“Readings shouldn’t be boring.” It’s a pretty simple idea, but amazing how rarely it’s acted upon. This thought occurred to me after I attended one of those must-have-a-reading-to-sell-some-copies literary evenings: free wine, held in a library, three authors. The best part of that evening came when the hobo lady who’d snuck in to ransack the tidy rows of Chablis heckled the poet as he read a piece about Tuscany from inside his own rectum. She was right—the writing was lazy and self-indulgent. (I think her exact phrase was ‘shite’.)
The problem was obvious: a heckling drunk shouldn’t be a reading’s most entertaining part. Surely it’s possible to hold a literary event where if you do have drunk hobo, she’s screaming ‘fuck yeah’ like she was at a Skynard concert. Luckily we’re not the only ones who have thought so. There is Opium’s globetrotting Literary Death Match, San Fransisco’s The Rumpus, and Edinburgh’s Glasgow’s DiScomBoBuLaTe.
Now, in London, two Englishmen and two Americans (me being one) have started The Special Relationship. Following in the great European literary tradition, we started with a manifesto: