Monday, July 25, 2005

Etiquette Query

Right. I'm after some advice here. I'm going to go to a friend's book reading tonight [Plug begins - It's for a short story collection called 'Underwords' published by Maia Press, and it's got stories from Angela Small Island Levy and Hanif Budda of Suburbia Kureishi, both of whose parents gave them stupid middle names in the hope they'd become successful novelists. The star turn undoubtably is Paul Owen, reading from 'Gunfingers' at 6.30pm today, at Counting House (which to my understanding is a pub, 50 Cornhill, which is near Bank station) - plug ends] and I need your advice.

How should one behave at this event? I've never been to a book reading before. I'm going to treat it as a cross between a sporting event and a gig, on account of the performance and fandom aspects of the whole thing. By treating it as such, I of course mean that I'm going to turn up drunk, whoop, holler, shout abuse at the opposition (other authors), give my man a sporting nickname (Paulo? Too Portugese. Owensy? Too shit. I'll have to give this further consideration), and shout praise ("Oi! Great characterisation!" "Strong analogy, my son!" "He's the British Don DeLillo! He's the British Don DeLillo!"), and generally make a lot of noise. Is this what everyone else would do given the situation?


  1. Congratulations, you have instinctively nit the nail on the head, apart from it is also like stand up comedy and heckling is encouraged.

  2. Also it is quite like boxing, in that it's a discipline that demands supreme individuality supported by a team of people (who wash you down and give you a bucket for you to spit in in boxing, and editors and agents who do whatever they do in writing) which relies on showmanship and ego. The audience part of boxing is reduced to rioting when they don't get to see enough of what they've paid to see. Let this be a salutary tale - If I don't get to see Hanif Kureishi versus Andrea Levy in a twelve-round head-to-head reading, I will take it upon myself to hurl chairs and other available furniture around. Also, I would like the novelists to please enter the auditorium stripped to the waist while soft-rock anthems blare from the PA.

  3. You need to make sure you loudly and often state the fact that you know Paul, you live with him infact.
    "he's my mate he is..up there on the stage"...

    unless he's really bad ...(not that I think he would be of course)

  4. We compromised on being drunk, but listening with rapt attention. Then getting more drunk. And, in my case, shutting a window on my thumb, which hurt, but had little effect on Paul.