An evening in a pub with Caitlin Moran
Caitlin Moran did a sort-of secret gig in the King’s Head pub in Crouch End last night. It was pure fate that a little birdie told me about it. A few weeks ago I tweeted about being absolutely GUTTED about the Caitlin Moran How To Build A Girl book tour being sold out (it literally sold out in a matter of minutes, and they even put an extra London date on the tour and then that immediately sold out too). I think Twitter nearly crashed at the influx of angry keyboard bashers. For me, it felt as stressful as trying to get tickets for Glastonbury, with the website crashing and going through an emotional roller-coaster. You’d know the drill, you’d think you’d purchased a ticket, the screen then freezes, you enter your information followed by a sheepish “sorrrrry there’s been an error with your order because this site was built in 1998” type message. DAMN YOU Internet.
I took to Twitter (where else?) to rant and rave about how TRAGIC it was that there weren’t enough tickets because at that drunken moment I genuinely felt, as her BIGGEST FAN, that it was just CRUEL that I couldn’t go. I then got a direct message from an absolute legend from a publishing house (who I will ever be indebted to, I heart you) who told me about this “warm up gig” that Caitlin was doing, a really rough-and-ready gig in basement of Caitlin’s local pub, to read some chapters from her book, do some stand-up and generally just talk away and be awesome.
The loveliest thing about last night was the intimacy of the event. It was great. It was a “get a pint, and have a fag” type night, just in a pub, chatting and laughing. Caitlin said that in the past she’d normally had someone interviewing her, and as she’s such a chatterbox (please never stop) she thought just to grab the mic herself and have a bit of a chinwag about all sorts of things. I loved how she would go off on tangents too. It was brill.
She read a passage from her new book How To Build A Girl, but not before warning the audience that it was VERY VERY rude. And boy was it. Caitlin read her words with the same enthusiasm as when the reader absorbs it (I love her use of capital letters and crazy amounts of exclamation marks and overall energetic colloquialism) and her rude words came alive off the page. The book was described as being an honest novel about the years of “slagging about a bit” that we are all pretty familiar with (paraphrasing). I don’t want to give anything away but it was absolutely brilliant and I cannot wait to devour the whole book. There were literally laugh-out-loud-I-cant-breathe-moments. It’s the hilariously candid chatty tone of her writing that has me completely gripped.
She was really inspiring on a personal level too. She spoke about the people who were her “heroes” when growing up and learning how to genuinely “build yourself”. By taking different aspects of popular culture, music, places, clothes, celebrities, TV shows etc, you are basically building a character that you want to be. And finding some sort of companionship with the types of books you read, or films you see. She spoke about one of her heroes being Courtney Love and that she’d “pretend to be her” in moments of fear or dread. For insecure teenagers who are insecure in their own body/personality it is always amazing to watch an older woman who does not give a shit. I could totally relate to that, as it’s that sort of mindset that makes you think you can do things when feeling a bit vulnerable. It was ironic because I had the same thing but after I read “How To Be A Woman”. It was a “WWCMD” mindset (what would Caitlin Moran do). It genuinely worked.
I am so so happy and exuberant about the fact that she is even more awesome in real life. They say never meet your heroes but Caitlin is just the walking talking version of her writing. Hilarious, witty, KIND and she doesn’t give a hoot. She got her tummy out at the end and held it and called it her “feminist smile”. To have your favourite writer read passages from your favourite book is not something I’ll forget in a hurry.
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