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Cardiff, Ep. 1

May 10, 2011 — On a wildly fantastical night of wit, whimsy, lit and hilarity, Literary Death Match's Wales debut ended after Patrick Jones' team toppled Team Mab Jones by a narrow 3-1 margin in the friendliest game of Muzikal Chairs ever witnessed, winning P. Jones the LDM Cardiff crown. 

But before the first song was played, the night at the fantastic Cardiff Arts Institute kicked off with Patrick Jones leading off against expat-poet David Oprava (editor of Grievous Jones Press). Jones was lively and expressive, energetically ripping off three poems. Then up stepped Oprava, who let the audience decide which poems he'd read from his upcoming collection, having them shout out page numbers, then asking them to follow each poem with a vile insult (with the worst insult getting his book at evening's end). 

The mic was then handed over to the night's genius judges: ITV's Nicholas Whitehead (founder of Llandegley International Airport), award-winning comedienne/actress/writer Taylor Glenn ("One to Watch", Funny Women Awards, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010), and prize-winning short story writer and Edinburgh fest-mastermind Huw Ellis. Whitehead praised Jones' enthusiasm, with Glenn being a particularly big fan of his leather kilt, while Ellis suspected Oprava of inhumanity, though after using a surefire laser technique, decided he was, in fact, 70% human. The judges then huddled, and after a long deliberation decided it was Jones that would advance as the night's first finalist. 

After a boozy intermission, Round 2 featured author/journalist/editor Susie Wild (author of The Art of Contraception, winner of the Fiction Book of the Year in the Welsh Icons Awards) going up against Cardiff-born, John Tripp Spoken Poetry Audience Prize champ Mab Jones (who represented Wales at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC). Wild fired first with a Japan-infused fiction offering, followed by Jones who reeled off three performance poems that had the crowd in throes. 

Again the judges were turned to, with Whitehead claiming Wild's skewed version of Japan was exactly as he remembered it, Glenn loved Wild's "metronome knees" and mention of ginger nose hair. Glenn then went on to wonder if Mab Jones' first poem was about her own Welsh father-in-law, while Jones' poetry reminded Ellis of encountering two "injury specialists" earlier in the day on the streets of Cardiff. Again they huddled, and again were faced with an impossible decision, but decided it would be Mab Jones who would advance to the finals. 

Then came the Jones v. Jones finale, announced by the night's host, and LDM creator, Todd Zuniga. Muzakal Chairs would decide the winner, with each finalist being paired with two audience volunteers, with the last team sitting winning the title for their author. It was a slow burn, but after Mab's two teammates had been tossed asunder, Mab couldn't topple Team Patrick in the end, and Patrick Jones won the night by a 3-1 score, winning him the LDM crown, and literary immortality to go with it. 

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