JUKE ‘Covers’ February 2017

‘Oh what a night…’ The February JUKE certainly pulled out all the stops; with nearly 30 open micers showcasing a lovely mixing pot of work and a palpable buzz that bled into the room at the back of the Owain Glyndwr, it didn’t disappoint.

The theme was ‘covers’ which is about writers coming together to perform and reinterpret other writers’ work. This idea has been floating around since before the first JUKE was even put on but the time never felt right, until now. We’ve had a whole myriad of themes like ‘Superheroes and Villains’, ‘Lost and Found’, ‘Vulnerability’, ‘War’, ‘The Other’ and even the enigmatic ‘Green’, all of these allowed writers to respond in their own words but ‘covers’ asked people to put down their pens/quills/ keyboards and take up their reading eyes to bring to life their favourite pieces.

And they did just that…

To start off the night I read out an extract from ‘Brave New World’.  In these ‘interesting’ times it seemed fitting to go for a piece that paints a bleak picture for the future of the human race, a reality that grows ever more tangible day by day with a certain head of state throwing his badly tanned load around.

The first open micer was Sara Annwyl who read some writing of her father’s. It was a tale about him having a picnic with his writing teacher in Aberystwyth and she gave a powerful performance.

Phil Knight was a blast of energy doing a rendition of ‘Death Shall Have No Dominion’, the first Dylan Thomas piece and certainly not the last, prompting huge applause from the audience. He also put a bit of Shakespeare into predictive text with hilarious results!

Liz Farrell choose to do the ‘I hate that way you…’ poem from the film ’10 Things I Hate About You’, granted without the tears and storming out at the end, as well as an Australian poem from Henry Lawson ‘After All’.

Already at this point there is a great variety of work!

Steven Fontaine captured that rather soothing American drawl of William Burroughs while reading ‘From Here to Eternity’. He also did the first song of the evening, singing the poem Ragland Road but Patrick Kavanagh.

Next up was Floki Moriarty who did two Yeats poems ‘The Ballad of Moll Macgee’ and ‘To the Rose upon the Rood of Time’, very fitting in his Irish accent, and a children’s story called ‘Rosie Rosie’.

Tom Kirby did diary extracts from ‘two of the sweetest peas in the pod’.

Gareth Writer-Davies, one of the most suitable names ever known I’m sure, rewrote some pieces into his own words, ‘Talking in Bed’ by Philip Larkin and welsh folk tale Blodeuwedd, ‘how can a woman give herself to a two-up two-down?’

Three performers came up and did a collaboration, Rachel England, Alex Butterworth and Mat Troy, making ‘The World is a Beautiful Place’ by Lawrence Ferlinghetti a rather disturbing experience as Rachel and Mat used it to taunt Alex.

Bryan Marshall did a much unexpected performance juxtaposing ‘One Man, One Woman’ by ABBA and a Dadaist poem ‘Karawane’ by Hugo Ball and it worked brilliantly! It was wonderfully experimental and a triumph.

The first half ended with some music by Fritz O’Skennick who did a cover of Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’. Also playing on his guitar and singing ‘What’s Up’ by 4 Non Blondes which the whole room happily sang along to.

After the break as there was still a lot of open micers, and I mean a lot, everyone was only allowed to do one piece. Therefore I decided to make the second half into a poem to get across the rather rhythmic way it unfolded…


Will Ford sang a Depeche Mode song ‘A Question of Lust’, creating his own unique tune.

Mat Troy punched out a John Cooper Clarke, ‘Kung Fu International’, a poem about getting ‘Kung Fu’d.’

Rachel Carney took to the mic reading a piece by Robert Frost, ‘The Road Not Taken’.

Emma Varney inspired by ‘Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night’ performed her own reinterpretation.

Leon Lazarus did an original piece called ‘Baal’ to ‘Baal’s Song’ from Schlondorf’s film called ‘Baal’.

Ellie Powell’s strong recital of Carroll’s nonsense poem ‘The Jabberwocky’ delighted us all.

Lloyd Houston gave us some of his dad’s work; ‘he was a landscape painter of the written kind’.

Gemma June Howell performed her black out poem, using an article from the Economist, with a hip-hop feel and political mind…

“Wrong turn. The loss of equality. Wrong turn. A fight of the classes. Wrong turn. The Orwellian Plight. Wrong turn. Divide and rule.”

While Adam Johannes read a John Donne poem starting with the lines ‘Go and catch a falling star, Get with child a mandrake root…’

Indigo Rumbelow turned music into poetry with Patti Smith’s song ‘Dancing Barefoot’.

Johnny Giles brought some absurd hilarity with an extract from Edwin Morgan’s ‘The First Men on Mercury’

And the Pavement Poet, usually found chalking lines on the streets, performed writing about politics and diversity.

Another part of a novel, Ben Meadon went all dark and historical with Boudica by Manda Scott.

Then Mark Curtis got up and did Charles Bukowski’s ‘Don’t come round but if you do’ and you might be thinking by now after all this writing that we’d be starting to lose the plot!

(But we didn’t, we were loving it)

Penultimate open micer Ceri Sean stripped back Bob Dylan’s song ‘It’s alright Ma’, throwing away the guitar.

And last but not least Alex Proctor performed a piece ‘The Unfortunate Rake’, a lament for a young man dying of syphilis… ‘Saying: There goes an unfortunate lad to his home’.

As you can see it was a jam packed night with all the bells and whistles. What a celebration of writing! The ‘covers’ theme may feature again or will perhaps become an annual occurrence as it was such a success.

The next JUKE is on 20th March, 7pm at the Owain Glyndwr with Bryan Marshall as the feature who chose the theme ‘Whispers’. Excited to see what is to come….

First JUKE OF 2016

So another year has been and gone and we’re all settling into the fresh, stiff boots of 2016. In this first JUKE of the new year, 19th January, we will be reflecting on 2015, thinking about what we’re keeping from that time and also what we’d like to leave behind. Perhaps you want to really go for it with your writing career and put your work out there for more than just your Nan to see. Or maybe you want to strut your stuff behind the mic and show the world what you’ve got. Or you just want to have a good night out listening to some talented people who’ll delight you with their dazzling prose, electric verse and comic timing. Whatever is it, JUKE has it all or at least the possibility of it all and if it has none of things in your view, well at least you can get a bottle of beer or glass of wine.

For the next open mic, we have two feature acts, Beatbox Hann, who also uses rap and singing as well as some serious chest-thumping bass, and Gemma June Howell, who was unable to perform at the last JUKE but is coming on Tuesday to share some of her controversial but fun poetry which is inspired by Valley’s life.

In light of recent events, there will also be a bit of a tribute to the music legend, David Bowie. I’ll be bringing in some writing that is inspired by his song lyrics and also there will be a short quiz where two superfans can battle it out to win a Bowie related prize.

It’s all action-packed for the kickstarting JUKE of 2016, so let’s forget about the January blues, or at least write a poem about it, and welcome the new year all guns blazing. (I am not endorsing the use of guns, this is just a playful phrase)

To find out more about the event, go to the JUKE event page: JUKE Event Page

Beatbox Hann

beatbox hann

Hann has been beatboxing for about 11 years. He’s the organiser of the Welsh Beatbox Championships, where he reached the semi finals of the Cardiff Beatbox Battles, held in the Wales Millennium Centre (Wales’ only international annual Beatbox Battles). He runs FlowCase, the UK’s first and only annual Beatbox showcase event and is part of the UK’s team for Beatbox Television which is at youtube HQ in London. This channel produces professional videos of the top beatboxers in the UK. He organised the first mass Welsh jam, in which he combed all of Wales to find every beatboxer he could to have a meet up and jam together, with the aim of introducing everyone to each other and building a vibrant scene which has gained big momentum ever since. He was also the starter of the famous beatbox whatsapp group ‘Beatbox World’ which included world class beatboxers from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa. Finally, he is the development team member and Welsh representative for the world’s No.1 beatbox site www.humanbeatbox.com. You can keep up to date with what he is doing on his facebook page www.facebook.com/BeatboxHann.

Gemma June Howell

gemma june howell

Rhymney-born Gemma June Howell has come from a working-class housing estate, and writes from outside the establishment to deliver her words in the southern valleys vernacular to readers who seek an alternate view of the mainstream media’s ‘benefit scroungers’.

On her poetry collection, Rock Life:

“These poems are sitting down for breakfast with a reality sandwich. Documentary on the page. Sometimes like a West Indian Dub Poet, the author chooses to write English not as we are taught it in the schoolroom, but rather how we hear it in our communities. She writes it how it sounds on the street.
Che Guevara once said, words are beautiful – but action is even better. Read this book and read these poems. Then go back to your communities and prepare to fight the power.” Adam Johannes

If you want to find out more about Gemma, you can go on her website www.gemmajunehowell.webeden.co.uk



JUKE 15 Dec Audience Christmas Poem

Well, the second JUKE was a great night. There was 18 open micers, a packed, lively audience and lots of wonderful words shared. As part of this JUKE I got the audience to write a collective poem, where each person would write down a line, fold over the page and pass it on to the next person (who could only see the line preceding their’s) who did the same thing again. I challenged everyone to write the most ridiculous line they could think of and the results reveal that the JUKE lot are a rather queer bunch. In the best way possible. Gareth Davies was the winner and he is now the proud owner of a blow-up boob. His line ‘that’ll be the sprouts’ was a silly but witty follow on from the line ‘my wind blows faceless, senseless.’ Thank you to everyone who took part and I will definitely be doing this again in a future event.

So, here it is….


My earliest memory is of my father wearing a reindeer costume butt naked from the waist down

Except for a very, very long stripy stocking

Which Mrs Claus got on sale at Ann Summers

Snow falls like the […] from my daughter’s cradle-cup

I had a quick wank and masturbated before I came here

Because bathtime hadn’t been the same since poor old duckie drowned

I tried, in vain, brought back to his final, stale breathe. A bubble bath ‘quack’.

Quack quack quoth the unlucky Christmas bird stuffed ahead of schedule.

Shit just got real, I need to fill a line.

…Fill each nostril of this beak, I’m weak and not dying sober

I always hated Christmas anyway

I’ll arrive in time if time allows

Mince-pie eyes, raisin dark and sweet

I whirlwind through cities

My mind blows faceless, senseless

That’ll be the sprouts!

All soft and round and full of bad taste just like Uncle Bernard

My bike in the rain patiently waits.

I find myself wondering – why do we celebrate peace, love and life, with the mass torture, suffering, slaughter of the innocent?

The children rip open their presents with eager talons, innocent, jolly and savage in their glee.

And an elephant sings carols in Barkley Square whilst chimpanzees sing the Koran, danced in the sunset

Naked in the rain

I notice a stain

Snaking it’s way in the silver fashion

I see you’ve got your own flat white…!

Captain’s yule log: There’s Klingons on the ‘Star of Nazareth Bow’

And they’ve got – Oh God! – cinnamon!

And it’s hot, battered cod – silly man…

(a drawing of a fish) And the fish God! SANG!

And an elephant sang again in Barkley Square

And chased the heir to clove cave.

The cave was dark, like a black cat in a bin bag at midnight. Inside a black wheely bin.

Sigmund Freud is eating Lugers and Jewish similes.



It’s rather inspired… (not part of piece)




JUKE 15 December 2015

The second JUKE is coming up soon and again we have a great line-up. Both performed in the launch and encapsulated what JUKE is all about.

With Christmas nipping at our heels, it’d great to have some festive writing and performances; maybe you could talk about family and how this winter holiday reveals the bright sparks in all of us. Or perhaps you could do a Scrooge/Grinch and smash down the metaphorical fairy lights with a bah humbug. Or you could just wear something seasonal like a santa hat, Christmas jumper or elf shoes. I myself am thinking about putting some holly berry or mistletoe on my top hat, maybe have a tinsel scarf. Or you could do none of these things and come in an anorak. Whatever you feel. The writing doesn’t have to be themed, people can perform what they like. Open micers get 5 minutes to share their stuff.

Little Man Coffee does sell alcoholic beverages and also a few of us might go to a pub afterwards, like we did at the launch, to carry on the festivities.

See y’all for another JUKE on the 15th December, 7.00pm at Little Man Coffee.

Gemma June Howell

gemma june howell

Rhymney-born Gemma June Howell has come from a working-class housing estate, and writes from outside the establishment to deliver her words in the southern valleys vernacular to readers who seek an alternate view of the mainstream media’s ‘benefit scroungers’.

Laz Lazarus


If Cardiff has a ‘Prince of Darkness’ of poetry, it is Laz, negotiating via his words the hard pavements of life, looking for the light and love that slips between the cracks of our existence. Edgy, humorous, unpredictable and endearing, surprising, in sweet, and not so sweet ways.



Launch Night of JUKE Open Mic

Only a few days now until the launch of JUKE is upon us. Here is some information about the four great feature acts that will be performing Tuesday night. Also, anyone who wants to read can sign up. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about sharing and learning what you can do with your creative writing further than the page. There will live tweeting of the event, so if you want to follow, you go onto the twitter: @jukeopenmic. I have a lil’ something special in store for anyone who comes, all will be revealed on the night. Lets celebrate the talent in Cardiff, there is so much and I am so excited. Can you tell?

Mab Jones

Mab Jones Blog post photo

Mab Jones is “a unique talent” (The Times) who has read her poems all over the UK, in the US, France, Ireland, and Japan. Winner of the John Tripp Spoken Poetry Audience Prize and recipient of a 2015 Creative Wales Award, her verse is “articulate and imaginative” (The Guardian) and is published by the uber cool Burning Eye Books. www.mabjones.com

William Dean Ford

Will ford photo

William is a poet, spoken word performer, event organiser and host who experiments with words to surprise himself and (hopefully) others with poems of varying length and spoken word in various voices. More details can be found on www.willdeanford.com

Frank Thomas

frank thomas photo

Frank has been performing for the past 4 years, but hasn’t done much in the last two, so is a bit rusty.

Rosey Brown

rosey brown

Having recently won a 2015 Literature Wales Writer’s bursary, Rosey Brown now works part-time while working on her first novel, which explores the effects of extreme climate change on future life in the UK. When not writing she works for the Arts Active Trust on a variety of education and outreach projects, and in the little spare time that remains after this, she enjoys eating, drinking, and tie-dying underwear.