The Book Club review - SkinnyFest 1

Article by Marcie Hume | 14 Aug 2006
Robin Ince is an extroverted yet autistic Morrissey who wears his frilly shirts with only a tinge of self-loathing. Robin Ince is also a man of the written word. Only someone with a passion for reading alone and possibly in the dark could read so tenderly and with such great absurdity the vaguely racist and misogynistic trash novels of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Ince's reading of Mills & Boon-type crapola rivals anyone's best efforts at heightening the embarrassment of something that's already so sweetly incompetent. The Book Club is a monastery for those with an in-built taste for the absurd, and for hugely bad literature. An assortment of comics have a few minutes in between readings to show their stuff, and then Ince once again grants the audience a snippet of inelegant fiction (although perhaps it is the quasi-fiction of Cliff Richard's ghost-written autobiography that leads the audience to weep in his metaphorical, erudite arms). If you don't like an act, they're off in three minutes, anyway. The format is a welcome one for those who simply see comedy as an accepted, cheerful compulsion. But even during the most excellent acts, the audience waits like eager baby seals for the next salty, fishy feed of Ince-ridden text, read against a backdrop of orchestral swells. If you're dying to cop a feel of the absurd, and have a bit of a bookish nerd in you, this is the little room of the Underbelly that will blindly accept you.
The Book Club, Underbelly, until August 27 (not 14-15, 21-22), 16:25, £7 (£5)