NARRATION @ CLAPHAM BOOKS
Clapham Narration, pt 1 [no pt 2]
[With my apologies to writers everywhere. Version update will be twice good as]
‘Darling, I cannot go to Clapham,’ I said, ‘I am so weary after opening my birthday card.’
‘But you must – for your anthology narration,’ said my wife, ‘imagine crowds of disappointed Londoners wailing under fountains.’
‘I suppose you are right, ‘ I said. ‘But lovely,’ I continued, ‘there is much going on down here, in Brighton, down with you, honey – in our household. Who cooks supper tonight? Who shall watch Hospital Doctors – together on the catch up? Only Chelsea or Into the Sussex, I love both those shows. And of course buckets of wine wait in our kitchen,’ I winked…seductively [a sexy guy] blah blah, blah blah blah winked.
‘Babe, I shall keep your bucket warm till your return,’ she said, [her] fingers caressed wet lips.
‘Oh sweetness, I am aware, certainly, how I am famous and necessary upon scene. What shall I wear to Clapham?’
‘A jacket, shirt and…’
‘No jacket, no. Remember how uncomfortable I felt the last time – wore suit jacket, quite stiff. I am looking for an urban outfit, thinking jeans and coat.’
‘Absolutely,’ she said, [wife] imagined me, naked under my coat. A short coat, where in her dreams I cough, reveal everything to her eyes, [and] joust briefly among coat hangers.
I caught my train. Everywhere I looked suburban pensioners wore halos – grey, sat and munched brown sandwiches from their tin foil. They wore coats like my coat, synthetic mountaineering coat, the rage in the forty-six plus range to death bracket – a new Highlands lifestyle for us all. Disembarking at Clapham Junction I mountaineered cross Clapham Common, arrived @ #ClaphamBooks @7 o’clock, pm#. There was nobody there.
Well, ‘where are my book people?’ I said to the bookshop owner.
‘Cool it,’ he said, ‘like this on the scene, always. So relax, bud, peruse children’s section, listen to my jazz.’
Five minutes of his jazz on my face I left the shop, crossed the road, watched a troupe of famous authors, my contemporaries arrive for our reading.
How little me, how little I expected scene as experienced behind the bookshop. A parachute spread upon a fantastic lawn of grass saplings, and hearing click of fingers, twenty hula ladies gripped the silk of the parachute in their servile hands, wafted chute – at knee height, almost a real flea circus. Bohemians and audience crawled into this confined space where in the farthest far corner a hot hose bubbled upon an endless ball pond, and atop the sea of balls, enclosed inside his own antiseptic bubble ball, sat the editor, mister Sean Preston (of Open Pen magazine.) The purple shorts sparkled at his waist, nipple piercing glinted under disco lighting. As usual Preston sucked from knapsack oxygen, his [trademark] roller boots set to one side.
‘Maddy,’ he said to me in my shit black coat, ‘so glad to see you, chappy. Please discard dreadful garment. Shall you narrate from tub, tubby heh, heh heh heh? Everybody else is lotioned, ready for narration. You are up…next.’
I read my story to the beautiful people, people of Clapham, and the bubbles surfed at my nostrils..I wanted to say ‘Actually Sean, I have written something about my feelings,’ but all he cared for was my tale of bee massacre and the selection of O2, [oxygen]s at his elbow.
It was real good fun. Kind of, I felt humbled – relief to find my people, the short story writers, wonderful, inspiring characters in the mix, sincere too, I like the serious writers – pratfalls all the time is tiring for a man. My appreciation and wishes of good will go to:
Jasmin Kirkbride, & LiamJHogan & Sean Preston & Peter Higgins & Darren Lee & James Vella & Ben Byrne & that Pinkerton chap, and man @claphambooks and that publisher chap and the nice Dad chap in his coat, I liked him.
…and my friend who bought me a pint x