Sociable Reading: Book Slam

The Clapham GrandPatrick NessWill Self

Event: Book Slam at the Clapham Grand.

Who: Book Slam – I’ve covered one of their events before so I’ll just let you find out for yourself this time!

What: Book Slam presents authors Patrick Ness and Will Self, with a musical interlude of rising star, George Ezra, all seamlessly merged together by comedian Dominic Frisby.

When: Thursday 25th April, from 6.30pm.

Refreshments: There were some interesting boxes on offer containing various quinoa with pomegranate seeds and Spanish tortilla – unfortunately I didn’t get to food in time. Instead, I refreshed myself with two pints of Heineken ( I think) and then tucked into two Warburtons crumpets when I got home – an enviably balanced diet.


I arrived flustered, but on time, after getting carried away with the April sunshine and making it my mission to walk from my office (in cute pumps which were totally impractical for walking any distance) in Piccadilly to The Clapham Grand. Google Maps gave me a 90minutes transfer time, however, this didn’t factor in a phone call to my mother which resulted in me getting lost around the Vauxhall Bridge area. Anyway, I digress, I made it which is all that mattered, and my other half had arrived punctually and reserved us a couple of bar stools.

Dominic Frisby
According to the bio, he’s a writer, author, presenter, actor and voice-over, this evening he was our master of ceremonies. Frisby played (get it Frisby!) a great host and treated us to numerous and funny anecdotes, my favourtie one being about his experiences with Italian sushi. He worked well with the audience, engaging in banter without being crass or insulting.

Patrick Ness
Author of seven novels, American born Ness was present to give us a couple of readings from his latest literary creation, ‘The Crane Wife’. He was ‘nervous as hell’ and cracked a few jokes in between performances which endeared him to the audience and calmed his worries. The readings were really quite poetic and very descriptive, I favoured the second of the two because of its semi-autobiographical nature. I’m not sure I will be picking up the book anytime soon, but that’s more a personal preference than any real criticism

Will Self
He doesn’t really need an introduction, however, I have to say his performance reminded me of a mash-up of Alan Rickman and the Grandma in Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvelous Medicine. He is clearly a veteran of the live circuit as his persona of a grumpy, eccentric, dry humoured man is perfected down to a tee. His latest novel, ‘Umbrella’ tells the unhappy tale of Audrey Death, from munitions work to contracting the sleeping sickness of Europe in 1918. His tone and style has the perfect symmetry to his prose, and from his novel it was clear that he had created another unique story. However, I do find that Self’s works are often quite hard to follow, especially as this one doesn’t even have paragraphs, so I think it would be one to read alone without distraction.

George Ezra
My favourtie part of the whole evening was the musical talents of Mr Ezra, who unassumingly took to the stage with his guitar and belted out four songs reminiscent of Kings of Leon mixed with Jake Bugg. Awesome talent and one I will be following with a keen interest.

Rating: 7 out of 10 – enjoyable but not as good as last time.


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