Manchester’s premier fiction reading slam Bad Language took place on the 23rd. This time, Organiser Dan Carpenter gave me a slot slap-bang in the middle of the readings.
Nici took the mic first, reading some funny haikus including “Dog” and “Darylin”.
Clare Conlon plugged Flashmob flash fiction writing competition- which you SHOULD submit to- before reading her story “Posterbill.”
Guy Garrud put a new slant on toilet humour with his hilarious monologue story, “Interview”.
Nija Dalal’s story used a building as a metaphor for life, and for turning thirty.
Claire Simmons read her story “Stephanie”.
Before the break, Bad Language organiser Tom informed us that Monday was World Poetry Day. I didn’t know about this!
Monday was also, Dan said, National Truancy Day. To mark this, he read his poem “Skiving”. It left me feeling like I wish I’d not tried so hard and bunked off school once in a while, like most normal kids. I related to “This Night”, about the end of a night out. Good work.
Dave Hartley followed this with a series of six-sentence stories, including “Unicorn Linguistics”, “Finger Thief” and of course, a funny rabbit poem. No Dave Hartley collection is complete without the inclusion of a rabbit.
Socrates (did I hear that right?) read his poem “Wide and Deep”, which he told us was about killing organiser Dan. I’m assuming that was a red herring, as I interpreted it as being more about life in general. I didn’t pick up any homicidal references at all!
Whaddayaknow? Next, we had Matt Tuckey.
My story “Stakeout” seemed well-received. I enjoyed reading it out. I also plugged Stray Branch, who have promised to publish the story later this year.
Callum Kerr jumped on the mic after me. “Most of what I wrote about was about death,” he said. Then he read out “Tommy”, a violent story about ripping off dementia sufferers. All in good humour, of course.
Organiser Tom had some info for certain niche writers in the room- Manchester Speculative Fiction is a writer’s group looking for more contributors. Ask @Craigthegeek or @Benjaminjudge, on Twitter, for more info. Tom read out his poem “Little Lies of Tall Girls”, before the concluding third began.
Benjamin Judge gave us “Twelve Haiku Found in Sock Drawer of Roy Keane”. It was popular, although with it being football-orientated I didn’t understand a word.
The highlight of the night was Fat Roland’s choose-your-own-adventure story. He called it “Sometimes in Life, It Seems Like You Have A Choice”. It started off as an office-based scenario featuring the filling in of a spreadsheet pertaining to paperclips. Through cacophonous audience participation, we picked the direction of the bizarre story, which took us through a depraved world of buffalo, paperclips, rabbits and scatology. Hilarious. Gross.
Anna Percy settled our stomachs by plugging “Stirred”, for women who write. If you’re female and want to perform fiction or poetry, why not check out the night at Sandbar on Grovesnor St. Everyone is welcome to the event, which runs on the first Monday of every month. .
And it’s only a quid to get in! You cannae complain.
(On a side point, if anyone fancies attending and writing it up, I’d be happy to post your review here. Get seen. Get involved. You know it makes sense.)
Anna read her poem. She used a collage that she made for inspiration.
Aaron Gowman follows with a story.
Gerry Potter read last and had memorised a very long poem called “Wind”, about the myth of himself. He followed this with “Blue Eye”, about unrequited love, and “A Midsummer Night’s Daydreaming”, re Liverpool’s gay scene. He gave the audience a trademark “camp scouse wink” before rounding off with “The Imagination is God”.
The next Bad Language night will be 27th April, with a guest performance from local poet Rod Tame.
Although Bad Language may live up to its name with the occasional controversial story, In Manchester’s creative writing scene it is a headlining event. If you like good creative writing, you need to hear some Bad Language.
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