Fictions of Every Kind: 5 December 2011
December 6, 2011
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The open mic event at the Victoria Hotel in Leeds was well-organised and well-attended. The audience of about 20 filled the room at the back of the pub. They opened the door slightly before the advertised time of 7:30pm. I put my name down for open mic: a full slot of 7 minutes.
I went on first. In keeping with the evening’s theme of ‘Haunting’, I read the only attempt at a ghost story I have ever written, which is ‘Featherhead’. I tried to make up for the technical weaknesses in the story by reading it as dramatically as I could. The audience seemed appreciative, and I asked for another minute and ten seconds, which was granted. I then read ‘Throwing Mother In The Skip’, prefaced by some remarks about how it was about the kind of haunting that I am more used to writing about: being haunted by the past, by the deeds or omissions of oneself and others rather than anything supernatural. That also went down well.
There were two other open mic contributors: Kevin, who read quite a creditable ghost story about a haunting by a stillborn child and its mother who died during the stillbirth, and David, who extemporised what purported to be a real-life ghost story about an experience his brother had in Oxfordshire. This was rambling and without much discernable craft or narrative, or emotion. It came with a free gift of cracker-barrel philosophising on the theme of “more things in Heaven and Earth”.
Mason Henry Summers was a good compere. The next speaker he introduced was Sarah Bradley, the event organiser. She read a story which was about the evocation of feeling haunted rather than a literal haunting. It was well-crafted and full of believable details about student life in a back-to-back house in Leeds.
There was an interval at that point, and I left in order to return home to The Jays. I thereby missed the two invited presenters, and the music ensemble, a two-piece band from Cornwall which goes by the name of ‘Roman Empire’.
I look forward to reading at this event again. It would be worth travelling some distance to see, because it kicked off on time, was in congenial surroundings, and had plenty of content. It was also free to get in.