The Answer is “42”…
“If you are a writer, performer or poet with a passion for genre subjects, (and fed up with feeling like a fish out of water at conventional open mic nights), then you might just find the answer in the open mic night “42”….”
The unique open-mic night “42” has been running in Worcestershire in England ever since March 2011, and is proving a sensational hit. So much so that the event is expanding, with other “42” nights starting in other cities, beginning with Stoke-on-Trent and the great second city of the UK, Birmingham, with contributions being performed on the evenings on behalf of writers and poets in the United States and internationally, alongside the phenomenally talented home-grown performers. In a development which is a source of some considerable pride, the organisers Glenn and Angela James have forged a fertile link with “The Eerie Digest”, and hope that there will prove to be an energetic cross-fertilisation of talent between the magazine and their open mic night across the Atlantic. (Glenn himself is already a contributor of Gothic Fantasy fiction to the digest, recent issues having seen his stories “Pass the Remote”, and “Crookbarrow” in the current edition.)
“42” is dedicated to providing a performance platform for writers, performers, musicians, comedians, and satirists with a passion for genre subjects, who might perhaps feel displaced in more mainstream open mic events. 42 has been supported by the hugely acclaimed Worcester Music Festival since its inception, particularly in the person of Chris Bennion and John Taylor: John is going on to run the Worcester arm of 42 with acclaimed poet Fergus McGonigal, whilst Glenn and Angela concentrate on building up the Stoke and Birmingham events. (Birmingham will be run by Stephen Haines.)
“I have come to know Joseph O’Donnell as a good friend, and it’s marvellous that we are establishing this link between us,” said Glenn James. “We always envisaged “42” as an event with a really cosmopolitan international perspective, and its wonderful to open a door between ourselves and the Eerie Digest, and encourage a two way creative traffic across the Atlantic. A brilliant American poet called Jackie Summers recently took part in 42, with British Poet Fergus McGonigal performing her work, and Peter Stahl will be taking part in a similar fashion later this year. It gives the event a wonderfully fresh and organic appeal.”
“42” takes its name from Douglas Adams great answer to life, the universe and everything, in that the organisers aim to provide an answer for frustrated genre writers who need an appreciative audience, and they certainly seem to be fulfilling their brief, particularly in that Richard Clay, a seasoned performer at open mic nights, recently remarked that the audience at 42 is the most attentive he has ever encountered. The opening night in March was packed, and word continues to spread, with performers and writers with an interest in every genre stepping up to the mic.
The founding themes of “42” are Gothic, Horror, Fantasy and Sci-Fi, and as well as essaying into these areas since the word go, the participants have ventured passionately into the Zombie War, (Pete Bevan), Crime, (Raine Evans), Reportage, (Geoff Robbinson and Andrew Owens), Alien Conspiracy (Richard Clay), Supernatural thriller, (Glenn James), and Genre Stand-Up Comedy, (Damon Lord.) The team encourage musicians and lyricists to participate, and try to ensure one musician per evening has the chance to strut their stuff. The event is having a great influence, in that duo “Hitchhiker” actually took their name from the inspiration of the 42 evenings, in respect to Douglas Adams.
Slots at “42” are 15 minutes in length, and they average 6 participants at a given event, with a slot for an ongoing serial at the end of formal proceedings each night. Competition is high to participate, and the performers at “42” are evidencing a formidable degree of literary and creative talent. They have considerable support in the media and the press, and word is spreading.
The Team staged a whole week devoted to “The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy” for Towel Day 2011, (Marking the 10th anniversary of Douglas Adams death), which was covered by the BBC. They staged live readings of the Guide all week at Waterstones, an online Exhibition of Sci-Fi art called “The Jaggeroth”, and held a special Adams themed “42” night called “Vogonesque” in tribute to the author and his works. They aim to stage themed nights at discrete intervals across the year, and “Vogonesque” was such a success that they intend to make it a yearly event.
As stated, the nights are not limited to Britian authors, and writers from throughout the world are welcome: If unable to participate personally the team will present their work on their behalf, and they have had a number of enquiries from overseas.
Started by Gothic Fantasy Writer & Artist Glenn James, and Dark Poet Angela James, the evenings were born of their own personal experience with writers circles and open mic nights, where genre writers have tended to be in something of a minority. They realised that creative individuals with a passion in this area ought to have a night of their own where they can reach the right audience, and named the evenings in honour of Douglas Adams, and his mischievous answer to the eternal question. They have also staged talks about subjects as diverse as “Dracula,” “The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy”, and “Pride and Prejudice.”
The couple bring a dedicated passion to their evenings. People are queuing up to take part in “42”, and the organisers are keen to encourage new participants to get in touch and be heard.
“42” aims to cover as broad a range of themes as possible, and offer individuals the chance to develop their style and their voices. They also cover Steam Punk, Alternative Reality Scenarios, Alternative Timeline Scenarios, Swords and Sorcery, Film Nior, Parody, Action Adventure, etc, and the list goes on! They will consider anything original, and although not afraid to be controversial, they of course do not countance anything racially offensive, or offensive towards gender or physical impairment.
“42” is held on the last Wednesday of each month, and the run up to October will see the continuing episodes of Richards Bruce Clays highly original and entertaining Alien Conspiracy Drama “The Cold”. The team are looking for a succeeding serial to begin at the end of January 2012.
Anyone wishing to contact Glenn and Angela with enquiries about participating in future “42” events, or attending, is urged to contact them via their Facebook page, or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org