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



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