First published on AOL Asylum.co.uk (April 6th 2011) //
Word to ya mother: The literary folk are back, or just more highly concentrated from next month at the London Word Festival.
This LWF is a peculiarity though in that it has strived to separate itself from the kind of stuffy, celebrity-oriented literary festivals found the world.
So this year, as per usual, it isn’t only about the ‘word’. It’s just as much about performance, offering you good people the rare chance to get within yanking distance of Alan Moore and his brooding beard (though we wouldn’t recommend trying) as the magic man will be trekking it down from Northampton to show off his current venture into the underworld of fanzines, Dodgem Logic.
Past Dodgem Logic contributors Robin Ince, Steve Aylett, Melinda Gebbie, Savage Pencil and Kevin O’Neill will all be making appearances on stage in a mixture of stand-up and comic-book chitchat, Wednesday 4th May.
For the tiny, neglected wrestling enthusiast inside you, there’ll be a spot of Andy Kaufman-inspired intergender wrestling on offer, where both men and women will be receiving equal opportunity no-holds barred whippings all in the name of words (keyword: kayfabe). We can only hope Tony Clifton makes an appearance; we already know that Simon Munnery (a perfect Kaufman stand-in) and Josie Long are. So maybe it’s best to leave your Grandmas at home.
It’s all in the name of cross-platform tomfoolery with the focus of the festival, as always, on real working wordsmiths. Not just on celebrities like all those other silly festivals. So you can find everything from robot indie bands to strip-teasings, muzak and a King James Bible Bash.
There’s even a ruddy good debate (started way back when by Orwell’s famous essay) concerning the superiority of Books vs. Cigarettes, lead by a whole host of those contemporary artful penmen and women, with ‘Gorge Orwell’ cakes to boot.
Now in its fourth year the LWF will also be hosting a Scrabble Sunday Tournament with Moore, Josie Long, Munnery, Ince et al participating. Intimidating to say the least.
They’ll also have Blockbusters and Buckaroo, if you’re too scared. The London Word Festival runs from 7th April – 5th May, all over London.