Saturday, 11 September 2010

Brilliant Sparks in Brighton

No, not me – modesty forbids – anyway, I'm not in that trade * anymore. I'm referring to SPARKS 10.

My VWC pal Jonathan Pinnock and I trekked down to Sussex for this occasional reading and photography event last Tuesday evening.  Of all the days in the year we had to chose one when London Underground was hit by strikes, which made for an interesting and protracted return journey. That small inconvenience, though, was well rewarded.

In a theatrical review I once referred to the New End Theatre, Hampstead, as 'petite'. By that reckoning the theatre – for it is a mini-theatre – above the pub at Thirteen and Ten, Steine Street, Brighton, is positively Lilliputian. The atmosphere though is Brobdingnagian in a friendly, arty and welcoming way. So supportive indeed were the  organiser, the mesmerising Jo Mortimer, and my talented fellow readers that I almost forgot my fear of reading to a paying audience... Almost.

Aided by a little Dutch courage from the bar I made it through the performance without serious upset. People were still talking to me afterward – that must be a positive sign. I even received a generous compliment or three, which, coming from such talents as Vanessa Gebbie, Jac Cattaneo and Naomi Foyle, give me cause to hope I have survived my first hesitant step as a performance writer and reader.

Yes, I'm hooked.  I'd like to read at a SPARKS event again.

 * Strange synergy here: In 'another life' I was an electrician, Vanessa Gebbie is the editor of the excellent Short Circuit, A Guide to the Art of the Short Story, and there I am reading at an event called SPARKS. Spooky.

Pics (atmospheric) courtesy of Jon Pinnock.

Above: Me, hiding nervously behind the mic.

Above: Jon P, towering over it.