Sunday, 28 September 2008

Home Launch "Review"

The launch night went well. Really well. There was much brilliantness. On the previous two launches, when I arrived at Big Blue the doors were closed and we had the place to ourselves to rearrange tables and put out bourbons. This time, the doors were open, and people were already seated at tables and milling around in and outside. This panicked me a bit, because I was used to the sanctity of being there with just the other writers and performers for the start of things, but I managed to calm down after a while. I worried about not being able to put the bourbons on the tables, but the tables were already decked out with Tracy Meek's cards and Ms Mischief's carrot keys, two of which I managed to snaffle the tags off. I had a glass of wine and felt instantly better.

First up was Biff with his House Cooling story. It was poignant because he's just moved out of Time Travel house, and there are white squares on the walls where his pictures were. Next was Richard Barrett. He'd travelled from Manchester for the day, as is detailed in his travel diary. He read some poems that had everyone chuckling away. Aimee Wilkinson was up next. Considering the fact that she nearly didn't read because of nerves, she handled it all with perfect aplomb. Then it was me. I read Waiting For Centralia To Sink. Gareth Draper was next. He'd come all the way from Bedfordshire to read his ace story, Looking Up. Next, Jenn Ashworth read Garden Refuse, and had everyone in her thrall. Again. She's just been shortlisted for next year's version of this, which is bloody brilliant news. Nathan was next, with a long story he wanted to split into two parts, so we had a break in between.

After Nathan, Rob Hodkinson mesmerized everyone with his poems. He should definitely be on the BBC. Next up, Chris Killen read The Itch. He'd travelled from Manchester via Preston with Jenn, and Sian Cummins. Chris' first novel, The Bird Room, is out in January 2009 on Canongate. He's an old hand at this 'reading out loud' lark, putting on a night in Manchester with the excellent Sally Cook. His deadpan delivery definitely got the laughs.

Michael 'Fierce' Frearson took over next and managed, mid-poem, to verbally battle his way out of an altercation with a crazy man in a puffa jacket who'd wandered in off the street and wanted to do boxing. If it had been me, I think I would probably have just cried, but Fierce didn't let it stop his flow at all. No party rings this time, though. Booo. I think I was up next, reading a short one, and then Biff closed the night with a song.

Drew Gummerson wrote a story for us but couldn't make it to the launch, so he made a recording of his story Catch The Pigeon, complete with sound effects. We were going to play it on the night, but things didn't go quite as planned. You can listen to it here, though. It's better than Jackanory.

As you can see, I managed to take a total of TWO photos that weren't blurred. Jim took more, which I'll post either here or here soon.

Afterwards some of us went across the street to a club to do some dancing. The club was very empty. The deejay played a lot of Michael Jackson and No Doubt. A lot. Last time we went there the deejay played the Pixies and Devo. I think it might have been a different deejay. It was disappointing. We danced to Thriller anyway. We drank blue drinks. Jenn didn't try to start fights with anyone this time. Perhaps she's become more acclimatised to Derby now.

Chris did a write up here, Jenn did one here, and Duncan Cheshire wrote about it here.

I think everyone enjoyed the night. I wasn't as nervous as I had been at the other ones. Big Blue felt nice and warm and cosy. It was also a huge relief for me, Biff and Nath to have this book finished. It's definitely been a learning curve. I know we've all neglected stuff over the last month or so. It'll be nice to catch up with what we've been missing. I had a plan at the start of September to write a post every day. That fell by the wayside early on. This post feels like I've been writing it forever so I'm going to post it now.

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