strange attractor website


The 5th Beneath the Underground Poetry and Jazz Festival will be held at:

Hen and Chicks, Abergavenny 2-6 p, Saturday 11th June.



held at the Hen and Chicks pub, Abergavenny, Wales on Saturday 19th July 2008

Report by Chris Torrance

I reported briefly on the first festival last year, 30th June 2007. On that occasion the weather couldnt have been worse, driving rain all the way to the gig, plus endless miles of roadworks. I was very nervous, depressed by the weather and apprehensive about meeting old mates I hadnt seen for 40 years.  As it was, the event went well, and I managed to do my FRINITE rant without anything going wrong.

The roots of all this are embedded in the back bench of the Greyhound pub, Carshalton, where the young crowd known as The Mob came up with the idea of publishing a magazine that was to be called ORIGINS DIVERSIONS. The magazine ran to maybe 13 or 14 issues through the mid-60s, associated with readings & exhibitions, & a widening circle of contacts in the world of little mags & poets that was flourishing at the time.  The Mob grew like a magnet attracting iron filings, while many Mob members migrated away or split off to pursue other lives in other locations. But most of us kept in touch one way or another.

Our chief archivist, Richard Downing, & our chief activist, Roger Yates, conspired with others to produce a newsletter called BENEATH THE UNDERGROUND, which culminated in the first Festival. Richard & Roger, together with Hens and Chicks poetry events organiser Ric Hool and MC Phil Maillard, conspired to launch the second Festival.

On the day, Neath Valley writer & publisher Robert King picked me up as arranged & we had a smooth, troublefree ride to Abergavenny, & only a few wee showers.  We found a carpark, & walked from there to Flannel Street through Saturday shopping crowds on the main street. We get to the Hen & Chicks and I see that the outside tables are packed with familiar faces; & two I haven't seen for over 40 years - Don Bodie and Tony Corner.

There wasn't too much time for a natter, however - things were getting under way upstairs, so off we wnet to the big room with its low-beamed ceiling for what turned out to be a super show, orchestrated by Richard, Ric, Phil & Roger. For me th high spot was definitely Roger Yates jazz tribute set, with Rog reading his poems to the modern jazz giants of the mid-20th century, accompanying himself between poems on sonorous, marvellous, tenor sax that matched the gravity of his vocal delivery.  Everyone else did well, including mixed media performances by David John Davies, & Bill Wyatt's set, again with Roger on sax for Bill's MEMORY LOZENGES. & Ric picked up his bass to play a blues with Roger at the end.

For me personally this was the most cosmic gig I'd ever been to/ participated in, compared with the early ORIGINS DIVERSIONS readings in Surrey and London, or the ANGELS OF FIRE reading at the Cockpit theatre, Edgware Road, London, in the early 90's, or the super nightclub gig POETHEAT AT SHED in the mid-eighties.  A sustained creative arts experience, & proof that the old gnarled vine of the Beat 1960's has rejuvenated spectacularly in 2007 & 2008.


Chris Torrance                                                            late July 2008


Photographs from the event taken by Val Maillard. To see more of Val's photos go to


Bill and Anne Wyatt


Roger Yates and Don Bodie


Phil Morsman and Jade






Ric Hool


Bill Wyatt    


Richard Downing
















                            Chris Torrance



                                              Phil Maillard







                                      Phil Maillard













                                Jeremy Hilton

Editor and Publisher of Fire Magazine

Fire magazine is published yearly

Each Issue costs 7.00 - the double issue above costs 10 - 3 issues costs 12.00

Overseas customers please add postage 5.00 for double issue, 2.50 for single issue

Cheques payable to Fire Magazine and send to

Jeremy Hilton, Field Cottage, Old White Hill, Tackley, Oxfordshire



Biography and mission statement. 
40 years on Chris on forty years in Wales and an account on the BTU festival and on a reading at Chepstow in 2010
Publications - a list of CDs and books and link to order form
Back to strange- attractor  homepage