This is a record of the events that ran through 2012, the lovely monthlies held at BGWMC and the three extraordinary one in London and Wales. More in the future, we hope!
JANUARY 25, 2012 – LAUNCH
Thank you to everyone who came along, supported, and contributed to the BBC launch, THE AMERICAN FOREVER, ETC. – A LIBRARY. This was an interactive performance piece inspired by Richard Brautigan’s novel, The Abortion – An Historical Romance 1966
It starred Thom Tuck & Zoe Gardner. Featuring Gruff Rhys, Martin Carr, H.Hawkline, Joe Duggan, Louise Stern, Aaron Williamson, & Polly Frame. Curated by Nemonie Craven and Polly Frame.
FEBRUARY 28, 2012
A Confederate General from Big Sur. Guest: Rishi DastidaR, a copywriter, poet and general gadabout. He’ll present “A Confederate General goes to New York and writes a poem or two?”
MARCH 27, 2012
Trout Fishing in America. “Mr. Brautigan submitted a book to us in 1962 called TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA. I gather from the reports that it was not about trout fishing.” – Viking Press
First published in 1967, although written in 1961, Trout Fishing in America was Brautigan’s second published novel and the one that launched Brautigan’s rise to literary fame. It is still considered by many critics as his defining literary work.
Kool-Aid America – Add Sugar and Dilute to Desired Concentration – A tiny window into the Kool-Aid conspiracy with ideas and illustrations. The guest speaker, writer and illustrator, Fuchsia Voremberg, will be making a mysterious presentation about what she calls her “Kool-Aid Conspiracy Theory”. We welcome any and all willing participants, and if you feel that you might have something special to bring to the table then please get in touch. Background information: http://www.brautigan.net/trout.html
APRIL 24, 2012 In Watermelon Sugar. Guest: Neil Schiller. Presenting: Scattered thoughts on Brautigan’s relationship with the idea of the commune and the counterculture. Here’s a post-meeting blog piece from Mark Holloway.
MAY 29, 2012 The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966. Guest: SALENA GODDEN!
Salena Godden’s latest collection ‘Under The Pier’ was published by hip-indie imprint Nasty Little Press in 2011. Most recently her work has appeared in Shortfire Press, Illustrated Ape Magazine, Trespass Magazine, Paraphilia, Rising, Teller Magazine, The Mechanics Institute Review published by Birkbeck University, Picador’s Punk Fiction and Parthian Books, Raconteur. Her poetry featured in the three latest anthologies from Tangerine Press titled Dwang. Salena Godden hosts and produces The Book Club Boutique – Soho’s hippest literary salon – soliciting their own unique brand of Books, Booze and Boogie-Woogie. Salena features regularly on BBC’s ‘Illustrated Verse’ ‘The Verb’ and ‘Bespoken Word’ and is among the poets in residence on Radio 4’s ‘Saturday Live’ – Salena is curently working on a poetic-documentary for BBC Radio 4.
In August 2011 her narrative play ‘A Valentine At Waterloo’ was aired and podcast as part of the BBC’s ‘Verse Illustrated’ series. Salena was commissioned for the Sixty-Six Books project, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the publication of The King James Bible. Her response The Chronicle was performed by actor Joshua McGuire (star of BBC drama ‘The Hour’ & Hamlet) at The Bush Theatre and Westminster Abbey. This work was published in Sixty-Six Books by Oberon. Finally, Salena is in her third year facilitating workshops for First Story – a charity created by author William Fiennes – that aims to foster and nurture literacy and creative writing in secondary schools.
“Salena Godden – The Mae West madam of the salon” – Sunday Times
For quick updates twitter: @BookCBoutique or @salenagodden or @wearesaltpeter
JUNE 26, 2012 The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western
Guests: Ianthe Brautigan, fresh from her flight from San Francisco; BBC Radio 4 writer Phil Whelans presents the trials of “Hawkline Monster Part 1”, a Lost in La Mancha-style tale of woe. Phil wrote and performed his own BBC Radio 4 sitcom, My First Planet, in Spring 2012 His sketch-group, Pros from Dover, starred in The Infinite Monkey Cage (also Radio 4.) In his capacity as a writer/performer for TV and radio he’s worked, over the years, with everyone from Basil Brush to Al Gore, Daniel Hogan, Melbourne-based writer and poetry editor of Voiceworks, an Australian national literary publication for young writers, throws some ideas at us. Writer and illustrator, Fuchsia Voremberg shares some new, haunting, poetry; Michael Caines plays us a new song, from the Please Plant This Song album
***DINEFWR Literature Festival, June 30 – July 1, Carmarthenshire, West Wales
saltpeter has been invited to bring The Brautigan Book Club to the inaugural Dinefwr Literature Festival in West Wales. June 29 – July 1. We’ve come up with a tremendous three-part Brautigan extravanganza to include planting a Brautigan garden, travelling into the night along the Tokyo-Montana Express, and then, last but certainly not least, talking to Ianthe Brautigan about her writing. Read more about our programme here.
July 31, 2012 Willard and His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery. First published in 1975, Willard and His Bowling Trophies was Richard Brautigan’s sixth published novel and the second to parody a literary genre: sado-masochism in this case. “The dice of Love are madnesses and melees” – Anacreon, The Greek Mythology.
In San Francisco, Bob and Constance played the Story of O game. A plague of warts had reduced their marital delights to Bob’s reading aloud to a bored, if bound and gagged Constance. And Bob wasn’t even good at tying knots. On the floor below, the culprit, Willard, sat tight on the Logan brothers’ trophies – mutely inviting destruction…
“This land is cursed with violence” – Senator Frank Church, Democrat, Idaho
Inspiration for the Novel: In real life, Willard was a papier máché sculpture, a bird about four feet high painted red, white, and orange with big, round eyes, a pot belly, and long beak created by Brautigan’s friend Stanley Fullerton. Brautigan and Price Dunn enjoyed elaborate practical jokes on each other as part of passing Willard back and forth between themselves.
August 28, 2012 Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel. Guests: Vera Chok, Dan Hogan, Rishi Dastidar, Gary Merry
***Friday Aug 31 and Saturday Sept 1 We’ve been invited to show part of our Brautigan-inspired opera, Tonseisha – The Man Who Abandoned the World at the Arcola Theatre’s Grimeborn Festival 2012. Come see if you’re about, this is part of what we brought to Dinefwr Festival in Wales recently.
Sept 25, 2012 Dreaming of Babylon: A Detective Novel 1942
First published in 1977, Dreaming of Babylon was Richard Brautigan’s eighth published novel and the fourth to parody a literary genre. Subtitled “A Private Eye Novel 1942” it parodied hard-boiled Grade-B detective stories.
Guests: Victoria Manifold, Nathan Penlington, of “Uri and Me”, “Choose Your Own Documentary” and the Brautigan Salad project.www.nathanpenlington.com
***ROUGH FOR OPERA, 14 October 2012 TONSEISHA – THE MAN WHO ABANDONED THE WORLD @ COCKPIT THEATRE, LONDON. Following our success at Dinefwr Literature Festival and Grimeborn Opera Festival, saltpeter, Vera’s company that produces the Brautigan Book Club, is developing and “scratching” i.e. showing a 30 min work in progress of Tonseisha aka “the Brautigan opera” to get your feedback.
Just as the Brautigan Book Club is a club for those of us who find book clubs terrifying, Tonseisha is an opera for those who might find opera impenetrable.
There will be laughter, heartbreak, death, dancing, karaoke, haiku, Brautigan, and opera.
We’ve had stunning responses to the excerpt we showed last month at Grimeborn Opera Festival. We made The Times’ Critics Choice, got a super review from Opera Brittania, received 4* from Plays To See, and a warm review from Exeunt.
“spellbinding theatre” – Opera Britannia
Oct 14th. Please come along. Your feedback will actively help make it the best possible show we can make. Details of the project and booking here. It’s only £6 and it’s an evening of exciting new work + a Q&A. Details of the Brautigan epic project & how to book for the event here.
Oct 30, 2012 The Tokyo-Montana Express
Guests: Chris Killen, author of The Bird Room, Tim Wells, poet, Donut Press, psychotherapist Steve Wasserman who runs Read Me Something You Love is presenting a performance piece on Dialogue, The Creative Unconscious, Couches and Richard Brautigan
Nov 27, 2012 LAST MEETING OF 2012
BUMPER ISSUE + YEAR END EVENT So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away
Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, 42 Pollard Row, Bethnal Green, London E2
7pm doors for 7.30pm start
Our meetings are usually free but a small charge of £5 will be asked to cover the additional costs for the evening. Book online by clicking HERE.
***The wonderful Martin Carr (of Boo Radleys & bravecaptain fame).
***Salena Godden, General of the Boutique Book Club, comes back!
***Magic, from Nathan Penlington! Fresh from his sold out show at the South Bank.
***Eccentric dancing from legends of UK variety, Joan and Barry Grantham!
***Geek pop from Spirit of Play! Recently on Mariella Frostrup’s Book Show!
***Surprises from Samantha Mann
***DJ AlienDeathSpike plays pretty tunes. Listen and download here!
***Jessie Greengrass, Brautigan Book Club hero, reads us her new piece.
***Eddy Dreadnought, contemporary visual artist working from Sheffield, assembles and presents a performance sculpture for us, and reads Lint from Revenge of the Lawn
***Irish Chris from the working men’s club tells us what he loves about reading and readers.
***Spirit of Play present their super geek pop
Festive Greetings from the Brautigan Book Club!
There will not be a meeting in December. 2012 was a beautiful, adventure- and delight-filled first year for the Brautigan Book Club and it was rounded off and celebrated with the year end meeting and event, So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away. We read through ten of the eleven published novels, taking us from the launch in January through to the event in November, via a super jaunt to Wales in July. The Unfortunate Woman has been left waiting (not undeliberately) plus an unmined hoard of Brautigan poetry, short stories and miscellaneous pieces.
Co-founders Vera Chok and (the magnificent) Michael Caines are taking a step back and are full of anticipation as the seeds of plans have been planted: a proposed set of meetings for 2013 organised by a energy-filled, enthusiastic group comprising Jessie Greengrass, Daniel Hogan, Peter J Law, Victoria Manifold, Fuchsia Voremberg, Phil Whelans and friends. Stay tuned.
Speaking of tuning in, we have been invited to speak about the club on Wednesday 12th December 2012 at 8pm GMT on Resonance Radio, 104.4 FM. If you can catch it, do!