On Thursday, it rained for the first time in many days, perhaps even weeks. Still, a bit of dampness didn't put off a trip to the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, where Pandril Press were launching their first anthology, Panopticon.
This, we were told, is the product of a year of writing and editing by a group of seven writers who got together through the masters in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, class of 2007. The seven were never introduced, which is a little odd (also odd was that we were specifically instructed not to clap after each reading), but I have deduced from their Facebook page that they are (left to right): Dave Chadwick, Ros Davis, Alison Jeapes, Paul Beatty, Lucia Cox, Iris Feindt and Nicky Harlow (not pictured).
The readings were split into two themes: "lost in translation" and "weird love". Iris kicked off the first half with a really good story about instruction manuals. She was followed by Ros with Isabella, about a soldier groom ("she hadn't expected the word [mulligatawny] to sound like a mouthful of pebbles"); Paul with The Seer (which Fat Roland enjoyed), and finally Dave with a tale taking the mickey out of marketing speak ("diversity tsar" etc). The second half saw Nicky's funny Peverse Fruit, Alison with a story of travelling to Macau, and Lucia Cox with Tarmac Nights, my favourite. Lil Dave wasn't so keen as at least one rabbit was harmed in the telling of it.