40. 24-hour short story contest: big response to call of the wild

Lord Buckley wants you

A huge thank you to everyone who entered our 24-hour story contest that ran over the weekend of 3-4 October (Hong Kong time). All stories had to take into account this constraint drawn by the editor of Gafencu magazine: ‘the story must feature an elephant’. Local authors rose to the challenge, looked it square in the face and waited for inspiration to charge. We were very impressed with the quality and quantity of the entries we received and intend to trumpet about them in the weeks and months ahead.

If you want to hear some of the stories being read by their authors come along to the next Hong Kong Writers Circle social event on Wednesday 28 October at Culture Club, 15 Elgin Street (7.30pm kick off). Gafencu magazine will be awarding a special prize to the author of their favourite entry.

My own effort? Thanks for asking. As the contest fell on my birthday weekend it was a bit of a struggle to be honest. While I was able to maintain my admin duties, I didn’t come up with too many of my own words before friends joined me in the pub.

An elephant never remembers. Isn’t that what they say? I forget. It’s the one with the horn, right? I had the horn last night, and not the powdered kind: the kind brought about by liquor; the type of urge that doesn’t get you anywhere because you find yourself drawn to the unattainable – to the rare, lesser-spotted, velveteen-skinned fauna of the night; the tough but dainty animals thought extinct until recent sightings were inadvertently publicised in the startled eyes of a friend and who are now hunted by nightlife’s big beast collective – besuited predators making steady padding progress through the snow maintained by their indefatigable cool. Yes, last night I officially became grey and wrinkly. Worse – I forgot that I was grey and wrinkly. I fooled my own reflection but inspired no one else’s. I took on board so much booze that I became unattainable even to myself. Hence my head. Hence this elephantine hangover…

Here’s one I prepared earlier. An Elephant in Kowloon was published in Far Enough East a couple of years back. Check it out here. It’s a little more accomplished than the above…as far as I can remember: http://www.farenougheast.com/issue-03/an-elephant-in-kowloon-peter-humphreys/

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33. The dips and thongs of spoken word events

5 best things about reading at spoken word events

  1. Captive audience satisfies authorial control fantasy
  2. Audience member accidentally buys your book while trying to order a Penguin Classic the next day
  3. You get to hang out at bars with poptastic ‘80s names like Culture Club
  4. People sometimes buy you drinks (thank you!)
  5. Dutch courage encouraged
Gothic Reading

Reading at the launch of the Hong Kong Writers Circle’s ‘Hong Kong Gothic’, March 2015

5 worst things about reading at spoken word events

  1. Captive audience fails to satisfy authorial control fantasy
  2. Audience member realizes your book is just a mash-up of Penguin Classics
  3. You realize 86% of your literary competitors weren’t even born in the ‘80s
  4. People stop buying you drinks
  5. You end your days raging against the light in a purple hat on a non-stop tour of the deserted bus stations of the mind
Batson and Bateman

And a few years ago in the guise of Batson Bargreaves…

So…looks like a good thing I have someone covering for me this Monday (30th March) when an actor will be performing my monologue ‘Locked in Love’ as part of a Liars’ League event themed Chance & Fate at XXX Gallery, Sai Wan, Hong Kong.

The Liars’ League format (“Writers write. Actors act. Audience listens. Everybody wins.”) has provided raucous entertainment whenever I’ve seen it in action before, capturing the best aspects of spoken word to the delight of the audience (who, let’s face it, are the most important part of the night).

A particularly memorable line-up lit up the Hong Kong International Literary Festival last year when stories by Junot Diaz, Chris Pavone and others were performed at The Fringe Club. There is also an upcoming Liars’ League (London) special on Radio 4 so listen out for that.

‘Locked in Love’ is wedged right in the middle of bill on Monday; perhaps fittingly as it tells the story of an expat stuck in a stinky pub toilet cubicle. After admiring the graffiti and cursing the lack of toilet roll, our hero soon realises he’s in danger of missing his flight home to the UK, and with it a last chance to be reunited with his estranged love…

If you have a monologue you’re dying to let someone else get off your chest you can submit your ideas for future evenings direct to the Liars themselves by heading to their submissions page here. Would I lie to you?

Liars’ League @ XXX Gallery, B/F, 353-363 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Wan (between Whitty St and Hill Rd, eight mins walking west from Sheung Wan)

18. Job’s a good ‘un


Bolshy book launch

So after all the hype, we succeeded in getting Another Hong Kong launched at the exquisite Culture Club on 13th March. If you haven’t bought your copy already, please do so now. As you can probably tell from the photo of the relieved editing team (courtesy of SCC Overton) I celebrated our achievement in a similar fashion to singing sensation Tony Ferrino (aka Steve Coogan) when he won Eurovision. And why not…

Tony Ferrino