It was the same Bodega crowd but this time we were in a brightly lit gallery which was showcasing Laura’s artwork (who’s the girlfriend of Rob, the organizer of Bodega Monthly). The night before I’d celebrated my birthday with friends and woke up in the morning with a number of sleep depriving ailments, so when I realized that there was no microphone stand and I’d have to somehow juggle the microphone and my loose, unstapled papers, my hungover, sleep-deprived mind had a bit of a panic.
I solved this problem on stage by doing a weird leg lift so I could balance my papers on my leg (see video below), though I was wearing a dress which meant I probably flashed the first row of the audience. Though, even Peter Storey was decked out in a suit so I'm glad I dressed up a bit too.
But once this problem was solved, I was soon distracted because the “hmmp” man was back (see previous post). I located the sound and it is now my firm belief that Steve Davis is the owner of the loud, reassuring “hmmp” that comes after you read a sentence he particularly approves of. My friend Haran, said he has heard this noise during readings too, so at least I’m not imagining it. Though Haran pointed out that sometimes the “hmmp” seems random and Haran thought at first it was just someone clearing their throat or trying to control a potential outburst.
I read after Prospero Vega, which is a tough act to follow since he’s pretty funny and gets a great crowd reaction. But Chris the “bartender” for the reading/“co-owner” of Under Minerva Art Gallery (aka the son of the owner) told me that my story was deep and I shouldn’t have worried about it not being funny like everyone else’s because there were some funny bits and that he actually stopped texting to listen to my story.
The more I go to this chain of readings, the more impressed I am and this night was no different. There was a high level of talent, laughs and afterwards, drinks. I told Prospero and his brother, Xavier, that it would officially be my birthday in two hours when they were on the fence about whether or not to get a post-reading drink. That ended up being the deciding factor that moved us and others including Rob, Laura, Mike, Haran and Chris across the street.
A few people stuck around with me to count down until midnight which made it feel like a weird New Year’s Eve. Although, I’m always more reflective on birthdays rather than New Year’s. Even though I thought I’d potentially be back in London by my birthday this year, I didn’t mind turning 26 in a bar in Brooklyn after doing a reading with some writer friends because I certainly wasn’t doing that when I was turning 25.
Here’s the video of me reading “Car Ride” as well as the rest of the Bodega crowd. The very last line of my story gets cut off but it ends like this: “and why his dad would have nothing to say to him whenever he came home.”