Stewart Home and Nicholas Blincoe...
Stewart Home and Nicholas Blincoe - Filthy MacNasty's 20 Nov 04.
Most people already know about Filthy MacNasty's history, so I wont elucidate further. It seemed quite a fitting environment to sit sipping a few drinks while listening to a couple of extremely talented (if not stylistically similar) writers. Both turned up fashionably late, keeping a buoyant crowd of around seventy people waiting - not that anyone was too bothered. A Filthy MacNasty's crowd is a seen-it-all-before-worn-the-t-shirt affair. After 3AM's compere coolly introduced the two writers, a sartorially elegant and somewhat nervous Nicholas Blincoe took to the stage (well, microphone), and without a customary over-long preamble began to read from his critically well received Burning Paris. Sadly he made for difficult listening, adding to my assumption that almost all writers bitterly disappoint when reading from their own work. Why do they do this to themselves? Asked two of my companions. I shrugged and tried to explain that it was the presence of the writer that counted - but I felt I was fooling even myself in this assumption. Blincoe unapologetically stumbled and staggered (just like the drunken old man sitting at our table) around his chosen snippet. It was a shame, his exceptionally precise prose deserved better. In his defence, though, he was having to tackle the intruding drone from The Ramones (yes, it's that kind of establishment) seeping through the bar from the speakers in the other room - and a somewhat aloof, uninterested barmaid, collecting glasses and emptying ashtrays, clearly too cool for such literary matters. Blincoe rather sheepishly passed over the reading to Stewart Home to some rather enthusiastic (and somewhat sympathetic) applause. Now, Stewart Home has presence for such a small, unassuming man. He's got that surly look, that something behind the eyes. His striking girlfriend even more so. I was impressed:
I suppose you want me to read from Down and out in Shoreditch and Hoxton?
Well yes, Stewart. I was even more impressed when he began to rattle off the opening chapter of his most recent novel completely from memory and without the obligatory manuscript or precious tome at hand - word for word. He prowled the stage, snarling off sentences with venom. It was quite special to witness. He then rattled through the hilarious "ventriloquist's Dummy" chapter from 69 Things to Do with a Dead Princess, again word for word, then treating us all to an incredibly in-your-face snippet from his vulgar post-modern novel Cunt. I must admit that I was heartily impressed with the man - but then again I would be, having lovingly devoured most of his work. The unemotional detachment he poured into each pornographic scene conveyed his point all the more clearly. It was easy to get him, so to speak. When finished Stewart Home skulked away, handing the microphone back over to, an even more terrified looking, Nicholas Blincoe. But he was fine:
You make me seem so bourgeois, Stewart...
YOU ARE BOURGEOIS, NICHOLAS...
Came a voice from the crowd. Blincoe laughed and this seemed to relax him a little, his second stab at reading being far more accomplished than the first. But, alas, by then it was too late, Stewart Home had already left his mark. The 3AM compere ended the proceedings and let the numerous toadies and sycophants swarm around each writer (I have no idea what these people say) while I slipped over to the bar, taking advantage of the momentary space. Reasonable night really.
LEE ROURKE © 2004.
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