FREE OPEN MIC….R.A.R.A RETURNS MONDAY 11/07/16

The second Monday of the month is here, meaning it’s time for…

JULY R.A.R.A

OpenMic

Meet Your Hosts for June…

Paula Hughes

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Regularly bringing songs and comic interludes to nights like R.A.R.A, Paula has an enthusiasm that is totally contagious, a smile that is never far away, and a camera that is responsible for the highlights from the June R.A.R.A you will find if you scroll further down…Now, for the other July Host:

Gareth Davies

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A storyteller, performer, maker of mirth and general non-bad egg, Gareth will bring the authority of his previous experience as an English teacher to his host duties, so pay attention…are you listening at the back?

Paula and Gareth will guide us all through another evening of wide ranging styles of verse and performance, some will make you smile, some will make you think, all will make you feel…Free to enter, free to have a five minute slot…

Come and watch and be our audience, come and share your words/songs/comic stylings, by simply adding your name to the list, regulars warmly welcomed back and new voices actively encouraged, many people have read in front of an audience for the first time ever at R.A.R.A and we have seen them bloom from nervous first step makers to confident risk takers over and over again, so July 11th 2016, Mackintosh Sports Club, Keppoch Street, Roath, Cardiff, from 7.30 pm come one, come all, COME!

JUNE R.A.R.A…Hosted by Francesca Murphy and Will Ford…

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FRILL (Fran and Will) brought their individual styles of comic and heartfelt verse and song to the proceedings and  introduced performers with these names…

Dave Daggers…Gordon Anderson…Kat Davies…Bryan Marshall…Rachel Noelle…Patrick Widdess…Elizabeth Jane Williams…Gareth Davies…John Brooks…Liz Farrell…Bridget Leggy Tanner…Charley Rogers…Anna Shaw…Fritz O’Skennick…Ben Meadon…Rachel Carney…Fran Smith…Richie Livingood…Gruff Russell Jones

Thanks to the camera of July co-host Paula Hughes, here are their faces…

R.A.R.A  is brought to you by Dave Daggers (assisted by Will Ford), and is powered by the sun, the moon, the stars, the words of the performers and held together almost entirely by the vast number of friendly insults Dave can throw at Will on stage, in person and via all available electronic and non-electronic media, including during this Headstand Podcast in which Dave is interviewed by Patrick Widdess

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DEAF AS A HOST…MEGAVERSE@THE FULL MOON JAN.03.16

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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!!!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…

Renn  

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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STILL BUSY BUSY BUSY MEGAVERSE, The Millennium Centre and more…

Am writing this before going off to host Rhyme and Real Ale at the Mackintosh in Roath. En route I will be dropping into A Shot in The Dark to discuss and drop off posters for GUFFAWESOME which is a comedy night I am organising and will host for the Made In Roath Festival 2014

Along with Nicholas Whitehead, I will be reading at FREE MOUNTAIN Words at One, Thursday Oct 16th and later the same day, at Cider and Seduction (Made in Roath Festival)

All this follows a weekend of performing at Cardiff Central Library for World Mental Health Day, running my first ever workshop, about how creative writing can help maintain good mental health at World Homeless Action Day

And now on to the Wales Millennium Centre

where somewhere near the bottom left of the above picture, braving the cold weather, passing traffic,

Delivered three hours of eclectic verse, spoken word performance and acapaella song from a host of Welsh and non-Welsh mouths in front of the Dylan Thomas Touring Writing Shed. This event, which included additional feature performances from Claire Potter, Ffion Wyn and Rufus Mufasa was part of two occasions at once:

The entertainments aspect of the It’s My Shout Film Fest and the year of events celebrating the commemoration of the birth of Dylan Thomas, dt100

Some pics, starting with the rare sight of me suited and booted for hosting duties and then a selection of shots from the day, From Dave Daggers, Fran Smith and Simon L Read. Full list of readers at the end

Ian Cross, Emma Syrup, Francesca Murphy, Becca Kellaway

Fran Smith

Fritz O’Skennick on the mic

Simon L Read, Becca Kellaway, Ellen Duncan, Sophie Chei, Vincent Thomas, Fran Smith

Marilyn Kemeny

Leon Lazarus

Dave Daggers

Mark Blayney

Bridget Leggy Tanner

Bel Blue

Bel Blue

Steven Kenward

Sophie Chei

Gordon Anderson during a very funny spoof Commercial Presentation

Zaru from afar

Zaru unfazed by the wheeled traffic

Or the human kind

Dave Daggers

The actual running order was remixed to suit the needs of the day in the end, and there were sadly one or two unable to make it to read after all, but everybody who had any part in  this day helped to make it the great success it turned out to be. If I had pics of all who read, they’d go here. Just know all of you who agreed to read under the Megaverse Presents name on the day, you have my thanks and I hope we can do more of these kind of things.  Thanks also to the Feature Readers Claire Potter, Ffion Wyn and Rufus Mufasa.

Apologies to Vince Thomas, who exists, and no apologies to the typographical ghosts Vincent Garth and Brooks Thomas, who don’t 😉 and special thanks to Fran Smith for providing the portable PA that allowed the spoken word to be clearly heard!

Busy and Breathless Times continue…take 2

My second attempt at The Lost Blog referred to in my last blog…

Whether new to wordsmithery or a more experienced hand (ooer) it is always a sweet feeling to be featured in a publication and many writers from Cardiff, Newport and other places (including Swindon) have felt the sweetness in the last couple of weeks…

September 8th, Rhyme and Real Ale. Julie Pritchard’s second Monday of every month free to all open mic night launched a first volume of diverse musings from the diverse minds diving through the doors of RARA during a first very successful year. Words to reach out to your heart and mind and every now and again, to tickle your funny bone.

This compact compendium of compositions was constructed for Julie and the rest of us nestling between the covers by the awesome Nick Lovell, Swindon based and therefore the RARA regular with the most miles on the clock! The above and below pics taken by Nick of his handiwork feature a front cover image by Bex Marriot and a back cover ‘optical illusion’ I came up with from two photos from previous RARA nights taken by Dave Daggers. Scroll to the end of this blog to see where to come to share your words and lend your ears!

The evening at RARA was kicked off by the launch of the second Anthology of work by members of the very welcoming Roath Writers group

(cover image by Simon L Read)

Hosted with smiles of humble pride by Roath Writers founder (and editor of the anthology) Christina Thatcher, the first half of the RARA night featured confident readings from some but not all those listed below

After the hosting mic was handed back to Julie for the second section of the night  many  (but not all, sadly) RARA anthology contributors shared their words

And there was still time to squeeze in some open mic performances on a night when the already popular event heard from many readers for the first time. More please!

Speaking of more…

In this blog  I linked to my contribution to the Letter to an Unknown Soldier project that attracted over twenty thousand contributions. A lovely email from the project folk told me that around 150 of the letters are going to be published as a book in November by a historical imprint of Harper Collins! The typos in my original online submission will not feature in the book 🙂

 

During the Bristol Poetry Festival I will be among many others reading some words at The Hydrazine Launch. The event will take place from 7pm at the Hydra Bookshop, 34 Old Market Street, Bristol, September 29th. The Hydrazine is published by Hesterglock Press and features work by readers at Matt Duggan’s regular event An Evening of Spoken Indulgence, including one by me. There will also be some poetic films, including one I directed for DOJO that just about qualifies, if we can sort out the file in time…

MEGAVERSE was the name I came up with for the spoken word event  I curated for the 2014 HUB festival in Cardiff. Overwhelmingly a music based festival it might have been but performers including some from Roath Writers and Rhyme and Real Ale and readers from as far afield as Laugharne and Camarthen brought a multitude of perspectives on the world and life, giving poetry sparky and spunky attitudes many people would never expect and others would call ‘not poetry’ but stuff the stuffy, it was a spoken form long before books were invented and the tradition lives on!

Before I mention the next MEGAVERSE related event I must thank Mab Jones for suggesting me as organiser/host for spoken word to Owen Bowley, organiser of HUB. She was asked if she would take on the task, but she was unable to due to being in Edinburgh with her poetic partner Johnny Giles doing (I think) 35 shows in total, including supporting Phil Jupitus (in his guise as Porky the Poet). She was also promoting her then forthcoming and now published book…see promo details below

 

MEGAVERSE will be back at the 

Running from 11-14 October 2014, this festival will be helping to promote various kinds of artistic expression, including poetry and spoken word from the over thirty readers name checked here We will be performing at the Cardiff Millennium Centre where you will find us by the Dylan Thomas Travelling Writing Shed during the day of Sunday October 12th 2014. Megaverse alone will be providing two 90 minutes slots of local and not so local poets and spoken word performers!

First Slot 12.15-1.45

Second slot 2.30-4.00

With additional feature performers (including Rufus Mufasa and Ffion Wyn) delivering their words between and after the Megaverse slots, much to hear, and

I’ll thank Mab again, because organising and hosting the first Megaverse led to me being asked to organise and host some Megaverse Poetry Sessions for this festival. And the momentum has also led to me being asked to organise and host a comedy event for

This annual and growing Cardiff Arts Festival will feature practically any art form you can name, including stand up comedy in the form of  GUFFAWESOME at A Shot in the Dark in Roath Saturday 7.30-10.30pm, Saturday October 18th. There will be stand up comedians from Cardiff and Bridgend (and elsewhere). The evening will include an open mic section for anyone who wants to make others laugh with stand up, verse, or song and try to anger the featured performers by being funnier than them 😉 Still in the planning stages right now, but I will be hosting and throwing some comic verse at you during the night. more details coming soon…

That’s still not all, folks…

September 24th at the North Star Restaurant/Bar Making Minds, Giving Voices will be presenting their second evening of verse and song and more, exploring mental health related issues. Sounds like serious stuff but there will be fun among the provocation of thought. I will be opening the open mic section (after having been a featured reader at the first one of these events  on September 6th) and the featured readers for the 24th will include Sophie Chei. But why am I telling you that when you can click the links and find out for yourself, eh? 😉 (Update, one of the feature performers had to cancel, so I was drafted in and in addition to serious minded pieces, opted to get shouty a little on the night in the quite talky pub, so included 73.836776% Bullshit and The Booty Song)

Almost finally, National Theatre Wales Team Word4Word will be heading for Pontypridd, Saturday October 4th at the social club just minutes from the train station. Patrick Jones is the headline poet and I will be among those competing for two prizes, one to be decided by NTW TEAM, the other to be voted for by the audience. So if you are nearby, why not come? 7-ish pm is what is in my mind but will be more precise on a day when I haven’t been doing a long blog for the second time and my mind is less mashed. Meanwhile here is a link to some photos from the previous Word4Word that took place at the Porters bar in Cardiff.

Finally, here are some more photos… 

(above pic by Bridget Leggy Tanner)

(below pic by some poor soul minding their own business in Cardiff pub The George suddenly being asked to take a pic, on the night of the delivery of the Anthology to Roath Writers by Christina Thatcher, one week before the RARA night readings).

Where’s Will(y)? Reverse photobomber, right there at the back 😉

 

‘King terrible weather outside but SILLY KINGS rule the night!

To follow up my previous blog  https://willdeanford.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/silly-kings-dress-rehearsal-at-cardiff-castle/ the temperature inside the spiegeltent was fine. Outside, the torrential rain and howling wind assailed the structure, part of which looked like this from the inside

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filled with an audience that looked like this Image

And the rain hammered away ferociously on the tent but there was no stopping the silly and spectacular show going on, with a joyously enthusiastic multi-tasking cast, each playing various parts, singing, dancing, rapping, and storytelling their way through a madcap array of tales woven around a semi-traditional framing device about a Princess and Prince who wanted to marry for love (semi traditional because in this little world, the little girl defeats the monster under her bed without help and the Fairies ruled by their mean King in one segment form a Union to defeat him and Llamas dance their tails off).

Fun and silliness and strangeness throughout, enjoyed loads by the audience, see here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.251547651670226.1073741830.127387044086288&type=1

Anyway, the dress rehearsal fought the weather and defeated it and the audience, including me, had to battle the elements too en route to Cardiff Castle but ultimately, the stormy night was easily vanquished by the fun to be had. Tonight the run proper begins. Go get some silly 🙂

Tooting my own horn: READING TONIGHT and Dojo video Facebook event

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At the Andrew Buchan Bar in Roath, Cardiff…From 7pm, Julie Pritchard presents a night of Winter Themed story and verse for her latest Rhyme and Real Ale event. Real Ale not compulsory…

I will be doing much of what I did at the Bridgend Arts’ Christmas Festival (see blog with megaphone photo below) plus writing a new piece today to read. I like the idea that came to me that a snowflake is ‘Snowman DNA’ so I will try to get that in there somewhere.

The facebook event for the Dojo Christmas video, please join and share 🙂   https://www.facebook.com/events/189270264610343/

 

 

Aside

Reciting and Singing at the Bridgend Arts’ Christmas Festival.

 

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Revealing Joseph’s true reaction to Mary’s impending Motherhood, the fact that people need a good stuffing at Christmas, Morrissey’s feelings about Santa, Booty, and other crucial public service announcements . Went pretty well and as a result I will be part of a comedy night in Bridgend at The Cotton Club in late January 2014. Yay 🙂

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I’m performing at Bridgend Arts Christmas Festival!

I’m performing at Bridgend Arts Christmas Festival!

I will be, among other ditties/verses be ‘singing’ a Morrissey parody expressing his view of Santa Claus. Many events to attend and I will be taking a camera. If you give a stuff, like 😉

The programme for the day: https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=460158914093832&id=327235987386126&set=pcb.556053501146210&_ft_