I went to Ealing Broadway for the usual once a month haircut from my barber Adrian, who has been cutting my hair for as long as I’ve been living in London-which is over twelve years.
In all that time that I have made the trip to his Saloon, not once can I ever recall coming across a literary event in the Ealing area. Maybe it’s because of the ongoing Publishing Project module at the time that I finally bounced up one as I made my way back to the tube station. The sign read “Reading Tonight, All Welcome”.
I entered the building which was a Caribbean restaurant. Once in, my eyes made four with an arrow that pointed to the basement where the reading was taking place. It was a really small room, dimly lit, with a booth suitable for four in the right corner being occupied by two, and three lonely cast iron chairs seeking attention over to the left. I went over and made my acquaintance.
As I made myself comfortable, two girls came in. One of them said “hi” while the other stood up to the front and said “we will begin shortly but feel free to purchase a drink from the bar upstairs while you wait”. I went and got myself a Jamaican ginger beer. When I got back down, two more girls had arrived. I was the only guy among six girls. If it was a different scenario I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable, but I was-a bit. But it was too late to leave, the first person was about to begin. Plus, I was the only outsider as all the girls appeared to know one another.
Out of the six, three of them read. One read a short story for ten minutes about a past relationship. In her piece, she appeared to blame the guy “Kevin” for everything that went wrong with their relationship. She was particularly good in her use of descriptive language and her expression of feelings. But I couldn’t help and wonder what would have been Kevin’s story if he had been present.
The other girl read around four poems with most being written in different rhyme schemes in about three to four stanzas each. Unlike the first girl, her work was more balanced and humorous. She talked about life in the UK, relationships and motherhood. To me, her work had more maturity in it. And although I am a fan of rhymes, hers were too much in abundance.
The last girl reminded me of myself (somewhat). She appeared really nervous. I don’t know if it’s because of my presence or a lack of confidence-as she was big built. Either way, she read a powerful piece which was about family and family life. I would’ve enjoyed it more if it wasn’t marred by the interruptions and stutters from her speech.
When they announced that “that was the end and thank you for coming”, they then proceeded to ask me what I think and if I write? I said I do write and I do evening studies at Birkbeck University. After their “woos” had come to an end, they then asked me again what I thought about their work. I told them that they all wrote really well and to continue to work on mastering their craft. Of course I wasn’t going to say anything negative. Are you mad? I was well aware of the male-female ratio in the room. Haha.