Events, dear boy, events …

MIR 12 and just some of the featured writers it containsReadings, it seems, are like buses. Not only do they attract a fascinating selection from the broader gene-pool, they come along in pairs when you least expect them to arrive.

(Hopefully, the others cliches will be avoided and I won’t wind up sat next to ‘the nutter’. Better yet, the metaphor may take flight and the bus will transport me somewhere. A pub afterwards, at the very least.)

So tomorrow, I shall no doubt worry the neighbours more than usual by pacing round the house while I rehearse reading an extract from my story, Sisters, published in Mechanics’ Institute Review Issue 12 before I arrange my facial hair in a suitable fashion for arrival at Shoreditch High Street station before a brisk walk to Brick Lane.  (The last few times I’ve seen it have, shamefully, been courtesy of The Apprentice: my feet haven’t touched its actual surfaces since about 2001, and I hope it’s worn better since then than I have.)

So if you’d like to hear the physical voice as well as read the written one, you have two opportunities in the next two days (both events are free):

  • Wednesday 25th at 7pm, Brick Lane Bookshop, 166 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU – when I’ll be reading with fellow anthology contributors Frank Sayi, Kate Ellis, Kate Seferian, Simon Townend , Rebecca Rouillard and David Savill (details are here or here)
  • Thursday 26th at 7pm, Milton Keynes Gallery, 900 Midsummer Blvd., Milton Keynes MK9 3QA – when I’ll taking part in their Spoken Word Open Mic evening (details are here)

Everyone welcome, and please feel free to chat to me afterwards if you like: I’m more likely to be scared of you than vice versa. And if you have any words of encouragement for a man contemplating making a Creative Writing PhD application, rehearse them and say them to me in your kindest tone. For once, Tesco’s marketing department may have a point: every little really does help.

If you can’t make it, or your prefer your words on a page or screen, the opening lines are below – you will, I’m afraid, have to buy the book to get the full story 🙂

Since I lifted it out of its fancy satin box a month ago and hung it delicately on the offi ce coat rack in its protective plastic sleeve, the emerald-green ball gown hasn’t attracted a single raised eyebrow. I’d explained who it was for – although they must have been able to see it wasn’t my size, even before the alterations. And God knows, green would never work with my complexion.

The girls have spoken admiringly of the colour, and cooed about the way the peacock-feather designs had been so dexterously picked out on each sleeve in tiny sapphire and aquamarine sequins and rhinestones. Fussy to the last, Brenda got out her reading glasses and inspected its cuffs and hem. “Brussels lace?” she asked, approvingly.

“Limerick,” I corrected her. “It’s for Betty. For his curtain call. It’d be wrong if it wasn’t Irish.”



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