Kill Your Darlings returned to The Cube in Bristol for Episode 2 of this new literary event. The multiplex cinema was busier than last month's opening night, a sure sign that word had already spread. The bar was buzzing, and there was an air of confidence, a swagger in the step, as KYD settled into its own innovative stride.
This month's theme was, fittingly, 'Sequel', and it was the turn of resident 'Darling' and novelist, Nikesh Shukla, to act as host. Nikesh kicked things off rather splendidly with a fleeting “briefs or boxers” debate, before an evening of great diversity and allure was embarked upon.
First up, Byron Vincent took to the stage, announcing that he had planned to perform part of his new stage show, however “it turns out it was shit!” So, as Radio 4 have recently contacted him about writing a memoir, the crowd were instead privileged to hear an episode from Byron's childhood, growing up on a Northern 'sink estate'. Apologising for its darkness in advance, he dipped into these memories, poetically describing events in his own unique and dexterous style, blending the sinister with the comic. Sounding like a Shane Meadows film waiting to happen, the audience were completely transfixed by this arresting true-grit, with Byron even managing to unexpectedly weave in the 'sequel' theme towards the end.
Next the audience were treated to the opening chapter from C. J. Flood's second novel - 'Everywhere River' – which follows her critically acclaimed début 'Infinite Sky'. So for the second time in the evening, the crowd was whisked away to another world. Chelsey read beautifully from her novel, drawing the audience into a story told from a child's perspective, planting the seeds of the intriguing plot whilst introducing the main characters and the setting of this mysterious tale. The audience was so mesmerised that you could have heard a pin drop by the time she delivered the last line.
Following on from a couple of quite serious offerings, it was time for a bit of silliness. Tom Clutterbuck, with some audio and visual assistance, took centre stage to talk about sequels in music. Subjects tackled included Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode sequel, 'Bye Bye Johnny', and the issue of Chubby Checker going a twist too far. A rap reincarnation of Billy Ray Cyrus's 'Achy Breaky Heart' was almost too much for the audience (and Tom himself) to stomach, so a move away from this atrocity was more than welcomed. Tom's grand finale, his own rap sequel 'Boom Boom Shake the Room II', seemed to come from nowhere and took The Cube by absolute storm!
After a short interval, the 'Darlings' tag team continued as Nikesh Shukla performed a hilarious piece about writing the dreaded second novel. After essentially drawing upon his full 30-years life experience to finish his first book, he hadn't enjoyed the pressures of writing his second in vastly less time. To the audiences delectation, Nikesh played with the idea of taking another 30 years to write the next, giving insight into his dream of where he wants to be at 60 – which, it seems, is gorging on KitKats on his own yacht, or having boozy lunches hanging out by his own books in bookshops. Further highlights included his portrayal of the blinking cursor as a menacing and mocking entity, goading the struggling writer from a blank page.
The headliner of this month's line up was comedian Sara Pascoe, whose much-anticipated set proved to be an absolute joy from start to finish. Declaring her favourite sequel to be the New Testament, Sara gave a highly amusing, modern day rendition of the story of Christ's birth, inclusive of Trip Advisor ratings. She then proceeded to contrast Jesus's conception with the disputed story of her own - she's been told that either her dad had sex with her mum while she was asleep, or her mum fainted at the size of his penis.
In no time, she’d moved on to 'solving' Page 3 and the clitoral research of Princess Marie Bonaparte, followed by a varied and amusing assortment of embarrassing adolescent moments. Sara brought matters up-to-date with a discussion of present day pubic hair dilemmas to finish.
After another successful Kill Your Darlings outing, the crowd left in high spirits, and the mood remained jovial as the literature-loving rabble spilled out into the misty, neon-lit car park.
Photography: George Dallimore