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Tuesday
Sep132011

London, Ep. 18

September 14, 2011 — Nestled in the urban glamour of Shoreditch High Street, four erudite contenders, alike in faculty, took the stage for another epic instalment of Literary Death Match. Sparring and story-telling ensued in the underground bunker of Concrete, eventually culminating in lyrical wunderkind Sean Mahoney cantering off, audience’s hearts and LDM crown in tow.

Our fabulous gilt-clad hosts, Todd Zuniga and Suzanne Azzopardi, kicked off the night—presented by Picador—with poise and panache, and introduced the judges and readers.

Rocking the first round was retro pin-up girl and poet Tiffany Anne Tondut, who took us through the trials and tribulations of dating Northerners, and gave us a revamped version of Wuthering Heights – Walthamstow  Heights…

She was followed by flash fiction fiend Femi Martin, who enthralled us with a vivid story about cancer, coffee and heartbreak, and finished off Round 1 with passion.

The judges, torn to the point where Julie Mayhew was comparing competitors’ cardigans, finally decided to put through “William Shakespeare, because he’s fucking good, but second to him, Femi – by the narrowest of margins.”

Round 2 saw author Neil Forsyth read from his self-proclaimed “toilet book” – his alter ego’s autobiography – Bob Servant – Hero of Dundee. Bob, a delightfully deluded former cheeseburger van owner, thinks he should be the hero of Dundee, and simply can’t understand why he isn’t so. Neil regaled us with extracts from Bob’s autobiography, including his teenage attempt at writing his own version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover – Lord Dundee’s Lover.

The baton was then handed over to Sean Mahoney, who fish-hooked the crowd into submission with a stunning performance of his poem ‘say it right’ – the endlessly endearing voice of a love struck boy, grappling with the sight of his ex-girlfriend with someone else, and struggling to “say it right”.

The judges struggled yet again to pick a winner – judge Miranda Sawyer was particularly torn between her love for Lord Dundee—“a handsome bastard of a man”—and Sean who apparently possesses the ability to make her cry.

After much deliberation, Mr Mahoney was given the vote of confidence, as  judge Hardeep Singh Kohli said of Sean’s performance, “A donner kebab with extra fucking everything – it’s a fucking honour to hear you speak tonight.”

The grand finale—an arse-clenching, knuckle-whitening, nail-biting affair—saw Femi and Sean go head to head in 6 rounds of ‘Spell The Writer’ (last name, only) starting with Michael Chabon and getting progressively harder with Pynchon, Kerouac, Achebe, Theroux, Thoreau, Le Carre, Ondaatje, Palahniuk, and the final killer, Solzhenitsyn – none made any easier by host Todd Zuniga’s (deliberately?) questionable pronunciation.

But with Femi failing to spell out more than the first three letters of Solzhenitsyn, Sean ceremoniously stole the LDM victory, and Todd rounded the night off with an impassioned speech about er… passion, and his customary last words, “Call your mother, she misses you!”

And that was just the beginning as the evening quickly descended to a debauched affair of inebriated literary passion, prowling and prowess, and made for another legendary night of which our memories are hazy at best. Whether this is a good thing or not is perhaps better left open to debate.

Until the next!

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