Last week

was a week of performance.

It began naked, on the windswept Cornish coast, before the good people of British Naturism.

Who were also in the nude – at least most of them were. This was the strangest part of the whole thing. You see naturists are far more relaxed about nudity than I’d expected. In my mind any naturist camp worthy of the name would have unofficial nudity-enforcers prowling about making sure nobody wore so much as a cap.

Instead they were forever changing in and out of their clothes, as and when the mood grabbed them. It being a cold day – he says ruefully – about a third of my audience was not quite as naked as I was.

Three days later it was back to the land of the clothed for a two-hour-long session at The School of Life. In its age and gender, the audience here was the polar opposite of the one in Cornwall, with one being mostly male and in its fifties, the other much younger and almost entirely female, and no, in case you were wondering, the younger and more female audience was the one that kept its clothes on.

Two days later I found myself on a wooden chair in an echoing, white-walled gallery in King’s Cross as I read a chapter from John-Paul Pryor‘s debut novel Spectacles. I’m struggling to see how this event could have been further removed from the talk at the School of Life or with the Naturists.

The quote on the cover of Spectacles, from Marnie Weber, is as follows:

“The most seriously dark, violent and disturbing work I have ever read.”

The section I read out included incest, suicide, OCD, anal sex and a first-person account of gouging out someone’s brain through their eye sockets.

Next week? Next week I’ll be giving a talk about English eccentrics to a group of elite anarcho-beekeepers on the Upper Zambezi. Or not. Next week I am going to try to get some work done.



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