Thursday, 1 July 2010

Nutshell Issue 2 Launch Party

On Sunday 27th June, following England's 4-1 drubbing by Germany, came the event the country had really been waiting for, the Nutshell Magazine Second Issue launch party at The Last Days of Decadence in Shoreditch.

Savvy host Kat "Duckling" Redstone opened the night with a bang by reading out one of Faye "Nutshell editor" Fornasier's confused, rambling e-mails on the theme of why she started the magazine, a curtain-raiser London legend Tim Wells found so moving he immediately left. Kat made her name in double act 'The Ginger Nuts', one half of which was acrimoniously dropped from the evening's proceedings. For admirers who feel strongly about this, we understand there is a fan page for Will "half a Ginger Nut" Rodgers on Facebook, and a support group. Those of us who were eagerly anticipating one of Will's now famous emotional outbursts, which have entered common parlance as a 'Helena moment', were sorely disappointed. He did attend the event, but, perhaps in protest about being dropped from the billing, declined to wear one of his trademark tiny comedy jumpers.

Ever the professional, Kat "Poopsie" Redstone seemed undismayed by the loss of her former partner, who had been replaced by chirpy Sarah Campbell, a comedian who ran at a similar speed setting to Kat, in direct contrast to the Slow/Fast speed setting of The Ginger Nuts. 'Where is Faye?' Sarah called out, seeking to introduce Nutshell's editor to her public. Well-known for her extroversion, Faye was at the opposite end of the room, kneeling behind the reception desk with her hands over her face, quietly moaning 'Oh God'. She then spent the next few hours scrabbling around on the floor looking for loose change.

Readings were initiated by Poetry Society poet, Paul McGrane, who expressed pleasure at the placement of his work in the magazine. Many of us will appreciate his excitement at finding his poetry next to an interview by esteemed Scottish-surnamed writer Ian McLachlan.

During one emotional musical interlude provided by Trent Miller, Faye Fornasier and Kat "Wolfie" Redstone, both semi-professional dancers, spontaneously improvised a beautiful piece of choreography known as the Squirrel Dance (shown here), a perfect counterpoint to the melancholy charm of Miller's music. We hope to be opening the launch of Nutshell 3 with a synchronised performance of the Squirrel Dance.

Many members of our audience were avidly awaiting the arrival of Alex (né Alexander) Eisenthal on stage, who was billed to appear at the Nutshell 1 launch, but, owing to the hectic schedule of his student lifestyle was, we understand, unable to make it out of bed. He was here this time though, now with a top Cambridge First, and carrying a thick wad of papers many at first took to be his doctoral thesis. Eleven pages in, we concluded it might well be. If few audience members understood a word of his poem, I can only say Alex has a beautiful geeky reading voice and my maternal bosom was heaving with pride throughout. He is off to live in France now. Who will prepare his packed lunches for him there?

Rounding the night off was blues master John Drain. Eschewing audience requests for Madonna, perhaps owing to the musical complexity of that artist's work, he settled instead for safe covers of such Robert Johnson strum-along faves as Crossroads. 'Could you play the drums as well?' an audience member called out at one point, referring to John's multi-faceted use of vocals, super-fast hands and foot-stomping.

At this point I feel I should say that, despite appearances to the contrary, John Drain has not been technologically augmented in order to conduct his multi-faceted performance, and that the telescopic, x-ray and infrared facility in his left eye is entirely natural. The interjection made by our audience member was nonetheless a useful reminder to all performers that you can never have too many components in your performance, and, in fact, I aim to be adding new elements to my own guitar routine with the aid of some prosthetic limbs and a jiffy bag.

This time, Faye Fornasier did not take to the stage at the end of the evening to make a speech, something many of the audience had prepared for by bringing ear mufflers. 'Look, I've found some more money for Nutshell,' she did announce to her fellow editors though, rising from nearly three-hours-worth of floor-scrabbling and confidently dropping 7p into the cash box. With rich findings such as these we may even be paying our contributors in Nutshell 3.


Ian McLachlan

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