Neutral Norway-the hangover party

A few weekends ago I went to a book launch, entertainingly titled ‘The Naked Launch’, celebrating the launch of Neutral Norway poetry collective’s second book. As I was skint, I did not in fact manage to buy a copy of the book, but I did have a fantastic evening listening to a wide variety of poetry on subjects from a love of Falmouth to homelessness to bizarre lesbian fantasies involving hairbrushes. It was enlightening and baffling in turns, though always enjoyable, and ended with some mad dancing to loud music and an afterparty that went on into the small hours and eventually involved me turning a pair of leggings into a stylish halterneck. At least, I thought it was stylish.

All of that was brilliant, but what I really want to write about is the hangover party (billed as The Naked Brunch) that was held the day after. Part of the attraction was just the madness of holding a hangover party – I have never been dreadfully hungover, but my understanding is that most people with hangovers stay in bed as long as they can, and emerge only to shuffle around wincing at bright lights while fetching tea. So who on earth decides to have a party? I had to find out.

My partner-in-crime and I turned up at quarter to noon on the Sunday to join a group of bilious poets and some small children lounging in a drafty ex-train repair warehouse with typewriters, sofas and marbling ink for a strange and slow afternoon. And do you know what? I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed the book launch.

There was a grand piano that was intermittently played throughout the day, depending on the various headaches of those present. We made pages and pages of marbled paper and tried to pretend that we were not being competitive about whose looked prettiest (marbling is a technique of colouring paper where you drip oil based paint into a tray of water, swirl the paint into patterns and lay a piece of paper over the paint before quickly removing it and then drying it). We chatted in low tones about the various drunken exploits of the night before, and the poems of the night before. New poems got tapped out on typewriters, and one old one was cut into separate words and re-made into something different. The bloke who ran the venue kept turning up to offer us more tea/coffee/baked beans, and one of his daughters told us an extensive story about an evil witch and a girl called Hello Kitty which was faithfully written down for her and glued to a piece of marbled paper.

It was sluggish and odd and right up my street. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, from now on I really want all poetry/writing events to include a hangover party because there was something so enjoyable about being able to doss about with all the lovely people that were onstage the day before comparing silly drunk stories (the guy who ended up using gin as hair gel topped the stories) and doing automatic writing and realising that one of the typewriters actually made holes in the paper so that light shone through. It was great, and I want to send out a big thank you to everyone at Neutral Norway who had this idea, and a pre-emptive apology if I ever steal it 🙂

Also, my partner-in-crime, our lodger and his girlfriend all bought identical canvas tote bags at the Naked Launch, and watching them trying to leave the house is hilarious.

As a final note, I leave you with an extract from some of the automatic writing that I did at the Naked Brunch hangover party – I do not pretend to know what I’m going on about: Sunshine shadows chasing  hilltops over skies marked by misery and hangovers and terriers taking drugs and moontipped knives piercing skin over hearts fuck fuck fuck yawning eats my face. Soiled sheets and effervescent energy rainbows of sleepy steadfast ancient witches crones eat marrow in a boiled basket.


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