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Friday
Mar092012

Norwich, Ep. 1

March 11, 2012 — For our Norwich debut (our 40th city ever!), we paired with Writers' Centre Norwich for a sparkling night at Norwich Arts Centre that ended with Ross Sutherland outdueling co-finalist Martin Figura in an epic and hotly-contested battle of Literary Spelling Bee that Sutherland won in sudden death by a narrower-than-it-appears margin of 9-8 to win the LDM Norwich, Ep. 1 crown. 

Our fabulous lit-glam hosts Todd Zuniga and Suzanne Azzopardi waxed in wonderment at the city's literary pedigree before introducing the stellar lineup of judges and readers. 

A quick coin-toss and performative poet Francesca Beard took to the mic, offering the audience a choice of two poems. They latched onto her mention of the devil in a Foxtons setting and knew what they wanted. Beard delivered, in a spectacular display of grace over heavy fire: she overran by a considerable margin and took heavy fire from the nerf gun.

Martin Figura took to the stage to read next and - with no notes - delivered quick fire tales of northern life before launching headlong into the problem with middle-aged people (they're at Glastonbury) and then telling us more than we would have ever asked to know about himself: "I'm more send than receive," he said. "I never stop talking." He wasn't wrong.

Our trio of superstar judges delivered their verdict, praising Beard's sassy, cool performance under fire but ultimately deciding to put through Figura, who's delivery, Peter Florence said, was like Murray Walker doing Under Milk Wood, with Amy Nicholson complimenting the "cocksure Pantone matching" of his bright red trainers and red shirt.

Round 2 saw Ross Sutherland team up with the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in a multimedia extravaganza about his relationship with his granddad before Siddhartha Bose took us around the Mumbai of his childhood, finishing with a poem about an artichoke.

The judges loved the rhythm and beauty of Bose's words (and the fact that he brought his book on stage, opened it to the right page before turning upside down and placing it on the floor at his feet) but took a shine to Sutherland's performance, comparing it to having just one Chuckle Brother on stage and respecting his effortless ability to play second fiddle to Will Smith and come out on top. They huddled and decided to put Ross Sutherland through to meet Martin Figura in a head-to-head, poet-against-poet Literary Spelling Bee finale!

Chabon! Pynchon! Theroux! Kerouac! Le Carre! Ondaatje! Palahniuk! Solzhenitsyn! Spelling doesn't get tougher than this: but Sutherland triumphed over Figura, 9 points to 8, in a buttock-clenching, sudden-death showdown that left the audience reeling and in desperate need of alcohol. Sutherland was crowned LDM victor and the audience, high on the fumes of literary greatness, began to party in the Arts Centre bar, if only to try and forget that once, in a historic city in East Anglia, a man stood on stage and spelt the name "Solzhenitsyn" unassisted. Almost.

We love you Norwich, you Fine City! Until next time!

Follow LDM on Twitter and/or Facebook now! 

 

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