An unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
–Ursula K. Le Guin, U.S. author
Writing collective Bad Language offered up a night of quality fiction and poetry readings at the Castle on Oldham St., Manchester. On 23/2, creative writers from across the city gathered in the Northern Quarter venue to offer their stories.
The pub backs onto a spacious church, connected by a doorway, and ideal for readings. The organiser introduced the night with her poem, “He Wants to Be a Superhero”.
Aaron Gowman took the first slot of the night with a heartfelt story of unrequited love.
Fat Roland dished out some freebies to the audience- including some Tesco Value toothpaste- before reading his macabre tale “The People Vs. The Tooth Fairies”.
Mercedes Fonseca read a morose tale called “Cheapest Dream Machine”.
Tom Mason- celebrating his birthday, in fact- read out his bizarre and funny story, “Dream Girlfriend”.
Guy Garrud coincidentally made a recurring theme with “Don’t Believe in Faries”, blowing a whistle prop half way through his story to mix things up.
Claire Simmons read her unnerving scary-bird story, “I See Magpies Everywhere”.
During the break, we were reminded that Bad Language is developing an anthology of poems and stories. The latest edition is in the editing stage now, but badlanguagemcr.co.uk will soon have details of their next venture into print.
We fired back up with the story “Manchester Rain”. Who read this? Apologies.
Benjamin Judge gave us “Brains”, where the undead literary elite stalk the town for their favourite food. A fine slice of gore horror comedy.
Steve Garside read a poem.
Sarah-Clare Conlon’s “Dress Down Friday” had a funny end twist. Well received.
Joely Black’s “Gavin One” was the first in a series of stories about a sexless introvert who accidentally creates a mini universe with his chemistry set, thus becoming a god.
Following on nicely from this, Dave Hartley’s original and surreal “The Dust Station” featured a prison world inside a sneeze.
Rod Tame told us of the Manchester Steampunk Consortium on 1st May. If steam-powered SF is your bag, check out Matt and Phred's Jazz Club, Oldham Street, 19:30. Rod performed a poem that fits the sci-fi-in-Victorian-era sub-genre. He’ll be reading the same poem, “Victoria, Queen of Steam”, at the MSC, which Rod says will be full of drunken geeks. Apparently, we were a perfect test audience. Charming!
Bad Language editor Joe read out a love letter to former Blue Peter presenter Katie Hill. Funny stuff! But I concur, Joe. She was pretty fit.
Jo Bell took over at the end of the evening. The local poet impressed with “Worst Date,” before telling us of her new website, Something Every Day. As the title suggests, the e-zine features new poetry daily, and a different team of writers curates the site every month. This May, the Bad Language collective will take it over. Expect good things.
Jo rounded off by dishing out slips of paper to various members of the audience. Each slip featured the title of one of her poems, and each table of people had a selection of slips. She asked the audience to pick out titles from their selection, which she read out to us. An energetic and original performance.
An engaging evening, and more proof of the creativity bursting out of Manchester. It was my intention to read on the night, but I found out about the event a little late. I’m on the waiting list for next time- 30th March- so if you fancy hearing me read, get down and show some love.
Apologies for misspelled names / any other errors. Feel free to correct me/add your blog links.