I read in front of an audience and didn’t die a thousand deaths, hurrah! Here’s what happened. (behind the jump for length, ooh matron)
“Hello! I’m Jillian Boyd and I’m here because I think I’ve got the X Factor.”
No, I haven’t taken complete leave of senses. This was, verbatim, how I introduced myself to the crowd at Sh! Hoxton on Friday. It was swiftly followed by a hearty “No, I’m kidding.” and my actual introduction.
I got asked to read at the Sh! Poetry and Reading Slam a couple of weeks ago. And, because I’m an eejit, I didn’t immediately say yes. But then I said yes because I really couldn’t resist the opportunity to read at one of my favourite places in London, alongside some of my favourite people.
Woefully under-prepared, but sporting an amazing outfit, I said goodbye* to my other half (he’s spending the weekend doing geeky stuff with his friends) on the Tube (*snogged him passionately until my stop came up).
I feared I was running late, and the London Overground was doing nothing whatsoever to alleviate that fear. Luckily, I arrived at Hoxton station on time, and managed to run* (*gently and carefully sprint in my new shoes) to Sh! in about five minutes flat. Needless to say, walking across Hoxton Square, I felt a bit like a legend.
A nervous legend, mind. It was a rather humid evening, and I was grateful that the Sh! Girlz (total legends themselves) has made sparkling squash, which tasted like pink happiness.
One by one, sometimes two by two, the other readers trickled in. I can not properly express in actual words how delighted I was to see people I hadn’t seen in months. Victoria Blisse, accompanied by her husband Kevin, had brought snickerdoodles, which tasted so ridiculously brilliant that I’m embarrassed to say I forgot to ask the recipe.
KD Grace looked a vision of summertime beauty in her lovely dress, and Kay Jaybee looked fucking sexy. They had both been on their feet all day, doing another reading at a shop opening in Canterbury, and then hot-footing it over to Hoxton. Consider my cap doffed, ladies.
I got to finally introduce myself to Lexie Bay (whose excerpt reminded me of Jilly Cooper’s seminal bonkbuster Riders… but, you know, better) and her husband, which was brilliant (also, THOSE SHOES OMG). Jane Fae had brought her knitting along for the occasion (who said knitting wasn’t sexy, ey?). I met Zak, who’d seen me read at In The Flesh earlier in the year. I got to catch up with Meg Phillip, who I hadn’t seen in so long that she actually asked me where the rest of me had gone.
So much awesome. And the readings hadn’t even begun!
They were brilliant, every single one of them.
I got to open the second half, reading from my story Charmer (in Smut By the Sea Vol. 2). And I think it’s safe to say that people were quite fond of Charlie and Mirrie (the main characters). One lovely lady even asked me afterwards if it was something that really happened to me!
I loved it. I loved every freaking minute of it, up to and including the spank I got from Kay (who was the timekeeper for the evening, and had a paddle at hand for anyone who ran over their five minutes. I didn’t run over time. I just felt sad that she didn’t get to spank anyone.)
The night went by so quickly. I went home a bit earlier than I’d liked to have done, not getting to join the group at Bill’s Restaurant (formerly Bluu bar, may it rest in peace) for a natter and food. But.. you know.. trains and that.
Anyway, I did get to stroll around Shoreditch at night, ending up at Shoreditch High Street Station, next to the Boxpark pop-up mall. Shoreditch at night is a curious beast, let me tell you.
Also, I was kind of aiming for Liverpool Street. Ah well, never mind.
My thanks to Joanna and the other Sh! Girlz for letting me read amongst so many awesome people. It gave me the kick up the arse I needed. And to everyone who was there, thank you for listening. Much, much love to you all.
And yes Renee, I will be wearing the same dress next week.