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Tuesday
May102011

London, Ep. 15

May 11, 2011 — In what can only be deemed an instant classic at Concrete, the Picador-sponsored night saw author Leo Benedictus out-duel co-finalist Chimene Suleyman in a wild, silly string spray-off that earned Benedictus the Literary Death Match crown. 

But well before the shambolic conclusion, the night began with Benedictus leading off, asking for a volunteer willing to do an American accent (it ended up being Dominic Rodgers). They then teamed up to read an excerpt from The After Party that had the crowd riled and responsive. Next up was bawdy poet Sophie Cameron, who reeled off some titillatingly graphic works that fused humor and sexuality in a way that had the audience roaring with surprise and laughter. 

The mic was then handed over to the all-superstar panel of judges that included writer/actor/performer Isy Suttie (Peep Show), Edinburgh Comedy Awards Nominated comedian Josie Long and comedian/author/The Mighty Boosh-er Rich Fulcher. Of Benedictus and his audience-plucked volunteer, Suttee watchfully noted that they had buttons on the cuffs of their shirts, Benedictus with three, close together, Rodgers with four, further apart. Then Fulcher read straight from his notes, opening with, "Pick up some chicken" before deadpannedly saying of Benedictus, "You wore a suit." Of Cameron, Long said, "It was the bluest thing I have ever heard. As blue as the sea." 

They then huddled, and after a painful deliberation, the judges decided it would be Benedictus who would advance as the night's first finalist. 

After a brief intermission, LDM London producer Suzanne Azzopardi welcomed LDM creator and host Todd Zuniga back to the stage to kick off the brilliant second round, that was lead off by journalist/author Sam Leith. He read fantastically from The Coincidence Engine, winning the audience by reeling off a calm, rhythmic, full-of-surprises excerpt. Then came spoken-word master and Kid, I wrote back creator Chimene Suleyman, who took us through her favorite cigarette brands over the years, including a brush with Myleene Klass in the toilets of a pub in Hendon which she mistakenly set on fire.

Again the mic was handed to the judges, where Suttee explained how Leith had his fingers in an 'OK' sign behind his back, with his little finger pointing out, as if he were drinking wine. Fulcher then expressed his delight that Leith managed to look dishevelled even though he could see his clothes were ironed. Long then praised Suleyman's storytelling in her perfectly scratchy voice, before Suttee said Suleyman's work reminded her of a time when she went to see a band age 15 and took 20 Embassy, 20 Marlboro Lights and 20 Menthol. "What did I think was going to happen?" 

Again the deliberation for the judges was a tall task, but after much discussion, they decided it was Suleyman who would move on as the night's second finalist. 

Then came a Benedictus v. Suleyman silly string finale, in which each finalist was tasked with firing as much silly string into the mouth's of a formerly-starving author (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and George Orwell)...while blindfolded. Each finalist had an audience half guiding their string sprays, and after Suleyman gave Orwell's round gob only a taste, Benedictus was able to feed Solzhenitsyn just enough to outweight Suleyman's efforts, and win both the Literary Death Match title, and literary immortality to go with it! 

 

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Reader Comments (2)

Best. Death Match. Ever.
But considering this was my first....

All performers were on top form and although Chimene deserved the win I was happy to see Leo Benedictus taking the spoils, especially as he got @Dominicrodgers up on stage to read with him.

Roll on the next LDM.....

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJed Comyn

Let it be said that we love Jed Comyn! Viva people who like us!

May 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterLiterary Death Match

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