Tuesday

Slash / Night at Brighton Digital Festival 2014 by Amber Gregory

Yesterday I got an email from Brighton Writer Amber Gregory that read, " I had no idea what I was getting myself into last night and it was very explicit! How PG does my review have to be?"  
Well, thought I, that sounds intriguing, a couple of hours later this is what Amber sent through.

Slash / Night
An evening of slash fiction featuring talks and readings from Chris Parkinson, Muffy Hunter, James Burt and others.
Location  Komedia: Studio
Calendar  17 Sep 2014 - 7:30 pm


Ignored by the mainstream and despised by the canon, Slash fiction is living its life underground in the creases of the internet. The term now refers to any fan fiction involving a relationship between same sex characters, but originally the genre was specifically reserved for a sexual relationship. Some fans also distinguish a female focused sub-genre called Femslash. It's generally agreed that the origins of flash fiction began in the 70's with Star Trek, when fans started reacting to the underlying sexual tension they perceived between Kirk and Spock.

It was a pretty ordinary Wednesday night when I dragged an unsuspecting and uninformed friend to night of Slash fiction. Neither of us had any prior knowledge of the genre and having got a bit of garbled information from the internet before we left, I have to admit to feeling a bit sceptical.

My scepticism increased when we'd settled in our seats and been told that Slash fiction has just as much literary merit as any other genre. “Really, we'll see” said a snobbish little voice in my head. But as the evening progressed my doubt was largely stifled by laughter.

We had Jarvis Cocker engaging in a steamy affair with the Tyrannosaur, while a Velociraptor hungrily listens in on the phone. Like many of the pieces this was intentionally hilarious, dipping into a realm of absurdism not commonly associated with erotic fiction. From then on in we covered different sub-genres from an avid and knowledgeable fan. I learnt new words and I found out many things I didn't ever want to know. By the way the word Millicest describes a kind of fiction involving Ed and David Milliband. I'll leave you to work out the rest.

But what I loved about the night was the total sense of liberation. Why shouldn't writing be about reacting to a demand – however strange that might be? There are anonymous forums where you can post the most specific and obscene guidelines for a story, and if you're lucky someone will write it for you. Surely there is a cathartic effect knowing that you're not alone in imagining Shakespeare's Mercutio and Benvolio locked in a passionate embrace?

Don't go if you're a prude, prepare for heaps of obscenity and don't leave your sense of humour at home. If you manage these three things you'll be in for a weird and wonderful night to remember.

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