Sunday, 25 October 2015

HAND JOB ZINE ISSUE #9 LAUNCH PARTY

On Friday morning I awoke at the crack of dawn, packed a bag full of zines, chocolate bars and prawn cocktail flavoured crisps and jumped on a coach at 8am. My destination was Nottingham. The reason for my jaunt halfway up the country was the launch party for Hand Job Zine's ninth issue. A fantastic night of poetry and punk, but we'll get to that... First I had an eight hour journey ahead of me. I decided to get a coach rather than a train as it was half the price. I also believe that a long ass coach journey is a right of passage that every man should experience at least once in his life. My girlfriend warned me that I would hate it, that she had been on long coach journeys before and they were torture, but I wasn't too worried. I like long journeys. I recently discovered the fantastic music of Sam Russo so his new album 'Greyhound Dreams' was a fitting accompaniment for the first leg of the journey up to London Victoria. I then had an hour wait for my next coach, just enough time to piss and shit and neck a pint. Then it was onwards to Nottingham. 

I got to Nottingham at bang on 4pm, checked in to the hostel I was staying in and then had a wander around the city. I checked out some shops and sampled a few of the local boozers. From the little I saw of the city it seemed like a nice place and definitely somewhere that I would like to visit again, preferably for longer than one afternoon/night next time.

Then it was on to the Hand Job party at Chameleon Arts Cafe, a live music venue in the middle of town, situated above a card shop and next door to a pub called The Bell which claims to be "Nottingham's oldest Inn". I'm not sure who is lying, but another Nottingham pub, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, claims to be the oldest Inn in all of England, so one of them is clearly full of shit.

The Hand Job party was a brilliant night, kicking off with poetry and short story readings from some incredibly talented writers that have all featured in issues of Hand Job zine past and present, and some have also featured in the pages of my own zine PAPER AND INK. First up was Louise Hart who read two poems, the first an anti-Tory rant from the heart and the other about growing up in the punk scene in Coventry. Next up was Scouser Raif Mansell who read an impassioned short story about why he hates London, then Luke Humphries read a short story about larking about with chainsaws at work. After a short break Ben Williams took to the stage to read a short, sharp story about witnessing a man drown. Then the masterful Dean Lilleyman was up - He read an excerpt from his novel, 'Billy and the Devil' and had the crowd eating out the palm of his hand. A truly terrific reading. I have read Dean's novel and can vouch for it's excellence, however after seeing that I now want Dean to read it to me and implore the man to record an audio book! Next up was Holly Watson, who read an excerpt from her excellent blog, The Coventry Conch. Following Dean was a daunting task but Holly absolutely nailed it with a charming story about the time as child when she realised that some people have never seen the sea. After another short break it was the turn of the night's compere, poet Miggy Angel. Miggy is an infectiously passionate bloke and his poems are raw and guttural and were a joy to witness.   

Last but not least was late arrival, Joseph Ridgwell. In his own words he had a "super triple crazy journey" getting to Nottingham from Edinburgh. He made it just in time to read before the band started. He read a couple of poems from his collection Where Are The Rebels and then an excerpt from his outstanding recently published road novel Burrito Deluxe. After Ridgwell was local punk band, White Finger, who tore the roof off the place. A fitting end to what had been a raucous and highly entertaining night. I have been to poetry readings that were more than half empty in rooms where you could hear a pin drop, this place was packed out the whole night and had a great atmosphere. After the readings and the band it was lock-in time. The doors were closed and the ashtrays came out. I haven't been at a lock-in in years and it was nice being able to smoke inside again. After countless drinks and chatting about zines and writing and everything else in between, we all went off our separate ways. Ridgwell was crashing with me at the hostel so we decided to hit a few more bars before calling it a night and that is about where my memory of the night ends...

I woke up in the morning with an immense hangover of death and a badly bruised elbow. Ridgwell was asleep on a sofa out in the hallway and I was asleep on the floor of my room. The beds were untouched. Fuck knows what happened. We checked out of the hostel and set off to find the bus and train stations. Ridgwell and I parted ways and I then had a three hour wait at the bus station for my coach, in which time I managed to puke in to one of their bins. 1pm finally arrived and I was away. I pretty much slept the entire way to London and then when I got there I puked again right outside Victoria bus station. Another two hour wait followed before the one and only coach to Hastings that day. For good measure I then puked again upon arriving in Hastings. Not the first time I have vomited on the streets of this fair town and certainly not the last. I crawled through my front door at 9:45pm and my lovely girlfriend made me a cup of tea. It felt good to get in to bed that night, I can tell you! And my cat must have missed me because he decided to sleep on my face. All in all it was a great night and well worth the trip up to Notts. I'd do it all over again, even the hangover. Bring on the book launch next year!

Grab a copy of Hand Job zine from their website and help support independent literature. Also, I have a poem in it!

No comments:

Post a comment