in person so I read out two pieces on his behalf, Autumn and Divorce…

I wrapped up proceedings with The Booty Song and the seventh Megaverse was done, just want to thank everyone who agreed in advance to perform, and Gareth and Jacque for joining the event on the night. Info on Megaverse and pics from previous events can be found here

And look, a mosaic montage of the night….thanks again for the pictures, Paula Hughes, and if you look at them, you’ll be able to spot Pauline Williams, Sketchbook in hand!

Spot lit microphone and stand on an empty stage


MY WEBSITE – Featuring among other things, details of my three e-books



New Year, New R.A.R.A…Fran and Bridget return as hosts…plus belated pics from R.A.R.A@Christmas



The second Monday of the month is almost upon us, and with it will come the first R.A.R.A of 2016…


On the second Monday, every month

Meet your hosts…


Fran Smith and Bridget Leggy Tanner

Bring your words, if you have them, for a five minute slot at a time and place where regular faces and new voices alike receive and warm welcome and encouragement…stories, poems, happy, sad, funny, silly, surreal, all are to be found, every single Month, at Rhyme and Real Ale

And now…

RARA @ CHRISTMAS 2015 (words by Will Ford, pics by Paula Hughes)



The inducement of free cakes brought many enthusiastic faces to RARA on a most un-Christmassy rainy night in December, including The Invisible Man, trying and failing to photobomb from the blue seat at the front…

Christmas co-hosts Dave Daggers and Will Ford started proceedings off… with a  cover of Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody, raucous, rough, and if not totally raw, maybe a tad undercooked…


Then,  with our joyfully artless musical intro having mercilessly tortured a poor defenceless, innocent Christmas song, the readings for the evening began with poems from the author of Masculine Happiness

David Foster Morgan


Despite initially concerned his seriously intended words might not fit with the silly tone that had been established, David soon got into his stride and the sudden change of tone wasn’t a problem at all, after all, open mic events, by their very nature bring together different styles of material and the unexpected is very much to be expected!

Nick Fisk


Not ostensibly Christmassy in subject matter, Nick’s reading from his Book The Blues Are Back In Town at the very least offered inspiration for what to buy for any Cardiff City fans in your life!

Mario Umberto Fiorillo


Once more, Mario brought to RARA his smile and his love of intense pictures and images formed of words, a trend continued by the next returning RARA regular…

Christian Searle


With musical support from the seemingly omnipresent ukulele of Dave Daggers, Christian amused all in attendance


And a sense of amused naughtiness was and is never far from the surface when Christian is around…Next up:

Patrick Widdess


The intellectually larger than life and sometimes surreal poetic perspective of Headstand podcast producer/presenter Patrick Widdess (much in evidence in his book Feeding The Spacemen) is a welcome addition to any wordy gathering and he gave good Christmas presence…as did…

John Eliot


The often serious nature of John’s poetry (some of which can be found in his book Ssh) doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the more frivolous moments that occur at RARA nights and there was plenty of frivolity for him to enjoy before and after his slot, which closed the first section of the night.

After a break for the bar/bathroom/nicotine/nattering proceedings resumed with an original song and a medley of Christmas favourites provided by…

Jacquee Robb and John


The room, warmed up considerably by the musical Christmas Cheer then welcomed the gentle words and the strength of character of…

Jill Berrett


Little by little, Jill is creating a book from her considerable experience certain types of the trials of life and it is probably going to end up being both moving and amusing and for reasons eventually to be revealed, will feature a parrot called Ernesto…

Following Jill, the evening was graced with the first appearance at RARA from …

Sarah Younan



More experienced in art formes other than spoken word, Sarah nonetheless seemed very comfortable in front of the audience, as sure sign of strong belief in the work she came to share, so well done!

A sense of conviction and poise while sharing words with onlookers is also a noticeable characteristic of…

Eric Ngalle Charles


Originally from Cameroon, Eric’s work is that of a citizen of the world, which sadly can’t be said of the bureaucratic ears of a character featured in one of his pieces that simply cannot hear the Ngalle part of Eric’s name, no matter how many times he repeats it. Amusing as a piece, with an undercurrent of frustration with those who fail to understand him, yet assume that their own cultural references are universal and he should automatically be able to understand them!

A strong element of cultural reference came into play for the song that formed part of the slot delivered by…

Paula Hughes


A dream project for Paula is a musical, based on the film and short story The Green Mile and given that there exists in the world Spider-Man musical, it is not beyond comprehension that Paula’s creative efforts based on a property with far more down to earth emotional concerns and much bigger real issues. Paula’s song inspired by her musical dream her was striking and moving, and very well sung, despite her sometimes self-effacing words about her skills. And you may note her hoodie is actually in the style of a Christmas tree, so nice one Paula for the enthusiastic embracing of the Christmas Spirit and thanks again for these photos!

People write for many reasons, to amuse, entertain, to explore, to wonder and often the most moving and powerful words are borne of trying to come to terms with personal experiences that could eat someone alive if they left their feelings unexpressed. The latter aspect of writing was very much in evidence in the reading by the next poet…

Liz Blackburn


Raw, brave, affecting, even devastating was my reaction to hearing from Liz of her own sense of devastation caused by the loss of her daughter. Nobody can justifiably say they know how such things feel unless they have such sad experiences too, but the words from Liz conveyed her feelings strongly and many felt for her as she shared her words with us.

Liz was followed by her friend…

Belinda Favager


Both Liz and Belinda found out about RARA sort of by accident, and hopefully we will see them again!

The second section was rounded off by my parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas that ended up with the narrator breaking up with a partner who had sent him, among other strange items, Forty Gold Rings, 22 Turtle Doves and 12 Partridges in 12 pear trees…


The third and final section was kicked off by these two enthusiastic fools (Me and Dave Daggers) stumbling through a rewritten version of Stand By Your Man, written to be from the POV of a turkey wanting to survive Christmas, urging people Why Not Try Ham


A slightly Dark Christmas was to be expected from the love lorn and trouble discovering poetic wanderings of…

Laz Lazarus


And the  Prince of Darkness did not disappoint!

A second reworking of The Twelve Days Of Christmas came courtesy of…

David Hanlon


Far more outrageous than mine, David’s involved, among other unsettling gifts, FIVE! COCK! RINGS! Some audible gasps at the first mention, by the end,  almost everybody was joining in with that part (singing the words, not using the items!). Playfully dark, especially at the end, with the the narrator in David’s spin on the classic song hiring 12 snipers to shoot an apparently verging on psychotic true love. Believe me,  it comes across funnier heard than it currently feels to type about, rather a long time after the hearing!

Darker spins on Christmas were the order of the the day by this point it seems, with the next coming from…

Bryan Marshall


Bryan unequivocally bristles against the very idea of Christmas and the sorts of hypocrisy highlighted by the idea of a season of goodwill to all men contrasted with how badly so many people treat others, and all the cheer in the world, real or indulged in for the holiday period doesn’t mitigate against the injustices that the spirit of Christmas definitely doesn’t cancel out. Then came…

Francesca Murphy


Fran specifically set out to write an anti Christmas song, but ironically found that she ended up finding a new perspective, that however fake it can all appear, maybe Christmas spirit is borne of needing to believe that people CAN treat each other better, and without the hope of that at least, how could it ever happen? Quite the turnaround after the darkness that preceded it, without in any way diminishing the harsher view of the world conveyed by Bryan…

And finally some words from the challenging and sometimes cheerfully gory and disturbing pages of…

Ben Meadon



So, very belatedly, that was RARA at Christmas 2015. Thanks to the many who come again and again to read, support, and the new faces and voices that try out spoken word performance. Hoping you keep coming throughout 2016, we’ll be very pleased to see you!!!!

Starting next Monday! Come one! Come all! COME!!!!!


my website



Dreaming Dylan

Dylan Day blog from coordinator for 2016, Mab Jones. Will be organising an event for this myself, yay ☺

My Website

Mab Jones

Today I am dreaming of Dylan Thomas… Not just because I am a fan of the great writer, but also because I was recently appointed as the coordinator of this year’s International Dylan Thomas Day, which is Saturday May 14th.


This is, of course, a massive honour, as well as a large undertaking. I’m hoping that this year, in conjunction with the events I’ll be organising through Literature Wales, lots of people will get onboard to organise their own events, rather like people already do with Burns Day and the fantastically successful National Poetry Day, which has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 1994. Certainly, this was the case last year, for the very first #DylanDay. And I’m hoping this year will be even bigger, if not better, as well!

Dylan_Thomas_plaque Plaque from the front of the Dylan Thomas Birthplace, Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea, where the young…

View original post 322 more words