Dublin's first Literary Death Match was great fun. I've never laughed so much at a literary event in my life. And I like the Sugar Club as a venue - it's cosy and cool.
I think the Death Match's successs is definitely down to its host, Opium Magazine editor Todd Zuniga. Todd is an instantly likeable kind of person - funny, down-to-earth and a tad eccentric. He struck me as a very unAmerican American (if that's not too rude a thing to say...) Anyway, a good host makes the audience believe in and enjoy something that they are not sure they know anything about. And so it was on Friday night.
I read poetry in the end - sticking to my (hopefully) humourous ones, along with a couple of lovey ones. The judges approved anyway as I was put through to the final. My rival Colm Liddy read a funny short story about sibling rivalry. We had to read for 7 minutes apiece and if you go over you are shot. With foam balls. I didn't get shot but Colm did.
Judge Nadine O'Regan said my work was like "Mills & Boon meets Paul Auster". Good Lord, I thought, as I giggled into my beer. I won Philly McMahon over once I mentioned Madonna, and Úna Mulally's mother is from Ballinasloe so she appreciated my imagining of Frida Kahlo coming along to brighten up the town. They said other good things which I cannot remember now due to mind-bending fatigue.
The other two readers who were pitted against each other were Brian O'Connell who read a great extract from his book Wasted, which I am looking forward to reading. And Mullingar's finest Marty Mulligan who recited rather brilliantly from his performance piece 'Direland'. In the event, Brian went through to the final, so we went head-to-head in a throw-the-spud-through-the-writer's-mouth contest.
There were large photos of Flann O'Brien, Flannery O'Connor and Oscar Wilde and we had to toss potatoes of differing sizes through their gobs. It was madness and I am unsporty in the extreme but somehow I managed it and was the winner. I got a lovely medal of which I am VERY proud!
I hope the next time the LDM comes to Dublin that I can make it. (Update - they are coming back on the 30th April!) It was definitely the most fun I've had at a reading ever.
There's a report on the night on the Lit Death Match site here.