:: Article

Sohoitis IX: The 3:AM PP — Sometimes You Just Have To Go

By Sophie Parkin.

“I believe this place is full of bum-pushing faggots?” Did Sebastian really say that? Sebastian Horsley opened his set, thank god I could stop him after nine and half more minutes I thought, watching the gay contingent of the Green Carnation shift uneasily in their seats. Sebastian was Non Fiction for the night: who the fuck was going to be able to follow that diatribe AGAINST saving the planet? I could see people thinking, “He’s worse than Sarah Palin!”. There was only one man for the job, rough and tuff: Tim Wells on poetry, romanticising Betty Grable’s arse into looking like a bag of groceries…

[L-R: Heather Phillipson, Tim Wells and Anna Goodall]

Next came Heather Phillipson, poetically recalling the fantasies of a long-haul flight under a nylon tartan rug. Watch out for this brilliant red-haired emotional word wizard if you’re flying any time, you too could be immortalized like Doug, because she’s off on holiday soon.

How did we come up with the crazy idea of a literary music night? I blame Gallix as we sat in the bar of NFT BFI (or whatever they’re calling it next week) in August on too many lagers. Then words were exchanged with Pen Pusher Magazine Editor Anna Goodall, and before I knew it I was hosting the event after a word with debonair “boy with the portrait in the attic” Aubrey Dobson (he’s ever so accommodating) of the Green Carnation at 5 Greek St, Soho. The idea is that Pen Pusher puts up a couple of writers and so does 3:AM, but life is never as simple as the Western World’s economy collapsing. Sometimes you need fresh young blood, listening to too many writers blah-ing on can bore the arse off even me, so think about the novices that haven’t sat through The Cheltenham Literary Festival. Musical interludes were definitely needed, and nothing longer than 10 minutes and maybe some Scottish tap dancing, I thought cannily. The Correspondents came to mind instantly. I was lucky enough to be sitting behind Ian Bruce as he swung his derrière delightfully around and sang modern, witty, sexy ballads that would make Leonard Cohen and Russell Brand blush collectively, and wish they could do such ridiculous things with their legs.

The gorgeous and eruditely-funny Matt Thorne for 3:AM, read us half of a story, and just as He was about to get laid, and before She…. I made him stop, his ten minutes were up. I’m strict like that. It was “Maxwell’s Guilty Secret” from 3:AM’s book London, New York, Paris published by Social Disease.


Finally came BabySol, a beautiful 20-year-old jazzy singer, clever handwritten lyrics, with a natural giggle in her voice, and dimples in her cheeks, she held the audience effortlessly in her hand tickling them, and they loved it and begged for more. But our hour was up and I was desperately in need of a Davidoff and a Chablis, the graft my dears, the graft of being Mistress of Ceremonies took its toll and then I had The Parkin Lot to DJ at downstairs from 9pm-2am, and Alastair Darling thinks he’s got late nights. Darling, you should try doing a 3:AM PP some night. Oh, and the next one’s on 4 November. If there’s anyone you’d die to see perform (or rather die than see perform) offa our pages, let the Ed. Gallix know, I have to lie down on my chaise lounge and recuperate until the next one. “Life — elemental and raw — in the noon day sun and in the dank shadows,” as Erskine Caldwell so succinctly put it, had got to me.

The 3:AM PP is at the Green Carnation on the first Tuesday of every month 7-8.30pm


Sophie Parkin has written seven published books. Three grown-up novels (you can’t say adult, otherwise people think they might be pornography): All Grown Up, Take Me Home and Dear Goddess. For teenagers there is French for Kissing, Best of Friends, and Mad, Rich and Famous. She has also contributed to four other books, from short stories, true stories, long stories, to poetry. Mothers by Daughters, Sons and Mothers both published by Virago, Girls Just Want To Have Fun: the Cosmopolitan book of short stories, and POT 05 – Anthology of Poetry edited by Michael Horovitz. Her new book, Bazaar Nights and Camel Bites (Piccadilly Press), a teenage novel set in Tangiers and London, is out now. Sophie Parkin holds a monthly 3:AM Magazine/Pen Pusher bash at the Green Carnation in London.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, October 12th, 2008.