It takes a lot to get me to the Workman's. I've been there twice. My graduation from college, and last night at Literary Deathmatch. I mean I get stick plenty especially on Twitter for being a hipster but compared to the usual clientele of Workman's I'm a pure mainstreamer. But off I went no less and it was pure, pure worth the risk of crossing the threshold of the actual Hipster Runoff of Dublin clubs.
LDM was terrific. I have come to know, over my literary journeys in Dublin, two of the lads who competed: Gareth Stack, and Stephen James Smith (who's name is misspelled Smyth in the acknowledgements in my book, Follies don't you know) There were four competitors, two ladies two lads, I'd seen one of the girls before, Virginia Gilbert, who was really amazing (I read the same night she did at the Irish Writer's Centre's International Woman's Day Celebrations, and she was just as epic then as she was at LDM). The competition felt something like a really personal, harrowing Blind-Date type situation, and X-Factor.
I often compare Slam culture to X-Factor - get up and do your poem and be really fucking entertaining or you're pointless - but LDM's judges instead of being anonymous scorers from the audience literally commented on the performances and literary merit of the pieces. Intense, but all in good fun, as Ceri kept reminding me when I was literally cringing in a ball at some of the judges' comments.
The atmosphere walked the line very thinly between being competitive and taking the literature in question dead seriously and taking the piss, bigstyle. It always veered more into pisstakery, which I loved, because it's pure important not to take the whole thing TOO seriously the whole time. It was sort of rollercoasterish. The judges were sometimes moved but sometimes ruthless. Like I was eyes to the floor at the harshness sometimes, and that's a lot coming from me, I like harsh stuff, I'm pretty harsh myself sometimes.
One of the judges, actually, as a side-note, was Mark O'Halloran who wrote Adam & Paul. I studied it in IADT, so I decided to go up to him and tell him I liked his movie. He was lovely but I wasn't able to say anything else to him, like a nervous child, state of me.
So yeah. Literature as live performance means a lot to me and there was something high-spirited and far from up it's own hole about LDM, something that can go amiss at times in the world of literature. The readers were literally so varied, thus giving it a selection-box sort of feel, only obviously of a super mega high standard. Like if your selection box was ALL made up of Milky Way Crispy Rolls, and they were your favourite bar ever.
Stephen James Smith took the medal home after a TENSE final round which involved shooting James Joyce in the face with a bullet covered in lipstick. Actually, speaking of himself, buzz it to the Glór Sessions tomorrow night if you're around, it's free in, starts at half eight, some savage music and poems and all (I'm even getting up to do a few, swit swoo). Stephen curates the Glór Sessions every Monday in the basement of the International Bar.
My other main highlight of the evening was before the show, Todd Zuniga, the host and co-founder of the evening pointing out to myself and a few others that his suit had his name embroidered on the inside of it. It was a lovely suit that he was given specifically to do the LDM shows with. Like, a proper tailored suit. I want one.
i want a suit