RARA! Dylan Thomas Day and fundraising for PAPYRUS – With Alix Edwards & Dave Daggers






Guest co-host Alix Edwards will be helping us out this month, when RARA celebrates International Dylan Thomas Day 2018 and also raises funds for PAPYRUS, a charity that works with young people to help foster hope for the future and suicide prevention. As always, RARA is a free open mic event and every reader will get a five minute slot to express themselves as they see fit. Engagement with the themes of this particular RARA is welcomed, but not compulsory, because RARA exists for you to to express yourself.

Donating to PAPYRUS is not compulsory, but anything you can spare will be gratefully received and go towards giving vulnerable young people hope for the future




Alix Edwards is a writer, artist, photographer, parent and has also recently created COMPANY OF WORDS, her own open mic spoken word event in Cardiff, after becoming a RARA regular who is delighted to hear what people have to say for themselves from behind a mic, in the form of stories, songs, poems, monologues, anything you write! so come along just to listen, come to sign up for a free slot and read, come along, enjoy!

Self expression, however you do it, is an act of self emancipation, a declaration of intent, actively stating ‘This is me and what I do and who I am. I am here, I exist! Celebrate Dylan Thomas Day with us by reading his words, or your words inspired by his words, or anything you have written that you damn well please, because open mic means your free five minute slot is yours, and RARA will listen to you!


RARA was originally created by poet Julie Pritchard, but for most of its existence has been run, hosted and promoted by the dedicated duo of Dave Daggers and Will Ford. As of April 2018 the team has expanded to include the additional energy, creativity of:

Liz Marsh, Ria Kodosaki and Bryan Marshall


The team is made up of RARA enthusiasts who simply kept showing up to read their own stuff and support other readers because they love it so much!

But why do they love RARA?

RARA gives every reader a five minute slot, whether they have never read their work publicly ever before or they are published old hands at working a crowd.

New voices are especially welcome and some of those reading at RARA for the first time ever have gone on to become regular readers and performers at RARA and several other spoken word events in Cardiff that have arrived in the last few years, including JUKE, COMPANY OF WORDS and the recently birthed MILD EXTRAVAGANZA (look ’em up on Facebook, this blog can’t do everything for you!)

For over three years Dave and Will have mixed things up a little compared to most other open mic nights by inviting any regular attendee to act as guest host or co-host if they please and many have taken on this challenge and most have loved every minute of it. Some have loved it less, admittedly, but they might never have dared to even try if it weren’t for the welcoming and nurturing atmosphere RARA consciously creates, which encourages people to try things they might never dare at other events.

RARA has occasionally dedicated an evening to a particular charity, although this is not a stated aim for RARA. However, RARA is an event that is open to suggestions from attendees, so that in addition to being a place where people can express themselves, it can seek to help a little here and there. If you have read this far, you will already know that the RARA for May will be asking for support for PAPYRUS, although we do not demand that support in order to take part. RARA has always been a free to attend, free to take part event and that is how it will remain for the foreseeable future.

Many RARA attendees have been published, whether traditionally or by more modern routes and RARA is very open to promoting the work of its attendees because at all stages of the path writers are on encouragement and support is still needed and various pamphlets, booklets, full collections, whether poetry or novels have been launched/promoted as part of a book tour at RARA.

We would usually ask people to come along a few times at least before launching something so friends and connections can be made and word can get about that work will be offered for sale, because this helps us to help you get the most out of offering your wares at a long running monthly event where there is no affiliation to a particular publisher, no entry fee, no grants or other outside funding, an event that exists and continues purely because the team and those who attend make it possible.

Many RARA regulars also attend the regular writing workshop ROATH WRITERS and have work featured in the annual anthology of ROATH WRITERS that is a very popular publication filled with writers who may not always be from Roath, but come to write, read, perform in the many events and festivals that take place in the lovely Roath.

RARA is THE most regular reading/performing spoken open mic opportunity in Roath, happening on the second Monday of every single month of the year, culminating in a Special Edition in December (in 2017, with the theme of PIRATE CHRISTMAS)

RARA is here for you to show what you can do, and who you are. How you do it at RARA is up to you, as long as you do it using words, for RARA is about using your words to speak your truth or tell your story, whether it is literally your own tale or the magical weavings of your imagination.

RARA is also here to challenge you to entertain us all, if that is how you use your words. Make us laugh, make us feel what you feel, see the world as you see it, let us into your world at RARA Where you are also invited into the worlds within every reader or performer, for the more of ourselves we can share, the more we become a community, a melting pot of ideas and perspectives, all sharing the same space and all listening to each other, not just waiting for our turn to speak. Applause for you is guaranteed, whether you reveal your heart and soul or attempt to tickle every available funny bone.
As serious or as not so serious as you wish is what RARA invites you to be.




blog by William Dean Ford, who has a WEBSITE

Still reading?


Come to RARA, join us, join Dave Daggers and Alix Edwards, support PAPYRUS if you wish, celebrate May 14 2018 as INTERNATIONAL DYLAN THOMAS DAY if you desire, bring your words of whatever kind, if you prefer. We will be happy to see you, and you’ll be glad you came!


Launched at the Waterloo Tea House in Roath last night…


Find it on Amazon

Felt good to be a part of the night, hosted by the always inspiring Christina Thatcher. Feels good to be between these covers, with so many others!



Or vote for whoever else is your favourite at LAST MIC STANDING 2015 FINAL, FRIDAY AUGUST 14th

There will be music and comedy and more at A Shot in the Dark, arrive from 7.30pm to be sure of a good seat at the event, starting around 8.00pm. Just £3 to get in and enjoy four very different acts doing their best to please you! PLUS GUEST APPEARANCES BY FORMER LAST MIC STANDING WINNERS

I will do comic verse and acapella comedy stuff, featuring THE BOOTY SONG and WHAT CATHOLICISM SOUNDS LIKE TO ME11800244_10153471970986031_6446135508206733374_n

my website 

Be there. Or not. Your choice. Obviously 😀


Rhyme and Real Ale Returned to the Mackinstosh Sports Club Monday July 13 2015.  7.30pm  hosted by this man:

Patrick Widdess is a champion of the wonderfully woven word and those that make it happen live onstage, or come to life on the page. His Headstand Radio series of blogs about poetry and music can be checked out HERE The latest featured poet is Costa Poetry Prize Winning Jonathan Edwards!

Patrick came within a point of winning the recent poetry slam at the Made in Roath Summer Poetry Festival and is truly generous in spirit, and an enjoyably friendly MC, opening the evening with a droll parody of over cautious attitudes to safety awareness

He offered us more of his own well chosen words as he guided us through another great night at RARA with regular faces and new voices offered five minutes to share words, song, a short story, or whatever they had brought.

Pictorial record… 20150713_201513Christian Searle, as gently cuttingly sharp as always

20150713_201940 Bridget Leggy Tanner’s sore throat meant that her comic collaboration with Anna Ward will have to happen another time but here they are watching Dave the Rave fight the process of ageing with playful defiance

20150713_202143John Eliot, author of Ssh! Returns to RARA


Julie Croad launching her poetry book “The Important Things In Life”, opening with a naughtily delivered ode to the juiciness of Beetroot!


Yvonne, (a friend brought along by Julie Croad) read one piece from her book of 12 poems (one for each month of the year), nicely observed details adding up to epic imagery


Chris Norris, chucking words at us considerably more considered than my pun on the ‘Chuck Norris’ association his name brings to some minds!


Dave Daggers, in confessionally comic mood, and his props for Hell’s Bells related japery with the bells reimagined as doorbells!


Mark Curtis, speaking up for the weakest in society who get so squeezed by those at the top of the tree


Leon ‘Laz’ Lazarus bringing the shadows into the light and delivering a piece written for a friend’s birthday in his own inimitable edgy/spooky style


Des Mannay, in the habit now of being shortlisted and winning word related prizes sharing, among other pieces, a troubled personal perspective on the events known as 7/7, completed and first shared publicly on the ten year anniversary of that horrible day in London


Greg in spiky mood, tackling injustice!


A return to the mic for Julie Croad, offering more from her mostly humorous, sometimes serious poetry book


Ellie Powell returning to delight RARA again!


Bryan Marshall, as ever, slightly bashful about his often very forthright words


Vincent Thomas, delivery and presence getting stronger by the reading exploring the idea of the comedown, and how love and ecstasy don’t necessarily mesh together well…


Maggie Nash, sharing mostly sweetly remembered childhood related words



Ceri Sian DeStefano, our special musical guest was another RARA regular with sore throated voice impairment issues, so she wasn’t able to sing. She asked whether she wanted poetry or a little bit of instrumental play. I ‘helpfully’ called out “Both” and both were both delivered

Before Patrick wrapped up another successful and wide ranging RARA Night Chris Norris took his chance to deliver another piece he wished to share and then RARA was over for another month. See you next time. Oh, in true Columbo style, one more thing…


Because I was too focused on being about to perform that I forgot to ask anyone to take pics for us, this was taken at the end of the night, Fran Smith and I did part of our collaboration on the theme of Compassion, and we got great feedback, about our words and our contrasting styles.

Come to RARA :-), Come, Listen, Connect! Come one, come all!

My Website



Wish that headline was true but it does feel good to win a Poetry Slam, and last night I did, at the MADE IN ROATH SUMMER POETRY FESTIVAL 2015

Not exactly sure what to say about this. Suffice to say, it does feel good but also strange to win and it feels weirdly easier to find words to make not winning sound positive than to say something positive about wining without feeling like it is bragging. So I will say I am chuffed, but don’t think I am suddenly ‘The Man’ or any crap like that!

Slams can be merciless, with sometimes only one point making the difference between someone being knocked out or progressing to the next round. Slams can be a baptism of fire and it is very easy to feel burned by them, and previously I have felt more than a little singed. So to Patrick Widdess (runner up), Allie Downing, Dave Daggers and Johnny Giles, all of whom go places with words I never could, via routes I have never travelled, nice one people, the clock don’t stop tick-tocking, so keep it a-rocking!

Pic  by my photographic artist friend Terri Hoskings 🙂


I do like to make people laugh, and I am glad that people laughed last night. And not just at my face 🙂 Anyway, wealth is relative and sexiness is in the eye (and other parts) of the beholder 😉

And those who know me, know it’s not all about silly stuff 🙂

My Website www.willdeanford.com



Roath, a buzzingly bustling part of Cardiff should be a port of call in your very near future if your interests include seeing and hearing poets and spoken word artists of all kinds recite, rant, rave, rap in your general direction, and even ring the bells of your heart with the songs of their souls.

Christina Thatcher, Dave Daggers, Mab Jones, Johnny Giles, Mark Blayney, Steven Kenward and many  more weavers of words and hosts with the mosts will be demonstrating just how versatile an alphabet with a mere 26 letters can be, treated with the appropriate amount of loving caresses. Smiles will happen, hearts will beat at various rates for various reasons, tears may be shed, unexpected ejaculations of chuckling delight are a distinct possibility. The festival offers events (see some below) that fill a whole three days to bursting point with spoken word, written word, workshops and exhibitions, all rounded off with a poetry slam and after party.

EVENTS INCLUDE (click links for more details)







Hope you can make it along, and I promise to do my best to amuse you with my small contribution to the festival, at the Slam. See you there. Maybe?


My Website: www.willdeanford.com


Coming soon, the latest RARA (RHYME AND REAL ALE) open mic night at the Mackintosh Sports Club in Roath Cardiff.

Monday, March 9th 2015, Doors open 7.30, mic opens 8pm, then closes around 10-10.30. Come along, bring your words for a free to enter, free to perform open mic night. New voices, new faces always welcome. This month we will be in the smaller bar and your host will be Julie Pritchard.

The merchandise table will feature the second  RARA contributors anthology, Voices From the Present, launched at the February RARA and you can see Julie Pritchard, Nick Lovell and me holding some copies in the pic above (by Dave Daggers).

Also on the merchandise table you will find books/booklets/pamphlets/etc, by RARA contributors including some of Julie’s, and some of mine (click here for details of my stuff). So lend your ears, share your words, and if you have some to sell, then do it here!



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

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!

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!