Interviewing romantic connoisseur Nicholas K. Watson
Romantic literature hasnâ€™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 â€“ as did the Twilight sagaâ€™s erotic vampires, sparkling away like diamond rings endowed with impossible carat after impossible carat â€“ but one name in romantic literature has never been entirely embracedâ€¦
Okay, two names: Mills & Boon.
Itâ€™s something Nicholas K. Watson intends to change.
Heâ€™s spent the last year or so delivering public readings of these sordid little paperbacks throughout Brisbane.
At first blush itâ€™s a bizarre conceit â€“ 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 Watsonâ€™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 doesnâ€™t hurt that the books themselves are mesmerizing train wrecks of metaphor and tired clichÃ©s.
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:Â My brother and I strolled into Room 60 where they decorate their walls with Mills & Boon books.
As Iâ€™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 wouldnâ€™t it be better on stage, in my voice, in front of an audience?
I checked, and the answer is yes.
CD: Whatâ€™s the key to a great romance novel?
Nicholas:Â A lot of them are just sentimentality with smatterings of filth, and theyâ€™re the ones I really like.
Iâ€™ve located a few of the other type, the black sheep of the family, and theyâ€™re vile smut and buckets of filth.
You get to page seven and you feel like youâ€™re in the tertiary throes of syphilis.
Theyâ€™ve got to have a gentle quality to them but with really surprising sex scenes.
CD: Something your mother would read?
Nicholas:Â Exactly â€“ and my mother even comes to the events every now and then.
CD: Is Brisbane a romantic city?
Nicholas:Â Itâ€™s one of the most romantic.
I think of Brisbane as being the Paris of Queensland.
Thereâ€™s nothing more exciting or romantic than a river.
What motivates you to take the stage?
Nicholas:Â Itâ€™s a duty thatâ€™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 Iâ€™m also giving the locals a relief.
Itâ€™s probably their most important coital event since their conception.
Itâ€™s the sexiest thing to hit Brisbane since I moved here from Switzerland.
CD: Whatâ€™s your advice for upcoming readers of romance novels?
Nicholas:Â Itâ€™s very tough being Brisbaneâ€™s premiere spoken word sex symbol. Itâ€™s all a matter of octaves and patience.
What: Mills & Boon Erotic Readings
Where: Room 60
When: August 21, 2013 from 6:00pm
How much: $10 (Concession: $5)
Website: Room 60
Images by La Boite Theatre Company