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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | September 19, 2021

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Interviewing romantic connoisseur Nicholas K. Watson

Ash Hauenschild
Romantic Reading

Romantic Reading

Romantic literature hasn’t always enjoyed public acceptance, particularly if it features handsome stable boys on the cover and is best sold in paper bags.

Fifty Shades of Grey admittedly had its time in the sun – as did the Twilight saga’s erotic vampires, sparkling away like diamond rings endowed with impossible carat after impossible carat – but one name in romantic literature has never been entirely embraced…

Okay, two names: Mills & Boon.

It’s something Nicholas K. Watson intends to change.

He’s spent the last year or so delivering public readings of these sordid little paperbacks throughout Brisbane.

At first blush it’s a bizarre conceit – something perhaps a little too clever, a performance piece best left for the literature majors.

But those fears quickly evaporate in the first moments of Watson’s witty, polished routine.

Something about the foppish suit and silken baritone (lingering delicately over each naughty word like school children in an illustrated dictionary) is immediately and lastingly hilarious.

It doesn’t hurt that the books themselves are mesmerizing train wrecks of metaphor and tired clichés.

After June’s Creative Drinks review, I caught up with Nicholas K. Watson to probe even deeper.

CD: How did you discover your gift for reading romance novels in public?

Nicholas: My brother and I strolled into Room 60 where they decorate their walls with Mills & Boon books.

As I’ve known my brother for 20 years, we really have nothing else to say to each other.

So I swiped one of the books, opened to it a well-thumbed page, and read him the cutesiest passage on nipple licking available.

Then I borrowed a few and I was reading them in silence in my room. I thought, this is all well and good, but wouldn’t it be better on stage, in my voice, in front of an audience?

I checked, and the answer is yes.

CD: What’s the key to a great romance novel?

Nicholas: A lot of them are just sentimentality with smatterings of filth, and they’re the ones I really like.

I’ve located a few of the other type, the black sheep of the family, and they’re vile smut and buckets of filth.

You get to page seven and you feel like you’re in the tertiary throes of syphilis.

They’ve got to have a gentle quality to them but with really surprising sex scenes.

CD: Something your mother would read?

Nicholas: Exactly – and my mother even comes to the events every now and then.

Nicholas Watson

Nicholas Watson

CD: Is Brisbane a romantic city?

Nicholas: It’s one of the most romantic.

I think of Brisbane as being the Paris of Queensland.

There’s nothing more exciting or romantic than a river.

What motivates you to take the stage?

Nicholas: It’s a duty that’s got to be done.

I am purveying not only naughty nonsense in a deep, husky voice (and the bad lady voice I put on for the female character) but I’m also giving the locals a relief.

It’s probably their most important coital event since their conception.

It’s the sexiest thing to hit Brisbane since I moved here from Switzerland.

CD: What’s your advice for upcoming readers of romance novels?

Nicholas: It’s very tough being Brisbane’s premiere spoken word sex symbol. It’s all a matter of octaves and patience.


The details:

What: Mills & Boon Erotic Readings

Where: Room 60

When: August 21, 2013 from 6:00pm

How much: $10 (Concession: $5)

Website: Room 60

Photo references: 

Images by La Boite Theatre Company